Brian Edwards is wondering too

Brian Edwards blog

Brian Edwards has struck a dilemma…one I am sure is playing out throughout the remaining base of the Labour party:

I find myself wondering whether I want to be bothered with the Labour Party any more. Increasingly, it seems to me, the Greens reflect the philosophical and moral values to which I subscribe more accurately than the Labour Party whose philosophical and moral values are now so ill-defined as to be beyond definition.

I’m a socialist at heart and, whatever it is, New Zealand Labour is not a socialist party. It wasn’t just Rogernomics that scotched that idea; Tony Blair’s ‘third way’, a significant influence on the Fifth Labour Government, was really just a watered down version of Douglas’s ‘trickle-down’ economics. The ‘third way’ was, by definition, a ‘middle-way’, neither one thing nor the other and ill-suited to political idealism of any stripe – a Clayton’s political philosophy.

Oh dear it appears that Brian has had a crisis of confidence:

I’ve done reasonably well in life. I’m not rich but, at 74, I’m what you might call ‘reasonably comfortably off’. In the process, I’ve paid a hell of a lot of tax. And I don’t mind. I’m a firm believer in progressive taxation – ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,’ as Marx  so neatly put it. You can call that Communism or Socialism or pure Christianity.  It doesn’t really matter. What matters is the core principle that the strong should support the weak. So it’s good that Labour’s new leader is at least intent on keeping a Capital Gains Tax as Labour policy. The earnings of the rich should be taxed to support the poor.

But I’m not comfortable with Mr Shearer’s reported intention to move the party ‘to the centre’. It’s a misnomer for one thing. Labour is already in the centre. It has already lost its working-class constituency. Any move ‘to the centre’ will merely be, as the share-brokers say, ‘a technical correction’, not as extreme as in ‘84 but a move to the right nonetheless.

What Labour politics now seem to be about is finding ‘sellable’ policies and a ‘sellable’ leader in order to regain power. (For National read ‘retain power’.) What Green politics seem to be about is persuading people to come across to policies not obviously or immediately founded in self-interest, but in the long-term interests of all of us and (there’s no avoiding it) of the planet. No doubt they’d like to be in government too. But it doesn’t seem to be their primary motivation.

So I find myself wondering…

Oh I am sure Russel Norman is ecstatic with glee at the prospect of Brian’s pearls of socialist wisdom.


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  • Whafe

    I dont often agree with Brian Edwards, but he has some fairly hard hitting comments there… That should in fact scare the Labour Party some what, I doubt it though, the arrogance is beyond belief within the Labour Party

  • Grandstream

    How long before we start seeing a few more txt’s from New York  ?

  • Cobolt

    Brian’s comments just show that Shearer might be on the right track. If he moves to or over the center, the socialist votes he loses go to the Greens by default. Meanwhile Labour pick up more of the swing vote. At the end of the day labour may end up losing a seat or two but they would have a much greater chance of controlling the treasury benches which is of course the ultimate goal.

    The question remains though whether Shearer can keep it all together or if the fractionalisation just ends up in too much in-fighting.

    • Than

      But to Brian (and Chris Trotter as well, who has expressed similar disappointment with Shearer’s move to the center) the ultimate goal isn’t the treasury benches – the ultimate goal is to enact socialist policy.

      To enact socialist policy they have to be in government… but to have a realistic chance of being in government they have to promise not to enact socialist policy. Perfect Catch-22.

  • Great to finally see him publically admit after all these years that he is a committed Marxist.

    (Fitting that he was a valued advisor to Helen Klark.)

    Not so good that he appeared on our TV screens for years posing as an objective commentator.

    FITH Marxists have been polluting our media for far too long, and share a large part of the blame for NZ’s descent into the socialist swamp.

    Also interesting that a committed Marxist says the Greens “reflect the philosophical and moral values to which I subscribe more accurately than the Labour Party.”

    More proof of the appropriateness of the term “Watermelons”.

