MUST READ: Nothing Left – Or Right – To Say

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THE NATIONAL PARTY’s “Demand the Debate” campaign speaks volumes about the Right’s ideological weakness. A more coherent and courageous conservative party would not have demanded a debate, it would, instead, have encouraged one by taking a clear, well-argued position on the issues under scrutiny. The obvious conclusion to be drawn from this failure is that, at present, National is unable to formulate a clear position. One suspects, moreover, that even if it was capable of doing so behind the Caucus Room door, it lacks the confidence to argue it in public.

Not everyone involved in politics needs to be a philosopher, but when the ideological temperature has risen to its current level, a party’s leader must be able to hold their own in any debate about the “whys” of politics. It is easy to accuse Judith Collins of not being equal to this most basic of political responsibilities. But, by any honest assessment, neither is the Prime Minister. Yes, Jacinda Ardern possesses formidable “communication skills”, but that is not quite the same thing as being able to present a coherent defence of one’s policies. Her inability to explain her government’s proposed “Hate Speech” legislation is only the most recent example of this rather significant failing.

When did philosophical literacy cease to be a core competence of political leadership? Past New Zealand political leaders managed to explain themselves and their parties with reasonable fluency, why not the present crop?

A clever post-modernist scholar would, at this point, wax eloquent about the collapse of the metanarratives that underpinned the politics of the twentieth century. Not just the Marxist metanarrative but, at least two decades before the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, the dramatic attenuation of the practical Christian compassion which, for at least two centuries, had blunted the teeth and claws of free-market capitalism. An even cleverer social historian might point to the subversive consequences of the 1960s “counter-culture”, which elevated personal choice above political conviction and turned “you do your thing and I’ll do mine” into the guiding wisdom of an entire generation.

Into this rather barren philosophical landscape rolled the Tiger Tanks of the Neoliberal Wehrmacht. With everybody else’s philosophy reduced to rubble, the Neolibs were able to establish an ideological monopoly of unprecedented durability. Nobody expressed the new reality better than Francis Fukuyama, the US State-Department savant who penned the in/famous 1989 essay entitled “The End of History”. According to Fukuyama, the great battles of ideas that had driven history forward for 2,000 years were over. Liberal-democratic, free-market capitalism had won. It’s ideas weren’t just the ideas of the ruling-class, they were the ideas of every intelligent, well-educated person. Henceforth the only philosophical catechism a political leader needed to master was: “Leave everything to the free play of market forces.” Anything more complicated than that was bound to set their country on the road to serfdom.

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But history didn’t end. If anything, the free play of market forces only speeded it up. In their haste to implement the supposedly last great ideology, the Neolibs cast aside the great post-war stabilisers of a prosperous working-class and a civic-minded middle-class. In the resulting “there is no such thing as society” moral wasteland that ensued just about everybody became a survivalist of some sort. Investing emotionally in a political ideology, even thinking philosophically, became a mug’s game.

With nothing left to do, political parties became the equivalent of hood ornaments. The voters cared only about how political leaders looked; the social caché they conferred; how they made them feel. Nobody gave two hoots about what they thought!

John Key and Jacinda Ardern provide outstanding examples of this new kind of political leadership. Very early on in their careers, they grasped the key lesson of Neoliberal politics: that leaders didn’t need to be effective as much as they needed to be affective. Providing you engaged the electorate’s emotions in a powerful way – “I feel your pain” – what you actually achieved really didn’t matter. The working proposition was, after all, that “the government that governs least, is the government that governs best”. Politicians weren’t supposed to do much more than smile and wave – and take selfies with their adoring fans.

Meanwhile, behind all this front-of-house flim-flam, the problems of capitalism (which had never gone away) continued to accumulate. The rich got obscenely richer, while more and more previously comfortable citizens became decidedly uncomfortable. Infrastructure, the crucial skeleton of a modern industrial society, was simply left to rot and decay. Not just roads and bridges, but schools, hospitals and universities. If there was demand, there would be supply. Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” would build all the houses people needed. If there were no houses for the poor, then clearly that was because the poor preferred to sleep under bridges and in cars. Supply and demand, mate, supply and demand. Stands to reason!

