Monday 14 February 2022

Changing Their Story.

Situation Normal All Fucked Up: Already weakened by its poor handling of Delta and Omicron, this Government’s botched response to the Freedom Convoy has changed dramatically its political narrative.

IT IS DOUBTFUL whether Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Government understands just how completely it has lost control of the political narrative. Most likely, it is operating on the assumption that because most New Zealanders, like most MPs, are appalled at the behaviour of those occupying Parliament Grounds, all is well. It is a false assumption. Like the first victim of the “Freedom Convoy” weapon, Justin Trudeau, the Ardern Government’s refusal to “go hard and go early” against the protesters has created the worst of all political narratives: that it has become weak and ineffectual.

Not only has the occupation of Parliament Grounds made this government look weak, but it has also emboldened and, in the eyes of some, at least, ennobled the occupiers. Swift and decisive action to evict the occupiers was crucial, if only to forestall the creation of a David versus Goliath narrative in which every successful defiance of the forces of law and order only serves to make their movement stronger.

Those who share the occupiers frustration with the Government’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic, but who have, hitherto, not believed that successful resistance to its policies is possible, have been given cause to think again. They may represent fewer than one-in-ten New Zealanders, but one-in-ten of 5 million is 500,000. If only a tenth of that half-million citizens decided to join the Wellington protest camp, then this Government will very quickly find itself confronting a national security crisis of immense proportions.

It is a genuine mystery why neither the Government, nor the senior Police commanders, were able to grasp the nature of the challenge they were facing. It was clear to every thinking New Zealander that the protest action represented by the “Freedom Convoy” was of a new and potentially extremely dangerous kind. One didn’t have to be a master strategist to understand that once 200-300 motor vehicles converged on the centre of the capital city, the owners of those motor vehicles would, more or less immediately, control the centre of the capital city. New Zealanders knew that they had nothing to fear from protesters who gathered for a couple of hours to deliver their message and then dispersed. But, protesters who came to stay until their demands were met – this was a very different kettle of fish.

New Zealand’s senior police commanders cannot say that they weren’t warned. The Ottawa example was there before them. By failing to break the Canadian truckers’ blockade immediately, the Canadian authorities allowed the protest’s relatively limited set of demands to escalate wildly. Fatally, Prime Minister Trudeau opted to talk tough, but then refused to act tough. The latest poll out of Canada shows only 16 percent of Canadians are satisfied with his handling of the crisis. Trudeau’s failure to deal with the truckers’ protest swiftly and effectively may spell the end of his political career.

While the Policing Act 2008 makes it clear that in operational matters Ministers of the Crown are required to butt right out, there are other ways for the State to assert its duty to protect the rights of the citizenry and the rule of law. It would be interesting to know whether the Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination – commonly referred to as ODESC – was convened to address the national security implications of the Freedom Convoy. Chaired by the CEO of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, ODESC can bring together all the instruments of the state apparatus required to coordinate an effective response – including the Police and the NZDF.

From the perspective of the ordinary person in the street, however, neither the Prime Minister nor the Police Commissioner, Andrew Coster, appeared to be taking the matter very seriously. Indeed, by constantly invoking people’s right to protest, they gave the impression that they were reluctant to do anything more than politely request the protesters to behave themselves and then “move on”. Only the Deputy Prime Minister, Grant Robertson, who, as a former student leader, was familiar with the unwritten rules of the demonstration game, appeared to grasp the qualitative difference between the Freedom Convoy and the protests he had helped to organise.

And then the Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, stuck his oar in.

The care and protection of the Parliamentary Precinct is, indisputably, the Speaker’s responsibility. The dignity of the office, and the need to at all times conduct himself professionally, should, however, have persuaded Mallard to limit his involvement to simply declaring the occupiers to be trespassers. The strategy and tactics required for their eviction should then have been left entirely to the Police.

To describe the extraordinary decision of the Speaker’s Office to, first, order the parliamentary ground’s lawn-sprinklers turned on, and then, the following night, to blast loud music across the grounds (presumably in an effort to either dislodge or disturb the occupiers in their tents) as “unfortunate” would be a gross understatement. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of actions more likely to convince the occupiers that they are not dealing with serious people. Mallard’s actions may have hardened the occupiers’ determination to resist. Worse, by responding so childishly, he risks convincing them they can win.

For the long-suffering citizens of Wellington, and the rest of New Zealand looking on, the manifestly inadequate policing tactics employed to move the occupiers from Parliament Grounds, coupled with the Speaker’s ludicrous interventions, have combined to produce a political narrative of weakness, incompetence and pettiness that will be very hard to dispel. The spectacle of unhelmeted constables in their summer shirts, wearing flimsy surgical masks, being sent to stand eyeball-to-eyeball with shrieking, unvaccinated occupiers, was extremely hard to watch. So, too, was the sight of those same constables wading into the flailing, spitting crowd to effect arrests. Where was the Police Association, their union, when these egregious failures of health & safety were unfolding?

