Dodgy Unions – review

There is now a proper review of Cameron Slater’s book ‘Dodgy Unions’ on Amazon. John W posted a comment here:

I took the plunge purchased it, read it and reviewed it. It’s up on the Amazon page. It’s a disappointing short book, short on new info, short on analysis.

His review on Amazon:

Remarkably disappointing.
By JKastNZ on October 13, 2015
2/5 stars

Given that this book has had two reviews, one by one of the contributors of the whaleoil blog (and this review was immediately removed when its dodgy self promotion was turned into the sunlight) and now a review by someone who hasn’t yet read the book. I thought having purchased and read the book I should post a review.

Several points

– This book is very short. The description of the forthcoming print edition is 100 pages. I have 100 pages on my reader, and most of this is blank space. The formatting makes it easy to read but it has padded the page count considerably. In addition a lot of the book is self repeating. For example various unattributed quotes and messages from ‘labour party insiders’ are repeated several times adding no real value (although it does serve to extend the page count). Likewise the tables in the chapters of the book are repeated in the appendixs for no particular reason that i I can see.

– This book repeats a lot of information found at the whaleoil blog. In particular a number of comments in the book seem to be similar to what commentator wiseowl was suggesting over there about union finances (around a year ago if memory serves me correctly). The only new piece of information that I found was some comments about a $6 million dollar loan made from the EMPU to a subsidiary several years ago. If you are a whaleoil follower looking for new information this is not the book for you.

– The book is short on analysis. This is disappointing as it is billed as presenting more analysis than a blog post. Some examples – of the seven chapters, chapter 6 is entirely devoted to retelling some Union scandals in Australia. This is hardly relevant to NZ and seems like a waste of space.

There are some figures that have been pulled from the Union Accounts, and some questions (listed in question form) about these, but no detailed analysis. For example whilst pulling out the total wage bill and highlighting it from accounts has been done, there is no comparison by locating the total number of employees and then working out the average wage per employee per union, or comparing expenses to other organisations with similar turnovers.

Likewise the book makes mention of the “Equity” of unions. The author says that this he uses the word equity to refer to the “extremely large cash reserves” (Chapter 3) of the unions. This is problematic as that is not what the equity on the unions balance sheet will reflect and I’m not sure I believe the claim given the above issues that the unions looked at have cash reserves of $122 million.

There has been no consideration that the Unions may have done what my local bridge club has done and purchased a building 40 years ago (or in the union’s case several buildings) and just sat on it accumulation equity. In my experience not for profits tend to do this and wind up with a healthy dose of equity. But again this in depth analysis is missing.

– The last point I wish to make is that the book is short on attributable quotes. There are lots of unattributed stories and and comments (mostly from Labour insiders about union finances). I’m left confused as to whether this is one person, two people, more, their location in the party, etc.

In conclusion this book is short, short on new information, short on analysis, and short in actual length. It does read well (and for that it gets an additional star) but I would be hard pressed to think of a situation where I would recommend it. I’m disappointed enough to consider asking for a refund.

A response from ‘Guest’:

@John W
I read it. You were generous with your stars. Seems CS over-promised and under-delivered. Do you feel embarrassed for him?

Slater should know one of the rules of politics – under promise and over deliver. It applies to books to.

Nicky Hager promised nothing and delivered a huge blow to Slater’s club of clobberers. How many booklets will it take before Slater delivers on his promised counter punch to ‘Dirty Politics’?

Leave a comment

37 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  13th October 2015

    Please correct your typo “This applies to books too”.

    Reply
  2. Eh?

     /  13th October 2015

    I feel embarrassed for the fat man. I suspect he is unwell and JA/SB is working overtime to protect him. He needs better counsel and a real friend. The book appears to be a complete failure which impacts on the potential many, many books he has planned. He should sign off and get well

    Reply
    • Mike C

       /  14th October 2015

      @Eh

      You are not alone in thinking that perhaps he has had an episode or something like that, because so many things just don’t add up, such as, why does the Whale need to employ so many writers, when about 90% of the posts end with “… of the Day”.

      If Slater is incapacitated at the present time and unable to write, then Belt and Spanish Bride would need to employ extra writers.

      Reply
      • jaspa

         /  14th October 2015

        He sounds pretty chirpy in this audio, speaking with Leighton Smith on Monday.

        [audio src="http://content.radionetwork.co.nz/weekondemand/auckland/21115.mp3" /]

        I think things would be going a lot better for Cam without the ‘help’ of Pete Belt and SB.

