Sunday, October 25, 2009

chess and politics

You have got to hand it to the right they have got the left pretty stuffed at the moment. It is interesting to watch the techniques being used so effectively. It reminds me of chess. I'm a pretty average player but I've been getting beaten by a mate who i would normally expect to beat. He has got better and i have got worse. So back to the chess books for me so that i can get my chess brain on again.

Some basics that the right have done well. They have captured and have control of the centre. This is almost always a sound idea in chess because it gives you more options and restricts your opponent. The right have built a formidable pawn wall. Each protecting the other. national, act, maori party, dunne and the greens. The left pawn wall is fracionated and seperate – labour, greens maori party and anderton. The rights queen, (key), is placed well and rampages around the board. The left queen, (Goff), is restricted by other pieces and is ineffectual. Once you start thinking down this track it is really fun to carry the analogy futher into pins and skewers, passed pawns and so on.

One tactic within chess is the multiple attack. This is when different pieces attack in different ways on the same or other opposition pieces. When combined with a swamping and overloading attack it can be overwhelming. And isn't that what we are seeing at the moment in our society. How many areas are under attack at the moment? There aren't many, if any, that aren't. This is a classic swamping multiple attack and it is a good tactic because it works. It is attacking your opponent where they are weakest and in the case of the left our big weakness is our fractionation. We are too apart. We have to work in unision to achieve what we all want. But there are a few problems to sort out.

Labour needs to realise who its friends are for a start. Then they need to go left, instead of this centre stuff. You have lost the centre - no way through there. If the centre is blocked then you go around it. Go left - back to your home. You need to go there because sometimes i don't even think you are a left party. An individual chesspiece can do much but when it is combined with other pieces the value of each piece increases and the safety of each piece improves too. The left need leadership not a mini-right. Is labour the party to lead the left? Not sure about that.

The greens also need to have a look at themselves. I can't stand this corporate middle ground rubbish. You're green - what is the problem? You are doing a good job highlighting environmental issues, really good, but we need to get others behind you in a concerted campaign. Too often you are a lone voice when there should be others beside you. Part of the responsibility for getting others there with you, is yours. We need to simplify the message. Get a song competition going to remake “ban the dam cried the fantail” pull the community into the campaigns. When being swamped the answer is to simplify.

And the maori party. Jeepers I think help is needed. I fully support the kaupapa but national have been playing with us like a cat with a mouse. When it appears that choices are being made it then becomes obvious that we are being manouvered into the action that they wanted in the first place. When being manipulated in this way in chess – bold choices have to be made. It is no good pissing around – you either get out or you go down trying. Often a sacrifice is needed. I remind the maori party that they are independent. They are not part of national. their constituency is all maori, from all sides of the political spectrum. The friends of the maori party are those that support the same values as them. The values of the maori party are maori values that are mirrored in many of the policies and beliefs of the greens and labour. If those parties are too stubborn or stupid to realise that, then you take the lead. You organise the hui and the korero. Don't wait for them, you, the maori party put out the hand of friendship and shared values. You be the bigger person for the sake of all of us. And I know that the maori party also has shared values with national and act and that is good too. That is the point – the maori party represents maori, who come from all sides of the political spectrum.

The nats, well if it's not broke don't fix it. But chess is a game where a great position can quickly turn into nightmare battle for survival in just a few moves. You see there is always the opponent who has ther own plans in play and it can be easy to be so focused on the wonderful position you have, that you forget the other side of the equation. Pawn chains can be broken at their base. Queens can be trapped by their own trickiness or they can bob around so much, that time spent on their antics is time lost on other important areas. They become a fatal distraction.

And act. I admire rodney – he has morphed into an effective political player. A knight in chess can be an awesome weapon. On a good square it can comand a powerful presence with lethal consequences to any who stray on one its attacking squares. Able to leap over pieces to land they are great but you can get close to them. Right up beside them, and then they can be less effective. They become vunerable Its short sword time. Often a bishop or knight is used to maximum advantage throughout a game. They slash and burn, batter doen their opponents and live charmed lives. Right up to the time it becomes necessary to sacrifice them, for the greater good. It doesn't matter how much that piece has contributed to the success of the game to date; when the time comes, the time comes. And the problem for the piece is that you never know when that time may come. Plus there is not much you can do about it. So whilst it is a political reality it doesn't really matter. national may try to absorb act, or they make the sacrifice. I suppose the cycle of elections is the timeframe.

And to stretch the analogy to breaking point, it is interesting to consider who or what the king's are. Are they power, or an ideology, an individual, or a cabal, an ideal, anyway you get my drift. If you have lasted until now reading this then, what do you think?

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