The “Tea Party Left”

June 9th, 2014 at 6:57 am by David Farrar

writes in NBR:

As suggested here some time ago, a slow re-alignment on New Zealand’s political Left is under way.

has been in slow decline for 20 years: the decline started during the battles over Rogernomics and Helen Clark’s 15-year reign saw further chipping away of ’s core vote.

New Zealand’s political Left has what we have called the “Tea Party Tendency” which holds Labour has not been sufficiently socialistic enough: the Tea Partygoers are spread among Labour and the Greens but their views are similar: they hold that Helen Clark was a sell-out “neo-liberal” (whatever that term is defined as this week) and nothing will do but a total overturn of the post-1984 economic reforms.

Yeah, they’re still obsessed by the late 1980s. How you tell if someone is a member of this following is if they use the term neo-liberal in political conversation.

Ms Harre is something of a hero to many of this faction and will pull further votes from Labour – probably more from Labour than from the Greens. The Green Party now has a strong brand and whatever else can be said about the party, it knows what it stands for.

The advantage for National will be twofold: most obviously, the parties are scrapping over the same vote. Few, if any, National voters feel Labour needs to become more left wing.

The other advantage can be framed in terms of the economic concept of opportunity costs: what is spent on one thing cannot be spent on another thing.

In political terms, Labour, Green and Internet/Mana activists will spend more time, energy and money fighting each other than fighting the government.

Which is why it took Labour three days to comment on the Greens’ carbon tax. Hosking notes:

Labour, though, was caught flat-footed again: after sending mixed messages on the Internet Party/Harre/Mana mashup over the past week, Labour appeared to be blindsided by the Greens using a party conference to announced an eye-catching policy in election year.

The best Labour managed was a spluttered comment that it “does not comment on other party’s policies.”

Someone perhaps needs to sit down with the Labour Party and go over the basics of this politics thing again.  I suspect diagrams might be needed, and perhaps a big thick crayon.

Heh.

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60 Responses to “The “Tea Party Left””

  1. hj (7,023 comments) says:

    I think the big debate about not socialist enough is a red-herring. I doubt the masses give a hoot. The real issues are demonstrated by the success of UKIP in the European elections. People are sick of immigration and associated social engineering. This is born out by a recent TV3 poll which found 62.4% want tighter restrictions on immigration (84 percent of NZ First voters , sixty-eight percent of Labour voters, 58 percent of Green Party voters).
    http://www.3news.co.nz/David-Cunliffe-blames-migrants-for-housing-crisis/tabid/1607/articleID/345855/Default.aspx#ixzz33jj2pF7w

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  2. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    Mike Smith recognises some of Labour’s problems and has posted to provoke discussion at The Standard – Too many hedgehogs.

    There’s some sensible soul searching in comments but also evidence of “Tea Party Left” although neo-liberal is only mentioned by one person (who stood for Labour in Clutha-Southland last election).

    There’s plenty of division with Labour’s ABC criticised and calls for the left to work together – in other words, they want Labour to lurch further left.

    There are calls for more solid Labour policy announcements.

    Smith promised follow up comments on what he thinks is required – “I’ll offer what I think tomorrow – I’m interested in what others think.”

    It looks like he posted this accidentally as pointed out by Harry Holland:

    What happened to Mike Smith’s “Communication Upgrade Needed” opinion post – there one minute and gone 20 minutes later…

    The gist was that DC’s recent messaging has been very negative about life in NZ.

    I watched as negative messaging sank the Left in 2011. Unless people are seriously struggling they like to think of themselves as doing well, or about to start doing well. Doing well, being fair on everyone, and helping those who need help.

    [lprent: Looks like Mike did a premature release? He is the only person on the edit list. ]

    Cunliffe’s and Labour’s negative approach has had negative results for them – politics 101.

    But their biggest problem is the justified perception that Cunliffe can’t organise and lead Labour let alone all the parties the left would need to form a government – if they get enough seats amongst them and can get Winston Peters on board as well.

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  3. hj (7,023 comments) says:

    @ Pete George That it is a The Standard (Voice of the NZ Labour Movement) hosted debate says it all

    Draco T Bastard 4
    7 June 2014 at 10:35 pm

    What should Labour do?

