Deal making like Picasso

One of Donald Trump’s many attributes (as claimed by Trump) is that he is a great deal maker.

“Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals.” — Donald Trump, “The Art of the Deal”.

Trump’s current deal making skills look a bit Picasso.

The New York Times details the apparent lack of understanding of trump over the Mexican wall funding crisis – What Trump Could Learn From His Shutdown.

In this case, the president’s inability to reach some sort of deal rests heavily on several basic failures of understanding by him and his team. These include:

1. A failure to grasp how divided government works. The president somehow came to believe that he’d have more leverage once the Democrats took control of the House.

Unfortunately, Mr. Trump has been spoiled by two years of Congress being led by weak-kneed members of his party who, even when troubled by his excesses, largely let him run amok, lest he call down upon them the wrath of the Republican base.

2. A failure to understand the costs of playing only to the base. Time and again, Mr. Trump has chosen partisanship over leadership, doing nothing to expand his appeal. This puts him at a disadvantage in wooing the public to his side of the wall debate.

His job approval has slipped over his handling of the wall funding and partial Government shut down. Even both Rasmussen and Economist/YouGov has him falling to -9% – see RealClear Politics.

3. A failure to understand Nancy Pelosi. Apparently, Mr. Trump never got around to reading “The Art of War,” or at least not Sun Tzu’s admonition to “know your enemy.” If he had, the president would have tried to develop at least a basic working relationship with Ms. Pelosi. The White House clearly assumed that, at some point — maybe after she secured the speaker’s gavel — Ms. Pelosi would bend to Mr. Trump’s will. But the speaker is not impressed with bluster. She is seldom cowed by political pressure from her own team, much less the opposing one. She plays the long game, and her will is as formidable as Mr. Trump’s, possibly more so. One key difference: Ms. Pelosi knows how the legislative process works.

4. A failure to understand shutdown politics. If you don’t want to be blamed for one, don’t say you’re going to own it. Mr. Trump sacrificed that option when he boasted how “proud” he’d be to grind the government to a halt.

5. A failure to understand how the government works. Neither Mr. Trump nor anyone on his team had a clue how disruptive even a partial shutdown could be — and how they’d need to scurry to prevent millions of people from losing food stamps, housing or tax refunds.

Ignorance of the real life effects of suddenly having your pay stopped. It’s probably not something trump has ever come close to experiencing.

6. A failure to understand how members of Congress operate. Standing by the president when he’s tweeting out empty threats and insults is one thing. But when a shutdown starts causing pain and outrage back home, Republican lawmakers, especially those in vulnerable districts or states, start asking themselves which they value more — their president or their political hides. Even casual students of Congress know that this is not a tough call.

It may also grind down his support.

Business deals are quite different. You win some, you lose some (like gamblers, business deal makers only brag about their wins, not their losses).

But political deals are far more complex. When a shutdown becomes a part of the pressure it impacts on many people who need to feed their families and retain their homes, and on politicians who want to retain their support.

A president has far more power than a businessman – but most of that power is reliant on many other people. Doing political deals requires an understanding of how to get the support needed to use their power.  Bullshit and bullying may work in some situations, like when you have a gutless Congress. But when you are up against a bloody-minded Congress understanding how politics works is important.

It may be better to liken Trump’s current deal making to a different sort of painting.

Image result for child painting anger

But ignorant anger is not a strong hand in the art of the political deal.

Trump in hypocritical overdrive blaming others for anger and division

It’s hardly news that Donald Trump is being hypocritical in blaming the media and others for being divisive, but in his latest claim of the moral ground proves his own divisiveness.

Trump repeatedly encouraged anger against others at his political rallies in the 2016 presidential campaign, and until very recently he continued to do this. And in his rant against ‘Anger’ he does much the same.

Aaron Blake (Washington Post): Trump is unwittingly blaming himself for postal bombs

At a rally in Wisconsin on Wednesday, Trump made a show of supposedly being civil but also cast blame on others who employed harsh rhetoric. He criticized those who “carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains.” He added that people need to “stop treating their opponents as morally defective.”

Trump also pointed a finger at the media — a sentiment he expounded upon Thursday morning in a tweet.

