Chris Trotter

Trotter on politicians, politics and bastards

Chris Trotter has a piece on the return of Judith Collins, and in that piece he makes the following observation:

The answer lies with, and in, us – the New Zealand electorate. Our steady disengagement from the political process (in which we were once amongst the world’s most enthusiastic participants) has been accompanied, and justified, by the widely-held belief that politics has become an almost entirely disreputable profession. Those who enter it are greeted with a knowing cynicism – as if both the voter and the politician have entered into a secret agreement that nothing good will ever come from the latter’s intentions and achievements.

In practical terms, this means that it is the honest and principled politicians who attract the most scathing condemnation. Such people have clearly failed to understand their job description, which demands only a show of decency – and not even that if the politician’s indecent objectives can be achieved swiftly, decisively – and with ostentatious brutality.

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Trotter: Andrew Little’s deck of cards

Chris Trotter writes about the problems with Labour and their candidate selection issues.

IT’S LIKE RESHUFFLING a deck of cards with all the face cards missing. No matter how often Andrew Little shuffles and cuts, cuts and shuffles, he’s never going to deal himself a winning hand. Labour’s failure to develop a simple and democratic method of selecting electorate candidates and drawing up its Party List has, finally, rendered it all but unelectable.

To become a Labour MP in 2015 one must first negotiate a multitude of competing interest groups: Women, Maori, Unions, Youth, the Rainbow Council. This is every bit as difficult as it sounds, with numerous compromises and trade-offs to be made all along the way.

Getting through this labyrinth leaves Labour’s candidates with an extremely detailed picture of the Left’s ideological landscape, but only the sketchiest notion of the world in which 95 percent of New Zealanders go about their daily lives.

It’s a process that also puts a lot of potentially excellent Labour candidates off. Someone confident in their understanding of industry, agriculture, science, or (God forbid!) running a business, rightly feels affronted at the prospect of being figuratively pinched, poked and prodded by people whose experience of the world is often extremely limited and narrow.

Not surprisingly, narrow and limited candidates have a head start!

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Trotter on Cunliffe’s destruction

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Chris Trotter writes:

As a number of right-wing commentators have already pointed out, the treatment of Cunliffe is as wasteful of the man’s talent as it is self-indulgently vindictive. They contrast Little’s demotion of Cunliffe with National’s treatment of Bill English. In spite of leading his party to the worst defeat in its history, English’s colleagues did not consider it appropriate to signal his imminent political demise. On the contrary, his talent was retained and directed, very successfully, against the political enemy.

But that’s Labour’s problem, isn’t it? For far too many Labour politicians, the political enemy is seated on their own side of the parliamentary aisle. The Government benches contain only their opponents.

Heh, true. But David Cunliffe is no Bill English.

It is interesting to speculate about how Cunliffe’s supporters in the broader Labour Party will respond to Little’s brutal treatment of him. Some will recall the statespersonship of Helen Clark, who judiciously divided up the top jobs between her friends – and foes. The result – a “ministry of all the talents” – proved crucial to ending the serious factional strife that had long plagued Labour’s caucus. Others will recall with some bitterness the assurances given to them by the Labour hierarchy at the party’s recent conference.   Read more »

Trotter on Labour’s coming shuffle of the deck chairs

Chris Trotter returns to sensibility and explores the shuffling of the deck chairs on the sinking ship Labour.

SOMETIME THIS WEEK (the date keeps changing) Andrew Little will announce his Shadow Cabinet reshuffle. The refreshed line-up of senior Opposition spokespeople will be the electorate’s best guide as to who will be doing what in the next Labour-led government. Barring unforeseen circumstances, and unforgiveable cock-ups, Little’s promotions, reappointments and demotions will be the last such exercise before the 2017 General Election.

Very few New Zealanders will pay much attention to Little’s final choices. Labour’s ranks, thinned by successive and increasingly severe defeats, contains nobody upon whose shoulders the burden of the electorate’s hopes has  yet descended.

Labour has a talent pool as shallow as a carpark puddle in the heat of summer. I was discussing this yesterday at lunch with the boys at church. They looked at National caucus and at Labour’s and came to the conclusion that even if a plane crashed with most of National’s cabinet aboard, there would still be capable people left in caucus to run the show. If Labour’s front two benches got cleaned out who would be left with any skills?    Read more »

Trotter says Capitalism kills but it has nothing on Communism/Socialism

Skulls of the victims of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot

Skulls of the victims of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot

Chris Trotter has gone nuts again…but his friends at The Standard think he is on fire…this is why:

Capitalism kills. It has done so from its earliest beginnings, and it does so still. The only distinction between the history of capitalism and the history of the Mexican drug cartels, is that the cartels have never pretended to be advancing the progress of humankind.

He even tried to lay the blame of deaths in Russia at capitalists feet.

Notwithstanding its logical absurdity, it is the condemnation one hears most often from the Right: that the Left, in the shape of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, or the Communist Party of China, is responsible for upwards of 100 million deaths.

They forget, of course, that the vast majority of those killed were individuals who refused to accept the right of either of these parties to impose their will on the people in whose name they had accomplished the overthrow of the old oppressors. Whether it be the rebellious Russian sailors at Kronstadt in 1921, or workers and peasants across the whole of China from 1949 to the present day, whoever, in the name of justice and equity, takes a stand against an oppressive system of domination, coercion and exploitation is, by definition, a leftist.

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Does Chris Trotter realise what happened at Waterloo?

Chris Trotter spends an awful lot of time waxing lyrical about the French Revolution and the appearance of a short Corsican to the leadership of France.