In the end, of course, simply mouthing Neoliberal slogans wasn’t going to cut it. The neoliberal economists could insist all they liked that their discipline was about responding to people’s choices, but they were wrong. Economics, in the end, is about meeting people’s needs. Socialists have always known this, and so too, in their own quiet way, have conservatives. The socialists have positioned themselves across the tracks of history and demanded “Justice!” The conservatives (according to William F. Buckley) have stood athwart history and cried “Stop!” The important thing to remember is that Neoliberalism cannot afford to surrender an inch to either of them.

Judith Collins is demanding a debate because, from somewhere in the back of her mind, a tiny voice is reminding her that if injustice isn’t stopped by politicians constitutionally, then it will be stopped by the people unconstitutionally. Somehow, people must be persuaded to once again take politics seriously. Reality engenders ideas that need to be given a voice. If only she could remember how to evaluate and express those ideas. If only she could remember the words. Because then she would not need to demand the debate – she would have one.

 

 

83 COMMENTS

  1. It’s not just for the politicians to debate, we all need the read and think and talk about it. That’s why I’m here.
    The debate is being held “by the right” Chris, it’s just not being presented to the public, through the normal channels at least. Anything that does sneak through is cancelled (Michael Bassett’s essay in the Northland Age for example, he was also subsequently permanently banned from any NZME publications) or is branded racist and therefore beyond the pale.

    You are aware that in order to qualify for the $55 million media “assistance” fund government insists on unquestioning compliance with their view of the treaty and, by extension He Puapua. What possibility is there for genuine public debate when the usual organs of the debate have been so severely compromised. National and ACT are putting out discussion documents, press releases and essays on all of the issues we face, I know because they’re in my inbox everyday. As far as I can tell even the press releases are rarely reported on by the MSM; the only way most people even know they exist is when they are criticised. The criticism is the news not the original press release, very strange.

    It’s seriously bad news to see what our cowed and compromised media are willing to do for a dollar, it’s utterly disastrous that the government of our (formerly?) liberal democracy are willing to blatantly bribe, and thereby control, the media.

    Here’s a little essay by Graham Adams on how this issue was handled in Parliament.
    Excerpt:
    And there is a sting yet to come. The contentious report He Puapua that maps out a pathway to 50:50 Maori co-governance recommends a “public education campaign” that includes material on “te Tiriti, the Treaty settlement process… and Treaty partnerships”.

    It’s going to be very easy for the Opposition to make a link between He Puapua’s demands for such a campaign and the government’s very specific requirements about how the Treaty is to be approached in order for media organisations to qualify for a lavish handout.

    Auckland University’s Dr Elizabeth Rata made it plain this week how central the notion of partnership is to He Puapua. In an essay published by the Democracy Project titled “The Road to He Puapua – Is there really a Treaty partnership?” she wrote: “He Puapua assumes that the Treaty of Waitangi is a ‘partnership’ between the tribes and the ‘Crown’ — one that entitles the tribes to economic and political rights in perpetuity to the exclusion of all others. This assumption is held to be true, sacred and non-negotiable.”

    In an extraordinary move for a democracy, that assumption has now also been established as a “true, sacred and non-negotiable” requirement for any media organisation wanting to dip into the $55 million fund.”
    https://democracyproject.nz/2021/07/08/graham-adams-a-question-about-the-55m-media-fund-made-ardern-laugh-but-not-for-long/

    • I agree, David George, that the “debate is being held ‘by the right’ … it’s just not being presented to the public, through the normal channels at least.”
      And politicians quickly learn not to pursue topics that the media will either not report faithfully or will use against them by claiming they are racists or Terfs or whatever slur is at hand.
      Thanks very much for linking to my article on the exchange between Ardern, Seymour and Collins over the $55 million fund. I notice that no one in the MSM picked up on the exchange and reported it (for obvious reasons).
      That is what makes sites like the Daily Blog and the Democracy Project so invaluable.
      The good news is that my article has had over 7000 views, which shows it is a topic of interest to the public (even if not to the media).

  2. I have to say one thing I noticed a decade or 15 ago when returning to uni was what motivated students to undertake various courses.
    It seemed to me at the time that MDIA students that were also doing sociology, or philosophy or history and the like were interested in the ‘how’, the ‘why’ and the ‘consequences’ of media.
    Those doing MDIA with things like comms and marketing and the like were more interested in using it for the purposes of advancing some sort of agenda. (The ‘influencers’ and spin meisters)
    Broad generalisation I know – not so much though when I see what they’re up to now.

