Thursday 18 February 2021

In The Know: Making Sense Of Labour’s Inaction.

"I know what you're not thinking!" Thanks to their polling agency and the participants in its focus-groups, the Labour leadership possesses a great deal more information about the Kiwis clamouring for action on the housing and inequality fronts than most journalists and lobbyists.

ACCORDING TO PEOPLE “in the know”, Labour is awash with more cash than its seen in a very long time. Apparently, Jacinda Ardern’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis didn’t just net her party an unprecedented number of votes, it brought in tons of funds. While this happy situation endures, Labour is said to be polling and focus-grouping like there’s no tomorrow. The PM doesn’t just have her finger on the pulse of the nation, she’s reading its ECGs.

This insight – if that is what it is – goes a long way towards explaining what a great many journalists and commentators have found immensely perplexing. Why, with an absolute majority in the House of Representatives, is this government so reluctant to use it for anything other than legislatively facilitating Maori wards, and (apparently) making it easier to convict men accused of rape? Why, with inequality increasing, and the housing crisis becoming more acute with every passing week, have Jacinda and her Cabinet stubbornly refused to direct anything more substantial than pious rhetoric at either issue?

Towards the end of last year, for example, the government found itself on the receiving end of a growing cacophony of calls for action on the housing front. Those calls came from across the political spectrum. On TVNZ One’s Q+A show, Laila Harré on the left, and Fran O’Sullivan on the right, were united in their demand for action. The push came from employers, unions, churches and NGOs. National and Act swelled the chorus. It was as near to a show of public political unanimity as New Zealand had seen in decades.

Twenty years ago, the political pressure generated by such a powerful display of public concern would have been irresistible. Indeed, liberal-democratic theory holds that no government can resist such pressure without registering a significant fall-off in popular support. Was Jacinda moved? Was Grant Robertson? Not one bit. The rhetoric of Labour leaders’ may have edged up slightly on the piety scale. Jacinda’s look of concern may have grown even more compelling. But, nothing was done.

What on earth had happened to the “politics of kindness”? Why was Labour being so bloody-minded – not to mention so bloody mean? Why, when everybody was saying “Yes please!”, was the Labour Government saying “No thank you!”

The answer, of course, is because “everybody” wasn’t saying it. Thanks to their polling agency and the participants in its focus-groups, the Labour leadership possesses a great deal more information about the Kiwis clamouring for action on the housing front than most journalists and lobbyists.

Confronted with a simple “Are you concerned about the lack of affordable housing?”, most New Zealanders will respond in the affirmative. But, ask them whether they favour addressing the housing problem by means of a Capital Gains Tax, and their agreement will evaporate instantly, like spilt beer on the barbie.

Allow a randomly selected group of focus-group participants to range widely over the big issues of the day, and the comments and expressions captured by the organisers’ microphones and cameras will reveal just how divided our society has become. Between rich Kiwis and poor Kiwis; Boomers and Millennials; people of colour and the white majority: the chances are high these recordings will confirm that, in the New Zealand of 2021, unanimity is in very short supply.

Just how dispiriting this must be for Labour’s new MPs is readily imagined. Fresh from mixing with family and friends over the Christmas break they will roll up to their first big caucus meeting of the year brim-full of the opinions and criticisms they have been given. How hard it must be for them to discover that what they have been told in no way reflects what is actually happening out there in the electorate.

Among the sort of folk who know and like Labour MPs, the level of concern for the homeless, renters, and first home buyers, is unquestionably real and urgent. The same is probably true of the mostly young journalists writing and broadcasting about these issues. They, however, are not the only people with concerns; attitudes; and (most importantly) interests. What Labour’s new MPs think they know; and the knowledge which Labour’s pollsters have gleaned from the hard data of their surveys; are unlikely to be all that similar.

The New Zealand middle-class, like its counterparts in other western societies, will defend its advantages tenaciously. Sitting back and allowing the government to appropriate and redistribute its wealth – especially among those it dismisses as the “undeserving poor” – is not an option it is likely to greet with the slightest degree of enthusiasm.

Just how unenthusiastically such notions are received soon becomes very clear to those tasked with watching and listening to the reactions of focus-groups. These can be hair-raisingly racist and sexist – more than enough to demoralise even the most idealistic supporters of the Labour and Green parties. That such brutal prejudices against the poor and marginalised are often reiterated with even greater vehemence by upwardly-mobile members of the working-class, makes them no easier to hear!

