Saturday 9 December 2023

Clued Up: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

“But, that’s the thing, mate, isn’t it? We showed ourselves to be nothing more useful than a bunch of angry old men, shaking our fists at the sky. Were we really that angry at Labour and the Greens? Or was it just the inescapable fact of our own growing irrelevancy to the country’s future that caused us to do it so much harm?”

LAURIE LOOKED UP for the umpteenth time from his newspaper. It was 4:10 in the afternoon and he was wondering where his mate Les had got to. By and large, Les was a very punctual guy. If he told you he’d meet you at 4:00 pm, then that’s when he’d appear. But it was now ten minutes after the hour and Laurie was reduced to doing the crossword puzzle. Four across, seven letters: A remedy for strife.

“Sorry I’m late, mate! Got held up.”

“Not like you, Les. What? Did you get waylaid by one of those Māori Party protests?”

“Heh! I wish! But there are not too many of those this far south. A pity, because we could use some of that Māori Party moxie in these parts. At least they’re fighting back.”

“I thought you were opposed to all that Treaty stuff? Didn’t you used to say that co-governance was undemocratic?”

Les took a long sip from his glass of pale ale, replacing it carefully on the circular coaster provided.

“Yes, I did, didn’t I. But since this new government got cracking, I’ve been having second thoughts. Serious second thoughts.”

“Oh, come on, Les. You knew what you were doing. National, Act and NZ First hardly made a secret of their intentions. You knew what you were voting for.”

“I’ve been thinking about that, too, Laurie. Wondering if all I really wanted was to put the boot into Labour and the Greens for making such a God Almighty mess of governing the country. All that woke nonsense.”

“And it was nonsense, Les! They were holding up four fingers and demanding that we see five!”

“Yeah, I know. And it made me so angry that I used my vote as a weapon, rather than as a shield, or, in the best way, as a tool. I swore to my late father I’d never, ever, do that – cast a vote in anger. But, dammit Laurie, that’s what I did!”

“Well, you can take some comfort from the fact that you weren’t the only one.”

“But, that’s the thing, mate, isn’t it? We showed ourselves to be nothing more useful than a bunch of angry old men, shaking our fists at the sky. Were we really that angry at Labour and the Greens? Or was it just the inescapable fact of our own growing irrelevancy to the country’s future that caused us to do it so much harm?”

“You really think that’s what we did, Les?”

“God forgive us, Laurie, yes, I think that’s exactly what we did. Just look at these Fair Pay Agreements. I mean they were a bloody good idea. They’d have made life easier for a whole lot of ordinary working people. We both knew they’d be gone before Christmas if we voted for the Nats and their mates, a reform you and I have been pushing for these past 40 years, and we helped to get rid of them, God forgive us Laurie, we made it happen!”

Laurie, fiddled with his ballpoint pen.

“Four across. Seven letters. A remedy for strife? Any ideas?

Les ignored the question.

“The Maori Party’s protests got me thinking, Laurie.”

“They were pretty small, mate. Nothing like 1981.”

“True enough, but I looked at the live broadcasts on Tuesday, and you know what I saw? I saw young people, Māori and Pakeha, standing together on that overbridge with their placards and their Tino Rangatiratanga flags, and you know what else I saw?”

“Yourself, 40 years ago?”

“Yeah, I saw that – of course I did. But, I saw something else, too, Laurie. I saw this country’s future, or, at least, a version of its future that offered up something better than greed and prejudice and keeping capitalism’s boot on the necks of the poor. I heard Rawiri Waititi talking about ‘Aotearoa Hou!’ – which sounded to me a whole lot like Mickey Savage’s ‘Applied Christianity’. And, do you know what else I saw? I saw a version of democracy that was alive. A version that offered more that triennial polling-booths and oaths to a distant king.”

“The rough and ready democracy of the picket-line?”

“Exactly! Exactly! Let me get you another ale. Oh, and by the way, the solution to Four Across. Seven letters. A remedy for strife.”