    • I was going to give an example of the latest example of spin and bullshit. Idiot Savant has done a better job than I could have: http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2021/07/the-ministry-of-healths-transparency.html
      Examples come daily. The last one I saw was MBIE the Ministry for Everything being frugal with the truth a few days ago.
      Every time there’s a little oopsie, the default position is to try and spin and obfuscate. (In this case – Commercial sensitivity MY ARSE!) This is what is going to jump up and bite Labour in the bum. Not only are they insulting voters’ intelligence, but people eventually lose all confidence in politicians and the so-called public “service”. It’s worse now than it’s ever been.

  3. Chris, good Post!
    ‘When did philosophical literacy cease to be a core competence of political leadership?’
    Since identity politics have taken over. Qualifications to do the job are no longer important. I will argue that Jacinda is a great orator, she is great at delivering, with great energy and animation, a pre-prepared message. Excellent actually. But as you suggested, I think she is hopeless at real communication…
    at debating…at explaining…analysing. She relies very heavily on her backroom scribes, a phenomenal team. But throw her a curveball and you see the depth of her true skills. There’s not much. She’s a light-weight.
    Sadly, it’s good enough for the voting population. Likes are more important than skills. National will never make traction until they put up someone likeable.

      • Hi CIP
        You are quite correct! That’s why I said National will never make traction until they put up someone ‘likeable’…so however long that may take. Now, ‘likeable’ can be a matter of interpretation. Example: “I like Covid is Pa because of his funny but true comment”. Or, “I like Luxon because he has found a way for me to afford my first house.” Or, “I like Winston because he will cancel the ute tax”. You see, CIP, neither would have to pull a huge smile every time the camera moves, or say YES, AS WE SAID, or do a 1pm TV1 Covid Empathy show to be liked. It’s all a matter of what voters like/want to hear at the time…

  4. Debating He Puapua will define your life. It will define your past, your future and how your community regards you. Only a fool would go there.

    • The question that this government refuses to answer is whether or not they support separate development for Maori.

      • I’ll always remember being shocked at the time of the Springbok Tour when Ben Couch, who as a Maori had been denied entry to South Africa on the 1949 All Black tour, visited South Africa as New Zealand Minister of Police and on his return, commented that he thought apartheid, separate development, would be a good system for Maori in New Zealand. Is this where we are now headed, Maori separate development and a political system where a minority hold greater political power than the majority. Or, is the treaty partnership going to turn out Ok not because of a Labour implemented re-education programmes but in the end as John Tamihere suggests because of a natural browning of the population by 2050.

        • Except there is a deliberate policy at play to dilute Maori & Pasifika strength/ numbers in NZ via mass influx of totalitarian-minded mainland Chinese, so that they will be the largest minority within another 30 years or so. Since 2001 Chinese pop. here has almost doubled from 3% to nearly 6%. Between 2013 & 2018 increased by 44.5% alone. If no Chinese coming, Maori are well-placed to be 25-33%of pop. within 50 years, but the numbers of Chinese coming here (along with the massinflux of Indians) drowns out/swamps the natural growth of Maori numbers. The Left loves to decry the historic/current imperialism/colonialism/neo-colonialism of the US/Western powers while ignoring that of Russia, China & even India. Much of the left has an idealist position of Open Borders …all well & good in an internationally socialist framework, but under globalist capitalism it just gives a pass to the capitalists to flood the labour market with an oversupply of workers driving down wages & weakening unions further. Nats went gung-ho on migration coz they realised they could import new voters as their vote share had/has been on a downward trajectory, but the fact that over 80% of Chinese vote Nat has lifted them by a few %. Why are we one of very few countries to allow Residents to vote? Coz Nats benefit from Chinese resident voterswhile Labs have benefited from Indian resident voters.

  5. Has any article nailed so well the tragedy of 21st century NZ? The country desperately needs a clear and coherent alternative to LINO’s progressive neoliberalism, but the Nats are incapable of providing it. Instead of offering that alternative, Judith wants to know which way the wind is blowing, and how strong the wind is.

