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Speaker: The Government you Deserve

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  • Alfie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I fear that we have been insufficiently careful to distinguish “neoliberal global establishment” from “amoral robber barons who will use outright fascists as shock troops if it furthers their interests.”

    But is there any difference between the two? At the moment I'm reading Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine which is a history of neoliberalism from a leftist perspective. In every country whose economy has been influenced by Freidman and his Chicago Boys, democracy has suffered badly. It's an ideology which is driven almost entirely by self-interest and greed. Wealth is transferred from the many to the few. That's the entire point of the thing.

    Originally the neolibs waited until a societal "shock" occurred -- Latin American revolutions (with a little help from the CIA), Thatcher using the Falklands 'war', 9/11 giving birth to the Homeland Security industry, the US invasion of Iraq... anything which threw the local population into shock and chaos. Then in came Friedman's boys as part of the IMF saying, overhaul your economy following our rules and we'll bail you out.

    In practice that meant the sale of any or all profitable government assets, at a loss if neccessary to satisfy the ideology. Unfettered access for multinational companies with favourable tax arrangements allowing them to siphon their profits offshore. Destroying unions, removing any basic wage protection... it's a philosophy based in evil.

    The accomplishments of the Key government in just a few years ticks all of those boxes. A revolution wasn't required because of kiwis' easy-going nature, our lack of interest in politics and a general subservience to those in power. The GFC and the Christchurch earthquakes both provided the shocks necessary to speed up the process of wealth transfer. And it's all going very nicely, thank you very much.

    I believe that Brexit has provided a suitable shock for the neolibs to speed up their transformation of the UK. Osborne has already announced the need for tax increases and hinted at cuts in health and education. Under Boris, the move to super-Thatcherism will go into top gear.

    Neoliberalism? Amoral robber barons? It's hard to see any difference between the two, because the results of their plunder are exactly the same.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I hear you Russell. Interesting to note that Matt's opinions are echoed in those of John Pilger's.

    http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/John-Pilger-Why-the-British-Said-No-to-Europe-20160625-0022.html

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The saddest part about Brexit to me is how easily people seem to have given up. The fight is not yet over and Remain seems worth fighting for. Take it to the bitter end if you ever had the courage of your convictions. This thing could still be rescued.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I mean FFS you practically have the entire political establishment on your side. For once. Use the damned thing, make it easy for them to at least have another poll.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    The saddest part about Brexit to me is how easily people seem to have given up. The fight is not yet over and Remain seems worth fighting for. Take it to the bitter end if you ever had the courage of your convictions. This thing could still be rescued. I mean FFS you practically have the entire political establishment on your side. For once. Use the damned thing, make it easy for them to at least have another poll.

    I don't always agree with George Monbiot, but I think these two paragraphs sum it up:

    Let’s sack the electorate and appoint a new one: this is the demand made by MPs, lawyers and the 4 million people who have signed the petition calling for a second referendum. It’s a cry of pain, and therefore understandable, but it’s also bad politics and bad democracy. Reduced to its essence, it amounts to graduates telling nongraduates: “We reject your democratic choice.”

    Were this vote to be annulled (it won’t be), the result would be a full-scale class and culture war, riots and perhaps worse, pitching middle-class progressives against those on whose behalf they have claimed to speak, and permanently alienating people who have spent their lives feeling voiceless and powerless.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Alfie,

    I fear that we have been insufficiently careful to distinguish “neoliberal global establishment” from “amoral robber barons who will use outright fascists as shock troops if it furthers their interests.”

    But is there any difference between the two?

    Well, there was in Chile. (Btw, that's Caleb you're quoting, not me.)

    I believe that Brexit has provided a suitable shock for the neolibs to speed up their transformation of the UK. Osborne has already announced the need for tax increases and hinted at cuts in health and education. Under Boris, the move to super-Thatcherism will go into top gear.

    Tax increases aren't generally a neolib thing – it's more that Brexit is going to screw them fiscally.