Their vested interests and shared prejudices notwithstanding, these two groups nevertheless contributed enormously to Labour’s electoral success in 2020. Keeping them on-side is, therefore, this government’s No. 1 political priority. It explains the PM’s point-blank refusal to countenance anything other than a general flattening of New Zealand property prices. Certainly, no policy measure threatening to weaken the “wealth effect” produced by inflated house prices will be countenanced. The good-will of the fortunate 15 percent of voters who shifted from National to Labour at last year’s general election must, at all costs, be retained.

Less clear, is whether Labour’s willingness to embrace the “woke” agenda represents a similar reflection of the data emerging from its opinion surveys and focus-groups. In return for the government leaving their wealth intact, have the middle- and upwardly-mobile working-classes suddenly become willing to tolerate the Labour-Green agenda on race, gender and sexuality? Are we looking at yet another of the Faustian pacts entered into by the Baby Boom generation? Something along the lines of: “You let us enjoy our tax-free capital gains, and we’ll tolerate your cultural revolution.”

Or, is it, rather, a case of not asking the sort of questions that could lead to the cancellation of a pollster’s contract. Requiring progressive MPs earning in excess of $140,000 p.a. to accept a moratorium on tax hikes is one thing. Asking them to tolerate the racism, sexism and homophobia of the voters who placed them on the Treasury benches is another.

There are some answers a political party is better off not hearing.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Thursday, 18 February 2021.


Woodbrook said...

So, Labour, which showed great leadership during the Covid crisis - including in the face of some strong opposition to lockdown - has reverted to political management focused on retaining power rather than fixing key problems in NZ. They are FGFs - Focus Group Followers - rather than leaders. I find this utterly disillusioning - which I guess indicates I am naive.

Chris Morris said...

Does the 15% or whatever of new Labour voters have " racism, sexism and homophobia" tendencies? Or is that just what another section of very noisy and vocal minority that says they do? One can quite reasonably argue that the woke display those tendencies to a greater extent than the homeowning middle class. It seems that the fundamental tenet of identity politics is that your pigeonhole totally defines you. If that isn't an "ism", I don't know what is.
To quote Andrew Doyle (and not his alter-ego) "Most people who are concerned about ‘woke’ culture, and describe it as such, are referring to a very specific mindset. For those who are in any doubt, to take an ‘anti-woke’ stance is not to endorse racism, sexism, homophobia or any other form of discrimination; it is the precise opposite. It is to be concerned about an inherently divisive ideology whose logical endpoint is segregation according to race, gender and sexuality (a striking example of which occurred recently with Brentwood School in California arranging racially segregated ‘dialogue sessions’ with parents and teachers). It is to be concerned about a worldview based on the faith of intersectionality, which pits minority groups against each other in ever-more elaborate hierarchies of ‘privilege’. It is to be concerned about how many of those who believe themselves to be ‘on the right side of history’ are increasingly intolerant of viewpoints that do not precisely match their own, and have no compunction about bullying, demonising and threatening those who step out of line. "

pat said...

If Labour refuse to act on these issues then the political process will be bypassed...and I suspect 'middle NZ' will enjoy that process even less.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

"The New Zealand middle-class, like its counterparts in other western societies, will defend its advantages tenaciously. Sitting back and allowing the government to appropriate and redistribute its wealth – especially among those it dismisses as the “undeserving poor” – is not an option it is likely to greet with the slightest degree of enthusiasm."

My re-write:

"The New Zealand middle-class, like its counterparts in other western societies, will defend what it has worked for tenaciously. Sitting back and allowing the government to appropriate and redistribute its wealth – especially among those it dismisses as having worked for nothing – is not an option it is likely to greet with the slightest degree of enthusiasm."

I think that's closer to the truth for most Kiwis, including those attending Labour's focus groups.

Mike Grimshaw said...

In other words Chris we see the true reality of the nz welfare state as the preferential option for the middle class and the vehicle to maintain the status quo of inequity.
Identity politics has been critiqued by Nancy Fraser as progressive neoliberalism and this govt is a prime example of progressive neoliberalism.
In the end we have a failed social contract and I would suggest we need to rethink via a social covenant...with a preferential option for the poor.

Kat said...

The echo on Labours "inaction" is mainly coming from the the 36% that occupy the political opposition vacuum. It must be pretty obvious to anyone with functioning grey matter that this govt led by Jacinda Ardern is bound for greater glory with the road behind littered by a dwindling number of opposition shrunken heads. Every time the leader of the blue team makes a comment the PM's rating rises. The leader of the yellow team is polishing his pop gun.

oneblokesview said...

