Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Securing "Buy-In" For The TPP: The Deep State Takes Over.

Checkmate! Labour must be forced to restore the bi-partisan consensus on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for fear that the voters might be given the chance to elect a government committed to its rejection.
 
IT IS NOW CLEAR that Helen Clark's Trans-Pacific Partnership advocacy in New York was just the beginning. The opening move in a chess game that will end with the Labour Party knocking over its King and returning to the bi-partisan fold on the issue of Free Trade. To achieve this turnaround will require the mobilisation of all of the non-elected elements of the New Zealand political system.

Applying the maximum of public pressure to Labour will be the responsibility of the news media and the numerous business lobby groups. Behind the scenes, however, Labour MPs will find themselves on the receiving end of one-on-one briefings from old friends and colleagues (senior civil servants, leading academics) "deeply concerned" that Labour has positioned itself in the wrong place, on the wrong issue.

These "old friends" of the Labour Party will warn Caucus members that their failure to support the TPP will only end up driving Labour further and further to the Left. Just as they were beginning to make up much-needed ground, the party will spurn Middle New Zealand for the tin-foil-hat-wearing brigade. Not only will this render Labour unelectable, but it will also serve as an invitation for the news media to start casting about for a Caucus member who's prepared to act in a more responsible fashion.

That such individuals exist within Labour's caucus is indisputable. That money and resources will, very swiftly, begin flowing in the direction of these TPP supporters is equally certain. Metaphorical megaphones will also be handed to TPP supporters within the wider labour movement. Expect to see them popping-up again and again on radio and television.

Even further behind the scenes, a mounting surveillance effort will engage the resources of both the SIS and the GCSB. Relying on the legal clauses that empower these agencies to protect the "economic well-being" of New Zealand, leading figures in the Anti-TPP movement will have their communications intercepted and their movements tracked. Opposition strategies, being known, are more easily countered. Any material likely to prove embarrassing, or, even better, discrediting, will find its way to sympathetic bloggers and/or journalists.

Why will the key elements of the Deep State: the upper echelons of the news media; senior civil servants and academics; judges; the Intelligence Community; act in this way? Why is the restoration of bi-partisanship on the Free Trade issue so vital? The answer is brutally simple.

Were Labour's opposition to the TPP allowed to stand, an opportunity would open up for voters to elect a government committed to its rejection. The election of such a government would not only put at risk all the secret material pertaining to the negotiation of the TPP, but it would also force into the open all of the deeply undemocratic assumptions underpinning the deal. Such exposure would seriously compromise the reputations of the politicians and civil servants involved in negotiating the TPP. Even more seriously, it would expose the true intentions of New Zealand's "friends" and "allies". It is the duty of the Deep State to make sure that such potentially catastrophic political revelations never happen.

With Labour and National - the two parties indispensable to the formation of stable government in New Zealand - both singing from the same TPP song-sheet, that fraction of the New Zealand electorate opposed to the TPP will find itself reduced to voting for a party (or parties) too small to successfully negotiate their country's exit from the TPP.

To paraphrase Henry Kissinger: The Deep State doesn't see why it should stand by and watch New Zealand's membership of the TPP put at risk because of the irresponsibility of its own people.

This essay was posted on The Daily Blog and Bowalley Road on Wednesday, 7 October 2015.

52 comments:

Tiger Mountain said...

the 30 day embargo on releasing some version of the negotiated TPP text for public consideration looks built in so soon to be Sir Groser and the officials can get the spin machine up to full turbo boost

dear leader kicked off with the $2.7bill claim and others like Charles Finney representing some of those Chris talks of are singing to lift the roof off, the thing is wikileaks let the cat out of the bag long ago and it was never refuted that the majority of the TPP clauses and sections do not relate directly to what many people would think of as trade, rather they describe the ‘rules’ by which international capital will give NZ and other Pacific rim citizens a good rogering

it is important for once what position the Labour Party takes, if the official position up until the next election is what Grant Robertson is reported to have said on sales to offshore buyers it certainly leaves a chance to split the bi-partisan agreement, the deep state is most influential though as Greek OXI voters found out recently

waitzen said...