    The Nats haven’t been a genuine conservative party for a long time, let a “coherent and courageous conservative party”. What sort of conservative party stands a 17-yr old in a general election? My fantasy for the Nats would be a party that emulates the paternalistic Toryism of Boris Johnson’s current UK government – leaning right on culture, and left on economics. But I think it will remain a fantasy.

    • Now is the perfect time to present a Burkian-style Conservative position to the electorate. History is a cycle, so there is nothing at all wrong with going “back to the future.” It is in fact necessary. As the maxim goes, Conservatism is boring but true, Liberalism is exciting but false. No matter how much the square peg of progressivism is forced into the round hole of society (in more ways that one), it will always fail because it is not based in reality and it denies human nature. This will always be born out in reality eventually (see the aftermaths of the French and Russian revolutions as the two most prominent recent examples). Society always corrects itself by returning to its “old” values and traditions. Liberal progressivism has been a cancer on society, really taking root in the sixties. The more extreme the left gets (and radical leftism always creeps into moderate leftism), the more there will be a clamour towards Conservatism. As a side note, I wonder if the left’s darlings in the Islamic community realise that Muslims are deeply conservative. I don’t think they do.

      • Spoken like a true old fuddy- duddy. Conservatism is dying, bless the gods. To be replaced by young peoples direction and goals. Bring it on.

        • Aaaah I detect arrogance on the same level as Jacinda and her govt! And I see your (probably unintended) true assessment of the Left – you say they are probably right. Very funny! You should be worried, rightfully. There comes a breaking point when the population will simply no longer tolerate incompetence, broken promises, obfuscation, patronising and plain arrogance from their govt. I think it’s about…..now!

        • Mmmm … what is that the Gen Y and Zers might bring that are fundamentally different? Conservatives evidentially hold political views that favour free enterprise, private ownership, and socially traditional ideas. The last of these are arguably generational – at least in part – but can’t see an economic revolution on the horizon.

      • Nah as a Muslim got to disagree here. All religions like all political parties have a right, left & centre within themselves. True, Islam is more weighted to the conservative faction (though Islam is not a monolith & their are differences between Sunni conservatism & Shiah conservatism as a huge example. Sunni Wahhabism is basically the same social trend that Puritanism was 300-400 years ago with the legacy that entails eg Right-wing US christianity. Islam as a younger religion is merely a few hundred years behind where Christianity is in it’s social trajectory. In another 200 years Islam will be very comparable to current situation in Christianity LOL. In Islam there has always been a strong leftist/radical current. Islam has a lot of “socialist” tenets when it comes to economics.

    • Right on Culture/Society? & Left on Economics …sounds a lot like NZFirst doesn’t it? Winnie is down, but not out. NZFirst will rise again or something will come out of it’s ashes if it does not itself make a comeback. I did the political-type compass polls last two elections 83% TOP/82% Green/78% Labour/68% NZFirst 68% …two elections ago. Last election my numbers went up a few % for all the parties except Labour which actually went down to 75%.

    • Sugar coated in shit is just that.
      Vote labour – we don’t debate, but our shit is covered in delicious sugar. 2023.
      Warning, ingesting too much suger or shit will cause bodily harm.

        • The Left don’t debate anyone, because their ideas cannot withstand any scrutiny. They just ban opponents as “racist bigots.” They’ve always done this.

          • You pick a topic, venue, rules what ever so that you can’t claim that I tried to ban you and I will accept your challenge.

          • Antoine I put it to you that the problem isn’t “The Left”. The problem is blind ideology, of any kind.

            If you don’t believe me, try telling right-wingers on the BFD that user-pays is one of the main drivers of the woke-ification of our universities. Turning students into paying customers means the teachers have to please the students, and if most of the students are woke, then the teachers had better be very careful about what they say. But few if any on the right are prepared to acknowledge this problem – “user-pays good” is one of their mantras.

          • Oh just like the right decried any opposition as “Godless Commies” and violently shut down any protests, jailed protesters, disappeared protestors, tortured protestors, murdered protestors LOL …or who other/ed all kinds of people to maintain/extend their grip on power.

