OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus

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  • DCBCauchi, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    Harmony is nice. Science is the religion of the Atheist. It’s fucking amazing, far more spiritual than stained glass and wine.

    Oh, but now we're getting into the Secret Knowledge of the Ancient Temple-Builders.

    Let's not go there. Don't get me started.

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    I love secret knowledge. It's like insider trading for the mind. What are you DCB? Does your religion have a name. I'm looking.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • DCBCauchi, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    Yep, this is a core of the fear of the Winz class. As Johnny Banks reminded us only a few months ago, they be smoking P, watching porn and then running out of money to do that, so they will ROB EPSOM.

    I remember as a kid someone telling me the difference between Left and Right was in perception of humanity. The Left see people as flawed but perfectible, needing encouragement. The Right see people as inherently irredeemably flawed and in need of firm guidance.

    I remember thinking, hmm, well one of these positions meets the observable facts much better than the other. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong one.

    Bloody unresolvable contradictions.

    Surely, the basic political question, how to organise society, comes down to how do we resolve conflicting interests?

    I want this and you want that, but if I have this you can’t have that and if you have that I can’t have this. What do we do?

    The classic political answer to this question is whoever has the biggest stick gets both this and that.

    All the time in conversation (I have an annoying habit of butting into conversations in pubs), people will say to me ‘But majority rules.’ As if purely by virtue of being the majority they get to impose their will on the minority as they wish.

    Bollocks to that. Ask a class of five year olds if that’s fair.

    (And, in response to something else entirely, I have no religion, just insanity.)

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    The Right see people as inherently irredeemably flawed and in need of firm guidance.

    Yeh, harsh but I can't see any other conclusion. John Key is the dream Pakeha.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • martinb, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    hey Jeremy I understand you were trying to start a discussion about Paul Ifill's influence on the nascent middle class football culture in New Zealand, but perhaps Ben "Scores winners" Sigmund, or Manny "God with us" Muscat may have been a better place to start- golly am I hoping for 3 'Nix wins plus beating the Aussie's at cricket!

    Dear I say it my girlfriend should go on overseas trips more often for these important sporting weeks!

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to martinb,

    I just dig Ifill. He could be premiership but he's here.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    John Key is the dream Pakeha.

    He may be the dream "New Zealand European" but I doubt he's earned the other label.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    The ASBP?? heh.

    Sport and class in NZ is interesting, or class and ethnicity.

    This discussion: from the ashes.

    I remember this coming up as a discussion point in my 5th form English class after studying Pygmalion.

    I was one of two students who argued for the proposition "that New Zealand wasn't a society where class mattered."

    I, the idealist, argued equality of opportunities, assistance to achieve (eg Ms Bennet) and the justice system so that there was a fairness in way the law was applied irrespective of who you are, at that time citing the catching of tax evaders.

    The other student argued that we had shrugged the historical shackles of the English or European class system and the basis for it there wasn't relevant here.

    Other students, from memory, argued about the importance of connections, schools, knowing the right people (particularly given say a Kings preball- Norgate, Key and so on...!) ...and other things I have forgotten.

    Gee, this is one to go dig out those academicky articles or smart folk right? I've think I've got Belich on this somewhere...

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sacha,

    +1

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to DCBCauchi,

    Surely, the basic political question, how to organise society, comes down to how do we resolve conflicting interests?

    I want this and you want that, but if I have this you can’t have that and if you have that I can’t have this. What do we do?

    The classic political answer to this question is whoever has the biggest stick gets both this and that.

    In the case of Japan and Germany – two nations with a long tradition of militarism – it sadly took complete devastation to make them realise the futility of weaponised demagoguery.

    Likewise, within industrialised nations, people can be Stepfordishly blind or Bunkerishly contemptuous to the seething underclasses, until a giant fireball of anger and despair erupts on their doorstep – LA in 1992, Paris 2005, London 2011, you name it. They’d either pause and think, or they’ll retreat further into their barb wired comfort blankets.

    With apologies to Paul Weller, I can’t think of a more fitting song to illustrate the divide.

    Sup up your beer and collect your fags,
    There’s a row going on down near Manukau.
    Get out your mat and pray to the West.
    I’ll get out mine and pray for myself.

    Thought you were smart when you took them on,
    But you didn’t take a peep in their artillery room.
    All that rugby puts hairs on your chest.
    What chance have you got against a tie and a crest?

    Hello-Hurrah – what a nice day for the Grammar Rifles.
    Hello-Hurrah – I hope rain stops play for the Grammar Rifles.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    He may be the dream "New Zealand European" but I doubt he's earned the other label.

    I was under the illusion they were the same word.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Bennett wins back Waitakere in judicial recount, Sepuloni down the road.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    New Zealand 'Europeans' call themselves that. They abhor the name given by the
    first settlers for people of European descent *born here* because - dammit man! Our chosen name is what we are, right?

    So, they are permanantly torn-in-half people...with a permanant resentment of uppity 'natives'-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sacha,

    O shit-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Waitakere is a strange electorate, new lynn nek door , even with mr smarmypants is labour .

    Paula Bennett is a basher and its sad to see her winning that electorate.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    I was under the illusion they were the same word.

    Won't get into it now, but culturally they bring different baggage. And StatsNZ replacing one with the other on official forms was a political reflection of that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade, in reply to Sacha,

    Yeh, but we know who THE NEW ZEALANDERS are, they be pakeha.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Regardless of who they are, the left shouldn't have any trouble differentiating itself from Bill English's understanding of what his govt's new poverty committee is for.

