Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Meet the middle

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  • Brent Jackson, in reply to BenWilson,

    It is interesting to note that a significant number of people (~80) put National at 0, and a similar number of people put Labour at 10. Were they the same people ? And were they just confused, or were they actively dissing this whole left/right paradigm ?

    It's also interesting that the shapes are different, with Labour's mode at 4, and National's at 8.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danielle,

    Thank god *something* in this thread made me laugh.

    Ditto :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to HORansome,

    , if both of those propositions are true, the fact that people slam Labour for engaging in dole bludger rhetoric (for example, that story about the roof layer) despite claims about policy

    That argument, mutatis mutandis, applies to the Chinese names/foreign buyers debacles. Perceived to be racist, therefore racist.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    So you end up with what you think they mean and end up with what? Something that has no basis in reality. Sure, it gets you a statistically transparent measure but means nothing.

    I don't think it means nothing. It just doesn't mean the same as what you mean.

    Do you care about others? Yes = Left, No = Right.

    and it definitely doesn't mean that. Well, unless you insist on it. Then it means that to you. But the aggregation tells us what it means to the larger group, how the word operates in the public consciousness. That's at least something that comes from the data, rather than out of someone's arse. Or perhaps I should say "If it must come from the arse, it should be from everyone's arse".

    But I'm not defending it as the "truth" about what "left" means. It's just another thing we can add to the discussion - some evidence about what more than just loud voices think it means.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    It is interesting to note that a significant number of people (~80) put National at 0, and a similar number of people put Labour at 10. Were they the same people ?

    Interesting question...we've got the data. Any thoughts about how to answer that question? You want to know specifically about those 160-odd people?

    It’s also interesting that the shapes are different, with Labour’s mode at 4, and National’s at 8.

    Yes, I forgot about the mode! Labour's way closer on that score to the population self-assessment mode of 5 (again, and for all of my graphs, excluding the missing and don't knows, which were a pretty big number too).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to BenWilson,

    and it definitely doesn't mean that. Well, unless you insist on it.

    Well I don't insist and yes that is my, very simplified, definition.
    And not

    rather than out of someone's arse.

    By which I gather you mean mine. If it comes out of the arse then it is either shit or hot air, smelly air to boot.
    We need simple definitions for simple people. Otherwise

    It's just another thing we can add to the discussion

    and the more you talk the less you say, in terms of people listening and the longer the discussion the less time to get the job done, diminishing returns and all that.
    And on Rich's horse analogy, ok perhaps they don't shoot Trojan horses.
    :-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    we STILL haven’t confronted the disparity of ‘safe’ Labour seats like Mt Albert or Island Bay where Labour lost the party vote.

    Island Bay isn't an electorate?

    A lot of that is because Green (and maybe NZF) voters support the Labour candidate rather than their party candidate (NZF didn't contest Mt Albert). The rest I guess is voters hedging their bets: who either support National and don't care about the electorate vote, or support Labour and wrongly don't care about the party vote, or support National but want David Shearer to do well in the Labour party.

    Personally, I voted for Chris Finlayson rather than Annette King in Rongotai, because Finlayson is one of the better National MPs and King is one of the worse Labour ones.

    (I may have said elsewhere that the split vote is a dumb indulgence. Elections should be about making a clear choice, not avoiding one)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    By which I gather you mean mine.

    Well yours and everyone with an opinion. My own arse was the one I was worried about the smell of, TBH :-)

    It’s not that pundits aren’t probably more likely to have an informed opinion about the classic definitions of left and right. It’s just that pundits aren’t the only voters, or the only users of the words. Without even committing to agreeing with Rob’s view that moving to the center is worthwhile, it’s still valuable to understand what is even meant by the center. Otherwise it’s a discussion about which way we should steer our ship in a dense fog. Under those conditions, the only safe choice is to stop.

    ETA: And that's not really a choice, if there is not long term prospect that the fog will ever lift.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to BenWilson,

    I don't think it means nothing. It just doesn't mean the same as what you mean.

    Do you care about others? Yes = Left, No = Right.

    and it definitely doesn't mean that.

    Almost everyone thinks they care, even Roger Douglas. In fact, the declaration that he cares is the subject of chapter one of all his books. And if you think you care, well, you probably do care.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    That argument, mutatis mutandis, applies to the Chinese names/foreign buyers debacles. Perceived to be racist, therefore racist.

    Amen!

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Almost everyone thinks they care, even Roger Douglas. In fact, the declaration that he cares is the subject of chapter one of all his books. And if you think you care, well, you probably do care.

    Douglas also continues to maintain he is a socialist (and the only real socialist interested in long term change of the system); if we allow people to self-select their categories most will identify as Centre because that's were the sensible people are at.[1]

    1. This reminds me of Jack Z. Bratich's arguments against Liberalism in "Conspiracy Panics"; Liberalism as a political thesis really doesn't like people on the "extremes" to the Left and Right because rational liberals should migrate towards to the consensual centre.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to BenWilson,

    Otherwise it’s a discussion about which way we should steer our ship in a dense fog. Under those conditions, the only safe choice is to stop.

    Or have a scratch around for that the moral compass. It’s not as if the ocean isn’t warm and beckoning, there’s nothing stopping anyone jumping off the gangplank to join that third of eligible voters playing water polo.

    This think tank series or whatever this actually is, led by Rob who may or may not be affiliated with the Labour party and who possibly has a Labour/ centrist obsession, have dramatically reduced my faith in Labour. It’s not so much that I don’t appreciate the nature of the discussion itself, it’s that the initial posts always feel like we’re being pounded with propaganda, the targets are invariably people on the left, there’s next to no give or take, and if this is actually designed to inform policy in any way shape or form, I can’t see a gripping need for anyone closely affiliated with Labour to be producing a series like this out in the open.