More to the point, where were the force multipliers essential to any operation in which hundreds of police officers are pitted against thousands of aggressively resisting protesters? How many games would have gone ahead during the Springbok Tour of 1981 if the then Police Commissioner, Bob Walton, had confronted HART’s protesters with unhelmeted constables in their shirtsleeves? The late Tom Newnham didn’t call his photographic history of the Tour “By Batons and Barbed Wire” for nothing!

The sheer carelessness with which Ardern and her colleagues have relinquished their winning political narrative is astonishing. Already weakened by its poor handling of Delta and Omicron, this Government’s botched response to the Freedom Convoy has changed their story dramatically. Labour no longer seems willing – as it was throughout 2020 – to go in hard and early for the Team of Five Million. In fact, it seems unwilling to go in hard at all. Small wonder, then, that the enemies of reason and science are feeling vindicated and emboldened. Or that the Team of Five Million is feeling a lot let down – and not a little fearful of what happens next.

This essay was originally posted on the website on Monday, 14 February 2022.


mikesh said...

In 2020 the government went hard, and went early, against the virus itself. Going hard and early against NZ citizens, albeit protesting ones, is a different kettle of fish altogether. The government, despite Mallard making an ass of himself, now needs to make it clear that they are not going to budge on policy, and that the only thing that will make them change their policy will be the behavior of the virus itself, not the behavior of the protesters.

Doug Longmire said...

Excellent article, Chris.
The completely out-of-touch approach by the government to this situation is glaringly clear to all.
While I am not a supporter of this protest, I can foresee that this protest is a foretaste of what is likely to come when the government's He Puapua plan for the destruction of democracy really kicks is.
Now - THAT is a protest I will support.

Patricia said...

Apart from the fact it didn’t seem to work playing a particular type of music is a well known way to disburse parties. Perhaps the type of music wasn’t the right type.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I suspect a fair number of the eejits who thoroughly approved of the Red Squad and their tactics are supporting this mob. It's almost laughable that they call the police conduct "disgraceful". I remember people standing by the side of the road – usually men – telling demonstrators to "get a job". But now they want this – and it is a mob that doesn't seem to know its own mind – treated somehow with kid gloves? At the very least, as someone who's been ticketed for putting money in the wrong parking meter in a senior moment, I would love to see these guys' vehicles towed and confiscated. And then may be sold by auction to pay for the costs of this self-indulgent display.

Rob said...

I'm triple vaccinated and don't have a protester's bone in my body. However one thing seems clear: the people against vaccine mandates is only set to increase. The mandates were brought in for Delta and have stayed for Omicron, but the government still can't tell us how and when they will end. So what happens when Omicron peaks? Maybe in only three, four, five weeks time? How many of us will continue to support mandates when it is likely we could have already had the virus? This pandemnic is moving way too fast for the government except with respect to one thing: a new variant of concern.

Kat said...

"Changing Their Story"....or smart strategy.

I would say it is a smart strategy to have the protestors ultimately defeat themselves and in doing so expose the disinformation super highway and all its conspiracy theorists as the sick and broken conduit it surely is.

That old cliche about the game having two halves is at play here. Batons and barbed wire are not this govt's modus operandi, thankfully.

Brendan McNeill said...


You are correct in saying that the behaviour of Adhern and Mallard have been extraordinary over the last few days, but for the sake of context, they have been extraordinary for years.

The Prime Minister is on public record as saying she was intentionally creating two classes of New Zealanders, effectively one with State sanctioned 'privileges' and the other to be denied access to the most basic of services, including a haircut!

The vaccine mandates have cost thousands of people their employment and livelihood and forced tens if not hundreds of thousands to take a vaccine they didn’t want under coercion. Vaccinate or lose the ability to support yourself and your family is an unprecedented approach from any Government in New Zealand and an abrogation of the New Zealand Bill of Rights. Over time the public will judge the merits of lockdowns and coercion, and weight the risk against the social and economic devastation they have wrought.

The level of alienation the mandates, lockdowns and ‘code red’ has created ought not to have come as a surprise to the Government. The fact that it has, and that no serving politician of any stripe was prepared to meet with the protesters or hear their demands has highlighted the level of arrogance and indifference they carry towards those who do not agree with them, and who have been deliberately hurt by their policies.

It serves to highlight the self-indulgent bubble these elite politicians occupy, and how distant they have become from the people they are elected (and paid) to serve.

Would it be too much to expect the PM who has hand crafted an image of kindness and inclusion, to humble herself and to walk onto what remains of Parliament’s lawns to meet with those New Zealanders she has deliberately chosen to alienate from mainstream society?