        Reply
        • Guest

           /  14th October 2015

          @jaspa

          I listened to that yesterday. To be fair, it was an opportunity to promote and talk up the book. It also was a chance for him to experience the feeling of relevance again, something I’d suggest he’s lost. He sounded excited just to be listened to.
          The trouble is, IMHO, that feeling is likely to be very short lived. From the 3 free chapters of the book I read, the content is strange and repeated. He either has to publish the book he’s promised – the counter to DP – or give up the notion he’s an author of any talent. Content is king and without it, he’s got nothing.

          Reply
  3. Blathered

     /  13th October 2015

    I gave up on owl and his complete lack of understanding about Financial Statements.. and for that matter Slater confusing Statement of Cash Flow for Financial Performance, and not knowing the difference between Equity and Market Value (In regards to the Port)..

    One assumes they have got worse.

    Reply
  4. I think the saddest thing for me is that ultimately I am not Slater’s enemy. I want him to succeed. But this is not success, and this is not the way one succeeds. I think he was doing perfectly well before he started bullshitting, and believing his own bullshit. I expect the Left to be liars and cheats and arseholes, but when someone on “our side” does it, it’s worse, because in a fair fight we always win, and if you fight dirty, it’s akin to sabotage.

    Reply
    • Rob

       /  15th October 2015

      What colour is the sky in your world.

      Reply
    • Indeed Blair… I don’t wish him harm….. just wish it was more doey and less talkey… too many I knows that are never backed up onWOBH

      Reply
      • Slater did incredibly well building up Whale Oil as much as he did.

        He (and Belt) risk blowing it and show no sign of recognising and repairing the damage done in the past eighteen months.

        Hager and ‘Dirty Politics’ didn’t help but the comments purges were already well under way then. When they most needed support they were blowing much of it away.

        Reply
        • The tidy up on swearing and abuse was no problem Pete, but “little calorie comment” rule went to far and purges & bans just make you wonder about their acumen in maintaining a readership… the comment levels have plummeted and if you look inside the GD threads some of it is just inane site prompted blather to build the view and comment stats….

          Anyway their blog they can do as they see fit with it…

          Reply
          • I agree that the excessive swearing and abuse here a problem that was worth cleaning up, but overkill is an understatement.

            I think Belt (with Cam’s approval) tried to turn it into a massive message control and they really didn’t want diverse discussion and input.

            I hope they are happy with what’s left, but I think it’s a big opportunity constructed and then destructed.

            Reply
            • Golden Goose of a blog and the opportunity of an alternative centre right centric media platform blown by poor security and then turning on their audience…. such is life…

            • MaureenW

               /  15th October 2015

              The self congratulatory post on the “GRRREAT SUCCCCESS” of Dodgy Unions has just 27 comments. 9 of those are Pete and SB, 2 each from (our) Kev and Grocers Girl and 14 Randoms.

        • Budgieboy

           /  15th October 2015

          WO needs to drop kick that drop kick Belt into touch and he might have a fighting chance.

          Good to see some positive comments about the big guy – even with clear understanding of some of the embarrassments of late.

          Belt must talk up a bloody good game but how WO and SB can’t see the damage he’s done to their business is beyond me.

          The donation revenue that’s walked since the ban fan got going must be incredible and page views have plummeted – as a very long term reader Im convinced you can track the problems back to Belts arrival.

          Reply
          • Sponge

             /  15th October 2015

            I totally agree Budgieboy. I was a regular commenter and was also contributing financially every month. When the swearing ban came in I was unconvinced but soon realised that it was the right move.

            Everything since then has been a complete and utter disaster.

            The censorship (it is their their right to do this of course but it made them just like The Standard – in fact Pete Belt and LPrent have quite a lot in common) and banning of any dissent crushed the comments down to mostly “me too” low calorie comments. Then the utter disdain with which Pete treated the very audience that made the blog successful made me realise that they had stared believing their own PR. I left before I was banned but no doubt I would have been given the arse card sooner or later.

            It is a crying shame as WOBH used to be a fantastic blog and is now a shadow of its former self. It is quite apparent that almost no one is talking to Cameron anymore and he is wilding failing around trying to find relevance – and failing. The exposure of his “pay for posts” has further damaged his credibility. Just look at the absolute lack of interest in any of his posts about the dam.

            As I said it is a damn shame as 18 months ago he had what was I believe the best blog in the country by a mile. I still go and have a look every day or two but there is nothing much of interest there now and I rarely bother to look at the comments as they are so bland it is not with the effort. I looked at the post today where Pete was explaining that the review he posted as “B Edwards” was a deliberate ploy. Every now and then a post would be made questioning this but would disappear in a few moments.

            WOBH is an example of a great opportunity blown by people believing their own PR. It is such a shame as Cameron had done some great stuff before it all turned to shit – and “Dirty Politics” is nothing to do with why it turned to shit.

