Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Whoops And Cheers For Democracy's Flag.

 
The People's Flag: For the duration of the Prime Minister’s vainglorious change-the-flag project, the New Zealand Ensign has stood for the right of the people – and not a single individual – to determine their nation’s destiny. It was Democracy’s flag that we voted to keep.
 
WHEN THE NEWS came through that the present New Zealand flag had defeated Kyle Lockwood’s silver fern I was at the pub. One of my companions suggested that we share the referendum result with the other patrons. Having by far the loudest voice, I strode to the bar and announced that the present New Zealand flag had received 57 percent of the votes cast to the Silver Fern’s 43 percent. The room erupted with whoops and cheers and just about everyone in the pub joined in the applause.
 
That spontaneous ovation seemed to me to have very little to do with the respective merits of the Union Jack versus the Silver Fern. Indeed, it is highly likely that at least a third of the people seated in that bar had voted for change.
 
Why, then, did so many of my fellow patrons clap and cheer?
 
The answer is simple: they were cheering the personal discomfiture and political humiliation of the Prime Minister.
 
John Key had made the flag referendum a test of his supporters’ loyalty: of their willingness to follow his every wish – no matter how fundamentally it contradicted their own. Astonishingly, they came within 7 percentage points of passing their leader’s test. Over the last ten days of voting, the gap between the supporters of the present flag and Lockwood’s alternative narrowed dramatically – startling evidence of the Prime Minister’s influence over his conservative base. That the six electorates in which the Silver Fern secured a narrow majority over the Union Jack were all true-blue National seats is certainly no accident.
 
That they were being asked to participate in some sort of weird affirmation ritual did not escape the attention of the rest of the population – and they resented it bitterly. That resentment only increased as the flag-changing process unfolded. I was reminded of the child’s card-trick in which the “magician” appears to be giving his “mark” a series of choices, while actually contriving to sequentially eliminate all but the chosen card from contention.
 
What infuriated the population even more was Key’s armour-plated insouciance. He clearly believed that his referendum card-trick would work on just enough people to secure him the affirmation he was seeking. All it communicated to those not yet under the Prime Minister’s spell, however, was how thoroughly manipulable he believed the electorate to be.
 
The alternative flag “finalists” only added insult to injury. With three of the four designs featuring a silver fern, the cynics’ view, that the judging panel knew exactly what the Prime Minister wanted and was determined to give it to him, gained widespread currency.
 
What the panel could not give him, however, was the option Key’s loyalists were most eager to vote for: the “All Blacks Flag”. Intellectual property considerations had conspired to keep Key’s first choice for an alternative New Zealand flag off the ballot. The NZRFU was simply unwilling to surrender its brand. If it had, that 7 point gap separating the status quo from change would, almost certainly, have been narrower.
 
For those not in thrall to “Brand Key”, however, the choice was clear. If you were determined to deny the Prime Minister plebiscitary proof of his own invincibility, you simply had to vote for the status quo.
 
Only the most indefatigable leftists, like the former Green MP, Keith Locke, were willing to set aside Key’s all-too-obvious agenda and vote to get rid of the most enduring symbol of New Zealand’s colonial heritage. (The flag Irish nationalists still refer to as the “butcher’s apron”.)
 
Most supporters of the “Government-in-Waiting”: Labour, Greens, NZ First; were, however, willing to swallow their socialist, republican and nationalist principles and vote for the “Good Old Flag”.
 
Challenged by their outraged comrades, many offered the excuse of the proposed alternative’s design inadequacies. “If we’d had something better than a glorified tea-towel on offer” they protested, “we’d have voted for it.”
 
But would we? To fly, a flag has to stand for something. No matter how well-designed, the flag worn so ostentatiously on Key’s lapel would still have stood, in the minds of his opponents, for the Prime Minister’s determination to demonstrate that, even on a matter as fundamental to the nation’s identity as its flag, his would be the will that prevailed.
 
That was the aspiration so many National supporters (regardless of their personal preference for the status quo) were willing to satisfy by voting for their leader’s choice. A genuinely frightening demonstration of political fealty.
 
More reassuring, however, were the whoops and cheers that echoed around the pub as I announced the referendum result. For the duration of the Prime Minister’s pet project, the New Zealand Ensign has stood for the right of the people – and not a single individual – to determine their nation’s destiny.
 
It was Democracy’s flag that we voted to keep.
 
