Posts by Tom Semmens

  • Hard News: Sky and 2020,

    Personally (but I am sure i speak for many) I can’t wait to dance on Sky’s grave. Appalling customer service, rip-off packages, and a managment culture of a two finger salute to consumers mean their viewers are hostages to their sport monopoly, not customers to be looked after.

    Fuck them, and the boat they came in.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2043 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Broadcasting and the Public Interest, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    First of all, Gareth Morgan's rambling on public broadcasting simply confirmed to me he is just another in our lamentable history of somewhat to very odd millionaires feeling obliged to favour us with their brilliance via some sort of political vanity project.

    Broadcast TV is pretty much obsolete technology – looking at a clean sheet of paper, why would you spend millions on a dedicated radio pipe to do the same thing as near free internet bandwidth?

    Viewing figures of free to air TV would tend to indicate reports of it's obsolescence and death are premature. I guess you keep dirty public broadcast services because an important function of state broadcasters of record is their role in disasters, and radio and broadcast TV are relatively robust in the face of disaster. When the aliens attack no one is going to tune their emergency pack transistor into the afternoon crew of Inane Rock FM. They'll be going to Radio New Zealand, which will still be on air and broadcasting from Wanganui using a bit of wire, a car battery and a 1930's transmitter that no one got around to replacing long after Wellington or Auckland's ISPs were vapourised in a big hit from the orbiting starships death ray.

    But if we accept that free to air broadcast services are going the way of the Dodo, then it raises questions around the current model of access to online services. At the moment the access "pipe" is controlled by private ISPs. But if access to the internet becomes the only way to gain information on key parts of civil society, should we consider nationalising the ISP's and providing access for free and only charging for content (i.e. break net neutrality with a public good argument)? Or perhaps the state should compel all ISP's to offer free access to any device to access any website on a white list, for example - any website that ends in This would give a powerful inbuilt advantage to state websites, should the government re-create state media on the internet as, say,

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2043 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Burning down the house to…, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    See life is treating you as well as it ever does Craig.

    Not sure of your point, other than i can discern it consists of an angry ball of resentment bundled up in a permanent red mist of outrage, so sorry about that.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2043 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Burning down the house to…, in reply to Rich Lock,

    It wasn’t meant to be an insult dude, have a lie down! Jesus, did you get shortchanged by the coffee cart this morning?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2043 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Burning down the house to…, in reply to Rich Lock,

    From my own ‘micro’ point of view, if I want my liberal bubble burst, I just have to go and stand in the queue at the local supermarket, and while I’m waiting have a quick skim of the front pages of The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Express, The Telegraph, The Times, and so on, and let the vitriol wash over me.

    This doesn't count as "bursting your liberal bubble". This counts as "reinforcing my preconceived notions of people who don't agree with me".

    If you really want to burst you liberal bubble, try talking (or even better, listening) to some people who voted Trump, or spend eight weeks working with pruning gang as a summer job (which is what my sister did after she overheard my nephew being a little snob with his mates), or something else that involves actually engaging with people who think differently from you.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2043 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Burning down the house to…,

    In regards to the bathrobe nonsense – Winston Churchill stayed in bed until 11am, had his first drink shortly after he got up, had a two to three hour lunch featuring more liquor, had a 90 minute snooze at 5pm, then had a four hour plus dinner with freely flowing alcohol, and took two long baths a day. In other words, a certain sybariticism doesn’t preclude effective leadership.

    Having spent a lot of time talking – and more importantly listening – to my many American friends, several of whom voted for Trump, this what I have concluded: First, Illegal immigration is a gigantic issue and is hated by Trump supporters mainly on ideological grounds. We forget the Puritan thread that runs through much of American society at our peril. Wage class Americans are generally more conservative than we are and they revere values of being law abiding and hard working combined with thrift and self-discipline. Illegal immigrants are simply dismissed as law breaking queue jumpers and freeloaders. Throw in a bit of lazy racism (encouraged by the rabble rousers of the conservative US media) and a huge dollop of male resentment at the loss of manly dignity that come with the loss of breadwinner status that comes with a steady, good paying job and you’ve got a huge cross section of the people who voted for Trump.

