‘The martyrdom of Pete George’

As anyone who becomes reasonable well known across the blogosphere knows you can get talked about in various places. It can be strange, funny and bemusing.

The attention is often critical, occasionally vindictive and nasty, and some people get their kicks out of perpetual kicking as serial harassers. But at times it can be clever and humorous.

One person who makes a habit of preying attention is Rhinocrates. Their three comments at The Standard yesterday were all digs at me, fairly typical from someone whose horn seems to have gotten out of joint. They are usually passing snipes but went to a bit more thought and effort than usual with this one.

This, I need not remind you, is Easter, the time in which we must observe the martyrdom of Pete George the most Holy.

It is He who has instructed us in the utmost selective pedantry of our sins of lack of reverence for Himself. Let us not forget that. It is we who have crucified Him on the Cross of Snark.

Let us all retreat to the Hallowed Ground of our Lifestyle Blocks, don the sacred vestments of the Beige Cardigans of Repentance, climb upon our Horses Most High and make the Holy Gestures of the Wagging Finger and the Wrung Hands.

Then let us Check Our Facts and observe the proper period of Calling For More Study.

Amen.

Very funny. Apart from obvious overstatement (part of the game) it’s typically inaccurate – I don’t do cardigans. And if I was really blog beige I’d have thought I would go unnoticed.

And I’m not up for sacrifice or dramatic risings. I see myself as chugging away looking for opportunities to try and make a bit of difference in a crowded political field.

Easter for me is little more than family chocolate and a bit more time to inadvertently inspire the Rhinocrates of the blogosphere. With typical irony this particular Rhino is not very thick skinned and has tried a few self-martyr mopes himself.

But it’s good for a laugh. Giving perceived enemies rings must get a bit tedious at times, The Standard could do with more levity to balance it’s political Mordor.

‘SPC’ on Labour’s predicament

Another response to Kiwi in America’s essay on Labour’s failings, SPC has posted at both Kiwiblog and The Standard.

FACT 1 – The Rogernomics era had no mandate from the party. It nearly destroyed Labour.

FACT 2 – It took till 1999-2002 and a Labour government that delivered on its manifesto to restore trust between caucus and party member – this lead to the end of any need for “New Labour”.

FACT 3 – However this alone was and is insufficient for restoration. The Labour Party is not yet over what Rogernomics did to it (but then nor is New Zealand).

To have a party based on democratic, and meritocratic, selection involves trust that candidates will remain loyal to the party and its manifesto. This was something completely breached in the 1980′s. So between 1987 and 2011, selection was based on a party faction patronage – this of course meant it was somewhat insulated from inclusive participation by the general public.

The Labour Party was so abused by its caucus in the 1980′s that only the recent party reforms, the retirement of the last of the 1980′s era personnel and the decline of the party factions of recent decades will enable renewal.

Too much focus on the people involved just obscures the circumstance in which they operated.

However

FACT 4 – Being expert in managing factions gave Clark an advantage in MMP.

The irony however is in that with a majority in caucus being of the ABC persuasion, when he was the choice of the wider party, we have continuance of the caucus and party divide that began their problems 30 years ago. And for the same reason, those dominant in caucus “knew better” (about policy or who should be leader).

FACT 5 – Cunliffe will only get confidence from his caucus if the membership of it changes or he wins an election.

FACT 6 – Labour Leaders are now required to retain the trust of their party, and thus the idea that a caucus leader can lead the party in new directions without first getting a mandate is now buried. The party can no longer be hijacked by turning its leader or finance spokesperson – a message to Treasury, whether in domestic and international aspect, as much as to the caucus.

Whether this makes for a more left wing party is harder to say. The party activist is less likely to want caucus to compromise for centrist votes, yet a more open party means more internal diversity and a broader base membership.

 

‘Ad’ on Labour’s predicament

Amongst some predicable knee-jerk messenger attacks in response Kiwi in America’s essay on Labour’s failings there’s been some interesting contributions.

‘Ad’ has commented at The Standard:

It’s a thoughtful piece.

I agree with the general point in it that the caucus talent is thin, and that this is the primary cause of succession difficulties. I cannot think of any around me in my forties who would consider it.

I also agree that the rump of the Lange-Moore administration forms the ABC club that has actively fought renewal from day one.