    But the post-referendum changing of the guard certainly does usher in the hard-right of the Conservative Party. Perhaps that's why Murdoch and Dacre are as pleased as Pilger, albeit for different reasons.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    I hear you Russell. Interesting to note that Matt’s opinions are echoed in those of John Pilger’s.

    Oh god, don't make me read that Pilger column again. It's incoherent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    John Cassidy in the New Yorker: Sunderland and the Brexit Tragedy

    Very reality-based.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Very reality-based.

    Cassidy has another good piece on Why Brexit Might Not Happen at All.

    “When I put my cross against leave I felt a surge as though for the first time in my life my vote did count. I had power,” Kelvin MacKenzie, the former editor of the Sun, Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, wrote on Monday. “Four days later, I don’t feel quite the same. I have buyer’s remorse. A sense of be careful what you wish for. To be truthful I am fearful of what lies ahead.”

    Boris & Co not only have no plan, but they’ve effectively backed themselves into a very dark corner. Parliament could choose not to ratify the referendum result, but that would upset at least half of the population. I caught part of a BBC discussion last night which offered one possible solution involving a second referendum.

    That would involve discussions with Brussels to determine the exact details of the EU’s new deal for the UK. On the strength of that, a second referendum would ask the public to either ratify the new arrangement or choose the existing terms which the UK enjoys.

    The other EU nations are not amused by Brexit and Farage turning up at the European parliament to taunt and insult MEPs will have hardened their resolve. With a little goodwill from Angela Merkel, Brussels might be convinced to humour such an arrangement. At this stage it seems to be the only way forward if Britain is to avoid an economic and social catastrophe.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    I like what Corbyn says and stands up for. But after reading Enter Left in the NYer, I've changed my mind about whether he should lead the party. Good man, wrong job.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich Lock,

    I’m not sure I buy Monbiot’s ability to see the future on this. Not do I buy that it’s “bad democracy”. It’s way worse democracy to roll over and accept disaster just because of a single poll result. AFAIK it’s still a representative democracy, and the referendum is non binding. The representatives are the ones democratically elected to make choices on behalf of the people, that is how their system works. One of those choices can certainly be to enter into a better plebescite process than this balls-up, in which there is a real concrete plan that people are voting on. This can quite righteously be seen as a strong message that such a process be entered into. Democracy is meant to take time. It’s meant to be a process of public engagement. I can accept that the British government has been pretty shit at that for ages, but that doesn’t mean they can never learn. This could be that time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I find it kinda ironic Monbiot going on about democracy when his core deep-green ideology (that we should give up all modern advances and live in darkened caves eating kale) is infinitely unlikely to ever be approved of by an electorate (unless they'd reached the point where caves and kale were a luxury).

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

  • Alfie, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    I like what Corbyn says and stands up for. But after reading Enter Left in the NYer, I’ve changed my mind about whether he should lead the party. Good man, wrong job.

    The New Yorker story you link to certainly provides a reasonable portrait of Corbyn but I can't see anything that disqualifies him to lead Labour. His parliamentary colleagues believe that he's not centrist enough, but then they have their own agenda. And they play dirty.

    The orchestrated coup to overthrow Corbyn could have come straight out of the Carrick Graham / Jason Ede songbook. In this case it's being guided by Portland Communications -- a PR company run by Tony Blair's former advisors and his former spin doctor Alastair Campbell, best remembered for helping to draw up the "Dodgy Dossier" which invented the WMDs Blair and Bush used to justify the Iraq war.

    While the idea of their leader being that far left is too much for many of the current Labour MPs, Corbyn is a good, old-fashioned Labour man who stands up for his beliefs. He was never excited about the EU, viewing them as an integral part of an IMF/ECB cartel more interested in promoting globalisation than protecting little people. When you consider the way Greece was treated by that group, it's not surprising that Yanis Varoufakis is now one of Corbyn's advisors.

