Tuesday 15 December 2015

Changing Sides.

Nixon's Southern Strategy: Persuading White, former Democratic Party voters to change sides and vote Republican in 1972 proved a relatively easy sell for President Richard Nixon in Southern US states forced to grant Black Americans their civil rights in the 1960s. In the mid-1970s, New Zealand's Rob Muldoon made an equally successful pitch for Labour voters alienated by what they saw as their party's capitulation to social liberalism. Wooing, winning and keeping this chunk of the electorate has also played a critical part in John Key's long-term political success.
IT WAS FORTY YEARS AGO on Saturday, 12 December, that Robert Muldoon was sworn in as New Zealand’s thirty-first prime minister. His extraordinary success in the 1975 General Election – where he turned a 23-seat deficit into a 23-seat majority for the National Party – signalled the arrival of something new and highly disruptive in New Zealand politics. Since 1975, cultivating the support of a particular (but not especially progressive) type of Labour voter has proved crucial to the electoral success of both major parties.
Like so many of the other influences that have shaped New Zealand society over the past 40 years, Muldoon’s political strategy and tactics were borrowed from the United States.
The US Democratic Party’s support for black civil rights in the 1960s dislodged millions of hitherto rock-solid white voters in the southern states of the USA. The Republican Party (the party of Abraham Lincoln!) lost little time refashioning itself as the new political home for Dixie’s aggrieved white supremacists. By 1972, these blue-collared “good ole boys” had been drawn alongside the Republican Party’s traditional conservative base in what President Richard Nixon called “the great silent majority” – which noisily swept him back into the White House on a landslide.
The not unnatural assumption of the right-wing political strategists who had engineered this stunning desertion of formerly “left-wing” voters to the conservative cause, was that, on economic matters, conservative leaders would need to tread very carefully.
Nowhere was this determination to preserve the economic under-pinnings of the welfare state more in evidence than under the National Government of Rob Muldoon. If Labour’s social liberalism – as evidenced by its deeply unpopular cancellation of the 1973 Springbok Tour – had caused an electorally crucial number of socially conservative blue-collar workers to throw in their lot with “Rob’s Mob”, then, surely, it would be the purest folly to give in to the “New Right’s” demands to curb the unions, free-up the markets and dismantle the welfare state?
But Muldoon’s combination of highly divisive social conservatism and aggressive state interventionism (Springbok Tours and Wage & Price Controls!) was much too volatile a political mixture to be more than a stop-gap solution to the deep structural problems confronting post-war capitalism.
The New Right’s strategists were, accordingly, willing to gamble that a full-scale assault on the key elements of the social-democratic post-war economy (unions, nationalised industries and welfare) would so shatter the political coherence of the Left that the victims of their assault – especially poorly-educated white males – would remain susceptible to an aggressively pitched, socially conservative, agenda.
This was certainly the political wager of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, whose domestic assaults on the post-war social-democratic consensus, coupled with a ruinously expensive upping of the Cold War ante, broke the Left comprehensively, both at home and in its nominal heartland – the Soviet Empire. They were blows from which the Left has yet to recover. The destruction was made even more complete in New Zealand by the Right’s successful subversion of the parliamentary wing of the NZ Labour Party.
The introduction of Neoliberalism to New Zealand by Labour, while enormously dislocating in economic and social terms, did mean that it was social-liberalism, rather than social-conservatism, that set the political tone throughout the 1990s and into the Twenty-First Century. This is especially true of Maori-Pakeha relations and immigration policies across that period. In both contexts, liberal policy settings have facilitated a number of profound societal shifts and apparently irrevocable changes.
Certainly, when Dr Don Brash attempted to harness a mass political following to an indisputably radical revision of race relations in New Zealand, he was unable to duplicate the success of Rob Muldoon in 1975. His in/famous “Orewa Speech” on nationhood was, however, to prove astonishingly successful in uniting virtually the entire right-wing vote behind the National Party. To the point where only a very small shift in the allegiances of Labour voters would be sufficient to usher a National-led Government into office.
In the eighth year of John Key’s National-led Government, his success in wooing back those National Party voters who had defected to Labour under the “competent” governance of Helen Clark, as well as holding on to those Labour defectors, for whom Clark’s progressive policy agenda – especially during her third term – had become insupportable, is without historical precedent.
Key may not remember which side he was on during the Springbok Tour, but he knows better than to engage in such divisive political behaviour. Nor is his political survival predicated (as Muldoon’s was) on making such ideologically aggressive gestures. Labour’s defectors are nothing like the angry white males to whom Donald Trump is currently appealing in the United States. Key’s winning strategy has been to convince the a-little-bit racist, a-little-bit sexist, a-little-bit homophobic “Waitakere Man” that, on his watch, nothing will be done to make him change sides.
This essay was originally published in The Press of Tuesday, 15 December 2015.