So Trump has now cited three causes for what happened Wednesday: people who villainize their political opponents, people who cast their opponents as “morally defective” and resentment of the media. All three effectively implicate Trump himself.

Nobody in American politics in recent years has so villainized and attacked the morality of their political opponents like Trump. His attacks are routinely about people’s character, rather than allowing for honest disagreements. He has literally appended nicknames to his opponents attacking their morality: “Lyin’ Ted,” “Crooked Hillary” and “Cheatin’ Obama.” Trump at one point before he ran for president even assured us that his critics weren’t just mistaken, but were “born f—ed up.” He has called the media and his female sexual harassment accusers “liars,” repeatedly.

And just two weeks ago, while defending his Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, Trump said Kavanaugh’s opponents were not just wrong, but “evil” — repeatedly.

“You had forces saying things that were evil. They were bad people,” Trump said. When asked whether he was calling fellow Americans “evil,” Trump confirmed that he was: “I know many. I know fellow Americans that are evil. I know — are you saying we shouldn’t say that a fellow American is ‘evil?’ I’ve known some fellow Americans that are pretty evil.”

But perhaps the biggest self-incrimination here is in Trump’s decision to blame this on the media.

It bears noting that only one of the targets thus far was a media outlet; The others were Democratic and liberal figures whom Trump has verbally attacked. If this was truly about frustration with the media, sending a bomb to Joe Biden or Eric Holder doesn’t really make sense.

Setting that aside, Trump seems to be arguing that the media has created such resentment that people are liable to do things like mail bombs to people they don’t like. But here’s the thing: Trump has spent the better part of the past three years egging on suspicions of the media — and often unfairly. There are undoubtedly some fair criticisms in there — the media isn’t perfect and should never claim to be — but Trump has also gone so far as to label the media the “enemy of the American people.”

He has repeatedly denied reports that he and his administration later confirmed. He has attacked anonymous sources as nonexistent even though there was an official White House transcript to prove it. He has made repeated claims about how the media covered him that don’t comport with reality or what he said previously.

Which is what he’s doing now.

Trump accusing others of things he is guilty of is nothing new.

And his rhetoric about reducing anger and division is likely to be thrown out the window at his next rally.

Have we started the year off ugly and angry?

Politics seems to have kicked off early this year, largely because of the attention being given to Donald Trump (New Zealand politics is only slowly emerging from holiday time).

Anger and affront – whether real or an activist tactic – is one of the more visible aspects of political discussion, so naturally some people have started the year angry.

An unusually perceptive post from Martyn Bradbury looks at this – Glitterboobs, tinned tomatoes, racist menus and golliwogs – have we started the year off angry?

I tend to want to follow politics, economics and the political process because with an untested left wing Government, a looming economic crash and an orange fuckwit on the nuclear button, the shit storm that is about to hit demands our full attention.

But sometimes things happen and people say things that are so ugly and ignorant you need to pause and just say, ‘Oi. You. No!’

Have we started the year in an ugly and angry way? I think we have and I think some of the ugliness in our dialogue has been fuel injected by social media platforms where vilification and maximum emotional outrage have rendered us too fried and bitter to even bother checking the better angels of our nature’s twitter feed.

Social media has enabled an overdose of ‘cry wolf’ outrage. It has become difficult to see the issues that really deserve attention amongst the plethora of petty attacks.

I’m still not sure whether Trump is a reactive self obsessed idiot, or a carefully staged act to mask what he or his handlers are trying to achieve quietly. I suspect it’s a mix of both.

I look at the four issues that have recently erupted on social media and some of the things I see people saying is woefully stupid and just misplaced fear and anger that is being spouted by wounded and insecure individuals.

If a woman is walking naked in public, you don’t have any right whatsoever to touch her. Yes, self-defence law doesn’t cover her chasing the dickhead who did this down and hitting him four times in the head, but that’s a side salad to the initial issue of him sexually assaulting her in public in the first place. There’s no defence in the world where it’s justifiable to grope her. None. Zip. Why the Christ are you still trying to justify that?

If you are getting indignant about being told what food to donate to women who are escaping domestic violence, perhaps you need to appreciate that charity isn’t pretty. It’s ugly and real. If you are offended that women in a state of shock from domestic violence require comfort food as opposed to a Jamie Oliver ingredient list, then perhaps you need to check who this charity is actually for, you or the person you are donating it to.

