Bad taste biscuits, fake trenches, John Key - by all means call out these low hanging fruit, but really is that all you've got? I couldn't spot many of the 25,000-odd in Cranmer Square this morning who were there for the glorification or entertainment.
Pardon the self-promotion, but my two cents here:
Hey I’ve got a question, and it’s a genuine non-rhetorical one. But first:
1) I usually vote Labour
2) I’m not a party member
3) I’m not backing any particular horse in the current leadership race. No, really. I’m not just saying that to sound all reasonable and objective. I just can’t get excited about any of them.
Now here’s the thing. I’m hearing that Labour’s newish system of electing a leader, with the party and affiliates and all, is more democratic. But I’m not getting that.
It used to be the leader was elected by the caucus, who were voted in (list or electorate) by voters. We voters may not have agreed with caucus’s choice, but at least we voted for the people who voted for the leader. In that way it could be said we had some sort of say.
Now, under the new process, that some sort of say has been diluted by 60%.
So my question: for the vast proportion of Labour voters who are not Labour Party members, but on whose votes a Labour-led government will rely, and who wouldn’t mind having some sort of vague and indirect say in the leadership of the party they’re giving their precious tick to, how is the new process “more democratic”?
And can I just reiterate that I’m really not backing any leadership candidate. No, really.
There is a well-worn mantra here in Christchurch that “there’s a lot of people much worse off than us”, which I feel particularly keenly, so I always make a point of stating from the outset that I can only speak for myself.
Overall I liked “Hope and Wire”. I wasn’t troubled by the acting, and I thought some of it was very good. Same for the writing. And I certainly wasn’t troubled by the budget.
But there is something that keeps rolling around in my mind – this line from one of the characters:
"If you’d asked me before all the shaking started I would have said I was just a normal person, from a normal Christchurch family, no dramas, no big issues, no hidden cracks"
I think that a conscious decision was made that for several of the characters, the earthquakes would serve as a catalyst that would bring to a head already-existing (and undeniably important) issues: infidelity, domestic violence, racism, teenage peer pressure and the like. There’s a well-founded dramatic rationale for this: ideally a character’s story arc is not just about some external challenge; as well they are broken inside, and in the course of the drama undergo some personal transformation – sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
Here’s the argument though: we all have our existing issues – some trivial, some overwhelming. But for an awful lot of people in Canterbury, the quakes (and their aftermath) WERE the issue.
Split-second decisions make in the height of crisis. Bravery. Not-so-bravery (I still wonder, had I been in the CBD, how I would have acted). The sense of camaraderie in the weeks after, when Christchurch drivers were observed being polite to each other – and dread too as the aftershocks rolled in. The grim frustration and anger that built up as people continued to live in appalling conditions. The Kafkaesque dicking-around by EQC and insurance companies.
It seems to me that there is enough drama to be found simply in these events. And, to give it credit, “Hope and Wire” does portray many aspects of them. And will no doubt continue to do so. But it also portrays a lot of, shall we say, “generic” issues too.
I’m still thinking through whether that’s a problem. I know, though, that I want to avoid falling into the “I don’t like it because I would have done it differently” trap. I appreciate the effort that’s gone into “Hope and Wire”, I’m glad it was made and I really hope it serves the purpose Gaylene Preston intends for it.
My favourite oldie-but-goodie, when speaking of someone overly pious, is that he or she "wouldn't say 'bum' for sixpence".
Because so many people are now saying "I refute that" when they mean "I deny that".
But actually I think the best one's been nominated upthread. Descriptive of so many things this year, it has to be:
I like the green frame and the compact core. I like the greater space along the Avon. I like the precincts and the fact that most everything is within walking distance.
The argument that it does nothing for the suburbs is a red herring. This is the plan for the central city. There are many many residents in dire straits who deserve more help, but it need not be an either-or proposition.
There are unresolved issues: how to stop areas becoming empty spaces at times when major facilities aren't being used; how it will link in with wider public transport; how it will be paid for (I see the council is resisting asset sales, and good on them). And the stadium will continue to be a hot potato. I hope these things can be sorted out.
But look: the old Christchurch centre wasn't perfect. There was always talk of how best to revitalise it. And now many of the remaining good bits are being dismantled before our eyes. They have to be, of course, but like a classic rock radio station the hits just keep on coming. Today there is a hole where the old railway station clock was. I liked that clock.
So the fact that now there is a plan that's a giant leap better than what we have at present and, I think, a whole lot better than we had before – it feels good. As Gerard Smyth said on National Radio this week, finally we have something to look forward to.
I like it. So does just about everyone I've talked with.