I don’t buy the Clark conspiracy. I simply view comprehensive and systemic HR internal promotion and selection as being part of successful leadership.

The difficulties that David Cunliffe is facing are not caused by Helen Clark’s legacy. They are different.

Firstly to get where he is, those seeking to reform the party from within have had to engage in nearly a decade of careful momentum-building. This included the Labour Party constitutional reforms mentioned in the piece in 2012. Given the intransigence and hard internal attacks of the rump, there was no alternative but to spend considerable energy focussing inwards paving the way for change. This no doubt appeared unattractive and blunted grassroots political evangelical confidence, but strengthened party membership and mechanisms considerably.

Secondly, Cunliffe’s principle of meritocratic promotion of talent, rather than promotion for factional control, is going to take time to weed out the poor performers and invite talent to compete and win selection. National’s internal reforms of caucus have certainly been easier precisely because the churn enables more strivers to see a future pathway to power. Meritocratic promotion is in my view the only way to break down factions, but it’s root and branch, and it takes years.

Third, the policy platform is having to be rebuilt from scratch. It’s a different path from both Clark and Lange/Douglas. David Cunliffe has had only since the abrupt leadership change barely six months ago to get this going.

Finally, changing leader one year out from election has a massive drop in momentum internally. We can see that through the uneven changes in his leaders’ office. I am not yet convinced that the media team there are coherent, for example. That is only an illustration of the internal shifts that the entire supporter, membership and caucus groups have to go through.

On David’s side are a few things.
First, how close Labour got last time. In MMP it really is down to the wire. The essay writer appears to have left political activism under FPP and does not understand that it really is down to a 2-3% shift in National’s fortunes and all is in play.

Secondly, Labour understand their base far better, and are mobilising far better than previously.

Finally, it’s him. As Colin James said in March this year, when he’s at his best, David Cunliffe is better than John Key. The vital question is whether those around him allow him to enable his confidence, surefooted preparation, and his kind of future Prime Minister, to be made apparent.

JK:

I can go along with what Ad is saying. It IS going to be close, right down to the wire – but there are a number of things going for Labour which are “behind the scenes” so to speak, and time will tell if what is happening there will achieve the result we want.

Anne:

A very good summing of Labour’s position Ad. Thanks.

But I don’t agree with the assumption that the caucus talent is thin. I think there is quite a bit of latent talent that, for various reasons, didn’t get a chance to see the light of day under the Clark/Goff/ Shearer regimes. Add to them the fact it seems likely a number of people will join the caucus later this year who will significantly boost the talent pool.

Ad:

Outline them, and what they have contributed.

No response to that.

Seven Sharp’s stink perception

Seven Sharp ran an item last night ‘revealing’ that Peter Dunne’s son James is a legal representative for the legal high industry. They promoted it as an exclusive.

This is covered well by Karol at The Standard in Father & son: Dunne deals?

Seven Sharp said at the least there is an appearance of conflict of interest.

I had already noticed that a James Dunne was representing the legal high industry and presumed there was either a family connection oe it was a coincidence, but I didn’t think it mattered.

Peter Dunne can’t instruct his son what he should or shouldn’t do in his professional capacity. James Dunne can’t instruct his father on what he does in Parliament.

One thing pointed out by Seven Sharp was James Dunne’s promotion on his company profile:

valuable inside knowledge of how Parliament works in New Zealand

Obviously in some ways he will have a very good insight into how Parliament works, his father has been an MP all his life, but he could have worded this much better.

My biggest issue with this is with Seven Sharp. They have promoted it as big news:

Peter Dunne and Legal Highs Son

An exclusive on the link between a Peter Dunne and the man fighting against his crackdown on legal highs.

And as Karol says they “claim that at the least there is an appearance of conflict of interest.”

That’s because they have created that appearance and highlighted it as significant news. They have provided no evidence at all to make it any more than a manufactured perception. If they had said nothing there would be little or no public perception.

TVNZ have tried to create news out of nothing of substance. This is stink journalism.

And as some of the comments at The Standard show, it has initiated a bout of stink politics.

“What the hell?” indeed

An assault in Auckland has been reported: Police called to home of former Hell Pizza franchisee

An investigation is underway after a high-profile Auckland businessman needed hospital treatment at the weekend.