    Get some discipline in the caucus and stop a number of members from speaking from their arse
    Stop attacking their allies
    More left leaning policy
    Drop the bloody stupid raising the age of retirement
    Although they’ve made some announcements about upping NZ manufacturing they still haven’t really addressed the lack of high tech manufacturing
    Direct government R&D that the government can then lease the IP to NZ businesses so that it becomes self funding while still having the long term patience that matures blue sky research

    The wankers are like a company whose product isn’t selling, they can’t see the obvious so they just try to push the sales pitch harder.

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  4. tvb (4,425 comments) says:

    The Labour Party does not know what it stands for. Every Labour person has a different idea of what Labour values are. About the only thing that seems to be common is: identify a problem and the Labour Party thinks the Government can fix it

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  5. Scott1 (552 comments) says:

    Simply on a day to day basis the national political machine is just straightforwardly more talented at politics than the left political machine.

    They aren’t unbeatably talented – but it is also not a simple task to clean out the dead wood and replace it with talented people even if one can get together the will to do what it takes – which I imagine Labour cannot do.

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  6. redqueen (563 comments) says:

    What’s interesting is seeing the aged socialists attempt to make their mark, particularly in an ever more digitalised world. The idea that these people are all fighting over ‘the Left’ is brilliant, as it will be a shrinking, not expanding, group. I am still laughing at Harre, not because she said she can connect to young voters through her kids, but because she brought up the Springbok Tour as a point of difference with John Key (‘I remember where I was!’). Now, as someone who wasn’t even born yet, and who is among the supposed ‘young’ target group, I can only smile at some oldie telling me where they were, on an issue I don’t really care about, in a world that is long past. And that’s not to say I don’t know the history, but it really isn’t the topic of today.

    So let them fight themselves into oblivion. It will be like watching the Republicans in 1930s Spain…

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  7. Grant (444 comments) says:

    Redqueen – hear hear.
    G

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  8. Yoza (1,875 comments) says:

    redqueen (400 comments) says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 7:28 am

    …but because she brought up the Springbok Tour as a point of difference with John Key (‘I remember where I was!’). Now, as someone who wasn’t even born yet, and who is among the supposed ‘young’ target group, I can only smile at some oldie telling me where they were, on an issue I don’t really care about, in a world that is long past. …

    So let them fight themselves into oblivion. It will be like watching the Republicans in 1930s Spain…

    Yes, we obviously need a ‘strong man’ leading a bunch of committed disciplined black shirts to ‘rescue’ us from the scourge of democracy.

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  9. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    The Labour Party does not know what it stands for. Every Labour person has a different idea of what Labour values are.

    To an extent that’s true of any party with more than one member. There’s a wide variety of ideas in National, Greens etc.

    It’s the job of the party leader and management to focus the party and carry the rest with them. Cunliffe started with fractured support from caucus and he hasn’t overcome that, that is a major impediment to Labour getting it’s shit sorted out and looking like a competent potential leader of government.

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  10. burt (8,272 comments) says:

    Cunliffe, Mallard, King & Goff – resign now for the sake of the party. It’s overdue and you know it.

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  11. Mobile Michael (452 comments) says:

    If you are 44 or younger, the first time you could vote was in the 1990s. While that is only a third of voters who won’t remember pre-1984, its a percentage who only hear the horror stories of Keysnian economics. The idea of high tax, heavily subsidised industry like rail, and regulations designed to stop you buying anything made overseas will make them recoil.

    And when you also consider Muldoon was the last PM before reforms – who the left brand as a hateful conservative – you get a poor association with authoritarian government and pre 1984 policy.

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  12. Odakyu-sen (655 comments) says:

    “Yes, we obviously need a ‘strong man’ leading a bunch of committed disciplined black shirts to ‘rescue’ us from the scourge of democracy.”

    Um, the “black shirts” were fascists, i.e., pro-Big Governmentarian, authoritarian, totalitarian, do-as-your-toldarian, bully boys who didn’t brook any dissent.

    We don’t need strong leaders; we need a strong people (as in “citizens” who are capable of running their own lives)

    The trick is: how do you get people to be more responsible for themselves and their families…?

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  13. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    tvb (4,075 comments) says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 7:26 am
    The Labour Party does not know what it stands for. Every Labour person has a different idea of what Labour values are.

    I think that same thing could be said about all the current political parties. They all seem to have members that want different things and none of them appear to have a philosophy that they adhere to, but rather are in a constant state of flux.

    It is difficult to identify a true left or right party – and even the conservatives provide progressive ideas.

    I don’t believe any of the them know or can define exactly what they stand for – instead the just want to ‘stand’.