    • lovinthatchangefeeling

      They say they are green cos they are too YELLOW to admit that they are RED

  • Troy

    Edwards has way got it wrong when he says its good Labour is sticking with the CGT because “earnings of the rich should be taxed to support the poor” – nope don’t agree on that – if someone has slogged their guts out to do well, why the fuck should they support the poor in many cases can’t get off their lazy asses to get ahead – this is just bullshit to suggest that in a way more purpose ends up being to support lazy pricks (such as those wharfie fuckwits) – no way Edwards – go preach your socialist BS in another country – most are tired of it here.

    •  Damn right- bringing these European socialists to our colonial shores was as detrimental to our country’s growth as foot and mouth disease. They should have been immediately quarantined and sent back to where they had come from.

    •  no troy..what ‘most’ are getting ‘tired of’.. the rich just  getting richer..

      ..and the poor just getting poorer…

      ..and the sick just getting sicker..

      ..and the country just getting dirtier..

      ..that’s what more each and every day are ‘tired of’

      ..(watch out for that swinging

      ..they do always come

      ..and possibly sooner than you

      ..and when you maybe least expect do know

      (.. you know you will be left just raging even louder into that good night  – for quite some time to

      ..buckle’s gonna be a bit of a rough ride for you/your sensibilities…eh..?

      [email protected]

      • parorchestia

        This is easy to say, but do the facts bear it out?  The poor (such as me!) have had significant increases in wages over time, but more importantly, prices for most goods have plunged.  My old Victa mower, 22 years old and still going strong, cost $599 22 years ago.  Current price – $599 even though my wages are much, much more than 22 years ago.  
         Video players when they were first available – $3,000.  DVD players now – peanuts!
        And my first house in 1964 was pretty primitive compared to similar houses today.  It is hard to compare prices over time because our expectations increase and we are not comparing like with like.
        Life in 1964 was a struggle, even though I had a good job, but we didn’t realise that we had to struggle.  Wages today allow careful savers to buy a house and have a car.  And there is far more help available.
        Although I started out as an ardent socialist (like Edwards) I soon began to realise that it was all nonsense.  Labour Theory of Value – crap.  Minimum Wage – destroys jobs. Central Planning – disaster.  Robbing the rich, sorry sharing wealth – the rich just migrate to more friendly climes.  Which is what I should have done years ago.  

      • johnbronkhorst

        What BOLLOCKS phillip The rich have got greater in number but relatively poorer. The poor are less in number and are now richer. To make the comparison. Look at the 60’s compaired to the 90’s. In the 60’s the AVERAGE familly didn’t own a car, now they own more than 2. No cell phone (not invented but still ned to be paid for), playstationetc the same, DVD’s etc Computers, Some still didn’t have a fridge , washing machine, vacuum cleaner etc etc. So please no bull!!!!….If people didn’t buy all these TOYS, then the “poor” would have more diposable cash than they could EVER have dreamed of. I haven’t mensioned the difficulty at buying your own home in the 60’s or travelling overseas with the foreign currency restrictions back then. CAPITALISM brought you ALL these things!

      • Troy

        I owe nobody nothing mate, i’ve paid my taxes, provided jobs for people and worked my ass of so doing go comin at me with that spiel of BS – you obviously think well off people owe you lot – think again.

      •  If you’ver got poorer Phil, thast has been your choice. You could have done what thousands of sole parents do, and get a job, but you have CHOSEN not to; how many years is it now; 16? You’ve made your bed; don’t moan because you have to lie in it.

  • Jagg

    I really am whole-heartedly fed up with this demonising of peer-reviewed, rational and objective new classical economic theory by an assortment of journalists, PR people and other know-it-alls with worthless degrees and doctorates in subjects like “political science”.  These people trivialise decades, nay,-centuries of thought with misnomers like “trickle down theory”.

    Edwards, and his ilk, stand on their soap-boxes and poison public perception with their own sanctimonious sound-bite relativisms on economics, peddling their own private musings as somehow more virtuous than those widely accepted by the finest institutions in the world as the currently the most optimal systems known for a) delivering ever-increasing standards of living; and b) conferring the greatest degree of individual freedoms.

