Politics

The demise of Europe’s left

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The left-wing is in disarray world-wide.

We are witnessing the demise of the once proud Labour party in New Zealand, and world-wide the left-wing seems in disarray. This is particularly obvious in Europe.

The Economist examines the demise of the left:

Early in this century you could drive from Inverness in Scotland to Vilnius in Lithuania without crossing a country governed by the right; the same would have been true if you had done the trip by ferry through Scandinavia. Social democrats ran the European Commission and vied for primacy in the European Parliament. But recently their share of the vote in domestic (and Europe-wide) elections has fallen by a third to lows not seen for 70 years (see chart 1). In the five European Union (EU) states that held national elections last year, social democrats lost power in Denmark, fell to their worst-ever results in Finland, Poland and Spain and came to within a hair’s-breadth of such a nadir in Britain.

Elsewhere, it is true, the centre left is in power: as an unloved and ideologically vague junior party of government in Germany and the Netherlands and at the helm of wobbly coalitions in Sweden, Portugal and Austria, all countries where it was once a natural party of government. In France, President François Hollande is plumbing new depths of unpopularity and may not make the run-off in next year’s presidential election. Matteo Renzi, Italy’s dynamic prime minister, is in better shape but his party is still losing support (and possibly, in May, Rome’s mayoralty) to the Five Star Movement (M5S), an anti-establishment party founded by a blogger. Former municipal and regional bastions like London and Amsterdam, Catalonia and Scotland have slipped from the traditional centre left’s grasp.

Where are all the votes going? Many have been hoovered up by populists, typically of the anti-market left in southern Europe and the anti-migrant right in the north. But alternative left parties (feminists, pirates and greens, for example), liberals and the centre-right have also benefited. And so has the Stay On The Sofa party.

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Comment of the Day

George nails it again:

We are witnessing the leader of the opposition becoming increasingly irrational through his own insecurity and desperation to destabilise the National Government. His comments that the death threats directed at Paula Bennett were the consequence of marginalising NZers, and therefore explained the mood for such behaviour. This is unacceptable.

Labour’s deliberate policy to marginalise Asians has fueled the underbelly of the missing million. At least eight Asian students, in four separate incidents were attacked, robbed and assaulted in Auckland this week. However by applying the same rational directed at Paula Bennet’s death threats, Andrew Little can only see this as a consequence of all those pesky Asians bying our homes therefore, again, explains the mood for such behaviour.

The truth is Andrew, you are fueling the fire of NZ’s low life and are responsible for the increasing insecurities of all NZers. For that you have to take liability. Back off before it is too late.

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Political stereotypes

Tracy Watkins looks at political stereotypes:

Sue who? A tweet by a relatively unknown MP might have gone unnoticed by most people if it was not for one thing. It ticked all the boxes on Labour stereotypes. Sue Moroney tweeted a picture of the losing flag design flying outside an expensive looking house and commented: “Just “is you’re a flash bach owner doesn’t mean you get to decide our flag”.

Moroney’s opponents labelled it mean-spirited and nasty. But that was not what did the real damage. It’s what it supposedly said about Labour that will hurt the most – Nanny State, telling people what to think, anti-rich, anti-success. Take your pick.

The Nanny State label stuck when Labour was last in power and introduced a raft of changes, like the anti-smacking law. Five leaders later and Labour still can’t shake it off. The likelihood of it doing so is slim, for the simple reason that it’s not unique to New Zealand. Worldwide the “Nanny State” label is shorthand for parties of the Left. National, in Opposition, was quick to exploit those stereotypes by tagging things Labour did as either too “politically correct”, or Nanny State gone mad. It even appointed a spokesman for political correctness, to police the excesses.

Stereotypes abound about National as well, of course – the party of the rich, friends of big business, environmentally unfriendly, socially uncaring. Again, take your pick.

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Loony left now hurling death threats at Bennett

The loony left are feral and out of control. They are now hurling death threats at Paula Bennett.

Paula Bennett says she will not be put off making public appearances despite an online threat which said someone should “shoot the b**** dead” at her next public outing.

The Social Housing Minister said this morning that she referred all violent threats to the police.

In a Facebook post two weeks ago, a user wrote: “People own guns out there I dare any[one] to shoot the b**** dead at [her] next public appearance.

The person added: “Gosh I hope keys is standing beside her, 2 birds 1 bullet.”

Speaking to reporters at Parliament this morning, Mrs Bennett said violent threats affected her family more than her.

“When you’ve got your own kids pointing out on social media that someone should shoot me at my next public event it’s pretty distressing…”

She did not think she was being targeted, despite a series of incidents in the last few weeks.

At a visit to Whanganui last week protesters had been “aggressive” and police had been called in as a result.

“They had sex toys with my name on them and that sort of thing. So the whole thing was a bit unsavoury, to be fair.”

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You know, it’s still BBQ season up here in Auckland

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The Labour party really must be wondering now why it is that Andrew Little and Annette King’s numbers from their internal polling don’t seem to ever match the public polls.

They’ve been touting for weeks that their opposition to the TPPA has seen them rise to 35+ in their own polls.

Well, they are either lying to caucus or their pollster is poos.

The latest One News/Colmar Brunton poll tells the truth…no one is listening to Labour or Andrew Little.

The first ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll of the year has National at 47 per cent, unchanged from the last poll in October 2015.   Read more »

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Photo Of The Day

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Meet the Man Who Got Congress Its Booze During Prohibition

One day in March 1925—five years into the absurd experiment called Prohibition—a dapper man named George Cassiday strolled into the office building of the U.S. House of Representatives, carrying a briefcase and wearing a spiffy light green hat. The cop at the door recognized Cassiday, which wasn’t surprising. Nearly everybody on Capitol Hill knew Cassiday. He was Congress’ favourite bootlegger, working out of the House Office Building, delivering booze to dozens of congressmen, who found a strong drink soothing after long days spent listening to tedious political blather.