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  14. stephieboy (3,094 comments) says:

    I much prefer the perforative term ” tea Baggers ” as appropriately applied to the U S Tea Party Right.

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  15. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    The Labour Party does not know what it stands for. Every Labour person has a different idea of what Labour values are.

    To an extent that’s true of any party with more than one member. There’s a wide variety of ideas in National, Greens etc.

    It’s the job of the party leader and management to focus the party and carry the rest with them. Cunliffe started with fractured support from caucus

    Cun*liffe is a liar and a fake. Every time he opens his mouth you can tell his heart isnt in the message. yeah he wants the JOB and has sold his soul (ha!) to get it. I believe that DC is far closer to Key in his beliefs and a long long way off this far left crazy talk he is trying to sell to the public.

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  16. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Yoza (1,422 comments) says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 7:38 am

    New Zealand is no longer a democracy, what we have is a Clayton’s Democracy – that’s a democracy you have, when you’re not really having one.

    Clearly the majority do not want it to be either or they would not stand for the practice of ‘coat tailing’ which breaches democratic values.

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  17. wat dabney (3,769 comments) says:

    Any party which truly represents the workers would look very much like Thatcher’s Conservatives.

    NZ Labour, by contrast, represents the corrupt, rent-seeking Establishment which Thatcher fought so hard to destroy.

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  18. Exclamation Mark (85 comments) says:

    I distinctly remember “Neo-Con” and not all that long ago) being the term that was favoured by the left for sneering at the right.

    I’d love to know exactly when and why this changed.

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  19. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Colville (1,884 comments) says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Cun*liffe is a liar and a fake.

    He’s a politician, and currently in NZ, that is the standard requirement to be one. However, if you are really good at lying, you can get to the top job if you practice hard enough. Clunliffe’s problem is that he’s just not as good at it, as others, obviously Banks wasn’t either. The more you lie, the further up the pay scale you get in NZ politics.

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  20. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    bullshit judith, ‘coattailing’ breaches nothing of the sort. all it says is that if you win an electorate you get your actual party vote in list seats as well, rather than needing 5%. wow what a huge fucking travesty.

    its been used by 5 parties in 6 MMP elections, and benefitted Labour 3 times and National once. but it only became a horrible crime because you whiny lefties did not like anyone else getting advantage from it.

    show us your condemnation of the $800 000 labour stole if you are so concerned about breaches of democratic values. that breach stole an election.

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  21. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    Judith.
    What part of the word “proportional’ dont you get?
    If coat tailing was abolished our system would be less democratic not more.*

    *unless there other changes like dropping the threshold to 1%

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  22. burt (8,272 comments) says:

    Perhaps people are finally noticing that through generations of fighting the man the only people benefitting from all those union fees now are the union bosses and Labour Party politicians.

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  23. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Grendel (909 comments) says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 8:12 am

    I don’t care who it has benefited from it or what Labour has done. I’m not member of the Labour party. But when a party can get 3 members into parliament, just because another party gives them the nod, and that enables a coalition government to get a majority and pass legislation, it has nothing to do with democracy and one hell of a lot to do with corruption.

    Say it however you like, and paint it anyway you want to, but I believe the electorate is starting to wake up to these tricks and they don’t like it. Baby blue won’t get away with it much longer.

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  24. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Far left enough already. They’re fleas. Or if you prefer the perforative (because they tear easily) … flea baggers.

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  25. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Colville (1,885 comments) says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 8:13 am

    If the electorate had wanted proportional representation, then they would have voted for that.

    You can argue until you are blue in the face, but what they are doing it wrong. It simply allows any party to form a government by using corrupt practice. Now I realise that when we are exposed to things for long enough, we tend to blindly accept them, and maybe that is what the current government is hoping – but from what is being said on the street, is very different to what is being reflected in here (for obvious reasons).

    People think it stinks. They don’t want ANY party using the ability to manipulate election results by using it.

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  26. Ed Snack (1,873 comments) says:

    Projection much anyone ? “I much prefer the perforative term ” tea Baggers ”” So typical to abuse the “other” with that you practuie regularly yourself; and a specialty of the left.

    Judith, your hatred is blinding you to the obvious, there’s no “coat-tailing” in the make up of the current government. And don’t kid yourself that you have any knowledge of what’s being said “on the street”. As a member of the “cultural elite” you are in an echo chamber hearing only what you want to hear.

