Brian Edwards

Braunias has a new book, and I’m in it, but the cheap bastard never sent me one

Steve Braunias is a good bastard, for a pinko scumbag I really like the guy.

I’ve probably ruined his lefty credentials now, but hey…who cares.

The other night he launched his book called Madmen: Inside the weirdest election campaign ever.

I had to laugh at the name of his publisher, Steve obviously got his inspiration for the name from my good friend Brian Edwards.

God knows where you can buy the book, but if you track it down enjoy the read…the cheap bastard didn’t even send me one despite the fact I’m in it!

I emailed Braunias too…which he loosely outlined in a blog post.Madmen

Following last night’s wildly successful book launch at the Auckland Central Library for Madmen: Inside the Weirdest Election Campaign Ever – 100 people in attendance, including Cactus Kate, Guyon Espiner, a homeless man in a top hat, Ant Timpson, Shayne Carter, two elderly people in advanced stages of dementia, Deborah Hill-Cone, Karl Puschmann, a man who displayed a dozen pieces of paper which he had thrown coffee onto, waited til the stains dried, and presented them as art, Gary Steel, Shayne Currie, Toby Manhire, Miriamo Kamo and her adorable three-year-old daughter, etc  – I came home to find an email from Whale Oil.

Actually, just to correct Steve and look for Nicky Hager, Cactus Kate went along.  Braunias confronted her at the entrance and said he didn’t invite her to which she replied “we often get what we don’t ask for” and proceed to sashay in the door to find the bar.  Nicky was nowhere in sight.

That is when all hell broke loose.    Read more »

Is this idiot reading my emails?

Scott Yorke at Imperator Fish seems to have hacked my emails.

He has a post about talking points for dealing with Andrew Little.

Time is of the essence now that Andrew Little has been confirmed as Labour’s new leader. You can’t afford to let him settle in, to be effective, to unite the various party factions. He needs to be sabotaged, and there’s no time to waste. It’s your job to run him down at every opportunity.

I have compiled a list of talking points for you to use on your blogs and other forms of media. This should save you from having to trawl through various other sites for mud to throw.

Gallery journalists and dime-a-dozen talking-head pundits: feel free to use as required for your columns and opinion pieces, in place of actual analysis.

Andrew Little talking points:

Beholden to union interests, no real public profile, couldn’t even win his electorate, a return to the bad old days of 1970s industrial relations, alarming hard-left agenda, unionist mates will be expecting payoff now, wonder what deals he’s made, anti-democratic, most members and caucus members wanted someone else as leader, unelectable, John Key will be relieved, dour and unlikeable, will further divide the party.

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Andrew Little a bit miffed by my good friend Brian Edwards

andrew_little_labour_simonwong1200

My good friend Brian Edwards (MGFBE) made this comment about Andrew Little the other day.

Of the remaining three I’m going to discount Andrew Little first. I simply don’t believe that the country is ready for a grim-faced former union leader to be Prime Minister or to be this country’s envoy overseas.

And boy has that annoyed Andrew Little, who spoke with Radio New Zealand’s  Focus on Politics show.    Read more »

My Good Friend Brian Edwards passed judgment on the NZ Herald

My Good Friend Brian Edwards seems a bit curmudgeonly these days. Perhaps the butcher has run out of good luncheon sausage?

Anyway MGFBE has passed judgement on the NZ Herald and found them…ermmm…wanting.

Under the editorship of Shayne Currie the New Zealand Herald has been transformed from a quality newspaper into little better than a trash tabloid.

I need to be a little more precise here. Mr Currie has responsibility primarily for the Monday-to-Friday Herald and it is to those editions that my remarks apply.   Read more »

Brian Edwards on the Labour leadership prospects, such as they are

My good friend Brian Edwards (MGFBE) is not happy.

He has written another erudite column about the dearth of talent that besets Labour.

He begins with a focus on euthanasia:

In the past I’ve written several posts and articles about voluntary euthanasia. The ‘voluntary’ bit is crucial, since no-one who wants to go on living, however great their pain or however inconvenient their continuing existence to others, should be cajoled or browbeaten into changing their mind.