If you think racist menus are funny because they make fun of the way people speak, it not only demeans the food you are cooking, it demeans you as a person. The needlessness of the spite and the joy in revelling in the ‘naughtiness’  of being politically incorrect speaks to a pretty base level ignorance that is childish and beneath everyone. How can an asian restaurant do justice to the spirit of the kai when that restaurant is mocking and humiliating the culture that kai comes from?

(If your main concern was me throwing in the word ‘kai’ in that last sentence, you’re either someone who thinks this menu is hilarious or Don Brash.)

Talking of Don Brash – Golliwogs.

I appreciate you might have had a Golliwog when you were a kid. I appreciate you cuddled up to the Golliwog and I appreciate that you aren’t racist. I get that. However the Golliwog is a crass caricature of the very racist Black and White Minstrels and just like the n word, it’s not really something white people get to claim. And yes, unfortunately sensitivities to many centuries of slavery and racism do in fact outrank your childhood memories.

This last one is a tricky one. I get that we should all be more sensitive to what may offend others. But should we sanitise our pasts and presents in case someone might be offended by something?

Sometimes people are quite justified in being offended.

But sometimes – increasingly via social media – people use ‘offence’ as an excuse to attack or to shut down valid debate.

In each of these four examples,  the Glitterboobs, tinned tomatoes, racist menus and golliwogs, people are wanting to be wilfully offensive to one another. It’s not a case of ‘forgive me I didn’t realise that’, it’s a case of, “Fuck you I don’t care”.

That’s correct – to an extent. Some people are deliberately offensive to attract attention – Cameron Slater is a good example of this.

But some people deliberately claim offence when none was intended. Just about any time I comment at The Standard people (a small number) pile in claiming offence, deliberately misrepresenting and making false accusations. This is a widespread problem in social media – ‘offence’ is used as an attack weapon.

Perhaps it’s because the first reaction is always, ‘you racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/xenophobic heteronormative patriarchal redneck…’ that people’s heels dig in as deeply as they do. Social media has bypassed gatekeeper media, but it’s also unleashed a cacophony of resentment that removes compassion in favour of online assassinations.

That’s a big statement from Bradbury, because he has been known to have some fairly over the top first reactions.

The ugly anger being spouted by many on social issues that cut to the very heart of our individual identities is a backlash long in coming. The wounds that so many are speaking from can’t be argued with, they need to heal first before they can listen and I don’t  think there is going to be a lot of listening in 2018.

He is right that some wounded people can’t be argued with, it is too emotional for them to see other points of view. Some have suffered for their lifetime.

But politics is different to a large extent.

Some of the worst arguing and not listening on political issues is not from a position of personal aggrievement, it isn’t based on personal hurt and suffering. It is based on perceptions and ideological passions that often bear little resemblance to reality.

Is there a way of separating real personal wounds from impassioned political activism? If there is it won’t be easy.

Having thought this through perhaps Bradbury can address some of this at The Daily Blog this year. Not everyone will start to listen this year, but if he puts more thought into posts like this, if he reduces his own anger and ugliness,  Bradbury may increase his audience and change political discourse for the better.

And each of us could do likewise.

Anger can be an essential safety valve, but ongoing ugliness is counter productive to making social and political progress.

Responding to violence with compassion

A very good comment at The Standard on their Nice attack thread in response to this from Psycho Milt:

Compassion isn’t an appropriate feeling for someone who’d deliberately drive a truck into a crowd of random strangers.

McFlock:

Actually, it’s almost certainly a very appropriate response to someone who ends up in that mindspace.

Because the absence of compassion for those who inflict pain simply puts us into the same mindspace that they were in: anger focussed at people who we no longer fully regard as human.

It’s incredibly difficult to respond to violence with compassion, few of us can really do it, but it’s something to aspire to. The alternative is to just continue the cycle of violence and injustice.

 

Poll reaction ‘worse than usual’

Andrew from Colmar Brunton just tweeted:

Wow this week’s poll! The criticism has been much worse than usual. NEVER happens when Labour support increases.

Labour is down 4 to 28%, the first time they have dipped below 30 since the 2014 election, and National is up 3 to 50% – see One News/Colmar Brunton April 2016.