    • Gazzaw

      Totally agree Jagg. Not only sanctimonious but hypocritical as well. When I saw that Bernard Hickey was on the Q&A panel yesterday I nearly switched off on the spot. But no, he surprised me with a fairly neutral overview. Again this morning in Pravda his column is mildly praising of the current economic climate. Are Hickey’s paymasters demanding a more neutral stance or is Hickey sensing that a change is needed to ensure his journalistic survival as the public mood remains negative to labour.   

    • Positan

      Pretty well right on, Jagg.  Such views as Edwards’ evince only the left’s cake-mixer-type, on-the-hoof, individually-crafted perceptions of policy that ensure the constancy of Labour’s turmoil.  At its grass roots, most supporters aspire to the taxing of “rich-pricks” so that their own hands can be held out, permanently cupped.  Thus funded, they ever bemoan the misfortunes of their fate.
      Edwards has contributed little of real substance to our way of life, so it’s surprising he’s managed too become “reasonably comfortably off.”  He seems to epitomise the inherent philosophy in “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach – and those who can’t teach, teach teachers.”

      • Vij

        Very well said Positan.

    • reply to parar and j. bronk…

      ..i’m afraid the statistcs/facts prove yr theseses/rosy-eyed views of the past to be wrong..

      ..during the last couple of years as just one example…

      ..the rich have added a mighty large wedge to their piles..

      ..whereas..the poor/low-wage/middle class have all gone backwards…

      ..and this is the pattern that was set with the neo-lib/rogernomics revolution..

      ..there was a slight steadying/levelling of those gaps during the clark years…

      ..but they are now galloping away again..

      ..since nact came to power…

      [email protected]

      • johnbronkhorst

        BOLLOCKS phil and repeating yourself doesn’t make it an less bull shit!!!Kiwi’s are more travelled now than ever in their past. They have more “things” in their lives, to both play with and to save the labour at home and at work, making their lives easier and more pleasant…this is genuine wealth. But typical socialist drivel you only focus on the MONEY…then acuse every one else of it!…I D I O T of the grandest order you are, as well as a liar and hypocrit…giving you the socialist trifecta, and making you the same as every other socialist I ever met!

      • johnbronkhorst

        As for the poor going backwards, the furthest back they went was under auntie helen, when they were taxed higher than they ever have before or since. Hospital waiting list tripled, electricity price averaged 3% above inflation every year for 9 years…etc etc etc etc You really are an idiot!

    • Philip ure a cock

      Not to mention being well looked after at the cushy upper echelons of the socialist regime – Red Radio and H1’s harem of dikes and eunuchs. Socialism makes cents at a view from the top!

  • rouppe

    I’m comfortable with “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.

    However the problem is that some’s definition of “need” doesn’t match mine…

  • Super_Guest

    Fuck Brian Edwards. A lifelong public servant who’s never produced anything of substance in his life.

  • Macca

    I read this paragraph in an adventure book the other week and it really struck a chord as to what New Zealand was subjected to under the 9 years of labour rule and what was in store for us in the future.  How any rational human being with an ounce of intelligence could strive for this type of rule is beyond me – see what you think!

    ‘He loathed the politics of envy and viciousness of socialism, which he felt sought to strike down the heroes and reduce every exceptional man to the common greyness of the pack, to replace true leadership with the oafish mumblings of trade-union louts, to emasculate all initiative by punitive tax schemes and then gradually to shepherd a numbed and compliant populace into the barbed-wire enclosure of Marxist totalitarianism’

    Correct me if I’m wrong but is this not what the main stream media has followed the demise of in other countries with such glee over the last 12 months or so but yet they seem to be happy pushing and supporting socialist parties and their initiatives in our own country!  Is it their wish for us to suffer this type of rule in the future or are they just too plain fucken stupid to realise what they are doing!!!!!!

    • Gazzaw

      Macca, your third para makes me wonder whether it is editorial policy that is leading our media in this direction or whether it is in at least partly due to the increasing number of journalists being churned out by our socialist tertiary system rather than learning on the job.

