The police have decided not to charge freelance journalist Bradley Ambrose over the “teapot tape”. Despite that, they’re still claiming that his actions were unlawful. Which raises the questions: if his actions were so unlawful, why have they decided not to charge him?
I think the cops are on a hiding to nothing, here. I mean, we’re all well aware that if there were any solid evidence against Ambrose, they would’ve gathered it illegally and then just got Parliament to retrospectively make it OK, right?
In all seriousness, this photo at The Standard sums up my feelings on this whole scandal from day one. Who the fuck seriously buys that this was a “private conversation”? How utterly disingenuous do you have to be to cry when you stage the most openly calculating of public conversations and get recorded? And the eternally-unanswered question, how little political nous (and/or arrogance) do you have to have to do that and then discuss anything besides the lovely weather we’ve been having lately and aren’t those Warriors doing well?
October 3, post by Eddie on The Standard:
Key broke law on radio show
Prime Minister Moonbeam clearly broke the law on Friday on the radio show that he chose to run instead of dealing with the downgrade crisis. The law is clear: Key wasn’t allowed to make political statements.
First, Key promised to “talk to someone important” about Coronation Street moving time … That was, of course, a political promise to act in his capacity as Prime Minister. And it was clearly intended to encourage people to vote for him and his party.
October 4, unauthored post at The Standard:
When things look black
A clever billboard from Labour. Apparently it has Kiwiblog’s knickers in a bunch, so it must be good!
Pay attention, kiddies: a non-explicitly political manoeuvre designed to nevertheless build support in a crucial pre-election period by leveraging off popular current events is illegal when it’s John Key on the radio, but not Labour on a billboard.
Though as Idiot/Savant notes, Labour’s own official policy on the former is that it would’ve been fine if they’d given Phil Goff pseudoelectioneering airtime too.
I know how this one is going to play, dear readers. It’s just going to be another evil, spiteful, bitchy, undermining, white-anting hysterical rant from a no-name bitch who no one likes who just hates Labour because she’s evil, and is just too picky, etc etc, and you know what? Go for your life. At this point I’m treating the whole thing as an historical exercise, writing down my thoughts now so in years ahead I can look back and say “fuck I was smart back then”.
And I do also understand that this is how politics works: find something that vaguely aligns to this week’s hot topic, and use it to try to turn the conversation back to yourself.
And I’ve previously said that it cannot be difficult for the left to put child poverty firmly on the agenda this election.
So when the Child Poverty Action Group’s report, Left Further Behind, got released last week, it was inevitable that as many parties as possible (the Nats and ACT excluded for fairly obvious reasons) would jump up with their hands in the air to cry “teacher, teacher, I have important thoughts on this!” like that beardy bastard in first-year philosophy/pols classes who thinks wasting half the class musing on the topic of “but is it not perhaps natural for man to seek a leader?” will really impress the professor.
Of course they were going to make this report about themselves. Of course you were going to get press releases with titles like “More evidence shows need for a plan to end child poverty” with the ever-so-subtle implication, “AND WE HAVE THAT PLAN”.
But I’m sorry, Labourites, yours in particular? Just a bit too far.
Here’s the context. Labour introduced Working for Families. CPAG made a complaint about Working for Families discriminating on the basis of family status. Labour, in government, fought damned hard against CPAG, with Crown Law even demanding a judicial review on the basis that CPAG, not being itself a starving beneficiary child, could not make such a complaint.
Now, CPAG’s report covers the introduction of WFF, noting it wasn’t as generous as a similar scheme in Australia (p51), and didn’t make allowance for big events like the recession or Pike River putting people involuntarily out of work (something the current Government kinda dealt with.) (p58) They agree that yes, things have got worse under NACT, and yes, they note that many many more children would have been in poverty today without WFF.
On p51, CPAG further notes that Labour is rethinking its attitude to WFF, and quotes Annette King on the subject. But a bit of a newsflash here: this is not CPAG jumping on some awesome Labour bandwagon, this is CPAG saying thanks for finally fucking listening to us on this, peeps.
Labour is also mentioned in other sections on removing GST from fruit and veg, the repeal of s59, early childhood education etc etc.