        • YEAH, right Tui.
          I voted against this woke clique of civilan losers twice now, and I will happily vote against them a second time. That does not mean one votes for J.C, but it means that L or G is not getting this vote. Why? For the failure to debate. We should have had a debate after the ChCh shootings, why can we be told for years to be afraid of brown people who may kill us, and then its a well to do white boy from OZ who shoots brown people go figure. We don’t debate the SNA, we don’t debate the Self Identification Laws, we don’t debate anything here. Like good sheep you just want to be told feel good stories. Well here is one, He PuaPua or not, the world is pretty much in the shitter. Debate this, Labour. Never mind, they neither have the guts nor the intellect to even just produce data and graphics that suit their own words.
          Labour 2023. Yeah, nah NAH!

  6. Without energy, nothing happens. The fuckwits that constitute the political parties assume that energy will arrive whenever it is required, out of nowhere. Well, it won’t, and the enrgy predicament will get rapidly worse over coning years.

    Without maintaining an stable environment, there is no point to any activity. The fuckwits that constitute the political parties are fully committed to polluting the environment as fast as possible and destabilising climate systems as quickly as possible…rendering the Earth largely (or completely) uninhabitable for humans.

    In fact, the idiots can’t get anything right, not even the economic system they are supposedly experts at.

    How much longer this farce can continue is anyone’s guess. But it won’t be for much longer.

    • Agreed. I can’t believe it’s kept going for this long.
      I guess bombing Iraq, Libya and Syria into the stone ages, stealing their oil and gold helped the Western colonial powers last a tad longer….but they’re running out of easy targets. e.g. Iran, China and Russia are not playing nice and rolling over and ‘taking it’ like the others…….time to pay the piper/ferryman or Faust….

    • You sound hysterical. a) pollution is not the same as C02 emissions; b) the climate/environment has never been “stable”; c) if we are living in a “climate emergency” you would at least expect someone (or anyone) to be able to point to it; and d) dire projections based on computer models are not scientific statements in any sense of the word, because they cannot be tested at anytime by anyone. They are nothing more than untestable assertions about the future.

      • By your comment you clearly demonstrate how little you know.

        And who said anything about computer models, other than you? We’re talking real world stuff, happening right now, and being made worse by the day (by the second actually) by the maniacs who pretend to be in charge.

        Please sit in a room with no ventilation (none at all) for a day, and discover whether CO2 is a pollutant or not.

      • Hi Antoine! 🙂 a) The atmosphere needs a balance or equilibrium of CO2 to maintain an unchanging Global Average Temperature. carbon dioxide
        CO2 is the chemical formula for the compound carbon dioxide. C is the symbol for the element carbon, and O is the symbol for oxygen. The compound name tells us that there is one carbon atom bonded to two oxygen atoms. our pumping excess CO2 into the atmosphere is causing the Earth to retain more heat than is escaping. From that viewpoint that CO2 is pollution. b) Since the end of the last ice age 12000 years ago the inter-glacial climate has been remarkably stable the Holocene allowing civilisation and cities based on agriculture to arise. this stability ended with the Industrial Revolution and the Anthropocene. c) The Arctic sea ice is rapidly going leading to a hotter World, Look at the extreme heat and wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. The list does go on d) Read the ” End of Ice ” by Dahr Jamail for lots of on the ground evidence. Also Antarctic glaciers are melting leading to the Western Antarctic ice sheet disappearing with rising sea levels.

        • All these right wing nutjobs are the same, bert. Climate deniers blindly ignoring the evidence in hope of gaining support for their beloved neo liberalism.

    • Some may find your predications a little austere awktt – hysterical even. Don’t be too concerned. You ARE on the money. Alexander von Humboldt, Henry David Thoreau, George Perkins Marsh, John Muir, more recently Rachel Carson and a few others. Names that have been largely forgotten even although very little time has passed. The message they all had in common was fuck with nature at your peril. The added message was that capitalism simply intensifies it all. No going back now despite all the reason in the world. When will the age of reckoning come? That’s where we might differ. But it surely will. And who really knows what that will look like.

      • We are living in the age of consequences right now. Or as you put it, the ‘age of reckoning’.

        And what we are witnessing, e.g.

        ‘US west and Canada brace for another heatwave amid more than 70 wildfires

        Combined area of blaze is about 1,562 sq miles while next heatwave expected to start on Saturday’

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/15/heatwave-us-west-canada-wildfires

        and

        ‘At least 58 dead in Germany as heavy rains bring catastrophic flooding
        Parts of Belgium, France and Netherlands also badly affected as unprecedented rainfall wreaks havoc’

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/14/firefighter-drowns-and-army-deployed-amid-severe-flooding-in-germany

        is merely a taste of what is to come, as politicians and ‘captains of industry’ force through policies that make everything worse faster, e.g. the recently reported policy of NZ importing dirty Indonesian coal and burning it to maintain ‘economic growth’ and other such bullshit.