Police were called to a property in Greenhithe on Saturday night after reports two men were fighting and that a gunshot had been heard.

Matthew Blomfield has confirmed to RadioLIVE police were called to his home and that he was taken to North Shore Hospital with facial injuries.

The 38-year-old owned a number of Hell Pizza franchises until 2008, before they went into liquidation, and has been credited as being the brains behind the chain’s controversial marketing. 

Last year, Mr Blomfield took a defamation case against Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater. The case is ongoing.

Mr Slater claimed he had the right not to reveal his sources and is appealing a judge’s decision that his website does not have the legal protection that is given to news media.

RadioLIVE

It was a little unusual that an unrelated  case (as far as has been reported) has been included in this.

This was commented on at The Standard, with a curious series of comments followed by a post.

mickysavage at 8.17 am

I wonder how Cameron Slater’s case with Mat Blomfield is going …
And if Judith Collins is busily distancing herself from Slater …

mickysavage at 12:29 pm

Well blow me down …

NBR is reporting that Matt Blomfield, the guy suing Cameron Slater in defamation, was attacked by a male on the weekend and may have suffered facial injuries from a gunshot.

That defamation case is going to get a whole lot of analysis now …

mickysavage at 12.41 pm

Nope fair dinkum article although it seems too bizarre to believe …

lprent at 3:10 pm

This is just outright weird.

(Quotes report as above)

Bearing in mind the number and severity of attempts that have been taken against Blomfield over the last couple of years, this looks pretty disturbing. The paid for (at least that is what it looks like to me) defamation campaign against Blomfield at Whaleoil in 2012 (and by assertions by the chronically moronic legally illiterate dickheads at Laudam Finen more recently) after ‘someone’ gave Cameron Slater his hard disk and documents to make copies from. Then the crap that has been going on with a defamation case arising out of it which has been characterised by Cameron squirming to not disclose where he received those stolen materials from.

I guess the police are going to have quite a lot to go on. Hopefully Cameron isn’t involved in the vendetta campaign this time. Bad look for bloggers. Maybe he is a journalist after all?

Then at 3.44 a post appeared - What the hell?

The NBR is reporting (behind the paywall) and now at TV3 news that Matt Blomfield, the person currently suing Cameron Slater in defamation, was attacked on the weekend by a male. A gunshot was fired and although it is not specified it is understood that Blomfield suffered an injury from the gunshot.

The police are investigating and seeking the assailant who left the scene after the gun was fired.

Mr Blomfield is the person involved in an ongoing defamation case with Cameron Slater. He posted on the Standard some of the background to the dispute at When the wolf cries boy

The police may have more than a passing interest in the defamation case and with the mystery of the hard drive that came into Slater’s possession. Cameron Slater has been trying to claim that he is a journalist to protect the source of who he received these items from. Mr Blomfield has asserted that these items were stolen.

No doubt they will want to talk to anyone who has discussed the case with Blomfield.

TS wishes Matt a speedy recovery.

A curious close.

There have been some predictable insinuations in the comments. I commented:

This appears to be a not very subtle attempt to connect two things for which no evidence of a link has been provided, already with a predictable reaction.

Why hasn’t the author put their name to this? It’s kinda easy to guess what might be going on but it seems more than a bit suspect.

lprent responded:

It was from several authors (including me) and most of it is a paraphrase of the NBR and TV3 articles. We don’t put a single author on when a group of us work on something or when we’re just paraphrasing entire news articles (we’re not the “Indeed” bloggers)

The media were the people who linked Cameron Slater to it which is what I presume you you’re objecting to. As usual you are a bit too coy to actually state what you object to sigh

I added the bit pointing out the prior criminality of the hard drive and documents.

And no, there are 4 things linked in this post (not 3) because the whole thing is just outright murky. You’ll have to go and read the contents of Blomfields post to figure out the missing bits.

But if I were the police I’d be damn suspicious of both Cameron and whatever source he is so valiantly “protecting”.

That’s a more direct suggestion of who could be responsible for the attack. I’ve replied:

You’re not the police, you’re a blogger. Police are not likely to investigate by reading a political blog. If you have suspicions have you contacted the police?

Yes, the media made a connection which as far as reported is unrelated, they do that a bit. But the media didn’t go as far as pointing suspicions from one event to the other. You’ve now done that, and as you are so experienced with blogging you will know what this post would be likely to encourage.

