Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The perils of pragmatism


After yesterday's all-round condemnation of National for adopting yet another Liarbour policy- Working for Other People's Families- we see criticism of too much 'me too' from Granny Herald, that supposed 'Tory Rag.'
Its editorial notes of the parties are too alike, 'why change the government.' And adoping Liarbour's welfare policy reduces the room for taxcuts and risks painting National into a corner.
Granny notes National's strong lead which should allow for some bold policy, but instead, Key is too anxious to nullify any policy that maybe unpopular, making National indistinguishable from Liarbour.
He is making a rod for his own back if he is elected and wants to move the country in a more enterprising direction. These reassuring noises will not be forgotten, and breaches will not be forgiven. He should already be looking beyond election day.
Colin James also raises risks in Key's 'bland ambition'.
James notes contradictions between Key promising to close the wealth gap with Australia on the same policy settings as Liarbour. Expectations may have been raised and if Key doesn't deliver, a disappointed public will inflict their punishment.
James concludes:
The economy is seriously unbalanced. Rebalancing will be painful. We have only just started. Large tax cuts might ease households' pain but will not make it go away. National's acceptance of most Labour programmes adds to the difficulty of dealing with the pain, let alone generating economic step-change.
And though English is proving tough in the shadow cabinet on spending promises, if that discipline didn't hold in government - perhaps even if it did - there would be a risk of slipping into a structural budget deficit, with attendant economic headaches.
In short, the risk in combining blandness with step-change rhetoric is that voters will fill in the gaps in hard policy with their own too-high expectations and then punish National in 2011 if it flunks those expectations - the very spectre of 1978 and 1993 English is desperate to avoid.
Food for thought for longer-sighted delegates to National's buoyant, expectant and tightly drilled conference this weekend.
Hat tip: Clint Heine for the graphic.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't be disheartened.
Key is giving Labour no basis to attack him, apart from lies. It's a very bad look for Labour. In the meantime some tories may be upset, but they sure as hell aren't going to vote for Auntie. So keeping WFF should strenthen Nationals vote, by giving the electorate even less reason to vote Labour.
It's the left that are the most pissed off about yesterdays announcement.

Dave Mann said...

Oh what a strange coincidence. Many many many blog authors and their commenters have been saying for over a year that Key and his party are bland colourless drones with no policies different from Labour and that a change to National will be absolutely no change at all.

Finally, the MSM seem to be beginning to catch up on this. Golly... gosh... they are quick, aren't they..? hahaha.

The big joke, of course, will be on the whole country if they elect this gutless bunch of power grabbers and opt for a continuation of New Zealand's slide into the Third World instead of actually doing anything positive to halt our decline.

Barnsley Bill said...

The point that all you angst ridden blogsturbaters are missing is that before making any radical changes Key has to get elected.
Labour have done a magnificent job of shackling the electorate to benefits and bribes.
When people vote they have one hand on their wallets and the other on the pencil.
Nobody will vote for a pay/ benefit/ bribe cut.
So stop the fucking bellyaching and wise up. We have to get in first. Principled tubthumping will not win an election. He does not need to compete for your vote. It is the rump in the middle that have been laying under the open spigot of labour bribes that he has to win over.

Dave Mann said...

barnsley, if I read your commment correctly, then all you do is perfectly illustrate my point. This Key character would HAVE to compete if he thought he was going to get my vote, and compete bloody hard at that! As it stands, there is absolutely NO WAY I would even contemplate voting for him or his party because a vote for National means an utter waste of opportunity.

I would rather vote for a party which shows that it has a real vision for how to fix the fuck-up that this country has become than waste it on the Nats who will just continue down the same slippery path of benefit dependency, eco-stupidity, anti-business, anti-progress, anti-education, pro-tribalist mindless socialism.

David Baigent said...

Yes barnsley bill it's called "incomplete thought". Many of the impatient righty bloggers are guilty of it to a level that raises the question, What single party other than Labour or National is there in NZ that can form an MMP Government.

What you or I or any other voter should know is that the minor parties are a waste of one of your votes UNTIL after the election - and then it's too late.

Barnsley Bill said...

And which party is that then Dave?
If it is as I expect ACT... Great. A defacto vote for national which is just what we need.
However he needs to secure the swinging vote. They have decided the best way to do this is to NOT threaten to take the free money tree away.

Barnsley Bill said...

