The results are in. The swearing-inners have sworn. The dust has settled – but the whining,the utter incomprehension of the bewildered born-to-rule shows no sign of abating. Judging by the first week after confirmation that a coalition of Labour, NZ First and the Greens would be the Government, the first of the moans is the least accurate, but makes a good slogan for the newly dispossessed and it goes – and will go – like this:
Category archive: Politics
It’s over… sort of. Yet something seems missing, something so boring it wouldn’t make it to the debates about the pressing issues of homeless, inequality and the other depressing social indicators.
It’s not so much a policy as a theory which has guided this and other Government’s policy since the Reagan-Thatcher years. A time so brainless it ran on the empty slogan of ‘there is no alternative’.
I can’t remember when I wrote the following paragraph about using containers in prisons to mop up overcrowding:
“My response to the use of containers to imprison convicted criminals was to ask myself the following questions: Are the containers secure? Will they mop up overcrowding? By prison standards of accommodation, are these containers humane? The answer is yes in all cases.”
“If I am in the privileged position of being Prime Minister, my expectation is that politics will be based around ideas and policy” – Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report.
What’s this? Ideas defrosted from the ice of ideology? Policy untrammelled by The Market, that blinker on political imaginings.
So here’s an idea:
Say what you will about Jacinda Ardern but we’ve rarely seen a polly who slips so easily into disarming self- deprecation. It’s part of the appeal of the new Labour Leader who can rally supporters to come to the Labour launch at the Auckland Town Hall while adding: “There’ll be a special musical guest – and I’ll be laying out my relentlessly positive vision (is this getting annoying yet?”)
And then after a PS urging supporters to volunteer, a PPS saying: “Hey Mum… this is me checking you’re reading all of my messages!”
Boot camp, again? Yes, I’m afraid it’s an enduring election issue. Regimented places of enforced residence designed to change the hearts, minds and behaviour of young people who are out of control. Boot camps tend to be short-term and usually emphasise self-reliance and self discipline. What’s different about the latest election ploy promoted by Bill English is that to me at least, it makes sense.
I remember when the government helped young people to move up in the world. It was a time when all mothers got the Family Benefit, which could be turned into a deposit (capitalised) on a house with an affordable State Advances mortgage. I also remember when inexpensive night school classes for school certificate and university entrance were common. And also affordable university evening extension courses leading to professional qualifications. Labour and National governments abandoned the leg-up philosophy as well as collective responsibility. Union protection was replaced with individual contracts and, conveniently, a low wage economy.
Bedrooms: 3 Bathrooms: 2 Garaging: 2 Grammar: nil – read on:
‘….. one our most popular designs for those looking for a superb home that will tick all the boxes. From you the moment you walk through the front door you will notice the large living area and good use of space. This unique floor plan offers the disconcerting buyer a stunning open plan living area which opens out to the ideal outdoor entertaining area with the added bonus of a sun nook, media room and beautiful open gas fire place’.
(We think they meant discerning buyers…)
I watched Radio New Zealand’s Guyon Espiner’s interviews of past prime ministers on the computer to check out the body language as well as the words. I took notes of the show (The Ninth Floor), but with my prejudices it’s just as well I didn’t try journalism as a career. So let me state from the outset that Jenny Shipley is far and away my least favourite PM. She reminds me even now of a bossy head girl who’s never had a moment’s self doubt.