Scoop Election 08: edited by Gordon Campbell

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Gordon Campbell on the Bojo visit

July 25th, 2017

Column – Gordon CFirst published on Werewolf

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson is in town today, just over a year since his political career peaked… and then wobbled off into a grey zone of indecision. Yes, Johnson did front successfully for Brexit and he did help to rid British politics of David Cameron. But Johnson then went missing in action during the subsequent Conservative Party leadership contest, which eventually came down to a battle between Andrea Leadsom (who?) and Theresa May. His embarrassing early forays into Europe as Foreign Secretary have only underlined Johnson’s reputation as a gadfly and political lightweight.

Currently, Johnson is touring the former colonies, talking up the historical ties. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on why Trump is a good thing

July 24th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

At this point, its worth noting there’s one good reason for being grateful that Donald Trump is in the White House – and the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as the White House Communications Director is a good reminder of just what that reason is. As candidate and President alike, Trump has been a bad salesman for the policies he espouses. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the ch-ch-changes at IRD

July 20th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

New Zealand may pride itself on being relatively free of political corruption, but the corruption of our political language has built up a fine head of steam. On any number of issues we’re now supposedly engaged in a ‘conversation’ about policy options, even if that ‘conversation’ mostly involves the government saying what’s going to be what, while the rest of us get to shut up and listen.

In similar vein, job cuts aren’t happening at the IRD, exactly. Instead, there’s apparently a ‘transformation’ in store, and jobs won’t be axed ; no, they will be ‘transformed’ before our eyes into… non-jobs, if you happen to be among the unlucky legion of 1,900 who are being lined up for transformation, which seems to work rather like a secular version of the Rapture. Except that at IRD, not even your shoes will be left behind. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the Greens’ room for political pragmatism

July 19th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

Try and guess which party I’m talking about. They’ve led the way in promoting women to leadership positions, and in allowing their MPs to vote according to their conscience. They’ve never won much in the way of electorate seats, but one of their main pitches to voters involved a promise that they’d keep Parliament honest. The support for this party has largely come from middle class, urban-based, educated and younger voters disillusioned with the major parties. Long debunked as being too idealistic to make the compromises necessary to make policy gains, they’ve been described as a politically impractical ‘fairies at the bottom of the garden’ kind of party. Who are they?

Congratulations. You’re right: I’m talking about the Democrats in Australia. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on humane welfare, child support and tax

July 18th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

It made for an unusual Venn diagram, but Greens co-leader Metiria Turei and Finance Minister Steven Joyce were briefly sharing some common elements this week in the set that says – hey, don’t use the powers of the state in ways guaranteed to make the system you’re trying to defend worse, not better. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on National v Labour family support packages

July 13th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

Too bad that poverty can bring out the worst in people. Especially at times, among politicians well-fed, well-housed and amply rewarded by the same state that they’re prone to decry when it offers assistance to individuals and families who are less comfortably situated. Unfortunately, some of the political rhetoric that has surrounded the competing packages on income support and child poverty put out by Labour and National has been particularly mean-minded… Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on Winston Peters sitting pretty

July 11th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

Ah, Winston Peters… ’tis winter, but he could hardly be feeling more contented. Traditionally Peters and his party are good finishers in election campaigns and yet this year they’re already enjoying a strong 11% showing in this week’s ONE News Colmar Brunton poll and blimey, they seem to be doing just as well in the rolling poll of polls.

The same polling also indicates that the government’s partners (Peter Dunne, Act and the Maori Party) cannot currently deliver National a parliamentary majority. Peters is needed. Ergo, he must be wooed. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the current US moves against North Korea

July 10th, 2017

First published on Werewolf
If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict. Even if the worst case scenario comes true and North Korea does eventually become a fully fledged nuclear state… that would still make it only the ninth nuclear state on the planet, behind the US, Russia, China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan and Israel. No doubt, it is undesirable that the nuclear club should expand; but is it really worth risking a massively devastating war merely in order to prevent the likelihood of such expansion?

To compound the absurdity of the logic involved, there is plenty of evidence that – despite its bellicose rhetoric – North Korea sees its nuclear status as primarily defensive. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the Shane Jones concept

July 5th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

Since Shane Jones has never really existed, the media felt it necessary to invent him. Meet Jonesy, the rough diamond politico with the superhero powers of communication with working class Kiwi males! As Danyl McLauchlan indicated a few years ago, the media has fallen harder for its own creation than the voters have ever done. It’s understandable. For a while there, Shane Jones seemed like a walking slice of blokey Kiwiana. There were murmurs about him becoming Labour leader, and our first Maori Prime Minister.

In reality, Labour’s working class hero was anything but a champion of the battlers. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on Peter Thiel’s bad attitude problem

July 3rd, 2017

Column – Gordon Campbell

S o far, we haven’t been able to find what Peter Thiel may have said about us on Trip Advisor, after those four lightning trips he made here, totalling 12 days in all – but I’m sure he liked us. Really liked us. Funny though that our alleged … Read the rest of this entry »