How many times have we seen shots of Labour party leaders declaring unity while standing in front of caucus members, smiling the kind of smile you produce by sucking air through your teeth? 

Labour doesn't need more protests of unity. It needs more open debate.

People used to join the Labour party for the policy fights. A contest of ideas was how you sorted  good ideas from bad. Achievements like paid parental leave and the nuclear free policy were achieved only after advocates won the argument; Unity was earned by debate, not by shutting debate down and pretending there was no diversity of opinion on these issues.

You can't have a contest of ideas unless you accept into the fold people with a range of views, and celebrate ideological breadth. Bill Rowling and David Lange were both early sceptics of the nuclear free policy; yet today publicly arguing for a minority position within the party is mistaken for disloyalty.

So Andrew Little’s first challenge is to change this culture.

The 600,000 people who voted Labour a few months ago had nothing to do with this leadership contest. Most didn't care because the election purported to be a contest between fifty shades of beige:  ‘fairness’ and ‘opportunity for all’ as if anyone in Labour is in favour of unfairness and opportunity only for a wealthy few.

The exception was David Parker and Andrew Little differing over capital gains tax and the retirement age. Andrew Little wants to jettison Labour's election policies on those issues. He will now have to respond to Parker's question - if not a CGT, then what? Not forgetting the CGT is more popular in the polls than Labour right now.

Putting aside the irony of a union leader coming out against taxing capital in preference to labour, this was meaningful debate, but the front of the contest has left questions in the air because the organisers were paralysed by the prospect of actual difference of opinion.

For example, how will Labour protect the universality of superannuation if not by by increasing the age of entitlement in response to rising life expectancy? John Key's superannuation policy will inevitably result in rising pressure for the rate of superannuation to be cut or means tested. (That's why I disagree strongly with Bryce Edwards' claim that increasing the age of superannuation is 'right wing'; It is much more progressive than alternatives, whether changing the rate of super, or taxing working people - who die earlier - more to pay for it.)

What a pity these issues were not honestly thrashed out instead of a contest to see who could most frequently pepper their emails with risk-free platitudes .

The last time the Labour party avoided a serious debate on the economy, the policy vacuum was filled by Roger Douglas, and a privatisation agenda to make Thatcher blush.

Labour needs urgently to foster a red meat debate about a progressive agenda for the economy. Let the best ideas win. 

If people can’t debate new ideas within Labour without being excluded or denounced for treachery then they will be incentivised to drift away because the debate will occur elsewhere. And Labour will be the victim of the contest of ideas, not the owner of it.

Andrew Little needs to take on the dysfunction in the party. Changing the leader is the easy bit. 

Changing the party will be tough. Change is uncomfortable, and Andrew Little has to be prepared to have some people inside the party with a vested interest in the status quo not liking him, starting with many who put him there. If change isn’t making us uncomfortable, then its not real change.

If Labour can’t confront the deep structural explanations for defeat it can’t recover.

He needs to put a stop to calls for people to be excluded from caucus or the party and start focusing on who to attract, and he needs to champion genuine democracy in the party. The president should be directly elected like the leader was, as should NZ Council members, and the pattern of patronage and election by rotten boroughs needs to go.

Sector groups can be a sign of diversity in the party, but when success in the party relies on ability to get the patronage of unions or organised sectors then the system incentivises an inward focus and palace politics at the expense of recruitment and outward appeal.

I am supportive of Labour’s affiliate membership arrangements it is implausible that people voted in the election without any of the candidates for leader knowing who they are or having the ability to speak directly to them. 

If you want to be part of Labour you should have to indicate that to the party, not just to the affiliates, and candidates need to be able to lobby and influence those voters. 

Having been the beneficiary of this system, Andrew has moral authority to change it. That is a pathway to growth and therefore a springboard to appeal anew to New Zealanders.

 

 

Comments (26)

by Lynn Prentice on November 18, 2014
Lynn Prentice

Labour doesn't need more protests of unity. It needs more open debate.

Hey Josie, I had to laugh when I read that. The most open forum on the left is at The Standard with the largest number of participants. By my estimates, probably somewhere a bit over a half of the commenting participants are Labour members engaged in a two way debate. 