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  27. Duxton (651 comments) says:

    “Cunliffe, Mallard, King & Goff – resign now for the sake of the party. ”

    No, please don’t. Please don’t.

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  28. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Ed Snack (1,653 comments) says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 8:30 am

    And your hatred of anything involving Labour and the left can I suppose be considered as ‘well balanced’ and rational?

    Please!!! We all have our bias – lets not pretend yours doesn’t exist.

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  29. Griff (7,728 comments) says:

    At lest those who support a more socialist leaning government have a choice of strong party’s to chose between.

    Drop the five percent threshold and allow a more deserve political landscape to develop.

    ffs It will benefit the right wing to allow Conservative, Conservative christian, neo liberal, Green liberal, libertarian etc factions to chose from when it comes to election day.. .

    The list of possible ideology is long* national can never truly represent most of us who lean to the right. With the five percent threshold there is little chance for new party’s to make it into parliament. This distorts the true desires of the electorate to the benefit of the Status Quo.

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_ideologies

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  30. prosper (167 comments) says:

    Cunnliffe is a multimillionaire living in a 3 million dollar house in one of NZ most expensive streets who worked for the right wing Boston Consulting Group. He is a neo liberal. How could he sincerely believe in left wing philosophy. Actions speak louder than words.

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  31. Ryan Sproull (7,153 comments) says:

    The trick is: how do you get people to be more responsible for themselves and their families…?

    I love questions like this.

    “Right, team. We’re responsible for whether or not people think they’re responsible for themselves. How do we make them choose to act like they’re running their own lives?”

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  32. Ross12 (1,428 comments) says:

    Judith you seem to arguing strongly against MMP –I agree with you on that point.

    Hosking ” by the Greens using a party conference to announced an eye-catching policy in election year.” = garbage

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  33. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    “If the electorate had wanted proportional representation, then they would have voted for that.”

    If the electorate was able to vote for one party rule they may have done just that. That wouldn’t make it fair or right.

    A democratic system needs to provide fair representation for everyone, not just for a majority of people. Of course most voters don’t want annoying small parties, but voting against having minority representation is anti-democratic.

    So Parliament needs to rise above this, show leadership and provide a system of representation that includes as many voters as possible.

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  34. georgebolwing (854 comments) says:

    Getting back to Hosking’s article, I think that we can clearly see that the national party it clearly connecting with the ordinary voter is ways that is resonating with them: the PM’s popularity and the polls all showing strong majorities saying that the country is heading in the right direct.

    The left, however, is only connecting with its activist base and is having fascinating conversations about what its position should be on things that largely don’t matter to many people.

    This is very much the Tea party effect in the US: a small group of radicals spending a lot of time talking to themselves about how things will all be better once the Republican party wakes up and realizes that what is truly wanted is a radical shift to the right, where again the polls are saying that on many issues that the Tea Party sees as vital, the general population is either uninterested in or is generally happy with the staus quo. Abortion is the classic example: the vast majority of the american people want abortion to be safe, legal and rare; not unsafe, illegal and frequent (which is what it would be if the tea party had its way and also scaled back on publicly-funded birth control).

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  35. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Ross12 (1,045 comments) says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 8:43 am

    I am against MMP (particularly under the current rules). I think it has done nothing but confuse the electorate and partially contributed to the blurring the political lines. The political situation started to deteriorate with the introduction of MMP and has got increasingly worse since.

    The electorate is distracted, and unsure – if they vote one way, will they end up with people they don’t support in the same government? There is no security – if you vote for your party of choice, your ‘enemy’ might also get a seat on the same government (in practice).

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  36. georgebolwing (854 comments) says:

    There is an important difference between a liberal society and government by the majority. The founders of the US well understood this, which is why the US has a Bill of Rights that is deliberately immune from popular voting. Put simply, the rights of citizens are innate, they are not granted by the majority and, importantly, cannot be taken away by the majority.

    James Madison put it this way in the federalist papers: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

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  37. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Hosking overreaches himself when he conflates Greens with New Labour and that historic division from Labour.

    The Green Party origins are with the 1970’s era Values Party and the Rogernomics era issues between New Labour and Labour are irrelevant to it.

    You can argue that its new left but it is unrelated to the old left and their past and current issues.

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  38. Griff (7,728 comments) says:

    :lol:
    Judith do you want a return to the easy to digest ffp political landscape with only National and Labor for us to chose between?