Anonymous said...

I think we can now say that while National was New Zealand's natural governing party from 1949 to 1969, Labour was the natural governing party from 1972 to 2005. In that 33 year period, you have just two clear National victories (1975 and 1990) which would nevertheless have been hung parliaments under MMP, three elections (1978, 1981, and 1993) with a left-wing majority screwed by FPP, and one election (1996) where Peters promised to get rid of National, only to do the opposite. You had six Labour victories in the interim.

For whatever reason, we seem to have moved back to the status quo being National. I don't think this is necessarily John Key either - for whatever reason, the entire democratic world has moved firmly to the Right since the Global Financial Crisis.

Anonymous said...

What does it matter which side John Key was on during the Springbok tour ?, what matters is that he is on his third term as PM and seems to be determined to win a fourth term. Labours leader and leading bureaucrats seem willing to help him. Capital gains tax, euthanasia bill, over 65 pensions, all gone.
90 day trials for new employees will be tinkered with but retained, a broken promise by Andrew Little when standing for the leadership.
Grant Robertson as 'shadow finance' sends out a slogan "Shared Prosperity" for the future, do we have to elect Labour to find out what he means ? it is bollocks to say that if Robertson told us now that Bill English would steal the policy, Labour needs to produce policies that Key and English would run away from if we were really to have "Shared Prosperity"
Most political commentators state that if Labour and the Greens are to be coalition government in 2017 then they should be co-joined now and not try and cobble something together a few months before the election. They can barely stand each others company !!!.
What about the known differences between NZ First and the Greens, what is Labour doing about them?. My MP says she is sure discussions are taking place, looking right through me.
About 50% of NZ see John Key and his team as the All-Blacks and the present Lab / Green coalition as Botswana having a bad day.
Whoever penned Labour -Lite hit the nail.

pat said...

Ah the mythical construct "Waitakere man" re emerges....as with all good myths there are elements of truth, but I fear basing an electoral strategy on this character, should any pure examples exist, is deeply flawed...as with any section of society the public perception, or even cursory observation of a (perceived" group does not take account of thoughts unexpressed....except perhaps in the privacy of the ballot booth

Anonymous said...

So the 'real' outcome of Rogernomics has been to make it extremely difficult for Labour to govern, and made it easier for National to hold onto power, with support from the right-leaning Maori Party and the Gheghis Roger D group!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I just have to say this. No one does not remember what side they were on during the Springbok tour.

Anonymous said...

I'm always puzzled about The Left's hatred for Muldoon.
His economic policies were as about as left as you can get.
Interventionism where The Government runs everything?

Well, not really puzzled - since socially and emotionally he was an enemy of the left.
But economically, he was the very embodiment of the 'idea society' that Chris described here a little while ago.

That's the thing, Chris- if the government runs everything, the the leader is even stronger. And if you don't like the leader, then the is no escape!