Well said Chris.
There is obviously the equivalent of the decision makers huddled in a back room(in the old days they would have been males smoking cigars).
Now they are much young and a range of genders.

John Drinnan said...

An other good column Chris
Thank goodness we have a left columnist prepared to explain New Zealand for what it is

greywarbler said...

Interesting variety of comments. I am with Woodbrook in the Naive Enclave. LM is as usual smug, judgmental and sententious.

It seems that Labour no longer considers that equality of human welfare for NZ citizens is a moral imperative for it. I thought to have a look at its beginnings, and see a summary of what its expected goals and principles were and how they have changed and transmogrified to what we see now because I am sure that NZ's do not realise the changes, the swamp we are in.
Labour's 1916 policy objectives called for "the socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange", including state ownership of major parts of the economy, and increased rights for workers.

Up to the 1980s, Labour remained a party that believed in a strong role for governments in economic and social matters. However, it had been transformed from a union-dominated, socialist-oriented movement into a moderate social-democratic party.

The Labour Government of the 1980s deviated sharply from a social-democratic path; in a series of economic reforms, the government removed a swathe of regulations and subsidies, privatised state assets and introduced corporate practices to state services.
[Now it has been described as] embracing certain social liberal policies...a political philosophy and variety of liberalism that endorses a regulated market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights. Under social liberalism, the common good is viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual.

Social democracy - Is this what we think we are? It seems to me we are in a different space. a policy regime, it is described by academics as advocating economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal-democratic polity and a capitalist-oriented mixed economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution, regulation of the economy in the general interest and social-welfare provisions...

Social democracy seeks to humanize capitalism and create the conditions for it to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes. It is characterized by a commitment to policies aimed at curbing inequality, eliminating oppression of underprivileged groups and eradicating poverty as well as support for universally accessible public services like care for the elderly, child care, education, health care and workers' compensation.

It often has strong connections with the labour movement and trade unions, being supportive of collective bargaining rights for workers and measures to extend decision-making beyond politics into the economic sphere in the form of co-determination, or even social ownership, for employees and stakeholders.

How come we aren't taught this important stuff in school, starting with simple lessons in primary.?   It is the basic rock on which we form our lives, and we think so little about it because we have never had it presented to us as an essential matter for our understanding. Are we moving towards benevolent dictatorship by Party?

Nick J said...

Sadly Lindsay you may have more accurately summarised the ethos of many of the middle classes. It is a very human trait to be focused on the reality of that which is close at hand, and to judge against your own value set. Another human trait is to set up advantageous systems for our nearest and dearest and to vigorously defend these, for example entry for our children to the best schools.

I realise that in terms of brains and ambition we are not born equal, so to denigrate the lack of achievement by people due to this is both distasteful and judgemental. Unlike your description of middle class values I advocate not equality of outcome but equality of opportunity for all, not just those who can afford it.

greywarbler said...

This from the post:
Confronted with a simple “Are you concerned about the lack of affordable housing?”, most New Zealanders will respond in the affirmative. But, ask them whether they favour addressing the housing problem by means of a Capital Gains Tax, and their agreement will evaporate instantly, like spilt beer on the barbie.

I think this is right but there are other ways of dealing to the housing needs that appeal to the group who are not smug and upwardly-mobile focussed. I know there are things happening but I feel that some sort of Housing Conversation where people can put their ideas that seem practical and attractive. Some may have decided that very simple, double huts would be okay for a particular area where there is open land that can be used for green surroundings, with a sizable meeting room/kitchen and facilities. And that the group sign up to maintaining the grounds. Simple, permanent, community building with sharing possibilities for transport etc.
That's just one idea that could be incorporated into a schema that fits people's needs rather than the present. The grounds could be home to tiny homes and become a suburb so attractive and 'quaint' that it would be a scenic feature, not slums as many of the negative bent would predict.

Then there is this from Queenstown which ensures that the inflatory effect of supply and demand and profit-taking doesn't raise the prices beyond affordable. It's houses for people and security of tenure and enjoyment, not items for profit:
But now a local housing trust is offering 25 apartments for the same price they cost to build.
The catch - you won't be able to sell the property on the open market or transfer it to anyone else....
"Under our leasehold model, the households are buying in at around 50 percent of what it cost us to purchase the unit from the developer. So some of those one-bedders are down as low as $200,000," she said. The average two-bedroom unit cost about $320,000.