      • In Vino Veritas

        The third para is exactly what Macca was alluding to. Essentially, the media are feeding dumbed down stories to a portion of the population who are already dumbed down (the common greyness of the pack). This is the meat and drink of part of the media in NZ. Young journos (and editors) get ahead by being sensationalist and only publishing the parts of the story that make it so (I refer you to Ms Wysocki as a recent example).
        And if you want any more examples of the power of the media, (and the general dumbing down of the population) look no further than England, where the idol’s of a generation of young women are Victoria Beckham and Katie Price. 

      • Macca

        Hi Gazzaw.  Yeah I totally agree with the points both you and Vino make about the media.  These poor wee cub reporters not long out of nappies and running round trying to change the world and thinking thay are so clever spouting their socialist poison.  The big trick is (and in their defence),  they know no different!  You can’t expect to stay trim if you are placed on a diet consisting solely of chocolate!  With the school cylibis being totally re-written by socialists,  how can students know what propoganda is when they have never been taught it or have inadvertantly been fed it themselves!

        I’m a pretty staunch right winger but in saying that, make no mistake, National have also done some pretty stupid things in their day also!  In saying that, I will always support a more centrist right government than the other way and think we are basically on the right track – imagine where we would be now had nNational not been returned 3 1/2 years ago?!

        Keep it up Vino and Gazzaw – I enjoy your postes.  As for you Phil – you’re just a fuckwit and an oxygen thief!  Were it not for Twats like you and your pathetic mindset, New Zealand would still be the prosperous country it once was!

    • In Vino Veritas

      And on the second para:

      The inherent vice of capitalism is the uneven division
      of blessings, while the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal division of
      misery – Winston Churchill.

    •  was that a rand-adventure-book..there…macca…?

      ..if not..who wrote it..?

      [email protected]

      •  it so reads like her mindless/fantasist-drivel…eh..?

        ..’heroes’…’common greyness’ al..


        [email protected]

      • In Vino Veritas

        Sort of like the ideological clap trap espoused in the Communist Manifesto. You might be surprised to learn phillip, that since the late 20th cnetury, socialism has been in retreat, since it has failed miserably, and only state coercion propped up its support for it to last as long as it did. Let’s see shall we, there’d by Soviet Russia (socialism collapsed) and oh, the other biggy, Peoples Republic Of China, moving to a market economy. On a smaller scale, try Greece.
        Seems like Rand’s adventure wasn’t so much born in fantasy after all. Maybe you should read it again (if you ever have). Heh?

  • Super_Guest

    This raises another issue altogether; why is a reasonably prominent fellow like Edwards able to quote Karl Marx, a man whose ideology is responsible for more human death and misery than any other in history, and not have his shit called, but some random Nazi can quote Hitler and (rightly) have it all over the media?

    •  You really don’t know the answer to that???

      •  do

        ..(hang on..!..i’ll just get the popcorn..)

        [email protected]

      • Super_Guest

        No, I’m not particularly interested in your tinfoil hat nonsense.

    •  superguest..

      you do know that marx predicted what is happening now…eh..? the move from nation-state capitalism to globalisation being the final act of capitalism…? it eats itself…?

      ..(as we are seeing now..?..) should really try to think beyond the shouted-slogans/cliches eh..?

      ..there..superguest…(does the ‘super’ stand for superannuitant..?..)

      (and i wouldn’t even bother trying to explain/clarify the other ignorances you display..

      ..who has the time/can be bothered..?..)

      [email protected])

      • Euan Rt

        Looks like you need some of the govt subsidised insulation to fill in all those drafty gaps Phil.

      • joe bloggs

        Don’t feed the monkey…

        … don’t feed the monkey…

        … hark at you calling superguest ignorant…

        … who has the time?… who can be bothered?…

        … do the ellipses stand for tokes…?

        … Bugger, I fed the monkey!

      • Gazzaw

        Here we go Cam. Threadjacking again. Off into the wide blue yonder of Ure’s fantasies.

      • Super_Guest

        No, it doesn’t stand for that. I’m actually younger than you, and I don’t claim any handouts from the government, unlike you.

