Scoop Election 08: edited by Gordon Campbell

On the challenges facing Labour’s new leader

November 29th, 2011

While some are urging Labour to take its own good time over deciding on a new leadership team, there is little reason to think that a delay would be productive, and not merely an occasion for more sniping and bloodletting instead.

After all, the election loss and Phil Goff’s subsequent resignation can hardly have come as a bolt from the blue. Labour has been facing that likelihood for the past three years. Nor are either of the main contenders unknown quantities to the Labour caucus. If anything, the caucus already has Too Much Information about both of them.

Reportedly, Finance spokesperson David Cunliffe is running for the top job with Nanaia Mahuta as his deputy. If so, the choice of Mahuta exposes just how isolated Cunliffe is within the caucus that he purports to lead. The other team likely to step up to the plate – David Parker and Grant Robertson – looks more substantial as a management team, but less capable of winning votes for Labour among the wider public. Unfortunately for Labour, it isn’t bidding to run a small government agency – a task for which Parker/Robertson would be a crackerjack duo – but the entire country.

That’s the dilemma. Cunliffe has more charisma, and outreach ability. Yet given the hostility to him from some within caucus, he would have to be watching his back 24/7 for detractors in his own ranks at a time when he needs to be uniting the caucus behind the fresh direction he intends to chart.

Just what that direction might be – and what lessons either Parker or Cunliffe have drawn from Saturday’s election result – remains something of a mystery. It is not as if they are polar opposites, ideologically speaking. Both tend to be regarded as being at the rightward end of the centre left political spectrum, on the economy at least. Both are smart enough to realise what a difficult task Labour faces to reconnect with the wider public on policy terms – and tonally as well, while in opposition.

The problems Labour faces are not confined simply to New Zealand, but are being faced by centre-left parties everywhere in the world. For now, the centre-right are in the ascendancy, for reasons the centre-left is finding difficult to counter. For one thing, centre-left political parties tend to lack a compelling narrative on the economy that voters can readily grasp. Earlier this year, the venerable British Political Quarterly put it this way:

The narrative of the right is that state spending has to be reduced, welfare stripped down, protections diminished, regulations stripped away and restrictions on business removed in order that a kind of economy can be created that is vibrant enough to survive and prosper in a world where economic power has shifted. Whatever its merits, this does offer a coherent account of a political strategy. As yet, the left does not have a narrative, strategy and programme to set against it. Simply opposing cuts is not enough.

Elsewhere in the same issue of the journal, the British Labour politician David Milliband pinpointed a further challenge. In the mid 1990s, President Bill Clinton perfected the process of triangulation, whereby the centre left pre-empted its opponents by stealing their policy positions as adjuncts to its own (and necessarily more limited) policy agenda. Welfare reform for instance, became a centre-left initiative under Clinton. Since then however, the centre-right have turned the tables on triangulation and – by using the language and style of ‘compassionate conservatism’ – they have co-opted the left’s traditional language of caring and sharing.

In the process, as Milliband says, “an electoral detoxification of the right” has occurred. On social issues, the centre right has returned from the extremist verge and occupied the centre ground, stylistically at least. “Where once centre-right parties seemed antediluvian on social issues, they embraced a new world of equal gay and women’s rights. Where they seemed in hock to the rich, they upped the rhetoric against the unacceptable face of capitalism.” At Davos last year, Milliband pointed out by way of example, it was Nicolas Sarkozy who lamented a world where “everything was given to financial capital and almost nothing to labour…”

David Cameron and John Key have learned that lesson well and tailored their message – and their agendas – accordingly. That relative moderation may leave Key’s more Neanderthal supporters in corporate New Zealand chafing at the bit, but for now, Key seems highly sensitive to the electoral consequences of confirming the old stereotypes of the centre right. On his watch, he plans to give Labour no room to depict him convincingly to middle New Zealand as a mere enabler of a market economy where people are bought and sold as commodities, and are left feeling defenceless and stranded. Key’s new brand of allegedly ‘compassionate’ conservatives don’t act that way anymore – at least, not overtly.