David, impatient is the one word I have been looking for to best sum up the righty blogs. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

National 52% - Labour 30%

still not enough for John Key to form a government against the Maorimander - but what else do you expect him to do.

Campaign openly for electorate votes only for National, and tell everyone else to party vote for ACT?

Sorry - but that's Rodney's job.
And one he's doing really really badly

Dave Mann said...

Since Rodney's quickstep fiasco and the ACT party's great launch into the past with its unsuccessful attempt to do a Lazarus on Sir Roger, I honestly don't see any hope there either.

Call me mad, but I am honestly thinking of voting Libertarianz this time. I am a long time ACT voter and they have lost me. I think the Libz are far too dogmatic in certain areas of their policy, but I would rather vote for a party which belives in too much of a good thing than waste it on a bunch who don't have a clue.

Barnsley Bill said...

Dave, a vote for the libz plays right into Clarks hands. You waste a vote and deny a vote all in the same action.
My motivation is a little more from the gut.
I just want Clark gone. The best chance I have of making that happen is to two tick national. Since rodney became tango man with his tight pants, perma tan and turn as widow twanky there really is no other option for me.

Anonymous said...

My vote may well go to Act, I want to see real change, I am tired of weak promises, me-tooism and blandness to the bone.

As a righty blog author myself, I am getting more impatient by the day, as the corruption, lies and violent crimes out there continue to explode. NZ is under some sort of judgment would be more than fair to say!!!

Inventory2 said...

Interestingly, the Herald poll shows National ahead in ALL FIVE income brackets, including (surprisingly) those earning under $30k pa - even Labour's traditional constituency is deseting it, and i seems that all the scare tactics aren't yet resonating. I guess that now tat there are a 3rd party, the EPMU will ramp up the "John Key eats babies/John Key is Ruth Richardson in a very expensive suit" rhetoric/bullshit.

Dave Mann said...

barnsley, I want Klark gone too... or rather, I want KLARKISM gone. That is, I want a government which recognises the strengths of the promotion of hard work over welfarist parastitism, protects property rights, refuses to kowtow to the Maoris and their pathetic grievance industry, stands up for common sense in the face of AGW bullshit etc etc etc....

My point is that a vote for National (judging by their present performance) will not rid us of ANY of these things. I don't care who calls themselves Prime Minister or what bunch get to drive the new BMWs if nothing is going to change.

Frankly, I would almost rather see an ugly buck toothed butch ferret in the job who everybody hates than a smarmy conman with a good smile and no intention, drive or ideas for change. Its not about fucking PERCEPTION and IMAGE, its about actual POLICIES and DIRECTION.

Barnsley Bill said...

YEAH BUT NO BUT YEAH BUT NO BUT YEAH BUT YEAH BUT NO.
Dave, I would vote for anybody that is Not Helen Clark.
Luckily, I have John Key to vote for. An actual, real life role model.
Unfortunately, he is being forced to tell the rump that he will not take their bribes and free money away to get in. I understand why, you should too.

Dave Mann said...

Well, Bill, you are due to be sorely disappointed. Waste your vote. At least I'll be able to live with myself this time next year.

Best of luck with your role model. Judging by your penultimate sentence, you already know he is a dishonest unprincipled conman, so it probably won't surprise you that nothing at all will change.

Barnsley Bill said...

He is not Helen Clark.
But how do any of you geniuses suggest he can get himself into a position to lead if he does not salve the fears of the bribe takers??

JC said...

Read Colin James in the Herald this morning. National can do little in one term and needs at least another term to bed in policy that will last. To do this it needs to first get power and make changes quietly enough to enable a fair majority in 2011 and hopefully 2014.

The fear of scaring the horses is real with a potential Labour 30-35%, Greens 5-8%, Maori Party 2-4%, NZ1st 5%.

JC

Barnsley Bill said...

JC...
Finally, somebody else actually gets it..

Clunking Fist said...

Here's one big difference between Liarbore and National:
- National would (hopefully) not create any NEW quangos or tax/credit welfare handouts (other than that great fucking dollop of corporate welfare called "Fibre to the Home")
- liarbore would not pause in creating new intrusions. Just look at the "weaving pathways to welfare" that the Children's Commissioning is wanting to implement. Next: "state" funding of political parties, restrictions on road transport, abandon road building (to get the Greens support if needed). What next? ID cards like ZanuLarbour in the UK.
Silly? No more silly than the ID cards (chips) for dogs that they introduced. Cats next probably.