Apparently Napoleon Bonaparte was the savour of the revolution…and apparently Chris Trotter thinks Andrew Little might be Labour’s Napoleon.

One hesitates to describe Andrew Little as Labour’s Napoleon, but what cannot be disputed is the eagerness with which both the membership and the caucus responded to his calls for unity, focus and discipline, and to his passionate reaffirmation of Labour’s radical political mission.

Sheer exhaustion may also explain the New Zealand Labour Party’s curiously subdued reaction to the rank-and-file revolution that installed Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party. It wasn’t that the Kiwis were all secret Blairites, more a matter of New Zealand Labour having “been there, done that, sold the T-shirts – lost the election!”    Read more »

Trotter on Labour’s conference media ban

Chris Trotter isn’t very happy about the media ban imposed on the Labour conference this weekend.

The extent of this year’s media ban speaks eloquently of a political party at odds with, and mortally afraid of, itself.

It is almost a reflex among those who like to think of themselves as political “professionals” to deny the public even the slightest glimpse of events they haven’t already emptied of anything remotely resembling controversy, spontaneity or authenticity. The people surrounding the party’s leader have a “message” they wish to present to the public, and they are determined that every single party member should remain resolutely and coherently “on message”.

After the tumult and turmoil of the past four years, the message Andrew Little’s staffers are determined to communicate to the voting public is that Labour is united. And by ‘Labour’ they mean the whole party. The Labour caucus, the New Zealand Council, the trade union affiliates, and even the rank-and-file, are all 100 percent united and raring to go. Nobody’s heard of Jeremy Corbyn. Nobody’s the slightest bit worried about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. From top to bottom, Andy’s electoral vessel has been caulked and sealed and plugged. Nobody’s getting in and, sure as Stalin, nothing is getting out!

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Even Trotter says Martyn Martin is wrong

There isn’t much in New Zealand politics that Martyn Martin Bradbury aka Wrongly Wrongson gets right. He is wrong on almost everything.

Chris Trotter even says as much as he ticks off Martyn on his own blog for being wrong…again.

“Bomber” is part old-time preacher. (Who else greets his audiences with an all-encompassing “Brothers and Sisters!”?) But he is also a user of the very latest communications technology. Loud, brash, occasionally reckless, Martyn Bradbury may not be universally liked, or invariably correct, but his determination to mobilise the young in their own defence cannot be disputed.

His latest crusade on behalf of younger Kiwis calls for a lowering of the voting age from 18 to 16 years. This radical extension of the franchise would be accompanied by the inclusion of a new and comprehensive programme of civics education in the nation’s secondary school curriculum.

In Martyn’s own words: “The sudden influx of tens of thousands of new voters with their own concerns and their own voice finally being heard could be the very means of not only lifting our participation rates, but reinvigorating the very value of our democracy.”

Yeah, nah…and Trotter explains why.

In 1971, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution declared: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”

Young activists in the Democratic Party wasted little time in flexing their political muscles. At the 1972 Democratic Party Convention, an army of young delegates, veterans of the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War struggles in the streets of America, turned the tables on the old “pols” of the Democratic Party “machine”. (The same machine which, just four years earlier, had unleashed the Chicago Police on anti-war convention delegates.) Using the new party rules which the Chicago debacle had inspired, these youngsters comprehensively out-organised their much older right-wing opponents and secured the nomination for George McGovern, the most left-wing presidential candidate since Franklin Roosevelt.    Read more »

The left are in total disarray over TPP

Little-goats

Earlier today we saw Andrew Little flip flop in less than 24 hours from being against the TPP to not being against it.   We then segued into Chris Trotter’s work who on the basis of Andrew Little’s strong opposition to the TPP less than 24 hours earlier had declared 2017 a win for a Labour-led government.

Yesterday, Andrew Little said the TPP could not be supported by Labour because it only met one of the five bottom line requirements.   That bottom line requirement that the TPP does meet, according to Labour?

Treaty Obligations.

BZZZZZZZZZZZZT!!

Not according to the First Union.   Read more »

Chris Trotter hung out to dry by Andrew Little

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Chris must have needed a change of underwear when he saw Andrew Little come out swinging against the TPP yesterday, and he sat down with renewed hope and penned this piece for today… not realising Andrew would drop him in the poo by doing a flip-flop.

LABOUR’S STANCE on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could end up determining the outcome of the 2017 General Election. If Andrew Little aligns his party with the other parliamentary opponents of the TPP – the Greens and NZ First – then the legislation giving effect to the agreement will barely scrape through the House of Representatives. Such open and substantial parliamentary opposition will clear the way for Andrew Little to lead an anti-TPP coalition into electoral battle in 2017. If, however, Labour ends up supporting the TPP, then it will be a fractured and fractious Opposition that takes the field against John Key in two years’ time.

With Labour firmly opposed, the National-led Government’s best outcome would see the TPP’s enabling legislation passed by a margin of three votes. But if, as seems likely, the Maori Party acknowledges the rising anti-TPP sentiment within Maoridom, by either abstaining or voting against the bill, then the nearest thing to a TPP ratification process that New Zealanders are going to get will be carried by just one vote – Peter Dunne’s.

“With Labour firmly opposed”.  Snigger

Listen Chris, here’s a word of advice for you when dealing with Labour communications.  Always let things simmer for at least 24 hours before you run after the next passing red car.   There are two reasons for that.   One, they can’t add, subtract or otherwise use a calculator.  Press statements with numbers invariably fall apart under a small bit of scrutiny.   Read more »