      • johnbronkhorst

        bull shit he did. Marx saw, 2 famillies living a basement as the norm. He predicted, unless this would change their would be revolution and it wouldn’t change unless their was!! BULL…this was written while living in England. No revolutions in England in the past 150 years. Yet the difference in lifestyle of the English is monumental. Brought about by CAPITALIST ideals and work ethic, interspersed with some detrimental, and blatantly stupid, LABOUR?socialist govt.s!!!! ” The problem with socialism, is you eventually run out of OTHER peoples money”….Wasn’t yhat margret thatcher?

      • ConwayCaptain

        Every time Britain has had a Labour Govt they have left the country far worse off than it was before.  Look at Atlee’s Govt, Wilsons, Blair/Brown

    •  reply to vito..

      you are looking to the wrong the wrong time..

      for yr examples..

      ..the modern success stories for a form of ‘ocupy-socialism’ are in sth america..

      ..where in various countries millions have been/are being lifted out of extreme poverty..

      ..and the powers of the 1%/elites have been smashed..

      ..huge landholdings broken up/re-distributed to peasants etc…

      ..wealth/windfall-taxe son the richest..etc..

      ..and yr new friend china surely has state-socialism/command-economy..? different alive and thriving.. is yr model of neo-lib/greed-driven capitalism that is on it’s last legs…

      [email protected]

      • johnbronkhorst

        What? charves??? That thug and fool. His brand has destroyed his country. The only thing getting any money into the place is OIL!!!and yet they still have peasants!! You really are blind idiot! PHIL…also go back at least read your Marx….Marxist philosophy has no room for nationalism, he ALWAYS believed in international socialism with no borders or nationalised govt.s. The USSR tried to do this by emperialist expansion, The National Socialists just waged war!!and were a contradiction in terms!!

      • johnbronkhorst

        As for the Chinese phil….under socialism they had MAS starvation. When asked recently (about 6 months ago) on BBC. What do you attribute China’s recent success too? The working group, that traveled to the UK, replied….The opening up of capital markets and the graduated introduction of FREE ENTERPRISE. ie CAPITALISM…

      • In Vino Veritas

        Interesting Phillip. Interesting indeed. Since you are schooled up, you will then know that when socialism took over from dictatorships, most of the new governments privatised assets and retained individual property rights? Even Chavez in Venezuela called it “21st century socialism”. The equivalent here in NZ would be “Claytons socialism”.
        And also that the 1% “elites” were so smashed, that Gustavo Cisneros is Venezeula’s richest man with a lazy $3.8bn US, and Georgia Companc Argentina’s with $1.8bn US. Yep, that’d be smashing them.

        Oh, and there’s the small matter of Chile, who elected a conservative billionaire as President in 2010 after more than a decade of socialist ruination.
        Let’s see, Columbia. That would be Juan Santos of the Social Party of National Unity., liberal conservatives who hate Chavez.
        Which South American countries were you referring to?

  • Hagar

     ” It doesn’t really matter. What matters is the core principle that the strong should support the weak.” I think everyone subscribes to the above, but I object to the fact that I get up at 2.30am for shft work, and my taxes are given to some indolent layabout who wont get out of bed until I get home at Noon!

    • are a classic victim of the divide and rule tactics of the right.. pitting the low-wage-workers against the poorest…

      ..they distract you from yr low-wage status…

      ..and also have that threat of pushing you into that poor-pool..

      ..just to keep you in line…grateful for any crumbs.. seems to work quite well for them..

      ..that tactic… you demonstrate..

      ..why not try directing your anger at those that are actually screwing you/suppressing you into onerous employment conditions…?

      [email protected]

      • Hagar

        Get your facts right first. Im in a job that is paying comensurate amount for the skills required. I like my job and no way  ‘Im being screwed” otherwise I would not work there.

      • Super_Guest

        Again, who the fuck are you to comment on anyone else’s job? YOU DON’T HAVE ONE. If it wasn’t for the tax dollars of rich pricks like me you’d be starving in the street. You really need to get a grip, Phil, you’re like a child masquerading as a grown man.

        Perhaps if you spent less time pissing around on the internet, or better yet, stopped being a wanker and allowed some proper adverts on your site. Then again with traffic barely into double digits no business owner is going to be very interested in “ethically” advertising on your…what is it again?