It is doubtful anything less will resolve the situation in a way that might rescue the Government’s reputation.

theotherneil said...

I am in my own mind at least a thinking New Zealander. I am not appalled at the protestors actions. I think some of them are misplaced and some stupid, but you indulge your self in a massive generalization.

As for long suffering Wellingtonians, give me a break. While the elite and their state servants have been enjoying their freedoms Aucklanders were incarcerated. So the people of Wellington, well rather the elite and their state servants will have the CBD inconvenience d for a week or too, who cares? Not the people of Auckland or the rest of NZ.

oneblokesview said...

I would change your mulled wine Chris. It seems the current one is full of spice and vitriol.

Like many commentators who have not visited the Wellington demonstration you seem able to sit back and vilify it.

The thing that amazes me is that with splintered groups, no leadership etc etc.

It seems that the protestors, who after all are protesting the government's decisions and actions for whatever reason.

Are fed, toileted, safe(medical and physical) and supported both financially and morally by many other Kiwis who think the same, generally acting in a sane and measured way(idiot outliers of course in any group of this type)

What the media is not covering, but a small look around social media, will see outposts of the demonstration in Picton and other major cities in NZ.

I definitely have seen online videos of such.

Maybe its time to reflect on what we are actually seeing. A General movement that is dissatisfied with the current government.

MPs' and media are being lazy by trotting out the expected propaganda response of misinformation, fringe nutters etc...But I suspect the population is starting to see thru the propaganda that has emanated from Wellington over the last 2 years.

Time will tell if your jackboot approach to dispersement or a more reasoned response will prevail.

David George said...

Trevor Mallard certainly knows how to make a bad situation worse. He wants one point of view, the approved one, to be spoken or heard:

“Cautioning the Parliamentary Press Gallery in relation to a senior journalist speaking to protesters demonstrates that Mr Mallard doesn’t stand for Free Speech at all,” says Ani O’Brien, a Council member of the Union, journalist, and former Parliamentary staffer. “Barry Soper is perfectly entitled to speak to whoever he likes as a member of the fourth estate. Mallard should know better.”

David Seymour re Mallard's more recent tantrums:

"It's like he thinks he's Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone and a few silly pranks will scare the trespassers away. What's next? Placing buckets of water on doors left ajar?"

Barry said...

The way the government has reacted to and handled the protest confirms the common belief that the government has handled the whole covid reaction the same way - ie guess work, off the cuff reactions and blind panic. They havent a clue.

Trev1 said...

I get it now. Labour and its sympathisers are deeply worried at the emergence of an authentic working class movement, which also includes many Maori, who don't toe the Labour Party line. This explains the vitriol of Left wing commentators towards the protest.

Let's face it Chris, this government has already treated these people cruelly by forcing them out of their jobs and making them pariahs in their communities. It has violated international human rights law in attempting to coerce these people to accept a medical intervention they don't want for whatever reason - that's their right.

If the government had got its act together on rapid testing which Roche/Simpson declared an "urgent priority" fifteen months ago it's unlikely any of this would have happened. Sympathy is building for the protestors. In the eyes of many if the government uses violence against these people it will forfeit the right to govern.

Jens Meder said...

At this stage it is not certain at all that Trudeau's actions will lose him the next election -
and in the longer term might not the cautiously steady and firm response of our government to the senseless troublemakers so far -
actually achieve politically more appreciation and support than harm ?

sumsuch said...

The govt has done bloody well. Human, certainly. It was a new thing. The people on Parliament's lawns mistake cock-up for conspiracy.

When it comes down to it what do lawns matter? Says a professional gardener who hates lawns and roses, the latter like Eion Scarrow.

I know where they're coming from, it's all from the back of their minds, none of their stated 'facts' stand up to much examination. They're dissatisfied, half subjective and half how 'facts' have disallowed the people since the freemarket revolution for the rich. And the Left can't deliver. Jesus, just Bernie Sanders in America!

How far can fascism go in the last crisis days of our species, however.

I view everything from the heights of the agricultural revolution 12,000 years ago from now on. 20 years and it's all over. All d'fools guided by the recent political logic. Grant and Jacinda, cheeping sparrows.

John Hurley said...

You seemed attuned to what was going on Chris?

The new sermonising journalists are not as popular as they imagine. A Reuters study in 2021 that surveyed people in the US, Britain, Germany and Brazil found that most people want newsrooms to deliver impartial factual reporting and to reflect a range of views when covering social and political issues. They want to form their own opinions about issues, uninfluenced by the views of journalists. They prefer to get opinions elsewhere such as in social media, podcasts and editorial pages.