The reaction from the left, apparent on Twitter and at The Standard, ranged from disbelief to  blame, of everything from bad or corrupt polling methods, misleading or corrupt media and John Key.

Hard core Labour supporters have now had nearly eight years of post-Clark frustration and disappointment and daashed hopes.

On current performances (of the party and of leader Andrew Little) this looks unlikely to change any time soon.

Labour has faded from a major party with a widely respected leader to a struggling party with diminishing status.

They are on to their fourth leader and their latest one seems to be heading towards failure, probably hastened by this week’s lurch into dirty politics.

Except that the party seems averse to swapping leaders yet again and go through yet another upheaval, and no one appears keen to step up and take over what looks like a now poisoned chalice.

The remaining Labour supporters (and leadership) seem blind to their own fairly major shortcomings so they blame everyone and everything else on their failures.

I’ve experienced this myself over the years, especially at The Standard where attack seems to be their only way of dealing with continued failure to gain and political traction or to score significant hits on opponents.

You can get banned from the Standard for telling them they are doing their cause a disservice with their attacks on anyone deemed disloyal or in disagreement with their behaviour or their ideals.

Things are probably looking more grim than ever for Labour. So it’s not surprising to hear  that Andrew and Colmar Brunton are bearing the brunt of their anger.

The 5 stages of loss and grief:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Labour supporters seem to have spent most of the last seven and a half years bouncing between 1 and 2, with a few bouts of 4.

This term they have begun to talk about some 3 with Greens and NZ First but keep falling back to 1 and 2, which is what Andrew (Grumpollie) has experienced since the poll was published.

And another Andrew, the Little one, seems to have taken a major does of 2 with his attacks in Parliament this week, so Colmar Brunton may need to prepare them for the next poll. Neither the poll nor the reaction may be pretty.

Dangerous level of political vitriol

In a rare post political enthusiast Geoffrey Miller has written about New Zealand’s increasingly dangerous level of political vitriol.

This looks at recent online attacks on politicians and particularly the escalation of public attacks on MPs by throwing things at them.

A tremendously open political environment

In New Zealand we are used to meeting politicians on the streets, at school fairs and at sporting events. If you want to meet a Cabinet minister – or the Prime Minister – it is not particularly difficult.

But this is under threat due to a few stupid attacks, and too much glorifying and trivialising by media, insufficient condemnation and a lack of appropriate consequences.

Part of the reason for the escalation is anger and frustration about John Key’s ongoing popularity.

The far left’s increasingly desperate anger

There is little doubt that some voices on the left have become increasingly angry in recent months.

These are a vocal minority, to be clear. Radicals are by definition a minority.

In recent months, the anger has focused mainly on the TPP.

But another, more deep-seated reason for anger is John Key’s continuing popularity. Anyone who has dipped into the comments section on The Standard, or who follows left-wing activists on Twitter, or reads comments on the various activist Facebook pages knows how central John Key to the discontent.

A constantly updated list of hundreds of John Key’s “lies” on The Standard has been shared thousands of times on Facebook.

There is plenty of legitimate criticism of John Key and the government.

But anyone who has visited the left-wing blogosphere, or Twitter-verse, or the many Facebook pages know that there is a nasty underbelly.

Very nasty at times.

The risk of escalation

On Monday, David Cunliffe tweeted “I’m no great Brownlee fan, but politics is a tough gig and most people try to make a difference.  Doesn’t deserve it”.

Cunliffe’s tweet was in reaction to a tweet by scientist and Green Party activist Dr. Sea Rotmann, who had tweeted: “I’m just glad that NZs proud tradition of throwing things at senior politicians stays alive and well”.

Acceptance and encouragement like that is as big a part of the problem as those nutty enough to do throw something, or to make stupid comments online.

Let’s tone down the rhetoric

That’s good advice for many online forums, including this one.

We are talking about a small minority who hold a visceral anger to the government.

For a handful, this anger is so visceral that that they are willing to take physical action, as seen in the Brownlee and Joyce incidents.

Again, this is a tiny minority.

We have every right to criticise, make fun of, even mock politicians.

We should not tar genuine opposition to the government with the same brush.