On this day, however, the cop stopped Cassiday, inspected his briefcase, found liquor, and arrested him.

When reporters heard that a bootlegger was busted in Congress, they called the House sergeant-at-arms, who described the miscreant as “a man in a green hat.” The next morning, Cassiday became famous across America as “The Man in the Green Hat,” a living symbol of congressional hypocrisy and the follies of Prohibition.

Cassiday pleaded guilty and served 60 days in jail. When he got out, he learned that he’d been barred from the House Office Building. Obviously, he needed another place to work. So he moved to the Senate Office Building. He sold booze there for five years, until 1930, when he was arrested delivering gin to the Senate. This time Prohibition agents confiscated Cassiday’s “little black book,” containing the names of his illustrious customers.

In October 1930—two weeks before the congressional election—the Washington Post announced that it would publish a six-part series written by Cassiday, revealing the juicy details of his adventures as Congress’ “official bootlegger.”

“It will be,” the Post promised, “an astonishing story.”

And it was.

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INCITE: Politics Summer Edition released

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Our latest edition of INCITE: Politics has been released. It will be in subscribers’ inboxes as you read this.

In this month’s edition we have contributions from Chris Trotter, Don Brash, David Farrar and Jock Anderson, as well as the usual contributions from Simon Lusk and myself.

  • Chris Trotter asks a very hard question
  • David Farrar provides some long-term predictions
  • Don Brash investigates Auckland’s affordable housing issue
  • Jock Anderson discusses a very interesting case before the courts

Read more »

The new McCarthyism of the left

Senator Joe McCarthy caused fear and loathing with his commie witch-hunts. It seems a new McCarthyism has manifested itself, this time led by the left-wing.

They seek to ban and block any person or group who dares to voice their opinions. We saw an example of that yesterday at The Standard where a university academic, who also blogs at The Standard, essentially called for the censorship of the media from ideas that he doesn’t agree with.

Footnote (I’m an academic, I love footnotes!) on a suggestion to the media. Almost everything you publish is a piece in isolation. There is a better way.

Take The Herald for example. You publish Marvelly’s piece on poverty today, just a week after (re)publishing Whyte’s excerable nonsense. If you had any kind of overview / foundation of established fact / ongoing context on the topic of poverty you wouldn’t be publishing such wildly inconsistent pieces (the Whyte article would have been rejected as the nonsense that it was).

Take climate change as another example, no responsible media should be publishing denier nonsense these days.

Now you (the responsible media) might say that you’re offering a range of opinions. But when some opinions are clearly and provably nonsense that excuse is just an abdication of responsibility. It’s laziness, clickbait, and harmful.

I guess I’m asking for context and sanity checking in the media. Fact-based narrative instead of isolated and inconsistent snippets. Harder work, but much better for everyone.

If that isn’t a call for politically motivated censorship then I don’t know what is. He doesn’t want debate and opinions, he’s already decided and we shouldn’t be seeing anything he disagrees with in print anywhere.

This is the new McCarthyism at work.   Read more »

NBR’s best & worst politicians

NBR has a list of the best and worst for 2015:

The Best candidates:

Bill English: National’s safe pair of hands finally got a (tiny) surplus in his crosshairs and is at risk of losing his unsung hero status with Stuff and Granny Herald naming him politician of the year. NBR’s Rob Hosking paid tribute to the finance minister’s droll wit, including the recent quip “Oh, it’s not disappointing: it’s just another Treasury forecast.”

Judith Collins: It was a textbook rehabilitation campaign as Kindler, Gentler Crusher kept her loose cannon instincts at bay for a year of measured, contrite and sensible media appearances and commentaries.

Tim Groser: A free trade deal with South Korea and the conclusion of the TPP – with NZ, defying expectations in some quarters, refusing to give much ground on issues like copyright and big pharma (on the flipside, there was little in the agreement for Fonterra).

John Key: Yet another year when National has cruised along at the top of the polls and the opposition has failed to land any major blows amid a stream of mini-scandals – a feat that’s more remarkable with each passing year and unprecedented deep into a third term. As a bonus, Malcolm Turnbull and the Aussie media fell in love with him. Key is already headed for the history books as one of our most successful politicians ever, but how will his policy impact be remembered? So far his government has followed the usual NZ pattern of a National government carefully managing and tweaking the reforms of the proceeding Labour government. His pet legacy project faces problems getting over the line in 2016 as pro-current flag voters ally with those disappointed with the winning alternative design.   Read more »

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INCITE: Politics launches today

INCITE

Today is the day and shortly the first editions of INCITE: Politics will begin landing in people’s inboxes.

Little in trouble – David Farrar writes about the fundamental problem for Andrew Little, his negative approval rating, and contrasts it with the very popular John Key.

The Route to Victory – Simon Lusk considers the potential routes to victory and the relative institutional strengths of both the Labour and the National parties in the 2017 election.

Ten Questions – Winston Peters takes the time to give some thoughtful answers to some important political questions.

Politician of the Year – Review our choice for the inaugural INCITE: Politics Politician of the year.

The Advent of the Media Party – Cam Slater writes about why the media have moved from neutral, dispassionate observers to players in the political game, and why the public no longer trusts them.

Pundits & Media –  Cam Slater’s view on the New Zealand media, with a counter view from Simon Lusk.    Read more »