The 25 apartments were part of the Secure Home programme. Households essentially bought the construction costs and paid a ground rent of 1 percent of the land value, about $40 to $50 per week.

Let's not get stuck for want of new strategies, Somme-like, we want to move forward to our goals and will have to find a way around obstacles. Madness is hitting your head against a brick wall repeatedly.

Brendan McNeill said...

One of the unavoidable side effects of being in Government is having to deal with life as it is, not as you dreamed it should be. Focus groups to one side, the Government’s ability to do anything to reduce poverty is on a similar scale as Kiwibuild. They promised to build an additional 100,000 houses in a decade, an average of 10,000 per annum or 833 houses per month. As of May 2020, their run rate was 19 houses per month.

They have resisted the clamour on the far left to increase benefits by up to 40% because they know (or have been advised) of the downstream consequences of such actions. Why work when you can earn more on a benefit? What would that do for wage claims in both the Government and private sectors?

Bill English understood the only politically acceptable way to reduce poverty numbers was to gradually ease people out of welfare dependency by a combination of incentives and disincentives, and in doing so equip the welfare dependent for employment. This government has reversed a number of his initiatives which were beginning to bear fruit.

Expect little change on this front.

Even their woke agenda is coming under pressure. The promise to introduce ‘anti conversion’ legislation later this year is also proving difficult. The Ministry of Health has advised the Government that the legislation is not needed as provision already exists in the crimes act to prevent coercion. It would also fail to meet the provisions of the bill of rights, that allows for the right to seek and express information and opinions in any form. It also includes the right to freedom of religion in both public and private expressions, presumably including the right to pray for those who request Divine help. Finally it would risk criminalising parents who suggest their teenagers defer any gender changing surgery or medication until they are at least eighteen years of age. Even their much loved “hate speech” legislation would likely transgress our bill of rights should it ever be enacted.

All is not lost for the woke however. The Government has released guidelines for the use of appropriate personal pronouns in email signatures in Government departments:

greywarbler said...

They have resisted the clamour on the far left to increase benefits by up to 40% because they know (or have been advised) of the downstream consequences of such actions. Why work when you can earn more on a benefit? What would that do for wage claims in both the Government and private sectors?

This shows the patronising, biased, judgmental attitude of the middle class. Having opened up the borders to the free market so you can have all that you want, and cheaper, there is no reciprocal feeling of responsibility for having wrecked the economy that people worked in, leaving them jobless. There is no doubt however that people who are out of work for a long time, and are not supported with polytech courses etc do get slack. Doing education that suits them to aspire to a job is what they need, and some may need coercion; many will be young in their ways. Decades ago the foreman next door of a building firm, said that he had to get some of the apprentices out of bed. NZ's drinking culture has been allowed to become
too strong.

Answer - give them a job on leaving school and the ability to take home a weekly pay packet. It may be low paid, but if they work there is a reward in pay and some spending power, and a chance to learn some skill they like if the present task can be completed. Things would be mighty different if there was some point to education in the young person's mind.
Time for your attitudes, and education itself, to change.

Patricia said...

Okay our risk averse government’s problem of not rocking the boat has been identified so what has to be considered is an indirect way of solving the problem of housing. Housing is not just a local Council problem it is a national problem and Central government must step in. How could they do that? By providing a national fast train service, like France, through out the country. People could move to the smaller towns and be able to afford to buy or rent a home. It would be a win win situation for everybody. A person could rent/buy a house in say Ashburton and work in Christchurch. It would take around 20 minutes to get to Christchurch while sitting in a comfortable train reading the news on their tablet (WiFi provided as in France). That would take the pressure off local Councils and, more importantly would enable a Government to deal with the housing problem without rocking the boat. We did it before when we were a much smaller country and the Government’s MOW built a rail service through out the country. We can do it again.

greywarbler said...

This is how the UKs democracy works. Similar to ours? Is this The Third Way under way?
Many people claiming universal credit for the first time during the pandemic were unable to put aside enough cash to save £10 a month, eat healthily or regularly, or pay bills because the benefit payment was inadequate to meet basic living costs, a study has found.

greywarbler said...

What does this mean for the UK from Labour leader Keir Starmer. Real social democracy albeit Third Way or just mouthing brave slogans that sound good? Better for business perhaps meaning more PPP? There is a budget coming up so he is stirring the pot but also states that “Labour’s priority will always be financial responsibility”; always a good parting (Party) line, enabling flexibility in promises to be implemented.