We should have robust debate. More than that, we desperately need it., especially given the weakened state of our parliamentary opposition.

Protesters are doing the job that Labour and the Greens currently are clearly not doing adequately inside parliament.

There is nothing wrong with a peaceful protest.

But hurling objects at MPs is not peaceful.

So far, the incidents have been harmless.

Unless politicians, media and people online recognise huge risks of not confronting and quelling the anger and inappropriate behaviour it could escalate to something far more serious.

Like New Zealand, Sweden long had a tradition of personal, retail politics in which politicians rub shoulders with voters as apparent equals. That’s what one expects in a small country.

But there is one big difference between Sweden and New Zealand.

Sweden has suffered not one, but two political assassinations. The first, in 1986, was the murder of then Prime Minister Olof Palme.

The second, in 2003, was the killing of foreign minister Anna Lindh.  Had it not been for her untimely death, Lindh was in line to be Prime Minister.

We should keep Sweden’s experiences in mind when reflecting in the increasingly dangerous level of political vitriol that New Zealand has seen in recent months.

It’s worth reading the whole post – New Zealand’s increasingly dangerous level of political vitriol.

Could it get worse? Easily. This week someone is in court for threatening to put 1080 in baby milk formula. He said in court yesterday he just cracked one day.

This is more of a left wing problem, simply because of timing, we have had a centre right Government for the last seven years and anger and encouragement of anger has been getting worse over that time, often fueled by social media.

I saw many despicable attacks on Helen Clark when she was Prime Minister, and these still continue to a lesser extent. And there’s been ongoing nasty attacks and abuse directed at the procession of Labour leaders since Clark stepped down.

Andrew Little is lower profile and less powerful so gets less but he still gets unfairly attacked. It should be noted that he was on hand to personally support Gerry Brownlee immediately after that attack. I’m sure all MPs are aware of an uneasy about potential escalation.

Key happens to be the PM copping most of the attacks but the Joyce and Brownlee incidents show that no one is immune. The person who attacked Brownlee said he could have targeted Key instead.

I think our political leaders have a responsibility to jointly stand up against escalations – and them behaving better in parliament would help set an example.

Media have to seriously look at their complicity in glorifying and encouraging anger and bad behaviour. They should be responsible for more than click harvesting.

And prominent people in social media and blogs should also speak up against the worst of anger and personal attacks online.

Fekitoa’s anger

It’s a big thing for Malakai Fekitoa to publicly admit he has problems with anger. Good on him.

NZ Herald: All Black Malakai Fekitoa admits anger issues

The 23-year-old shared a message with his 173,000 followers earlier today, admitting he has struggled with anger “on and off the field”.

Fekitoa provided no particular reason for the post but encouraged those who suffered from similar problems to seek help.

“I’ve got a huge problem with anger”.

“I don’t handle some situation very well on and off the field. I get really angry sometimes and flip out so I would like to apologise publicly to any of you if I ever said something really hurtful to you at home, on the field and through social media.

“I’m ashamed and regretful, Lesson learnt. I suggest that no matter how old you are or who you are. Whatever it is. You need to speak to someone about it. Your feelings and what’s inside you. Its never bad until it will cost you. #CallOutForHelp.”

FekitoaAnger

That photo is taken at the Signal Hill Lookout with views over Dunedin and Otago Harbour.

It’s a big thing for Fekitoa to come out in public about his anger problems like this. Good on him.

If more people get angry how will the world change?

Will getting angry change the world? In some ways it can. There’s been a few angry revolutions that have precipitated major  change. Some of that change has been for the better, eventually. And some to the detriment of the world. The problem with anger is it can work in different ways.

But generally anger isn’t an effective way to change things for the better.

This doesn’t stop some people from trying to talk up anger to promote their politics.

Stephanie Rodgers seems to be often angry online, and she’s just put up an anger promoting post at The Standard – Damn right I’m angry.

In advance of making any points she warns people about telling her to tone things down.

There’s a term: “tone argument”. It refers to the regular pleas directed at feminists, anti-racism activists, indigenous rights activists, trans activists, etc to stop being so aggressive and ask nicely for fundamental human rights and dignity instead ofshouting so much. It’s a derailment, a troll move, a way to undermine and ignore the actual arguments being made.