Key’s agenda for welfare reform may seem like an exception to the ‘softline’ approach. In fact, during these harsher economic times, the centre right has been very successful in deflecting the anxiety of a middle class fearful of downwards social mobility for themselves and their children onto beneficiaries, who have been caught in the worst of both worlds – being seen as idle by those above them on the earnings ladder, while not receiving enough in state support to live on adequately, much less to escape their dependency. In tough times, being tough to the vulnerable feels good to many middle class voters, not bad.

As a result of Key’s brilliantly successful exercise in triangulation, the scare tactics used by Labour throughout his first term rarely hit the mark. Instead, they left the opposition sounding whiny and alarmist, and preaching only to its declining flock of the converted. Whoever replaces Goff at the Labour helm has to re-calibrate the attack on Key so that it hits the real target, not the imaginary one.

That is going to be quite a challenge. As Milliband says, it will have to involve turning around what has now become– after 30 years of neo-liberalism – an entrenched hostility to the role of government. Formerly, government was seen as the rescuer of people who had been abused and marginalised by the free market:

The role of the state was to empower people, first of all through the vote, then through rights, then through services. But that argument has now been turned…The association of the left with the state has become a stick with which it is beaten ; and the very expansion of the role of government to meet popular demand has made it more vulnerable to the charge that it is a powerful ogre, and not a flimsy line of defence.

Still, Labour has no choice. By nature, it is a reformist party, not a conservative one. The Achilles heel of the Key government is always going to be its economic incompetence, and it can blame the international conditions for that ineptness for only so long. Labour therefore has to carry out its agenda of private sector reform in a way that will increase efficiency and generate wealth, while still meeting its traditional concerns about fairness and re-distribution.

Cunliffe is the high risk, high return gamble for that difficult balancing act – Parker the safer, low wattage option. (Lets not even contemplate the empty coffers of the Labour Party itself, which looks more like a mail drop these days, than a viable party with members and activists on the ground.)

Given that the achievable goal this term may be only to get Labour back within striking distance of National, it will probably be the next leader after this one who gets to form the next Labour-led government. That’s how it worked out for National in its own climb back from defeat in 2002. (Bill English was succeeded by Don Brash, before Key finally did the trick.) Seen in that light, this may be quite a good contest to lose.


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    1. 42 Responses to “On the challenges facing Labour’s new leader”

    2. By Relic on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Fair enough analysis Gordon. But I wonder what the middle class view of welfare dependents might be if their own payments were withdrawn-in work tax credit, i.e. Working For Families. Key won’t go there or will he? All the occupy issues remain to slap him about the gourd with.

    3. By donna on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Labour’s great hole – and it is a hole entirely of their own making, along with Labour in the UK and the current Obama administration – is that in attempting to appeal to some imaginary median voter they bought into the nonsense about the evil state and all the neoliberal policies that went with it. In its last term the Clark government was virtually indistinguishable from a National government. It’s no wonder no one trusts them.
      The fact that so many people felt they had no one representing their interests can be seen in the low voter turnout. This is a problem common in Western democracies as mainstream parties have shifted to the right and failed to deal with the fundamental economic changes brought about a globalising labour market, specifically high unemployment and stagnating incomes for wage and salary earners. Blaming beneficiaries for a massive income shift up the ladder is a convenient distraction. And it mostly works, at least until the middle classes start to feel those austerity measures nipping at their own heels. And as the Greeks are finding out, by then it’s too late.
      Labour has a lot of work to do to throw off the the last 30 years of taking their working class base for granted. I’m not sure either Cunliffe or Parker are the ones to do it.
      (Sorry, this is rather long…)

    4. By Ruz on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Good analysis. I tend to agree that the next Labour Prime Minister will be whoever replaces the successor to Goff. My pick would be Andrew Little who would come in as Labour leader at that part of the political cycle when the public starts to show signs of weariness for the incumbent Government.

