Sunday, 9 November 2008

Crappy hour

THM goes Jezebel. Julie, deep in the funk of a regime-change hangover, IMs one handed and holding a baby; Enid responds from the opposite end of the world with a keyboard in one hand and a whole lot of booze in the other. This morning/evening, we delved into what intra-party factionalism we can look forward to, whether the Nats have any women of use apart from Pansy Wong, whether Obama stole Winston Peters’ 2005 election slogan, how to cope with the limp sensation of having a truly mediocre Prime Minister, and the return of Senator Palpatine.

me: Great work on the liveblog Julie! Was too sunken into fatalism to comment.
Julie: Thanks Enid, nice to know you were reading. It kept me suitably distracted from the awfulness of it all. I was a bit surprised that the Standardistas weren't doing it themselves, when I offered, but then about halfway through the night i worked it out.
me: They were out drinking. And didn't want to deal with trolls who
Julie: Yeah, they knew it was going to be bad and I don't blame them.
me: had no party to go to because they had no friends
Julie: You mean like me? :-P
me: Hey, you were having a party! There was pizza and everything! Geneva was lame - no-one wants to start drinking on at 7 on a Saturday morning.
Julie: Actually I had some old uni mates around [here follows long redacted list of old comrades from the Auckland University Students’ Association Education Action Group]
me: Oh yeah, the good old bad old days of sticking it to the Man, during our 9 formative years of right wing hell…
Julie: John Key's speech was really not very good. He is going to need to really work on that. First test will be Armistice Day I guess.
me: I heard about that 'no puppy' comment. Are people making fun of that yet?
Julie: I didn't hear it cos we were watching 3 and they got so bored with Key's speech that they cut away before he'd finished, which says a lot. I didn't comment on that on the live blog because I knew it would just inflame the comments and look bitter.
me: So I see the Act vote bumped up a *lot*, as a symptom of the Nats trying to cosmetically out-left-wing the left wing. But Douglas has been ruled out of Cabinet. Is that right?
Julie: Yeah the Act vote is one of the worst things for me.
me: Hey, but Jordan beat Roger Douglas? That's kind of awesome.
Julie: Well kind of. I believe Key said he wasn't keen on Douglas in Cabinet, but it's all up in the air now I would think. I mean all this ruling people out before the votes are cast is a bit silly imho. Not sure what the final result was in Hunua, but Jordan was safely and consistently ahead of Douglas everytime we looked. Which is really rather nice :-)
me: Anyway, Key’s got a strong history of taking things back. I hear he flip-flopped on the puppy within a minute. But yeah, [Douglas in Cabinet] probably wouldn't be wise as a first move.
Julie: Apparently Jordan and Roger had to sit next to each other at a lot of debates (the whole alphabetical last name thing I guess) and Douglas told him that he really didn't agree with Act's law and order policies at all and could see they were just expedient vote winners.
me: I can respect that. Real lefty liberals obviously do have plenty in common with real right-wing libertarianz, except for the whole 'leaving the poor to die' thing.
Julie: There's a lot of interesting things from here. In terms of what Key might do. And how much ability he has to do it. Because he could say, right National is going to go alone with confidence and supply from UF and Act, and build coalitions on the votes it needs, but I wonder if Key has the political ability to keep an arrangement like that going.
me: My flatmate (also a NZer) thought [Douglas] was, well, actually dead by now. It was a surprise for her.
Julie: Douglas totally reminds me of Senator Palpatine.
me: He's so white haired and wrinkly now!
Julie: In terms of his view on their law and order thing, I think it is fine that he's so "principled" but frankly I don't think No. 3 on a party list should be so thoroughly in disagreement with his avowed party's policy in such a key area for them - they campaigned on three things basically and that was top. Yet their third ranked MP thinks their policy is wrong?
It's also the way his eyes can basically not be seen anymore.
Blair Mulholland will be disgraceful in victory but actually Kenneth Wang did very badly in Botany, and I think Blair was running his campaign.
me: That's because Blair Mulholland is a re[dacted]. And Douglas knows he's a cult leader and untouchable. I still remember Blair not knowing how to organize a show of hands at my first ever Clubs & Socs meeting [at Auckland University Students’ Association]. I'm drinking, so am using inadvisably offensive language.
Julie: that makes me feel a little better. Blair is one of those people who have got more extreme, and far worse, since uni.
me: You know, I've never been able to really feel Obama's 'Yes we can' slogan, because of Winston's use of that catchphrase in his campaign last election. ('can we fix it? yes we can!) As such, I failed to cry at the Obama victory speech.
Julie: I had the same thought about the yes we can.
me: Just looking through the Herald post-election coverage now. Dunne has refused the Speaker role - of course, that little shit wants a Cabinet post. When is he going to just fuck off, I mean seriously. Sorry, as mentioned, am drinking. I hope your bub isn't reading this.