That’s your call of course.

There’s something disturbing about the attack, whatever happened.

And something seems very odd about the response at The Standard. It could be just blog and political rivalry.

A sickness within politics

There’s a pervasive sickness that runs through New Zealand politics from top to bottom, from Prime Minister to grass roots. There’s an entrenched culture of nastiness and abusive behaviour that wouldn’t be acceptable in most parts of a decent society, but it’s practiced and aided and abetted by politicians, parties, activists, supporters, traditional media and social media.

Some in politics protest but that’s usually futile – in fact it commonly attracts even more abuse.

The public generally hate it and show their displeasure through the ballot box, with increasing numbers being turned off any participation in politics.

The major parties have long seen nasty attack politics as an essential tool in their arsenals, so there’s often more of a focus on negative, nasty and dishonest tactics than promoting their strengths. Even the normally principled Greens have been drawn into mild forms of it.

Traditional media aid and abet the worst of politics, following their wider ‘if it bleeds it leads’ approach. The media sharks swarm at any hint of political blood. They promote dishonest or speculatory accusations and praise the attackers as effective politicians.

Attempts to demean and discredit are common, aiming to provoke character and career destroying momentum.

It goes far beyond robust debate and holding to account.

Social media has long been touted as a more inclusive way of doing politics but it has taken on the worst of toxic politics, largely because of the involvement of old school party activists.

In an interview on The Nation last October leading political blogger Cameron Slater said:

Well Auckland politics is the same as where any politics is, in that it’s a dirty disgusting despicable game, and it involves dirty disgusting despicable people at all levels. And to have this high and mighty belief that New Zealand politics is clean, it isn’t.

Slater has long been involved in dirty politics and has pushed boundaries with his attacking abusive style. Prime Minister John Key demonstrated an acceptance of this when he said recently that he often talks to Slater. Ironically Slater has made an attempt recently to clean up the comments section of his Whale Oil blog.

Another leading blogger David Farrar doesn’t do personal abuse the same but he is often involved in attack politics. He also enables and allows a toxic environment at his Kiwiblog where stalking and abuse are common.

Both Slater and Farrar have close links to National but it isn’t confined to the political right. Personal attacks are common at The Standard and Dim-Post and to a lesser extent at the heavily moderated/censored The Daily Blog.

Lynn Prentice calls the shots at The Standard and often brags about how nasty he can be. This sets the standard. Another Standard author Greg Presland has close links to David Cunliffe. Presland attacks far less now than in the past but he still allows abuse to go unchecked.

In one thread at The Standard yesterday here is some of the abuse that was allowed as normal – it was done by a small number of commenters but this sort of behaviour is rarely questioned (I’ve seen similar degrees of abuse at Kiwiblog). Ironically this was on thread of a blog post complaining about the use of blogs for political smears.

You are a walking smear campaign, a gossiping whispering nasty little insect. Every single comment you make oozes dishonesty like pus from a sore.

Oh look, here’s some weasel slime pretending butter won’t melt in his mouth. What an asshole.

What a passive aggressive, boring, dishonest asshole.

You, Mr George, are really quite a horrible person.

The MSM are a product of human discourse, not the sum of it. Political revolution was possible with a printing press and analogue distribution methods, so it is possible with memes and social media.

Rock-Snot as i said yesterday is a fungal organism that attaches itself to any mode of transport from gumboots to twigs to enable it to enter an untainted waterway from there multiplying to pollute the whole expanse,

Such is Pete George…

You sound like right-wing scum,(now have a whine about abuse why don’t you)…

Your right SSLands, i agree with you that John Drinnan,(why does that name make me think of drain cleaner), should lay off the abuse, and, quite frankly i did not think you had the intellectual where-with-all to have noticed the convoluted writing style of Mr Drain Cleaner,(have you got your Mummy reading the comments and providing you an interpretation tonight),

No, wait…this just in: you’re an asshole Pete.

SSLands, read my comment below at 8.30pm, its al the answer you either deserve or are going to get other than to be told to fiuck off back to ‘wail-oink’ and share your syphillated drivel with the inmates of that particular zoo…

Several blog moderators were active through that thread, at times directly supporting abusive comments. This is just a small symptom of a much wider and deeper problem.

