Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Prospects

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  • JohnAmiria,

    Anyone else disappointed that it's been a whole twenty-four hours or so and the Apocalypse has not arrived? Perhaps tomorrow.

    Love you and love your work, Craig, but you can be such a dick sometimes

    Yeah, but I'm kinda with Craig on this one. It's all well and good to vent but crikey look at the time. When will it stop? Here's hoping it's a sunny day tomorrow and everyone get's up better rested than they have today.

    In other news, JohnKey.co.nz still declares him to be "Leader of the Opposition" .... it's unacceptable that Key's website hasn't been updated. It's the interweb not a fax.

    Really? Shall we put that in our Constitution? All parties must have a designated Admin person who will not get drunk celebrating their victory/loss and shall update all party websites within 60 minutes of the final result being known...

    Yeah, right.

    Before throwing stones maybe you should've checked out these sites first:

    http://www.labour08.co.nz/

    http://www.labour.org.nz/index.htm

    Not exactly current, are they?

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And if Clark was really that worried about "frightening the chooks", the reasoning behind promoting Chris Carter to a high profile, pretty sensitive portfolio like Education escapes me. :)

    In the end, who the hell knows -- perhaps Tim Barnett was being perfectly honest, and just decided he'd pretty much achieved all he was going to in Parliament, and wanted to move on while he still had options open to him. He's relatively young, has skills and networks that should lead him into a decent post-political career. Steve Maharey and Katherine Rich don't seem to be having second thoughts about coming to the same conclusion, and good on them. My only regret is that the people who have that kind of distance and perspective are precisely the kind of people who'd be better politicians for it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    If Clark really thought that (and I really want to believe better of her) . . .

    Me too - but do you have a better theory about that particular festering anomaly in promoting talent?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    It's all well and good to vent but crikey look at the time.

    Less than 24 hours after the party in which many of us wanted to believe was defeated at the polls. Even as someone who didn't vote for them, I think that it's okay, really, to grieve, for a day, or even two or three days. If the tone around here is still maudlin and accusatory and bitter at say, the end of November, then you might have cause for complaint. However, I'm betting that the PAS community will move on, long before then.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And Deborah asked me about a zillion pages back what I'd really really like National to be doing today.

    Here goes, and it's not so much Pollyanna as Twilight Zone but stick with me.

    Helen Clark and Michael Cullen may have quit their respect roles in the parliamentary Labour, but they're still the caretaker Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

    They should be invited to John Key's office -- or home or a mututally convenient Starbucks -- along with the leaders of every other party in Parliament (that means Roger Douglas is not invited), and locked in until they thrash out a reality-based response to the fiscal shit storm ahead nobody will be entirely happy with, but will pass the House unanimously before Christmas.

    I know some people up thread think there's a political advantage for Labour and the Greens in standing by and watching everything go to shit, and they might be right. But I think they're wrong, and either way nobody else should be thanking anyone playing this kind of silly buggers. (Don't know about anyone else, but I've been laid off and it's shit.)

    And if that means National and ACT are going to have first suck at the dead rat sushi platter, so be it. Everyone made too many promises they must have known they couldn't afford, so the people sitting in the big chairs have to pay the political price first.

    And before anyone thinks I'm advocating group hugs and choruses of 'Kumbaya' all around, forget it. I'm sure plenty of shit will be served and lobbed back over the next three years as part of a healthy and functional demo-crazy. But not this.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Ben:

    There's no space between [Labour and National], Unless you believe in the 'Colossal divide between Labour and National' theory. [Which Ben doesn't.] I think center parties do wield great influence, but they are very hard to hang onto for that reason.

    A few days ago, No Right Turn posted a principal components graph of distance between parties based on final bill voting. On the face of it, there does seem to be a huge gulf between (on the one hand) National/ACT, and (on the other) Labour/Prog/(and for the duration of the coalition, NZF and UF too), on the 1st principal component. It follows that this dimension summarises bills on the issues or principles on which those parties are most consistently divided: possibly (free-market vs social welfare). Certainly, this is the largest party difference in the data.

    There is also apparently a large difference between Maori/Greens and ... almost everybody else, but especially National & UF, on the second principal component -- which presumably represents issues most strongly differentiating National from Maori.

    These two dimensions account for about 74% of the variation among parties.

    So, does this mean you're wrong? Not necessarily.
    There seem to be several problems with this use of PCA. (Which I hasten to add is not I/S's own analysis, so I/S is not responsible.)

    (i) The more trivial graph problem is that the scales are unequal: the vertical dimension is exaggerated, so it is not easy to get a true measure of party "distance" from the graph.

    The more serious problem is that PCA exaggerates the level of difference, through not presenting the similarities:
    (ii) the PCA is of data for 110 bills. In theory there could be a huge amount of variation. But actually... well, there are no numbers on the scales, but if the divisions are units (equivalent to one standard deviation of spread on one bill's votes), then ... hang on, even PC1 has a range of only 8 units! This suggests that for the huge majority of bills, there were no overall differences between the parties. So, these dimensions account for most of the party difference ... but the overall difference was relatively small.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Actually, it wasn't me, and I'm too lazy to go back through the thread now and find out who did ask.

    I'm not sure that will ever happen, Craig, alas. I do feel uncomfortable at the thought of wishing ill on National and Act, because it does mean wishing ill on NZ too. I'm dubious about National, and downright sceptical about Act, especially with Roger the Lodger back. But I would rather see them do well than have things go to hell in NZ.

    In any case, let's suspend judgement until they've had a chance to actually do something.

    ***
    "Roger the Lodger" comes from my parents' book of naughty limericks.

    There was a young lady of Bod
    Who thought all good things came from god.
    T'was not the almighty
    Who lifted her nightie
    T'was Roger the Lodger, the sod.