But it is hard to come to terms with the overweening arrogance of someone who believes they have the right to deny another human being, whose ongoing suffering has deprived them of all joy in living and who wishes to end that suffering, the right to do so.

The laws that govern these decisions and procedures will of necessity be complex and they must be watertight. But they are not beyond our ability to design and implement. Other countries have done so.

I don’t want to restart this debate. That is not the purpose of this post. This post is about the significance of comments on euthanasia cited in this morning’s Herald by the four contenders for the Labour Party leadership.

Iain Lees-Galloway has taken over responsibility for the ‘End of Life Choice Bill’  after its sponsor, Maryan Street, failed to get elected in September. Lees-Galloway is apparently gauging support before deciding whether to put the Bill back on the private members’ bill ballot. It was removed last year under pressure from the Labour leadership who, according to the Herald, “were concerned it could be an election-year distraction or that it could deter conservative voters”. The new Labour leader, whoever that is, could apparently have the deciding voice on the voluntary euthanasia question.

So what did the contenders for that position have to say?

Well, Nanaia Manuta was in favour of reintroducing the bill  because it would show “that Labour would stand up for those difficult conversations that need to be had”.

I thought that was a pretty principled position to take.

David Parker, who voted against legalising voluntary euthanasia in 2003, didn’t want to comment till he’d talked to Lees-Galloway.

Non-committal and therefore less satisfactory perhaps.

Grant Robertson and Andrew Little both support voluntary euthanasia, but neither considered it a priority at the moment. The fairly clear subtext of their replies was that it was a vote-loser and that a party that had polled 25% in September couldn’t afford to be seen supporting unpopular policies.

I’d call that unprincipled.

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My good friend Brian Edwards on Labour’s leadership prospects

My good friend Brian Edwards seems to have gotten a second wind, or found some luncheon sausage because he has written two posts in as many days.

Yesterday he analysed the leadership prospects.

He seems to have lost some of his old circumspection.

His thoughts on Andrew Little:

I simply don’t believe that the country is ready for a grim-faced former union leader to be Prime Minister or to be this country’s envoy overseas.

Nanaia Mahuta:

Nanaia Mahuta has already conceded that she’s unlikely to win the race and she is to be admired for her honesty.

Which is a really back handed way of saying she is tits. That really is the most spectacular damning with faint praise I have seen in a long time.  Read more »

Brian Edwards on Labour’s leadership struggle

My good friend Brian Edwards gives his 10 cents worth on Labour’s leadership struggle.

It would have been nice if the Labour Party caucus had just been able to get together and pick a new leader, following the departure of David Cunliffe. That would have been the tidy way of doing things – a secret ballot, no dirty laundry washed in public, no protracted taking of soundings from all and sundry, no overt competition between the aspirants.

Let’s not do that then! Too sensible. Too easy. Too quick. Too like the way the National Party does things. And look where that got them.

So when the unions and the membership and the caucus have been consulted and weighed up the respective merits of the four contenders, there’ll be a new leader ready to take on John Key and the Nats.

Not an easy job when three out of four New Zealand voters just made it crystal  clear that they didn’t want a bar of you. And even less easy when you’ve just made it plain as a pikestaff to the electorate that no-one in your caucus stands out as the obvious, unchallengeable, next leader of the party. And certainly not Nanaia Mahuta, Andrew Little, Grant Robertson or David Parker.

Uh oh…all is not right in the Edwards household…perhaps the luncheon sausage ran out.

It’s not that they’re unintelligent or palpably untrustworthy or – as far as we know – have deep dark secrets waiting to emerge from the abyss like Kafka’s beetle. No, it’s just that three of them are dull and the fourth is interesting for the wrong reason.

No X-factor, no pizzazz, no charisma, no capacity to generate excitement. Oh for a Kirk, a Lange, a Clark. Good lord, even Geoffrey Palmer could play the trumpet!

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How to speak like a politician

Politico has a good article that analyses and teaches you how to speak like a politician.