Julie: i was surprised how cloe cHAUVEL r ans dunne
sorry Wriggly is trying to talk to yo
me: Hi Wriggly! Aunty Enid has a dirty mouth and is drunk, don't listen to her. I'm not that sorry to see Tizard go. I did vote for her 'cos you told me to. But she was always kind of lame and pointless. Last election I think I voted for Nandor in AK Central. Unless I voted for Phil in Roskill. Can't remember now. Red wine.
Julie: The Akl Central campaign was a total farce for Labour. They did a terrible job. The Green candidate got about 2x the margin between Kaye and Tiz
me: Can't do math. Drinking. I'm glad Pansy got handed Botany. Those ‘vote Wang and you can't go Wong’ billboards were fucking hilarious though. [if only those had been the real slogans]
Julie: It is good to see Pansy get a seat because she has been treated pretty bad by the nats
me: No shit. She's one of their most hardworking and popular MPs in terms of nationwide support from her token-base. They had better give her a cabinet seat. Now that Lockwood has embarrassed himself out of the role, maybe she has a shot for Immigration to be placed into her small, productive hands. So what happened with the Green vote coming in way under poll projection? Did the soft Green vote go to National?
Julie: I'm very quizzical about that too, how come it was so far out? They ended up bummed about only getting 2 extra MPs. And Act was so far under[projected]. I think there were a couple of polls that picked 4 MPs, but mostly they were trending for 2 or maybe 3… The baby is trying to hide himself under the sofa for the next 3 years.
me: Did you read I think the post a few weeks back now about how the Nats won't be able to inflict too much damage over the next three years? Do you and the baby buy that?
Julie: I think that was when we were all thinking that Nat + Act wouldn't be sufficient to govern alone, but now... I guess it depends whether Key is prepared to move right, and whether his caucus wants to do it with or without him. Whether they think strategically it is better to go centre for 3 years in the hope that 3 becomes 6. What I'd really like to know is who is writing John Key's speeches, cos they are certainly no David Slack.
me: Well, if the Nats want to maintain power for two terms, they have to genuinely go Labour-lite. But way too much of the front bench won't be happy about that.
Julie: Ah well, he better get his PM on by the 11th, cos the 90th anniversary of armistice day is going to require some big speech-ifying from the new boy.
me: “Our sacrifices in wartime were all about protecting the freedom of individuals...”
Julie: The cabinet choices are going to be fascinating. I suspect Key has been playing it safe with his caucus members in much the way he did with the public, avoiding telling people things they didn't want to hear. There are quite a lot of MPs in National with high expectations of cabinet spots and they can't all be right.
me: If he wants to build support amongst the Nat centrists to gun for the second term, he'll have to kneecap some of the old guard.
Julie: I agree about the kneecapping. He'd really need to get someone else to do it though if he wants everyone to like him, and I suspect that is important to him, like it was to Lange.
me: Yes, the 'wanting everyone to like him' personality trait is basically the root of his problem with being totally inconsistent.
Julie: I'm wondering what they'll do with Women's Affairs, because although Blue has the role now they have NO policy in the area at all, the page on their website is just links to media releases and her details, no actual policy. Which suggests it's days are numbered.
me: Jackie Blue is a re[dacted]. There I go again. I blame Tropic Thunder. But she is a total fuck-knuckle.
Julie: I'm also curious about the Families Commission - National have indicated they want to cut it, but maybe Dunne will want to save it? It hasn't worked out how his conservatives wanted it to, but then a lot of them seem to have left his party for the micro Christian parties, so maybe he'll want it protected in any confidence and supply/cabinet agreement.
Julie: Blue spoke at a debate I was at and was actually not very capable as a speaker, I was quite surprised. She seemed really nervous. I guess those kinds of situations, which can't be stage-managed, are a threat to a campaign that is trying desperately to not frighten the horses.
Blue actually seems like quite a decent person, but her stance on the herceptin thing really dented any respect I had for her - she knew better than to make it political.
me: I met Jackie Blue at a meet-and-greet on the last day of Don Brash's leadership of the Nats, ie just before he got dumped. the Nats had set up a community meeting with the 'South Asian community'. She was a total dick. All she did was gush over Don Brash, and when my ex, an actual South Asian doctor, tried to talk to her about health policy was, she was (literally) all like "excuse me, I have to have my photo taken with Don now." SRSLY!!!
Julie: Oh dear. Dearest Wriggly has changed the station - we were watching Asia Downunder but now it's on C4. I can see he is going to be a troublesome teen already.
me: Speaking of which, Melissa Fucking Lee! I was kind of freaked out when I saw that she was on the Nats list. Now she's in!