But all I ever seem to hear from you on the media is how terrible it is that we debate about where Labour is heading. 

Perhaps you should define what you mean by "debate"?

by Josie Pagani on November 18, 2014
Josie Pagani

The Standard has a reputation for demonising people it doesn't agree with; the tone of debate is ugly and personal attacks are common. It's the lack of self awareness about that which is part of the problem. Your bloggers demand that the Labour Party purge itself of people on the left with views that differ from the consensus on the Standard; and in worse case scenarios, you guys dish out life time bans.

I have never questioned that The Standard represents a legitimate and necessary group of voices on the Left. But when many of your bloggers repeatedly call for people like me to be excommunicated from the Labour Party, you can hardly call that healthy debate.

Don't you think the tone on The Standard might be one of the reasons that the Labour party is polling at below 25% and robust debate is lacking in the party?

by Tom Semmens on November 18, 2014
Tom Semmens

Bye bye Josie.

by Alan Johnstone on November 18, 2014
Alan Johnstone

On the rare occasions I read The Standard it reminds me of the scene in "The Life of Brian" where the Judean Peoples Front are arguing with the Popular Front for Judea. The Romans are forgotten.

The NZ left has become self obsessed and inward looking, it's in a death spiral. Andrew Little needs to talk to the people that voted for Helen Clark who no longer vote Labour.

I have rather high hopes for him, he's authentic, a rare quality in modern politics.  

by Lynn Prentice on November 18, 2014
Lynn Prentice

So? We are there for robust debate - says so in our policy and has done so since we started. Part of that is making pointed comment about the media commentariat or politicians or policies or almost anything else. Nowhere does it say that comments have to be particularly nice about people. Just open debate that is at least vaguely relevant to the topic and doesn't cause us to waste any time in court. 

As I said (and you avoided as usual) - perhaps you should define what *you* think 'open debate' consists of. So far you seem to be defining it as being nicer about Josie Pagani and your friends. I personally don't think that has much to do with debate and has more to do with avoiding looking at what online debate is actually like.

It really isn't hard to set up uninteresting blog sites with very limited audiences. It is a lot harder (and a lot of dedicated work) to build a culture of a blog site that is interactive, dynamic and have a reasonable sized audience who do debate. But of course from what I have seen of your views you do appear to have that pontificating from on high attitude (ie broadcasting) that probably doesn't lend yourself to doing the required work.

The Standard has a reputation for demonising people it doesn't agree with...

"The Standard" is a machine. Only a fool would think that a program can think. But I guess attacking some abstraction like dumb code is easier than being specific about what you don't like about individual people debating. 

We don't have, and never have had, an editorial line. Authors disagree with each other. Commenters disagree with authors. Commenters disagree with each other. I routinely disagree with almost everyone. But perhaps you could look for actual instances and argue with the individuals who make those comments rather than being a fool and tarring everyone who writes there with the same brush. 

For instance, you'd be hard put to find an instance where I have called for anyone to be excommunicated (I'm usually very specific about what I feel individuals flaws are thought). Yet somehow you have just said that I do call for that because I write comments and posts on a blog. My view is that qualifies as lazy personal abuse. 

And you seldom actually deal with any of the criticisms that people level at you. Instead you go for the 'non-personal' attacks on whole groups of individuals apparently as a way of avoiding debating the points raised. 

Is it any wonder that people who like the debating environment tend to view you as a bit of a troll unable to debate constructively and treat you accordingly.

Don't you think the tone on The Standard might be one of the reasons that the Labour party is polling at below 25% and robust debate is lacking in the party?

No. For a starter the number of people who actually read TS are a tiny fraction of the people who regularly hear you slagging off the site, Labour policies, and people in Labour every week. Perhaps you should ask yourself that same question in mirror some time? That would show some self-awareness. But I suspect that was more of a blame-shifting technique.

Secondly,  the people that read sites and your entire audience are a fraction of the voting population. I suspect that you have a rather over-rated idea of the effect of blogs or commentators anyway. Most people make up their minds based on what they see and hear themselves personally. Often that is an issue about messaging or the lack thereof.