But no, sorry, Annette, sorry, Labour media team, sorry, Labour supporters; Left Further Behind contains not a single hint that CPAG “supports” Labour’s policies. Which is not really surprising, since CPAG is going for that whole “not politically affiliated” vibe.*
The Labour fans out there, no doubt already marshalling the usual “but John Key is Satan”, “but Labour is our last best hope for peace” lines, will not doubt point out that the press release doesn’t specifically say that CPAG are specifically explicitly and deliberately advocating in favour of Labour’s policies.
Not good enough, my friends.
Because the headline of the press release is
Labour welcomes Child Poverty Action Group support
Not even “Labour welcomes CPAG report” or “Labour endorses CPAG report” or “Labour’s policies in line with CPAG report”.
If the only thing you read (and please, stop for a moment to consider the standards of our mainstream media) was the headline, you would certainly come away with the impression that CPAG had endorsed Labour in some way.
Sorry, but they didn’t.
Then consider nice weaselly statements like
The … report released today confirms Labour’s policies
… when it doesn’t say anything about Labour’s policies …
I am pleased that so many organisations are coming together with the shared view that we must all do better for our children.
… as though CPAG were a new kid on the block in this area and just happened to have a really appropriate name …
and absolutely most fucking egregiously:
The Child Poverty Action Group has mirrored much of the policy that has already been announced by Labour
Mirrored. MIRRORED. Y’all may want to accuse me of being petty and pedantic, but you know what mirrors do? Reflect things that are already there. Obvious implication of this statement? Labour already thought of this first and CPAG are just joining in.
I’d hate to think that this is actually part of some official Labour key messages document: “Always speak as though all good things are inspired by us”, “always act as though we had every good idea first”. But it’s becoming a bit of a theme, and it’s far too closely related to “always act as though we are the one true leftwing god”, “the Greens are filthy traitors stealing our rightful votes” attitudes.
Child poverty is a serious fucking deal in NZ, and God knows I’m happy to see any party taking it seriously. But Labour has a pretty shit track record on this one, and it’s not one they’re keen to talk about (another recurring meme). So frankly, peeps, I am not looking in that direction for any actual answers.
I’m going to look to groups like CPAG. Here’s what they have to say about the future of eliminating child poverty (p73):
There are very good arguments for a universal payment, but in 2011 we have very wide income disparities and we do not have progressive taxation to fund redistribution. In addition, the poorest children miss out on payments in the current system because payments are tied to their parents’ paid work activity, not solely to income.
A universal payment alone is incapable of addressing child poverty with the current restrictions: fiscally it would mean that in order to make a payment to children that alleviated poverty, the payment level would have to be so high that we could not do it without either raising the top tax rates considerably to pay for it, or sacrificing some other worthy spending. Eliminating poverty has to be the first priority and this requires targeting assistance to the lowest income families. It would be possible (and desirable) to have a universal dimension, comparatively small initially, but the most significant assistance in the immediate future will need to be targeted at the poorest children. This could be the first step towards a universal payment for all children.
I’m sure they’d be happy for political parties to push these ideas, free of charge. But acting like this report actively supports any specific party, particularly Labour? Acting like this is some kind of “me, too!” to Labour’s awesome godlike child poverty policies which date back to the dawn of Westminster? Get your fucking hand off it, mate.
*Just to make it crystal clear: this is what it looks like when CPAG “supports” a Labour policy. Just so y’all know in future.
PS. Seriously, Labour. All this would have taken to be a good-news story from me (because it’s all about me) was to can the entitlement complex and say “This report is good, we’re happy we can see we’re going in the right direction, we did make mistakes last time and we’re not going to do it again.” How hard is that? Once you’ve taught your leadership team to say “sorry”, that is.
I feel like I’ve been making this argument forever, but I’m prompted to make it again by this post at Imperator Fish (the title of which must be satirical … except that as I’ve already predicted, it’s probably going to be used a lot more seriously on 27 November).
Even if there’s some fair comment amidst a great deal of the carping I’ve heard about Labour and its leadership, direction, PR, etc, it doesn’t change the fact that a bad Labour’s still (in my totally unbiased opinion) miles better than a good National.
Well, to continue my horrid carping, Scott, that’s not a fact. It’s an opinion. Like you just said, in fact.