So the "reversal" of all the shit that Liabore have brought in may take a while or be delayed, but at least the volume of interferring will stop growing.

But don't worry, National are probably banking on the books being sooo bad when they open them that they have an excuse to sidestep some of their more expensive promises...and it will all be Liarbore's fault, roffle.

Barnsley Bill said...

BINGO. And now Clunking gets it as well.

Dave Mann said...

Hahahahah you guys crack me up!

All this navel gazing and inventing scenarios on the fly to justify voting in another bunch of socialist and wreckers!

Nothing that National has said, nor any of its (scarce) policy positions warrants any optimism that they will change anything at all. Nothing.

Key's latest refusal to contemplate even a modification (let alone total abolition) of the disgusting rort of WWF should give you people a clue of what lies ahead for your country.

Dave Mann said...

... sorry, I meant to type "WFF" instead of the other, better known and more entertaining "World Wanking Festival". My apologies.

Clunking Fist said...

dave mann says:
"Well, Bill, you are due to be sorely disappointed. Waste your vote. At least I'll be able to live with myself this time next year."

A vote for the Libz is good for your conscience, sure. But a complete waste of fucking time: it means one less vote for Nat/ACT, making it that much easier for Liarbore to get back in. So if they do get back in, you will be one of those who assisted them. (Yeah, me too I if Hide fails in Epsom.)

“Best of luck with your role model. Judging by your penultimate sentence, you already know he is a dishonest unprincipled conman, so it probably won't surprise you that nothing at all will change.”

Only a few people “know” the state of affairs of the gummint’s finances, so if, hey, gummint CAN afford WFF and tax cuts, great. But if not, then we’ll get the dose of medicine we all secretly know we need. Where’s the con in that? It’s all “pro”.
:^)

Anonymous said...

just want Clark gone. The best chance I have of making that happen is to two tick national.

Wrong! Clarks' state school education claims another victim. To remove Clark it is simple.

1. if you are in Epsom, electorate vote ACT, party vote NATIONAL.

2. if you are anywhere else in the country, electorate vote NATIONAL, party vote ACT.

We must work on the assumption that the Maori party will win most or all of the 7 electorate seats. Most of their party vote will go to Labour. That puts the parliament in overhang, and gives Helen an extra 10 seats. Pita Sharples
and Hone Harawira aren't stupid: if most of
their Maori party vote goes to Labour then they're
not going to support a National/ACT government.
just stop dreaming

Then, all the Labour voters in Tauranga will all vote for Winston this time around. (they pretty much did last time, http://2005.electionresults.govt.nz/electorate-52.html). Winne takes Tauranga, he's back in, the Greens are there on 5.5%, yes, it's a fucking undemocrating mess but the basic mathematics remain: unless ACT gets around 10% of the party vote, National cannot form a government


Yes, even compared with the US Democratic party, with Barack Obama (not even with Hillary Clinton), ACT is a long way to the left of them! But it's better than anything else in parliament.


A party vote for ACT (unlike a vote for the Libz) is not wasted! On the other hand - a party vote for National is wasted, because they will will most of the electorate anyway

This is the only way to beat the Maorimander: Party Vote ACT

Anonymous said...

just want Clark gone. The best chance I have of making that happen is to two tick national.

Wrong! Clarks' state school education claims another victim. To remove Clark it is simple.

1. if you are in Epsom, electorate vote ACT, party vote NATIONAL.

2. if you are anywhere else in the country, electorate vote NATIONAL, party vote ACT.

We must work on the assumption that the Maori party will win most or all of the 7 electorate seats. Most of their party vote will go to Labour. That puts the parliament in overhang, and gives Helen an extra 10 seats. Pita Sharples
and Hone Harawira aren't stupid: if most of
their Maori party vote goes to Labour then they're
not going to support a National/ACT government.
just stop dreaming

Then, all the Labour voters in Tauranga will all vote for Winston this time around. (they pretty much did last time, http://2005.electionresults.govt.nz/electorate-52.html). Winne takes Tauranga, he's back in, the Greens are there on 5.5%, yes, it's a fucking undemocrating mess but the basic mathematics remain: unless ACT gets around 10% of the party vote, National cannot form a government


Yes, even compared with the US Democratic party, with Barack Obama (not even with Hillary Clinton), ACT is a long way to the left of them! But it's better than anything else in parliament.