Thirdly, where are the other blogs that do operate in this asinine and rather purist way you think that they should operate? I've been around social online media for more than 30 years and this paragon of civilised debate isn't common except in a few relatively specialised zones. Offhand in NZ the only one of any size that has an active comments section is  probably Public Address. But it deals with a particular segment of polite society who like dealing that way, developed over decades, and has a relatively limited number of comments and posts. Mostly blog sites that operate that way tend to be the international sites who draw on small segments of large populations of people with specialised interests - science, computing, and the mummy networks being the most common.

The space for people to start sites is virtually unlimited, and we (and particularly me) try help NZ political sites start up as much as we can. That is why we provide a lot of the linkages on the site, repost posts with different viewpoints than those of the authors,  and why we deliberately don't try to hog the whole blogging space on the left. Incidentally that would be surprising easy to do in my opinion. As far as I am concerned, the more diversity of opinion that is around on the left blogs, the better the debate is likely to be.

But the fact is that you have to gather an audience to be able to be heard and to do that you have to provide a space for people to argue in a two way fashion with all of those things that you appear to deplore (like heated debate and a bit of abuse mixed in with the arguments) before they get engaged.

Effectively we limit what we allow to commentary on to what is legal, reasonably moral, and doesn't dissuade authors from writing posts. Which is why we keep running and don't have Cameron Slater's current legal issues. 

So effectively your disagreement is with the laws in NZ. Good luck on trying to change them. You'll run into a lot more objections to laws trying to limit free speech. 

by Charlie on November 19, 2014
Charlie

Josie, in the broadest terms I think you're right, although I would likely disagree with some of historic policy 'wins' you cited (like free student loans - a vastly bigger boondoggle than NZ Super).

Labour has to start with a clean sheet of paper, agree some basic values and work forward from there. It will take a while and it will take leadership.

Unfortunately the Party has elected a 'union heavy' as it's new leader who is (once again) unpopular within the caucus. In my mind one of the basic issues that Labour has to address to ensure its long viability is its linkage with the unions. It needs to represent more than 16% of the workforce. I don't see that happening with Little in charge.

by Wayne Mapp on November 19, 2014
Wayne Mapp

Hi Lynn,

Having a robust debate is not based on the limits of the law of free speech. Surely you recognize that a site full of insults is not conducive to reasoned debate. 

I am not the least surprised that Josie finds many of the comments directed toward her hard to take. At least I have the advantage of obviously not being part of Labour or the Greens when I comment, so that tends to limit the level of invective that I am subject to. But because Josie is inside the tent there seems to be no restraint.

So your site has mostly become various parts of the left talking to each other with some commenters from the centre right  or right chipping in. But the one group who are truly ostracized is the moderate left. I guess because they are seen to be traitors to the revolution.

Now of course The Standard can be run like that if it wants - as you say free speech.

But it is why Josie primarily puts her comments on this site.

by Jenny Kirk on November 19, 2014
Jenny Kirk

From what I have read and heard of Josie Pagani's opinions, and the response of the left on The Standard to them, it seems to me that its because she states a view trending towards a rightwing and conservative opinion which doesn't fit easily with the left - alongside the fact that she is a known commentator for the "left" on the mainstream media.  Its okay to have opposing views.  But to be called a commentator for the "left" and to encourage this supposition, is contradictory, and undoubtedly annoying to those on the left, which of course leads to robust language and personal derision.  In other words, Josie is constantly creating that situation of having derision personally directed to herself by setting herself up as a commentator for the left.

Wayne Mapp - a known rightwing conservative - describes Josie as moderate left.  From my perspective, (having spent almost 27 years actively arguing against neo-liberal policies in Labour) I see her as being rightwing and in support of the continuance of those neo-liberal  policies which Roger Douglas started, and which have not abated in the thirty years since.  She might be "in the tent" but the tent is split two ways - those who denounce neo-liberal economics, and those who think its okay.  And when someone puts themselves into a position of publicly commenting on what should be Labour policy which is opposite to what many others believe, then she (or he) has to expect disagreement.

by Wayne Mapp on November 19, 2014
Wayne Mapp

Hi Jenny,

Do you think Helen Clark was a neo-liberal, or for that matter is Andrew Little?