In Alan Moore's 'The Watchmen', one of the characters says 'Whatever happened to The American Dream? It came True! You're looking at it!'
That is Muldoon for the Left, if they're only admit it.

greywarbler said...

So the unaware, self-centred aspirational among the older generation tossed NZ ideals out around 1980 and set the tone and the pathway that we are now bound to travel to the end. That would include me then. I couldn't see the present world happening. There seemed no reason that there wouldn't be enough for all, allocated reasonably, and run judiciously. And people can't believe it has gone, those doing well think their abilities and training have entitled them to the key to the executive toilet (apparently was a mark of elite position, along with your own carpeted space and pot plant.) I think the computer's ability to store and sift has helped shape the present policies.

When did our civilisation reach its high point of working towards an inclusive world where everyone got a reasonable share and were encouraged to reach their potential, and utilise their intelligence to make responsible decisions? And where we could have made deliberate efforts to limit family size and nurture well the children we had.

I can't see us achieving anything like past dreams. Reading this Chris makes me believe we have to change our personal lives, while we still can. It seems we have to coalesce into little groups and learn how to cope like the colonials did.

Perhaps like the sharing villages like the Riverside Community. I looked up google and there seem to be quite a few.
There is the Transitional Town action group.
Communes and communities noted by Te Ara.
Christchurch Library interesting info.
Ecovillage and Cohousing Assocn
Hub for intentional communities in NZ = Permaculture
Background history on communities
That's just the first page that came up when I googled Intentional communities in NZ.
Noted - names of Karuna Falls Community, Tui Community, Riverside Community, Rainbow Valley Community.

Anonymous said...

So the legacy of the Roger Douglas years is the reinsatement of successive anti-worker governments propped up by the right-leaning Maori Party and his own extreme group who would like to ACT out on their own!

Tiger Mountain said...

after several unscheduled years living out West, Sunnyvale near Waikumete Cemetery hill, it can be confirmed that ‘Waitakere Man’ and unfortunately woman, do indeed exist; likewise the “creatures of the BBQ pit”, and they are all over the land not just West Auckland, “a little bit racist” nails it, the tradesman over my back fence (that we shared the cost of constructing) is exactly as Chris describes and his ilk are legion in the little industrial crescents and units of Henderson and beyond, don’t get me started on Hobsonville…

the epitome of the academics “atomised” working class of aspirational working poor and middle class new rentiers bludging off the taxpayer with their “ex statie renters”, Accommodation Supplement and WFF top ups

the Boxing Day Sale demonstrates where many New Zealanders heads are at–commodity fetishism and following the herd, which may well see “John and Richie’s flag” beat the old flag in Referendum #2, there has been a fundamental change in NZ societal attitudes after 30 years of neo liberal group think

at the Daily Blog, some writers say that this will not change until the middle classes and SME operators etc feel the burn of a property price crash, but will shattered dreams provoke organisation and a left turn? oppression and alienation has not done so yet for the other million odd non voting struggling New Zealanders

Olwyn said...

Key is every bit as divisive as Muldoon was, but the people opposed to him lack organisational and institutional power, so he is free to disdain them rather than fight with them. Muldoon's right was cultural, Key's is economic. 2008 is significant, not only because of the GFC, but also because of the change of direction that came with it. The Labour governments of the 2000's, including our own, were able to take the share-holding democracy idea seriously, and make steps in that general direction. By 2008, outright corporate dominance replaced that idea,with the abandonment of those unsuited to its aims. I think this is the main reason for disruption within Labour, both here and abroad - some want to retain the accommodation they had when the shareholders' democracy was still on the table, while others see a need to push back. A similar endure-or-oppose question affects many in the wider society as well, especially among those who are discarded or not in accordance with how willing they are to meet current conditions. What is missing is not divisiveness but organised, resolute opposition, from both inside and outside of parliament.

Loz said...

I've been reading some of the founding documents that outlined what Labour originally stood for. The New Constitution of the British Labour Party, published in 1918, is as relevant now as it was back then.

