Chris Trotter

Trotter on the bull-fight that was Election 2014

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Chris Trotter has now commented in writing about the election result.

He summarises:

Overall, the image presented to the electorate was one of John Key as the embattled matador. Alone in the arena, he faced charge after charge from a seemingly never-ending succession of bulls. But with every twirl of his cape and flash of his sword the pile of dispatched cattle-beasts grew higher. The crowd cheered. The roses rained down. “Bravo!” shouted 48 percent of New Zealand. “Three more years!”   Read more »

How about all those game changers, eh?

During the last parliamentary term we were all told repeatedly that this policy or that person was a “game changer”.

How did those game changers all work out?

Chris Trotter thought Matt McCarten was a game changer:

These are the stakes the Left is playing for – and they could not be higher. If progressive New Zealand rallies to Cunliffe’s and McCarten’s bright-red banner and helps them convince Middle New Zealand that Labourism, far from being an alien and dangerous creed, actually stands for all that is best in this nation, then it will have won an historic and lasting victory. But if it fails to seize the opportunity it has been given, then all that is worth fighting for on the Left will go down to defeat and New Zealand will be National’s for the foreseeable future.

Now IS the time for all good comrades to come to the aid of the party. Because, whichever way it turns out, the appointment of Matt McCarten is bound to be a game-changer.

Chris Trotter was very prescient in that post, he also predicted disaster.

[T]he Left has been given an extraordinary opportunity to prove that it still has something to offer New Zealand, but a desperately short period of time in which to do it. If old wounds, old grudges, old defeats (are you listening Jim?) are allowed to get in the way of making this unprecedented situation work to the advantage of ordinary New Zealanders, then it will end in failure.

And that failure won’t just be Cunliffe’s and McCarten’s, it will be the failure of the entire progressive movement. And it won’t just be for a triennium (or three) it will be for an entire generation.

If Cunliffe and McCarten are allowed to fail, the Right of the Labour Party and their fellow travellers in the broader labour movement (all the people who worked so hard to prevent Cunliffe rising to the leadership) will say:

“Well, you got your wish. You elected a leader pledged to take Labour to the Left. And just look what happened. Middle New Zealand ran screaming into the arms of John Key and Labour ended up with a Party Vote even more pitiful than National’s in 2002! So don’t you dare try peddling that ‘If we build a left-wing Labour Party they will come’ line ever again! You did – and they didn’t.”

Be in no doubt that this will happen – just as it did in the years after the British Labour Party’s crushing defeat in the general election of 1983. The Labour Right called Labour’s socialist manifesto “the longest suicide note in history” and the long-march towards Blairism and the re-writing of Clause Four began. (Never mind the impact of Maggie Thatcher’s unlikely victory in the South Atlantic, it was Michael Foot’s socialism wot won it for the Tories!)

Plenty of others thought Matt McCarten was a game changer…they just didn’t realise he wasn’t working for Labour. He certainly was a game changer…for National.    Read more »

Labour Still don’t have a Leadership Election Code of Conduct Online

Labour still do not have their leadership code of conduct online.

Not only that but unless you have the old constitution link you cannot get the constitution off their web site.

This is typical of a dysfunctional party that can’t get their act together.

I have been calling for them to publish the code of conduct since the end of June, but Tim Barnett is too useless to get it online.

Maybe this is his attempt to patch protect and ensure that Cunliffe stays on as leader after he has tanked Labour’s vote.

Meanwhile, as David Cunliffe continues to focus on transparency perhaps he’d like to reveal who his secret donors were…before I do.

Labour right now are heading for a hiding they can’t stop.   Read more »

Trotter on Good dead v Bad dead

Don’t know why I missed this yesterday.  It’s one of Chris Trotter’s best essays in some time.  A little on the heavy side first thing in the morning, but worth the time:

Where are the impassioned streams of citizens flooding our nation’s streets to protest against the actions of the Islamic State?

The righteous wrath stirred up by the Israeli assault upon Gaza has been plain to see. But the barbaric punishment meted out to Christians, captive Iraqi soldiers, Shia Muslims and followers of the ancient Yazidi faith has yet to inspire anyone to apply paint to placard.