        Don’t forget that EVERYTHOING the government says and does is ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL (yes, the bullshit about electric vehicles is anti-environmental: we’re burning coal to make electricity! and that’s on top of the horrendous environmental debt incurred in making electric vehicles.

        There is not one iota of doubt: we are governed by fuckwits and saboteurs.

  7. “A clever post-modernist scholar” LOL- never met one yet. except perhaps the one above who described Adern (surprised he/she didn’t say ‘Cindy’) as a lightweight.

    • There’s a lot of it about @Rodel in this post-truth end of history Whurl.
      I don’t think she’s a lightweight – far from it. It’s just that with the media marketing that comes with establishing a brand that promises a direction and course, needs to have more than one accomplishment to show the natives you ekshully mean business in this space, going forward. So, ultimately, on the back of all that, I reckon there’s less than 2 years to make progress. I hope like Hell I’m wrong

    • That was me thank you Rodel!
      ‘Postmodernism is generally defined by an attitude of skepticism, irony, or rejection toward what it describes as the grand narratives and ideologies associated with modernism….’
      Yep happy to be one of those scholars then. Grand narratives and ideologies…yep that’s Labour alright! And no, won’t call her Cindy.

    • That’s their downfall atm for sure.

      However Labour don’t have anyone other than Ardern so when she goes Labour will go the way the Nats did after Key ended his tenure with the party.

      Labour are toast it is just a matter of time. But will the new. boss be any better…

    • Personally I am sick and tired of the farmers they seem to have their hands out a lot nowadays they are bunch of self entitled sanctimonious wankers and no amount of help makes them happy. Our governments continue to help them and they are still never happy with there lot.

      • The government certainly seems to share and propagate your view covid is pa.
        The great majority of those present will not be land owning farmers of course but a good negative stereotype is a very powerful thing eh.
        Used to great effect by the kindest most transparent government ever.

        Do you know what I observed after going through a natural disaster a few years back?
        The biggest whingers (re food/petrol rations)came from in town, who also got services back and aid first.
        Farmers helping everyone both in town and out, zero complaining.
        Donated goods “going missing” at the marae.

  8. Our children, step and biological, are tangata whenua. One of their parents is not.
    Throughout their lives assumptions have been made, based on their physical appearance, that they could need special help, would lack certain skills, would not understand some concepts, could only relate to persons of similar appearance.
    When at school, they were labelled as Maori, and frequently required to attend separatist Maori-only activities. Appearance was the primary determinant of who they were. Still is. No one asked about their bicultural inheritance, so there was little institutional validation of that inheritance. That their parents were inclusively bicultural was ignored.
    Even though their parents’ backgrounds were inequitable, by working together, differences which enhanced life were incorporated as strengths or, if counterproductive, ameliorated as disadvantageous. The partnership would have collapsed under an ethno-cultural approach. It survived because of inclusive biculturalism.
    “He Puapua is, of course, strongly opposed to inclusive biculturalism. Its goal is the exclusive racialised kind,” [Elizabeth Rata] and we do fear it.

  9. The last thing Judith wants is a debate. Reasoned discussion? Facts? Don’t make me laugh. This is just a standard vote gathering exercise based on the USA model of divide and conquer. Vote National and the promise is that they will take you back to the 20th century when everyone knew their place. Vote ACT and the promise is they will take you back to the 19th century where Victorian values ruled and everyone knew their place or got transported out of the country (or imprisoned). I find it more interesting that most National MP’s are not running the demand the debate rubbish on their facebook feeds, obviously because it invites blowback down the line. Just stupid from Judith and no surprises that Brash is holding her hand. Also interesting that National facebook accounts are being viewed in the hundreds (not thousands). Half the comments are now negative. Even the Bish is taking the hits. Why is that? Too negative on everything? Everythings a shambles? Nothing is being done by the Govt? Too much being done? Nats message is ‘we are as angry as hell but don’t know what to do about it, so in the meantime we will oppose, oppose oppose.’. Die hard national supporters demanding Goodfellow be sacrificed as a start and Judith be replaced when the anointed one appears. Hardly a vote of confidence. Ute protest tomorrow with the scribes out looking for headlines. I look forward to the interview with the hard arse old time farmer/Tradie explaining that his vehicle of choice automatically gets 15% refund (gst), is offset against taxable income and also gets a tax credit for depreciation, or how he pays nothing for water, or how stock shitting in rivers is good for the environment or that profits are better than ever. Gosh you guys have it hard, the townies cry….thanks for bringing that to our attention. We will vote National from now on. Bring back the 20th century!