A party vote for ACT (unlike a vote for the Libz) is not wasted! On the other hand - a party vote for National is wasted, because they will will most of the electorate anyway

This is the only way to beat the Maorimander: Party Vote ACT

Dave Mann said...

Anonymous, what you said makes a lot of sense and you put it well.... however, just for the sake of an intriguing arguement.... lets put Libz into that mix... just for argument's sake... !!!

Barnsley Bill said...

No, let's not.
Anon. Your hypothesis is fantastic. Unfortunately it relies on enough people voting ACT.
An event I am not prepared to risk my party vote on.
Unfortunately Rodney Hide has had the most cataclysmic and public mid life crisis any of us are ever likely to see. To go from wise sage like character he was to the perma tanned panto monster is a step too far for many people. Fantastic job losing some weight but he has made Georgina Beyer look like a character to be taken seriously by comparison.

Dave Mann said...

bill, we don't see eye-to-eye on our preferred political outcomes, but I must say I do like your writing style! :-)

Barnsley Bill said...

Dave, firstly let me say I have never seen my rabid, ranting and frothing hatemongery described as a "writing style" before, and if for a moment I thought you were being kind instead of unusually sarcastic and cruel I would thank you.
That said...
I believe we want exactly the same political outcome. And I think we will probably get it. However, if we are going to rely on question time to achieve the desired outcome for us we are going to be disappointed if it based on their performance this afternoon.

Barnsley Bill said...

I hate blogger......... All replies will be carefully crafted in MS word and checked thoroughly to aid comprehension... Next time.
I suspect this new policy will remove the frisson of excitement for those of you that enjoy the train wreck that is my relationship with proppa grama..........and spelink.

Clunking Fist said...

?
Anon, not sure why you suggest Epsom voters give party vote to National. The parrty vote has the same weight whatevr electorate it is cast in? So a party vote for ACT in Epsom adds the same percentage point to Act's final tally as if it were cast in Ohararuru/Bellend.

Anonymous said...

Mr Key is the man of the moment, ,uncle clarks isnt quiet the man, dispite the dropping of her female voice lower than Mr Keys, and the apperance of wiskers dosnt put her in the mans club

emmess said...

I think everyone is missing the point. Other than tax cuts, the most important thing John Key plans to do is an referendum on electoral reform, he has talked about pushing supplementary member. National needs an absolute majority for this. I suspect then next election they will go to the country with a much stronger mandate for change.

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

John Key has to walk a fine tightrope between not scaring the horses, offering something new and motivating his voter/party base.
He has done a fine job to date, which is shown by his high poll ratings.
But is he stepping too far into accepting a Liarbour agenda.
That is my fear too.
We seem to want the same things but the issue is how best to get there.
That does involve John Boy getting elected.
I am sure once safely on the nineth floor National can produce discussion papes to help shape the debate towards a new direction.
In the meantime, after accepting much of the Helengrad legacy, for now, John Boy will have to tack to the right a little in terms of the 'vision thing.'

Dave. I feel a Libertarians vote will be wasted.
Party Vote Act won't be as Rodney will be re-elected to Epsom.
If you live outside Epsom, Hunua and wherever the fragrant Heather lives, best go for party vote ACT and electorate vote National.
Inthose seats, ACT is worthy of the constituency vote too.
Let's get Roger back on the electorare vote.
That might stffen National's resolve.

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

John Key has to walk a fine tightrope between not scaring the horses, offering something new and motivating his voter/party base.
He has done a fine job to date, which is shown by his high poll ratings.
But is he stepping too far into accepting a Liarbour agenda.
That is my fear too.
We seem to want the same things but the issue is how best to get there.
That does involve John Boy getting elected.
I am sure once safely on the nineth floor National can produce discussion papes to help shape the debate towards a new direction.
In the meantime, after accepting much of the Helengrad legacy, for now, John Boy will have to tack to the right a little in terms of the 'vision thing.'

Dave. I feel a Libertarians vote will be wasted.
Party Vote Act won't be as Rodney will be re-elected to Epsom.
If you live outside Epsom, Hunua and wherever the fragrant Heather lives, best go for party vote ACT and electorate vote National.
Inthose seats, ACT is worthy of the constituency vote too.
Let's get Roger back on the electorare vote.
That might stffen National's resolve.