Given the chorus of rage currently directed at the “Zionist Entity”, why are those who profess “progressive” sympathies so silent when it comes to the outrages perpetrated by the self-proclaimed caliphate?

The latest of these, the beheading of an American journalist, has generated a wave of revulsion around the world. Not least on account of the perpetrators’ cynical (but effective) use of social media to publicise their medieval celebration of cruelty and death.

But where are the Hollywood movie stars emoting to camera over the ritual killing of their defenceless compatriot? Where are the protest crowds of outraged progressives demanding justice for James Foley?

Does nobody else think it odd that the gunning down of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, can spark days of passionate protest, but the agonising decapitation of a helpless journalist elicits condemnation only from “mainstream” politicians and the equally despised “mainstream” media? Did progressives maintain a similar silence when images of a terrified Palestinian boy, caught in a deadly crossfire of Israeli bullets, appeared on the world’s television screens? No, they did not.

More and more, it seems to me, we are being presented with what some commentators are calling “good dead” and “bad dead”.

Why is Minto and his union rent-a-crowd out there calling for the destruction of Israel, yet they have no similar outrage when it comes to other deaths?   Chris is onto it.   Read more »

Trotter on politics, no surprises we are all nasty

Chris Trotter is once again the sensible and reasoned commentator of the left.

He reckons there are two kinds of politics, foul and fouler.

The sanctimony of many on the left is astonishing to watch…and Chris Trotter in his usual manner softly points this out.

Nor is the dark anti-hero of Hager’s Dirty Politics, Cameron Slater, without precedent when it comes to the New Zealand Right’s long history of doing damage to its political enemies.

As Listener journalist (and now Bill English’s press secretary) Joanne Black wrote in her review of Redmer Yska’s study of the newspaper Truth (of which, ironically, Slater was the last editor): “For nearly 40 years [James] Dunn, as Truth’s in-house censor, read almost every word of every edition before it was printed. But his influence was not only on what not to publish for fear of defamation suits. He also played a backroom editor-in-chief role and was himself the source of many stories, including those that satisfied his virulent anti- Communist beliefs, which were shared by editor Russell Gault.”

The great Prussian military theoretician, Carl von Clausewitz, famously described war as “the continuation of politics by other means.”

I would argue strongly that the reverse of that famous formulation is equally true. That politics is the continuation of war by other means.    Read more »

Now we get to see the real dirty politics

wewwwwwwwwNicky Hager reckons that playing politics hard is “Dirty Politics”.

Well I reckon having political operatives emails hacked and published in a book is pretty low dirty politics, and illegal to boot.

So too is breaking into an MPs office and rummaging through it and nicking two laptops and hacking his private emails.

The dirty politics saga has taken a fresh twist with the offices of a National Party politician burgled.

Rodney MP Mark Mitchell had a laptop and phones stolen in the burglaries — and his email hacked.

In response to Herald on Sunday inquiries, Mitchell confirmed:

• His parliamentary office in Wellington was broken into on September 16 last year. Police investigated and swept the office for bugs but none was found.

• His Rodney constituency office in Orewa was broken into in early October and a laptop and two phones were taken. Police investigated but no arrests have been made.

• His personal email was hacked.

The revelations come after the release of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, which claims that National colluded in smear campaigns by right-wing blogger Cameron Slater.

So, what we have here is a vocal opponent of Kim Dotcom, who along with me, has been hacked and had his office ransacked and laptops stolen.

This is the dirty politics, not playing politics hard.   Read more »

When Will The Centre-Left Call Time On Laila?

Laila Harre has lived a charmed life in New Zealand politics.

Her track record in the cold light of day is completely destructive and dreadful but wonderfully so to the left and the Union movement.  Apparently she was the “best MP Labour never had”.  Now she is nothing but their worst nightmare.

In 2014 her comic sideshow is crowding out valuable media time for Labour this election. Chris Hipkins, Kelvin Davis and Stuart Nash are over it. There’s no way David Cunliffe would be too happy either.  He just has to stop apologising for being a man and stand up and be one and stop the far leftie sideshow attaching to him like a festering scab.

Harre uses her faux ditziness and feminine charms to tame the men of the left and bring the men of the right to believing “oh she’s just lovely that Laila it’s (insert male unionist/far leftie) we have to worry about”.   This veneer is wearing thin.