Helen Clark did not change the Reserve Bank Act, she did not nationalise industries, she did not (nor could she legally) introduce tariffs or licensing, she did not introduce a CGT. She did replace the Employment Contracts Act, she did restore monopoly ACC provision, she did introduce Kiwisaver, Working for Families. And she did the China FTA. 

Andrew Little has given no indication he wants to reverse the last 30 years (or in the words of the left, "end the neo-liberal experiment"), rather he sounds he wants to make the modern economy fairer.

So as you seem to acknowledge, Josie is in that part of Labour which believes it is possible to make the existing economy fairer, without a completely radical approach.

Now obviously, as an observer of politics, I expect to see debate on that. It is the personal attacks and insults that surprise me. 

And the attacks against Josie and others (Nick Leggat) have sufficiently filtered into the mainstream, that many middle voters can readily assess that Labour has been a house divided. So one of Andrew Little's first jobs is getting everyone acting as a united force. And as Josie notes that is not the same as having no debate in the party.

When I was Caucus Policy Chair in National, we established Policy Advisory Groups (PAGS) covering different areas of policy. The PAGS covered party activists, experts and caucus members. Lots of debate in them, then a conclusion on the way forward.

 

by Charlie on November 19, 2014
Charlie

Jenny: ...it seems to me that its because she states a view trending towards a rightwing and conservative opinion which doesn't fit easily with the left...

So Josie is right wing? :-)  

Jenny, I suspect your political compass is misaligned. There is no right wing in this country. No skinheads marching with Nazi armbands. No National Front. No Golden Dawn. The furthest Right we get is 'mildly conservative' and I would place Josie slightly to Left of centre - where Labour should be, but isn't.

I would also guess that the National party is slightly to the Left of the UK's Labour party at the moment, judging by actual policy rather than political rhetoric.

This goes right to the core of the problem facing what remains of the Left here in NZ. They're so far out there with the fairies, they've lost touch with reality. 

 

 

by Jenny Kirk on November 19, 2014
Jenny Kirk

For goodness sake, Wayne Mapp - Labour is constantly having debate - about policy, about how its governing bodies should perform, about whether individuals agree with an MP's comments/beliefs or not, about world affairs and NZ's place in them, the Treaty of Waitangi, being a part of the Commonwealth, being republican, being a puppet of the USA, going to war in other people's countries, how the country's economy should be run, the list is endless .............. and Josie Pagani misleads you and others on this website and in the media when she suggests otherwise when she says things like her comments above ....." yet today publicly arguing for a minority position within the party is mistaken for disloyalty." and  " If people can’t debate new ideas within Labour without being excluded or denounced for treachery ...."

It is this sort of misinterpretation from Josie Pagani that leads to her being the subject of disdain.   People do debate new ideas/old ideas/controversial ideas - all the time - within the Labour Party and in other arena.  And Pagani does the hundreds of Labour members who do so with robustness, passion, conviction (and yes - the odd uncouth comment) a disservice when she suggests otherwise.

by barry on November 19, 2014
barry

Why do you think that unity is incompatible with robust debate?

Labour can be united behind a leader and still have different ideas.  Of course come election time there can only be one official Labour policy and all must support it wholeheartedly even if it is not their preferred policy.

The problem for Labour is that the default position in the media has become a story of a divided party with all MPs looking for a chance to backstab their leader.  It is not helped by radio shows where people who purport to be supporters are spending more time criticising the party than the opposition.

If Labour is to gain support then they must give people reason to believe in them.  that means they must show that they believe in themselves and each other.  So some things are off limits.  It is no longer acceptable to debate the leadership of the party. That debate has finished until at least the next election.

Little has expressed his preference for some policies and I am sure those will have a lot of sway.  It might be said that he has nailed his colours to the mast on CGT and super, and it would be untenable not to go into the election with policies compatible with his recent statements.  But the exact policies for the next election are not chosen yet.

There is plenty of scope for debate in the party about policies before the next election manifesto is decided on.  However the parliamentary wing of the party have to be a bit more consistent.  You can't have fundamental differences in what the MPs are saying.  The caucus has to agree what the parliamentary line will be on non-conscience issues.  The caucus is democratic and I am sure that they will sometimes decide on a line that is different from Little's preference.