The woke see themselves as cutting-edge, but they are engaged in old fashioned elitism. Their fixation on identity rather than class serves the elite. The fact that around two-thirds of the poor in New Zealand are Pākehā doesn’t fit with the white privilege narrative. We saw this with vaccination rates. More Pākehā than Māori were not vaccinated but the media chorus on low Māori rates was deafening. There is much common ground between working class Pākehā and Māori but the identity narrative ignores this in favour of division.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The Prime Minister is on public record as saying she was intentionally creating two classes of New Zealanders, effectively one with State sanctioned 'privileges' and the other to be denied access to the most basic of services, including a haircut!"

But it's about CHOICES Brendan, as you are so keen to tell us at other times. You can CHOOSE to be vaccinated, or you can CHOOSE not to access certain services and facilities. You don't seem to have any great objection to CHOICES creating two classes of citizens in the sense of well off and poor, so how can you object to this?
There are numerous other situations in which you are required to be vaccinated – for instance if you CHOOSE to join the armed forces.
And there are numerous jurisdictions in that land of freedom you so admire the US, where without CHOOSING to be vaccinated you cannot attend public schools.

"The vaccine mandates have cost thousands of people their employment and livelihood "

You have a reference for this? Because you do have a habit of making wild statements and exaggerations.

"The fact that it has, and that no serving politician of any stripe was prepared to meet with the protesters or hear their demands"

Would you care to meet with people who are demanding that you be tried and executed Brendan? Not to mention that their demands are so incoherent and wide ranging as to be impossible to fulfil anyway.

It would have been nice to hear your voice about people's right to protest and so on during the Vietnam war protests and the anti-Apartheid protests Brendan, but I guess you choose your battles right?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The way the government has reacted to and handled the protest confirms the common belief that the government has handled the whole covid reaction the same way - ie guess work, off the cuff reactions and blind panic. They havent a clue."

It proves nothing of the sort. You obviously don't know anything about proof. The two things are completely different.

And how do you prepare for something like this? The information was changing so rapidly, that guesswork and off-the-cuff reactions were probably necessary given information was in short supply. The government erred on the side of caution and good on them.

Didn't help that your hero Donald Trump was spouting misinformation all over the place about it. If we had reacted the same way that Sweden did for instance, we would have had many, many more deaths. And as someone in a vulnerable group, along with the immunocompromised, and those who are for various other reasons unable to be vaccinated, I'm quite grateful for their "blind panic". And so should you be.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

God help us, all the lawyers going on about human rights law. Various cases to do with compulsory vaccinations have been brought before The European Court of human rights, and in general they have found in favour of vaccine mandates. But thanks for your expert legal opinions.
Not that it's a simple matter, the bald statements about violating human rights are so much fluff.

James Ritchie said...

'Weakened by their handling of delta and omicron' how would you describe the efforts of other Governments around the world? This really is a case of ' you don't know how lucky you are...'

David George said...

Here are the latest figures for the vaccination status of covid cases - per 100,000 population.
Partially vaccinated 38
Fully vaccinated 10
Under 12s 6
Unvaccinated 4
It's unstated, but assumed due to the huge change in the numbers, that "partially vaccinated" now includes two doses.

The MOH have decided to stop publishing the vaccination status of the hospitalised, something about privacy. Sounds like BS to me when we are obliged to disclose our vaccination status to the staff at the local café.

Time to end the mandates!

David George said...

Seems an odd thing for the PM to bring up the odd Trump flag in her efforts to demonise the protestors. Trump is pro vaccine and did all he could to facilitate and fast track their development and implementation and has had three doses himself. He was not, however, in favour of compulsion; as Ardern wasn't herself until recently.

Fair enough but things have changed, time to end the mandates!

David George said...

I should have added, the source for that covid case analysis:

David George said...

"the first victim of the “Freedom Convoy” weapon, Justin Trudeau"
So Trudeau is now the victim?
Has anyone heard what he has been saying? He deserves to be forced to resign. Bill Maher, one minute:

One of the potential problems is that the real hardcore protestors will not now be appeased by conciliatory government moves. Here's some wise words on that issue, "Message to the Truckers".
Jordan Peterson, two and a half minutes:

David George said...

The whole question of the real value, the accuracy, of the accepted experts is increasingly being thrown into doubt. Who can forget the bone chilling prospect of 80,000 dead Kiwis that Hendy's modelling predicted. On current mortality rates that would require a population of 32 million! Or for the infected to die six times. Why is anyone still paying him any attention.

In a total lack of self awareness he and Willes then came out trying to cancel the scientists that warned against the confusion of folk lore and science. Now you would expect that would be the last thing that someone who insists that we follow "The Science" would want. There's obviously value in folk lore, particularly the the mythology that helps give us our rules for life but how is most of it fundamentally different, in nature, from what the fringe antivaxxers are saying. Do they even understand the meaning of the word science?