The Labour Party stands essentially for revolt against the inequality of circumstance that degrades and brutalises and disgraces our civilisation. It abhors and repudiates the unscientific and immoral doctrine that the competitive struggle for the means of life is, in human society, either inevitable or requisite for the survival of the fittest; it declares, indeed, in whilst it is conscious and deliberate co-operation which is productive of life and progress. It is unreservedly democratic in its conviction – here also fortified by political science – that only by the widest possible participation in power and the most generally spread consciousness of consent can any civilised community attain either its fullest life or its utmost efficiency.

Great stuff… but a very long way from where the left is often seen running today. Labour can't reconcile its faith in free-market competition benefiting working New Zealanders while other parties of the left are fundamentally opposed to democracy... all for altruistic intent of course.

The fixation on identity politics is by nature anti-democratic and has been a guaranteed strategy for alienating large sections of the electorate... not because New Zealanders are "a-little-bit racist, a-little-bit sexist, a-little-bit homophobic" but because identity politics abandons the mantle of representing the vast majority of New Zealanders. Building an uneasy coalition of fringe sector groups is very different to building broad mainstream support. When the left equated being "not-racist" as being the same as waving the flag for Hone Harawira or declared parents who smacked their children (the majority) as criminals - it should have been easy to see why it was so easy for John Key to step into the void of representing "normal" Kiwis.

Andrew Nichols said...

When did our civilisation reach its high point of working towards an inclusive world where everyone got a reasonable share and were encouraged to reach their potential, and utilise their intelligence to make responsible decisions? And where we could have made deliberate efforts to limit family size and nurture well the children we had.

With you on this. Reminds me of Neil Youngs disenchantment anthem "Walk like a Giant"

"Me and some of my friends
We were gonna save the world
We were trying to make it better
We were ready to save the world
But then the weather changed
And the white got stained
And it fell apart
And it breaks my heart

But think about how close we came
I wanna walk like a giant on the land
I wanna walk like a giant on the land...."

Anonymous said...

I just have to say this. No one does not remember what side they were on during the Springbok tour.

I've said it before and will say it again - no-one would mind if John Key said "I was pro-tour in 1981. So was half the country. It was a mistake, let's move on."

The problem isn't that he was pro-tour, it's that he feels the need to lie about it. Can you imagine an American politician in the 1890s saying "I can't remember which side of the Civil War I supported"?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Pretty much my point anonymous 14:51 – so I'm not sure why you feel the need to comment about it. But still it's a free world mostly – at least here :-).

I suspect it's going to take a lot of effort over a long time to break the Labour Party of its free-market obsession. After all, look what happened when labour took office under Helen Clark stop one minute it was "fuck the business Roundtable" and the next minute it was kissing their arse. The problem is of course that unregulated free markets inevitably lead to crony capitalism. In the epitome of crony capitalism of course is fascism :-). Where America could be headed in the future if that clown Trump becomes president.

the pigman said...

GS - as far as we ever found out, Don Brash was the only sitting politician fucking the Business Roundtable.

Loz - I generally agree that Labour needs to look more to its roots, however that should not equate to espousing exclusively the attitudes of 100 years ago. It is foolish to buy into the "PC Brigade ruined Labour" narrative, because as much as I find the interest groups and identity politics tiring, they have a place insofar as aligned with the Labour values you quote.

And you are wrong about the majority of parents smacking their children.

Bushbaptist said...

GS @ 7.00 has it in one.

Helen may have said (figuratively) FTBRT but the powers-that-be quickly reminded her of who has signed the cheques and now it was time to pay up.

So, Labour has to things to do; get rid of the Rogie arse-kissers and find another source of funding.

Traditionally their funding came from the Unions but now the Unions have been all but destroyed. So we need to get back to compulsory Unions again and get rid of the poverty and charity wages. We need a Labour party that is is not a mirror image of the Nats.

greywarbler said...