That is unity not conformity.

by MJ on November 19, 2014
MJ

Josie has a very privileged place in the media. She writes here, appears on television, writes for the Listener and in the Herald and if I recall correctly has appeared on RNZ. Not much exclusion there for Josie.

Josie very very rarely writes a piece of debate without also playing the victim card. She managed one or two pieces in the election campaign.

I would love someone to do some analysis on that- how many times does she write complaining about something Martin Bradbury (the mover and shaker) has fired off or about being silenced, and how much time she spends attacking Labour. 

And yes to the other posters- the Greens should be going with National, the National party is centerist'  *cough* taking away the right to tea breaks and collective bargaining *cough* ad nauseum and so on.

As for a National Party stalwart advocating for open public debate, I am very anxious to see [insert candidate name here] and how they are very happy with the direction the country is taking.

 

 

by Ross on November 20, 2014
Ross

Wayne

who are the National MPs who oppose John Key's failure to adress the superannuation issue? It seems that that is his particular hobby horse on which he won't permit debate. Because of his peculiar personal opposition to debating changes to Super, why should other suffer?

by Wayne Mapp on November 20, 2014
Wayne Mapp

Ross,

I spoke about this issue at the Fabian Society discussion Monday a week ago.

Essentially there is no need to start increasing the age of eligibility till around 2020 or so. That means the age would get to 67 around 2030. So when John Key made the commitment back in 2008, he knew that it was a reasonable position to take for at least a decade. 

Obviously at some point prior to 2020 there will be a fresh discussion on the issue.

So I can see Labour going into the 2017 election saying it won't increase the age of eligibility til 2023 (two terms). And that would be credible enough. It would imply that age starts to go up after the 2023 election.

 

by weka on November 20, 2014
weka

The most consistent criticism of Josie I see on the standard is that she regularly slags off the left in her various media commentator roles, and that she cozies up to the likes of Matthew Hooton.

Pascal's bookie summed it up best here,

A partisan* pundit’s job is to move the conversation towards their view, and away from their opponents. By doing that they shift the centre. A political party has to capture the centre when in opposition. It’s harder to do that when the pundits who are their supposed allies are calling them and their supporters ‘radicals’ or ‘loons’ or otherwise framing their own side as weird.

This is basic, basic, stuff. If you are a left wing pundit, then every time the right wing pundits are agreeing with you about the ‘nasty left’ and saying ‘there there’ you are getting your butt kicked at your one fucking job.

 

The whole thing is worth a read for its insight into political commentating (and note that right wing commentators aren't confused about their job) http://thestandard.org.nz/josie-pagani-replies/#comment-753124

 

Of course, it can be argued that Josie IS shifting the conversation to her view (as Jenny is pointing out). IMO this is why so many people are pissed off with her. Irrespective of how she can be defined in left/right terms, she actively takes part in shifting the left wing narrative to the right. We need the narrative shifting back to the left not further to the right.

 

 

by Wayne Mapp on November 20, 2014
Wayne Mapp

Weka, you are wrong. There is no future for Labour if it goes further left. Learn from the two most successful Prime Ministers of the last 25 years, Helen Clark and John Key. They both won by appealing to the centre. And they both know way more about politics than Pascal's Bookie.

by Lee Churchman on November 20, 2014
Lee Churchman

Andrew Little has given no indication he wants to reverse the last 30 years (or in the words of the left, "end the neo-liberal experiment"), rather he sounds he wants to make the modern economy fairer.

This uninteresting and to me has little to do with real politics. If you'd polled most people in 1983, you would have found not much interest among the public for the market led reforms that Roger Douglas instituted. Yet he did so, and people followed along. That's what will happen with the next such change, so worrying about how to get elected is really a PR problem, not a policy problem. In fact, most political commentary now is about PR rather than politics.

We have had 30 years in which inequality has risen and many people my age are now worse off than their parents were. If M. Piketty is correct, it will only get worse - picking around the edges is not good enough. Part of what has made this politically acceptable is that the burden of those policies has mostly fallen on people born after 1970. That's obviously not going to last. 