Here’s a few scenarios to kinda prove my point:
Scenario one: My personal, entirely uneducated, pick
The polls turn out to be [roughly, and surprisingly] on target and National scrapes in with a set of agreements allowing them to deal with ACT, the Maori Party, maybe even the Greens on certain issues, Peter Dunne if he survives. But they don’t have the numbers to ram through the vicious rightwing agenda they really want to; for the first year or so at least, John Key wants to maintain his fluffy-bunny facade so they only partially sell our state assets, they only slightly cut taxes for the rich, they only mildly shaft the health and education systems.
By 2014, New Zealanders are starting to get bored, John Key probably fucks off to early retirement in Hawaii, Bill English and Steven Joyce enjoy a bloody feud, ACT implodes again, Labour has a proper rejuvenation of personnel and approach, and voila, a mighty [centre-]left victory ensues, in good time to renationalise our assets and save our social safety net.
Scenario two: Labour at all costs
Labour miraculously scrapes together a coalition with the Greens and Maori Party/Mana. ACT are trounced, Dunne vanishes, Winston bites off some of National’s base but is once again pretty much robbed when he doesn’t win a seat.
But Labour are still kinda floundering. They’ve got capital gains tax, and that totally populist “mess about with monetary policy” policy, but Phil Goff still isn’t Helen Clark, one of the Davids gets tired of playing the waiting game (having been banking on a 2011 defeat to shake stuff up), there’s no clear direction, there’s no [authorised this time, please?] pledge card of good solid achievables for people to say “I’m glad I voted for Labour, they’ve ticked off all the boxes and really made a difference.”
2014: the centre thinks “Well that was a fucking waste of time, wannit?” and goes back to National, which now gets to openly campaign on its vicious rightwing policies under the banner of “you gave Labour a go and they did fuck all, so clearly we’re the only people with answers”. Labour is a one-term government and the Right claim a firm position as The Only People With A Clear Idea Of What To Do. We get royally fucked.
Scenario three: my personal dreamland
Labour get their shit together, the All Blacks lose terribly, John Key is caught embezzling charity money, Mana and the Greens stake out nice mutually-exclusive patches of policy and take 15% between them. A new era of socialist awesomeness dawns.
But that’s not really the point. The point is that I have no time for the idea that any Labour under any leader with any level of cohesion is better than any National-led government. It may feed nicely into the beltway left’s firm belief that John Key is actually Beelzebub and when the light of the full moon hits the Beehive on the equinox everyone will “wake up” and realise who their true leaders-by-right are, and it certainly dovetails with that whole entitlement complex that apparently I’ve just been making up in order to personally destroy the Labour Party.
But National, especially National led by John Key and operating in an MMP world which puts them on shaky ground for stable coalition partners, is simply not the reincarnation of Rob Muldoon, or the third coming of Roger Douglas. And when the alternative is potentially a “bad Labour” which solidly fucks the entire left movement in this country for a decade by failing to produce a concrete, inspiring ideology … yeah. Fuck that “fact”, Scott. Whoops, there I go again, sowing discord, I’m such a baaaaaaad leftie.
You have to give this to Right to Zygote Life, they are persistent little misogynists. And now they’re taking their case, with the sole purpose of making it harder for women to freely choose the fate of their own damn bodies, to the Supreme Court – but, thank Satan and all his little wizards, will not be allowed to argue the interminable fucking point about biologically-dependent cell clumps’ “right” to some poorly-defined notion of “life”.
In a classic madlibbed press release, Right to Fuck Over Women proclaim this a total injustice, because it
takes away their ability to confuse pretty clear issues of legislation and medical authority with emotive bullshit ignores the hugest most awful abuse of human rights eveeeeeeeer!!!!
Cue the usual spiel:
The humanity of the unborn child is an inconvenient truth, for acceptance of the humanity of the unborn child would be an impediment to the killing of innocent human beings.
Nup. I will continue to say this as long as I have breath: no airy-fairy “humanity of the
undead unborn” notion would, in fact, stand in the way of abortion. Bear with me for the next bit because it’s part of the same bollocks:
The High Court found that “The rule according human rights only at birth is founded on convenience rather than medical or moral grounds.” “A legal right to life would be incongruous in such a law, for it would treat the unborn child as a separate legal person, possessing a status fundamentally incompatible with induced abortion, far from modifying the born alive rule. The abortion law rests on it.”