Castigating the government for wanting to maintain existing inequalities after the pandemic, the Labour leader set out what he called a “moral crusade”, borrowing Harold Wilson’s phrase to set in place a national transformation equivalent to that seen after the second world war...

Working with business, Starmer said, was “pivotal to my leadership, and to my vision of the future”, stressing that this also involved businesses taking a central role in dealing with social responsibilities and the climate emergency.

Starmer proposed the idea of a “British recovery bond”, which would work like the long-standing bond schemes run by National Savings and Investments, but with the money going directly into Covid recovery schemes.

The plan is similar to the idea of a post-Covid “northern recovery bond” floated earlier this week by the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs and the Centre for Policy Studies, the thinktank co-founded by Margaret Thatcher...

“The terrible damage caused by the virus to health and prosperity has been made all the worse because the foundations of our society have been weakened over a decade,” Starmer said, citing the work of the epidemiologist Prof Michael Marmot, which showed declining life expectancy in some poorer areas...

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Why work when you can earn more on a benefit?"

As usual Brendan, you've hit the nail right on the... pointy end. However I'm not really surprised at your appreciation of human nature, at least the human nature of those you consider unworthy. Just at the moment, a lot of people in the US are earning more money on unemployment than they got in their jobs, which is a sad reflection on wages in the US rather than American unemployment payments being excessive. It's going to be interesting to see how many of them will go back to work. Given that many of them can't manage on their wages without charity, some probably won't. But given that the system in the US is quite punitive, almost all certainly will. And the taxpayer or charitable contributor will make up the difference between what they are paid, and what they need to live.

But on the whole Brendan we don't work for the money. We were for job satisfaction, for social interactions, and a feeling of self-worth. A better question would be perhaps – why can't New Zealand industry "afford" to pay decent wages. The answer of course is that they tend to be inefficient and use low wages to avoid becoming more productive.

On the other hand, conversion therapy has nothing to do with religious freedom, it's scientifically proven not to work. And literally no one enters it freely, without huge amounts of pressure from church and family. It's humiliating, degrading torture, something Christians seem to specialise in. Most of the people who enter it are not happy with their sexuality because it is condemned by people like you. I have ceased to be surprised at the Christian obsession with what people do with their wedding tackle, but perhaps you could practice minding your own business? If you don't like gay sex, don't engage in it. That's the limit of your responsibility.

Brendan McNeill said...

One more thing. If we are going to *really* address the question of poverty, we have to be honest about the range of pathways that lead to poverty. If we (and our Government) treat poverty simply as an economic issue, then we will always fail. I read this article by Rod Dreher today that addresses some of the more nuanced issues around race, poverty, the minimum wage, personal agency, and family dysfunction.

It's a complex issue that defies simplistic ideological fixes.

greywarbler said...

Some points from that link of Brendan M are what I have noticed. There is talk, talk but a lack of guts and determination to do the right thing by the non-achievers; it seems that government and the sour conservatives of the Right would rather sneer and poke sticks at them,
or produce papers and hold meetings and demand drastic action every ten years in a cycle of hypocritical concern.

...What I think is more likely to be the case is that these African American kids, those who end up getting suspended (and not all of them, for sure) are exhibiting patterns of behavior—whether it’s getting into fights or it’s using profanity with the teacher or insubordination—that are a reflection of the failures of their families to socialize them in a manner that instills the behavioral restraints associated with being able to function within that kind of environment.

That’s a developmental issue*—if the issue is the mother is stressed out, there’s not enough money to go around, or there’s a lot of time the kids are being unsupervised in their behavior. And it’s something that one shouldn’t just speculate about. But if the kids are really not getting the developmental experiences that are crucial to them being able to be effective adults, then that’s a serious problem. And it may actually have something to do with the adult incarceration rate inequality that we end up seeing.

* Developmental and bias issues were being discussed in this article. Bias - being picked on or denigrated by authority, and developmental being the way you were brought up. And this paragraph is important:

There’s no substitute for the guidance and loving hand of structure, and the teaching and the infusion of norms and establishment of a sense of worth that’s happening inside the households where children are being raised.