    5. By Peter on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      I am wondering if the best place to start is to get rid of the terms Working Class, Middle Class, and then to distinguish between the Rich and those salaried people who are on high incomes. Over and over again I would see some of these terms being used without – in my opinion, either the politicians and the so called experts or the people themselves fully understanding these classifications. I know of one couple going on about the rich (of course not being them) and they were retired only real income the pension but they had a net worth of over $1 million. So they classified themselves as working class but others would classify them as rich. Then you have youngish skilled people – perhaps high incomes but no assets and plenty of debt. Maybe people are skilled tradesmen – make good money – but consider themselves working class and so on. From a marketing perspective I am not sure Labour showed understanding on who they were marketing to. I think National showed better understanding and focused on people who take pride in working, take pride in taking responsibility for themselves. – many people would see themselves in that light whether they really were or not. They would then have to have several policy groupings – each targeting the various groups taking care not to impact one group when promoting to another. – Interesting times the next 3 years – with the Greens rising and Labour looking to get back, and of course National trying to span that middle ground.

    6. By Joe Blow on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Yeah, the highest voter support for any party in the last 60 years has got to come down to middle class New Zealand’s resentment at paying for welfare (ie beneficiary bashing). It works a charm.

      I think that things have to get tougher for middle class New Zealand before there is a swing back to the centre-left. There are sturrings around economic protectionism and a return to government-led interventions in the economy in the US on both the left and right, but we’ll need the global economy to take a real nose dive before this is likely to become actual government policy again.

      I think that Andrew Little will be that next Labour leader ready to take advantage of the eventual swing to the centre-left again in the future.

      I mean does anyone really see the economy in its current state creating those jobs Key promised any time soon?


    7. By Elyse on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Gordon, I am wondering why you say “the choice of Mahuta exposes just how isolated Cunliffe is within the caucus that he purports to lead”?
      Please explain further.
      From what I’ve seen of Mahuta she is impressive, and silly me thought it quite a creative move on Cunliffe’s part to choose her as his running mate.
      I’m also curious as to why you mention such a limited number of contenders? They are the same ones the Herald mentions to the exclusion al all others, like Shearer who is also impressive.

      Just when it looks like the left is dead is exactly the time that it is not. Take OWS, and the growing level of disgust with the conservatives cutting benefits and services without raising taxes. It just doesn’t work, is not working. Slavery is not an economic model. You cannot grow an economy unless people have money to spend. Greece’s economy is contracting at a rate of 15% a year. The austerity measures are a disaster. Iceland is refusing to impose this hardship on its people.
      Manufacturers need customers. Henry Ford understood this. In his system, workers were paid higher “living” wages, so they could afford to purchase the products they made.
      Political parties that truly represent the working population have only to keep a steady course and wait until it becomes obvious to the morons who still think poor people are the problem, that the rich, the corporations and the banks are the real bludgers.

    8. By Joe Blow on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      @ Leon

      Fair point Leon. The centre left in the US more resembles NZ centrism. I guess I mean the centre left that is yet to be represented in Congress or anyone left of the Republicans…

    9. By Leon Henderson on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Joe Blow: the previous post is not intended to be belligerent, but is attempting to be more “consultational”!!!

      Probably entirely unsuccessfully!!!

    10. By Leon Henderson on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Joe Blow, on this page the sequence of Posts is not chronologically precise.

      But it is good to “see” you back, Joe Blow!!!

      Was missing ya!!!

    11. By Leon Henderson on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Joe Blow: How are we going to survive three years of Steven Joyce, John Key, William English, and Peter Dunne!!!???

    12. By Leon Henderson on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Am still trying to find out what the Electoral Referendum Result was!!!

      Please someone, inform me what it was!!!

    13. By Cullen's Sidekick on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Good. Whichever David takes over, they are consigned to the opposition for another 3 years in 2014. Lefties, we won you lost, eat that. Sit tight and zip it

    14. By Andrew R on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      @Joe Blow

      National did not get the highest voter support for any party in the last 60 years. In total votes it got 1.053 million in 2008, 957,769 (plus specials to come) in 2011.

      As a percentage of enrolled voters National this year is at 31.4% (with specials to be added). In 2008 it got 35.2% of enrolled voters.

    15. By Leon Henderson on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Can somebody PLEASE tell me what was the result of the Electoral Referendum???

    16. By Leon henderson on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Apart from Werewolf, the mass-media in this country is criminally irresponsible: to describe them as a Gang of utter Traitors to New Zealand is being far too polite to them.

      You who calls yourself “Cullen’s Sidekick”…that is a peculiar way that you describe yourself.