    • Vote labour and they will take you to an alternative pre treaty NZ somewhere in the early 1800s , or possibly as far back as a failed gondwana environmentally, both by using poison, one social and one literal.

      • Or vote National whom have the highest integrity, think Brownlee and airports. Jamie Lee Ross, Andrew Falloon, Maggie basher Barry, Sarah Dowie, Hamish Walker etc and they will take you back to car home ownership, dictatorships or even as far back as Nazi Germany where we welcome the cleansing of non right wingers.

  10. Yes when people talk about the Labour Party they rarely mention policy but are quick to talk about Jacinda Ardern.
    Sadly our election process is like a Class Captain vote at a Primary School.

    • Interesting how in other cultures older people are cherished and venerated for their wisdom and life experience but here in the west they are ridiculed and cursed in equal measure by the young ideologues who think they know everything yet have lived so little

  11. Nailed it Chris but I dont know what the answer is. Our education system has become so shallow and partisan that we are no longer turning out any real thinkers. Anyone remember the salons of the 20th century where students would engage in robust debate and great minds would drive forward big ideas. Nowdays, the education system isnt geared up to make people think or to measure the quality of the thinking. I doubt there is even one university in New Zealand that produces any world class thinkers. And then there is life itself, so many of us struggling to survive that there is no energy left to pursue ideals. If we make it to the couch before 9pm there is always the lure of mind numbing Netflix instead.

    Then there is the fact that the parliamentary? system is broken. How can we ever get a politician to care about what needs to be done when their existence and income relies on weekly polls and 3 year reviews. Even the intelligent and principled Helen Clark didnt always follow her principals (Like the issue of rocketing house prices and investor loopholes that she could have dealt with but knew it was electoral suicide), Is there any positive way forward left? Or are the American or South African style riots and conflicts inevitable here too.

    • Oh but it is, John. Old conservatives have held this country in the greedy self centred polluting and exploitative stranglehold for too long. All you right wing trolls are old, negative, over opinionated, irrelevant dinosaurs.
      Politics is interested in the future generations now, at last. Nobody is listening anymore to your anachronistic whinging.

  12. Things is it is so hard to debate with people these days because people are just so downright ideologically aggressive. It seems more like a battle of getting someone to submit to your will than an actual debate

    Then any debate over identity issues is a dangerous game to play these days, say the ‘wrong” thing to the wrong person and you may lose your job. I tried having a debate with a work colleague the other day about trans women competing against biological woman in sport.

    Personally I don’t think it is fair at all and as soon as I said that my co-worker (woman in early 30’s) got that maniacal look in her eyes where you know she is going to go all Karen on you and you’ll end up in front of the boss so I walked away from the discussion.

    People are mistaking silence for consent when it fact it is quite the opposite

      • Bert I didn’t want to lose my job so I was actually being quite clever 🙂

        pretty easy to lose your job these days for “wrong think”

    • Don’t like being Cancelled? It’s the best way to shut you old conservatives the fuck up. Works a treat and nothing has worked before. Very clever actually well done Jacinda. There will be plenty more of this coming and the younger voters are sweet with it. If you are stupid enough to go anal about hate speech laws then I’m cool with that. Keep venting your spleen, it gives us lefties some target practice.

      • Greenbus, you sound like a proverbial belching sewer-pipe of hate.
        You do realise that comments inciting hatred against a political class (conservatives) or age group (old) would qualify for prosecution under Jacinda& Co’s hate speech laws?
        Off to the gulag and some “re-education” for you. Be careful what you wish for.
        ,

      • Yeah, betray the whole history of the left that fought for freedom of speech against the book-burners of the Nazi Party & the Religious Rightists & give the State & Corporations licence to censor/ban/de-platform then cry later when they turn those powers/ mechanisms against you. I like a lot of what you write Dude, but you’re dead wong here. The answer to bad ideas is better ideas …debate/discussion, not suppression/cancel culture. Every action has an equal & opposite reaction. The more things are squashed down the greater they explode when the pressure becomes too great. The pendulum swings too far one way, eventually it swings back to far the other way.