“Yeah? What is it?”


This short story was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 8 December 2023.


Tiger Mountain said...

Shock Horror…the Te Pāti Māori day of action reminded of the the new gen organised mass TPPA Auckland demo in 2016. Us old guard were there for sure, but the tactics and speed displayed were the young’uns stepping up, as per Ihumatāo.

The post colonial bal’heads are mounting their last stand here in Aotearoa NZ as per the MAGAs in USA. The demographics are against them, and politics is way wider than the Parliamentary form.

The Barron said...

"It is preposterous that the Māori Party should think that they are the authentic voice for Māori New Zealanders. I remind everyone again that party got less than 3 percent of the vote and a lot of their party voters were not Maori, a lot of them were hippies." - Shane Jones

Shane, the Nixon administration called - they want their rhetoric back.

Kat said...

Chap gets on a plane.....then he sees the Pope coming down the aisle...then the Pope sits in the seat beside him...the chap is overwhelmed....your highness...I mean your holiness..what an incredible moment this is to have you seated beside me, and I see you have a copy of the New York Times under your arm, I work for that paper...... that is alright my son said the Pope maybe you can help me with the crossword puzzle, I have been trying to complete it with this pencil....sure, sure said the chap....well said the Pope there is a four letter word pertaining to women that has the letters unt, any idea?.....well said the chap that would be aunt....great said the Pope that will do, oh by the way, do you have a rubber.....?

David George said...

Mea culpa Chris?

It's not that nothing else matters but perhaps our two heroes, Laurie and Les, could start by asking themselves a very fundamental question: what sort of country would we end up with when political and legal rights are mandated on the basis of ethnicity?
It's all a bit unlikely TBH. It's not as if Laurie and Les came down in the last shower of rain, they're not dripping wet wokesters taken in by the bullshit blandishments of critical race crackpottery or likely fall for the performative spectacle of the strutting psychopaths from the Maori party.

When people tell you what they are, that they believe in racial supremacy and separatism, it might pay to, at least, question the real intent of their proclamations on justice.

new view said...

Laurie and Les would still have their Labour coalition, if that coalition had kept them just left of centre and hadn't been led by the nose by Willie Jackson and company and of course distracted by the Greens who are more interested in woke social issues. Laurie and Les may only have one term of the current National coalition to wait for Labours return if National go too far right without good results to back them up. IMO it is about results rather than Left or Right. If Labour had delivered on some of their policies and shown those policies were beneficial they would still be in government. If National makes huge changes that don't improve the lives of the average citizen they will be gone too. The real difference between the current Government and opposition is that When Labour were in power they had mandate for change and money.They squandered the money and achieved nothing. National now have mandate for change but no money thanks to Labour, however no one will care about that they will just want results.

Anonymous said...

Poor old Les. No faith in his judgement but he should have. Labour had to go. Possibly the worst government, ever! They achieved so little for your average new Zealander, or as they probably desired, Aotearoan and they were the first government in nearly 30 years with a majority.

Built about as many state houses as National, but had a PR machine telling us it was so much better whist they created the hot mess of no responsibility, Kainga Ora, that has seen non KO residents celebrating the burning down of a brand new complex, such is the angst caused by their no eviction policy. Meanwhile house prices hit the afterburners under Labour.

The health system got exactly what it didn't need, a duplicate medical system based on race. Any indication of what ailed the sector took last place to race based ideology. Part of Labours us and them segregation programme that has created completely unrealistic expectations.

They passed a lot of legislation, not asked for or required that was all about ideology hidden behind a thin facade of reasonableness. Meanwhile crime, education, transport and hope went out the window.

And the wasted spending, with little to nothing to show for it, the bike bridge, the black hole that is the Auckland light rail where the only winners were the, (now very wealthy) consultancy profession, with not a mm of rail installed. Money or the value of it had little relevance.

As for the Fair Pay Act, it's title was probably the best part of it but I suspect it's consequences were anything but considered, and likely to achieve the reverse of its intentions like everything of the now dead Labour government.