Chris, I rarely agree with you but always enjoy your posts. However I do think you have gone way over the top with these recent anti-TPP posts. First you accused Helen Clark of being in league with the enemy, a saboteur and closet neo-liberal. Then you proclaimed the end-of-times with a forthcoming second wave of colonisation-apocalypse. Now you have gone full tinfoil hat conspiracy-theorist and claim the SIS and GCSB will be deployed to monitor those that oppose the TPP. All without a shred of evidence and way too much rhetoric. The Left, if that is what you represent, need to present much more coherent arguments against the TPP if you are win the public debate.

Lastly, using quotation marks around certain words to indicate ambiguity or irony is tiring after a while.

Nick J said...

Where to start Chris? There are so many issues here that require address, that as you imply the "deep state" aka the establishment, the status quo will do their damnedest to control.

That the "powers that be" will attempt to set the TPP in concrete might I suggest mean that they are very aware that there is not only opposition but also substantial opposition. The medias' application of the epithet "tin foil heads" might in reality be indicative that they are very fearful of the numbers growing against them.

Let put the numbers thing in historic context: Marie Antoinette had very little clue that the "tin foil heads" of her day had reached a substantial mass when she made her oft quoted cake statement. What changed to make the mass to great to resist was hunger, a failed harvest. The same state of affairs had existed for decades but a tipping point was reached. The same could be said of the Arab Spring.

The reason I mention the above event is that the TPP has been signed at the end of the greatest Bull Run ever on the worlds bourses, where debt to equity ratios are at their greatest recorded levels, where the capitalist financial system has never before become so stressed. Concurrently (and inseparably) the worlds greatest ever empire has reached military overstretch (it has not won a war or permanent victory since 1945), its' economy is in shambles and its' political system has become fully paid up to private / corporate interests. Lets add to this mess the very real scenario that is the "end of growth" caused by "peak oil" / resource depletion, and the attendant environmental destruction / global warming.

The elite of the world and their acolytes (Wayne comes to mind) like the aforementioned Marie refuse to publicly acknowledge this state of affairs, and attempt to tie the world down to their concept of reality. Reality has a habit at times of getting real: where the reality of the elites and the reality of the rest of us diverges stress occurs, the greater the divergence the greater the stress. Hunger, homelessness, debt, joblessness impact heavily on the individual, they are real manifestations. They are the creatures of fear that cause individuals to rise above the individual and join the collective. The medias role is to label these unfortunates as "tinfoil heads". Reality ignore the media, reality is self correcting.

There are signs that reality is moving, Corbyns election to Labour leadership in UK is one. There the Labour Party opened up it membership for the vote expecting that the "Extreme Centrist" Blairite candidates would attract similar new members and triumph. Instead the new members were of the tinfoil head variety and won Corbyn a famous victory. The status quo is alarmed, they can see a critical mass in revolt.

Interesting times, lest say I suspect that over the next decade the TPP may write the epitaph of our current elite as the world of their own construction fails around them. The more pressing issue is not the TPP, it is how we the masses construct the real new world order.

Anonymous said...

The Labour party position will be important and it certainly will be scrutinised for any flaw in their argument if they threaten a withdrawal from TPPA. But after that I do not believe anyone in NZ will be polishing their jackboots and batons. Your article is a good little read but in my opinion, your viewpoints are way over the top.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Waitzen.

People like you, Waitzen, always remind me of the White House Press Corps under Nixon. They, too, had no clear notion of what the Deep State was, or how it operated, and when the Watergate break-in was reported they were happy to go along with the official line that it was nothing more than a "third-rate burglary".