      How big is the poster on your wall of Benito Mussolini???

      What Indescribably Abysmal so-called “Election Coverage”!!!

      There virtually was none!!! (Except for on Werewolf).

    17. By Leon Henderson on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Hell, it is terrifying the Mass-Murder of the Egyptian people by their American-owned military dictatorship.

    18. By Elyse on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      @Andrew R
      It’s the good people of New Zealand who lost. And we won’t zipping it.

    19. By Leon Henderson on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      Hey “Cullen’s Sidekick”: your poster of Benito Mussolini, – how enormous is it???

      It probably covers an entire wall!!!

    20. By Jones-O'Connor Ticket on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

      The history of elections is that when National wins an election, it wins two or three further elections (1949, 1951, 1954; 1960, 1963, 1966, 1969; 1975, 1978, 1981; 1990, 1993, 1996.

      With Labour losing the advantage of holding the Maori electorates (which made all the difference in 1957), and the introduction of MMP where conservative parties like NZ First siphon off potential Labour voters to convert into centre-right M.P.s, it is only reasonable to think Labour’s next chance is 2017 at the earliest, more likely 2020.

      Which “team” would have best chance of “reconnecting” to those that bother to vote to position Labour in a better position (in Opposition) in 2017. A Jones-O’Connor Ticket – they both did remarkably well in West Coast and Tamaki Makaurau I think.

    21. By Leon Henderson on Nov 30, 2011 | Reply

      Joe Blow: you have not been putting many Posts on Werewolf.

      Are you okay?

      Even though were are in political beliefs virtually diametric opposites, Joe Blow, I like you, and am extremely impressed with your powers of intellect.

      We need a Joe Blow on Werewolf!!!

    22. By Leon Henderson on Nov 30, 2011 | Reply

      Elyse, was watching “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas” again and had to nearly collapse with Hilarity when the Latino’s Compadre asks him if he a Samoan!!!

    23. By Elyse on Nov 30, 2011 | Reply

      Sorry, I should not be computing in the wee hours. My comment above regarding “zipping it” was aimed at Cullen’s Sidekick, not Andrew R.

      @ Leon
      Yes it was funny, especially to kiwis. I guess you know that the Dr Gonzo in the book was a Samoan attorney but the inspiration for that character was actually Oscar Zeta Acosta, Chicano activist and Thompson’s friend?

    24. By Joe Blow on Nov 30, 2011 | Reply

      @ Andrew R

      So I guess you’re saying that National got a large proportion (48.7%) because of low voter turn out. That logic would mean that you are assuming that mainly left wing voters didn’t vote. Mmmmmmmmmmmm…

    25. By Joe Blow on Nov 30, 2011 | Reply

      @ Leon

      I’m seriously considering about moving to Australia… that’s how I’ll survive the next 3 years under Joyce, Dunne and Banks…

    26. By Leon Henderson on Nov 30, 2011 | Reply

      Joe: that is an exceedingly logical proposition. I will be probably attempting to follow your aeroplane, but I will be on the sea in a bathtub frantically attempting to row away from here with a plank!!!

      Joe Blow: it is not looking good at all; I am very scared about the Nightmare that is about to be unleashed upon this country.

      How could the voters have been so STUPID? The overwhelming majority of New Zealand voters are from Working-Class backgrounds, but an enormous number of them vote for their most vicious Arch-Enemies viz-a-viz the National Party, and the ACT Party!!!

      WHY do they vote in such a way???

      Joe: we politically argue quite a lot, but as has been said several times, I deeply respect your powers of intellect.

      Your apparant decision to leave for Australia is excruciatingly alarming!!!

      For years there has been a massive exodus from this country to Australia, and most of the Refugees are people of above-average intelligence.

      It is highly probable that this massive emigration of people with brains from this country, is responsible for the election result!!!

      Joe: I still do not even know what the Electoral Referendum result is!!! Nothing about it on the radio; also am having very bad computer trouble, am barely able to even connect with the Web (am only getting 21.6 kbps Internet Connection speed!!! Joe, are we actually living in New Zealand or instaid are in the “Democratic Republic” of Congo or Fiji???).

      Oh Shit, am feeling extremely non-well.