This essay was originally published in The Press of Tuesday, 29 March 2016.

38 comments:

Charles E said...

Chris your celebration of Key's opponents' spiteful response to a democratic vote diminishes you, and the left, although there is not far for the latter to fall.

Democracy at work is exactly what we have witnessed and its thanks to this excellent government and its PM. Yes thanks Mr Key, I got to vote for a significant change for once, unlike when Labour removed our right to go to the PC; removed or changed our honours system and struck out the position of QC. All of these spiteful and cringing moves against our founding fathers & constitution were not put to the people.

I voted for the dull leaf even though I think a marihuana leaf would represent NZ better. Ferns are in every country on earth and those Jesus stars are more than half the world's, not ours in the slightest. But I am bored with the current flag even more. So the cringers are stuck with the Union Jack for years to come. It annoys the Brit haters too, the Irish and probably some Maori. They are defeated by democracy, our number one treasure. However most Maori have British ancestors (and colonial ones especially) and are not republicans at all. Indeed I believe it will be Maori who will help significantly in stopping us becoming a republic, so that's just fine.
One day we may get a new representative flag. I hope it is a 'Maoriafied' Union Jack as that would represent our origins and our overwhelmingly common heritage.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I voted for the old design. I didn't like the new design at all, but I realise these things are subjective. It's instructive that no actual flag designers whatever they're called, were included on the panel that chose the designs. Key's personal alignment was a bonus only.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Founding fathers? What about the mothers? :)

"All of these spiteful and cringing "

No kidding – what does this sound like?

"It annoys the Brit haters too, the Irish and probably some Maori. "– Spiteful at least, not sure what cringing means in this context.

Zimbaba Banglitumtum said...

Loved that article, excellent, excellent work and absolutely correct in my view.

However I loved more the comment left above..."thanks to this excellent government and its PM".

To which government does the commentor refer do you think. Does he mean the government that has overseen the biggest shift in wealth from the poorest in society to the richest?

Does he mean the government who support the corporate policy of shareholder dividend over redundancy and poverty?

Does he mean the government that has locked a generation out of home ownership?

Perhaps he means the government that has done nothing to control a rampant house price increase ensuring more and more of an individual's earnings are required to service mortgage payments than ever before?

Does he mean the government that has created the largest national debt ever seen by this country?

Does he mean the government that ensures the poorest in our society pay the largest amount in tax rate percentages?

Does he mean the government that is still looking to sign away several levels of our nations sovereignty and thus carrying out an essential corporate coup-de-eta with the hideous TPPA?

I'm sure he cannot mean the government that as a result of being so cataclysmically stupid in it's policies relating to the housing market that the big ticket retail sector is now collapsing as families can no longer afford to buy the new TV, or the new car as they're paying so much towards debt servicing.

Wait....I'm sure it's entirely likely that the commentor does mean this government, this current government and that his view is based on his own property, likely in Auckland or other such market sector, rising exponentially in value.

However if this is the basis of his view it's a sad, sad, short sighted, economically retarded and incredibly selfish view based on his own personal wealth and probably the result of having either fallen into daddy's business, or enjoying family money.

It is certainly not a view formed on what constitutes real life for the majority of Kiwis.

Get a grip Charles E, how about you care for our society as a whole and not view the world based on how many $ are in your bank account.

Charles E said...

GS quite often you assume the role of our language police, as you criticise others' use and spelling. It's a fault even when you are right, but hilarious when you are wrong, as here.
Founding 'fathers' is perfectly correct English in the same way as Mankind is. It includes all people.
And to follow, your example is not one of spite. Get your sins right. Mine is glee or even better, a fine addition to our language: schadenfreude. Yes, pleasure at another's discomfort or misfortune. Not to be celebrated but innate or reflexive I'm afraid. Whereas spite is quite distinctly a defect or failing, though fittingly often self destructive, as in this case.
Spite in Webster is : 'Petty ill will or hatred with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart.'
And that perfectly describes those who decided to make Key their focus rather than the merits of two flags, when given a democratic choice.

greywarbler said...

I am bored with the current flag commentary. My response to Charles E:
Quote - Are you as bored as I am? Read that backwards and it still makes sense. Sonia Koh
Or choose your own bored quote as you please, no worries.
http://quotesgram.com/bored-quotes-funny/#8G3XEHuYwe

Nick J said...

