Posts by Tom Semmens

  • Speaker: The Brexlection, in reply to Neil,

    The “Hillary is an evil warmonger wall street stooge but I don’t suppprt Trump” and “Macron is a elitist blah blah bringing on the victory of the FN but I don’t support Le Pen” is a peculiar form of kabuki that has real world consequences.

    It would be nice if the so-called social democratic progressive parties of the west DIDN'T put up a warmongering creatures of wall street in the arrogant belief voters will hold their nose and vote for the lesser of two evils, wouldn't it?

    The French voters will handily defeat Le Pen, like the Spanish they've tasted fascism within living memory and they didn't like it at all. But how much longer can we rely on voters rejecting an unacceptable candidate just so the establishment can elect another defender of the status quo?

    In two English speaking countries (Brexit & Trump) the voters have dared to defy the proposition that no matter how bad, the status quo is better than anything else. So far, the right has benefited from this. The attacks on Corbyn, to me at least, seems to indicate the establishment is much happier trying to accommodate plutocrats and neo-fascists than socialists and democrats.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2055 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Brexlection,

    Whilst Tom may rail against the Guardian’s Comment Is Free pieces and the like post referendum as being evidence of anti democratic sour grapes…

    Since the evisceration of Corbyn by the establishment media, I have come to think the polarisation of the British press is more apparent than real. Acceptable politics range all the way from A to B. A good illustration of how right wing the liberal media is in the UK is provided by the near sobbing relief (The Guardian editorial calls it a “victory for hope”) with which it has greeted the probable victory of Emmanuel Macron for the French presidency, almost entirely because he is pro-EU – which is a neat illustration of how prominent the issue of Europe is in a divided UK and how the EU (and with it an implicit support for the corporate globalisation agenda) become an uncritical corner stone of liberal belief in the UK. For any “leftist” celebrating Macron it is worth remembering he is a "radical centrist' - he has neoliberal economic policies, supports “intervening” in Syria, wants to increase military spending, supports the current neoliberal and austerity driven EU, and has fudged on immigration. Emmanuel Macron’s election simply postpones the inevitability of the ascendance of the populist right in France, because he offers no solutions beyond feeble tinkering with the status quo, yet across Europe the elites have hailed his election as a signal for business as usual. We shall see, I guess.

    So yeah, the British media is completely driven by the establishment, even if they are two factions.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2055 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Brexlection, in reply to Ben Austin,

    The remainers need to get over themselves and take a course in democracy 101. Their plan appears to be to punish Labour because Cameron called a vote that UKIP lied to win. The SDP/Liberal Democrats as always are showing what complete political morons the middle class are when they are confronted with complex decisions.

    I have no time for the meally mouthed Liberal Democrats and their decades of bullshit, culminating with a Tory sellout.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2055 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Brexlection,

    I mean say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, dude. At least it’s an ethos…

    Well, at least it is an alternative from more of the same crushing austerity and concentration of wealth in the hands of the 0.1% – which is all “new” Labour, the Conservatives, the French socialists/Gaullists and Hillary Clinton deign to offer the voters.

    Just checking but would these Blairites be the ones that won 3 consecutive general elections as opposed to the Militant/Momentum types who have won… ummm… nothing. At all. Anywhere. Ever.

    The Blairist political formula was pretty simple. Triangulate to the “centre”, court the business elites by adopting neoliberal managerialism as your main economic plank, use a socially liberal agenda to get the chattering classes onboard and as a fig leaf of progressivism and cynically abandon the working class as having no where else to go. No such political alliance has won an election since the GFC (with the possible exception of Canada, where liberal pin-up boy Justin Trudeau is currently introducing Canadians to the hollow vessel that is personality driven Blairism). The alliance has long been demolished, with UKIP providing “somewhere else” and the radical centre becoming the chosen ground for little more than a dwinding band of middle class denialists. The behaviour of the UK PLP nicely shows the decadence of late Blairism, which is nowadays just a liberal culture of narcissism propped up by an onging delusional belief in the failed technocratic techniques of deception, outright falsehood and orthodoxy.

    it seems to me the chief characteristic of the British state at the moment is one of fin de siècle decadence, in it’s machinery, excessive secrecy and surveillance and in it’s dessicated culture. The UK Labour party, discarded as an unnecessary management layer now the elites have returned to golden age capitalism under the Torys, was in steady decline before Corbyn. At least Corbyn offers a break from the past and, more importantly perhaps, just enough reform for UK Labour to survive and credibly rebuild in the post neo-liberal era with policies that actually appeal to the average Joe.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2055 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Brexlection, in reply to simon g,

    The Labour working class heartland is as split on Brexit as the rest of the UK population, a fact that appears to be completely impenetrable to the frankly anti-democratic remainers who demand Labour commits electoral suicide by surrendering it’s heartland to UKIP and the conservatives (which would be the reality of what would happen under the UK’s ridiculously antiquated FPP democracy) to satisfy the high dudgeon of it’s fickle pan-European middle class urban supporters who will miss their hassle-free holidays in Tuscany.

    But the collapse in the Labour vote is not due to Corbyn’s position of accepting the referendum outcome whilst seeking significant accomodations with the EU. The collapse in the Labour vote dates from and is the direct outcome of the failed chicken coup by the Blairite dominate UK PLP. Insofar as many of those Blairite cuckoo candidates seem poised to either stand down or lose their seats if Labour takes a bath this election, there may be a silver lining in a Labour defeat. A Labour defeat that will be a Pyrrhic Blairite victory which will see their faction blamed, diminished and decimated but will also (probably) see Corbyn gone and replaced by a leader less likely to be subjected to a unrelentless campaign of character assassination from the establishment media seems the best the left can hope for this election, unless the polls (which are in lockstep with the middle class liberal Cassandras of the liberal broadsheets) are wrong.