You know why it’s “convenient”, guys? Hint: it’s not because evil slutty women just want to be able to kill babies for the glory of the Dark Lord. It’s because once you get your way, and get some vague notion of “life” as it pertains to individual human beings’ existences set into law … you still don’t get to ban abortion.
Because then you get to have the really inconvenient argument which will, happily for us sluts, reveal your basic anti-uterus-havers (“women” to you small-minded binary-lovers) stance. And yes, I’m disagreeing with the High Court here: recognising the foetus as a separate legal person would not, in fact, be “incompatible” with induced abortion.
Because no born human being’s “right to life “allows them to unilaterally seize control of someone else’s body.
No born human being gets to subpoena another’s kidneys.
No born human being gets to demand to be hooked up to another’s lungs and force the other to breathe for them.
Not even if you’re dying. Not even if you’re dying and the person whose kidney could save you is the person who stabbed you in the kidney. Not even if you’re in a coma unable to breathe on your own accord.
The “right to life”, as you pretend it to be, doesn’t even apply now to supposedly-endowed-with-it born people. Why the fuck do you assume it would apply to da widdle feeeetuses?
And every single time a prochoicer raises this argument, the response (if they bother to engage) comes straight out of the “but you had sex and are therefore a filthy whore who must suffer for it”* playbook.
And that’s a bit inconvenient.
Antichoicers probably don’t actually comprehend this, though. Because when your argument is basically entirely derived from a worldview which treats women/uterus-havers as walking incubators whose life is only really necessary to produce the next divinely-mandated generation, it’s probably pretty easy to forget that they’re human beings too, and they have a right to life too. Which, as shown above, doesn’t cover being forced to loan their organs to someone else.
And while your softly-softly societally-acceptable sex-shaming and irresponsible-teen-slut-fear-mongering and Aren’t We Reasonable approach might help get moderate types, people who never have to think about this kind of stuff, people who just “feel” that abortion is “icky” on your side … I have this feeling it’s going to be a lot harder to convince them that they also believe that other human beings have the right to take over their bodies and fuck up their health and irrevocably alter their lives for the sake of consistency.
The idea that “life begins at birth”,** at least with regards to abortion, isn’t convenient for our sakes, Right to Steal People’s Autonomy. It’s convenient for yours. My prochoice views remain entirely consistent whether I acknowledge conception*** as some momentous event in the course of human life. My belief in people’s bodily autonomy is not threatened by the idea of ensoulment or a heartbeat or widdle fingers and toesies.
Your arguments, on the other hand, being entirely pulled out of your asses to justify imposing/maintaining a world in which women are lesser, in which women have no agency, in which uterus-havers must all be women because uterus = incubator = tool to propagate society aka “woman”, would find it daaaaaamn inconvenient to have an actual discussion about a world which recognises the “right to life” you pretend to give a shit about.
But please. Take your arguments to Parliament. Force our MPs to actually confront the reality of abortion laws in NZ and the hateful controlling world you want to bring about. I assure you, I am the very opposite of afraid.
*And if you want to come and argue that being forced to gestate a pregnancy which is unwanted isn’t suffering, you are invited to sit down for an Alien marathon and come back to me when you’ve figured out why it’s relevant.
**Specifically, first breath. References? Oh, only the Bible.
***Insert traditional “which makes God the world’s biggest abortionist” statement here.
ETA: Clare Curran has apologised, hat-tip to NRT. Of course, interestingly it’s about her intentions, which are of course magical, doesn’t refute the idea that Labour does feel entitled to votes (only that she didn’t want to make that argument) and would prefer to bag the Greens than do something about it, and provides a nice platform for people to continue rolling out the “who cares about stupid armchair bloggers anyway???” barrel. Oh, and no mention of referring to critics as “feral”. But one supposes it’s a start.
… and that’s only slightly hyperbolic and somewhat metaphorical.
Recent polls have put Labour in the mid-20s. Which is obviously bad. It probably means you’re down to the absolute core of people whom you could wheel semi-comatose into a voting booth and they’d manage to tick the red box through sheer force of will.