Charles, I am not sure of what you see as a spiteful response: I was in a room full of Blue bloods when Clark won an election. There was a visceral outpouring of loathing and contempt. No emotion is unique to Left or Right, you might be a little more generous and say that Keys opponents have had to wait 8 years to have a cheer!

On the matter of democracy, I think you might wish to apply the same test to the TPPA. This whole thing done in utmost secrecy has now been offered up to our legislature for rubber stamp. At stake are some severe challenges to our sovereignty, our judicial independence and so on. I think these rather weightier matters might be put out to test by referendum rather than a tame flag contest that ended up thoroughly politicised.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article do not need to say much more than that, I did vote for status quo as I can count how many stars are on our flag. And I hope Key is satisfied he has wasted our time, money and energy on this matter. idiot

Anonymous said...

Your article is easily the best one I have read from all the 'after the vote' articles flooding our newspapers.
In saying that I also would say that the rejoinder from Charles E at 10.59 also got my endorsement.
I voted for the current flag because it was the best design.
Andrew Little's imput to the vote was embarrassing as is his stance on the TPPA.

Guerilla Surgeon. said...

'Twas a joke Charles rather than a criticism of your whatever. As was indicated by the little :) next to it. But of course you must take everything personally. And however you intended it, the schadenfreude sounded spiteful to me. I don't see a huge difference between the two anyway to be honest. Except the Germans always seem to have a multisyllable word for just about everything. Perhaps you'll allow me a certain amount of schadenfreude at the British Conservatives at war with each other, all the American Republicans falling apart then? Soon may the New Zealand National party follow.:)

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Not to mention this.
spite

noun
1.a desire to hurt, annoy, or offend someone.

Anonymous said...

Actually, taking a step further back, here is the list of seats where the status quo got 60% or more:

Dunedin North, Dunedin South, Invercargill, Kelston, Mangere, Manukau East, Manurewa, Mt Albert, New Lynn, Northland, Rongotai, Te Atatu, plus the seven Maori seats.

Now, most of those are Labour seats - but neither Invercargill nor Northland qualify there. In fact, both voted for the old flag more enthusiastically than Labourite Wellington Central did.

The seats where 50% or more voted to change the flag:

Bay of Plenty, Clutha-Southland, East Coast Bays, Ilam, Selwyn, and Tamaki.

Yes, those are true-blue National seats, but they are also wealthy Tory areas.

One would be tempted to suggest that this was a class war referendum. Poor urban and provincial Pakeha, Maori, and Pacific Islanders voted to save the flag. Rich and middle-class Pakeha voted to change it.

Wayne Mapp said...

So the whole pub whooped and cheered about the PM's loss. On that basis Labour will have no trouble winning the next election, but will it?

Is it really likely that National in the next few polls will be at 30 % and Labour at 40%. Mind you, as I think we would both concede, it will be Winston who decides the next government, and he certainly won't entertain any notion of a constitutional referendum.

As you note the flag vote became highly politicized, with the vote for the current flag being strongest in Labour seats.

But what does that say about the future of constitutional reform of the type (a written constitution, a republic) that will require a referendum. In my view it pretty much kills the prospect of a successful referendum for a a couple of decades at least.

The next referenda will also be politicized, except in the opposite direction to the flag referenda since only Labour will have any enthusiasm for such a referenda However with Winston in the next Labour govt, they won't have that opportunity. It won't be until the Labour government after the next, say mid the 2030's at the earliest, before that opportunity arises.

It is pretty certain that National will not initiate such a referenda for many decades. As you frequently remind us in your columns, there are long memories about our political history, especially in political parties. National will not take the risk of a constitutional referenda in the foreseeable future, for instance in the next National government which is likely to be in the late 2020's. It will also remember what Labour did in this vote.

In contrast a successful flag vote might have meant a good prospect of a republic in a reasonably foreseeable time.

On another topic, I though your article on why Donald Trump has the appeal that he has was the best I have read from anywhere in the western world. Logically he should struggle to get women, black and Latino votes. But I suspect it won't be as easy for Hillary Clinton as logic should dictate.

I should note that I hope she does win. In fact I backed her in 2008, and I think events of the last 8 years show she would have been the better choice.

She should be on track to get the Democratic nomination now that Bernie has just about exhausted his advantage with caucus votes. But in this election nothing is going to plan. So who knows.

Jigsaw said...

