Democracy: there’s a lot of it going around lately.

Across the ditch, Oz had a bit of (compulsory) democracy and elected in a new government. Unsurprisingly, Labor (there’s no ‘u’!) lost. A Ruddbath some wag called it. I was never convinced a late leader-change was going to help matters and I must say Mr Rudd’s charms have always eluded me. No matter. It’s Tony’s way from now on: ‘Australia’s Under New Management’ declared its new leader. Or manager. The OZ PM-elect was first sighted the next morning, lycra-clad, for his regular routine Sunday bike ride. We must be thankful an early-morning swim was not Abbott’s habit is all I can say. On the night of the election, former PM Bob Hawke guest-spotted on some TV show. Tanned and ancient but still proudly-coiffed, he reflected on his party’s disunity as the obvious source of voter discontent.. The message could not be louder or clearer for other interested parties of the Left anywhere: united we stand, divided we lose.

Back home, we are getting some democracy as well, this time in the form selecting a new Labour (we do have a ‘u’) leader. The three have performed with idiosyncratic distinction, avoiding acrimony and encouraging debate. I don’t think I’ve heard the term ‘neo-liberalism’ discussed so often. Over a year out from going to the polls, the Government’s agenda is getting the once-over from the three candidates: articulate, considered, fluent criticism of the direction the country is travelling: a discussion on human costs. This is Labour’s brand and its point of distinction: human costs. David Cunliffe leads most public polls and Shane Jones ‘forthrighteousness’ is winning friends if not influencing people. Whoever wins, I hope they were listening to Bob Hawke.

We’re getting some more democracy in the form of a citizen’s-initiated referendum on asset sales. Hundreds of thousands of kiwi Mums and Dads and others signed, recording their strong opposition to National’s major economic platform . Our PM called this expression of democracy an utter waste of money. Like the $30m to Rio Tinto. Like the estimated $100m broker / banker / consultant fees. Like the estimated $100m annual lost income to the tax-payer from the sale of profit-generating assets. Indeed, when it comes to statements on utter wastes of money, the PM’s utterances were a bit rich.

In the Middle East, it seems inevitable Syria is going to get a short, sharp dose of democracy as well, in the form of a ‘limited’ US aerial strike. Ten years after Iraq, Obama, visibly-aged, a long way now from Hope and Change and Nobel Peace Prizes, finds himself addressing the nation, advocating for an attack in the Middle East. Suddenly, the credibility of the world’s last super-power, paragon of democracy, is at stake. A red line has been crossed. History teaches  that happy endings usually do not follow such things.

On other fronts, it’s been a colourful week in politics. Kim Dotcom may establish his own party. Simon Bridges called Sam Neill a hypocrite for flying in planes but opposing oil exploration. Amy Adams gave assurances that accidents never (well, hardly ever) happen in the oil industry. Clayton Cosgrove demanded some accountability from the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, “Liberace!” Judith Collins gave an impassioned speech about the immorality of children having their own legal counsel in the Family Court. But most pleasingly, Asenati Lole-Taylor asked Anne Tolley how she would feel if someone came up to her in the street and asked “How much for a blowjob?”. The Minister blushed, claiming no ministerial responsibility. Perhaps it’s a question we should ask of the entire cabinet. Just to be democratic.


  1. Roger douglas will show you that the best way to hide a fascist virus is within a host democracy .

    That way , no one will see it coming and all the better if the virus is hidden within any political party that espouses a high level of democratic fair-go for the worker to protect them from the psychotic advances of the mentally unwell money collectors . Who can often be discovered out in broad daylight and yet remain mysteriously invisible to the poverty stricken eye .

    Democracy is such a beautiful creature but so vulnerable to the overtures of scoundrels .

    Oh , and I think Thomas Jefferson was a nob-end . I’d like to see how long he’d last in a cold , moldy flat while being shelled by massive power bills .

    And if one is concerned with which mob to hang with ? I’d go with the mob who best expresses unconditional love and who understands that the most important responsibility of a democratically elected government is to take care of the most vulnerable in society first .

    One look at paula bennett and you can see the love . When the sun’s low , her tax payer paid for arse fat casts a shadow over greater South Auckland .

  2. “History teaches that happy endings usually do not follow such things. ”

    Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya all seem to be places where the outcome of action was better than inaction.

    Why would asking the entire cabinet the question about Blow jobs be democratic’?

    • There are large numbers of people who would dispute that – Bosnia & Kosovo – an excuse to bomb the shit out of Serbia. Libya – an excuse to destabilise it and grab the oil…….

  3. re: citizen’s-initiated referendum, our country’s not really one for democracy anyway, both labour and nats. How many of the last CIR’s have been ignored? all I believe, though someone with some grey hairs may correct me if there was something further in our history. Even the electoral commision about changes to MMP was ignored, and that was voted for during the last election. Still does my head in why labour or national have so much support, let alone the 2 biggest supported parties. sheep see, sheep do i guess.

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