      Repeated reinstalls and almost innumerable reconfigurations of the Microsoft Web Connection thingy have been unable to solve it.

      Can you please tell me what it is, (the Referendum Result) as you most probably will know what it is (Joe, tell us how you found out because the mass-media is for sure not interested in informing us!!!).

      Cheers Joe Blow.

    27. By Joe Blow on Dec 1, 2011 | Reply

      @ Leon

      Yeah, the Nats lost this one so they’re ignoring it…

    28. By Peter on Dec 1, 2011 | Reply

      We have seen the new Labour leader who I would suggest is head and shoulders above the contenders. Why has the media never focused on David Shearer before? I forecast that with a couple of years learning the leadership ropes he will restore Labour’s vote at the next election. He looks every bit a PM, at least as good as Key and style, manner, voice and looks are critically important these days – and have been for the past forty years internationally. The man has charisma and could up that considerably.

    29. By Joe Blow on Dec 1, 2011 | Reply

      @ Andrew R

      correction = sorry the National Party’s share of the party vote on election night was 47.99% not 48.7%. Must have drunk too much on election night!

    30. By Leon Henderson on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

      Thanks Joe: Banjo (Gordon’s Tech) also told me the Referendum Result in an email.

      The National/ACT Party are very crafty creatures and am worried about the “Review” of MMP that they promised (more like threatened!) was going to happen if MMP won the Referendum.

      I dread to think what kind of “Reconstruction” they have got in mind for it.

    31. By Joe Blow on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

      @ Leon

      No worries. Remember it’s still not the final result until 10 December though! But with such a gap it is unlikely to change much…

      They’ll partially sell the power companies and make some steps to ‘reform’ Welfare. They’re copying Labour in a mirror image of slow movement to the right, just like Labour moved slowly to the left from 1999 to 2008. They’re not very inventive on their own – they need Labour and the left to show them how to do it first. They’re conservative. Change (fast or slow) usually comes out of Labour and the left… then National learns and carries it on…

      Not enough people are hurting enough yet to elect in anything new or too radical just yet.

      They’ll pretend they’re doing all they can for everyone and that job creating economic growth will materialise out of no where while the global economy continues to turn to custard… then they’ll say look how lucky we compared to Greece and Spain etc… look we’re doing a great job!

      They want another term so they won’t do anything too radical or too quickly… They’re going for gradual change… They haven’t got it in them anyway… I hope…

      Banjo? What a cool name!

    32. By Leon Henderson on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

      Gooday Joe (hope it’s okay, Banjo, to scribe these replies to Dee and Joe: I’m not gonna go nuts and plaster Werewolf with massive barrages of posts again, Promise) – yeah, totally agree with your analyses of the situation and your prognosis of what kind of Political/Economic/Social shape this country is going to be condemned into for the next endless three years. Am Extremely Paranoid!!!

      Also, yeah Banjo is a good Dude: he gets slacked off when I go berserk and hammer Werewolf with Hyperactive, Raving posts, and he has had to write to me several times telling me to get control of myself (which I sure needed to do) but he has given me many “Second Chances” and he has not banned me. He also very generously wrote me a lot of valuable advice in an email about the chronic computer problems I am being plagued with.

    33. By Leon Henderson on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

      Just one more Banjo to respond to Elyse: Elyse, that is very interesting, and “F.A.L.I.L.V” is a very intelligently made movie – WAY above-average.

    34. By Leon Henderson on Dec 2, 2011 | Reply

      Joe: are ya really gonna go to Oz??? Want to add Joe that I was completely wrong in some earlier posts when saying that we were practically “diametric opposites” politically.

      That statement was badly jumping-the-gun: as far as our political thinking in relation to how a country like ours should be run, we are very much alike – that fact has finally sunk into my often knee-jerking brain after re-reading many of your posts on Werewolf.

      However, where we DO extremely disagree is about things such as what is going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and no doubt Somalia and many other brutal war zones created by the armies of the Rothschilds/Wall Street/London Business District (“The City” as it known in the Northern Hemisphere): it is like the Roman Empire all over again. I was told by an extremely knowledgable scholar of that period that the expression “All Roads Lead To Rome” came about because Rome mercillessly and relentlessly plundered all of it’s Occupied Territories. He said all they ever did was Take, and never, ever, “gave” anything but terrifying brutality in return.