This is a likely supposition, but the family's efforts can be undermined by attitudes of bias from school and other agencies, thus degrading the developmental effects. A friend struggling on her own had one son's teacher tell him he was never going to amount to anything. I think the son was not paying attention. But the lack of teaching skill shows up in someone using denigration to a youngster dealing with difficulties in life. He succeeded despite the teacher, and through the developmental aspects of structure, caring and support at home, but without those it is easy to see how patterns of anti-social behaviour, inability to stick at working and reliability with timetables could lead to regressive social standing.

greywarbler said...

And let's not hear the frequent male response from heterosexual males who feel free to choose sexual experience without personal fear of pregnancy, and who may indeed have the opportunity for higher education leading to a well paid job which takes all their interest. In contrast, there are not so many women expecting high-paid jobs, and their sexual make-up can get in the way of developing career ambitions. If there are no such ambitions, just entry-level, low paid work, then sex may play a bigger role and with no plans, contraception is not considered and the children arrive. Better preparation for life from having workshops for each sex where there can be free discussion about handling life's problems, and the youngsters have mentors and life coaches to help them find their strengths and work with them. Something like the InZone Education Foundation started in Auckland some years back could be helpful for those who want to work and have the ability. Also for girls the Teen Parent Schools - Also He Huarahi Tamariki doing the same -

School dropouts before the leaving age of 16 were high in 2007 but have greatly improved though lack of jobs available may be partly the reason: Fifteen-year-old dropouts have declined steadily from a peak of nearly 4000 in 2007, figures released under the Official Information Act show... So far this year, [June 2013] 165 students have been granted early leaving exemptions by the ministry. That compares with 313 last year, and 655 in 2008.

There is an opportunity for an intelligent government to step in and give grounding to the young who end up in poverty. In the article one woman featured had about six children. It seems simple, prevent yourself from having children, manage your fertility. But it probably costs money that she doesn't have to buy pills, getting them free may require a certificate from a clinic only open during her working hours. And she probably would like to find a reliable partner, but there hasn't been one.

If government gathers the footloose young men and ensures they are trained, can drive etc. it would start them on a different path, the adult dropouts would diminish. And the young women and children would have a scheme that sends a bus around to take them to education and creches to finish schooling, train for a skill with jobs organised afterwards, with time available for sick and after-school care, the employers receiving tax advantages for setting up more flexible conditions.

But no government in the western countries seems interested in progressive policies any more. Just blame and punitive responses as people struggle with the demanding landscape of fewer jobs, continual low pay, erratic hours, poor or uncertain housing at rates jacked up to match a highly inflationary housing market scam. There is little hope for better times for the strugglers. All the time and money is available in the macro economy for the mechanical war toys, sports gear and dehumanising technology considered as appropriate for real males as their focus of attention.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Oh dear Brendan, do you ever read the articles you cite? "Why did Brenda have six children when she couldn't support them." It might have been Brendan that she could support them when she was first married, but then her husband disappeared.Maybe she is a widow? Maybe he ran off with the au pair who knows, but all you seem to know is blame the victim. (Cue "well why don't we find the father and get the money from him?")

And it is complex. Did this woman have access to birth control? Because it's conservatives of the religious right who want to keep birth control from women, to deny them the facility to control their own bodies. These are the same people that are against abortion.
That's typical of the hypocrisy of the religious right, who claimed to be against abortion, but refuse to implement policies such as sex education, or access to birth control, which are known to reduce the number of abortions.
Now if this were a decent platform I could post several memes about this but here's a quote from a Catholic nun.

"I do not believe that just because you are opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, a child educated, a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."
This woman understands complexity better than you.

We also need a much broader conversation on what the morality of poverty is. Your constant blaming the victim, and ignoring systemic problems is simply part of the problem.

Chris Morris said...

GW A major reason why school dropouts have dropped is they just don't bother attending (about 30% according to the figures). The government knows it is a big problem but just has no policies to deal with it. To quote the Secretary of Education " We know what good looks like. This country has had the Education Review Office for more than 30 years, publishing many reports about what good looks like. Having that plan and actually rolling it out are not the same thing.” So all hui and no doey. It was only the charter schools like Vanguard that turned their figure around.

sumsuch said...

Very clearly exposed, Labour's challenge and her response. Makes you sick, but this is adulthood. It does also exposes Jacinda for the PR hack she is.

sumsuch said...

Your focus group defence and the poor having to speak for themselves is now made good. Nup. You're a grand essayist but. If you just put the unchained truth first you'd be dramatically poorer and dramatically righter.

Is thisahere my 4th comment and my second publication?