    The PLP finds Corbyn too socialist for their tastes and resents his huge popularity amongst their membership. But surely that very grassroots popularity is exactly what Labour needs if they intend to overthrow the Tories?

    Maybe it depends on where you sit on the political spectrum. I must confess that the older I get, the more I'm leaning to the left. Yanis Varoufakis is one of my heroes, which is probably why I can relate to Corbyn's politics in the same way as I do with those of Bernie Sanders in the US.

    Sure, Corbyn's not perfect. But neither is he a media-savvy, plastic construct like so many of his contemporaries. When you're stuck with a system which views inequality as a desirable outcome, you need principled politicians to provide a genuine alternative to the status quo.

    And lord knows, we could all do with a touch of that.



    OTHER REFERENCES
    Labour MP Diane Abbott -- This is not Labour MPs vs Corbyn. They’re at war with party members

    The Standard -- Spot the Plot

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    core deep-green ideology (that we should give up all modern advances and live in darkened caves eating kale)

    Ridiculous strawman

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Alfie,

    a PR company run by Tony Blair’s former advisors and his former spin doctor Alastair Campbell, best remembered for helping to draw up the “Dodgy Dossier” which invented the WMDs Blair and Bush used to justify the Iraq war.

    I'll always remember Campbell as (after leaving Blair's outfit under controversy, if not disgrace) running PR for the British Lions tour of 2005. He talked them up a storm. England had won the world cup in 2003.
    So Campbell had to front up to the cameras after they were monstered in the first test by the ABs. He was glib and confident enough on the outside. But there was a beaten look in his eyes.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Alfie,

    Maybe it depends on where you sit on the political spectrum. I must confess that the older I get, the more I’m leaning to the left. Yanis Varoufakis is one of my heroes, which is probably why I can relate to Corbyn’s politics in the same way as I do with those of Bernie Sanders in the US.

    Me too. I think I'd like Corbyn a lot. I wish we had a leader of his ilk here. I get the impression most people do. But from that article it seems maybe he's not focussed or organised or - heck - manipulative enough to get what he wants (and the country needs.)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    This piece on Corbyn seems fair to me, basically saying that he seems good in many ways, but he's had 9 months and done very little - he still seems like that guy who wanders on stage, blinks at the lights, looks around and says "oh, everyone else has left so I'll try to entertain you" except in this case he's apparently supposed to be the leader of a political party.

    That said, here in Oz we're about to vote for which is least awful, where our version of Corbyn seems to lack the UK versions basic decency but is also without a lot of the support that Corbyn has. And he's even more handicapped by the "centrists" pathological loathing for their coalition party. In Batman (Melbourne) they've somehow replaced a coal-powered dinosaur (M'arn Ferguson) with a right-wing gaffe factory "I forget how many houses I own" (Feeney) in an electorate that's moving from Labour to Green... helped by installing the wrong candidate. Closer to me In Grayndler (Sydney) the left-wing rump of the ALP is represented in an even more green-left seat by Albanese but he seems fairly safe simply because he is actually green-left himself.

    I am terrified that Australia is about to re-elect a RWDB government presided over by a former merchant banker with a nice smile (you may find that discomfortingly familiar in NZ). There are rumours that the far right of his party will roll him and install a genuine far-right dingbat like Abbott after the election. Since they're promising to gut the state to fund tax cuts for business, and have already trashed the CSIRO, arts, dometic violence and indigenous budgets, it's not looking good. Unfortunately Labour in return are promising much the same, but less so.

    No-one other than The Greens is talking about climate or poverty or torturing refugees... no need, bipartisan support for more of all of those. Media especially are on-side, and the ABC has been successfully cowed to the point where they use Liberal talking points against other voices.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Moz,

    Closer to me In Grayndler (Sydney) the left-wing rump of the ALP is represented in an even more green-left seat by Albanese but he seems fairly safe simply because he is actually green-left himself.

