Friday, November 22, 2019

Continental Drift and Its Victims

A few days ago, my fellow blogger, The Veteran, drew attention to protests on the West Coast against the Labour-Green-NZ First government in this piece: YOU DIDN'T SEE THIS ON TV:
The rally heard speakers from all sectors of West Coast industries; mining, farming, tourism, forestry, plus lines company Westpower and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae.    They railed against the freshwater action plan, the ban on new mining on conservation land, the Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill, the rejection of windblown timber legislation, the canning of the proposed hydro dam on the Waitaha river all of which were seen as doing 'irrevocable harm' to the West Coast economy.
Ye Olde Classic Lefty, Chris Trotter, has now joined the fray in yet another of his almost endless paens to a lost world in The Message From Messenger Park:
It’s precisely this widening gulf between those with actual experience of things like guns, chainsaws and drilling machines, and those who regulate their use, that accounts for the angry crowd at Greymouth’s Messenger Park. In the rarefied atmosphere where decisions to shut down whole industries are made, hands-on experience is not only rare – it’s despised. What do workers know about anything? 
For a start, they know that human-beings have been changing nature for millions of years. From the moment some brave ancestor pulled a burning branch from the edge of a blazing forest, our species ceased to be just another mammal. From chipping flint to smelting steel, humanity’s relentless drive to innovate and alter has granted it, in the solemn language of Genesis: “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” 
You don’t truly understand this truth until, using your own strength and skill, and the strength and skill of your workmates, you collectively transform your world. And that sort of truth: the knowledge you gain down in a mine or felling a tree: you won’t find in a book anywhere.
Good solid Working Class stuff! Salt of the Earth. The sort of thing laughed at regularly by university graduates for decades now, whether they were Lefties in the Humanities Departments or Righties in Commerce and Management Studies.

But what really cracked me up was the following comment from one "Sanctuary", familiar to most readers here for his always-angry rants on blogs like The Standard and Kiwiblog about the failures of the Left and the evils of the Right.
Wah wah wah, cry me a river. I am heartily sick and tired of the whining exceptionalism of coasters and farmers. Plenty of people work hard for sweet f**k all, try being an all night cleaner in Tamaki's industrial sprawl. 
The world is changing. Coasters seem to think they have a right to do what they want because, reasons. Nobody forces them to live in that rainy and dreary place. Yes, their way of life is out of date. So stop whinging that the rest of us have some sort of obligation to support a dying way of life, like some sort of giant outdoor paean to the 20th century and accept it.
I had a bit of deja vu as I read that, for it could have come from the pen of any Rogergnome in the 1980's that one cares to name as they wrote about the dead and dying world of the Polish Shipyard that was the NZ government-economy.

So much for all the criticism heaped on the "Labour Party Traitors" and the Right for crushing and destroying the outdated world of Sanctuary and his friends.

Turns out that his only real objection was being the target. It's rather like his Leninist forebears in 1900's Russia whining about the cruelties of the Okhrana, the Czar's secret police - only to set up a vastly more evil secret police, the Cheka, as soon as they got hold of the levers of power.

Similarly, now that the boot is on Sanctuary's leafy suburban foot it's time for that boot to stamp on the faces of the Coasters - forever.

It also reminded me of a present-day argument presented in this article written in March 2016:
The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. 
The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.

That's hardline Rightie, Kevin Williamson, writing in the classic Right-Wing magazine, National Review.

It could be Sanctuary writing about the West Coast of NZ.

Incidently the title of that NR article is The Father-Führer, where Williamson raged against the populism of Trump as he appealed to save these American places that can't be saved.

Perhaps like the 1980's we are about to see a new "Rightish" realignment within the Labour Party between the likes of the Sanctuary's and the Williamson's, as we've seen between elements of the "new" Democrats and WTO Republicans in the US.

By the same token, in the USA we've seen a "Leftish" realignment with Working Class Democrats voting for the GOP - well, specifically for Trump in 2016, much to Williamson's disgust. Or the "strange" realignment that seems to be taking place in Britain since at least the Brexit referendum, where a polling trend shows the Working Class increasingly supporting the Tories.

The continental plates of Western democracies appear to be cracking and shifting. In the case of the West Coast I doubt that voting National will change anything for the Coasters, given that National are equally in thrall to the urban voters who know little of the provincial-rural world and care even less.

Still, Sanctuary's words, coming as they do from a hard-core Labour Party man, should be sent to every West Coaster along with the message:

This Is What You're Voting For.