      Things haven’t changed a heck of a lot, have they Joe Blow!!!

    35. By Joe Blow on Dec 3, 2011 | Reply

      @ Leon

      I applied for a job over there the other day… I guess that’s fairly serious…

      Did you see that Biden handed over Camp Victory to the Iraqi goverment? The deadline for US troop withdrawal is set for 31 December…

      Now NATO’s planning an offensive into Eastern Afghanistan aimed at insurgent groups based in Pakistan days after a (accidental?) NATO helicopter assault on border posts in Pakistan… I think Pakistan could be next Leon! Things are definitely hotting up between Pakistan and the US anyway…

    36. By Leon Henderson on Dec 3, 2011 | Reply

      Howdy Joe: Well, I sure cannot blame you for deciding to emigrate, but it will be a real drag to know that you are really gonna leave. Oz will be getting another big gain, and Enzed another big loss. Whatever though, that you decide to ultimately decide to do, Joe, I wish you well as will definitely nearly all of the people who write Posts on Werewolf. Hey but Joe: you can still from OZ put Posts on Werewolf via the Web, so we do not necessarily have to lose you at all.

      As for the International Situation, well, yes it is shaping up very nastily for Pakistan (and aren’t things always more than horrible enough there already??) and Iran and Syria and Lebanon and Somalia, a large number of other countries (the USA military is infiltrating all over Africa, and especially Central Africa: according to Geopolital Strategists, Libya was the “Doorway” to their occupation of Africa, and with their NATO and “Gulf Co-operation Council” Puppets they are moving fast (Joe: they managed to retain control of Egypt because they have absolute control of the Egyptian military; USA military boats are patrolling the Nile!!! Observe the repeated blood-saturated mass-murders by the Egyptian military dictatorship against the Democracy Demonstrators!!!) : the Geopolitical Strategists on “Global Research” (and their foresight and “Reading-Of-The-Machinations/Signs” in the global political/military/economic realm is always frighteningly accurate) say one of the primary reasons for this massive Wall-Street Invasion of Africa is, besides it’s enabling of the grabbing of Africa’s massive oil/gas/mineral/ and agricultural wealth, is in addition to force out China; the Chinese have been conducting a policy in Africa which is incredibly benign: the African people are astounded at how well they are are treated by the Chinese that they are actually paid fair wages!!! Wall Street and the London Business District do not like this state of affairs at all because, what they do to the people of every country they get control is treat them like dirt and “pay” them starvation “wages” where they literally slave for mind-bogglingly, and ever-increasing numbers of hours per week, but at the same time become more and more poverty-stricken: – the USA and it’s Lackeys such as, of course, Britain, have been warring furiously against the Somalians for years because the USA army and the huge American mining corporations got thrown out of there a long time ago by the infuriated population who rebelled against the Occupation enne masse.

      The so-called Somalian “Pirates” are in actual fact Somalian Coastal Peoples who traditionally always were fishing-folk making a living from the extremely bountiful fish resources of the sea there.

      But after the Americans (and Pommies), their military, and their mining corporations moved in, so too did their huge Industrial fishing fleets along with the fleets of their Vassals the Japanese, and many other fleets also from the Zionist/American Empire.

      They annihilated the fish. Those massive trawler-ships, they either capture or kill or mortally injure practically everything in the way of their vast drag-nets. The Japanese, no doubt, would have been operating their insanely vast driftnets there as well.

      Somalia is a ghastly example of what capitalists will do to a country who they think is unable to fight back.

      But in the end the Somalians from sheer desperation actually heroically did, and they are still doing so, even though the odds against them have always appeared to be absolutely hopeless.

      Railed maniacally against by the likes of Fox News and the BBC as being “Crazed Islamic Fanatics Who Believe That If They Die Fighting They Will Go To Heaven And Be Allowed To Have Forty Beautiful Virgins” (that is a total LIE: the Koran nowhere says any such thing, although it does say that in the Garden-Of-Heaven the male Muslims will receive some seven beautiful girls to be their Mates, but so what? It’s supposed to be Heaven, isn’t it???).