    If I were a National Party affiliate I’d be reading though these threads and the response in the Standard etc with glee. Instead I’m gutted. It’s not that I don’t understand the advantages of prostitution, I don’t see any need for a big series of announcements that this decades old direction is some marked shift in career choice for Labour, or the only option.

    okay, I think I’ve edited most of the obvious errors out of this post, now I’m going to press save. Okay I pressed save, but I found a small error. OK. I'm saving again.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Curran, in reply to chris,

    This think tank series or whatever this actually is, led by Rob who may or may not be affiliated with the Labour party and who possibly has a Labour/ centrist obsession, have dramatically reduced my faith in Labour. It’s not so much that I don’t appreciate the nature of the discussion itself, it’s that the initial posts always feel like we’re being pounded with propaganda, the targets are invariably people on the left, there’s next to no give or take, and if this is actually designed to inform policy in any way shape or form, I can’t see a gripping need for anyone closely affiliated with Labour to be producing a series like this out in the open.

    That was said so much more eloquently than I am capable of at the moment. It feels like a proclamation to people that are probably already going to be voting on the left, that Labour are using data now and that means they are now grown up and responsible.

    Since May 2011 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • James Hart,

    I'm interested in the impact of this psychological phenomenon (on 'centre' / 'swing voters'), when paired with very regular polling demonstrating (accurately or not) how National are the dominant force

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_proof

    Onehunga • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to James Hart,

    I like the way that article ends with the mention of "Canned Laughter" I couldn't help thinking of John Key's performances in Parliament and it reminded me of the old adage, Laugh and the world laughs with you. Perhaps Andrew Little could take some lessons from this guy...

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I recall one poll while Labour in government which had a surprisingly high number of self-professed Green voters taking a pretty harsh stance on beneficiaries – more than Labour voters, from memory .

    I think it was this one from near the end of National’s first term.

    Ah yes, thank you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to chris,

    This think tank series or whatever this actually is, led by Rob who may or may not be affiliated with the Labour party and who possibly has a Labour/ centrist obsession, have dramatically reduced my faith in Labour.

    They're personal posts by Rob, who contracts to Labour. I'm interested in the discussion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A discussion can be interesting and dispiriting at the same time.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Fair enough, as I said:

    It’s not so much that I don’t appreciate the nature of the discussion itself

    It’s just that I guess I’ve become accustomed to wanton misrepresentation in the form of snipes like this only ever (rarely) being part of the discussion - not the leading posts:

    Some PA commenters were sure John Smith won UK Labour the 1997 election despite dying in 1994

    With the Chinese buyers debate this started to become more commonplace, but in that instance Keith and Tze Ming Mok had a similar platform to respond on, now the cross hairs of leading posts seems to have shifted into the general readership. I don’t think simon g was off the mark or disingenuous at all in suggesting it was Smith who was pivotal in Labour’s breaking out of “the funk.”

    But anyway…the funk.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to chris,

    I don’t think simon g was off the mark or disingenuous at all in suggesting it was Smith who was pivotal in Labour’s breaking out of “the funk.”

    No, agreed. The shift definitely began with Smith. I think Rob was wrong about that and it’s quite okay to say so. He was a bit snarky about it too.

    I’m not going to censor his post any more than I’m going to try and stop the fairly loud chorus of snarking and subtweeting in response to the original post.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    fairly loud chorus of snarking and subtweeting

    Also known as "criticism".

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I seem to recall, in an I’m away from my computer and can’t check the numbers, that electorates that elected Labour MPs had a generally lower turnout than electorates that elected National MPs. I would say this is evidence that turnout is associated with party support. I would further suggest that this means Labour have more opportunity to win by inspiring people to the left to actually support them, whereas National have to place more emphasis on get voters from the space between Labour and National.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    fairly loud chorus of snarking and subtweeting

    Also known as “criticism”.

    Of course. I'm happier when there's plenty of debate and no snark, but I'm not going to be too exercised by snark either way.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to tony j ricketts,

    Firstly, the NZ Parliament is defined by the Party Vote, and we STILL haven’t confronted the disparity of ‘safe’ Labour seats like Mt Albert or Island Bay where Labour lost the party vote. Up and down the country there are electorates without even a prominent Labour MP or candidate to lead the fight for Party Vote Labour.

    A very critical point.

    Perhaps left-leaning voters are more amendable to splitting their votes than right-leaning voters (Epsom electorate aside). And those minor parties who had stronger party-vote showings in the last election (notably NZF) did better at Labour's as opposed to National's party vote expense.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to David Hood,

    Electorates with lower turnout do tend to elect more Labour MPs. But rich states in America tend to elect more Democrats -- doesn't mean rich voters are more likely to be Democrats!

    I'm not saying that the non-vote is identical to the voting population. Apart from anything else, they don't vote! But I don't think there's significant evidence that it differs from the voting population in ideological terms, particularly not at the kind of 40,000 ft level we're talking about here, and not in simple left/right breakdowns.

    In terms of winning-a-marginal-constituency, of course motivating the (left!) non-vote is crucial, and sometimes that means base-mobilisation strategies. But, importantly, many of the key tools for turning out voters are non-ideological - they are social and, frankly, pestering. But in terms of "where should Labour position" I think it's easy to use the non-vote as a sort of reservoir that will supply the numbers, and I am quite wary of it.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

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