    Secondly, the liberal & salaried professional/managerial class right across the English speaking world is completely clueless as to how hated it is by those in the precariat/wage class below it. The liberal managerial class have a lifestyle untouched by globalisation and from their positions of power in HR departments, middle management and consultancies they are the human face of a class war waged by them on the poor, the precariat and the low waged on behalf of their neoliberal corporate masters. The professional elites response to that hatred has largely been one of smug arrogance and condescension, which has made the class and cultural war even worse. This cultural and class war element cannot be emphasised enough.

    This article in the Havard Business Review is the most accurate assesment of the mood of Americans I know that I have read, and it offers suggestions for the way forward for the left that are, in the light of Poto Williams calculated attempt to undermine her leader and sabotage Labour’s attempts to widen it’s appeal in the name of discredited liberal identity politics, particularly pertinent.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2043 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Up with the Pacer: embracing…,

    Are they safe to use on dual use cycle ways at 30km/h?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2043 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    Are you only concerned with political science, or is there room for the nuanced art of humanity?

    Or put another way, are you able see how crass that statement you wrote actually is?

    Dude, I am absolutely Jonathan Pie furious for the art of humanity. It really amazes me how few liberals understand the scale of their defeat. I care about humanity, and I think that humanity is best served by having left wing governments restributing wealth, not a bunch of (neo)liberals arguing about identity politics and telling people how to run their family lives. In retrospect, the section 59 repeal was NZ’s “Brexit” – the moment the (neo)liberal “left” ruling class were exposed as an elitist scam, and the moment the Clintonian/Blairite third way alliance was shattered. Bradford with her lazy, arrogant and ham fisted determination to use the (neo)liberal elite consensus to try and ram through a piece of legislation that struck at the heart of society – the family – and that no one (need I remind you, a CIR vote was over 87% opposed) wanted destroyed it forever in NZ. Of all her sins, her laziness and arrogance stand out like dog balls. She made no attempt to build a civic alliance for her repeal. She made no attempt to build a political alliance. She was right come hell or high water and she just wanted to count to 61 in the parliament. And the result was your classic Pyrrhic victory that is at least a large part responsible for the election loss by the Labour government, nine years in opposition, and a falling out of fashion and loss of credibility of progressive and left wing politics that shows precious little sign of abating.

    I strongly supported section 59, to point I almost got into a fight at the beach with a bunch of asshats collecting signatures for the CIR and strained several close relationships. But I bitterly resent being made to fight the battle at all, and all by someone who was too fucking arrogant and too fucking lazy to be bothered to build a decent army first.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2043 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to steven crawford,

    Huh? What are you talking about?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2043 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    The Women's marches were very impressive, with some huge numbers barely reported here, Los Angeles seems to have something north of 500,000 - from the LA Times:

    "...The exact size of the protest was difficult to measure. Organizers put the number at 750,000.

    The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement that “well past” 100,000 people attended but did not provide a more precise number. Officials said it appeared to be the largest demonstration since a massive 2006 immigration march downtown. The LAPD estimated that march drew 500,000..."

    The question is, where to from here? Were the crowds so massive because of anti-Trumpism or because they were standing up for human rights? Alison Mau notes in the spinoff:

    "...The organisers of the Washington “mother” march were making it absolutely clear this was not about partisan politics; not about the legitimacy or otherwise of the incoming President... ...It was about human rights. Simple."

    In this, these marches are similar to the gay marriage movement in the USA which a) refused to allow other political agendas to hitch their star to the same sex marriage bandwagon, and b) refused to allow itself to become a partisan political vehicle, welcoming left and right as long as they were on board for gay marriage.

    The lesson the left is a) Getting back into ascendancy is going to require building alliances on specific issues with anyone who agrees with you, rather than being a rent-a-mob who exclude everyone who fails any of a battery of tests of ideological purity and b) too many soi-disant radicals in NZ seek only elite liberal consensus - the anti-smacking legislation being the prime example of social change via attempted legislative coup. The outcome? Sue Bradford's chief political legacy has been to make the "left" unelectable for three elections. The women's march appealed to so many because Trump's culture of rampant sexism affects women of every class everywhere, be they pretty young scions of the middle class being condescended to in the law firm or a middle aged woman working in diner putting up with emboldened truck drivers. That broad appeal gave them mass.

    So we need to understand - rather than spend months agonising about the race/gender mix of your party list spend time developing policies that appeal to th broad range of the population and build alliances with anyone who wants to help on a specific issue - and stop asking for windows into peoples souls.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2043 posts Report Reply

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