Monday 19 November 2012

Shearer's speech

Seemed like quite a good speech to me.

Obviously, it annoyed the Cunliffistas at The Standard; so it must have been a very good speech.


Of course, it won't make any difference, because 99% of opposition leader conference speeches make no difference.

No-one cares - other than the fanatics on either side of the tectonic Shearer / Cunliffe division. The factionalists don't get this. It doesn't matter that Shearer isn't making an impact just now. He can't. He's the opposition leader.

No-one cares.

No-one (other than the sort of people who post about oppsoition leader's speeches on blogs) would care if Cunliffe had won a year ago. The only impact opposition leaders can do under standard circumstances (i.e. against a government that hasn't made itself entirely hated) is negative.

And that is what Labour has accomplished, masterfully. It's managed to make itself hateful, nasty and amateurish, full of petulant self serving prima donnas squealing as their egos sustain bruises.

For what it is worth, I hoped Cunliffe would win a year ago; he didn't. Unlike the epigones now shrilling on his behalf, and the man himself, I accepted that result. If you don't get to be the captain of a football team, you don't start trying to win by subterfuge and spoiling your team's chances of success. Your team mates will shun you. Your supporters will hate you. That's what awaits Labour.

And Cunliffe's casting himself as a hairy Cassius means that he will probably be booted out of the shadow cabinet. He might be a arrogant, self serving git, but he's a talented arrogant, self serving git. 

The Labour Party needs him. Instead, he's incited the Labour Party to exile him to the back benches, in the hope that will shut him up and stop people fantasising about him being leader one day. Like that has ever worked ...

It's a pity, but I can see another thrashing being doled out in two years time. Not because Cunliffe or Shearer is leader. But because the other one refuses to accept the fact.

Wail Watch

Today's prize for Just Weird Journalism goes to The Daily Mail (as is the case most other days).  In a story headlined, "Sex gangs report 'will play down threat of Pakistani men targeting white girls'" the Mail goes on to claim,
A major report into child abuse will trigger controversy next week when it plays down the significance of Pakistani men targeting white girls. 
It is claimed England’s deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz will avoid saying there is a specific problem, fearing it might appear politically incorrect.
Which is an interesting interpretation, given that the Mail is basing it's claim on the words of an anonymous "Whitehall source" who is quoted as saying that the report will not take the 'politcally correct' option of pretending there isn't a problem:
A Whitehall source said: ‘It’s important we don’t take a politically-correct approach and pretend there is not a real problem here. 
‘Obviously abuse has been carried out by men from all sorts of ethnic background,' the source told The Sun. 
‘But that doesn’t mean we cannot say there is an issue about groups of Pakistani men systematically targeting young white girls.’
How do you get from that to "Sex gangs report 'will play down threat of Pakistani men targeting white girls'"? Only in the Daily Mail is that sort of 'logical' leap possible.

Sunday 18 November 2012

NZ Labour leadership blah blah blah

So there has been another round of speculation about David Shearer's leadership and whether the right man got the job and so on, so forth.

Does anyone actually think Labour would be polling any better under Cunliffe? That would only be the case if he – and his supporters – were massively underperforming at the moment, and had The Solution To All Labour’s Problems worked out, and were just keeping quiet about it for their own benefit.

Which would make them sum and unworthy of leading a Scout troop, far less the political arm of the labour movement. If they aren't willing to give their best , then to Hell with them. They can piss off and form a vanity party of their own.

I’m willing to bet all the money in the world that if Cunliffe had won the Labour leadership, the party would be in exactly the same position and – apart from swapping names around – the same squabbles and arguments, backbitings and underminings would be taking place here. And National would still be looking forwards to a third term as the left eviscerates itself.

With Cunliffe in charge, I suspect Labour would still be stuck around 30% and we’d be wondering why we didn’t go for the cheerfully bloke with the amazing back story. The problem is not the leader but the talent pool the leader is drawn from – selecting one facile right wing idiot over another is not going to lead to a resurgence of anything. And the talent pool is the result of Labour becoming completely disconnected from it’s support base – the long suffering left gets offered a choice between a bunch of near identical professional politicians mouthing vacuous shibboleths and scheming against each other instead of the plutocratic toerags of the right.