As Popper et al have said: If it's not verifiable, falsifiable and repeatable it's not science.

Anonymous said...

It takes a certain noble courage to face your enemy but that is exactly what should have happened. What are bodyguards for if not this? Our Dear Leader would have been heckled and asked awkward questions like, Why are houses unaffordable? Why are rents so high? Why can't we afford healthy food? Questions that she dodges and fudges when asked on TV. But all she really had to do was (appear) to listen. First rule of disputes.
She would have gained much respect from all parts of society.
Instead she says she doesn't think they are willing to engage. How the hell would she know? She must be getting terrible advice or not listening. Elitist thinking and out of touch.
When I heard that a convoy was approaching Wellington from the far North and South I thought "OK, ha, they will get headed off at the pass". That's me in Napier. So what do our security experts who supposedly have ears to the ground, surveillance systems etc. etc. get paid for?
What was the Police Commander in Wellington thinking at that time???

David George said...

“Why has the mainstream Left ended up supporting practically all Covid measures?”

One of the best analysis on the motivations underlying the "us and them" covid divisions:

It seems that for a certain group of pandemic diehards, the fact that the guidance on masking has been so overtly unreliable and politicised has actually made masks more, rather than less, potent as instruments of public policy. In less than two years, the CDC has changed its position on masks at least three times. The agency originally discouraged their use before endorsing it, before finally acknowledging the cloth masks used by most Americans cannot stop the fine aerosols that spread Covid — which is exactly what Dr. Anthony Fauci wrote in a private letter from February 2020.

Given that we now know that these public health decisions are not rooted in The Science, the crucial question remains: Why did tens of millions of people willingly give up their freedoms and embrace the ever-changing dictates of such transparently incompetent and undeserving authorities?

The answer, it seems, is fairly clear: the Left did this because the Public Good has become, along with The Science, largely a costume worn by the professional classes who, quite rightly, suspect that they have more in common with a Moderna executive than an anti-vaccine mandate truck driver.

Barry said...

The world has had at least two previous Covid out breaks -
MERS - Middle east respiratory syndrome and
SARS - south asian respiratory syndrome.
Both were Covid RNA viruses. The current virus is called Covid-19 because it started in 2019 as was called Covid 19 to distinguish it from the previous two outbreaks.
Both MERS and SARS were aerosol spread yet when Covid-19 got going the Government advice was "its spread on hard surfaces and there is no evidence that masks offer any protection".
They didnt have a clue. They didnt consider recent history which would have shown how a respiratory virus spreads. The original Alpha variAnt didnt spread much faster than Sars.
I say again - they didnt have a clue. They were arrogant (just like they are now with the protest) and they had decided not to take advice.

greywarbler said...

Than you Guerilla Surgeon for your lively response and rebuttal to the living dead commenting here. Those who aren't the l-d will know it so for the rest I'm telling you what you are. And all these experts, these eminent thinkers, have unfortunately been lying fallow so long that the weeds have overtaken the space and opportunity to grow a logical POV.

This century is the one for people doing the hard yakka of thought, otherwise we'll be overcome, flooded and drowned in nostrums, theories, beliefs held so firmly that people will let them be inserted into their brains. We need to start off with agreement on the outcome that we want and then work out the most effective and responsible way of getting there. The general populace will be encouraged to attend monthly meetings discussing the issues of the day and adding anecdote and advice.

The reports from the science people on Covid is an attempt to get info to the people and it has been appreciated and I hope understood that they are possibilities, not concrete. The only thing is that we don't need to either publish in full or suppress the models for worst case scenarios, we just need to refer to the high figures as extreme possibilities. The projections of some science leaders have led to claims the government wants to scare people. 'They're telling us lies. It never happened like they said' etc.

The Barron said...

Many of the contributors to this site are lying to themselves about the nature of the protest. It is reactionary by its very nature, and reactionary against the rights and safety of the vulnerable. Those posting avoid the matter that this will be a super spreader event. That this will take the virus to all part of New Zealand and elderly and vulnerable people will get sick and some will die as a direct result of the cult of the selfish. There is no doubt the protesters are Harold Shipman by proxy.

I am sure those posting similar disinformation through social media to Samoa during the measles outbreak never lost a nights sleep while 83 children were buried. Reading some of the contributors to Bowalley Road I understand what Hannah Arendt meant by the banality of evil.

Paranormal said...

Guerilla Surgeon, you are very good at spreading misinformation yourself. Sweden for example haven’t had any excess deaths (their average annual death rate is 0.95% of population. 2019 annual death rate was 0.94% and 2020 was 0.96% - all normal and as expected). And yet they haven’t destroyed their economy or disenfranchised a proportion of their people.

