elections

Awesome sledge of Russell Brand and Ed Miliband

Russell Brand is a twat, as is Ed Miliband, but the two of them got together for an interview.

Toby Young wasn’t impressed and posts an epic slamming at the Telegraph.

He summarises the interview:

I like to think that people will look at Russell Brand and Ed Miliband chatting away in Brand’s £2 million flat and see them for what they are – two privileged, middle-aged men cynically trying to whip up envy and resentment against “the one per cent”, even though they’re members of the one per cent themselves. I hope this will be the moment when the disconnect between what the left says and what it does will finally become too much. The cognitive dissonance will prove too great. Something will snap and Labour’s entire general election campaign will unravel. People will suddenly wake up to the fact that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

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Losing sight of the big issues by focussing on winning

Steve Joyce and John Key have gotten themselves into a rut…they have become poll-driven fruitcakes, focused only on winning the next election.

They have become excessively myopic and their visions is down to at best 3 years.

I am want to say that politics is the best game in town and to treat it like a sport, and in many respects it is…but on the other hand it isn’t a sport.

As Simon Barnes says at the Independent “the big issues get lost when politicians see winning elections as an end in itself, not a means to an end”.

He explains further:

Elections always made me laugh when I was chief sports writer ofThe Times. Suddenly all the people at the serious end of the paper turned into sports reporters. Who’s winning, who’s losing, blimey that was brilliant, and come on my lot, we’re by far the greatest political party the world has ever seen. Such larks!

These people always believed my job was trivial. So it was, even though I tried to deal with the trivialities in a fairly serious way. But come election time, reporters and politicians and pundits go mad with excitement, and address a mountain of deeply serious matters in an utterly trivial way. That’s because politics is a sport, and winning is an end in itself.

When David Cameron first set out in politics, his great vision of the future was … David Cameron as prime minister. And after that? To be prime minister again. This time without help from another team. To win, and then to win again. Isn’t that enough? Cameron is like Jose Mourinho with less money and fewer media skills.

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Israeli elections are harder to pick than a broken nose

Many pundits are making all sorts of extreme picks for Israel’s elections.

Their electoral system is difficult to come to grips with, but we must remove personality and politics and just look at the numbers.

FiveThirtyEight has provided perhaps the best assessment so far of the state of play in the Israeli elections.

There are two phases to the Israeli election that starts Tuesday. The first: electing some politicians. That’s the relatively easy part to forecast. The second: Figuring out who’s going to govern with whom.

That is what’s really hard to predict.

In the first phase, no party is likely to win a majority of the 120 seats in the Knesset, the country’s parliament. But the two main parties are still jostling to hold the most seats. Likud, the party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is in a tight race for the most seats against the Zionist Union, the center-left leading opposition party.

Based on a local regression of polls since January, it looks like the Zionist Union will win the most seats: about 25, to Likud’s 22. In the following table, we’ve placed confidence intervals around the individual party estimates1 based on poll performance in the prior two elections.

bialik-enten-datalab-israeli-elections-table1

Predicting the voting may be the easier part, but it’s not easy. This year, Israeli law restricted polling as of the Thursday before the election, and no pollster could release results of new polls after Friday. That leaves any shifts in public opinion that occurs over the weekend in pollsters’ blind spot, especially because some parties and candidates save big ammunition for the final days before balloting. Just before the 2013 election, a video emerged in which a candidate for Bayit Yehudi, a right-wing religious party whose name means Jewish Home, speaks about the prospect of the mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount being blown up. (Some people interpreted the remarks as support for the idea.) The resulting furor over what the candidate called a joke cost the party seats — including that candidate’s.

The major potentially vote-shifting news Monday was Netanyahu’s pledge to oppose establishment of a Palestinian state.

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Citizens fight back in New Plymouth against ratbag mayor

Politicians love to spend other peoples money and push their own agendas.

The idiot running the New Plymouth City Council wants to force maori representation on his ratepayers. And his idiot council voted to implement it.

But someone took exception and forced a referendum on the issue.

New Plymouth is to spend about $80,000 to conduct a poll over whether Maori should have an automatic right to a council seat.

The district council this week validated a petition calling for a binding citizens-initiated referendum on the establishment of a Maori ward and a ballot will be held in May.

Last year, the council voted 7-to-6 to establish a Maori ward at the local government elections in 2016.   Read more »

John Key is not a legitimate MP. Ergo: he isn’t PM either

Someone’s been out in the sun a bit too much I think

Career criminal and jailhouse lawyer Arthur Taylor is going for his biggest scalp this week – the Prime Minister.

John Key’s lawyer Peter Kiely, a partner at Kiely Thompson Caisley, Adjunct Professor of Employment Law at Victoria University of Wellington and Pro Chancellor at the University of Auckland will face Taylor, no formal legal qualifications, over 150 convictions, escaped twice, in the High Court on Tuesday.

Taylor, a serving prisoner, has petitioned the High Court claiming Key’s election as MP for Helensville was unlawful because the law had excluded hundreds of potential voters from the electorate – namely, the 650 or so prisoners currently housed in Auckland Prison at Paremoremo.”

Key’s lawyers deny Taylor’s claim and add that Key won the electorate by 18,000 votes over his nearest competitor, the Green Party’s Dr Kennedy Graham who received 4,433.

