Monday 17 December 2012

Assange to run for senate seat - the real story *

Some elements of this may bare some resemblance to an article published in The Guardian:

Attention Seeking Fugitive Strives To Remain In Spotlight

WikiLeaks founder says his party would promote Julian Assange and combat intrusions of other entities into the news. 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has revealed he is concerned people seem to be paying attention to things other than him.

Assange, 41, said plans to set up a vanity political party to win himself a bit more attention were "significantly advanced" and had received support from a number of "worthy people" in his home country.

In an interview with Fairfax Media, he said his party would promote Julian Assange and combat growing intrusions of other entities into the news media. He said he would be eligible to to have a likeness of his slightly disturbing near albino features carved into Ayers' Rock, is plans to to rename the country Assantralia were thwarted.

Assange, who was born in Queensland, has been shameless promoting himself in a variety of ways pretty much since he discovered some people have an unquenchable appetite for conspiracy theories and stale information rebranded as new, top Secret, exciting STUFF that the Man does not want you to know. He has stated he would happily go to Stockholm, providing the Swedish government submitted to his imperial majesty and acknowledged him as their rightful overlord.

The WikiLeaks party would require all members to change their names to Julian Assange as a tribut to the Dear Leader and to throw the authorities off the scent of the seedy sex pest.

If Assange is elected but unable to return to Australia to take up his position, he would throw a mega tantrum and continue to live in the Eucadorian embassy until lack of sunlight rendered him completely transparent and allowed him to slip past the police watching the embassy, like Frodo in Lord of the Ring, though concerns have been raised that Assange appears to be stuck at the Gollum stage of 'development'.
* Real in this context means entirely made up and fictitious, any resemblance to Australian fugitives, real or imagined, is entirely coincidentalsatirical.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

More musings on the left and such like

Over on The Standard, a poster called Karol has suggested that “Currently, to govern in NZ the Left requires a strong , democratic and solidly left wing Labour Party”.

I’m not sure I agree with this idea.

To govern, you need to win the left and the centre. For a ‘solidly leftwing Labour Party’ to do that would take a leader of uncommon talent and probably a special moment in history. With all due respect to Shearer and Cunliffe, neither of them is a leader of uncommon talent.

Under MMP, the extreme left is always going to be flaky – eternally squabbling about obscure points of doctrine, protesting about too much ground being given to the centre (and overlooking the fact that they have the ground to give in the first place). Look how many leftwing minor parties have come and gone already – the Alliance and the various parties that constituted it originally, the Progressives, Mana …

Now the Greens seem to be colonising that space, which is brave, or perhaps foolhardy. How long before the environmentalist core and the anarchist faction start to get uncomfortable with all this neo-statist policy?

If the Greens can keep their disparate elements happy, then there is no need for Labour to move left – they will only be taking votes off the Greens, while losing votes in the centre.

Look at the differences in the housing policy. They both want to build the same amount of houses, but the Greens want to do them as state houses and Labour wants to do them to sell. Both policies have something to recommend them, and both will deliver a massive economic boost and help get working class people working again. The Green policy appeals to me more because it delivers a socially just solution. The Labour policy appeals to middle class voters because it seems more fiscally responsible and it will relieve pressure (slightly) on house prices.

(Don’t dismiss or mock middle class concerns, by the way – they are legitimate and stem from real issues. If you want to win, you need to carry these people, not alienate them.)

What I imagine would happen if the Greens and Labour were negotiating their coalition housing policy is that they’d agree to build 300,000 houses, with a mix of social and private ownership – which also makes sense on street level, as a mixture of state and private housing makes for a healthier community.

So everyone wins, or loses just a little (which amounts to the same thing) – apart from National.

I dunno. Sometimes I wake up and I really want Labour to lurch to the far left and to Hell with the centre.

Most of the time, I imagine the view from that moral high ground would look remarkably similar to the view from the opposition benches.

Sunday 9 December 2012

The sky is falling!

So, over on The Standard, IrishBill is claiming, "a senior Labour MP (who will go unnamed) has been lobbying National Council to put rules in place for party members who participate in the blogosphere".

How typical of the dictatorial impulses of the Sheareresque apparatchiks!  If they can't be competent, they can at least gag criticism of the Dear Leader!  The wailing and gnashing of teeth was promptly  taken up by Tumeke and No Right Turn among others.

Only, consider the first words of IB's post (Which I cunningly excised, for effect): "Word is that a senior Labour MP (who will go unnamed) has been lobbying National Council to put rules in place for party members who participate in the blogosphere".

So, we have an unnamed source, 'quoted' in an unclear context, supposedly threatening unspecified consequences about something pretty vague to persons unknown.  Maybe IrishBill intercepted a document outlining the Labour Pary's plans - mere hours from complete implementation - to crush dissent and institute regular Two Minutes Hate aimed at David Cunliffe.  Or maybe Trevor Mallard was loudly holding forth in the Back bencher after too many beers and too few sandwiches and IrishBill overheard him.

Point is, without detail and specifics, the claims are worthless.  If this is as important as The Standard clearly thinks it is, hen they have to be specific.  After all, just a couple of weeks ago there was a plentiful wailing over there about how Cunliffe was done in by a Star Chamber, accused of unspecified crimes against the Shearer and exiled to the backbenches.  But here are the Standardistas doing the same thing - continuing their whispering campaign against Shearer, using rumour and innuendo rather than actually fronting up.