The activities of the Deep State are almost impossible to investigate without the help of a "Deep Throat". Certainly, Woodward and Bernstein would never have gotten to the heart of the Watergate conspiracy without his help. [He was, you'll recall, the Deputy Director of the FBI, W. Mark Felt.]

What is possible, however, is for people like myself to scrutinise the sequencing of related events. Helen Clark's intervention in the TPP debate was one such event. (To suggest that she did not know exactly what she was doing is an insult to her undisputed political gifts!) Another such event was Tim Groser's publicly avowed intention to change Labour's mind about the TPP. Yet another is the public revelation that the Government intends to spend millions of dollars on a "public information" campaign - explaining TPP.

What do you make of all these events, Waitzen? - No, don't tell me, I can guess. "Nothing to see here, folks. Move along please."

As for the SIS and the GCSB. What do we know about their behaviour? Well, we know that they were only too happy to make their services available to the FBI (acting for Hollywood and against Kim Dotcom) as well as to the PM's Office (in order to embarrass Phil Goff). But, according to you, they will take no interest in the TPP debate. Even though they are legally mandated to protect NZ's "economic well-being". (That two SIS agents were caught attempting to break into an anti-globalisation activist's house is also, presumably, irrelevant to the probability that the building popular movement against the TPP is already under SIS/GCSB surveillance.)

You'll have to forgive me, Waitzen, for becoming just a little testy with people who display zero knowledge of even their own country's recent history. You may prefer the fairy-story version of NZ politics, in which nothing remotely like the activities predicted here ever take place, but, personally speaking, I prefer reality - no matter how grim.

waitzen said...

Chris, I am genuinely flattered that you have taken the time to respond to my comments. And since it is your blog, you can be as testy as you like with people like me, and have no don't need to seek our forgiveness or anything else. When I get more time I will respond to your points in more detail. In the meantime, thank you.






Anonymous said...

I remember Watergate.

Anonymous said...

Chris I fear you have done the same as Fonzie in episode 3 season 5 of happy days.

Hans B. Grueber said...

Chris,
I am afraid that you will be proven right. At least as far as the neoliberal effort will go.
The other question is if their tactics will be successful.
We had a couple of examples lately where the public has spoken given half a chance.
That of course needs to be prevented at all costs.
Cheers
Hans

greywarbler said...

Chris I wonder what sort of goodie bag you'll get offered Chris. Or a holiday in Hawaii? Hope it's something you can feel noble turning down, not just a dozen craft beer or something rather ordinary (though not unpleasant!).

pat said...

shades of Tsipras?

Archduke Piccolo said...

After their betrayal of the last election, preferring to remain a cut-rate opposition party than add an extra voice (Mana-Dotcom) into the House, I have begun styling the Labour Party as "Tory Lite". That Helen Clark supports TPP is no surprise: her government pushed the MIA gag as far as it could go until the thing fell on its ares. What is TPP but MIA revisited (with knobs on)?

I find the Tory Lite programme bloody opaque, unless it is to act as 'Wingman' to the Nats, a flank guard on the Left of the mainstream National Party. Come to think a little on that, it would not surprise me in the least if it transpired that is indeed the present objective of the Parliamentary Labour Party: to keep off and/or absorb any kind of challenge to Tory hegemony whilst maintaining the cretinocratic status quo.

David Stone said...

Hi Chris
People might be interested in Joseph Stigletz's take .
Cheers David J S
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-e-stiglitz/trade-agreements-amount-to-corporate-takeover_b_7302072.html

waitzen said...

Chris, reflecting upon what you wrote I think what you are saying is that the organs of the state, including the intelligence agencies, will seek to spy on those who protest against the TPP, disseminate what they find to others in the so-called deep state, and thereby undermine the legitimate democratic process of opposing the TPP. You point to recent examples of such activities and criticise those, such as me, who seem ignorant of what has actually gone on in New Zealand. There is, it seems to you, a vast web of interconnected people and agencies who are working together to advance the their cause, and that of their masters, at the expense of ordinary people.