Complaints about political language are hardly new. In a famous 1946 essay, George Orwell groused that it “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” But if anything, doubletalk and weasel words proliferate now more than ever. They’re a manifestation of both parties’ desires to doggedly stay on message amid a rapacious 24-7 news cycle and the compulsion of some politicians to pass judgment—on Twitter, on TV or in Politico—on most of the issues that surface during it.

In doing research for our new book on political rhetoric, we came across five general categories of Washington-speak—the devices that today’s politicians use in their never-ending quests to one-up each other while, at the same time, appearing spontaneous—and productive—to voters. Here’s what you need to know to keep up with the best of them—if that’s what you want to do.

Once you notice these you will be better armed at detecting bull ordure.

1. The polite knife in the back. Politicians like to be liked. So even when sticking it to an opponent, they have an incentive to stay positive. Even casual C-SPAN viewers will recognize the most common forms of this passive-aggressive approach.

Take “my good friend”—politician-speak for somebody he or she often can’t stand. “My good friend” is most commonly used on the House or Senate floors when addressing a colleague. Usually it’s a thinly veiled way of showing contempt for the other lawmaker while adhering to congressional rules of decorum. When Democratic Rep. Gene Green of Texas first arrived on Capitol Hill in the early 1990s, he recalled, “The joke we had was, when someone calls you their good friend, look behind you. I try not to say it unless people really are my good friends.’”   Read more »

The post from The Standard that Labour doesn’t want you to see

Lyn Prentice from The Standard likes to go on about how independent the authors are, how no one tells them what to do or say, and since the election has been gobbing off repeatedly along those lines.

Then yesterday he wrote a post attacking Clayton Cosgrove.

In the afternoon however the post disappeared, and this message popped up on The Standard.

standard message

So, after telling us how all independent they are they get a message from Tim Barnett to take the post down, and incredibly they then do so.

I have had, over the years, many requests from the hierarchy of the National party requests to take posts down, or instructions to stop bashing people, like Peter Goodfellow, and all those requests were met with a polite “Get stuffed”. If they pushed the issue then it go a stronger response along the lines of “Go f*ck yourself”.

Yet here we have a supposedly independent blog and author taking orders from the Labour party hierarchy.

Word from my Labour sources, both inside Fraser House and labour’s caucus is that Barnett and Moira Coatsworth are trying to hose down the animosity and open warfare and so are strong arming people to shut up, or remove posts like the one that has disappeared from The Standard.

Unfortunately for the world’s greatest sysop this is the internet…and nothing is gone even when you delete it.

So as a public service and as a matter of public interest in trying to understand why the Labour party is successfully censoring The Standard, here is the text of the post that the Labour party is trying to quietly bury.    Read more »

Brian Edwards on The Cunliffe – Bad reviews and a short season

My good friend Brian Edwards is not impressed with David Cunliffe and his latest performances.

To be absolutely fair to David  Cunliffe, I should perhaps add that, like all senior politicians, he has on his team people whose job it is to advise him on media issues, to analyse and comment on his radio and television appearances and to prepare him for upcoming interviews and debates, possibly by workshopping those exchanges. Their job is not to ra-ra their employer’s efforts but to be brutally frank in critically analysing his performance.

The blame for Cunliffe’s misguided and vote-losing approach to his exchanges with the Prime Minister during the last election and particularly his final televised debate with John Key on TV One, must be proportionally shared with those advisers.

I feel sorry for the advisors, because I suspect that David Cunliffe doesn’t take coaching at all well, and when he consults his mirror he gets conflicting advice.

The best television interviews look like chats. The tone is relaxed, the language informal, the posture forward, demonstrating interest and keenness. In last night’s interview with Campbell, Cunliffe’s tone is defensive and overbearing, his language formal and high-flown, his posture rigidly erect. His replies are repetitive and little more than a series of mini-speeches. He is talking at rather than to Campbell and the interviewer’s impatience and frustration become increasingly evident during the discussion. At one point Campbell accuses the former Labour Leader of being disingenuous.   Read more »