            For all of the above I still wish all of them the best. I hate seeing people fail.

            Reply
            • Maureen

               /  15th October 2015

              I’m pretty much in your camp there Sponge, left before I was put in the naughty corner. I would see valid comments disappear for challenging a particular view and realised that if the blog only remained accessible to “agreers” I no longer wanted to be there. Sad really, I found it one of the most fun places to be online. Now it’s just dreary, there’s no pizzazz about any of it. Petes Mum would be so proud😐

            • Budgieboy

               /  15th October 2015

              Sponge and Maureen I commend you both for walking before you were pushed – to my shame I watched that areshole banning people, dismissing people and frankly shitting on good long term contributors with a high handed arrogance that was nothing short of repugnant. I did not argue in anyones corner, I did not complain or tell him what i thought of him, I was completely gutless quite frankly.

              The unadulterated BULLSHIT that he was dealing with bad language is absolutely pathetic – I posted in favour of dealing overt swearing – but what he did in reality had nothing to do with that.

              He is simply an grade A fuckwit – of the highest order.

              My weekly contribution was canceled about 90 seconds after I was banned. I felt bad for SB in particular but Belt had posted multiple times about pathetic people that had emailed WO begging for a ban to be over turned – and made it clear that contacting the Slaters was a total waste of time. (And would be met with derision). God has there ever been a bigger wanker than that prick?

              There is literally no chance for that place while he remains part of it.

          • Guest

             /  15th October 2015

            I am proud to admit I received the “don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out” farewell

            Reply
        • And this is the dumb thing – is there a more loathesome creature than Hager? If you have the moral high ground you can roast that little trustifarian bitch. But Slater decided he was better than a bunch of his fans, and he wanted to fight that battle on his own. And a lot of us said “fine, good luck”.

          Reply
          • Rob

             /  15th October 2015

            Calling people names like “loathesome creature” and “trustifarian bitch” and somehow you think you have the moral high ground? You’re a right wing religious loon and if there is a just God he’ll be giving you a kick in the arse I’m sure.

            Reply
            • I never said I had any moral high ground, and I don’t see why you are bringing my personal religious and political beliefs into it – they’re irrelevant to the discussion. If you don’t think Hager is loathesome, or reliant on a capitalist trust fund for income, by all means rebut me, but don’t waste everyone’s time attacking me personally – it just makes you a failure at rhetoric and at life.

      • Guest

         /  15th October 2015

        @Daveeeeee!!
        You’re back and I am happy about that!

        Reply
  5. Guest

     /  15th October 2015

    @Daveeee
    And I invited you to back up your claims but you went all whiney and signed off…so tell us your relationship with the man who dresses up in a ‘patch’ which is as intimidating as a priest during Sunday Mass…

    Reply
    • @Guesteeee – I’ve made no claims. Just made a comment – if your delusion leads you somewhere else so be it…

      Reply
  6. Notice that in Belt’s remarkably unaware-of-the-situation-he-is-in response to being found out with his bogus review he referred to “The Blog of the Damned”.

    To anyone aware of the reality of what Whale Oil has become, and there are a number of examples on this thread, not from anti-WO lefties but from those deeply disappointed with the slide in WO precipitated in large part by Belt taking over management and moderation – I think this is closer to being Blog of the Damning.

    Can Whale Oil be rescued and recover at least in part? I’d like to think it could but it doesn’t look likely given Belt’s response to yesterday’s embarrassment.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  15th October 2015

      Stupidity tends to be an incurable affliction. If you don’t have them, brains can be purchased or attracted but I don’t see WO having either sufficient funds or faculties.

      Reply
    • Loki

       /  16th October 2015

      You cannot blame Belt. Nature abhors a vacuum. And in this case the vacuum is the massive hole left by the people who used to try and manage the train wreck.
      If whale had any talent or indeed wasn’t such a repellent, selfish idiot he would still have a group of smart people feeding him and the blog.
      He is too stupid to realise that every day he reinforces Hagers victory with his Whitney posts about Key and the people in National he thinks are a threat to crusher.
      He is the only person in the country who hasn’t woken up to the fact that he destroyed her career with his inability to keep his mouth shut.
      Belt is simply doing all the work that Slater is too lazy to perform himself.

      Reply
      • Today’s WO proverb: “A lazy person’s way is blocked with briers, but the path of the upright is an open highway.”

        Reply
  7. Maureen

     /  15th October 2015

    Yes, the blog of the damned that now generates more interest than WO. Can WO be rescued? Not likely in the immediate future, I’d love to think he’ll wake up and get back to his core topics and audience, but unlikely as the visions of grandeur seem to outweigh delivering a product that delivers to an interested readership.

    Reply

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