And then there was the endless gaslighting to cover for all their wonderful policy failures. And the deliberate secrecy of the race policies that dominated their existence.

Les needn't beat himself up, Labour were just too shit to survive and frankly, quite dangerous. He had to do what he had to do, even if it was swallowing a dead rat. NZ was and is on a precipice because of them.

LittleKeith said...

Les, you did the right thing!

A tiny but perfect example of a far bigger problem, the duplicity of Labour and how they could not be trusted came right at the beginning of Hipkins tenure as PM. I think back then most of us gave him the benefit of the doubt and were prepared to listen, look and wait.

One of his "policy bonfire" throw aways was one of Labour's own goals, (in reality Julie Anne Genters), the Grey Lynn helicopter mummy knows best reduction of speed limits. The blanket, unjustifiable speed limits drops were pissing people right off, turning law abiding drivers into law breakers as Waka Kotahi dropped both rural and urban limits to plainly silly low limits. All in the name of the aspirational but hopelessly unobtainable "Road to Zero". That old hack from the bicycle lobby to actually mean - road to zero cars.

Anyway, just a few months before the bonfire Hipkin et al passed legislation that Waka Kotahi must comply with or be in breach of the law, namely "The Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022". It was signed into law in May of that year by none other than Labour's stand up capitalist stock broker guy, Michael Wood! And that meant the arbitrary reduction of speed limits regardless of the fact that most of these reductions were simply were unjustifiable. Now our new untested political student come PM assured us he had the Putin like ability to tell Waka Kotahi to ignore this new law he'd help pass and apply the reductions to only the worst 1% of roads. Hipkins decree was entirely sensible but also 100% bullshit. And he knew it and we all fell for it.

Come the election campaign the residents in Kieran McAnulty's electorate were up in arms because Waka Kotahi seemed to ignore the PM's decree and were blindly lowering limits there still, regardless. Obviously missing that page of the Hipkins script, McAnulty told reporters he had expressed support for his unhappy constituents, but his hands were tied, Waka Kotahi was following the law, with no mention it was Labour made. And of course no journalist joined the dots, but some voters sure did.

Tricky Chippy knew that of course but spun a yarn to get rid of a problem guessing most of us would trust him, be fooled and would forget all about it. This gig was as it always was with his other career student MP's Ardern, Robertson, etc, tell them you're going to change something with no intention of doing so, get it off the front page, and hey presto, job done!

That lie summed up the depths Labour got to, quite early on actually, treat voters like idiots, don't fix anything, never fix anything, over and over, when there was an uproar, tell the public you care and you are listening then do precisely nothing. A thoroughly untrustworthy political party. Unfortunately for them these charades had a real tangible consequence, Don't Pass Go, don't collect $200, go straight to opposition with virtually half your MP's now unemployed when the likes of Les said, "no more!!"

So Les, you did good. When you can't trust the party you always voted for, then stop voting for them!

I note not a soul in Labour is prepared to change a thing, and still don't look like they get it. Yet.

Aaron said...

@ David George

RE: "the strutting psychopaths from the Maori party"

The scale with psychopaths goes far beyond this party...

By FAR the most vital urgent and DEEP understanding everyone needs to gain is that a mafia network of manipulating PSYCHOPATHS are, and always have been, governing big businesses (eg official medicine, big tech, big banks, big religions), nations and the world -- the evidence is very solid in front of everyone's "awake" nose: see “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room”... (or

The official narrative is… “trust official science” and "trust the authorities" but as with these and all other "official narratives" they want you to trust and believe …

“We’ll know our Disinformation Program is complete when everything the American public [and global public] believes is false.” —William Casey, a former CIA director=a leading psychopathic criminal of the genocidal US regime

"2 weeks to flatten the curve has turned into...3 shots to feed your family!" --- Unknown

If you have been injected with Covid jabs/bioweapons and are concerned, then verify what batch number you were injected with at

"... doctors and scientists are now on the same lever of public confidence as the scum living in the swamp." --- Unknown in 2022

Anonymous said...