In reply I would say that bringing up Watergate is pure rhetorical flourish. That happened 40 years ago in another country in another time. It has, in my view, nothing to do with New Zealand in 2015. I understand you do think it does. I disagree and not from a position of ignorance either.

Secondly I profoundly disagree that there is a conspiracy of the deep state to undermine the democratic process and legitimate opposition to TPP. That the GSCB/SIS cooperated with the FBI over the Kim Dotcom affair does not make in an organ of repression. I do understand the history of my country, I just don't see the things you see.

You accuse me of preferring a so-called fairy-tale version of New Zealand politics. I assume this is a reference to so-called dirty politics. Well, yes, there is plenty of that around in all political parties but again, I simply do not see this as the massive conspiracy to fatally undermine democracy as you do.

Indeed you seem to delight in seeing the 'grim reality' as you describe it. The world is seemingly full of Machiavellian realpolitik players hell bent in advancing the interests of the ruling class at the expense of legitimate democracy. Maybe in the world inhabited by the conspiratorial Left, but I see New Zealand democracy at least as inhabited by people, from all parties, who genuinely want what is best for the country, and generally play by the rules. The organs of the state are inhabited by ordinary New Zealanders, just like you and me, who are generally decent, honest and law-abiding. A Fairy tale? I don't think so.

David Stone said...

more specifically this one
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trans-pacific-partnership-charade-by-joseph-e--stiglitz-and-adam-s--hersh-2015-10
D J S

Charles E said...

Waitzen you are a breath of fresh air and I entirely agree with you except for one thing.
Chris is right at the silly, dump state margins. There are idiot spooks out there who will see the anti brigade as a threat to civilisation. But the thing is they are pathetic, ineffectual and irrelevant. They get caught at it and expose how amateur the spooks really are.
Evidence you are wrong about the Deep State conspiracy Chris is that the US, who presumably would have to be behind it is totally up in the air about TPP itself. Especially the Republicans who I guess in your book would be at the core of the Deep State. People like Trump detest trade treaties and so do a lot of big money as they have to play by rules for a change. The next treaty on the horizon is a tax treaty aimed at big biz. It will get passed too. It's called the rule of law and even China is starting to think it may be a good thing. The alternative is the rule of man, and throughout history that man has been the one with the gun.
For heaven's sake Chris get a grip. It's only a timid little trade agreement most of the signatories to will cheat on half the time. The legal stuff is most hopeful too and there is no powerful court to sue governments in anyway. What is more it would be our exporters doing most of the suing, if they are bothered enough. Unless of course we get a Corbyn government one day that nationalises foreign owned businesses & assets and then I would be happy to sue such a government myself.

peterlepaysan said...

It was interesting listening to Groser being interviewed on radio this morning. For a usually confident, assured (I am being desperately polite)He came across as rather defensive and uncertain. Like a school boy having to write a "please explain" essay about his behaviour. The essay is not that good, he knows it and so does his PM and Caucus.

We have been sold an old crock of rubbish. Groser knows that.

The final defense is we are either in or out. This govt chose to be in. We are now the pisspot of the USA corporates and Washington. That was the only way to be in.

Once the USA stepped into the TPPA forum geopolitics took over. The US is gaining more control over the Pacific Oceanic areas to counter Chinese/ Russian/ Indian/ Indonesian power. Trade is secondary and a necessary evil to secure US hegemony.

Using corporations is so much better than using troops, don't you think? No US blood is being shed. Pity about the rest of us.

Tiger Mountain said...

@Waitzen 20:53

I see nothink…nothink I tell you!!

Jh said...