Pathetic Chris! You say that most lefties were prepared to put aside their personal views or something to that effect. The fact is that they were only too glad to latch onto the anti-Key band wagon (even though a flag change was also part of Labour's policy)-and how else would they have had it done?-by decree as Helen Clark abolished the right to appeal the Privy Council? As for the often repeated comment -and repeated here -that 'I can count the number of stars on a flag'-they completely miss the purpose of a flag, to communicate a simply idea of identity to a third party which is something our current flag simply fails to do. You can call the third party (the audience) stupid if you wish but that doesn't actually address the problem. I don't think that your pub audience was stupid either-they would have known from your politics which side you supported. I guess many of them would simply have done what I would have done had I been in the pub at the time-simply buried my face in the suds.Strange how you seemed to know what all their views were.

Anonymous said...

I will probably not vote Labour/left while my bum points to the floor, but I voted for the old flag. To blazes with the ad-men, scroungers, hipsters, politicians with their 'fingers on the pulse' and their 'brand'.
The United Tribes jack was my choice, a true collaboration of the maori, early NZ and the traditions of heraldry. [And I'm so white I make the queen look third world]
Any future referendum should be limited to those who are entitled to have the flag cover their casket. Fortunately the politicians that would be included in that qualification would be a small bloc.

The least that could be said about the recent referendum was that it was democratic. Expensive, yes, but democratic. In this current world where big money manipulates the fate of nations we should be grateful for that privilege and accord similar privilege to those who provide the bulwark.

Mick

Charles E said...

GS: A reasonable point. I didn't see the smiley face..
Also re spite GS & NJ, it is close to other emotions, your are right, but the subtle differences count I think. You certainly cannot help enjoying the demise of your political opponents. It's quite natural. However spite is a step further, and when added to anger breeds death or rape threats which Clark certainly suffered and now the current leaders.
I just hope the left accepts that it has no moral superiority in this regard, by which I mean there are vicious spiteful thugs in your camp too.
Your vilifying of Key is fuel for their fire, don't you think?

Nick I don't recall a referendum on the China FTA, nor did I expect one. We elect governments to do such things well, we hope. The TPPA was years in the making by both Labour and National ones and so complex I don't think a referendum would benefit our society at all. Government by referendum would be just a sanctified version of mob rule, except perhaps in a mature well educated and homogenous society. Not ours eh?

vortexx said...

If John Key's absolute prime aim in the exercise was us having a new flag it would have happened. He would have gathered the troops and established a process, sorry, let a process evolve, which would have meant certain change.

The very first step after clarifying that notion would have been quietly getting the leaders of the various political parties together behind the scenes and getting them to see that it was a goer. With them on board and a united approach it would have been a done deal.

Political pique from those others may well have stopped it there and then with them not prepared to piggy back him to his legacy. On that occurring he could have gone all out, made it happen and tried to stick it up them.

The thing is Key's absolute prime aim in the exercise was not in us having a new flag, it was in us having a new flag courtesy of him. It was all about him. The whoops and cheers represented those pissed off at the arrogance of the PM wearing the alternative flag badge at official events. The whoops and cheers represented those would have been pleased to have a new, distinctive flag but felt the process was a bit smelly.

Key and the flag was the rich kid at the poor kid's party. Such was his hubris he expected everyone to be in awe of his great plaything. Too many had been to that party before though and realised what it was all about. This time he got told to naff off and in the end he's taken his ball and gone home.

For that 'the left' are being called childish and spiteful. Small beer in the bigger picture.

jh said...

A vote for the old flag was (also) a vote for the past over the present. The present has been swept on us by elites and politicians with a school fish mentality (ie they huddle in a mass and make unpopular decisions so no one in particular takes the blame).

Our old flag is terrific as it shows our roots and our geography; to globalists it is exclusionary (belongs to a recognizable group) and impedes the marriage of wealthy foreigner and beautiful real estate (Harcourts Shanghai).

It is fairly obvious that Maori support the old flag.

Wiley Trout said...

I was born in England but have lived here for 63 years. My politics tend to the right. Although I hold both EU and NZ passports I have not bothered to renew my EU, always travelling on my NZ. I am a Kiwi in every way other than birth.

I saw this primarily as a chance to make our flag an NZ flag, minus the reminder of 'home' which is so irrelevant to me. Didn't like the Lockwood design but didn't hate it, these things are subjective. Hence my vote for change.

Nick J said...