Keep spreading the truth (tm). And you wonder why the protest is growing throughout the country as more and more thinking New Zealanders see through your ‘truth’ for the BS it is.

Barry said...

I was mistaken about the name of the current virus. When it turned up it was actually called Sars-Cov 2. This was because it was so similar to the original Sars.
All the government and the MOH had to do was take notice of recent medical history. What to do was well recorded.
But instead they followed a typical "political Studies 101" programme - ie:enforce a plan and dont allow any deviation.
They didnt have a clue about what they were doing.

John Hurley said...

Chris Wilson@Chris___WilsonGiven the ongoing debate in New Zealand over whether the anti-mandate protests and movement are ‘far right’, I thought it might be useful to give a summary of how the category is usually defined. Scholars normally consider it to comprise of between 5 and 7 components.1:17 PM · Feb 14, 2022·Twitter Web App

Chris Wilson@Chris___Wilson·Feb 14Replying to @Chris___Wilson
Exclusionary nationalism: far right movements believe and argue that the state should be congruent with the nation (generally the ethnic majority). Preservation of national identity is crucial, and this often includes prioritising the nation over the individual.

Support for a strong state and leader: The far right believes that a strong state (and often a strong leader) with centralised power is the best way of defending the nation.

Law and order: Connected to the previous is a belief that the nation’s law must be upheld and crime must be stringently dealt with. Any infringements, or challenges to state authority (or the nation) should be punished harshly.

Racism & xenophobia: Far right ideologies focus on the importance of race, and see differences in culture as unchangeable. In most cases they are also hierarchical, with one group superior to others. Antisemitism, Islamophobia are prominent forms of this part of the ideology.

Chris Wilson@Chris___Wilson·Feb 14
Nativism: Perhaps the most important element of the contemporary far right is nativism, a belief that the interests and cultures of the nation (ie the dominant ethnic community in the country) should be prioritised over those of immigrants.

Chris Wilson@Chris___Wilson·Feb 14A belief in natural inequality: The far right believe that some inequality, particularly between ethnic groups, is natural. This includes economic and political power. They oppose government attempts to ameliorate this, ie through affirmative action.

Chris Wilson@Chris___Wilson·Feb 14
Opposition to liberal democracy: the far right is sometimes but not always opposed to democracy. It is always opposed to liberal democracy, particularly in support for minorities or the balance of power and structures which undermine the power of a strong (far right) executive.

Chris Wilson@Chris___Wilson·Feb 14
If these elements accurately capture the heart and goals of the anti-mandate movement then it should be referred to as far right. If they do not (which I believe), then greater care should be taken to assess what type of movement it is, and how it should be referred to.

Chris Wilson@Chris___Wilson·Feb 14
This does not suggest that the movement poses no risks of radicalism, or is not harmful in other ways. But mislabelling and misdiagnosing the movement will make resolving these tensions (and avoiding violence) more difficult.

Chris Wilson@Chris___Wilson
Conflating the movement with the far right, referring to participants as extremists, Nazis or fascists, also risks driving them towards that movement. In my opinion it is better to divide non far right protesters from the far right than conflating them and driving them together.

Half of us are the "far right"

Unknown said...

Victoria Students want the working class protestors gone (don't they know there place)?!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Countries in northern Europe have generally experienced much lower mortality rates throughout the pandemic. Some Nordic nations have experienced almost no excess deaths at all. The exception is Sweden, which imposed some of the continent’s least restrictive social-distancing measures during the first wave."
The Economist

"In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the second-largest infection-related mortality disaster in Switzerland, Sweden, and Spain since the beginning of the 20th century."
Annals of internal medicine

The excess death rate in 2024 Sweden Was 545 per million of population for 2020 and 2021. That's according to OECD figures. If you have any better sources let's know.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

May 2018

The Trump Administration disbands the White House pandemic response team.

Jan. 22, 2020

“We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

Feb. 2, 2020

“We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

Feb. 10, 2020

“Looks like by April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”

Feb. 24, 2020

“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… the Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

Feb. 25, 2020

“CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”

Feb. 26, 2020

“The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

March 11, 2020

“It goes away….It’s going away. We want it to go away with very, very few deaths.”

April 23, 2020

"I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that."

I think that statements like this are probably why she brought up the Trump thing? That and close to a million deaths. Most of them because of his incompetence.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Actually paranormal, the Swedish economy reacted much the same as any other economy, mostly because all our economies are now intertwined.And if industry fared better than tourism which it has, it was in part at least due to generous government subsidies. More generous than here anyway.
"Sweden’s tourism and hospitality sectors were hit particularly hard, with economists questioning whether these would recover completely, even beyond vaccination rollout. Just over 400,000 passengers flew through Sweden’s ten largest airports in December 2020, an 86% decrease on the year prior. A ban on selling alcohol past 8pm led to a 73% decrease in restaurant sales compared to the same period last year. Bankruptcies were also up 38% compared to 2019, mostly from those with the hotel and restaurant industries."

