Archive for August 21st, 2008

On being outed

August 21, 2008

[Edit: It was a mistake after all! Chris doesn’t do the admin stuff, and didn’t realise that my name would be put on on the blog-roll, as he confirms below.]

Well, it was going to happen sooner or later. At my request Chris Trotter has listed my blog on his blogroll and included my name alongside. He has little time for pseudonyms, which is how it should be, and would be in a perfect world.

How does it feel being exposed for who I am? Well, it does feel very exposed. Not so long ago someone wrote something quite threatening on kiwiblog. For no reason. Such people do exist in the blogosphere, and when I read the comments in question I understood why the contributors to some left-wing blogs (and possibly right-wing blogs) prefer anonymity.

While I wish that Chris had asked before doing this I am not unhappy. But I shall continue to blog under the alias “jafapete”, because that name has some recognition in the blogosphere.

On another note the TUMEKE rankings have come out and they put me at #30 for July. So I was placed too high at #27 for “June”, and now I’m too low for “July”. The “Hit counter” that comes with the wordpress blog that I use shows clear gains in readers each month: 156 in April, 794 in May, 3211 in June, 6949 in July and 5417 so far this month. As of this minute, the Alexa rankings are 1,261 (NZ) and 880,944 (3 mo), which probably puts the blog in TUMEKE’s top twenty.

And best of all the comments keep increasing! Thanks.

Harre at next week’s drinking liberally

August 21, 2008

A reminder…

WHAT: Drinking Liberally Auckland City
WHO: You and any of your left-leaning companeros

WHEN: 7.30pm, Wednesday 27th August
WHERE: London Bar, cnr Wellesley & Queen Sts (opposite Civic). The entrance to the bar is around on Wellesley St, you need to go up the stairs and we will probably be congregating at the far end by the stage, fiddling with the sounds.

WITH: Laila Harre – prominent union leader, well-known leftie and feminist, bane of Matthew Hooton’s Mondays, and former Cabinet Minister in the early days of the current Labour-led government.

COST: Free, you’ll just need to keep yourself fed and watered.

CONTACT: drinkingliberallyauckland@gmail.com

Chris Trotter blogging near you

August 21, 2008

Chris Trotter is taking the plunge and joining the blogosphere. His new blog is at http://www.policy.net.nz/blog/.

Chris aims to “Smarten us up”:

“In a world that seems hell-bent on dumbing us down, this blog unashamedly declares its intention to smarten us up.”

His blog is not for those looking simply to “heap abuse upon the heads of your political enemies”…

“If, however, you enjoy a good argument, and are willing to marshall the evidence that makes a good argument, then I would like to hear from you. And if you have a compelling turn of phrase, a flair for witty repartee, and/or a talent for satire and parody, then I would be delighted to hear from you.”

My philosophy too.

In his first post, Chris wields his words with wit and wisdom. He advises the Greens that thwarting the ETS is liking to see Labour in “full attack mode” against them, using all of the Greens’ “iconography (belching smoke-stacks, dwindling ice-shelves, polar bears) … in their own campaign ads.” Russell Norman needs to stop:

“obsessing with cows piddling and pooing in the odd DOC-administered river, and get back on message. The voters are concerned about climate change and peak oil. The ETS is a step (albeit a very small one) along the road to addressing those two mega-problems.”

Well said. We look forward to much more of the same.

[Update: Danyl at DimPost takes a contrary view.]

Nats’ list: when diversity isn’t

August 21, 2008

National’s house organ the Herald gives its party list a great big sloppy kiss this morning (hat-tip: kiwiblog). The editorial opens with great fanfare:

“When the National Party published its candidate list on Sunday a greater ethnic diversity was immediately apparent. Six Maori, three Asians and a Pacific Islander have been placed high enough on the list to get into Parliament if National polls as well as it expects.”

Note that last little qualification.

But the saddest bit of the editorial is where the continuing exclusion of women is swept under the carpet with a single sentence:

“National’s list, incidentally, still looks light on women; only four rank in the top 24, from which a cabinet would be likely to be drawn.”

Farrar’s apologia is instructive:

“There is still some way to go. It looks like women will comprise 26% to 28% of National’s caucus, much the same as is currently the case. This is more than double the international average for female parliamentary representation. The problem is not so much where women are placed on the list, but that not enough stand to be a candidate.”

Farrar also says that it’s “very foolish to assume that the top 24 are automatically the Ministerial pool.” True, but it would be very foolish to assume that the vast majority of Cabinet don’t come from that almost exclusively male pool. And only two of the top ten, all guaranteed to be in Cabinet, are women (and they’re at 7th and 10th).

One wonders whether National’s problem recruiting (and retaining — remember Katherine Rich — women is in some way related to the way they treat their women.

So, it’s “incidental” that there are hardly any women in the top 24. Sorry, but in gender terms, National’s list is about where Labour was in 1984. Come on Granny, even Blind Freddy can see that the Nats have a woman problem!

[Edit: 1980 changed to 1984 after DPF pointed out the paucity of women in Labour’s caucus in that year. For which thanks.

Stargazer posts on National’s women candidates at the Handmirror.]

National’s trust deficit

August 21, 2008

Turns out that Colmar Brunton drilled a little deeper (as 08wire puts it: hat-tip) in their last poll. And they found that Labour’s campaign to question National’s borrow-to-build strategy and make its hidden agendas a defining issue is working.

Half of Kiwis doubt National’s honesty about its policies. This includes some of its own supporters:

“ONE News asked voters in the poll whether National is being open about its plans. Fifty per cent say “no”, while 37% think they are. And a quarter of National’s own supporters say they are not being honest.”

When asked about National’s plan to borrow more to fund new infrastructure, 52% say they disagree while 39% agree.

John Key says he intends, “to campaign on trust. I intend to be a prime minister that earns the trust of New Zealanders and I’m going to keep that trust.”

Finance Minister Michael Cullen says, “People know where Helen Clark stands. They don’t know where John Key stands. So if this election is about trust, we’re very much back in the running”.

08 wire say that “…trust is an emotion that rises and falls slowly, and which morphs into partisan preference slowly, too.” Thus:

“First, it will be hard for National to turn this trust deficit around within the next three months. And second, the trust deficit’s transformation into “Labour plus” voters turning their backs on National is probably incomplete.”

Exactly the point that I made about the results of the latest batch of polls. Any bounce for Labour may have been slight (although a continued substantial recovery from the depths of June), but the long-term and more deep-seated damage done by the loose lips debacle may have been hidden.

John Armstrong also says “Right now, National has both a debt problem and a trust problem”. He interprets the poll as showing that National’s “soft” vote “amounts to around a quarter of its current support.”

With a little under three months to go to the election, Labour’s challenge is to exploit these doubts and prise the wavering National-leaning punters away from National. Then the whole picture changes.

[Update: AndrewE asks why Labour should be preceived as more trustworthy. Labour’s pledge cards may have been paid for by the taxpayer, but the promises were kept, is the answer.]