We think we have a free press and we may have but a good test might be: how many times does Michael Reddell get a mention compared to "leading economist" Shamabeel Eaqub or Spoonley? Spoonley tells outright lies and gets away with it.
Herman Daly holds the argument against globalisation.
There are several key issues in the political sphere but they are hidden in the party system and hidden under hackneyed "Green, Labour and National "
The issues are do national assets belong to it's people?
Do we have to share our assets with others if we don't benefit and when do we benefit (EG is super diversity a benefit or hype).

A O said...

@Waitzen

In a fairy tale world people are generally decent, honest and law-abiding. But in the real world - people are a lot more than that. The organs of the state all over the world and throughout history have been dogged with corruption and self-interest above all else. People are people and if you really want to accurately access them then you've got to consider the bad along with the good.

waitzen said...

@Charles E

I do take you point that at the margins there some so-called idiots spooks. But then in any organisations there are similar people at the margins. They too are usually ineffective as you say.

I also want to acknowledge that there are very nasty governments out there who have done bad stuff in New Zealand. The French bombing the Rainbow Warrior, the Israelis forging our passports, the Soviet Union funding trade unions - and those are just the most prominent/public ones. But as you say, this is a trade agreement and not a coup d'etat by the deep state.

In the Cold War days there was the expression "reds under the bed" which reflected the view that Communists were hiding everywhere ready to do their evil work. Strangely now the Left seems infected by the same fearful conspiratorial view and sees "spies under the bed".

jh said...

Egregious bias from Lyn Friedman. In response to an admission that Theressa May's speech was in line with public opinion the correspondent calls it "astonishing" and "hard line". When (according to him) the newspapers come out against it "except for the daily Mail" Lyn Friedman says: "well she misjudged that didn't she". Presumably the commentariat trump the general public?
Whale Oil is right with his Media Party moniker?

Chris Trotter said...

To Waitzen:

In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, "there he goes again".

The Soviets did not fund NZ trade unions, they passed over a cheque from the sales of the Socialist Unity Party's newspaper, "The Tribune", to trade unions in the USSR - a very different thing.

And here we put our finger on the problems presented by commentators like "Waitzen" and "Charles E" - the foremost of which is their tendency to state as facts, claims that turn out to be quite wrong. They think they are well informed about politics and history, when in fact, they are anything but.

It's tiresome having to correct such people, but, thankfully, Bowalley Road has no shortage of commentators who are more than equal to the task.

Have at 'em comrades!

greywarbler said...

jh
I guess the Spoonley you refer to is Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley BA Well., MA Otago, MSc Brist., PhD Massey who is
Pro Vice-Chancellor - College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Looking at the line up of Pro and Vice-Chancellors, and Chancellor at Massey Uni, it seems very likely that they are centrist Right, with a strong pragmatic approach (Maharey never seemed very left-thinking). There is a strong mercantile drive there; the Chancellor Mr Kelly, and other leading academics with directorships.

I don't think we are going to hear critiques against the status quo from these people, or any extensive, wide forward-thinking outside the main rut.

While referring to Massey Uni - this New Thinking Award sounds interesting from the newsletter of the Vice-Chancellor. What sort of New Thinking though, and the usual suspects we should now be asking all the time - What, When, Where, Which, Why, Who, How. Enquiry and scrutiny are the watchwords of the day I think.

http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/about-massey/university-management/vice-chancellor/
JD Trask's new thinking celebrated at Gold Awards
Friday 10 July 2015
Software developer JD Trask, a Bachelor of Information Sciences graduate from Massey University, has been named the inaugural recipient of a New Thinking Award sponsored by the University at the Wellington Gold Awards.

(Biography: Hon Steve Maharey CNZM, B.A., M.A (Hons) Steve Maharey is the Vice-Chancellor (since October 2008) of Massey University based in Palmerston North, Albany (Auckland) and Wellington.Aug 21, 2015)

And Chancellor since 2013: New Chancellor for Massey University
Wellington businessman Chris Kelly is Massey University's new Chancellor.
Mr Kelly replaces Dr Russ Ballard, who has been Chancellor for the past five years. Mr Kelly is a veterinary science graduate of Massey and highly regarded New Zealand business leader with multiple directorships. This year he retired as chief executive of state-owned Landcorp Farming Ltd, a role he was in for 12 years. He has been on the University Council since August 2005 and has been Pro Chancellor – deputy chair of the council – since July last year.