People who would regard themselves as intelligent and reasonable passively and actively allow this and often climb on the bash wagon.

Some see blogs and other social media as a grand opportunity to give ordinary people more of a voice in politics. By becoming infected the sickest and saddest of political behaviour they add to the problem rather than provide a solution.

The language is different to MPs in Parliament, due to anonymity and to a social disconnect.

Presumably most of this abuse would not happen face to face. The more intelligent would not think of allowing and participating in this manner in person, the others wouldn’t have the guts.

The aim is the same as MPs and parties – character assassination of perceived political enemies, although some may just use it as an excujse to be abusive. There’s nothing logical, democratic, decent or positive about it.

If this social and political sickness is allowed to continue then we will continue to have trouble attracting quality candidates and we will have diminishing voting percentages as more and more voters are turned off by the rot.

Unless it is dealt with from the top down – the top of parties and the top of blogs – the sickness will continue to vomit over our political discourse.

Confronting it simply invites more abuse. If I posted this at Kiwiblog or The Standard it is likely it would increase rather than decrease abuse levels.

I believe many MPs don’t like the standard of political and Parliamentary behaviour but they are drowned out and shat on by an entrenched minority of old school politicians who see and use dirt is their strongest weapon.

But this is a major weakness in our politics. It needs leadership to address it but our leaders are a part of the problem. David Shearer promised a better standard of politics when he became Labour leader but it became one of a number of failings for him.

If John Key really wants a laudable legacy he could lead a clean-up of caucus and party behaviour. It would do far more good for our democracy and our country than painting over the cracks of our flag.

Our democracy is flagging badly. Key has proven successful as a political manager but not yet as a leader. He could try leading by example.

On polls and cellphones

When polls are favourable people applaud. When they are not favourable they tend to look for reasons. It’s often other reasons than a poorly performing party, like ‘unfair’ media coverage. And the lack of polling of cellphones often comes into the discussions.

Pollster ‘Andrew’ blogs:

Calling cells is not, and will never be, the magic bullet for opinion polling.

There are many aspects to getting accuracy in polling.

Rob Salmond (Labour adviser) at Polity has posted Endangered: Polls without cell phones and looks at trends away from landline phone use and to cellphone use in the US.

The US is a few years ahead of New Zealand on mobile adoption and decoupling form landlines, but I think within 5 years we will see these kinds of proportions in New Zealand. This will make current pollsters’ policies of refusing to call cell phones hugely problematic – they will cut out almost half the population. No amount to weighting can reliably undo a sampling frame that unbalanced.

This has been reposted at The Standard and has more comments there.

Andrew also comments on this at Grumpollie: Rob Salmond’s post on cell phone polling and says “I agree with Rob Salmond that within five years polling methodologies will likely change” but goes on to make some important points, including correcting a common misconception.

The company that I work for has no policy on “…refusing to call cell phones.” In fact, they do randomly dial cell phones for telephone surveys. They will also call them for the poll if a non-qualifying person in the household gives them a cell number to call.

Roy Morgan also states that it polls cellphones.

This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile telephone…

Colmar Brunton only polls landlines:

Nationwide random digit dialling of landline telephones using stratified random probability sampling to ensure the sample includes the correct proportion of people in urban and rural areas.

Reid Research, Digipoll and IPSOS don’t state (as far as I could see) whether they poll cellphones.

Andrew points to what he things is a far bigger issue than whether cellphones are polled or not:

At present my view is that, in New Zealand, non-response is a far far bigger source of error than non-coverage. If non-coverage of cell only households is such a big issue, how come most polls seem to over-state support for the Green party? And why don’t they under-state support for the Labour Party?

In New Zealand, does calling cell phones decrease non-response or increase it? Don’t underestimate the importance of this.

And he updates his post:

UPDATE: I’ve read, here and there, some comments that polls use a) published landline listings, or b) an outdated list of number banks for RDD sampling. I can categorically state that ‘a’ is absolute rubbish. None of the main media-client public polls use published listings. At the company I work for ‘b’ is also rubbish. It’s quite possible to uncover new number ranges.

For those interested, RDD works by randomly generating numbers within number banks, then connection testing them, and then re-sampling the connected numbers.

I’m sure all polling companies do what they can to be as accurate as they can. And people look for reasons other than the failings of their own parties for unfavourable poll results.