    Muldoons National was a command economy crony capitalist benefiting party and labor became a neolib free market reform party.
    Both inhabited positions well outside the traditional right/ left party dynamics not what most were voting for at the time..
    You had social credit and values neither made any deference to our voting choice other than to waste to many votes.

    MMP despite its flaws allows more choice for those with a IQ above two digits and their own onions on the best direction for the future of NZ. With the five percent threshold hurdle we are only seeing single personality driven party’s making the cut like Whinny, Possum, Colon Crag*, Sauerkraut and Hone’s This is not a constructive truly representative and dynamic political future.

    *http://wiki.lspace.org/mediawiki/index.php/Grag

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  39. ChardonnayGuy (1,207 comments) says:

    Yeah, the former Alliance hardliners, who then committed political self-disembowelment and who have subsequently cycled through the Green and then Mana Parties. Which is all very well, but ideological purity is a self-defeating prospect. Any sort of ideological purity- look at the fate of Libertarianz and the long dreary series of fundamentalist Christian microparties from Christian Heritage to the Christian Democrats to the Christian Coalition to the Destiny Party to the Family Party to Future New Zealand to United Future (2000-7) to the Kiwi Party to the Conservatives. Or Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis.

    As for the Greens, though, Russel and Met are not Rod and Jeanette. They’ve definitely mellowed out over time. Wonder how much of that strategic centrism is attributable to studying the German Greens during their time in the Schroeder administration of the early Noughties?

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  40. Longknives (4,753 comments) says:

    Gotta love the ‘Loopy Left’…

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  41. tom hunter (4,854 comments) says:

    “Right, team. We’re responsible for whether or not people think they’re responsible for themselves. How do we make them choose to act like they’re running their own lives?”

    It does sound funny, but I would put to you that in telling people that various things are going to be supplied to them “for free”, you’re basically inculcating them with the idea that there are certain aspects of their lives that they don’t have to run and for which they’re not responsible.

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  42. Ryan Sproull (7,153 comments) says:

    It does sound funny, but I would put to you that in telling people that various things are going to be supplied to them “for free”, you’re basically inculcating them with the idea that there are certain aspects of their lives that they don’t have to run and for which they’re not responsible.

    I agree. I was referring more to the philosophical underpinnings that often go hand in hand with talk about individual responsibility. To me, it’s obvious that “free will” is a contradiction in terms, and that a person’s circumstances give rise to that person’s actions. But often people who talk about individual responsibility associate it with “free will”.

    But yes, I agree that a social/political environment can give rise to people who feel no sense of duty to run certain aspects of their own lives.

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  43. tom hunter (4,854 comments) says:

    …and that a person’s circumstances give rise to that person’s actions.

    I think the word missing is “can”, and you’d also acknowledge that a person’s actions can give rise to that person’s circumstances?

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  44. wf (442 comments) says:

    Judith: you say people are confused by MMP choices. Rubbish! Everyone knows EXACTLY how to vote. They’ll choose the candidate they like, and tick the box for the party of preference. That’s if they can be bothered.

    As far as they are concerned it’s like a rugby game the winners being the ones who score the most points.

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  45. Ryan Sproull (7,153 comments) says:

    I think the word missing is “can”, and you’d also acknowledge that a person’s actions can give rise to that person’s circumstances?

    Sure, but circumstances come way before any choices that can affect a person’s circumstances.

    Unless you’re one of those reincarnation folks who believe you choose who you’re born as or something?

    Note that by “circumstances”, I mean “everything that ever happens to you”, not just which street you were born on.

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  46. Ed Snack (1,873 comments) says:

    Oh Judith, where am I claiming otherwise; except it isn’t hate, it’s a profound disdain for the current crowd. I’ll even admit to voting twice for labour, once as an anti-Muldoon vote, and once as a pro-Roger Douglas, but post “tea-break” Lange never again (so far).

    My beef for now is against the “moral narcissism” (to borrow a phrase) of the left:

    “Moral Narcissism is an evocative term for the almost schizophrenic divide between intentions and results now common in our culture. It doesn’t matter how anything turns out as long as your intentions are good. And, just as importantly, the only determinant of those intentions, the only one who defines them, is you.

    In other words, if you propose or do something, it only matters that you feel good or righteous about what you did or are proposing, that it makes you feel better personally. The results are irrelevant, as are how the actual activity affects others.

    Also, although it pretends (especially to the self) to altruism, moral narcissism is in essence passive aggressive, asserting superiority over the ignorant or “selfish” other. It is elitist, anti-democratic and quote often, consciously or unconsciously, sadistic.”

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  47. tvb (4,425 comments) says:

    The left has split into a number of parties. This contrasts with National which has 2 or 3 micro parties but it is basically one block. There is no clear idea what a centre left Government would look like. There is no mood for change so people will opt for the safe option that gives the most certainty. I predict subject to turnout national will win.

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  48. Odakyu-sen (655 comments) says:

    Proper’s on to it: “Cunnliffe is a multimillionaire living in a 3 million dollar house in one of NZ most expensive streets who worked for the right wing Boston Consulting Group. He is a neo liberal. How could he sincerely believe in left wing philosophy. Actions speak louder than words.”

    I listen to what a man says with my eyes; not my ears. His deeds, not his words, will tell me the truer story.

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  49. tom hunter (4,854 comments) says:

    I always love spotting a debate frame that’s been set up, because it can lead to poor analysis. In this case the writer has bought into the US Left’s framing of the Tea Party groups as simply the social conservative rump of the GOP. That suits Democrats who would much rather start fights over social conservative issues than economic or foreign policy, a mirror-image of where the GOP was a decade or so ago. The same analysis shows up in comments like this:

    Abortion is the classic example: the vast majority of the american people want abortion to be safe, legal and rare; not unsafe, illegal and frequent (which is what it would be if the tea party had its way and also scaled back on publicly-funded birth control).

    The Tea Party fight was about not extending “public-funding” in general, certainly not beyond the huge expansion of the last decade or more, and the US Left know that. But’s it’s a much easier fight if you focus on the birth-control part where they can win – rather than the public funding part where they lose.

    But aside from it’s use as political propaganda, fund-raising and getting people to the polls it’s a crap characterisation. There are undoubtedly social conservatives within the Tea Party movement in the US because they’re in the GOP and the right-wing generally (having been almost wiped out in the Democrat Party). But the overall thrust of the movement has always been about government spending: not spending more and hopefully spending less.

    The propaganda goes far beyond elections, that’s why the US Left has been so desperate to paint various losing social conservative GOP politicians as “Tea Party politicians” – and in this they have been joined by traditional Country-Club-Corporate GOP groups who are as frightened as the Left, but for entirely different reasons having to do with a loss of pork projects and government contracts.

    The latest example being Chris McDaniel’s primary in Mississippi against GOP Senator Thad Cochran. The latter appeared to be heading for retirement after seven terms, but was persuaded to stand again at the last moment by the GOP establishment and almost had to be propped up throughout the primary campaign. He failed to win outright and now faces a runoff that he’ll likely lose, but note the comment of a typical pro-pork, pro-business-lobby, Cochran GOP supporter:

    I guess Mississippi doesn’t want Federal money anymore. I betcha there are 49 states that will gladly take it.

    Fucking typical of the GOP and exactly what the Tea Party is fighting against.

    Buying into the US Left’s debate framing also means that the comparison between the in-fighting and (so far) losing NZ Far-Left and the Tea Party ignores the fact that the latter has had real lasting impact, not just in the Senators and House members they’ve elected, but the way they’ve moved the position of the GOP, at least in words. Don’t believe me? Well take a look at this article in GOP-unfriendly magazine The Atlantic, by a Harvard professor trying to pound sense into fellow lefties:

    Most legislators and candidates are Nervous Nellies, so all Tea Party activists, sympathizers, and funders have had to do is recurrently demonstrate their ability to knock off seemingly unchallengeable Republicans (ranging from Charlie Crist in Florida to Bob Bennett of Utah to Indiana’s Richard Lugar).

    Or as a right-wing commentator put it:

    The goal here, always, is to pressure Republicans in Congress into voting a more conservative line. The best way to do that is to elect conservatives, but merely scaring the shinola out of an incumbent in a losing effort is enough to make the rest of the caucus sit up and take notice.

    And they’ve succeeded, as the Atlantic bitterly notes.

    If Mana-Dotcom-Green-Labour win this September then perhaps the analysis will hold true, but so far I don’t see it, and of course there is one aspect of “winning” that may be very true:

    … where again the polls are saying that on many issues that the Tea Party sees as vital, the general population is either uninterested in or is generally happy with the staus quo.

    Meaning “social conservative” issues – another example of what debate framing produces. The real threat to the US Tea Party is that “their” issue of government spending, pork and so forth, will fall apart the moment people’s Social Security and Medicare look like they’re under threat. People – including most Tea Partiers – are definitely “generally happy with the status quo” in those areas.

    If one takes that comparison to the core beliefs of the NZ far-Left the question becomes whether people really will be willing to pay for all these new ideas with all the new or extra taxes required. It’s one thing to blather on about the terrible impact of cars on the environment – quite another to find yourself paying $2 extra per litre, courtesy of Harre and Hone.

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  50. hubbers (139 comments) says:

    They purged anyone from the centre for not being pure enough.

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  51. stephieboy (3,094 comments) says:

    The Delusional Tea Party U S version ,

    Tea Party Galaxy: Voyage to the Center of Delusion

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/10/11/1245874/-Tea-Party-Galaxy-Voyage-to-the-Center-of-Delusion

    The Tea Party movement: deluded and inspired by billionaires,

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/oct/25/tea-party-koch-brothers

    The Delusional Tea party,

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116562/tea-party-folding-debt-limit

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  52. unaha-closp (1,165 comments) says:

    I’m a fairly centrist voter and have only twice have voted for a losing side in a general election. I’m one of the wishy washy, swing voting middle, Peter Dunne but with less hair. I disagree with everything, but in what I consider a reasonably polite way.

    I like politics as a spectator sport, so I comment on political blogs where I disagree with stuff (using different pseudonyms). Used to comment more, now less so.

    I’ve been banned from dammed near every left wing site in the country I’ve commented on regularly (apart from frogblog).

    I haven’t been banned from any right wing sites.

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  53. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Sure tom, the Tea Party are not overwhelmingly social conservatives:
    A poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that almost half of Teabaggers openly identify as part of the “religious right”, a majority favored declaring abortion illegal, and less than one in five in favor of legalizing gay marriage.
    A Pew poll found similar results, in addition to finding a majority in favor of securing the border and Second Amendment rights.
    A University of Washington poll found that a majority of Teabaggers thought gays and lesbians had “too much political power” and that immigration was “changing the country for the worse.
    According to a CBS poll, Teabaggers are more likely to be birthers.

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  54. goldnkiwi (1,304 comments) says:

    It would seem simple to me. Any vote has to be for the PM we want and think can manage any ensuing colossus. Only a choice between two, not that hard, surely?

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  55. georgebolwing (854 comments) says:

    Tom

    My main point about the Tea Party in the US and the left in New Zealand is that both are increasingly focussed on issues that are only really important to them, rather than to the wider public. Thus the example that it seems to be important for Lalia Harre et al to have, to to have always had, a sound position on the Springbok Tour and thus she takes quite some satisfaction out of chiding John Key for not having had a sound position and for even daring to suggest that it on longer matters what his position might or might have have been on something that happened 33 years ago.

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  56. David Garrett (7,289 comments) says:

    unaha: Of course you havent been banned from any right wing sites…it’s the LEFT who are absolutely terrified of free speech…you must think what they tell you to think…and say…or else!!

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  57. noskire (842 comments) says:

    The wankers are like a company whose product isn’t selling, they can’t see the obvious so they just try to push the sales pitch harder.

    hj, if Labour were a company, it would be one selling typewriter ribbons.

    And their solution to not selling enough ribbons would be to give away typewriters.

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  58. OneTrack (3,107 comments) says:

    tvb – “There is no clear idea what a centre left Government would look like.”

    Rubbish. We know exactly what a centre-left government looks like – it looks like National.

    I assume you mean we dont know what a left (Labour)-ultraleft(green)-racist(Mana)-antiExtradition(Internet) government would look like.

    I imagine it will be really entertaining – until petrol hits $5 a litre and you lose your job because the company you work for can’t afford to pay the new taxes and put up with the new regulations that will be imposed.

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  59. tom hunter (4,854 comments) says:

    As yet another example of the ignorance of this comparison between the NZ Far Left and the US Tea Party I present to you the following news story, What Cantor’s Defeat Means:

    After 24 years and 12 congressional terms, Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s dreams of being speaker of the House exploded Tuesday in a matter of hours in a stunning defeat by political novice Dave Brat.

    The day when Harre/Hone/Minto defeat someone like Trevor Mallard will be the day when this comparison works. Oh, and for all the moronic anti-Tea Party propagandists here at KB, the guy who beat Cantor is an economics professor.

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  60. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    But wasn’t Cantor himself aligned with the Tea Party?

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