Polity by Rob Salmond

12

This is Why, This is Why I Fight

Hello, I’m Rob Salmond and this is Polity on Public Address. Welcome.

I’ll be blogging here about politics most of all, but with a dose of sports, parenting, and miscellany thrown in. I’m really grateful to Russell for sharing his shiny webspace with me, and to you the readers for engaging with my earlier posts so energetically. You’ve made almost 3,000 comments to date across my 31 Speaker posts, with 10 of those posts attracting over 100 contributions apiece. Sincerely, thank you. 

My day job is as an analytics and communications consultant. I own my own small business, also called Polity. I’m part geek, part comms guy. It’s a fun job, with a wide range of tasks that run all the way from algorithm to zeitgeist. 

One of my firm’s clients is the Labour leader’s office in Parliament. As well as my current work for Andrew Little, in the past I’ve worked for David Cunliffe, David Shearer, and Helen Clark. I’ve worked on Labour campaigns since 1996, and I’m a proud member of the party.  I’m a Labour guy.

That means yes, I have an agenda. And no, I’m not a dispassionate, neutral observer. If that’s not your cup of tea, then thanks for reading this far, and enjoy the rest of PA and the rest of the internet.

My own personal views, however, are not the same as my party’s. For any thinking person, that’s inevitable. I differ from Labour on tax and on trade, on social policy and on the environment. But, having said that, I prefer my party’s package to any other party’s.

That’s why yes, I choose to fight publically for individual policies I wouldn’t choose if I were dictator. Those things are part of a package, and I think that package is the best on offer. I fight for improvement, not perfection.

If I were to spend too much time publicly picking internal fights over small differences, it wouldn’t help us win external fights over large differences. I choose to fight the broader fights, and ignore some – but not all – of the smaller ones.

I know many others – including lots of PA readers – choose instead to fight for very specific policy outcomes. That’s an honourable, important quest. I respect they work they do; it’s just not the work I do.

Before working around Parliament, I lived in the US for twelve years, studying then teaching political science. I learned about the intricacies of data analysis and research design, the absurdities of the presidential primary campaign, and the joy of college football. My academic nerdery is archived here.

I’m also a Dad. I’ve had three daughters. Sophie isn’t with us any more, as I’ve written about here. My other two girls – who when they appear on this blog will be simply Miss-The-Elder and Miss-The-Younger – are currently five and two, and bring me much happiness-and-other-emotions.

So, what can you expect from me on this blog? Well, my earlier Speaker posts for PA provide a good guide:

  • About 60% have been about New Zealand politics (30% about the government, 20% about Labour; 10% about the general scene), while about 25% have been about international politics, and 15% about other topics including food, movies, and personal things.
  • Within the political posts, about half are on questions of strategy, where I’ve often said things some Labour supporters don’t like, while about a third are on policy issues, and the remaining sixth are on issues of competence.

I expect to post more or less along these lines on PA in the future, maybe with a heavier US focus this year as the Presidential election heats up, a heavier NZ focus next year as our own election gets near, and a bit more personal stuff if I get brave.

I’m looking forward to engaging with you all. If I can provide you with posts you want to read, then I get the great benefit of learning from you in the comments. My hope is it’s a win/win.

See you round the PA café!

-Rob

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