The Veteran said...

Evidence would suggest the Labour Party no longer reflects the values of the 'Waitakere Man' so called. Put that alongside the Mafia Don and self styled 'Saviour of the Provinces' descriptive of the farming sector as feral Rooineks and it's not a giant leap of logic to conclude that a National/Act Government is on the cards for 2020.

What I do know is that Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party ain't the Labour Party that my dad tramped the streets for.

Snowflake said...

You never proffer solutions ever, do you Tommy. Just one snarky, whining critique after another, but never once an idea. Enlighten us, why do you think Williamson is incorrect and what would you do to rescue these so-called negative assets? I suspect you agree with Williamson, in that your prescription involves the full force of the market and a slow lingering death, but go ahead, prove me wrong...

Tom Hunter said...

I suspect that - just like "Sanctuary" - you can't stand the idea that you're now aligned with the like of Williamson.

Just one snarky, whining critique after another, but never once an idea.

Man, those unbidden thoughts just keep erupting from your mind.

.... in that your prescription involves the full force of the market and a slow lingering death, ...

Like Sanctuary, you and the rest of the NZ Left then? Come on "Snowflake", just repeat after Sanctuary....

Wah wah wah, cry me a river....

Woah! Sounds like cruelty leading to a slow, lingering death.

Snowflake said...

So no, not a single idea, just more snark. I’m beginning to think you’ve overrated yourself. Like a pompous, dishevelled, rambling, drunken version of Boris Johnson. Go on, I dare you, give us your vision....

Tom Hunter said...

So no, not a single idea, just more snark.

My goodness Snowy, you really are in world of emotional pain on this matter as the cognitive dissonance tears away at what's left of your shrivelled little heart.

I should not be surprised. Your beloved Green-Labour "principles" have and are screwing working class people into the ground on the West Coast. Destroying their jobs, their lives, and possibly their culture. Just like you're always claiming the Right do to them.

Except it's you and yours pulling the trigger.

And you can't cope with that. You have absolutely not a clue as to how to respond to this except playing your endless, pathetic little game of attack-is-defence.

What a soft coward you are! At least Sanctuary has embraced the idea that as a Lefty he's going to fuck over a bunch of relatively poor, working-class people. In fact he's celebrating it.

All you can do is reject it and continue to scream and point at your ideological enemies as if it's their fault. What's that phrase of Sanctuary's again?

Wah, wah, wah....

But perhaps I'm being unfair. At least the likes of Williamson are arguing that the slow progress of economics has rendered some places in the Rust Belt uneconomic and that there's nothing to be done.

By contrast the West Coast's economic problems stem almost entirely from Lefty goverment regulatory garbage that has gradually reduced them to penuary by stopping what they could do; their life's work pronounced as "damaging" by the high-minded, nightclubbing, restaurant-scoffing pieces of shit in Wellington.

People like "Snowflake", in other words.

Come on, be more like Sanctuary; embrace your evil powers instead of gutlessly palming it off on Righties like me.

Snowflake said...

Are you a Russian snark bot?

The Veteran said...

Flake ... you need to do better than that. Are you now aligning yourself with the likes of Sanctury by lumping West Coasters in with the Mafia Don's feral 'Rooineks' to be dismissed as of no consequence in the brave new world (snigger) that characterises the NZ First/Labour coalition gummit?

Snowflake said...

Better than what, “the Veteran”? I’ve heard no proposals from Tommy (he’s a bit special it turns out) or you for how to promote economic growth in the regions. At least the PGF is something positive. I imagine your “ideas” involve a the same old neo-liberal prescription of environmental destruction, followed by.....nothing. But go on, do enlighten us all...

Tom Hunter said...

Note how Flakey studiously ignores the elephant in the room? He expends enormous amounts of time expounding on the purported evils of Te Right, but will he ever reveal in its unadulterated glory, his opinion of the actual Prime Minister of New Zealand and NZ Labour? He can’t do it, so he plays extended and bilious whataboutism.

Snowflake said...

Note Tommy’s almost pathological projection. Wailing about the supposed depredations of the libs, but will he ever reveal in its unadulterated glory, his opinion of the actual Second Coming of God and the GOP.

As for my opinion of the “actual” Prime Minister? Better than the last one and the one before that, and an order of magnitude better that the hapless, perpetually angry, frowny-faced leader of the opposition. My God, the guy can’t even score any points against an aged, lying con-man who’s been caught with his pants down. Embarrassing.