Charles re China FTA. In none of the trade agreements I know of were legal rights and sovereignty traded off. This is a substantive issue that would normally indicate a special vote. Think Scottish Independence and shortly British EU referendums. Your point is valid however would it not be better to sign away governance with the assent of the governed?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Why am I not surprised that Wayne "Afghanistan and Iraq are stable" Mapp hopes that Hillary Clinton will win the nomination and the presidency. A foreign-policy hawk, and a prisoner of the banksters. I'm not sure I wouldn't sooner have Trump in charge. He doesn't know a great deal, but he talks a bit more sense on some issues than she does. Plus he would – after four years – cement a slightly more left-wing Democrat Party government in for the foreseeable future. The question arises of course what damage would he do in four years of presidency. It's a toss up. :)

Charles E said...

I would vote for Sanders if I was American right now. Bet that surprises some!

Nick the way of progress in this world I believe is for nations to give up even more sovereignty. That way we become more one place, more one world, governed by the rule of law, not the rule of force. The TPPA is not liked by the big bastards like China & the USA because they cannot get around the freer trade it proscribes, by using non tariff barriers. For example, in the forestry industry China has completely negated any gains from Labour's FTA by dirty tricks of all kinds which are not illegal, mostly. If instead we had a TPPA with those bastards we could sue the pricks. So those opposed to the TPPA are not only ignorant they are fully on the side of the big bullies out there.

Sideshow Bob said...

I am ashamed that we still have another country's flag on our flag. Getting it off and choosing something - anything - to represent us as a proud, vital, well respected country situated at the end of the world was important to me. Much more important than petty politics. I don't care who put it up and would have voted for change no matter the design or which party initiated it. Those who voted against for political reasons should hang their heads in shame. Boo to you!

Victor said...

Charles E

Why on earth would you vote for a “dull leaf” on your country’s flag? Why were you so keen to impose the obloquy of appalling taste on New Zealand? What has happened to Tory patriotism? And what has happened to the inherent good taste of the rarified social echelons in which you apparently move?

Likewise, what decent conservative would ever dream of tampering with tradition, let alone with symbols of loyalty and belonging, on account of an emotion as ephemeral as boredom? Are you truly incapable of waiting, say, another ten years, to resolve the question more satisfactorily? What became of the stoic patience and ability to take the long view, once claimed by conservatives? Why this appalling scurrying after change that is both meaningless and tasteless? Shame on you!

GS

Last time we exchanged opinions on this issue, you expressed a profound lack of interest therein. What has happened to change this? Are you, like Charles E, being carried away by partisan passions, albeit in an opposite and more decorous direction?

Jigsaw

“they completely miss the purpose of a flag, to communicate a simply idea of identity to a third party which is something our current flag simply fails to do”

I am still struggling with the notion that it could be to New Zealand’s advantage to have an ill-proportioned and messy clip-art collage of undrawable, asymmetrical shapes and clashing colours on its flag.

But this, I suppose, is what you end up with when you outsource decision-making to a vexillologically illiterate bunch of boardroom warriors, replete with an aged sporting icon and a former trash TV entrepreneur, all of them seemingly obsessed with serving prime ministerial whims.

....more to come

Victor said...

.....continuing previous post

Mick

The ‘United Tribes’ jack is simply an adaptation of the St George’s Cross (the increasingly visible English national flag) and its derivative, the Royal Navy’s ’White Ensign’. Adopting it as New Zealand’s national flag would be a strange way of signalling our separation from Mother England, don’t you think?

Vortexx

I’m in substantial agreement with you but suspect that a crucial consideration for John Key has been identifying himself with the “Rugby is God” crowd, who are far from insignificant in numbers, as well as the even more numerous ecumenical “Sport is God” fraternities and sororities.

Key’s first (and typically uninspired) choice was the simple silver fern design on a black background. But this proved impossible to use, both for copyright reasons and because of its disturbing similarity to the banners of the “Islamic State”. You can imagine the embarrassment this could have caused when playing golf with Obama.

Hence, as far as I can make out, the atrocious Kyle Lockwood concoctions. It’s rather hard to think of a worse flag than the funereal and somewhat fascistic black one. But hats off to Lockwood! He succeeded twice in that bizarre direction!

jh

You’re obviously correct that Maori have voted to keep our old flag. I wonder, though, whether they would have voted for it in such numbers had almost all Maori elements not been curiously excised out of the Flag Consideration Committee’s final four choices, leaving only one rather dull and sub-standard koru design.