There’s one thing about the far left that I find disgusting more than anything else. Their sanctimonious claims they care and have better morals than anyone on the far right.

Their entire platform is to paint us as the nasty aggressive win at all cost ones. This may of course be true but there’s something about being a right winger that I am extremely proud of.

Our political honesty.

I am involved in everything in life to win and for us to win the far left have to lose which means relentlessly pounding them and their crippled 3 legged high horse they ride in on.   I don’t believe that the hapless poor the far left need to keep poor to retain their voter base, have a divine right to keep reproducing or even keep their kids when they’re never going to be able to get themselves out of their own self-fulfilling poverty trap. I believe that adults who keep making bad choices in their lives because they are terminally stupid and know the taxpayer will bail them out need a lot more stick than more carrots.  I won’t change my mind in a discussion with anyone on these matters.

This honesty has been with the far left in New Zealand as well in opposing this view.  Until now they have practiced what they preach.  Sue Bradford is the only exception as she stuck to her ideological purity and told the man and his money to shove it.

Kim Dotcom has done us on the right a huge favour in buying busloads of the far left movement and making them his army of recreational playthings for a few months.  Dotcom has proven just how bad these nasty, filthy, sanctimonious envy-driven liars on the far left actually are.

And there’s nothing worse than a liar. Because people who lie are arrogant enough to believe everyone around them is stupid enough to believe their lies.

Imagine even the centrist Young Nats producing a video with a baying crowd chanting “Fuck Laila Harre” as John Key stood on stage whooping it up like a bloated lump of gangster white trash for the camera? For a starter Key and Sean Topham would be subject to a police complaint and talk of  a private prosecution. Harre would have extra security on her cushy middle class existence as she would perceive it a threat on hers and her family’s safety. She would be on Campbell Live blubbing it up for the cameras as sugar Daddy Kim Dotcom (and that is what he is) would use some of his hidden fortune to go buy her a nice new outfit from Smith and Caughey to cheer her up. They would also without a shadow of a doubt claim the GCSB is watching them and it’s all the fault of the Jews as they invoked a Free Hamas chant and burned a flag or two. That’s what the far left do in their spare time.  And  while his army are out campaigning for him to stay in New Zealand,  sugar Daddy Kim makes jokes on twitter about killing prostitutes.

Harre has always suffered from an extreme case of passive aggressive victim behaviour. Anytime she’s felt threatened she’s defaulted to the child like “the big kids are picking on me” defence as a form of attack to gain sympathy as a lot of outwardly demure but inwardly rat cunning women do. Until now she’s been off limits to a good schellacking by the right. In the most part because Matthew Hooton remains under her spell.

Harre’s failure to distance herself from a revolting video shot for the Internet Party and her laughing off of Kim Dotcom’s offensive tweets and behaviour means all gloves are off.

Up until taking Dotcom’s cash in an obviously orchestrated jack up to help the far left in New Zealand sanctioned  no doubt by Matt McCarten, himself a classic passive aggressive “woe is us” far leftie, Harre at least had some dignity and respect.

That respect included it from the polar opposite  extremes. The far left and right have had a begrudging respect for each other due to the lack of love for populist half measures. The respect comes from the ideological purity both sides are were proud of. The purity Chris Trotter will bore his younger students with ad nauseum over a cheap beer. This respect of ideological purity was the only way the 17 year old me could sit through a Jane Kelsey paper and enjoy it. Knowing she actually practices the utter repressive b.s she preaches made it easier. It is the only way Chris Trotter can sit in a room with a true right winger.

As much as I would never support a new tax in my life proposed by a Unionist or indeed Unions at all and view all taxation as theft I would never expect Harre to take money and support from a convicted criminal multi-millionaire German who bought and embellished his way into New Zealand. This is the man who not only employs unskilled foreign labour over local unskilled labour many whom would be Mana voters, he has the audacity not to pay the foreigners on time and flaunts his wealth around them as they stay unpaid. Harre has then been bought and paid for to tour the country at his side while inciting kids to classlessly chant “Fuck John Key”.

Harre is a bit too caught up in her new Star Trek world to know it but Kim Dotcom is doing that to her and quite nicely f***ing her respect among everyone in the public but her truest of believer right now.

In many ways you just want her to continue, it will only help National’s vote.