Economic paradigms change every so often, and we're probably due for such a change in the next ten years or so. The job of people on the left is to work out what it's going to be. The left is conceptually well equipped for doing so, because it comes from a tradition which is skeptical of capitalism (Piketty's work has been a nice shot in the arm for this). Those are the arguments worth having. The people currently in positions of authority in our society are unwilling or unable to have such discussions, so eventually they will have to be replaced, just as has happened before.

Josie is not alone among "left" media commentators in that she does not do this, because the function of media commentators these days appears to be to close off the idea that there are any real alternatives. That is silly. There are always alternatives. The future is always open. If left commentary is going to be worth anything, it needs to be much more skeptical of current political pieties and much more imaginative. Yes, that is risky, but to do otherwise is cowardice. 

 

by Josie Pagani on November 20, 2014
Josie Pagani

First of all, the irony of you accusing me of supporting Rogernomics Jenny, is that you voted for it in parliament and I joined a political party to stop it - which you refused to do when you were asked to.

MJ/Weka  - I challenge you to find the commentary from me that Helen Clark, Ed Milliband, or Bill Shorten would disagree with. If you think their views are right wing, then your problem is with modern social democracy.

Calling out abusive behaviour is not playing the victim - it’s about calling out behaviour that drives progressive women out of having a political voice. People will judge for themselves if Lynn’s attitudes are consistent with encouraging progressive women to be part of the discourse.

The point of my post was that it must be possible for progressive people to debate the way forward without calling any reform “Rogernomics”. 

It wasn’t attacking the Labour party when I warned this year that it was headed for disaster. I was stating what most people knew, and I turned out to be right. Some comments above fail to recognise that there was an election and we lost; it’s time to let reality intrude and learn from what was a predictable loss. That is going to mean some change or there will be a repeat. 

One lesson is that when the Labour Party ignores a need for change, then change is imposed on the country by those who have no commitment to Labour principles. That is not a pathway to Rogernomics; it’s how you avoid Rogernomics.

by Alex Coleman on November 20, 2014
Alex Coleman

Wayne, I think you miss the point there a bit.

The centre isn't a fixed place. It moves. Key moved sharply towards the centre to win, and has moved the centre slightly rightwards since then.

In 2008 Key made great play with moves to distance himself from the right. The Anti-smacking thing, the nukes, the promise to not sell assets etc.

My memories of 99 are more fuzzy, but I seem to recall that Labour came to power with a platform of raising taxes, changing the ECA, putting an end to asset sales and fixing the broken public sector. 

Certainly one could say that those positions are quite similar, but it would be misleading to say that they were both 'moving to the centre'.

Also, the criticisms of Josie are about the role she plays as a pundit, which is not the same thing as a politician. A politician has to appeal to the centre, sure. But that is a fairly meaningless phrase. To add meaning to it, one might say that they have to convince people that the centre is where they are standing.

by weka on November 20, 2014
weka

"MJ/Weka  - I challenge you to find the commentary from me that Helen Clark, Ed Milliband, or Bill Shorten would disagree with. If you think their views are right wing, then your problem is with modern social democracy."

 

Josie, I didn't call you right wing. In fact I made a point of saying that it's irrelevant where you sit on the left right spectrum. It's what you do that attracts so much criticism. The way you use your power as a supposedly left wing commentator actively drives the narrative about the left to the right, when what we need is to move left. I don't have a problem with you being a left of centre neoliberal sympathiser. I have a problem with you dismissing the people to the left of you and using your power to create false narratives about them.

 

There's nothing wrong with having a critique of Labour. But you have an ongoing pattern of saying negative things about the left, esp in the context of talking with right wing commentators. This is detrimental, it undermines a pan left movement, and it suggests that (a) you see your natural allies as to the right of you, and (b) you believe that those to the left of you should be marginalised. That is not left wing.

 

by Lynn Prentice on November 20, 2014
Lynn Prentice

Hi Wayne,

So your site has mostly become various parts of the left talking to each other with some commenters from the centre right  or right chipping in.

Which is exactly what was intended. It wasn't meant as a site that just talked to or was for just one part of the left. From the about..

Why “The Standard”?

The Standard newspaper – from where our masthead comes – was founded bylabour movement activists in the 1930s. They used it as a vehicle to share their views with a broader audience – a perspective they felt the mainstream media was representing poorly. We think the same is true today.

