Kia ora Emma,
Your thinking and work continues to both inspire and challenge me. It's one of the reasons, while no longer a PAS regular, I continue to come back from time to time.
I recently started my PhD, which is looking at the shutting down of politics in a different, activist sphere. In the back of my mind is my awareness of the elephant in the room, which is how easy it is for me to pontificate on the subject of my research, which is other, ignoring the privilege and personal challenges that I would face if I turned that gaze inwards.
I don't really buy it that this is an issue that actually concerns national. If each select committee has 9 members, National, who have almost half the membership of the house, will get at least three, most likely four in each committee. They can't complain they're not well represented.
More likely that it'll be minor parties that miss out, but given that the only minor parties of any size are in government, probably not such an issue this term.
It does meet the most important test for a piece of legislation:
First, do no harm.
This doesn't take into account the number of people that bashed their heads into something solid when reading about it.
Gudrun Gisela, who frequently posted in the capture pages up until 2012, passed away yesterday. Her facebook page is here with a posting from her son:
A council of elders model would seem to be very strange.
I'd be in favour of a model somewhat like the NZBORA. For each piece of legislation a scientific council has to provide a report indicating what the evidence is in this area. Doesn't have to be followed, but it ensures that scientific debate is part of the process.
Over the summer I've watched:
Manhattan S01 - good, historically probably a bit woolly, but interesting.
Fargo S02 - continues on the excellence of season 1.
Silicon Valley s01 and s02 - really enjoyable.
izombie - seasons 1 and 2 (to date). Quirky and light take on zombies.
Making a Murderer. Compulsive viewing. Easily 9 stars, had me yelling at the TV.
The Heavy Water War (really interesting WW2 story from Norway).
Mr Robot S01 - I strugged with this a bit. Felt like it had its head too far up its arse.
Transparent S01 - 8 stars. Excellent lead acting, great story.
Utopia S01 - OK but I wasn't inspired.
The Expanse S01 - I struggled with it a bit - two parallel stories which eventually came together, but one never kicked for me.
Vikings S04 has started. Still really good, worth going back to season one if you haven't seen it.
The Walking Dead continues reasonably well, but I wonder how long they can keep it up. It's difficult source material to convert, it's very over the top in many ways. Really looking forward to GOT coming back next month.
Yeah, but we can wear that as our war scars. A shitload worse has happened to other generations and goes down (if they survived it) as their genuine contribution to a better world.
We survived neoliberalism so our children wouldn’t have to.
I'm not sure about that. They're looking it squarely in the face. We're still a long way down the rabbit hole.
I appreciate PA has a political leaning and I’m not going to presume to tell Russell and others what to do, but I was also feeling a few similar concerns before Richard brought them up. Having occasional guest posts from an insider is interesting, but routinely letting the Labour Party express itself about how awesome and competent its leader is, or how superfantabulously brilliant its new policy is, and so on, makes PA feel much more like an outlet that’s prioritising political expression – sometimes spin – of the Labour Party insiders, instead of prioritising critique and discussion from outside.
I have also found this weird. The insights into political party strategy and polling has been an interesting read.
The party political broadcasts have felt like they haven't belonged here.
But it's Russell's house, I've learnt to pick and choose what I read as my time gets smaller :)
However, with my (admittedly fortunate) backstory please allow me and my generation some bitterness for being caught at a time when tertiary education wasn’t free and, by the time we got our loans done and dusted, house prices started spiralling out of control. We didn’t have the “job for life” that our parents had, nor are we digital natives that get to fully participate in the new economy. At the moment it feels like life has passed us by and all we got to do was stand at the platform and wave at the people having fun on the train.
This has also been my (mostly suppressed) reaction. I devoted much of my 20s to fighting what was happening to our tertiary education system, and the day that Labour announced the interest free loans policy was a great personal triumph - I helped drive a campaign that saved former, current, and future students hundreds of millions of dollars.
I was able to pay off my student loan at the age of 37, but only thanks to an inheritance which knocked off about a third of it. Now at 40 I'm heading back to University and just today paid $3800 in fees for two fifths of a taught masters degree to upskill myself and shift my career. Hopefully once that is done I'll begin a PhD. Labour's policy won't help me at all because I already have a degree, despite having paid lots of fees to get it.
In 2017 my son will (hopefully) enter University, and if Labour wins the next election, and if they implement this policy, he'll probably pick up one year free of fees in his final year.
My generation was screwed. Bent over a barrel of user pays philosophy while my parent's generation benefited from lower taxes and invested them in tax free capital gains on rental property.
And we're now seeing the children of parents who are still paying off their student loans after twenty years entering the tertiary system. They will graduate with debt, they won't receive the help that their parents would like to give - both while they study, and when they look ahead to buying a house.
So I'll applaud Labour starting to turn that around - each painful, exclusive step. But I'll carry my bitterness with me for ever. It's what brought me to the front lines of this debate in the first place.
I finally saw Everest last week, really enjoyed it. I was able to draw conclusions about where things went wrong for the deaths that were portrayed - Hall and the climber he was with clearly shouldn't have continued to the top, Fisher was unwell and exhausted and never should have attempted the summit. They weren't shoved in your face however.
It also portrayed well some of the issues with the mountain - the professional climbing expeditions that were bringing in more climbers, the lack of control over what happens there, and the horrendous environment up there.
Was surprised that they'd cast so high for Rob Hall's wife. It was a very minor role for Knightley.
How anyone could struggle with 'summit' as a verb I have no idea. I'm amazed that it stuck out to anyone watching the film as weird.