OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus

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  • Heather Gaye,

    Jacinda is absolutely who I want in my corner against PFB, and if Shearer can do for science and innovation what Aunty Helen did for culture and heritage I'll be a happy camper.

    It still kinda looks like they think the Greens are their competition, but.

    Also, how many finance spokespeople does one party need?

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong,

    Fantastic to see Phil Twyford get a boost too.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Back on topic!

    What the frig is "Inter-Faith Dialogue"?

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

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Back off topic:

    I've lain awake questioning my own judgement, and feeling pissed off.

    There's a lot of that going around (even in the readership. I'm avoiding using the word "lurkers", as it connotes malice) and it's a credit to you that you feel that way. Most blog owners would take the line that if people don't like their rules they can fuck off.

    It still remains your site. It's up to you to what extent you feel it should be a public square or a cafe, or a mixture. Considering that it's part of your livelihood, you have much more to gain or lose than most.

    Feel free to let me know what to do about that.

    There's the rub. I don't know. I can't be sure if my self censorship is good or bad, on the whole. That's why I've asked for people to consider the times they dissented from the core values, and how it worked out for them. There have been precious few responses to that, and that's telling in itself. Either people didn't dissent, or they're still afraid to say, or they're gone and we're not going to hear from them. Are any of those really good outcomes?

    On how self-censorship feels, one of the things about a vague rule of conduct, is that it can actually end up stricter than a strict rule. If the boundaries are not enforced by knowledge of where the fences are, but just by some known points within the boundaries (ie exemplars of what kind of conduct is OK), then people are going to be found far closer to those points, or they'll wander off altogether. There won't be an even distribution within a wide range, but rather a tight cluster around the exemplars. People will feel less and less comfortable, the further from the exemplars they are. Contrast to how it feels with strict rules - anywhere within the boundaries is fine, do as you please. Step over them and suffer the consequences. You could choose to permanently live right on the fenceline, and still feel an integral and accepted part of the community.

    So, "don't be a dick" sets up a dynamic wherein if I feel a need to say something that is some distance from the exemplars, I have to weigh up how much of a dick am I being, by the exemplary standards. In a boundary system, I have less concerns about the distance from the exemplars. What I'm worried about are the boundaries. Within them, I should feel reasonably free to say anything without being considered a dick at all.

    Just some food for thought. I can't solve the problem of cultivating safe discussion whilst allowing dissent. It seems like a group problem, with a group solution.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Cecelia,

    He looks tired and old at only 54

    Woah... ageist much? Way too much like the deposition of Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister, for my liking...

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

  • Lew Stoddart, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    What the frig is “Inter-Faith Dialogue”?

    Ask Arthur Skinner and/or Glynn Cardy.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 109 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    his community informs my thinking about New Zealand and the world and it is worth it.

    Tautoko!

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

  • Isaac Freeman, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    What the frig is “Inter-Faith Dialogue”?

    We normally just call it "Interfaith", but I can see why people might like a noun. It is basically what it sounds like: people from different religions talking to each other. To what end is often the topic, but the overall objective is usually to demonstrate that people from different religions don't actually hate each other, so just talking can be an end in itself.

    From a partisan perspective, I believe many in Labour are keen to strengthen ties with religious groups. There's a long history of engagement between churches and Labour, but the loudest voices at the moment are extremely conservative. So I'm sure Labour would like to promote progressive and liberal voices among the religious, and being involved in interfaith groups is a pretty good signifier.

    Here in Christchurch, the local Interfaith Society was largely brought together by Rafaa Antoun, who worked on Tim Barnett's electorate staff. Tim gave us lots of help getting started. Nicky Wagner (National) and Kennedy Graham (Green) have also been very supportive.

    What a Ministerial portfolio for Interfaith Dialogue would entail, I'm not so sure. One of the main achievements (backed heavily by the Labour government) thus far as been the 2007 <a href="http://www.hrc.co.nz/race-relations/te-ngira-the-nz-diversity-action-programme/statement-on-religious-diversity">Statement on Religious Diversity</a>. I would imagine one of the goals for further work might be to get Interfaith groups to the point where we can respond quickly in the media with reasonably authoritative statements on current events. We're fairly good at speaking out against religious intolerance, but I'm sure Labour would like us to comment on issues of poverty and equality too. Work in progress.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    Woah… ageist much?

    Aren't I allowed to be ageist at my age?

    Maybe the Herald used a tired looking pic to put up against Shearer's frequent use of the word "fresh". I mean ... fresh. What's fresh?

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    …just weighing in on the “don’t be a dick” debate, since it still seems to be ongoing, one thing that I find both interesting and slightly taxing is how often people here end up arguing semantics. Arguments can go on for pages before someone says “I think we’re on the same side here” or someone comes to the realisation themselves that they misinterpreted a post (or its intent), at which point there’s hope for a constructive discussion. Even then, by that point people have been arguing for so long and are so fraught they’ll just keep adjusting and adjusting, over semantics, in order to “make their point”, or to make a different point about not communicating properly, or whatever.

    I think more often than not, what starts the arguments is that people think they’ve come under attack when they *were* exercising good grace. Can I suggest that the corollary of acting in good grace is to presume others are communicating in good faith? Take a breath, consider that if you read something that seemed especially dickish/bigoted/stupid it’s very unlikely to have been meant that way (or at least is borne of ignorance rather than malice)? I reckon that rule of thumb would apply to nearly all the members of this community - that is, they're speaking in good faith - at least until an argument actually starts. And most of us can recognise trolls by now, I think.