That is mighty music Andrew. Them playing at Madison Square is a great setting and lighting and theatricals makes for a brooding effect along with the music and words. Grand and sombre. 24 minutes but a shorter look gives the idea.

Victor said...

My own experience of Waitakere Man suggests that, compared to his dad, he's remarkably un-racist and un-sexist, although he might still have issues over being un-homophobic.

He's also, by and large, a good and responsible parent and citizen. Moreover, he often possesses skills that New Zealand desperately needs in fuller measure.

But who or what is there in our stripped-out res publica to appeal to his better nature?

jh said...

Well said Loz.

I think Trump is (at last) standing up to the news media/pc establishment. It doesn't matter whether what he says is a bit over the top or not. It is like Nurse Ratchet
Nurse Ratched: You know Billy, what worries me is how your mother is going to take this.
Billy: Um, um, well, y-y-y-you d-d-d-don't have to t-t-t-tell her, Miss Ratched.
Nurse Ratched: I don't have to tell her? Your mother and I are old friends. You know that.
Billy: P-p-p-please d-d-don't tell my m-m-m-mother.

Credit to Chris Trotter (of course) for comparing the left* to Nurse Ratched

* e.g Standard

jh said...

I suspect it's going to take a lot of effort over a long time to break the Labour Party of its free-market obsession.
Trademe isn't helping? The plebs need to be shown the error of their ways?

jh said...

I think the ordinary person approves of the free market. It is o.k provided you have sufficient resources for the number of players and start a new game when "A" has bought up all of Mayfair etc (redistribution). The problem is that the main parties approve of immigration and are in denial of a relationship between house prices, quality of life etc eg

"Let me say clearly now: the housing crisis is not the fault of recent migrants; the unemployment rate is not the fault of recent migrants; and asylum seekers are not a threat to us." Jan Logie

Hugh Pavletich is touting this:


They get away with it thanks to media bias.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Oh, the media PC establishment eh? PC meaning that they can't spout their racist/sexist crap all over the place without some sort of public censure? And Trump is not a bit over the top. He is stark staring, barking mad. He is the populist of populists, he has no idea how foreign-policy works – Christ he has admitted he doesn't even know how the Internet works. And of course it doesn't matter what he says, because what he says is just rhetoric that is aimed at his low information voter base. The sort of people who hark back to a time in the US when America was great. I.e. when black people couldn't vote, when women had to be secretaries or nurses, and when it was nudge, nudge wink, wink okay to beat up gay people. Let's not forget that he encourages people at his meetings to also say and do "a bit over the top" stuff. Like beating up interjectors, or threatening to burn them alive. Takes you right back to the good old days of the KKK.

Anonymous said...

I've had a few ,and I sincerely wrestle with this, but isn't the present political argument with the middle and the right rather with the left and the right ?. This blog included. The poor can get fucked.

greywarbler said...

while other parties of the left are fundamentally opposed to democracy... all for altruistic intent of course.
I need to be reminded of the background to this assertion. At first blush it doesn't ring true. Anyone who understands care to explain?

greywarbler said...

Concerning your comment -
The fixation on identity politics is by nature anti-democratic and has been a guaranteed strategy for alienating large sections of the electorate.......because identity politics abandons the mantle of representing the vast majority of New Zealanders. Building an uneasy coalition of fringe sector groups is very different to building broad mainstream support.

If this attitude prevailed, small unions could not have established.
Women were often treated as a minority, and so unimportant they were non-persons. It is not a people supporting Party that excuses poor
legislation because it has only wrecked .05% of the population's lives etc.

Even thick-skinned Ayn Rand had an opinion about individuals who mightn't mesh with the mainstream. Though her sort of individual liked riding lifts to the top of high towers and looking down on the hoi polloi. Her eyes were too glazed by the glamour of modernity and the big picture to take in the detail at the side. Peripheral vision is essential for a left political group believing in supporting all groups of people to a debatable level of equality.