What’s your political ‘angle’?

We come from a variety of backgrounds and our political views don’t always match up but it’d be fair to say that all of us share a commitment to the values and principles that underpin the broad labour movement and we hope that perspective will come through strongly as you read the blog.

And as for the 

But the one group who are truly ostracized is the moderate left. I guess because they are seen to be traitors to the revolution.

That is just complete bullshit. For a starter, just consider my background. I've never been unionised, come from a family of managers, been a soldier, either worked as a manager or a techhead in private industry my entire working life, have a BSc and MBA. Consequently  I'm generally known as being a right-winger on all matters financial and in many social.

I'm also very blunt and quite clear when expressing my opinion about how things are likely to work. That is because I work amongst engineers and because I have spent decades on the net. I'm not abnormal on either the net or in The Standard.

But most of the people who comment at TS are pretty much the same. They are generally pretty well educated and will tell you what they think about any idea, explain why and tell you why they think your differing opinion sucks. That is what the site is for.

The Standard comes from a dual tradition. It is from the labour movement and all that it spawned. It  also derives from the internet tradition of allowing a very wide range of open and robust debate with constraints being about behaviour - not about how you express yourself or suppressing what people want to say. Neither are particularly mealy mouthed about expressing opinions and having a argument about them. Neither are exactly interested in people holding themselves out as being an 'authority' on something. They want to know why you hold that opinion.

Now what that means is that if you want to hold a position, then you have to be prepared to defend it. That is what debate is about - a two way conversation. 


by Lee Churchman on November 20, 2014
Lee Churchman

One lesson is that when the Labour Party ignores a need for change, then change is imposed on the country by those who have no commitment to Labour principles.

I don't trust the Labour caucus either, Josie.

by Jenny Kirk on November 21, 2014
Jenny Kirk

Josie - you obviously don't understand the internal working ethics of caucus nor the rules which Labour candidates agree to abide by - and which hobble any MPs from commenting publicly and negatively on current stated policies.  Nor are you aware of my personal history of constantly battling Rogernomics from "inside the tent" in those times, nor afterwards.  So maybe its best not to get too personal about others when you are ignorant of the circumstances.

 

 

by John Hurley on November 23, 2014
John Hurley

Google *Standard* you will read  "voice of the labour movement".  No way. It is the voice of a narrow set of ideas that has infested it's way into academia,  journalism and politics.

The difference between then and now is that the labour leadership stood for NZ workers. 

Now those who claim to represent us are our worst enemy. They hunger to be at the vanguard to a borderless world (and beggar the consequences).

by MJ on November 24, 2014
MJ

Ok Josie I'll bite. I'm going to suggest that nothing concerning Shane Jones and JT would have been written by Helen Clark, Ed Miliband or Bill Shorten, and yet they (SJ and JT) have been your patron saints of the kind of people Labour should be...errr...completely reorganising itself to put in leadership positions or onto the front bench that they'd resigned from. Nor would any of them wasted time writing a column responding to Martyn Bradbury. 

Many of the things you write could have been written by the names you mention. Some could not. Nor would the tone- 'demonisation' 'treachery', 'villification'. It's not the tone one uses to lead. And the tone you use to describe Labour reaches a much wider audience than the Standard.

As for progressive women and The Standard it seems many happily reside and debate there, including one of the 'admin' Karol and not, as many have initally believed, Lynn. 

For example, I'd also say that none of the names you mention would have repeatedly praised Stuart Nash for running a non-Labour campaign and winning, and neglecting to include the effect of Garth McVicar on his victory, as you did on the election night coverage.

I don't think it is attacking progressive women to point that out.

When you write about the issues and debate on the issues you write much which is sense or worth engaging with. I thought your Herald election articles did a good job of presenting key issues for the left.

Weka's concerns about your driving of narratives about Labour, on other occasions, certainly has validity.

Anyway, Little has won. He seems to think CGT and raising the super age played a part in the election loss, not commentators at the standard, and has won the chance to present the party to the electorate in this new light. The debate on these issues has simmered for years, and won't vanish because of this surely.

 

 

 

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