Right at the start, I know I’m never speaking from an objective viewpoint. I was raised by a pack of rabid lefties and feminists. I take some basic principles for granted and I often have trouble debating with people who simply aren’t approaching the world from the same basic viewpoint.
Nevertheless, it completely fucking baffles me how the Labour Party can continue to suck so hard.
We know NZ is a pretty liberal country, a society with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and we can all see how the Right has systematically marketed its cold, irrational policies as being in line with core Kiwi beliefs – of course National believes some people need the support of the state in times of trouble, but not the bludgers, and of course National believes we need good healthcare and education systems but why not just test the market to see if private providers can do better? Give them a shot, don’t pre-judge them, right?
It should be easy for Labour to say, we believe in a strong social safety net. We believe in caring for the vulnerable. We will not let criminals exploit that system, but we know that this is not a huge issue, and we will not allow mercenary, compassionless bankers attack people in need by pretending to be concerned about fraud. Why aren’t they going after their mates’ trust funds, if they’re so concerned?
It should be easy for Labour to say, the needs of teachers and the needs of parents are the same thing: a great school system for our kids. Teachers don’t want to see kids failing – who could ever want to see kids fail? Parents and teachers aren’t enemies, they can work together towards a common goal. Where’s performance pay for MPs, who are paid so much more than teachers but can sit on a backbench eating a sandwich for 3 years?
It should be easy for Labour to say, some things need to be in Kiwi hands. We have already seen what happens when our banks are run by Australians – the profits leave and we don’t even get our fair share of tax dollars. We don’t want our electricity in the hands of foreigners. We’ve seen what damage privatisation can do. We re-bought KiwiRail because we know that rail is essential, and it’s going to become more essential as oil prices rise. We know that selling your oven now and eating takeaways for the rest of your life isn’t cost-effective, it’s stupid, especially when the guy who recommends selling your oven owns a restaurant.
It should be easy for Labour to say we believe in the 8-hour working day, not imaginary productivity – Kiwis are the hardest workers in the world. Or we believe in protecting NZ’s industries and our environment – there’s no competition. Or we believe in ending child poverty, not punishing people for having bad luck.
In all honesty, I’m not even suggesting that Labour believes all these things or would mean it if they said it. But I’ve long ago given up on their substance. All I’m asking for is basically competent spin, and we can’t even get that.
… but then I guess Prime Minister-ing isn’t a business, so Auckland Council won’t be clutching their pearls over it.
Like many people, I today received a wonderfully personal piece of mail from my local Nat, with a lovely little survey because the National Party are very, very interested in my views, specifically my views as a likely mortgage-holder, given how they spin the Promised Land of Returntosurplus:
Operating in surplus helps keep mortgage rates lower for longer.
Seriously, that’s the first sentence after the heading “Getting back to surplus.” I guess the old lines about Spending Within Our Means and Running A Country Like A Household were getting old and tired so John Key traded them in for a younger, peppier trophy slogan.
Anyway, the fun bit is obviously the survey. Clearly in consultation with
Larry Baldock Serious Survey Creators they’ve carefully tailored the questions and options given to ensure a fair, unambiguous result. Like when they ask you to “tick the three issues that are important to you” – because you obviously can’t be focusing on more than three things at a time, peasant – and your options include:
Selling minority shares in four energy SOES and Air New Zealand
Raising achievement and accountability in schools
and my personal favourite
Rolling out ultra-fast broadband and investing in roads and rail
Oh, so sorry, you want kids to do better at school but don’t give a fuck about scaremongering Teacher Unions Eat Babies myths? Too bad! You’re maybe okay with a little partial energy privatisation – I mean, Labour is, for fuck’s sake – but you really don’t want to risk a return to ridiculous airfares? Too bad!
And above all, don’t you fucking dare think that we could maybe look at some basic IT infrastructure without building ROADS. MORE ROADS FOR STEVE JOYCE! ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOADS andalsosomerail.
You’re then asked about the most important local issue to you – presumably to justify slapping Local Nat MP’s face on the front – and finally, which party you always, or usually, support. Where your choices include all political parties with at least one MP in Parliament … except Mana.
I guess they just ran out of space.
Remember this wonderfully shite piece of publicity-stunt-gone-wrong with side order of gee-who-would-have-thought-we-had-a-bad/oblivious-police-rape-culture? Well, it turns out we were all wrong and actually it was a total success.
AnneE has the goods over at The Hand Mirror:
First sentence: “A sexist police recruitment advertisement which was quickly axed has been wildly successful – attracting record numbers of potential recruits.” Notice the addition of the word “potential” – not quite the same thing as actual recruits.
Near the end of the report it turns out that this “success” claim is based on a briefing from police public affairs general manager Michael Player to Judith Collins.
You see, they ran a campaign which caused significant online outrage and quite coincidentally a lot of people visited the relevant website, obviously to sign up, and not for any seeing-what-all-the-fuss-was-about looking-for-contact-details-to-write-complaint-emails reasons. At all.
And if you believe that, they have a whole “no more culture of raping vulnerable young women” bridge to sell you.