Hard News by Russell Brown


National MP Nick Smith's drive to embed some green credibility in his party's environmental platform is laudable. Matthew Hooton claimed recently that Smith was "progressively winning over his more sceptical colleagues" on the climate change issue, and now they have an actual former Green MP drafted in to write policy.

Whether National likes what Ian Ewen-Street comes up with is another matter, but Jeanette Fitzsimons' response was a bit telling:

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says voters won't be fooled.

"I don't think the National Party going after the green vote is very credible. I have been wondering how Ian will get on with their view on genetic engineering...I can't imagine they're going to change that," she/he says.

Leaving aside the rather odd "she/he says" typo in the TVNZ story, GE is precisely the wrong issue to be brandishing here. Yes, National doesn't subscribe to the Green Party policy on genetic modification. Neither does Labour, or any other party in Parliament with the possible exception of the Maori Party.

As I remarked to my lawyer on Friday, while we drank cold beer after playing a game of tennis in the midwinter Muriwai sun, we haven't had the real GE debate yet. That will come when we're presented with a GMO - a grass, or a tree - whose environmental benefits are so compelling that we will really have to make a decision. It will happen, and I would have to think that it is more likely that it will be the Greens' 100% refusenik stance that will be challenged, and not the broader Parliamentary consensus.

I think the Greens display a clarity and an honesty in important policy areas - energy, most notably - that puts others to shame. But their line on GE will be pushed pretty hard in the next decade.

Ewen-Street will presumably be tasked with developing more market-friendly policy alternatives, and there's nothing wrong in that. But it would be nice to see National explicitly commit to the present government policy emphasis on sustainable technologies. Just quietly, that's bearing fruit.

No Right Turn has some more comment.

Billmon looks at the UN Security Council Resolution, ponders what Hezbollah's next move will be and concludes by expecting Nasrallah "to take the deal eventually, although not without some elaborate posturing designed to create the impression he's doing the Americans and the Israelis a huge favor."

More horror from the new Iraq: anti-homosexual death squads get busy.

Salam Pax' most recent Baghdad video diary for BBC Newsnight ("today, I am afraid we will be talking about death") is a couple of weeks old, but still really worth watching. I don't know how the guy maintains his sense of humour, I really don't.

James Wolcott on the wingers and the Qana conspiracies.

Fox News's own media analyst Neil Gabler spits the dummy about "opinion mongers" like Michele Malkin (check the Malkin clip linked to: she's nuts) being given FNC airtime to peddle said conspiracies.

DPF (back on a new server) notes two interesting new Pew surveys on media use and blogging.

And Stephen Johnson's Five things about blogs that no one ever needs to say again just nails it.