      However, it is NOT to be able to have seven beautiful girls in Heaven for Mates at all why the Muslim Men fight. The actual reason they fight, it is to try and get rid of foreign occupiers from out of their countries so that they can be left alone to try and sort out their own always incredibly complicated political/social/economic, and also usually intertribal problems for themselves.

      Those vicious lies and slanders by the capitalist mass-media about the incredibly brave men and women who dare to confront and fight against the immense capitalist armies and their vast armada’s of ultra-high-tech weaponry, with nothing more than infantry weapons, are with their evil propaganda frantically attempting to disguise the Ugly Truth about corporate capitalism and the corporate capitalists and their terrifyingly evil intentions for everyone else.

    37. By Leon Henderson on Dec 3, 2011 | Reply

      Joe, am pretty much out of the “Being Able To Know What’s Going On” scenario because of horrendous computer problems: am being almost completely prevented from even being able to get on the Web.

      Am only very occasionally able to get any kind of access to the Web at all, and the connection speed is so diabolically slow when after always massive amounts of reconfiguring the “Connection Programme” (and even having to do complete Operating System reinstallations to get the Modem to temporarily connect) am not able to obtain much information from the Web any more.

      Joe, you were saying December 10 (I think you mean is that is when the Special Vote count is finally completed?) but you do not seem to think it is going to make any difference?

      Is there the possibility though that it could???, as it is only the 3rd December tonight, and there is the old saying that “One day is a long time in politics”, is there any hope at all that the Lovely Mr. Joyce, Mr. Key, Mr. English, and their cronies could still yet be somehow politically Stymied?

      Am floundering for information, and it is literally what it must be like to Blind.

      Cheers Joe Blow, and thank you for your previous replies.

    38. By Joe Blow on Dec 3, 2011 | Reply

      @ Leon


      AMISOM replaced and subsumed the IGAD Peace Support Mission in Somalia or IGASOM. The IGAD had unanimous (including China and Russia) Security Council support when it was set up under resolution 1726.

      On February 2, 2007, the United Nations Security Council welcomed the advent of the African Union and IGAD-led peacekeeping mission called AMISOM.

      It doesn’t quite sound like a US run mission to me. In fact, after the US got their arses kicked in their ‘peacekeeping’ mission in Mogadishu in 1993 there hasn’t been much appetite for US intervention in Somalia. It took 14 years until in 2007 the US conducted airstrikes using AC-130 gunships against Islamist positions in Ras Kamboni, which was all to do with killing Al Qaeda operatives supposedly embedded within the ICU forces.

      The US has had enough excuses to invade Somalia for a long time under the banner of a ‘humanitarian intervention’ and it hasn’t taken that opportunity, which makes me think that Somalia is not considered an important objective in the endeavours of neo-imperialism…

      It’s exactly the kind of third world country that the Americans don’t give a damn about unless it suspects terrorists of some consequence are living there…

      Special Votes

      Yes, it’s 10 Dec. No, I don’t think it will make a lot of difference. If National lose a seat they can still govern with Dunne and Banks. I hope it will change things but it is highly unlikely to swing the vote that much… I hope I’m wrong…

    39. By Leon Henderson on Dec 3, 2011 | Reply

      Hi Joe: am unable to check out the info you are providing about Somalia at the moment (although cannot resist saying that the conveniently ubiquitous, for the USA, so-called “Al-Qaida” … according to the capitalists they are EVERYWHERE that the capitalists plan to attack!!! But the man who is acknowledged even grudgingly by many of his enemies as being probably the most knowledgeable expert in the English-speaking “world” about Middle-Eastern Islamic politics, and the composition of their political/military/ and guerilla organizations, Robert Fisk, says that Al-Qaida are only a tiny group amongst hundreds of others, and Fisk jeeringly ridicules the “Al-Qaida Everywhere” mantra of the corporate capitalist mass-media and their political mouthpieces such as Mr. Hopey-Changey and his Mad Harpy Hillary Clinton and their Chums) because of the computer problems, as am barely even able to crawl online at all: am gonna have to try and get the thing to a repair shop (EEEEEEK!!!).