    As for voting for the dissolution – I doubt Labour had a serious choice. What message does denying an early election because you are to chicken send?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2055 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Brexlection,

    "...Remainers, on the other hand, find themselves in a situation where the hated Liberal Democrats and Tony Blair appear to be the only people who represent them..."

    if the tone of pro-Remain liberal publications like the Guardian are any guide to the actual mood of the hard core remain supporters, it is little wonder they find it hard to find a political party that will endorse them. The Guardianista remainers come across as a bunch of self pitying whiners who still refuse to accept the outcome of the referendum, whilst using every weapon of intellectual snobbery at their disposal to paint Brexit supports as nostalgic little Englander morons. At the same time, there is a ceaseless parade of vindictive opinion pieces everywhere from the same crowd doing everything in their power to ridicule and humiliate Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters for daring not to be a member of their cosy Blairite club.

    For all the Fascism of the Daily Mail, the pro-Europe Chardonay socialists of the remainer chattering middle classes are just as guilty to contributing to the polarisation of British politics.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2055 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Local journeys on the cusp of…,

    The whole Waterview connection seems to be emerging as full of penny wise, pound foolish corners that have been cut, adding up to creating huge new traffic problems from the day it opens. It threatens to create as many problems as it it solve, a pretty rum way to spend 1.4 billion if you ask me.

    Infrastructure decisions around walking and cycling never seeem to make much sense to me. For example, out west just recently West Coast road from the Parr's cross roundabout to Oratia school got an expensive, magnificent upgrade of a new, wide freshly concreted shared path complete with triumphant red and white barriers and a low speed bump. But from Oratia school on, the footpath is narrow, in disrepair and completely peters out around Parker Road. Yet West Coast Rd from here to Scenic Drive is basically a heavily wooded, narrow and twisty suburban street with a 70km/h speed limit and I constantly see heaps of walkers and joggers and cyclists braving the narrow, unmade verge as traffic whizzes past. Why in God's name isn't there at least a contiguous concrete footpath on this road? This is a heavily used road and it is the 21st century, FFS!

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2055 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dirty Politics,

    The government will use blogs run by sycophants like Farrar (who this morning is running a revolting and tasteless line of "nothing to see here, war is hell, civilians die, it was only six look how many died in ww2" argument) to attack the authors while invoking state secrecy and a blanket refusal to discuss the issue.

    They'll probably get away with it, given that years of ANZAC day propaganda has indoctrinated the general public to view our tin pot army as fearless and chanceless warriors, rather than the panic stricken muppets we once saw on telly blasting away from their LAV at nothing in particular in an ambush.

    The only thing that would blow the government and defence force out of the water would be if one of the un-named SAS troopers the authors say helped them came forward to publically support them.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2055 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Superannuation: Back to the Future, in reply to Andre,

    The media are ignoring means-testing with a vengeance. I saw a poll on Stuff (I think) the other day asking if the status quo should reign or the age be lifted to 65, 67 or 70 years of age. No mention of means testing in the poll or the lengthy article attached. It is the elephant in the room, with all parties having seen what happened last time adopted it as a policy.Apparently it is too expensive to administrate means testing of old people but not young people on benefits. Why?

    means testing is unfair – everyone pays PAYE, why should you miss out on super? What is the point of contributing to the welfare state if you never get anything back for it?

    Means-tested benefits are unpopular, expensive to administer, carry a substantial stigma, create poverty and unemployment traps, and are unreliable as people’s circumstances change.

    Universal benefits (and I include all benefits here) are (politically) popular, cheap to administer, without stigma, do not create poverty or unemployment traps, are reliable forms of income, and are (or should be) taken back from those who don’t need them through a properly progressive tax system.

    Means testing is superficially attractive, but in the end is self defeating.

    Also, super is hardly unaffordable. Public health costs for aging baby boomers are going to plateau out at around 10.5-11%, Superannuation at around 7-8% of GDP. Yet no one is running around saying the free public health system should be means tested because it is “unaffordable”.

    Affordability of super is a political decision about what we chose to fund and how much tax we wish to raise to fund it, not a economic question of whether or not we can afford it.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2055 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Mt Albert: Cooperating,…,

    Life is journey which includes some unpleasant realities. Baby boomers and Generation Xer’s are guilty of clinging on far past their use by dates. In life you are relevant, then experienced, then wise, then past it. The trick is to know when you enter each phase and accept the process with grace and, perhaps, not a little relief and pride when you realise the burden of fighting your good fight is in the safe hands of a younger generation.

    In an aging world where the young are in an often enforced prolonged adolescence it is easy to remember that once being 20 was old enough to lead seven men in a lumbering four engine bomber at night over a hostile Germany with no modern navigation aids.

    Yes, there is an agism abroad – an agism that says age isn’t relevant not because you can still do the job, but as an excuse for not letting go, which is a category I would put Annette King in. Any politician whose best days are behind them need to go immediately, and make way for a young thruster with the energy and enthusiasm they now lack.

    There are far to many old people in parliament. Jacinda is just 35. She is entering that phase of her life where she will harness both still youthful energy with an ability to adapt and learn, while having the confidence that comes with a decade of experience.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2055 posts Report Reply

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