    It will be concerned with getting the best results from the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on social service delivery, he says.
    ...

    The poverty committee would provide oversight for welfare and housing reforms and work in the youth justice sector which had built up momentum.

    It would provide oversight for developments in whanau ora and for a grassroots social sector trial taking place in six centres - Kawerau, Tokoroa, Te Kuiti, Taumarunui, Levin, and Gore - which the Government quietly began in August without any formal statement by a minister.

    The trials under the management of a non-government organisation or individual manager will run for two years and are designed to try to find out what works and what doesn't in terms of interventions to help young people in truancy, unemployment, getting off drugs or whatever their problem is.
    ...

    Asked what measure the committee would adopt for poverty, Mr English said measuring poverty was not a big issue.

    So, overseeing trials of privatising social service delivery then - begun before the election campaign but strangely not mentioned during it. And what about those NGOs who do so much of the frontline work?

    "They are not driven by real results, they are driven by caring and supporting and helping."

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Jeremy Eade,

    "The New Zealanders" was the English term for Maori, for quite a long time (over a century.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Greg Dawson,

    (and I could write a book about “don’t be a dick”, I really could)

    Umm, I know I'm interrupting something, but can we have that book? Or the discussion and debate that makes that book?

    I like Danielle’s answer, but just to expand the sense in which I think it’s pertinent:

    Roughly speaking an online community can be run like a bunker, a lounge or a public square. If it’s a bunker, then there will be a strict code on the behaviour that is or isn’t tolerated and the topics that are or aren’t legitimate, so etiquette won’t really come into it. If it’s a lounge, then “don’t be a dick” works quite well, with the caveat that what constitutes being a dick will always be a matter of debate and be a little or very arbitrary. (In the PAS demographic for instance it still seems okay to be dicks about The Feelers, or so I’ve observed.)

    Now maybe PAS is in fact a lounge. It used to be called a Cafè and Russell has made variations on that analogy numerous times. But I think it’s also a lounge that aspires to be a public square sometimes. And if PAS is or would like to be a public square, then “don’t be a dick” doesn’t work at all, and much more thought needs to go into the kind of speech that is promoted and the kind of speech that is tolerated.

    I happen to think that the nation is in fairly desperately need of a public square, in fact more than one, and that PAS could fulfil that role without losing its conviviality or its liberal core (which I don’t see as a problem per se). But yeah, if it has that aspiration then I think it needs to work a little harder at not foreclosing debate on a range of issues.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I also want to respond briefly on the Grant Robertson thing because I think it’s pertinent: I don’t have much of a problem with the guy, I thought he was weak on special needs in education but liked a couple of his campaigns in Parliament (particularly on the vote to prisoners). I am however enormously frustrated by the tendency on the part of almost all of our politicians – and certainly not just Robertson – to empty their speeches of political content, leaving us to try to divine what they’re about from Hansard or their voting record or inside knowledge of party debates. When Robertson appeared to be supporting Parker, who’s on the far right of the party, it came, if not as a surprise, as a confirmation that I was at a complete loss to work out who he was. And so I asked PAS because here he is well liked, and I figured somebody could enlighten me.

    This speaks directly to the issue of the leadership contest, and the topic of this post: we can’t have two aspiring party leaders not say a word about the concrete political direction in which they want to take the party and be okay with it. Politics isn’t a zero sum game, where you provide for everyone across the board, as if every component of society (read: class) had the same economic interest. I would like to know from the leader of a Labour party what they think about unions, about welfare, about taxation, about party organization, about the role of activists and NGOs; what are their political solutions to the country’s problems, not in detailed policy terms, but in broad yet meaningful strokes. I think we deserve that. And I think that our discussions here and in other progressive, independent forums shouldn’t replicate the narrative that the mainstream media and the party strategists foist upon us, which is all about personality and theatre. Otherwise what’s the point? But if we are interested in questioning that narrative, then we might have to concede that there is a problem with the idea (implied for instance in the very popular video by Robert Reich that somebody quoted upthread) that what is good for the middle class – ie, by and large, us – is automatically good for the nation. It is a very self-serving view that is directly contradicted by some pretty harsh data on how liberals feel about the working class in New Zealand. We should face up to this stuff.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    And if PAS is or would like to be a public square, then “don’t be a dick” doesn’t work at all, and much more thought needs to go into the kind of speech that is promoted and the kind of speech that is tolerated.

    The governance requirements of a fully civic space are greater, yes. However, well-resourced public institutions like parliament and local councils don't seem to be feeling much pressure to reflect the interests of all citizens, let alone listen to their voices.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    It's not just governance. It's the extent to which the community allows dissent. "Don't be a dick" is very coercive.

    I've got more to say, but it's Friday night, and I'm about to kick back and watch some trashy TV with my partner who hasn't been home on a Friday night for far too long. Tomorrow...

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Deborah,

    It's the extent to which the community allows dissent.

    I consider that to be part of governance (not talking narrowly corporate model). Similar televisual plans this eve, sans distraction.. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to DCBCauchi,

    Religions are incredibly rigid class structure. Even setting aside the exclusion of all those who don't believe exactly what you believe, then the priest class is very stratified with enormous barriers to entry.

    Sure the ideology says everyone is equal but the practice of religion is very different from the ideology.

    Whee politics and religion:)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

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