The sad thing is, they aren't even fighting for the 'soul of the Labour party' as they no doubt think they are.  They're vying for position among political jerk-offs on the internet, a group that makes up a barely measurable amount of Labour support. Without details, this will either fade away - a disaster if there is something in the claims - or drag on without ever actually reaching a crisis point - a sort of leftwing Kiwi equivalent of the American Birther loons; a group, I am sad to say, The Standard are resembling more and more each day.

Wither now, Labour? Part Two

What is the Labour Party to do?

I've been aching for a sharper, clearer, leftier message since 2008.

Since 2011, the position has changed somewhat, since the Greens made good on their earlier promise and seem to be absorbing Labour's cast off votes on the left - bleeding that way isn't such a concern - in fact, the more crackpot lefties go to the Greens the better, as it makes the (already unlikely) prospect of the Greens working with National even more remote.

The problem for Labour is the stay at homes and the contestable centre.  Right now, the latter is colonised by Charming Johnnie and the latter, well, their staying at home.

I wonder if a caution-to-the-winds strategy might work.  Tell people it is time to face up to the hard realities and Stuff That Needs To Be Done.

Say it is time for decisive action on climate change, poverty, housing and whatever.  Say that New Zealanders never got anywhere by putting off to tomorrow what can be done today.  That it will hurt, but so does  the austerity National are offering - and at least Labour can offer the promise of a brighter future.

Run under a "Let's get started" slogan.  It might appeal to people a bit more that the current various shades of light blue being offered (with one reddish splodge which is Kiwi Build).

Or it might be disastrous.

But remember how exciting it was in 2011 when Labour actually announced some difficult, challenging policies - and their vote went up?

I think there are a lot of people out there that realise Stuf Needs To Be Done, that it is Down To Us and no amount of charm or glib phrases will stop it hurting.  Let's Get Started!

Saturday 8 December 2012

Wither now for the left?

So, the polls for both the NZ Labour Party and the Greens are up, much to the disgust of the Cunliffistas.

Question is, has the Greens and Labour combined vote reached its ceiling?

I suspect so, as far as appeal to the leftie-environmental section of the electorate is concerned. There just aren't enough socially minded and/or environmentally concerned people out there.

So to get the extra 3-5% needed to make 2014 safe and respectable (because a shoddy multi-partner coalition will just make National's return in 2017 more likely) there are three options:

a) Make more people socially minded and/or environmentally concerned. Though seductive, this is a very big ask. With due respect to the respective caucuses of Greens and Labour, I don't think there is anyone there with the intelligence, vision and charisma to make this happen. Even if there was, it will be in the face of entrenched interests and big money.

b) Broaden the church. This one sticks in the throat of the Cunliffite pseudo-left (pseudo as Cunliffe isn't much of a leftie, and his clique is more a personality cult than a band of clear eyed ideological warriors) because it involves appealing to People Who Aren't Like Them, and thus admitting they're an unpopular minority, even within the current Labour party. It also means adulterating some important policies. Tony Blair's triumph in 1997 shows the benefits and risks of this strategy, in about equal measure - you can win, but it might not be worth it if you push to far with the soul-selling stuff.

c) Lie and tell the electorate there is plenty of jam for everyone, them send them to the gulag the morning after election day.  It is worth noting that something like this strategy has been used very effectively by the NZ right, though with 'empty future with no prospects' replacing gulag.

Typically Modest Tories Credit Labour With Historic Triple Dip

George Osborne refused to accept credit for an unprecedented imminent Triple Dip recession, instead insisting that his predecessors, Alastair Darling and Gordon Brown deserved full credit for this unique historical achievement.

Osborne, who has been in the job for two years and inherited robust growth from Chancellor Darling, modestly declined to claim responsibility for the recent wave of bad economic news.

 "I don't think it is at all fair to say that I'm responsible for it," brayed the multi-millionaire carpet heir turned politician from his gigantic country pile.

"I haven't really done anything since I became Chancellor. I certainly haven't listened to any advice. Most of the time, I've been looking at myself in the mirror, thinking how handsome I am.

"Whatever might be going on, I'm sure it's nothing to do with me. It must have been those other chaps."

Quizzed as to who the "Other chaps" he referred to were, Osborne looked puzzled. After a few moments of awkward silence, when it became apparent that the Chancellor could not recall the names of his predecessors, he summoned his butler to remind him. After a frantic consultation, Osborn, looking much reassured, continued.

"I can't be expected to bring about a triple dip all by myself. I'm totally ineffectual, a sort of more articulate George W Bush without the likeable buffoonish persona. I'm just a useless, hateful cock. It's all down to Barling and Drown, as I said before."

Saturday 1 December 2012


Dunno if I am laughing at The Nation, Chris Trotter, or The Standard (who self-importantly quote the self important Trotter), or all three.  But I'm certainly laughing at someone.
The final edition of The Nation, broadcast on TV3 last weekend, warned ominously of the potentially destabilising political influence of the left-leaning blog The Standard
The Nation, and the Standard, and Chris Trotter are a minority interest only of interest to cranks. No-one actually cares what they say, except other cranks (myself included).

Incidentally, Trotter refers to the MSM - the Mainstream Media - in his column. This has traditionally been a term popular among the lunatics of the far right, but I've noticed it gaining credence at The Standard as well. I've decided that's one of these giveaways that reveals the speaker to be an irrelevant eccentric preaching to no-one.

 Again, like The Nation, the Standard, Chris Trotter. And myself.


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