Tom Hunter said...

More whataboutism and diversion, as you really are ashamed of Adern, but must support her for some reason buried deep in your disturbed subconscious. Come on then buddy, tell us also how great is your support of her corrupt supporter and enabler, Winston - and the level of corruption of her soul needed to accept him and not tell lies to herself, let alone the rest of us.

Snowflake said...

Note that due to Tommy's own hyperpartisan nature he cannot even begin to understand that other people could have principles. As I made clear from my previous comment Peters is a liar and a con man. You know, like the Chosen One, whom you worship. Not as bad of course, but what's curious is that you condemn Peters and fellate the King of Israel. Hypocrite much?

Tom Hunter said...

And so the day draws to a close with yet another Snowflake-derailed thread.

Readers should note that even in the recent past some Labour Lefty would have stepped forward here to make arguments as to why Labour has done what they have to Coasters.

But today is not that day and Snowflake is not that Lefty.

Snowflake said...

What have they “done to Coasters”? Unemployment on the Coast is 3.3%. They’re all employed and earning and houses are cheap. The PDU is providing further development opportunities. After the last Government, through its underfunding of the health and safety regime, caused the death of dozens of Coasters at Pike River, this administration has allowed for closure. Oh for facts eh Tommy?

True, the weather sucks (damn you Labour!!) and climate change will fuck it over good and proper, but you’re the one who thinks that‘s not worth solving. What you need to do is stop with the lying, dishonesty and whataboutism, and tell us about your love for the Second Coming of God.

Tom Hunter said...

Unemployment on the Coast is 3.3%. They’re all employed and earning and houses are cheap.

So it's all good then: the huge protests are just another bunch of ungrateful Labour voters? You should have been there to tell them how good they've got it since their Labour MP was not, and they're obviously under the opposite impression about their lives. But what would they know, only living there and all?

And now we can add denial to your other mental problems.

The PDU is providing further development opportunities.
Snigger! See, now I know you're trolling again. Hey, maybe Shane should run for office from the West Coast. Labour can give O'Connor the push since he doesn't fit with the rest of the Party and he's not doing anything for the Coast.

Snowflake said...

So what have Labour “done to the Coasters”? Some actual evidence would be nice.

A small astro-turfed protest was held, to protest the stellar economic performance of the West Coast, and the MP didn’t show up? Why would he? Let’s see if it costs him. You can’t point to facts to support your bile, so now facts have being provided, you seem to be attempting to fall back on the feelz. And you claim to be so rational (when in fact you’re a wee bit special).

Tom Hunter said...

So what have Labour “done to the Coasters”? Some actual evidence would be nice.
Jesus Christ, you don't even accept evidence from your own side? Your mate "Sanctuary" was not in denial about what Labour and the Greens have done in shutting down mining and forestry: in fact he was giving them the back of his hand and telling them to "move on" like the Rogernomics crowd of the 1980's. The Greens in particular have been upfront about how great it is that "extractive" industries on the West Coast have been wiped out and that this is all just special pleading.

Maybe when you get past such silly calls for "evidence" you'll be in a position to argue that it's for the greater good or something, something......

Tom Hunter said...

A small astro-turfed protest....

Oh dear. Readers should not be alarmed. The howling and screaming here has not issued from the graves of Bob Semple and other Labour Party founders from the West Coast.

No! The noises, together with the endless OCD deflection to the off-topic hobgoblin of Trump, have issued from a mind weakened by too many years of swallowing the double standards, hypocrisy and failures of his Leftist ideology, and now finally broken by the evidence that even after all that, far from helping the toilers of the Coast, the Labour Party has crushed them at the triumphant hands of the likes of creatures such as "Sanctuary".

Were this anguished spectacle taking place in the real world instead of online, Snowflake would be some ragged creature staggering out of Winston Peter's doorway and shambling along the street, throwing stones at cats and small children while yelling at others about their cruelty and lack of compassion and howling about people's lack of principles and mindless obedience to far-off con-men and liars, even as the trousers around his ankles and his painful, bow-legged limp told of a man who had compromised on all those things and sacrificed both dignity and lubricant.

Still, at least it reveals Snowflake as merely a foolish man rather than a cruel one and therein lies some hope for him. Religious readers may wish to pray for Snowflake to heal, while secular ones will hope that he gets the medication he needs.

Snowflake said...

You use so many words to say nothing when you get owned Tommy. Is that to mask your humiliation?