Those were incisive points made by peterlepaysan. But I think the word spittoon would be more apposite than pisspot!

Charles E said...

So Chris which facts above don't you like?
The fact that Trump is on your side?
The fact the Republicans are split over the TPPA?
The fact our spooks are often amateur idiots?
The fact that NZ has not been sued under similar treaties?

And what solid proven facts support this Deep State theory or is it all just unfalsifiable? Of course & how convenient.
Political losers often blame a vague and unprovable conspiracy for their failings, and that's a fact!

waitzen said...

Chris, that's not quite how you described the Sofinsky affair a few months ago.

The so-called “Sofinsky Affair” took place just before Christmas in 1979 and featured the Soviet Ambassador, Vesevelod Sofinksy, caught in the act of handing over $10,000 of “Moscow Gold” to a representative of the Socialist Unity Party. The latter, a Soviet-aligned communist organisation, though small in numbers, wielded considerable influence in the then powerful trade union movement. Sofinsky was the SIS’s biggest “gotcha” by far – a Christmas present wrapped up in the reddest of red ribbons.

We also have Barry Gustafson in his biography of Muldoon saying,

The SUP had clear instructions from the Soviet Embassy never to approach it directly for funds, but the Soviets had for years purchased many copies of the SUP's newspaper, The New Zealand Tribune, as a means of indirectly helping the party...[a]lthough admitting that on other occasions the Soviet Embassy did help the SUP with trips for its members to visit the USSR, tickets on Russian cruise liners to raffle, books and magazines, and subscriptions to SUP's newspapers.

So you say the SUP had considerable influence with the trade union movement and we know that the Soviet Union provided financial assistance, in various forms, to the SUP.

If you wish, I can re-state my orginal claim by saying, "The Soviet Union provided financial assistance to Social Unity Party which, according to a prominent Left-wing blogger, wielded considerable influence in the trade union movement." Can we agree on that?

Anonymous said...

Bloody Hell Chris , you once deservedly had the respect of those on the other side of your arguments.

Sadly you have descended into the mire of conspiracy , and anti anything that National does.
I'm hoping this madness is temporary but I suspect not

Anonymous said...

Chris , this is my second comment, so much of what you say could come about but only if their is genuine opposition from the Labour and Green parties. then they must win the election on a anti TPPA vote and withdrawal. I just cannot see that happening with Labour at its present stage of organisation. The Greens; I believe after the flag incident, have a small but effective National party influence in their party they must silence. I do not believe that the Labour and the Green parties will be that genuine in their expected opposition to the TPPA. Genuine opposition would cause that much internal fighting in their parties, to many of the seat warmers in both parties it would not be worth the candle. Revolution is not in the air, summer is with the long holidays and overseas jaunts to look forward to, that if they were honest with anyone, but they are not, is what being a MP it is all about. It was a worthwhile article to read. Well done.

TeeJay said...

Chris your comment "tendency to state as facts..." also applies to yourself. Surely you have read after the collapse of the USSR about the reveleations of the Soviets funding aggressive 'Peace" movements around the globe and the funding of British trade unions. I agee with you it is so tiresome having to correct such people. We should rest on our hubris.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Waitzen

Yes, we can agree on that. Just as I'm sure we can agree that the NZ National Party received considerable assistance from the US Government in securing the Hanna Barbera cartoons that made such an impact on the 1975 General Election.