      It is pretty depressing Joe what you say about the Special Votes: I thought and fervently hoped that Peter Dunne was going to at long last get rolled this time by Charles Chauvelle.

      Fat chance!!! Am originally from Wellington, and Ohariu Valley is a Well-To-Do farming area.

      The Green Party tried to help Chauvelle, by Gareth Hughes (who is Ohariu and a fabulously excellent politician and brilliant Orator, but he is very young and still somewhat inexperienced politically) not standing against him, but it wasn’t enough: Ohariu is obviously made up of excruciatingly blandly conservative voters, and which is why Peter Dunne keeps on being re-elected. The Ohariu Electorate (which must be pretty tiny because the area is almost totally comprised of enormous farms, and so the population there must be even now quite miniscule; the place will not have changed much, if at all, since I last saw it about a hundred and forty-three years ago!!!) looks like it is not gonna get won over by an incredibly intelligent “gay” dude in the form of Charles Chauvelle (who is like a Legal/Constitutional Law, Encyclopedia on legs, and an extremely hard-working Lawyer-Politician).

      Not the wealthy Fat-Cats of Ohariu!!! Peter Dunne yet again is returned to Parliament by them like clockwork!!!

      Oh well, as Ned Kelly said as his final words before being hung: “Such Is Life”.

      Joe, you seem to still be able to hope that there MIGHT still be something (via the Special-Vote-Returns) that could maybe tip the prevailing “Apple Cart” over (a-la the so far National/ACT Party Majority – and by God, how the mass-media are absolutely revelling in it!!!) and so could there be any hope at all?

      Good to “talk” to you again Joe Blow.

    40. By Joe Blow on Dec 4, 2011 | Reply

      @ Leon

      Banks has a 2,485 vote majority. Dunne has a 1,646 vote majority. That makes it nearly impossible for the specials to make a difference on those kinds of majorities.

      And now Pita Sharples has been turfed from the Maori Party, which I would equate with a move to the right. I’m just speculating but possibly he wanted to steer clear of a coalition agreement with National… His departure really does rattle my faith in the Maori Party, but you know I bet you it increases the National voters’ faith at the same time…

      I lament the departure of a great man.

    41. By Joe Blow on Dec 4, 2011 | Reply

      @ Leon

      Hey the Egyptian parliamentary election results seem to have Israel shaking in its boots:

      Egyptian election results ‘disturbing’ says Israel’s defence minster

      “Few official results have been released from the first round vote, but leaked counts point to a clear majority for Islamist parties led by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

      I don’t know about you Leon, but that sounds like democracy to me…

    42. By Leon Henderson on Dec 5, 2011 | Reply

      Thanks for the info, Joe, am able to get barely any reading done these days so need people like yourself to provide me with a synopses of some of the main news events.

      Well, it’s a pity about the “Specials”, but I guess Them’s The Breaks unfortunately.

      Hey Joe, was astounded to hear on the radio today a piece about the Labour Party’s leadership contest, where it was stated that neither David Cunliffe or David Shearer could be gotten to make a commitment to reverse the National/ACT Party’s planned partial privatisation of our last few remaining State-Owned Strategic Assets.
      David Cunliffe made a vague statement that a Labour Government under him “would look at the possibilities” of reversing it, but David Shearer would not say anything at all,apparantly.

      Re Egypt: yeah well, maybe it’s Democracy, but the military Junta are sure dragging the “election” out over a HECK of a long time! They could tip the process over completely if they don’t like the look of things.

      Cheers Joe.

    43. By Joe Blow on Dec 5, 2011 | Reply

      @ Leon

      The problem with promising to buy back state assets is that you might find that you have to buy them back for an inflated price. This happened with KiwiRail when Labour bought it back after it had been gutted and asset stripped by Michael Fay and David Richwhite. You may also be blamed for scaring off investors. That would allow the National government to blame the low price it sells the shares for on Labour. We wouldn’t want that.

      Agreed the military junta in Egypt could take over if it doesn’t like what the new government gets up to in the future. Egypt may become kind of like Pakistan. Still the Muslim Brotherhood look keen to have a democracy and be fair to etnic and religious minorities (i.e.the Coptics). I hope it works out well for them.

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