Tom Hunter said...

Owned? You're demanding "evidence" from me that your own comrades have provided.

And "meh" anyway; since you never operate in any other manner in OP comments I decided to have some fun by replying in Snowflake-kind. I thought you might get the joke after a while and play along.

But no. You just can't see yourself can you? Hence all the accusations you throw at others: projection to the max.

You're entirely genuine in your angry partisan insanity; I mean " the stellar economic performance of the West Coast"... Dude. That's totally Trump.

Snowflake said...

No, I noticed, and was flattered believe me. The only thing is that whataboutism, deflection and projection is your stock and trade, not mind, so it was a bit silly.

You haven’t provided evidence of the destruction of the Coast, as It isn’t being destroyed. Yes the industries who cause environmental damage to the Coast and elsewhere in New Zealand organised a protest with the National Party, but so what? If they got a ticket to pollute who are they going to employ? Everyone on the Coast has a job already (thanks Labour). That’s not partisan insanity, it’s a fact (I know the right don’t use facts these days, preferring to lie, but they still exist).

Psycho Milt said...

Readers should note that even in the recent past some Labour Lefty would have stepped forward here to make arguments as to why Labour has done what they have to Coasters.

Not a Labour voter, but definitely a lefty. I hadn't bothered to comment, because the regions have no shortage of angry AGW-deniers venting about the supposed terrible crimes the "greenies" are committing against the locals' sacred BAU, and it's tiresome rather than something that needs a counter-argument.

If silence is to be taken as agreement though, count me as disagreeing. Yes, AGW-deniers would like the 19th Century to continue in perpetuity, but government has responsibilities to the whole country, not just some grumpy, self-centred right-wingers.

Tom Hunter said...

....who are they going to employ
They'll find plenty of willing takers even with unemployment at 3.3% when it's a choice between a low-paid, menial service job in tourism and a well-paid industrial job.

I was thinking of you when I wrote that, even though I know you're a Greenie and up-front about what has been done and why, and what's to come in the future.

I just don't get this nonsense of others saying that there's no evidence of negative impacts on those regions.

..... not just some grumpy, self-centred right-wingers.

Last time I looked the West Coast was still a Labour-held seat, and given their tribal proclivities and century of history with The Toilers and Unions, perhaps they still will be after 2020. You probably meant small-c conservative Leftists, of which Chris Trotter could be one.

... and it's tiresome rather than something that needs a counter-argument.
Which is why I keep shrugging my shoulders about such protests. The only way politicians and their supporters ever get over it being "tiresome" to argue is when they're voted out of power. The West Coast has been treated like shit by Labour because they keep voting Labour.

But then the relationship between National and farmers is much the same.

Snowflake said...

But Coasters haven’t been treated like shit. They’re demonstrably doing very well, as the actual facts demonstrate. True, polluters are being required to meet the social costs of their activities, but the alternative is that they pollute, and why is that good for anyone other than those doing it? And jobs in Tourism are menial? Unlike working down a mine, which is fucking great, I’m sure. Anyway you better tell John Key, he thought they were the greatest.

Tom Hunter said...

But Coasters haven’t been treated like shit.
That crowd says otherwise, unless you want to go the "astro-turfing" route again.

True, polluters are being required to meet the social costs of their activities,

No, they've simply been shut down. In the case of forestry the arguments against it became so emotional that you'd have thought they were clear-felling the native bush - which was the intention of the propaganda.

As one commentator on Trotter's OP said:

As a West Coast native (albeit one who now lives in Dunedin), and as a lifelong Labour voter, I've got to say that some of these comments are downright disturbing.

"Times have changed."

Yeah, you're just saying that because it doesn't affect you, and you find invocation of historical inevitability to be a convenient way of silencing critics. As noted above, it's basically the Rogernome argument repackaged - honestly, you can literally justify any nonsense via that. It's the smug, patronising "we know best" mantra of a professional class.

(And as for our Tamaki cleaner, what happened to solidarity? You know, the idea that the West Coast and the urban cleaner have interests in common?).

Sounds like he'll still vote Labour next election though, so Yay for you.

Tom Hunter said...

It's the smug, patronising "we know best" mantra of a professional class.

Which is why I included the comparisons with National Review writer Kevin Williamson and the Brexit and Trump votes in my OP. That commentator still does not quite see what's happening here; like you it'll take a few election losses for the penny to drop.

Snowflake said...