The Prime Minister’s lawyer, Peter Kiely, has submitted to the court that even if all 8,727 serving prisoners in New Zealand voted for Graham, “even in this improbable scenario, the respondent would still have won the election with a majority of 9,650 valid votes”.

Answer me this:  why does a court let a serving inmate take out legal action against a Prime Minister when the law currently says that incarcerated people don’t have a vote, and therefore there is no case?  Why did it get this far?  Where a lawyer for Key and this muppet will square off on the taxpayer’s dollars?   Read more »

Agreeing with Chris Trotter about online voting

There are plenty of fools out there who think that electronic voting is nirvana, that it will engage the yoof to vote and increase participation in our democracy.

I disagree, and so does Chris Trotter. Electronic voting won’t deliver what proponents say it will, in fact it is likely to increase distrust in the voting process.

There are already conspiracy theorists out there who think John Key rigs ballot boxes, imagine if there was electronic voting, you’d ahve accusations of Merril Lynch funding the software company from the time of John Key’s involvement and therefore the process must be corrupt.

DEREK HANDLEY bubbles over with faith in the future. As a precocious inductee to the Silicon Alley Hall of Fame, he is blazingly confident that capitalism, information technology and the entrepreneurial spirit are never going to encounter a challenge they cannot rise to – or overcome.

Like the failure of close to half of New Zealand citizens aged under 30 to engage in the electoral process.

On this subject Mr Handley is typically forthright:

“Everybody under 30 has grown up with the internet and mobile devices to do practically everything online yet they still can’t vote online. [This has resulted] in an entire generation being pushed to the sidelines of democracy not because they don’t care, but because it hasn’t kept up with them.”

Setting aside Mr Handley’s bubbly confidence in all things “online”, this is utter tosh. An “entire generation” has not been “pushed to the sidelines of democracy”, they have ambled there entirely of their own accord. Not only do they not “care” about democracy, but an alarming number of them would also struggle to tell you what it is.

In my opinion Derek Handley is a jumped up pretentious tosspot. My dearly departed grandfather once commented (ok it was a lot) that empty vessels make the most noise. This is Derek Handley.

Trotter is dead right about the dead set useless yoof who let themselves become disengaged in democracy.

Far from democracy failing to keep up with the needs of the younger generation, one out of every two New Zealanders under 30 has failed conspicuously to keep up with the most fundamental facts of political life.

The most important of these is that politics (and elections) are activities to be participated in collectively – not individually. The moment this central fact of political life is forgotten, the logic of participation collapses in on itself.

A recent article by Fairfax journalists Paul Easton and Simon Day vividly illustrates what happens when the prospect of casting a vote is viewed through an individualistic, as opposed to a collectivist, lens.

Asked why he didn’t vote, Johnny, aged 20, and described simply as “dad”, declared:

“I didn’t see the point. My life is good as it is. I don’t like John Key, but I thought he was going to get in anyway so I didn’t vote. I would vote if it meant getting stuff I was keen for.”

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What a great idea!

rwerwer

Reviewing the year in politics eh Katie?  Bet you didn’t add this one:   Read more »

Time for a recall option

The Taxpayers’ Union has called for the implementation of a recall option for local body politics.

The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on the Government to give local communities the ability to petition for recall elections, after Len Brown’s latest snub to ratepayers has hit the headlines. The Herald on Sunday is reporting that Len Brown has had a private bathroom and dressing room installed behind a bookshelf in the Mayor’s office. The secret rooms have cost ratepayers $30,000.

The Union’s Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“A secret dressing room, complete with a two seater couch, is a luxury lair, not value for money for ratepayers.”

“Councillors have already censured Len Brown for misusing funds but clearly the line in the sand is being ignored. Mr Brown’s refusal to talk to media says a lot about his respect for ratepayers and his fellow councillors.”

“It’s time the Government gave ratepayers a voice between elections. A recall option would enable ratepayers to petition for a vote to fire a shameless politicians who lacks any respect for those who pay the bills.”

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Is it time for recall legislation?

John Key thinks recall legislation is too hard. Frankly that is a cop out.

Recall legislation exists in many jurisdictions and it gives the people a decent chance to rid themselves of dud politicians.

If we had recall legislation, at the very least at a local body level then the power hungry despots like Len Brown and the ratbags at the Hawkes Bay Regional Council could be tipped out.

Recall has been successfully used in the US, especially by the NRA in order to remove ratbags who support impinging on constitutional second amendment rights.

Though John Key thinks it is all too hard perhaps he should have a chat to his besty in the UK, David Cameron, who is bringing in recall legislation as we speak.

Voters look set to get the right to sack “bad apple” MPs after Labour and the Liberal Democrats and said they would seek to strengthen current plans before Parliament.

The news is a boost for campaigners who are concerned that the current proposed legislation puts the right to call a “Recall by-election” in the hands of MPs, not voters.    Read more »

Chart of the Day

Actually make that charts of the day.

David Farrar has a chart of Labour’s stellar electoral record since 1938.

Labour-eletion-results-560x366

This is a graph of Labour’s general election results in every general election since 1938. I’ve added a trendline in, to reinforce the obvious point. They do go through cycles of relative highs and lows but each high is lower than the one before, and each low is lower than the one before.

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