And I totally understand that as a geeky politically-sarcastic blogger, I am by no means the “middle New Zealand” or the “swing” vote that Labour has lost along with the large proportion of lefties who would honestly rather risk a second NACT term than return the current pack to the Beehive.
But seriously. How long has Labour, and some of its supporters in the blogosphere, been trying this fucking pathetic “OMG HDU VOTE 4 SUM 1 ELS????” line? How has it not yet sunk in that you are not our dad, we don’t have to listen to you, and your entitled fucking attitude might just have the tiniest bit to do with our continued lack of interest?
It’s certainly not just Clare Curran, though she’s got the best online history of this, including awesome posts about how everyone should just shut up and pitch in, as though we’re still in a two-party FPP system where there are no alternatives for an angry leftie/progressive. And it’s really awesome to see a party’s technology spokesperson, the one who’s meant to be all internet-savvy, resort to tired old cliches about how anyone who comments on a blog must by default be a reclusive shut-in with no life and no real friends who never does anything.
It’s also the awesome hypocrisy. Attacking other members of the left for nicking your rightful votes, while releasing those parties’ decade-old policies as your own with a wide-eyed, “Oh look! A completely original and earthshaking idea which surely shows how brilliant we are!” Attacking Idiot/Savant (you know, that guy whose spreadsheets of currently-lodged, previously-lodged and to-be-lodged-in-future-depending-on-results-of-currently-lodged OIA requests could, I assume, save any Excel nerd from ever needing aphrodisiacs) for doing nothing while your own campaign manager has spent a hard day out-cycling a pondscum blogger whose irrelevancy would be a lot easier to throw in the media’s face if only you’d stop fucking dignifying him.
And as always, it’s the amazing ability I have to predict the future. To know with absolute certainty that when Labour don’t roll Goff, don’t shake up their front bench, don’t make any effort to bring back the alienated left,* they will be on Red Alert the next day having a whinge because why don’t we stupid people realise that our votes are theirs out of manifest destiny.
The 2000 US election was a key part of my teenaged political development. I could sympathise, a little, with Democrats’ anger at Ralph Nader’s temerity, “stealing” rightful D votes in an entrenched two-party system. You don’t have that excuse, Labour. This is New Zealand’s sixth MMP election. We have options, and you really have to stop acting surprised when we use them.
ETA: This just in: I am part of National’s “cadre of attack bloggers”, apparently along with Lew, Danyl, and Russell Brown.
*I assume that unless John Key’s mansion is discovered to have a basement corpse collection rivalling that of John Wayne Gacy, the centre will quite happily remain National’s.
This isn’t directed at anyone specific, but suffice it to say that if National forms the next government, I will swear off alcohol for a month if no one in the lefty Kiwi blogosphere makes a post about how it’s all Mana’s fault and
Ralph Nader Epsom voters RAM Hone Harawira screwed everything up for Labour and if only everyone else on the left / in the social justice movement had stood aside and waited their turn, and at least half the National voters had woken up / paid attention / used their brains / not been so stupid, it would all have been all right.
It may just be that it’s a Sunday and I’m overtired and feeling a bit hypercritical … but really, Moana Mackey?
Tweet of the Week :The Greens launched their plan to lift Kiwi kids out of poverty joining Labour in advocating for the welfare of our kids to be put at the centre of government decision making.
Yeah, glad the Greens finally jumped on the child welfare bandwagon, after long years advocating for … something not that.
Mind you, Mackey goes on to express curiosity about the authenticity of the @DrBrash Twitter account, so who knows …
It is totally time to do something about child poverty.
Benefits were cut to sub-starvation levels in 1991 to provide an “incentive”, and have never been restored. While Working For Families helped the working poor, it deliberately excluded those on benefits, again to provide an “incentive” for work. The resulting underclass was largely ignored by Labour when they were in office – they were invisible, and nobody wanted to talk about poverty in the good times. But now there’s a recession, exacerbated by National’s “hands-off” approach to economic mismanagement, and the problem is now too big to ignore.
If the left can’t make this a massive election issue, I lose faith both in our political representatives and NZ society as a whole.
Kids are going hungry, peeps. In New Zealand. And it’s our bloody job to stop that shit happening because even the better-off among us shouldn’t want to kick back texting our mates before dinner while children go hungry in our own damn country.