Unlike you, I would have voted for change had there been something decent to change to. Here’s one of the few suggestions that didn’t totally appall me:

https://www.govt.nz/browse/engaging-with-government/the-nz-flag-your-chance-to-decide/gallery/design/1137

I could imagine it flying side-by-side with the old flag on Anzac Day and flanked by both the Union Jack and the Tino Rangatiratanga flag on Waitangi Day.

As I suspect that, contra Key’s scaremongering, we’ll have another round of referenda some time in the not too distant future, I’ll start my personal campaign for this banner here and now!

pat said...

And fair enough Wiley Trout.....one thing I will say is ...its a flag....big deal.....do we really wish to be like the Americans (or as JK wishes) and spend our lives pledging allegiance to a bit of badly designed material?.....fuck that....how about a bit of human decency enacted in our everyday lives?....no symbol needed.

David Stone said...

Hi Chris
It seems to me that the original flag design choice was uninspiring and lacking badly in originality being so close to a copy of the ausssie's . However it did make the statement it was meant to in designating us as a little piece of Britain in the southern hemisphere. What it significantly lacked and rates consideration of correction is any acknowledgement of the people who were already here when we of British stock arrived, and who contribute enormously to our national character. Apart from this failing I think that what it has stood for since adoption is infinitely more important than its particular design . It is to represent the history that made us who we are , not what some Johnny come lately neoliberal international banker salesman wants to immortalise himself with.
Cheers David J S

Victor said...

Sideshow Bob

"I...... would have voted for change no matter the design"

A simply absurd and irresponsible position that could have done immense harm to our dignity as a nation.

By all means opt for change, but only to something worth having. If it doesn't exist, wait till it does.

Victor said...

Wiley Trout

"Didn't like the Lockwood design but didn't hate it, these things are subjective."

No they're not! There are rules for good design!

Nick J said...

Interesting concept Charles, internationalism versus local sovereignty. I won't answer now as I have never given the concept enough cogitation to comment.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Victor, still don't really care that much about the flag. But if they present me with something to vote on I will vote on it. And as I said sticking it to John Key was a bit of a bonus, as his preference was obvious, and his spending was lavish. But perhaps I care a bit more about design than I thought. The alternative was hideous.

Wiley Trout said...

Victor. Design rules there may well be, but each person has view, design rules or not.

Pat. Yes it's just a flag, but we don't pledge allegiance on a day to day basis. Can't see how you can conflate the proposed flag with us galloping headlong into the American abyss.

Charles E said...

Victor you are prolific on this one!
I voted for a change despite preferring to keep connection with the British part of our flag, it's just that I really do want a distinct differentiation from the one the Strines have, copied from ours. That was Key's best point.
As I have said my preference was for a version of the 'Black Jack'. It would be blue though and possibly leave out the stars, as they are not ours.

Re the money. I bet about two thirds went to NZ Post, keeping some people in work a bit longer. The left was opposed to that?

Victor said...

Charles E

Changing the subject somewhat, I'm genuinely interested (no hidden agenda....as if!?!) as to why you currently favour Sanders as POTUS.

greywarbler said...

Wouldn't it be luverley if we were 'a proud, vital, well respected country'
but only fools accept the photo-shopped image that is paraded by the moneyed. 100% Pure sample for instance. We have a way to go before we are near reaching that phrase.

NZ is a country that regularly uses the phrase 'punching above our weight'
because it is amazing how we have turned out such mental weaklings in a country of stolid milk-fed stalwarts. Weight is all we know about in NZ, mental agility is weightless.

pat said...

@ Wiley Trout

How do I conflate it?....easy, like this....

"Key wanted to see "overt patriotism" in New Zealand in the same way countries like the United States turned up to sporting events with jerseys, scarfs and hats emblazoned with stars and stripes"

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/71285531/John-Key-lists-his-reasons-for-a-new-flag

jh said...

Just 8 percent of people questioned said they trusted MPs, while government ministers edged up towards 9 percent.
...
But there was little faith in politicians, nor in media, with print and broadcast media at 9 percent, and last on the list, bloggers, trusted by 5 percent in the survey.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/300769/trust-this-nzers-don't-trust-mps,-bloggers,-the-media

What are your thoughts on that Chris Trotter? I think the people have got it right.

jh said...

I wasn't having a go at you over your blog, that just got dragged in, however political analysis must come with a caveat?
I don't believe we have representative government any more; more like representative of the elites who capture power.