To: Charles E

While I understand your need to believe that all of the notorious SIS exploits that have become part of NZ history could only have been carried out by "amateur idiots", you do, I think, also need to consider the possibility that the Service's activities were the product of rational decision-making at the highest level. Like the decision to tap the Leader of the Opposition, Norman Kirk's, office phone. (Ref: Margaret Hayward's "Diary of the Kirk Years".)

To: Anonymous@14:21

I suspect the Right's aversion to the very notion of political conspiracy is that it calls into question the sort of optimistic benignity epitomised by Waitzen's description of liberal democracy (see above). You would do well, I think, to mull over the implications of Benjamin Disraeli's (19th Century British Prime Minister) famous observation that: "The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes."

To: TeeJay

I'm afraid you will have to provide a reference for all these "aggressive" peace movements - or be laughed off the stage.

waitzen said...

Chris, you know of course that the quote by Disraeli was from his work of fiction, Coningsby published in 1844, before he was Prime Minister? That doesn't necessarily mean he was wrong, but in mulling it over, I did take account of its fictional context.

Chris Trotter said...

Yes, I was aware of the quote's origin, Waitzen. But, you know what they say: "if you want to tell the truth - write fiction."

waitzen said...

Yes, I was aware of the quote's origin, Waitzen. But, you know what they say: "if you want to tell the truth - write fiction."

Does that mean your blog posts are fiction?

Chris Trotter said...

A little obvious, don't you think?

greywarbler said...

Interesting how discussion of a large, complex problem can degenerate to some people arguing about minutiae. The opportunity for thinking and critique gets lost while participants squabble like sparrows or seagulls over bits of crust. When you want to cook something, and need the recipe, all you get are disagreements about some of the ingredients! Pathetic.

greywarbler said...

To illustrate my last remark.... Something about crumbs, but also demonstrating the effect of rumours, half-truths, wrongly quoted comments such as Marie Antoinette's 'Let them eat cake' remark. We still repeat this unreliable quote centuries after her head was chopped off, because of the accusations of her being rich and callous, for which the cake comment was an example. (See Wikipedia below for the update, two centuries later.)

So I think it is more important to concentrate on what Groser says now, and get the truth about that. And what Key and his robbin' hood band say too. Not worry about Disraeli's output. Be aware of the importance of finding and recognising truth when we see and hear it.

it did acquire great symbolic importance in subsequent histories when pro-revolutionary historians sought to demonstrate the obliviousness and selfishness of the French upper-classes at that time. As one biographer of the Queen notes, it was a particularly useful phrase to cite because "the staple food of the French peasantry and the working class was bread, absorbing 50 percent of their income, as opposed to 5 percent on fuel; the whole topic of bread was therefore the result of obsessional national interest."[5]
However, there is no evidence that Queen Marie-Antoinette ever uttered this phrase. It was first attributed to her by Alphonse Karr in Les Guêpes of March, 1843.[6] Other objections to the legend of Marie-Antoinette and the cake/brioche comment centre on arguments concerning the queen's personality, internal evidence from members of the French royal family and the date of the saying's origin. For example, the Queen's English-language biographer, Antonia Fraser, wrote in 2002:
[Let them eat cake] was said 100 years before her by Marie-Thérèse, the wife of Louis XIV. It was a callous and ignorant statement and she, Marie Antoinette, was neither.[7]

Jayson said...

Chris

What the hell are you talking about???
Labour started the TPPA negotiations under Helen Clark, so why one Earth shouldn't she support them?
Even Labour's 2014 manifesto supports free trade and also supports the TPPA under the following conditions:

•Pharmac must be protected
•Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest
•New Zealand maintains the right to restrict sales of farm land and housing to non-resident foreign buyers
•The Treaty of Waitangi must be upheld
•Meaningful gains are made for our farmers in tariff reductions and market access.

As far as I can see, NONE of these are being violated so WHY oh WHY would Labour not get on board with this and claim it's share of the credit for having started the process???