Cunliffe’s trust and 3 strikes

It looks like mounting pressure on David Cunliffe has forced action on his secret trust – see Cunliffe “happy to be open” about keeping donations secret.

Claire Trevett broke this story on Sunday and continues today:

@CTrevettNZH

Cunliffe has named 3 donors who were willing to go public, including Selwyn Pellett, Tony Gibbs. will return donations of 2 others who won’t

Also Cunliffe got donation from Perry Keenan. Cunliffe says didn’t know donors names till recently. Says using trust was error in judgment.

It’s taken Cunliffe two days to admit that. He must be copping some flak from uncomfortable places.

This is yet another in a series of cases of poor judgment by Cunliffe. Taking belated action will repair some of the damage but some of the dents will remain prominent.

Ironically at The Standard, just under Bunji’s post How short are memories? defending Cunliffe is a repost of Rob Salmond with Polity: Three ramshackle PR fiascos and you’re out. Salmond was referring to the Taxpayers’ Union, not Labour but…

Standard retirement age discussion

A thoughtful and thought provoking post by mickysavage (Greg Presland) at The Standard on The retirement age debate:

Labour’s policy is to gradually change the age of retirement to 67 with an allowance made for those aged 65 who can no longer work. There are passionate views in support of this and opposing this.

Regrettably the financial analysis is quite clear. The current entitlement to superannuation will drain more and more of the state’s resources and Aotearoa will face a financial crisis in 10 years or so due to the baby boomer bubble approaching retirement.

Labour is trying to show that it is being fiscally responsible by highlighting this as an issue and proposing a realistic solution.

But it is a difficult line. There is policy that a 65 year old whose body is wrecked through work should be allowed to retire now. But allowing everyone to retire gracefully at the age of 65 years means that there will be jobs for 18 year olds to fill. Allowing older citizens to retire later means that there will be less jobs for our young

The debate really needs to be about how we share the resources of our society around. We need to make sure that those of us who are older can exit from the workforce with dignity and those of us who are younger can have jobs.

A commenter points out that Labour’s policy on Super has similarities to ACT’s.

Greg has close connections to David Cunliffe but says he blog comments on a personal basis – but here he seems to be trying to help the Super debate within Labour:

I thought that we should capture the thoughts in one post and let Labour (and the Greens and anyone else) to absorb the thoughts of commentators.

All parties and politicians should absorb whatever they can to try and work out an affordable way of dealing with Super. This must be done on an all party long term basis.

I’ll summarise comments in another post in a day or two.

Lynn Prentice sells The Standard

Lynn Prentice has done a salesman job on his blog, apparently trying to appear attractive to advertisers. Ice cream to eskimos? Used cars?

Stop Press have done a blogger profile – From blog to brand: Lynn Prentice (The Standard).

What is the Standard brand? And what is the lprent brand?

On himself

Whenever there is self praise and lprent involved there is inevitably mentions of his own abilities.

My real job is to provide greenfield programming code for similar private sector startups who are building export businesses.

That was a task  that my operations research MBA proved to be very useful in facilitating indevelopment.

Programming is his passion, his MBA is his pride. As everyone is told, quite often.

Have you got any funny anecdotes about running a political site in NZ?

Not really. In many ways running a political blog is a bit of a drag, which consists of getting posts up every day and moderating comments.

…for my unfortunate habit of only being able to write in English when I was highly irritated.

Humourless and often showing a grumpiness that one might exhibit when irritated by a drag of a job. Except he claims to have tried humour in a self promotion of this profile that he had to point out was an attempt at humour.

There’s a funny anecdote for you.

On journalists

The most intriguing discovery about the whole process for me has been the amusing discovery about how thin skinned many journalists and columnists are. It turns out that people on blogs intelligently criticising their performance has been remarkably upsetting to them. Hopefully it will help induce a better standard of political journalist over time.

Very ironic. Lynn’s crankiness and lack of tolerance for criticism is legendary.

“Intelligently criticising their performance” does happens sometimes but it’s far more often foaming rants about how the media are puppets of the right,  how harsh they are on the left and how unfair it is.

And the height of ironing is hoping “it will help induce a better standard”. When I suggested that The Standard would be better if it was more balanced and less abusive it would serve it’s purpose better. For that I was permanently banned.