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Interesting about Trudeau. From what I can gather from talking to Canadians online, his loss of support comes from him not punishing the so-called "truckers" – 90% of whom are vaccinated I understand – because close to 60% of Canadians want them fined or given jail terms. And even more want their trucks impounded. Although apparently only a few of them are trucks in the transport sense, most of them are large gas guzzling SUVs or something similar.
And given that these matters are in the hands of the provinces rather than the central government I don't think there's much he could have done. Not without annoying provincial governments.
Is there a poll out yet shows how many New Zealanders support the protesters here? I doubt if too many of the small business owners that have had to shut up shop would be very fond of them. Hard enough to make a living while most civil servants are working from home – partly because of the protesters, let alone the threats and menace from individual eejits.

Dunxharfe said...

Blogger David George said...

“Why has the mainstream Left ended up supporting practically all Covid measures?”

Reading this post and following the link within, I can only conclude that any follower of the left that can be qualified as sane, must now be waking to the final truth that they have been and are indeed, naught but a pack of wallies

Pete said...

Ardern didn't divide the country into dumb, arrogant, ungrateful bastards and others. The divide has just become obvious in her time.

Oh well, about now people can start doodling who Luxon and Seymour are going to have in their cabinet.

The Barron said...

Sweden has averaged 46 deaths from Covid19 a day over the last week.

Adjusting for population, Sweden currently has more deaths each two days that NZ has in two years.

sumsuch said...

I'm not interested in this passing thing. Omicron's threat to the hospital system will be over soon. Mistake of both political analysts and the campers to take it too seriously.

Tom Hunter said...

Sweden has averaged 46 deaths from Covid19 a day over the last week.

Wow. You really are some piece of work with stats....

7 day moving average of daily deaths as of February 15, 2022 is... 7

And of course that doesn't refute the figures for mortality-from-all-causes for 2020 that Paranormal quoted above. Here's the World-in-Data comparison between Sweden and NZ of Excess Deaths..

Just a hint, when you get a death toll much less than expected - like Sweden in 2019 - you can expect something much worse the following year. It's called dry tinder.

But let's face it, for fanatical Far Lefters like Barron and Gaslight Surgeon it doesn't matter. As long as it screws our capitalist society and imposes ever-greater centralised command-and-control they couldn't care less what the excuse is.

Tom Hunter said...

May 2018

The Trump Administration disbands the White House pandemic response team.

Actually it was a former member of the Obama Administration who refuted that bullshit at the time, pointing out that the team had merely been re-organised and re-named.

Typical pathetic garbage from Gaslight Surgeon. But here's a doozy from Joe Biden in 2020: "I will shut down the virus"

Muhahahaahahahhaah. Genius. Rated "Lie of The Year".

To be fair, I don't think he was lying. He really is that stupid. The question is whether you are when you believed that?

Pete said...

Sumsuch, like polio it is just a passing thing. Omicron's threat to the hospital system will be over soon.
Do you think it better for health authorities to take it too seriously or too casually?

Note the "It's nothing serious" quotes above from Guerilla Surgeon.

Louisiana population, 4.6 million, covid deaths 16,300. The hospital system and those who work in it?

John Hurley said...

Why might the working class be angry
John Campbell

What do you want to be remembered for?”

John Key
“Going back to that main point I think it was Muldoon who famously said “I want to leave the country in no worse condition than I found it”.

John Campbell

“Isn’t that a low ambition?”

John Key [Burble]

“Yes I want to leave the country in better condition than I found it and if theres something (I genuinely beleive) It would be lifting our confidence to a certain degree about how we see our selves in the world and what we think we are capable of achieving. Now I think individually there is masses of ambition that sits out there there but can we actually take that and convert that to take the opportunity .
And I always thought what was happening in the opposition of politics (of course they would oppose National, that’s their job actually apart from everything else) but it was a bit negative about our place in the world. So we played a bit about whether people coming here was a good or bad thing whether people should invest here was a good or bad thing, or whether we have a trade agreement with parts of Asia was a good or bad thing, but actually in my mind, the reason that I want to say yes to those things is because they are the opportunities that reflect our opportunities to both get wealthier (which is all about what you can do with that money) and then ultimately the opportunities for Kiwis. I’d like New Zealanders to feel (after my time as Prime Minister) they have become more confident outward looking nation more multicultural.

O.K I get the burble:

Sir John Key to partner with Chow brothers in property development firm

John Campbell
So, in the end, how will history judge John Key?