Julie: Tagata Pasifika had a great show on before Asia Downunder all about the election results - I pity the candidates having to be in make-up and under lights at 8am this morning. What I saw of the show was very impressive though. Asia Downunder by contrast has nothing electoral, despite the addition of at least 2 new Asian MPs off the top of my head.
me: I would pay to see a Melissa Lee-Rajen Prasad smackdown. I never watch Asia Downunder. It's so safe. Iwas surprised when Lee came out as a Nat, but I really shouldn't have been.
Julie: They have a spokesmodel hosting it.
me: You know, her brother Jonathan edits a really hip magazine in New York. I wonder what he thinks about it. Maybe he's right wing too. You just can't tell these days.
Julie: It was quite a surprise after Tagata Pasifika, because that is an excellent show. Now Wriggly has changed the station again and we are watching Voice of Islam on Triangle. First words I heard "but he has a beard." Prasad impressed me at a Labour fundraiser I went to a couple of weeks ago. Shorter than I expected though. He just seemed really full of enthusiasm, there was something quietly charismatic about him I thought. He could be a v good MP. Pity he won't be in Cabinet.
me: Desis are always shorter than you expect.
Julie: I think you scared Wriggly with your talk of Melissa Lee, he's off under the couch again.
me: Rajen Prasad kicks ass and takes names. He is a man to be feared. Drove his staff fucking nuts when he was Race Relations Conciliator. And I like Ray Huo. He's a good community guy, but in a smart way. He's a Mainlander too, so could give Pansy a run for her money. Mainlanders are snide about Pansy b/c she's Hongky. Kenneth Wang, Roskill boy that he is, will always have a special place in my heart for turning the Botany race into a 'disgraceful Chinese bargain market' though. Asians love free stuff! Vote Yang, get Wang and Wong! Buy one get THREE free! So good.
Julie: Huo I think annoyed a lot of Labour people bcos he apparently didn't want to run in botany because it wasn't safe Labour.
me: Woah, that would have been a four-way Chink-fest!!! Wong-Wang-Yang-Huo! [Speaking of Asian-on-Asian crime...] Coddington is giving Clark props.
Julie: I think history will be very kind to Clark, she really has been an amazing PM
me: Well, even though Labour was down the tubes in the polls, she was still level-pegging with Key in the preferred PM stakes, yes?
Julie: The dep leader spot in Labour will be important, I would like Street, she'd be a) good and b) Labour left, which will be necessary when Goff is leader.
me: Will Roskill really take over the world?
Julie: Wriggly is still smiling, he doesn't know his parents have lost an election, someone said to me last night that Wriggly probably won't even remember John Key.
me: I hope you're right. I for one don't think Key is some evil duplicitous shifty monster; but I do think he is lame - weak in his convictions, uncharismatic, a bit smug, and ultimately, a bit of a dick. And we have to send him overseas and that's the symbol of our nation. Ugh. What was I talking about? God I'm drunk. Oh yes! I remember being five years old and drawing purposely crappy caricatures of 'Piggy Muldoon' on the back of the lid of a shoebox in ballpoint pen. And writing next to it 'Piggy Muldoon'. Talk about parental indoctrination. Now that, at least, was a personality you could remember as a five year old.
Julie: Outside of Goff I think the main contender for the leadership is Cunliffe, it's a question of whether he'll want to run now, knowing that Goff probably has the numbers, and there is a reasonable likelihood Labour will lose next time, if National do go all Labour-lite for three years. Cunliffe has plenty of time, he can wait Goff out.
me: Wasn't it you who told me his nickname was 'Silent T'?
Julie: The other thing I guess is the good of the party too - is it better to have a Labour Left versus Labour Right full on stoush for the leadership now, at a time when they are actually primed to rebuild quite well, or come to a nice compromise position whereby Goff takes the leadership but someone Labour Left gets the deputy (did I already mention Street?) and it gives the Left time to bed in their new MPs.
Yes indeedy, silent T. I can't remember who I heard that from originally, I believe it may be lost in the mists of time.
I agree with your summation of Key. He's a pretty lousy actor so it seems unlikely that he is actually evil on a stick underneath it all. He is going to be a bit of a George W Bush PM imho.
me: At least his Cheney is only Bill English.
Julie: I think as a rule he should just avoid the words "condone" or "sanction" and use other ones that he isn't going to get confused about.
I think the cocktail tapes showed English is a bit more Cheney than his reasonably cuddly image portrays. And don't forget those Act MPs.
me: Again, I think it was Tim Watkin on who wrote a very elegant summation of Key's essence, in that it was, essentially, nothing. 'A pair of empty parentheses', or something like it.
Did I ever tell you that after I blogged the 'Silent T' joke, (after he sort of kinda maybe made fun of Pansy's accent in the House), Cunliffe's office called me to try to smooth things out with, I dunno, Asians or somesuch.
And I was like, 'uh, guys, it's just a blog. Don't worry, real immigrants don't read it.' They were pissed though.
Julie: He he, it's funny how sometimes people believe their own press and think everyone likes them. I guess we all do it, except maybe Roger Douglas, he knows he's hated.