Being the opposition is NOT the same as opposing EVERYTHING the Government does and by opposing a free trade agreement they were responsible for initiating, Labour will just look rediculous.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I always thought it was 'Why can't they eat brioche?" :-).

Bushbaptist said...

So Jayson you are party to the discussion by the partners. Do tell us what is in it so we can understand how it will benefit us all. Pray tell us how you know that those ideals have not been violated? I suspect that you are just another dreamer.

Yes, you are right, Labour was the instigator of our part of the deals and it would be good if those ideals that you state were honoured. But are they being honoured, or are have they been pushed aside?

As far as anyone knows there are no meaningful gains for our farmers except a vague promise that "they will be looked at" in 20 years time. No reductions in tariffs at all to the major markets that we need to expand into (Japan, Canada and the US).

Perhaps the Labour MP's already know what is in it and that is why they are opposing it so vehemently. So please enlighten us so we can decide what is best for all of us.

Charles E said...

My word, Chris, have you been winding us up?
Well done if so.
Re spooks acting against the left, I do accept they do so on average more than the reverse. But I think that is more to do with the natural tendency of the left to be against the status quo and the spooks in favour of I, by nature.
But also, the left activist almost is asking for it at times and the dumb spook can't resist it. Cat and mouse stuff. Flies & meat.
You see that as sinister but surely it is more humorous than tragic.

Chris Trotter said...

Clearly, Charles, you have never been on the receiving end of either Police or SIS surveillance. No laughing matter, I assure you.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

The various intelligence agencies have traditionally been used against even moderate left-wing groups in Western society. Think Harold Wilson. Think Nixon for that matter.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Or... http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/29/secret-service-officials-discussed-smearing-labour-party-1920s

Charles E said...

Well if I dabbled in what looked like treason or insurrection plotting I might just expect to attract attention, however benign it may actually be.
Trouble is the 'authorities' are so ham fisted here, so lacking in exposure to the the real stuff, they jump in with their big boots when they should just keep calm and collected.
In Europe where I have just spent a month they have no time or resources to harass the anti establishment. They are full tilt trying to pin down Islamofacists.
It's not as bad here but as I understand it from certain sources they are flat out on cybersecurity stuff. Mostly Chinese & Russian thieves trying to steal our IP, and through us, other nations' IP. This is connected to the TPPA btw, as the US is hugely pissed off with the disregard others have for their IP rights. Fair enough I reckon.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well Charles, as you've exposed your 'certain sources' in public, thereby presumably breaking confidence, no doubt you can expect to knock on the door in the middle of the night. Certain sources – yeah right.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I was just thinking – I can see it now. All the security services in Europe suddenly finding out that Charles is there. I can just imagine the conversations.

"This fellah Charles has arrived – from New Zealand – is he 'sound' James?

"Yes Minister, very sound, went to all the right schools, right-wing as fuck."

"Oh – that's tell him all our security secrets then. Start with what we are busy with at the moment, and tell all. Being 'sound' and all I'm sure he won't blab. After all, McClain and Burgess, Philby and Blunt were all the right sort, just like him right? Yes, tell him everything, after all he has sources in the New Zealand security services, and it'll help put the wind up those arrogant lefties in New Zealand"

Jesus, I just fell off my chair. :-)

Anonymous said...

How about simple democracy ? Do you see a problem with that ?

Anonymous said...

Well said sir,

greywarbler said...

The two anonymi at the end remind me of Statler and Waldorf from Sesame St.
Here's a short link to youtube on turning on the computer etc. I think we need a short laugh after the TPP.

What was that we just saw?
They call it the medium sketch?
Why?
Because it wasn't rare and it certainly wasn't well done.

Charles E said...

GS my sources also tell me they've looked in you and found nothing there.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Lame Chas – I think you just lost the Internet :-).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

http://www.salon.com/2015/10/15/every_president_has_been_manipulated_national_security_officials_david_talbot_investigates_americas_deep_state/

Might be an interesting book.