Mr Trotter’s on to something

March 25, 2010

I’ve been to Galbraith’s Ale House in Mt Eden road a few times to sup with Mr Trotter and his pals of a Friday evening. We’ve had some pleasant times and one or two beastly disagreements, but I think Chris is right in his recent assessments of the ACT-led National government.

Mr Trotter has an elegant and literary blog called Bowalley Road, named after a laneway in rural Otago, and from time to time it makes wise and interesting reading.

In a recent piece comparing the actions of the Key government with those of a previous National regime, Chris makes the following point:

National’s backwoodsmen may see nothing wrong with “kicking the bodies of public servants” and ruthlessly reaffirming the policy objectives of Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson, but those few wise heads that still remain in the National Party would do well to remind these backwoods Bourbons that the voters have firmly rejected them.

The Prime Minister’s winning smile cannot forever be relied upon to distract voters’ attention from the mounting casualties of National’s noxious nostalgia. [Plus ça change]
What Chris is describing here is the sheer brutality of the National party’s political agenda today. Perhaps even more chilling is the way in which the Auckland super city is being foist upon us without, it seems, any discussion or recourse:

If “Rogernomics” represented the triumph of private over public interests in economic matters, “Rogerpolitics” stands for the elevation of private over public decision-making in the political sphere.

When that happens, our entire system of responsible government will fall under its shadow, and the future of democracy itself will be imperilled. [Rogerpolitics]

Let’s not forget that the whole super city push is being led by ACT’s poison dwarf “Dr Jerkall”. ACT is not yet a Fascist organisation, but its individualistic and libertarian rhetoric is  damaging to the social good and ultimately a gateway drug to the Brownshirts.

The question is what to do about it?

One of the Key things is to begin joining the dots:

  1. Attacks on higher education
  2. Attacks on school teachers and education
  3. Attacks on welfare and social security beneficiaries
  4. More jails and more jailers
  5. Maintaining a low wage economy
  6. Less money for public service broadcasting
  7. Ditching the TVNZ Charter obligations
  8. Privatising Auckland City governance
  9. Opening up the national estate to strip mining
  10. A higher profile for “our” SAS boys in Afghanistan

This is just off the top of my head. I’m sure you can add many more to this list.

Any opposition that fights on single issues against this juggernaut government is doomed to defeat. Only a consistent application of the principles of a genuine united front can offer any hope.

Or as Winston says in 1984: “If there’s any hope at all, it lies with the Proles.”

More re-heated neo-con policies from National – private prisons to profit from crime

March 10, 2009

In an exclusive story yesterday [Monday] the NZ Herald reported that the National government is looking to privatise jail management across New Zealand.

Where do the party hacks come up with these ideas?

Today there’s a follow-up by Simon Collins in which the union representing prison officers vowed to fight the privatisation plan and described it as “driven by ideology“. At the same time a Corrections plan to put two beds in every cell was also revealed. This move might be necessary because the prison population is anticipated to increase by close to 1000 inmates over the next 18 months. I wonder if this has something to do with the projected “Three strikes” policy that’s also on the cabinet agenda in Wellington.

Unfortunately for the government, the first step in their cunning plan to hand over the prison system to the profit system may derail them (or, at least slow down the plan). The Herald is also reporting that the State Services Commissioner has refused to offer up the beleaguered head of Corrections as a sacrificial lamb.

The State Services Commissioner said today that corrections chief Barry Matthews should not be sacked.

Corrections Minister Judith Collins received the report into accountability at her ministry from State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie this morning.

Mr Rennie said Mr Matthews’s “dismissal of the chief executive would not be justified”.

You can hear a mumbled “Bugger!” emanating from the Ministerial wing of the Beehive, right about now. However, I don’t expect this will slow down the government’s hasty desire to privatise prisons. Even though there are more pressing issues as outlined in the briefing given to the incoming Minister late last year.

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Gordon Campbell – on the money

August 9, 2008

A big thanks to Jafapete for pointing me at Gordon’s recent post on Scoop about the ‘secret tapes’ affair that’s made the news this week.

Gordon points out that the media’s focus has been on the alleged ‘culprit’ – the lone Labour activist (if indeed it was such), rather than the substance of the candid comments made by Bill English and the other Tory knobs.

Gordon Campbell, Scoop political editor on the ethics and hypocrisy

As Gordon points out there is a public interest issue here: What is the Nationals’ real agenda if they should win the election later this year?

Bill English, Lockwood Smith and Nick Smith made candid comments about what they’d really get up to (or like to do) in an unguarded moment. No amount of bluster about the sanctity of the party conference can disguise the fact that it was a public event and that the Nats were more than happy to have hand-picked representatives of the official and unofficial media rat pack there to put on the record the spin.

Personally, I hope that there’s more of this stuff going to happen during the ‘real’ as opposed to the ‘phony’ election campaign. The truth is out there, but it’s not forthcoming from the public face of the Nationals.

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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 »