Next do a story on all the imported people of colour who voted for NACT...

M Hughes said...

Labour undermined and made a mockery of free speech and a free society. They sought to (and effectively did) control what the media said. Open debate is no more. Can this damage be undone?

zeke said...

Well my guess is that the author of this blog along with many of his faithful fellows are writhing in the pain after seeing their one chance of achieving their ideal society end up joining the other historic losers in the installation of paradise.

Every cockroach in creation was allowed to crawl out from under the woodwork to assist with their own fabrication of what turned out to be self demolition.

Perhaps .... just perhaps, there is now a touch of reality as to how fickle society is and as to how it reacts towards those whom attempt to force their will onto others.

I read with total dismay the latest contributions to The Standard. The ignorance to their own bigotry is astounding.

Though being witness to them being shot with a ball of their own shit is somehow rewarding, as is poetic justice

Tom Hunter said...


The post colonial bal’heads are mounting their last stand here in Aotearoa NZ as per the MAGAs in USA. The demographics are against them, - The Far Left

The Great Replacement is a QAnon, MAGA conspiracy theory. - also The Far Left


Anonymous said...

I agree with LittleKeith, Les did the right thing.

The outgoing government was a metaphorical car crash, well before Kiri Allan turned it into a literal one.

The Herald on Sunday (December 10) was trying to gather sympathy for "poor Labour MP David Parker". His bad year got worse while trying to do some DIY on his holiday house. While trying to dismantle an old verandah, it collapsed, and he fell 2 metres, breaking both his tibia and fibula, as well as bones in his knee. He claims "I'm actually quite a capable builder, and I've never been that stupid before" (!!??). He will be unable to return to Parliament until next year. The Clerk of the House will travel to Dunedin to swear him in as an MP in the meantime.

My advice to him is "don't bother". The Labour Party is like your bach (or crib?). It's so rotten as to be pointless trying to save it, and may even be dangerous to try. You may have assessed yourself as "a capable Cabinet Minister" but you've now been part of more self-harming stupid behaviour than ever before.

If you do stay, please, please be part of a public fight over tax policy, so you can be part of demolishing the Labour Party in the same way as you demolished your verandah.

(The only thing I'd like to see more is Damien O'Connor stick around and keep publicly disagreeing with Labour's stated policy by publicly calling Israel's actions in Gaza "genocide". Makes Labour look exactly like what they are, an ill-disciplined rabble, and a rabble with some ugly, deep, antisemitism as well).

What's the way forward then? Clearly the incoming government does intend to "fix" the economy, for their supporters, by cutting living standards for workers. But they also say they support, indeed intend to extend, democratic rights and free speech. Let's take them at their word. Use free speech, the right to organise, and the right of peaceful assembly to protest their actions. Also to discuss, on the picket lines, and elsewhere, is anything, or any one, from the Labour party salvageable? Am I wrong, can workers still advance their interests by voting Labour? Is there some solid timber I can't see concealed somewhere in the rotten structure?

Workers do need a party based on our unions, looking out for our interests. Labour hasn't been that party since Rogernomics, at the very latest. Attempting to replace it is both more difficult than ever before, and more urgent than ever before.

The Green alternative? To abandon free speech, democracy, and not only science in particular, but evidence based rational thought in general? To rely on "feelings" and a "return to "nature"? That would mean the return of natural phenomena like famines and plagues. Survivors of the collapse of a functioning technological society will have absolute equality of absolute poverty. A functioning, effective, small "l" labour party is needed to discuss, and present, alternatives to such Green insanity.

Trev1 said...

Hilarious. Is this satire?

Labour's destruction of this country's economy is now being revealed in all its gory detail. New Zealand will take years to recover. As for Maori ethnonationalism, you can stick it where the Sun doesn't shine.

Anonymous said...

No, they didn’t.