On the Standardistas

We wanted a site that it was possible to have an intelligent and robust argument on without silly organisational constraints on the discussion.

We went from having a wide open no moderation policy to one that clearly defined what type of commenters the site was interested in retaining. They were intelligent robust debaters who could argue without simplistic slogans.

There are “intelligent robust debaters” but they are frequently drowned out by nit picking abusive harassing shills.

Pompous gits citing the unnamed authorities of their navel hair and mindless sloganeers became unwelcome.

A lot of the focus of the site in on making it easy for commenters to engage with each other.

Another irony. The blog is well known for it’s resident trolls gang attacking commenters they deem (often based on scant or no evidence) to be political enemies, and this behaviour is encouraged and sometimes led by Prentice.

Four legs good, two legs bad. Prentice and his porkers do the leg counting unsighted.

The audience we have ranges from people like myself who are quite professionally affluent through to those on a benefit for one reason or another. The most common factors are that they tend to be quite intelligent, well-educated, and very active in society in one capacity or another.

“Intelligent’ seems to be a big thing for Prentice, but a repeated claim that often isn’t evident looking through the comments threads.

On The Standard

We’re a very cooperative site across the left, internally and externally. This helps keep the diversity of opinion on the left being aired and helps to induce more comprehension and cooperation across the political movements of the left and advances the labour movement.

What we wanted to achieve was to provide a voice for the Labour movement in the local blogosphere.

And if you are deemed not of the Left or the Labour movement they treat you like a scab.

But any political site needs a few polemic rants…

While “polemic” is debatable there is more than a few rants – and some of the most verbiose and abusive come from Prentice, usually accompanied by a ban so there’s no right of replied for the person being admonished.

In last Sunday’s Herald Jonathan Milne wrote In bed with the bloggers where he said:

The leading bloggers trade on one core asset: the power of personality. They are loud, they are brash and they are, ahem, manufactured. The top ones admit creating personas that are more in-your-face than the real person.

Prentice wouldn’t be regarded as a leading blogger, he’s more of a blog manager. Aside from running the nuts and bolts of the site and his heavy handed “moderation” his contribution of posts and debate is sparse.

But yes, he is loud and brash, in distinct contrast to his demeanour in this StopPress profile. Multiple personalities? Or one of them manufactured?

He has posted about this profile at The Standard – StopPress and comments.

Umm I can’t have done too badly.  Our contact at Scoop emailed me without screaming how I’d made our site unsaleable. I must be losing my touch… I usually try to ensure that people always come away wanting to avoid any further contact. It helps with balancing time between home, work, family, and the blog.

That sounds more like the Standard personality.He repeats a warning:

I’ve also started to escalate the moderation bans heading into elections. So if anyone wants to troll on the site with mindless trash or to abuse authors, then don’t be surprised if you find your comments wind up in auto-spam until after the elections.

Beware if you are judged to have two legs. For once this isn’t an exaggeration, the bans are being dished out.

He added a footnote:

*  Yeah right! You did read the categories I chose eh?  As far as I’m aware there are no public photos of me on the net. And as for my usual mood on the site, “pleasant, widely expansive and egotisical best”. If you really believed that I was trying to emulate some other bloggers then all I have to say is “suckers”….

StopPress introduced the profile with:

As would be expected in the highly partisan world of political writing, much of the left-leaning content on The Standard has invoked the ire of several commentators on the right, including Cameron Slater and David Farrar.

On another Standard thread yesterday Prentice showed that this ire runs two ways. As he likes to ensure on his blog, I’ll leave the final selling of his blog to lprent:

…Whaleoil is a win for all political blogs

I hadn’t noticed that it was a political blog. After you get past the click bait, the paid ranting, the sorry for himself posting, the blustering and rhetorical grandstanding on historical issues that Cam is too young to know about, there really isn’t a lot of politics left or right.

I’d have described it as a classic “blog” in the original sense in which a poor depressed soul pours out their sorry hard luck story. In the days of yore he’d have spent a lot of time in a pub – and let me tell you that I heard a lot of no-hopers like him when I served the public bar. Everything is someone or something elses fault and never because he is a lazy irresponsible fuckwit.

It is as predictable as a male Mills and Boon and just as tedious…

Now you were saying…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 184 other followers