    Thirty years later, that last line now seems, well, dubious, to me. Oh well.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    (Of course, it could be that I'm wrong about the scale divisions being units -- but if so, then the lack of any numerical scale is also a rather important problem with the graph!)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Before throwing stones maybe you should've checked out these sites first:
    http://www.labour08.co.nz/
    http://www.labour.org.nz/index.htm
    Not exactly current, are they?

    Whoa, do you think I'm a Labour webmaster or something? Because I'm not! I'm so not.

    If Labour haven't updated their websites, then that's just as bad as National.

    Not everyone is hungover on a Sunday, and if some web content has been prepared in advance, it doesn't take much effort to put it online.

    But my impression is that few parties have done awesome things with their websites this election or at all, really. The Greens' Frog Blog is the one political web presence that really gets it (two updates today!), possibly because it's not trying to be the voice of a specific politician.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Jarno van der Linden,

    What struck me about the pointlessness of it, was that the magic of holograms is that they are a 3d image in front of you. I'm sure it looked incredible for everyone in the studio.

    Yes, looking at empty space must have been thrilling. It was purely a greenscreen trick, like putting a weathermap behind the weather presenter. No one in the studio saw anything except on the monitors.

    Hmmm, I suppose that means that a major news network deliberately deceived the public on election night.

    Nelson • Since Oct 2007 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Nah, it means that TV delivered pretty visuals instead of analysis.
    But it's sometimes difficult to remember that that isn't an intrinsic weakness of the medium.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Were some people seriously fooled that it was a hologram?

    The way it jerked suddenly to new camera angles was a giveaway. I thought cooler than the people was the visualizations they devised.

    Linger

    It does tell you how relatively close parties are compared to each other, which is interesting. But how absolutely close to each other is unknown, because there is way to measure the distance between a yes and a no vote. One tiny change might be enough for them to change their no to a yes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    ...there is no way to measure... my bad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I mean if all the votes were about the same level of importance as 'whether income tax should go up 0.0001%', then you could get this kind of pattern in your graph too. Nats would pull one way, Labour the other, followed by their allies respectively.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Right. From the graph alone, we don't know specifically which of the 110 bills contributed most to the split, which makes it hard to attach meaning to the dimensions or to any absolute numbers (were those to be provided). Still, to the extent that members can vote independently, presumably any bill that produced a 100% disagreement along party lines between the largest parties (thus strongly contributing to the principal component) would not be that trivial, but rather represent core party values. (100% disagreement for one-man bands, OTOH, is less informative, for the reasons you've mentioned.) The thing is, if I've guessed the scales correctly, then there were very few if any such bills out of the 110 presented.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Ah well. Off to find out what the good citizens of Mangere think of it all.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Actually, it wasn't me, and I'm too lazy to go back through the thread now and find out who did ask.

    You'll take the credit and like it, young lady! :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Were some people seriously fooled that it was a hologram?

    The way it jerked suddenly to new camera angles was a giveaway. I thought cooler than the people was the visualizations they devised.

    I just found it hilarious that the half-assed Kiwi version looked *significantly* better than CNN's much-heralded attempt at the same thing during the American election coverage. Way less static.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Oh, Ben -- I forgot one other problem with the PCA (which in part links to your point about quantifying vote differences, but is mathematically even worse):
    (iii) the behaviour measured (voting choice) isn't necessarily scalar (=your point), or even *ordinal*, as there can be (and have been) cases where two parties both oppose a bill -- or both support a bill -- but for completely opposite reasons. In order to give any interpretation to the principal components, we have to assume (or hope) that such cases are extremely rare.
    (The original analyst was very careful to avoid interpreting the dimensions; but an uninterpretable principal component is effectively useless.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • HenryB,

    Me too - but do you have a better theory about that particular festering anomaly in promoting talent?

    Two theories required. One theory relates to Helen Clark's hanging on to Tizard, a clearly incompetent minister. The other would relate to why Tim Barnett didn't get a Ministerial position. Given Chris Carter's prominence, I think some other theory is required than the one proposed.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Another reason to be happy.

    Stephen Franks lost the candidate race for Wellington Central, on the back of a National landslide and winning the Party vote. I guess they just don't like him :)

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Me too - but do you have a better theory about that particular festering anomaly in promoting talent?

    Well, from what I've heard (and I'd throw in the caveat that my contacts in Labour circles are hardly comprehensive), Tim is a very talented man but can leave people feeling like Queen Victoria allegedly did about Gladstone: "'He speaks to me as if I were a public meeting."

    But having said that, I also understand he was a pretty effective Senior Government Whip. Not a glamour job, but any halfway competent leader is going to make sure that role is filled by someone absolutely reliable.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    And so it's nothing other than a vote for the exact middle. Definitely not a vote for Act, and esp not for Douglas. If Act exerts any influence, then Key will disappoint a lot of people who thought nothing would be very different under this kinder, gentler National government.

    It's easier if you see Labour and National as centrist parties with only minor variation on how they want to run the show.

    You know, maybe Labour and National should consider forming a coalition. Serious.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    I will say, what really disgusted me about Roger Douglas's appearance on the Saturday night coverage was how contemptuous he seemed. This did not seem like a man happy to be back in parliament- at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Oh no, this was a man hellbent on retribution.

    Oh yeah, I noticed that too. He seems a bit bitter, all things considered.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    You know, maybe Labour and National should consider forming a coalition. Serious.

    That would a fun process -- though you'd have to coduct it somewhere you could just clean the blood and bone off the floor (and walls and ceiling) with a high pressure hose. :) But just because the differences between the center-right and the center-left aren't exactly those that marked the Protestant Reformation, doesn't mean they don't exist.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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