      • parorchestia

        You are mistaken in your class warfare nonsense.  There is no class or wages struggle.  There is only the market.  You get paid what you are worth.
        But some people aspire to other things than mere accumulation of wealth.    I have artist friends who are happy with their low wages because their life goals are artistic, not economic.
        Not that this excuses beneficiaries ripping off the system (not looking at anyone in particular Phil)

  • Auto_immune

    The Greens wouldn’t form a Government without having some control over economic policy.  Labour knows this, and I’d imagine that they’re actually relying on this; “blame the minority partner for the leftist policy” etc.

    •  the/a problem labour has is they see their future/victory in squabbling with national over the self-interest-driven floating-turd-voters that drift between labour and national..

      ..whereas there is 30% of the population..who have just switched off from both major parties..

      ..because neither has done anything for them..

      ..during these decades of the neo-lib revolution..

      ..this is who labour should be looking to represent…

      ..but shearer is in thrall to the goff-ists/clarkists..

      ..and the paganis..

      ..that reactionary/rightwing of labour…

      ..(i mean..don’t get pagani started on

      ..he is even more hysterical than anderton was..)

      ..labour seem blind to these heaving/discontented masses yearning for a bit of

      ..that 30% of voters who just didn’t bother…

      ..i wonder if they/labour will wake up to that fact…

      ..tho’ i know it won’t happen while the paganis in labour are directing shearer..

      ..they all just want more of the same..

      ..would rather dredge for those floating-turds..

      [email protected]

      • In Vino Veritas

        Phillip, perhaps the heaving discontented (you could have included “pathetic” and “underclass” as well) masses aren’t being represented because they shouldnt be? Do you think that as net beneficiaries, they have a conflict of interest in that they get to vote themselves an income?

      • Auto_immune

        Your point would make more sense if NZ was still using FPP, but we use a (reasonably) proportional system now.  There are options for the disaffected as it is; it’s their fault for not caring enough to vote. 

        Getting people who didn’t vote last time to vote again is a laudable goal, but the ‘disaffection for the two main parties’ reasoning doesn’t hold too much water if they actually have viable options.

    •  reply to hagar..

      ..but you are working why do you feel the need to piss on the poorest/yr class..?

      ..just because you are doing a bit better than most of them..

      ..can’t you see you are just playing into that rightwing divide and rule meme..? are doing their will..

      ..barking yr/thr pavlovian bark..

      ..cant you see that..?

      (and a message to the ad-hominers..

      ..i always feel it shows the end of yr intellectual limitations..

      ..and the loss of the/any argument..

      ..when some form of personal abuse/ad-hom is the only answer you have left in a political discussion.. i’ll just chalk those ones up as minor
      ..and we can all just move on…

      [email protected]

      • Super_Guest

        Phil, you don’t have any argument. The irony of you attacking the rich (who you’d be dead without) is too much. Most of your rhetoric was dismissed as bollocks a hundred years ago, or is Mana party standard policy which means you’ve got the “intellectual limitations” of a two year old denied it’s toys. That and you’re 90% illegible, a great feat in the age of the word processor.

        Move on? Not until you stop leaching from us, every day you take more and more of our money and we see nothing in return. Why don’t you have a job, Phil? Just get one, then maybe I’ll give you the honour of being destroyed in argument, but until then, just learn to write properly.

        As for your earlier tripe about the rich getting richer:

  • Phar Lap

    Edwards of Irish /British extraction.Nothing has changed for Brian.He could never make up his mind if he was Orange or Green.He certainly would find it hard to commit to being Irish Green,what an enigma,seems somewhere along the line he surrendered to Kiwi Green.not sure if he could tell the difference between Norman’s Green and Kiwi Green.Both are like Brian ,very confusing.

  • jay cee

    edwards is proof of the old adage “the older you get the more conservative you become”

    • Gazzaw

      Edwards hasn’t changed. He’s always been a boring, overbearing pseudo-intellectual with a superior attitude. His biggest change is probably that he drinks his wine out of a bottle now rather than from a room temperature cask.