According to you, nothing is happening here, and you’re probably right. It’s weird though as you’re trying to turn it into something. It is Astro-turfing. The polluters and extractive industries are trying their hand at rent-seeking with the willing assistance of the National Party, and you. Of course they’ll use ordinary people as props, it couldn’t work any other way. Your article should be about how they’re being used, but you’re one of the users so....

Tom Hunter said...

According to you, nothing is happening here

Eh? According to me and to many Lefties proud of the actions, many things have happened in the West Coast to shut down the industries they once had. They have not been required to meet the social cost of their activities - however that bunch of bullshit might have been calculated - they've been destroyed.

And the results of that destruction - with more to come judging by recent decisions such as the one around that hydro dam - is that Coasters have been cast on the scrapheap of low-wage service jobs with no future. And they've also been told - as in the comments by Sanctuary - that they don't really matter and they can just suck it up.

Hence the protests.

I must say that as shocking as Sanctuary's brutal honesty about all this has been, it is preferable to your disengenuous and partisan denial.

Snowflake said...

I’m not in denial. The facts are on my side, not yours. Do you have some data to back up your assertion that those on the Coast who are currently enjoying full employment in fact have no future? Your hatred of the tourism industry is quite curious. What’s with that? I don’t understand why being a tour guide or jet boat operator or logistics expert is worse than risking your life for poor pay and no future down a coal mine, but I’m sure you can demonstrate that.

I don’t know who “Sanctuary” is, but I’m aware of your dishonesty, so you will have misrepresented her position with selective and out of context quoting a la Sean Hannity.

The protest was astro-turfing by industries which don’t want to have to comply with environmental standards. The Nats have latched themselves on to them as they’re venal and dishonest.

Tom Hunter said...

I’m not in denial. The facts are on my side, not yours

Oh really....

the West Coast is bucking national unemployment trends.

According to Infometrics, there were just shy of 16,000 filled jobs in the region last year, and growth was a sluggish 0.8 per cent. The national average is three per cent.
In ASB’s latest quarterly regional economic scoreboard, the coast was ranked 13th equal, with Gisborne, out of 16 areas.

Since 2012, the West Coast has been in the grip of an economic downturn. It has seen the closure of the Cape Foulwind cement works, near Westport, the mothballing of a gold mine close to Reefton and a slump in commodity prices. Over five years, to 2017, the region lost 1500 jobs and GDP fell by 20 per cent, according to Development West Coast figures.

The area achieved no net GDP growth in the year from March 2017.

There's far more to employment than the % of unemployed.

Your hatred of the tourism industry is quite curious. What’s with that?
Nothing, since you've simply pulled the usual Snowflake step of introducing a hysterical term - in this case "hatred" - and then basing a question around that. It's called begging the question in case you didn't know, and you probably don't.

But on a less hysterical basis, my problems with tourism lie less with anything in and of itself than with the idea that it can become a primary industry.

So, those who scratch out a living in the seasonal sector balk at any limitations to its growth. The heavy storms that batter the region - such as the March flood that ripped out the Waiho River bridge, stranding tourists - make it an unpredictable livelihood.

And of course this is where the same fanaticism that killed those "extractive" industries comes into play with regard to the future:

Growing tensions are pitting conservationists and outdoor lovers against the Department of Conservation (DOC) and tourism chiefs over plans to develop treasured West Coast national parks and increase the number passing through them.

So it would be a fair bet that there were a number of tourism owner-operators in that protest crowd as well, rather than just rent-seeking, extractive industries.

And of course with your level of fanaticism, love of sophistry and callous disregard of ordinary little people (the ones you claim you and your ideology care about so much), it's quite on the cards that even tourism could be classified as an extractive, rent-seeking industry. Even it won't be safe.

Without ever making the indefensible argument that nobody should be allowed to live on the West Coast and that it should be turned into one huge National Park, the end-result will be pretty much exactly that if you get your way.

Tom Hunter said...

I don’t know who “Sanctuary” is, but I’m aware of your dishonesty, so you will have misrepresented her position with selective and out of context quoting a la Sean Hannity.

I provide the link to Trotter's article from which I quoted "Sanctuary", so Instead of making your usual lazy, brainless slur you could run over there and check. You'll find there's nothing of the quote that's out of context.

And while I also have no idea who "Sanctuary" is I'm well aware that he has been quite a presence on NZ blogs for over a decade now, and with a level of fanatical hatred of the Right that only Sludgy equals in my blogging experience.