Tuesday, March 31, 2015

the win in winston

Unintended consequences has been a concept on my mind recently - some thoughts on the recent by-election in Northland.

The election of Winston Peters in Northland will have unintended negative consequences for the left I think. The left as a whole and the individual parts of the left and I'll start with Labour.

As I've mentioned before I think the way Labour went about the Northland by-election was a mistake. The number of times I heard Labour people say - we can't win, we won't win, this un winnable - was depressing. Whether it was true or not is beyond the point - don't forget the big man key said Winston could and would never win - yet he did.

Okay let's assume that Labour could and never would win - what to do? Yes one option is to help Winston win with the view that giving National a 'bloody nose' is valuable because it will erode the win-meme attached to Key and Joyce and lead the way to a victory for Labour next election - that is certainly the line being used and now that Winston has won it will be interesting to see this meme develop. At this stage Key and Joyce are just pretending that they never lost and that it doesn't matter. Key is spinning it, "well I got it wrong and didn't expect Labour to capitulate and send their people to Winston" and Joyce is going, "yep you win some and lose some, that's politics..." I think their spin will work - it certainly has worked up to now with the almost continuous lying from Key and the almost continuous support he still receives. Time will tell on this one but it by no means certain that the winkeymeme is over or even really dented.

Labour missed a big opportunity to go hard, push Little out there and their candidate, push their policies, push their alternative Government meme - but they decided not to. Sure Prime will get a nice list placing and in 2.5 years is much more likely to get into Parliament. But Little and Labour have snapped a couple of arrows in their quiver - the moral high-ground over deals in Epsom around ACT and the Dunne electorate too. Everytime they go down that 'moral' road, Northland will be chucked in their face - even if it wasn't a deal and not really comparable to what National does - I just don't think the movable voter will care about those details. So Labour are going to have to do more of this 'strategic' dealing and i just can't see it going well for them - mainly because I do think they have more morals than National and as we've seen with Northland - it is difficult to front up and say it like it is especially when innuendo and nudge nudge are easier to do.

Andrew Little will need to be careful with Winston - their can be only one leader of the opposition and although Labour have the numbers, Winston has the ego, experience and wind in his sails after this win. He will get offended very quickly and dish out some smartarse remarks likely to get up Little's nose. The 2 of them are not going to get on I think - sure they'll pretend for a while but before too long the truth will out and that truth is that they are political rivals in a very direct way. Winston's age may be bought in but I would be careful about that because everyone's getting older. I'm calling that Winston will end up disliking Little as much as he does Key and that will be significant if the negotiations need to happen in 2.5 years.

Labour have let a wolf into the henhouse - National have received their bloody nose but they will heal. Labour may not heal from the win of Winston.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

choices made

I feel a zeal to begin blogging again but we'll see how we go lol.

Firstly congratulations to Winston Peters and NZF for the Northland win over the forces of the National Party. This really gives fantastic momentum to NZF and bodes well for them for future parliaments. I didn't like the labour campaign from day one - the slight of hand and whispering didn't really do it for me - but it did do it for labour supporters who moved their vote to Winston instead of the Labour candidate. Is this strategic voting? I'd say yes but for NZF not Labour and not the left. I remain unconvinced that Winston Peters and NZF will advance the left, especially the far left where I sit, and if any further convincing of that is needed the rumour mills are touting Shane Jones as a possible successor to Winston. Oh deary me - that would be diabolical if that happened although the 'middle' would probably love it - I'd rather have Ron Mark but time will tell.

The reason I think Labour will come to regret the decisions they made around this by-election are because as NZF ascends, I think Labour will descend. NZF are not going to get Green Party votes. They may get National Party votes but those votes are 'centre' votes - they wobble, they move. NZF are going to muscle into the 'middle' and they will take votes from both Labour and National but more from Labour I think, notwithstanding the relatively good start by Andrew Little - Labour's leader. The problem for him is that perception is reality. No more moral high ground over deals - even though this wasn't a deal, National have successfully spun it as one, the media have agreed. Another reason that Labour will descend is that it still is hanging on to so much deadwood that unless those people leave the Party is tainted - not just by Rogernomics but also the Clark years - those 9 years seem a long time ago now.

Anyway that is what I think about all that.

I've also taken a 2 week break from The Standard as a silent protest against Stephanie's ban on Murray. I like Murray and I like Stephanie's posts and I just feel that the ban was unnecessary. I do not feel it was a gender issue - it was just a bad call - although I can understand why Stephanie thinks it was. I respect The Standard authors and I didn't want to protest to them - that is inappropriate - but I did want to make a point and I did want to choose. In the past I have defended Stephanie because I have felt that she has received gender bias comments. I just don't think this was the situation in this case although I have to say some subsequent comments there have been offensive to me and sexist. So kia kaha Stephanie and see you in 2 weeks The Standard.

Monday, March 23, 2015

the last guide

the last guide

We climbed through clouds
the first day up to the pass
my body sang laments to
each stoney step and at the top
we went to sleep to a dire
ukulele strummed hard by
a german youth reliving a past

The wild kiwi slid through
the bush and we watched
and at Heaphy a Rangitāne
and I hongi, later a descendant
of Te Rauparaha and I kōrero
about the voices we hear here
where here enemies are friends

as I cradle my baby, home,
softly rocking and reaching for
another son to touch his head
and still his sighs, his mother,
my love, leans across my lap
and I realise the cadence of my
breath is still a walk, my pack

sits serenely on my shoulders