In the age of Trump and Brexit and Manus Island, and having succeeded Don Brash and his divisive Orewa rhetoric, part of what may endure is a sense that, under him, New Zealand did not embrace xenophobia and paranoia and the vilification of Māori, Muslims, Mexicans, blue-collar immigrants and almost anyone who wasn't Tribe White.

To this point, writer and trade unionist, Morgan Godfery, not a natural ally of Key, tweeted on the day the prime minister announced his resignation: "I'll go into bat for Key on this: he rejected the politics of Orewa, avoiding what might have been an ugly decade of tension and conflict."'s-success

Guerilla Surgeon said...

“Why has the mainstream Left ended up supporting practically all Covid measures?”

Because unlike the extreme right, we realise that rights come with duties and obligations. Something you people seem to have forgotten.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"There is disagreement over how to describe the changes at the NSC’s Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense in 2018. The departure of some members due to “streamlining” efforts under John Bolton is documented. The “pandemic response team” as a unit was largely disbanded."

And we all know what "streamlining" means right?

"Bolton’s chosen approach to NSC 'streamlining' involved decapitating and diluting the White House’s focus on pandemic threats," Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, wrote in a rebuttal. "He eliminated the senior director position entirely, closed the biodefense directorate, and spread the remaining staff across other parts of the NSC."

I wouldn't normally read your crap John, because it's usually so incoherent as to be incomprehensible, but guess what, I saw my nym or rather an insulting reference to it. If you done a bit more research you would have seen that it's not nearly as simple as you make out. But I guess you being simple yourself means you can't comprehend complexity.

Chris, calling me "that stupid"? Is this the way you enforce your new rules?

Chris Trotter said...

To: Guerilla Surgeon

I decided not to delete John's comment, GS, because I was pretty sure you'd be able to refute his claims - which you did.

But, you are right, he did breach the rules, and I suppose, had I enforced them, his claims would not have been there for you to refute.

But, personally, I'm glad that you did.

I just wish Blogger would let me delete personal attacks while keeping the rest of the comment in play. Alas, that does not seem to be possible.

Rest assured, your rebuke has been received, the rules against ad hominem arguments and gratuitous personal insults will, henceforth, be rigorously enforced.

Anonymous said...

@ Tom Hunter. your first link: "7 day moving average of daily deaths as of February 15, 2022 is... 7" takes you to a site that shows under the heading "latest news":

Updates: 1 new death
Feb 11 43 new deaths
Feb 10 16 New deaths
Feb 9 35 New deaths
Feb 8 83 New deaths
Feb 4 45 New deaths

Where do you get your "7 day moving average ...7" from?


The Barron said...

Gee, thanks Tom. Do you know how long I have hoped to be called 'far left'. All my political friends tease me 'social democratic they snide'. At last, someone whose personal politics makes me far left by comparison.

Sweden -

Feb.8 - 85 Covid deaths in Sweden, Feb.9 -35, Feb,10 - 16, Feb.11 - 43 ...

The Financial Times shows the current the seven day rolling average number of Swedish deaths per 100K at 0.494 at 15 Feb. European Union average 0.467.

I remember the Swedish set horror movie, Midsommar [2019], here a Swedish village had reestablished the Viking custom of the elderly throwing themselves off cliffs so not to burden the families and villagers. When the Covid19 virus it Sweden their public health advisors may as well have been the Muppets Chef. The Aged and in particular the Aged Person's Homes were left vulnerable and died in unprecedented numbers. That people would look at current stats for longevity and overall death-rates after the Swedish killing off the elderly in the first year of the pandemic is ghoulish. I should remind some contributors, Midsommar was a horror movie, not a health paln.

Unknown said...

You can CHOOSE which party you vote for, and you can CHOOSE your religion.
Passing a law saying CHOOSE correctly or get fired from your job is wrong.

Incidentally, all the main groups of the protest have released a statement saying their objective is the end of the mandates.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well unknown, CHOOSING to put other people's lives in danger because you are afraid of a vaccine is also wrong. Even in that land of freedom America, in most places firms are allowed to insist that their employees are vaccinated. And certainly if I was immunocompromised I would not want to be looked after by anyone in the health sector who was unvaccinated. I doubt if you would either – well, on the basis of your statement maybe you would.

John Hurley said...

I decided not to delete John's comment, GS, because I was pretty sure you'd be able to refute his claims - which you did.

Which one?

Sometimes it's just about values.
For example death penalty (which predicts support for Trump and Brexit). Death penalty isn't (necessarliy) about revenge. It is an objection to the sacrilisation of the individual - that there is no line they cannot cross. In other words the well being of the society as a whole places conditions on the individual such that if they choose (Robert Sapolsky might put a word in) to do [such and such] the death penalty is warranted. It is a view that perceives dangers rather than a sanguine view of us all sailing along in calm waters.