    Albanese certainly used to impress as one of the sharper pieces of cutlery in Labor's kitchen drawer. Then again, I'm basing that on his drive time political panel appearances on ABC radio, where he'd be pitted against the ploddingly amiable Joe Hockey. I was gobsmacked when that buffoon was elevated to treasurer, Albanese's only problem in being matched against him seemed to be staying awake.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Johnson,

    Immigration should involve an adventure,not a run from frypan to fire, surely the elephant in the room is that a vast majority of nations are failing to deliver on the social front, hence the constant abandonment of homelands.

    hamilton • Since Mar 2016 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to andin,

    core deep-green ideology (that we should give up all modern advances and live in darkened caves eating kale)

    Ridiculous strawman

    To a point. Although he did publish a book a couple of years back which argued for the re-wilding large tracts of the UK (wolves and otters and bears, oh my). Which....um... yeah.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’m not sure I buy Monbiot’s ability to see the future on this. Not do I buy that it’s “bad democracy”. It’s way worse democracy to roll over and accept disaster just because of a single poll result. AFAIK it’s still a representative democracy, and the referendum is non binding. The representatives are the ones democratically elected to make choices on behalf of the people, that is how their system works. One of those choices can certainly be to enter into a better plebescite process than this balls-up, in which there is a real concrete plan that people are voting on. This can quite righteously be seen as a strong message that such a process be entered into. Democracy is meant to take time. It’s meant to be a process of public engagement. I can accept that the British government has been pretty shit at that for ages, but that doesn’t mean they can never learn. This could be that time.

    Problem is, although you're absolutely correct, this potato is beyond red-hot. Whatever the actuality of the EU, this referendum was very much an avatar onto which whatever social discontent one liked could be projected - immigration, control, jobs, distant and out-of-touch elitist leaders, the fact your local council got rid of the public loos in town*.

    You know and I know that what you've outlined is how democracy works. But a lot of people who are very disengaged from the political process just re-engaged with a vengeance (both in the leave and remain camps). Keeping them all happy**, while plotting a path out of this that doesn't end in isolationist ecomomic and social disaster is going to be a nightmare.

    *this actually happened.

    **happy here meaning 'not massive civil unrest', which I do think is a possibility if there is a general perception of actions that could easily be (mis)interpreted as 'ignoring the will of the people', whatever the fuck that is - see 'avatar' above.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I see ways of ignoring the referendum are being seriously discussed by the liberal elites and the capitalist class. If they succeed, they’ll ensure that the disempowered 52% who voted for Brexit will know the only way their voice will be heard will be to vote UKIP and send Nigel Farage to Number 10.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Oh god, don’t make me read that Pilger column again. It’s incoherent.

    Bit of a stretch. I think his comments about the "patrician class" are right on the money.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Now we know what happens when a 'car-chasing dog' catches one...
    - Boris Johnson has backed off running for the Tory leader/Prime Minister position
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/81646189/Boris-Johnson-I-have-decided-not-to-run-for-British-Prime-Minister
    that saves the world from the possibility of two muppet lookalikes running two former great powers - UK avoids a BJ, but the USA may still get a case of the DTs...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment

    truly Poe-faced?
    I note that the National Party Drama Society are rehearsing their play ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ at the Chateau on the Park in Chchch at dusk this evening (July 1st)

    The story takes place at the castellated abbey of the “happy and dauntless and sagacious” Prince Prospero. Prospero and 1,000 other nobles have taken refuge in this walled abbey to escape the Red Death, a terrible plague with gruesome symptoms that has swept over the land. Victims are overcome by “sharp pains”, “sudden dizziness”, and hematidrosis, and die within half an hour. Prospero and his court are indifferent to the sufferings of the population at large; they intend to await the end of the plague in luxury and safety behind the walls of their secure refuge, having welded the doors shut.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/231111900608844/
    ;- )

    Interesting to note this is only National’s 80th annual conference, while this is The Labour Party’s Centenary Year – a light they seem hellbent on hiding under a bushel – all we have to show for it is this very relevant tea towel – they are gonna need more than this to clean up at the next election!!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

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