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Italian [And Adjacent States] Dispatch No. 2 – Rhapsody In Grey

By   /  May 3, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  24 Comments

I KEEP REJUVENATING my fellow travellers. Looking through their grey hair and sagging flesh for the younger men and women they used to be – back in the 1960s and 70s. I do the same, now, in psychic self-defence, whenever I stand in front of a mirror. Cruising the Ionian and Adriatic Seas with a boatload of baby-boomers will do that to you.

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Italian Dispatches No. 1 – Grandeur and Decay

By   /  April 25, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  21 Comments

RUBBISH AND CHURCHES. Grandeur and decay. Italy is an old place – and it shows. Rome, a world city, is full of skips and wheelie-bins overflowing with uncollected trash. Romans pass by these eyesores without so much as a second glance. It’s not desirable, they seem to say, but it’s the best we can do. Refuse collection, like so much else in Italy, is a racket. Somebody is making a lot of money out of Rome’s rubbish – but far too few people are being paid to collect it. And so, as is customary in the Eternal City, things pile up.

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Recognising Hate Speech When You See It.

By   /  April 15, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  55 Comments

In that universe, Ghahraman would be calming down her more zealous followers: warning them that unreasoning zealotry is always the problem – never the solution. She would also be reassuring them that New Zealand’s statute books already contain plenty of legal remedies against dangerously hateful expression.

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“We’re All Behind You.”

By   /  April 12, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  23 Comments

THE 720,000 SUBSCRIBERS to the “Neighbourly” social media platform recently received a letter from the Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt. In it he offers advice on how to call out racist behaviour and who to call if you think it crosses the line.

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The Multiple Faces Of Radicalisation

By   /  April 11, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  20 Comments

The readiness to withhold empathy from those whose values the radical extremist abhors has always been the first step on the staircase that leads to terrorist atrocity. The second is the radical’s hate and rage when those deemed to hold abhorrent values refuse to be silent.

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Convenient Fictions

By   /  April 9, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  17 Comments

THE APPALLING CONDUCT of the Waikato DHB raises broader questions about the robustness of New Zealand’s liberal democracy. Most particularly, it challenges the whole notion that the administrators of New Zealand society remain accountable to the people they administrate

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Unwilling To Disclose.

By   /  April 5, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  35 Comments

The suspicion arises that in 2014-2015, in some unspecified, possibly unlawful, and highly secretive way, the country’s national security apparatus was working hand-in-glove with senior elements within the police to silence and punish a couple of outspoken critics of the National-led 2008-2017 Coalition Government.

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Shadows Of The Past

By   /  April 5, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  108 Comments

While they continue to ride forth, pausing in their wild career, to salute with uplifted arms, and uplifted swords, “The Crusaders” cheering fans, deep racial memories, born of the bloody excesses of Pakeha New Zealanders’ ancestors, will stir and rise to the surface. The past has a dangerous way of intruding upon the present.

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Dark Matter

By   /  April 2, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  27 Comments

Since Friday, 15 March, the Left has been dazzled by Jacinda’s light. So much so, that it has failed to understand that, far from defeating the Right’s darkness, the Prime Minister’s recent illuminations have only exposed the terrifying dimensions of its realm. Light speaks only to light. Political dark matter has always been, and always will be, profoundly deaf to everything except the soundless screaming energy of its black and inexhaustible rage.

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The Roots Of His Rage: Can Winston Peters Save NZ First?

By   /  March 29, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  49 Comments

SO, WHAT DOES NZ First do now? The Goddess of History hasn’t just foot-tripped Winston Peters and his party, she’s hurled them bodily into a very deep hole. The Christchurch Mosque Shootings have disabled just about all of the “hot-button” election issues upon which New Zealand’s right-wing populist party has depended since its inception. Robbed of its ability to rouse conservative voters against “Maori Separatism”, the “Asian Invasion”, and “Islamic Extremism”; where does NZ First go? How does a right-wing populist party do populism without right-wing slogans?

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The Blame Game Continues

By   /  March 28, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  52 Comments

Was it at all plausible that the Christchurch Shooter acted entirely alone? Is it possible that such a man could hide in plain sight – drawing absolutely no attention to himself for more than two years? How was he able to afford the extensive foreign travel he is known to have undertaken? The guy had no job – so who paid his rent? Could someone without extensive training in terrorist techniques have planned and executed so large and lethal an operation? If not, then who trained him and guided him under the authorities’ radar? Were the 15/3 attacks really a “lone-wolf” operation – or did the Christchurch Shooter have help?

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Those Who Do Not Learn The Lessons Of History …

By   /  March 26, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  71 Comments

MARAMA DAVIDSON and Golriz Ghahraman would be well advised to take a break and read a little history. Not the history of colonial New Zealand: they seem very well-acquainted with that dismal narrative. No, the history they should familiarise themselves with, is the history of the Alliance in the weeks and months that followed the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

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Keeping The Devil Down In The Hole.

By   /  March 22, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  78 Comments

The proposition being advanced by Davidson, Ghahraman, and many others on the left, is that terrorist acts are the by-products of societies steeped in racism and xenophobia: that they constitute the merely the awful apex of a much larger pyramid of prejudice. By discouraging the expression of the milder prejudices embedded at the base of this grim pyramid, they argue, their transmission upwards to damaged individuals like the Christchurch shooter can be interrupted, and lives saved.

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What Happened Here?

By   /  March 17, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  40 Comments

Part of the answer, the most important part, we have already seen. In the floral tributes outside the nation’s mosques. In the images of the imam and the rabbi embracing each other. In the Pasifika voices raised in a hymn of heart-breaking poignance. In the Maori and Pakeha faces wet with tears, yet set in grim defiance. In the passionate cry of the massacre survivor: “This is not New Zealand!” In the nearly $5 million already raised to support the victims’ families. The answer already given by the people of New Zealand, united in grief, is unequivocal: When confronted with such reckless hate, the only possible answer is aroha – love.

The wrong answer; the answer the terrorist is always hoping the strategic targets of his rage will give; is to meet recklessness with recklessness; hate with hate.

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MUST READ: Listening To Kate Raworth On Nine To Noon

By   /  March 15, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  9 Comments

It is a tragedy that in the eighteen months this government has been in office there’s been so little evidence of the renegade economics made popular by writers like Raworth. The Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, schooled by his mentor – the former Finance Minister, Sir Michael Cullen – is a ploddingly orthodox economic manager. The economic settings he has chosen to steer by, being virtually identical to those the previous National Government chose to steer by, will inevitably deliver New Zealand to a very similar destination.

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By Other Means

By   /  March 14, 2019  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  29 Comments

When the US Government warned the rest of the world that, when it comes to securing regime change in Venezuela, “nothing is off the table”, most observers assumed it was talking about some form of military intervention. (An impression encouraged by a video-clip of National Security Advisor John Bolton’s hand-scrawled aide memoire “5,000 troops”.)

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Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog,