Where is the Australian Jeremy Corbyn hiding?

June 27, 2017

BRITISH LABOUR LEADER Jeremy Corbyn has achieved rock star status in the UK, he gave a radical speech to a crowd of 120,000 cheering music fans and the British ruling class is worried.

One of my Facebook friends described Corbyn’s speech at Glastonbury as the reawakening of English socialism, not seen since the days of Marx and Engels.

That might be a slight exaggeration, but Corbyn has certainly ignited a welcome spark of resistance to austerity, the Tories and capitalism. Now the search has begun to find our local saviour.

I’ve been quite bemused by speculation on the Australian Left about who might be “our” Jeremy Corbyn. A number of names have been put forward, but none of them is a viable contender in my view.

The most obvious nominee to the role is Anthony Albanese of the NSW Labor Left faction. But Albo does not aspire to be our Jeremy. He has publicly said he doesn’t want the job and that he thinks Corbyn is too left wing. Albo is actually totally unsuited to being the Aussie Jeremy. Corbyn has been an activist all his life, even while in Parliament. Albo is a grey suit in a lobby of grey suits who poses as a cool DJ on weekends.

Albo is a dud.

This week another likely candidate popped up but one with even less left credentials than Albanese. Queensland MP Wayne Swan has made vaguely pro-worker statements to the ACTU conference this week, but his rhetoric falls far short of Corbyn’s. Swan has also attempted to boost his standing with the Labor Left by meeting with Bernie Sanders, but he also met International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials on the same trip. Swan’s “revolution”, is really just a fig leaf for more business as usual politics.

If not from Labor then where? Read the rest of this entry at Independent Australia.


Malcolm v Gough: Who is/was Australia’s worst Prime Minister?

August 12, 2016

It has been a stable myth of Australian politics for nearly half a century, but was the Whitlam government of 1972-1975 the “worst” in Australian history?

I don’t think so and believe we can now safely make the claim that Whitlam’s record of so-called disaster is about to be overshadowed by the ongoing disaster that the Abbott-Turnbull government appears to be.

Perhaps we might even be so bold as to suggest that Turnbull’s legacy will be his ham-fisted attempts to dismantle some of the major reforms of the Whitlam period.

Was Whitlam really “that bad”?

All the aging so-calledsuperstars” of Australian political journalism would agree that Whitlam’s crash or crash through demeanour was at times rash or ill-considered. They would also chime in that Whitlam’s cabinet was the most incompetent of all time. Laurie Oakes, Paul Kelly and several others have written books on the Whitlam government and its dismissal that paint a picture of disaster and ill-considerd policy.

They would point to the Khemlani loans affair, Jim Cairns’ sexual affair with Juni Morosi, the debacle of some economic policies and a general air of chaos, then they would claim that Whitlam and the ALP were out of their depth, not ready to govern and lacking in individual talent or vision. They would argue that Whitlam’s dismissal by the governor-general was justified.

It wasn’t really until Whitlam’s death that the achievements of his government were properly acknowledged and celebrated.

whitlam vincent

Gough Whitlam and Vincent Lingari at the birth of the land rights movement in 1975

Read the rest of this entry »


Shock, horror: Columnist admits shortcomings

February 20, 2010

Congratulations Tracey Barnett, you have won this week’s Poolittzer for unexpected honesty in journalism. You can pick up your prize – a neatly string-tied bundle of fish and chip wrappings – from  out the back of any dairy in central Auckland.

All facetiousness aside, Tracey is one of the more readable columnists in the New Zealand Herald – it might be because she’s not from ’round here. From memory I think I heard an American accent the last time I spoke with her. Sorry, I’ll really put that facet aside now.

Whatever the reason – Tracey thinks it was a well-earned rest from reading the news over summer – today’s column All commentary, no analysis, all of the time should be a wake-up call to the rest of her colleagues.

The basic premise is that columnists are show ponies who are so caught up in the hype of the news cycle that they lose sight of the bigger picture.

My profession suck at what they do. Let me be very specific. Commentators, pundits, columnists, people like me who get their little heads put in a box on the left side of the story, are myopic sheep – on a good day.

Someone finds a way to start the news narrative and like clueless lemmings, we all jump into the same plotline to finish each other’s sentences, clinging to page one.

Yep, I reckon she’s right and there’s a PhD thesis in there for some enterprising postgraduate. Read the rest of this entry »


Journalists, politics and the union movement

September 1, 2008

[Note: updated 7 September]

An interesting piece on Jafa Pete’s blog about the rights of journalists when it comes to trade unions. Particularly if their union, like the EPMU in New Zealand, campaigns on behalf of a particular political party during elections. [The freedom to belong]

The question is about union membership affecting the ability of reporters to be fair and balanced. Alternatively you could pose this as: Are journalists compromised by their membership of a union that aligns itself to a political party?

As you can imagine [dribblejaws alert] I don’t think it really matters. In fact, I’d go a step further and say that journalists natural class alignment is with the workers. Even more, journalism would be better if reporters recognised this basic class instinct and acted on it at all times.

My argument’s a simple one, journalists are proletarians. They have a typically proletarian relationship to capital and to capitalism. The ideology of professionalism masks this and creates all sorts of confusion.

Read the rest of this entry »


Get Hager: A National priority?

July 12, 2008

I was on holidays when the latest “Get Hager” campaign began after the Wellington-based independent journalist Nicky Hager wrote recently about the National Party’s continuing relationship with Australian political spin-meisters the Crosby/Textor group. The story appeared in the Sunday Star Times and seems to be a detailed rundown of C/T’s activities behind the scenes in the Nationals’ election strategy for 2008.

But Key has not been disclosing an important secret about his leadership: that each step of his campaign to become prime minister has been overseen and directed by the same professional manipulators used (and also kept secret) by his predecessor, Don Brash. They are the Australian political tacticians, Crosby/Textor. Their role advising Key is known to National Party staff, including some who are uneasy about Crosby/Textor’s involvement, but has been kept secret from the public.

[Nat’s secret advisors accused of dirty tricks in Aussie]

From time to time Nicky comes under fire for his strong views, persistent digging and the exposure of political spin for what it is. I’m not surprised that the National apparatchiks and politicians despise him and try to discredit him at every turn.

However, I was surprised to read an attack on Hager’s credibility by Fran O’Sullivan in Saturday’s (13 July) New Zealand Herald.  The Herald is published by the SST‘s rival newspaper company, so perhaps there’s a commercial agenda in play here. But I suspect it’s more than that. O’Sullivan refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of Hager’s journalistic credentials; instead she calls him an “activist”, though I know that Hager is careful not to be involved upfront in political campaigning today.

Read the rest of this entry »


Goff’s gaffe – where’s the story

May 25, 2008

If blinked you missed it. On Tuesday morning it was Goff’s gaffe and the news media was all over it in a flash. By the weekend it had all but vanished. Had Phil Goff signaled a hidden streak of disloyalty? Was the minister really suggesting that Labour might lose this year’s election? Did he want Helen’s job and was he preparing for a Christmas coup? Or was the whole thing a beat-up? Which ever way you cut it this won’t be the last such scoop/frenzy/speculation drama of 2008. Read the rest of this entry »


The GodZone right comes out from under its rock

August 23, 2007


Well, I’ve been outed! Some right-wing dribblejaws* has me lined up in his beady little eyes (see picture)

this is him in his own words:

Trevor Loudon

About Me

I’m a libertarian and ACT Party member from Christchurch. I believe in freedom with responsibility, not freedom from responsibility. My ideal society is one in which government is slashed to the bone and people are free to reach their potential. To achieve more freedom I believe in working with all those who are moving in broadly the same direction. The views expressed in this Blog are strictly my own

Why do these people insist on using the word “libertarian” to describe their politics. They don’t actually believe in liberty at all. The idea that you can “slash government to the bone” and leave people free to “reach their potential” in a global capitalist economy is just fairytale rubbish.

Libertarians are to politics what the flat-earth crowd are to science.

* I have changed my description of Trevor Louden. I originally labelled him a “neo-nazi goon”. He objected to that label and claims not to be associated with any such organisation in New Zealand/Aotearoa. However, he has in the past been associated with an organisation called Zenith Applied Philosophy, which has some very unsavoury friends.
Mr Loudon has attempted to slander me by claiming friends of my friends have links with the Islamic Brotherhood. So he cannot claim to be the only injured party here.
Whether or not Trevor Loudon maintains any ongoing links with ZAP or other far-right groups, other than the ACT Party, is besides the point. His attacks on me are offensive and defamatory and designed to intimidate. To be honest, I didn’t start this blog to have a troll-war with the likes of Trevor Loudon, but I am prepared to defend myself and my politics. Mr Loudon has, in the past had some associations with extreme right political groups in New Zealand.
You can read more about Trevor Loudon if you wish to. I’m finished with this.