Ayn Rand
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/political.html#RQG2Zt6RJeGdTb4m.99

Victor said...


The problem with your prescriptive view of "rights" is that they're not something that we're born with by virtue of our humanity . Rather they are something that Society grants us.

They are, therefore, legal fictions rather than moral absolutes, albeit that experience suggests a well-governed and humane polity will tend to be one that pays them considerable respect.

I understand that this might seem a rather radical view to a sweet old-fashioned eighteenth century soul such as your good self.

But our scientific, historical and philosophic understanding long ago took us beyond the verdant glades, wherein which archetypical "noble savages" were meant to have flourished in their "natural liberty".

They still look good on Meissen china though.

Anonymous said...

Chris, you talk about "the post war social-democratic consensus" but the economic reality was that this so-called consensus just bankrupted those nations that took part in it.

Both NZ and the UK dumped this ideology simply because they couldn't afford it anymore. By the 1970's both nations were facing economic collapse and something had to change. In NZ it was the Labour Party that was left holding the baby. In the UK it was the Conservative Party. No matter. The cause was the same, as was the solution.

pat said...

I had considered writing an extensive rebuttal of your theory on the alleged Waitakere Man and his voting predilections and came across this during my research which makes my rebuttal redundant

Guerilla Surgeon said...


It's only a poll, but it to some extent puts the lie to those who claim that Corbyn is not electable.

Loz said...

It’s too easy for us to fall into revisionist history, viewing the past as representing an episode of Downton Abbey.

Earlier, I quoted a passage from the Labour Party Constitution of 1918. That document was heavily concerned with addressing specific criticism in regard to women and the labour movement.

The Labour Party has, indeed, always been open to women on the same terms as to men, on a basis of complete equality. It is a ludicrous blunder—-one into which more than one newspaper has fallen—to suppose that the Labour Party has hitherto included no women, except the members of the Women’s Labour League and the relatively few women members of the three Socialist Societies. The Party has always comprised quite as large a proportion of the women Trade Unionists as of the men. The very extensive Workers’ Union, with over 200,000 members, includes a very high proportion of women. The Northern Counties Weavers’ Amalgamation finds two-thirds of its 200,000 membership among women; and the Amalgamated Association of Card and Blowing Room Operatives and Ringspinners reckons only one-tenth of its membership of 56,000 to be men. Out of the 2,500,000 affiliated members of the Labour Party, it is probable that something like 250,000 are women, being certainly more than half of all the organised women wage earners.

GreyWarbler; suggesting that "Women were often treated as a minority, and so unimportant they were non-persons" is simply not part of the labour tradition.

Clare Wright's recent book The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka demonstrated how instrumental women were in every area of Australia's most famous uprising. The work draws an unescapable conclusion that our retelling of history has been prone to downplaying exactly how pivotal women have been historically... which is far from any assertion of "non-person" status.

The relationship between democracy, equality and representation for "the left" is not settled, with some deeply disturbing positions regularly adopted as "progressive" platforms. Labour's early assertion was that "complete equality" meant an absence of discrimination. Today, a large element of the modern left (perhaps even the majority), willingly accept that "complete equality" requires conscious discrimination in manipulating the structures of democracy, and at times, rejecting democratic will for a principled purpose. This vanguard of politics is self-assured of its righteousness and convinced that in the fullness of time, its own enlightened progressiveness will be recognised as ahead-of-its-time leadership.

The anti-smacking legislation was known to be deeply opposed by the vast majority of New Zealanders. In fact, apart from the overwhelming opposition to the sale of Telecom in 1989, I can't think of another issue where a group on the "left" has shown a complete disregard for the beliefs of the electorate and rammed through an unsupported ideological agenda without any concern for electoral mandate. This contorted form of democracy which has no particular need of democratic participation or majority consent is an anathema to our democratic tradition and deserves contempt. Arguably, it’s the unavoidable outcome of years of vanguardist attempts at social engineering and "positive" discrimination. I understand how well-intentioned the new-left may have been but it has served to alienate the largest sections of society as it has tried to provide leadership instead of representation.