Checkers players versus Chess players in politics

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Phil Quin notes that there appear to be many in side Labour who are playing political chess when they are more suited to playing checkers.

Leaked revelations of a dispute between Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis and the party’s Head Office over a proposed negative campaign against Hone Harawira and Kim Dotcom have been used as evidence of Davis going rogue.  In truth, the documents show a candidate engaged in nothing more sinister than garden variety electioneering; of trying to win a tough political fight. The tone of the news coverage appears to align with the political objectives of whoever furnished the leaks to begin with: to shut Davis up, and and his campaign operation down.

A more intriguing, as well as troubling, aspect of the leaked emails from Labour’s General Secretary Tim Barnett suggests someone is telling porkies about the party’s Maori seat strategy, not to mention understating its eagerness to figuratively wade in Kim Dotcom’s pool.

In sharp contrast to comments David Cunliffe made as recently as last Tuesday, Barnett prohibits the Labour campaign in Te Tai Tokerau from campaigning against the Internet Mana Party which he casts as a “progressive” ally.  Cunliffe, meanwhile, repeatedly told Radio Live’s Duncan Garner that Labour was “absolutely not” doing a deal with the Internet Mana Party, and that “we are backing Kelvin Davis to win in the North.”  And yet we now know, just a few weeks earlier, Secretary Barnett was telling the Davis campaign team to refrain from “picking fights” with Harawira and Dotcom.  There shouldn’t be any doubt about what Barnett is advocating here: since ‘picking fights’ with opponents is the very stuff of elections, Barnett is effectively instructing Davis to ‘run dead’ rather than actually campaign to win in Te Tai Tokerau.

At best, this suggests Mr Barnett does not stand by his leader’s oft-repeated mantra that Labour intends to contest all seven Maori seats, including Te Tai Tokerau.  At worst, it calls into question whether any such strategy ever existed.

We are witnessing yet more attempts at three dimensional chess by people far better suited to checkers.

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The problem with Labour’s campaign so far, they’ve forgotten we have MMP

Apart from the obvious policy cock-ups there is a fundamental problem with Labour’s campaign.

They are basically running and electorate vote campaign and one that is worse than in 2011 when Goff flopped to the lowest vote in 80 years.

Right now Labour are on target to the lowest vote in their 98 year history.

But far be it from me to criticise, let the lefty blogsters explain.

Danyl Mclauchlan first, from Wellington:

Photo/ Dimpost

Photo/ Dimpost

All of the Labour billboards are for the electorate candidates: Cunliffe’s face was nowhere to be seen. If you squint you can just make out the Labour logo in the bottom right-hand corner of the board. Seems like a weird way to run an MMP campaign. Especially since that’s just what they did three years ago and this was widely regarded as a catastrophically stupid move contributing to their historic defeat.

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Labour MPs “not fit for purpose” – Trotter

Chris Trotter laments the situation the Labour party finds itself in.

He has decided that the current Labour MPs are “not fit for purpose”.

Which is a fine sentiment, but misses the point that if he finds them unfit for purpose then there is little reason at all to vote for them, or for the Labour party.

Has Labour ever been so hopelessly lost? Has the path to electoral victory ever been so obscured? Starting from where they are now, how can they possibly get to where they need to be on 20 September?

What is it? What is making it so hard for David Cunliffe and his party to get any sort of political traction?

The answer lies in Labour’s caucus. Not only is a majority of the caucus profoundly unhappy with Cunliffe as their leader, it is also profoundly at odds with the Labour Party members who elected him. Labour’s MPs are torn between their desire to occupy the Treasury benches – and thus be free of the Party’s influence – and the realisation that even becoming the government would only postpone the confrontation with the party that Cunliffe’s election made inevitable.

Expressing the problem with maximum brutality: most of Labour’s present crop of MPs are not fit for purpose. A handful are holdovers from the Rogernomics Era – and thus reminders of the very worst period in Labour’s history. More are the products of Helen Clark’s personal intervention in the candidate selection process; followers of a career-path that began in the student unions (or MFAT) and ended on the Prime Minister’s floor of the Beehive. The remainder are what emerges from the deeply compromised horse-trading that assembles Labour’s Party List – burnt out trade unionists and identity politicians.

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