  13. Gosh self adulation isn’t that one of the deadly sins?
    Credibility seriously challenged when you need to congratulate yourself.
    Bias triumphs over common sense.
    It’s folly to debate with silly people.

  14. @CT?
    “Somehow, people must be persuaded to once again take politics seriously. ”
    What? Like compulsory voting might, like they do in these countries? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_voting
    The right wing are best explained by Mark Twain “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
    The lunatic fringe AKA the right wing are still trying to burn the planet down while trying to fuck people on the deal and until they’re purged from politics they’ll continue to do so.
    Personally? I think our goose is cooked. Add greedy fools to a paradise like planet Earth then enable them with fairness and reason and they’ll stab you in the back while smiling to your front as they morph into jonky’s, trumps, bolsanro’s johnsons, sco mo’s etc.
    And they’re not going anywhere. In fact, they’re growing stronger and stronger and all I can see is a dire fucking fright on the horizon.
    My personal opinion of the now immediate and impending and catastrophic scenarios unfolding from the news and media is that we humans, motivated by greed and intoxicated by cruelty are going to be culled by bigger fish. The hyper rich, now in space and beyond reach, can create any scenario their wealth can afford them.
    They could design a virus that’s multi staged and ever evolves and could spread via air currents and with a half life designed into it/them they could kill billions in months.
    We’ve let the right wing slip their leashes, our working people have enabled them to amass vast fortunes and their snake-smiles beguile us into thinking they’re our besties, just like abusive relationships when really they hold us in contempt for being so gullible.
    We’re in deep shit and we’re about to come to understand that.
    If ever there’s a time to plan a strategy to ensure we become Fortress AO/NZ now would be good. I mean now. Right now.
    This is an interesting wed-site on seasonally affected and global wind directions . In real time.
    Earth:
    https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-182.20,-10.37,463
    Forget conventional politics. They’re already an irrelevance. A quaint custom.
    The dominant species has plans for all of us and we hanging about on an over heating planet breeding and consuming won’t be a part of it.
    Solutions?
    Tax the hyper rich until they’re working nine to five’s.
    Stop the fuckers going anywhere, at least until things cool down. In, say, 500 years.
    If not? We’re toast.

    • This is Martyns baby and as such we each and everyone of us have to cater to his particular palete which is a lot broader than The Standard and a lot less retarded than kiwi blog. We welcome both left and right but that does not automatically assume that comments can be punlished that are purer than the standard or or as of mote retarded than kiwi blog.

  15. Our future as humans looks pretty bleak to me. Most of us are not interested in the details of policy. We’ve been trained to think that way by politicians who like Chris has described, only have to speak well, look good and be likeable, which translates to pretending to care to stay in power. Authoritarian political systems can work well for long periods but power and corruption comes into play just the same. We are all selfish in that our own circumstances are more important than our neighbours generally speaking, so the clever politicians pander to the larger groups that will keep them in power. We hope our leaders do the right thing but of course they only do that if it keeps them in power. Jacinda Ardern and John Key had and have the popularity to change the way things are done. JK didn’t because he didn’t want to, and JA isn’t because of political expediency. JC love her or hate her hasn’t had the opportunity. Who do I despise the most. In my opinion Jacinda has had the biggest opportunity to make fundamental changes and is failing miserably to do that. The argument of not enough time doesn’t wash when we look at simple stuff like paying midwives, and nurses, and demanding pharmac to cover more drugs. That’s humanitarian stuff that could be changed immediately but this Government won’t. JA’s government is failing because she isn’t strong enough to run it. Grant has the purse strings and the hundreds of minions in the background make the decisions because the cabinet don’t make a decision unless they use a consultant or a committee. This of course gives them someone to blame when things go wrong. We get what we deserve. We wanted a kind and good looking leader that says the right stuff. You’ve got it.

    • I ‘ve long thought that a good idea, but that time has past. Boomer dominance is fading fast with Millennials and Zoomers about to take the lead, which I welcome.

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