Wasn’t it just a couple of months back that an upwards blip in the Roy Morgan numbers sent The Standard into paroxysms of delight at the prospect of a Red-Green coalition? And already, the baked meats of Shearer’s political wedding banquet are to furnish forth his political funeral table! Frailty, thy name is something or other

Great night for the (British) left

Or, at least the British Labour Party, which isn't quite the same thing.

First up, the Tories were routed in Corbie, the sort of stuffy middle England place they should have ruled with a Mugabe like majority since the dawn of time.  Instead, they lost it - having just regained it from Labour in 2010.  What clearer sign could there be that Britain - even the English middle class part of it - is abandoning the Tories.  Whether this will result in Labour actually winning power and doing anything meaningful with it, or merely transmogrifying into a slug the size of the Chrysler Building a sort of One Nation bastard Conservative surrogate remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, here's comedy gold as the Tories try to talk down the significance of their thrashing:
The Tories played down the significance of Labour's victory. Grant Shapps, the Tory chairman, said that Labour had failed the "Crewe Test" – the 17.6% swing to the Tories in the Crewe and Nantwich byelection in 2008.
In 2008 Labour had been in power for a million years, had launched dozens of illegal wars, been complicit in torture and kidnapping, tried to turn the population of Britain into serfs and basically imported the whole population of Poland and Pakistan into Yorkshire.

Whereas the Tories have been in power for all of five minutes and should have been able to hold onto a middle England seat.  It's like dismissing Wladimir Klitschko because he isn't as fast as Usain Bolt. It totally misses the point of everything.

Even better, the Big Man himself weighs in to proclaim there's nothing to see here, move right along:
Mr Cameron said: “It’s a classic mid-term result and obviously made difficult by the fact that the Conservative MP left the seat in question.”
Yes, Dave, you're quite right.  Only, you're utterly wrong, and you know it.

In the 1997-2001 parliament, there were 9 by-elections in Labour held seats. Labour won all 9 of them. So hardly a "classic mid term result".

You'd have though people were still so inflamed against the memory of Labour they'd still be voting for anything but the party of the debt mountain and deficit. Face it, the Tories are hated beyond conception. They couldn't see off Gordon Brown in 2010; now, they can't hold onto the seats they won in 2010.

They're more doomed than doomed things that are doomed.

And in even better news, the reactionary fossil also know as John Prescott was not voted back into a public office.  Great night all round.


According to the Daily Mail:
Celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson Wright has caused outrage after claiming that visiting a Muslim area of Leicester was ‘the most frightening experience of her life’. 
Writing in her new book, Clarissa’s England, she said visiting the city — which has a large Asian population — made her feel like a 'pariah and an outcast in the middle of my own country.' 
And when questioned on her description by a local newspaper, she fumed: 'I’m surprised any of the people who might object could read what I wrote as it is written in English.'
I have a smattering of sympathy for Ms Dickson Wright. It can be a bit distrubing to find yourself surrounded by people who seem radically different to you. This is why we like to congeal into sort-of similar looking and sounding blocs called nations and make war on the pesky foreigners for looking different. This isn't the same as it being okay, or proper or anything like that.

So I can understand why a dizzy old Tory bint (pun intentional) might feel like she did; a more perceptive observer would have added a comment along the lines of, "And I suppose some of THEM might feel the same, and feel the whole western culture thing a bit intimidating, unwelcoming and hard to get to grips with." And a truly intelligent observer might then have wondered, "What can we do about it? Both my attitude and theirs."

Britain shows Europe the waist forward

Britain is the second fattest nation in Europe, according to an OECD report described in The Independent. The only nation with a higher proporton of overweight citizens in Hungary, which sounds like a joke but apparently isn't:
Britain is the fattest nation in Western Europe, with more than a quarter of the population ranked as obese. 
Obesity rates are rising rapidly across Europe but the UK rate of 26.1 per cent is more than twice that in France, at 12.9 per cent, according to a strudy by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 
Only Hungary outranks Britain with an obesity rate of 28.5 per cent. More than half of Europeans are overweight or obese, according to the report on health across the 27-nation OECD.
It's a strange, messed up world where some people - who aren't by the standards of their society very wealthy - get to eat themselves into illness, while others starve and et cetera, et cetera. The impact of this selfish individualistic indulgence (I blame Thatch) will be a massive health bill in years to come.


 From the Guardian : The  Observer  understands that as well as backing away from its £28bn a year commitment on green investment (while sti...