In the last election, Internet-Mana managed to achieve a similar level of support formally obtained by McGillicuddy Serious. Instead of representing hope and empowerment for ordinary New Zealanders elements of the modern left are completely alienated from the ideals of equality and democracy that most of us align with.

greywarbler said...

Wishing you a relaxing and happy Christmas break Chris. The thought came to me that Santa is democracy at work, visiting everyone, with those who have laboured well getting advantage, but no-one missing out. A child is said to have asked whether there could be Christmas every year? My plea to Santa is - can you come more often please?

greywarbler said...

Further to last sentiments about Christmas Chris! I found that Dickens said it already.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Victor, I'd love to think we had natural rights. It's a rather romantic idea in itself. That basically writes are what are granted by governments, or screwed out of them by workers. And these tend to be what our inbuilt morality suggests they should be – often but not always.

Anonymous 15:45. "We can't afford it" is a specious bullshit excuse for the neoliberalism that has bankrupted the world several times in the last 30 years or so. Obviously there was something wrong with it, but it could have been fixed without going postal on the economy. Other countries managed it. We could have too.

Loz. I haven't got the time to engage in a lengthy discussion about women and history, but if you look at it until recently history was essentially written by men. I think when I was doing my degree there was one full-time and one part-time woman in the largest department in the country. I'm looking at the 1930s at the moment through the lens of the Spanish Civil War. It seems to me that with few exceptions, women's contributions have been underrated, but it also seems that only in times of emergency are they allowed to do anything much but make the tea. :-)

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all – even if you did steal it off the pagans. :-) And a story I think from the great and almost late Clive James.

A group of students are alleged to have rung Jesus College at Oxford or Cambridge (I forget which) on Christmas Day. The porter answered the phone and one of them said, "is that Jesus?" To which the porter replied, "yes"

"Happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you"

Victor said...


'Chris, you talk about "the post war social-democratic consensus" but the economic reality was that this so-called consensus just bankrupted those nations that took part in it.'

No it didn't. There was an unprecedented and stupendously high rise in the price of oil and other raw materials in the 1970s, which played havoc with every western economy irrespective of the ideological complexion of its government.

However, comparatively egalitarian, well educated societies, with high levels of social spending, such as the then West Germany, a not yet age-ing Japan and the Scandinavian nations, performed considerably better in those years than did the English speaking countries, including the two you have cited.

Bushbaptist said...

Agreed Victor. What so many don't realise or even take into account is that when the price of oil goes up everything else does too. Everything we buy, trade, use or ride on has a transport component within it. The cost of transport increases then so does the price of goods. In the early 70's the price of oil went through the roof and that set off a cost/price spiral and inflation. It had nothing to do with ideology. Rob Muldoon's medicine was a wage/price freeze.

jh said...

Open borders Labour is pushing the Kiwi Lifestyle meme sans garden

Naki man 4.2
22 December 2015 at 12:27 pm
Twyford has finally woken up. You only have to look at your new CV to see that it is the land values that are rising fast not the value of the building. Those of us who live in the real world have known this for years.
lprent 4.2.1
22 December 2015 at 2:10 pm
So increase the density (shouldn’t cause you any issues) and use less land per residence.
Seems like the natural progression to me..


But kiwi lifestyle was living in small cities never far from the countryside. The "international class" city is a new meme foisted on us by elites.

Has anyone actually looked at the type of infill solutions that have been occurring over the last 25 + years? Have the Greens abandoned the home garden (except for middle class greens).

jh said...

You can see a gaping hole for NZ First. If only they could break out of their limited engagement on issues. NZ First is where NZ is the other parties are selling a mirage.