Danielle said...

He is going to be a bit of a George W Bush PM imho.


Julie said...

Ok maybe not that bad.

Hugh said...

He is going to be a bit of a George W Bush PM imho.

You mean he's going to push hard for immigration reform and double aid to Africa? If only.

Single Malt Social Democrat said...

Julie, I believe i introduced you to the term "silent T". Not that i have anything against Cunliffe, but i was reliably informed that was his nickname in certain circles.

Julie said...

I think NZ could probably double our aid budget to Africa and no one would notice. Including our bank statements.

Why thank you SMSD for reminding me of the provenance of that remarkable nickname. It really is a good one. I've never had a nickname that cool.

Hugh said...

Doubtless Julie. I actually seem to recall that one of the outgoing government's main foreign policies was to redirect aid from Africa to the Pacific Islands. Not entirely sure what I think about that.

SMSD said...

By the way, i really enjoyed this post, good work!

I must say there were times on election night when i strongly considered crawling under the couch!

Julie said...

SMSD, this post is why I kept disappearing whilst we were post-morteming via Facebook chat on Sunday morn :-)

Hugh, I guess the re-direction of aid money perhaps reflects a realist rather than idealist position on aid? ie that we are more effected by poverty in pacific nations than in Africa? Just guessing though, I know next to nothing bout the area.