    My self-censorship tends towards either over-qualifying, or just not posting if I think there’s a reasonable chance people will misread it badly. Perfect example: something as innocuous as “munted” – someone expressed surprise that it was nominated because they didn’t associate it with the earthquake, and then was berated when the post was apparently read as minimising the earthquake’s effect on the people of Christchurch.

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I've been briskly informed in this thread about what's incumbent on me -- not that I have any idea how I might go about much of it.

    And I have asked a couple of simple questions to help shed light on what Giovanni expects which he seems to have ignored. I have no sympathy for flouncing in those circumstances.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    Can I suggest that the corollary of acting in good grace is to presume others are communicating in good faith?

    Good point.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    The self-censoring I do in matching the tone of this community is totally swamped by the self-censoring I do because I know the internet is public medium which never forgets.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Sacha,

    And I have asked a couple of simple questions to help shed light on what Giovanni expects which he seems to have ignored

    Eh what? Ask them again, will you, I didn't wilfully ignore anything. It's been reasonably hard to keep up.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    presume others are communicating in good faith

    Heather is right! This is really really important.

    I've been told by friends when I asked them to read something I'd written that they could almost hear me speaking as they read it. I think it was meant as a compliment. I've also been told that I tend to "lecture" both in spoken and written form (not intended as a compliment, but from someone I love).

    But I've almost lost a job because I wrote something expecting the reader to read it they way I spoke it. Which was stupid. She read it with a totally different voice and assumed I was an arrogant prick (and yes we could debate the accuracy of that assessment :P).

    The point is, most people write as if they were speaking, which is fine if you write to someone who knows your voice and instinctively knows when you are being self-deprecating or taking the piss. But it's entirely possible that someone reading your words can read something utterly different into the tone (note the lecture mode or as we describe it here mansplaining).

    What that means here is that when you read something and think "what an arse" it's sometimes worth re-reading but imagining someone you respect (and care for) saying those words and seeing if they feel different, often they do.

    Which is my long winded way of saying what Heather said.

    As an aside given how hard it is for me to write with anything other than my own voice, I am in constant admiration of those who can write from another voice believably.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Thanks. Here's my question from today.

    insensitive to socioeconomic privilege, its vocabulary and its nuances

    Practical request: can you please link to a forum that you reckon does a good job with that.

    Also trying to find an earlier one upthread.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Isaac Freeman,

    We normally just call it “Interfaith”, but I can see why people might like a noun. It is basically what it sounds like: people from different religions talking to each other.

    This might sound rather odd coming from me, but I can “dialogue” with people of other faiths without a shadow cabinet portfolio or ministerial warrant attached. I’d actually argue that people of faith are the very people who should be most invested in Church (and synagogue and mosque and temple) and State keeping a wary but civil separation.

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

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    and here's the earlier question, similarly seeking clarification (and responding in passing to the exasperation you expressed).

    identifying progressivism or the Left with Labour/the Greens means reducing the aspirations of anybody below the middle class to whatever those two parties define as thinkable and achievable in real world terms. This is incredibly limiting.

    Please do suggest which other significant political movements/actors you believe we're overlooking. The thread was pretty clearly focused on political parties, and you mentioned unions earlier but if there are others then name them so we can better understand your despair.

    Thanks again.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Sacha,

    Practical request: can you please link to a forum that you reckon does a good job with that.

    Not a current generalist forum, no, not in English at least. One can find excellent and highly accessible writing outside of socialist discussion forums (Scott Hamilton at Reading the Maps and Dougal McNeill at Neu Hauf-Way Hoose are foremost in New Zealand in my books) but no model of what I'm thinking of. Of course there aren't very many open communities a-la PAS to begin with, which is rather the problem. However Usenet had some class-literate politically focussed groups back in the day, and it really shouldn't be an impossible thing to countenance. So long as the lack of that dimension on PAS is even perceived as a problem, and I'm not at all sure that it is.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I can “dialogue” with people of other faiths without a shadow cabinet portfolio or ministerial warrant attached

    Perhaps some sort of counter to the expected strenghtening of the Conservative Party over the next few years? Or a reflection of feedback from some Pacific voters, even?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I’d actually argue that people of faith are the very people who should be most invested in Church (and synagogue and mosque and temple) and State keeping a wary but civil separation.

    Yes, agreed. I'm comfortable with Labour's involvement in Interfaith as a party, but I'm unclear on how that would remain a good thing in government. Thus far, our main interaction has been via the Human Rights Commission, which seems a sensible arrangement to me.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Some years back Znet seemed good on providing the discussion-starters but I'm not sure I'd really characterise it as a community.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Sacha,

    Please do suggest which other significant political movements/actors you believe we're overlooking. The thread was pretty clearly focused on political parties, and you mentioned unions earlier but if there are others then name them so we can better understand your despair.

    Mana, the Poverty Action Group, the Alternative Welfare Working Group, the unions with a community outreach, socialist organisations, the Greens when they feel like it. As you'd know disability advocacy groups tend to become quite conscious of class divides. But yeah, there is stuff out there, just not a lot of it - as per the Bruce Jesson quote I think I snuck in there somewhere. However it is very important not to mistake lack of representation with lack of a constituency. Even from the very narrow viewpoint of party politics, it pays to remember that a full third of eligible voters didn't vote.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    However it is very important not to mistake lack of representation with lack of a constituency.

    Especially in disability politics, I hear you.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    There's also the The Social Justice Commission of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa & Polynesia, whose activists proved problematic for the Greens during the campaign. Your point is that they are 'movements', rather than parties, and thus are usually seen as outside the sphere of legitimate political debate; while the pronouncements of the Business Roundtable and various other groups are accorded large amounts of space.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

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