That’s Stephanie-speak for “don’t argue with me on my post or I’ll shut you up”. Arguments on her post most toe her line or they will  not be tolerated.

The irony is that these voices are already marginalized. Shouting is often the only way to get heard.

Getting heard is not the same as being effective. It’s easy to dismiss angry shouting as angry shouting. I doubt that shouting angrily at politicians in New Zealand has a major record of success.

Stephanie then goes on to detail what politics she’s angry about.

If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.

I’m not angry and I think I pay attention as much as Stephanie. I think she means that if you’re not angry like her you’re not paying attention to what she’s angry about.

And when you’re angry, you can change the world.

As I said at the start, anger can change the world, for better and for worse. But most often it’s not a good way to achieve change, especially in New Zealand.

That’s why anger scares them so much.

I don’t know who would be scared by political anger posted at The Standard, at all let alone ‘so much’.

Acting and claiming extremes suggests to me that Stephanie is too intent on expressing anger to listen and observe beyond her bubble of rage.

She even reinforces her bubble by threatening anyone who might dare disagree with her. She doesn’t want to listen to anything but her angry argument.

Anger is ok at times but level headed determination and persistence are likely to be listened to more by those able to change the world to any extent.

Why there’s anger, Murray

There’s been wide and varied reactions to David Cunliffe’s “sorry to be a man” comment and to Tania Billingsley casting aside anonymity and speaking out about her feeling about the political reaction to her case.

This is understandable, especially when collective guilt is applied to “all men” and men are told to shut up and not talk about it. Many men and more than a few women have reacted against this. Some of the response has been reactionary and awful, especially when politics is put into the mix. Some of it has been angry.

But, and this is a big BUT, there is much deeper anger seething to the surface. Survivors of rape and domestic violence have deep hurt about what men have done to them and anger about the attitudes on display. Murray McCully is bearing the brunt of much of this. His apparent nonchalance and disinterest in the Malaysian diplomat case has spark a furor.

This angry reaction has taken many aback because while the feelings are evident the reasons are not clear to most people. There’s a good reason for this. Most survivors of brutality don’t like talking about their ordeals, especially in public, so their side of the story has been missed by most.

While many men have been momentarily miffed by accusations of guilt they can quickly move on to other things. Survivors can’t. Every time a rape case or a murder or assault is publicised it reminds then and drags their hurt to the surface again.

On a blog yesterday someone did speak out and put the respective hurt and anger into perspective – “I got an apology”… said no survivor of rape or gendered violence ever.

As I write this I am so tired. I am tired of repeating myself. Tired of having to explain why the “not all men” arguments are damaging and not a legitimate or helpful response to discussions about violence against women. There are women on this planet who have had legs ripped out from their sockets while being raped. There are women who have been beaten so badly they have not survived. My friend was hit so hard one time she shat herself. It is hard to say anything new about the same old issues when so few people hear the voices of those who have survived. When change is incremental. When the response is so often “…not all men”. Yeah. Moving on.

That level of violence is always perpetrated by men. Disgraceful male animals.

“I got an apology”… said no survivor of rape or gendered violence ever – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/07/11/i-got-an-apology-said-no-survivor-of-rape-or-gendered-violence-ever/#sthash.UC0cpEoa.dpuf

Most men abhor this sort of violence. But those who are miffed when the blame finger is pointed at them need to understand my some women – far too many women – are angry at men.

Why women are angry at Murray McCully for appearing not to care about victims. Why they don’t give a toss about the hurt feelings of peaceful men.

Sure they may overstate culpability of males who are not violent. But that comes from eons of their violation and hurt being grossly understated and ignored.

You know we have a massive problem as a society when a man apologising for the violence men commit against women causes more outcry and insult than the violence he is apologising for.

One billion women on this planet have survived violence. One billion women are living with the aftermath of this violence; the PTSD, the nightmares, the anxiety, the isolation, the shame and stigma… the blame. When a man says sorry for the abuse women have survived, why do so many people and media sources run to defend “good, non-violent men” everywhere, but when a woman has the courage to speak about surviving her own rape or surviving violence she is shamed? Why is she asked “What where you wearing?”, “Were you drunk?”, “Did you say no?”, “Did you deserve it?” Why does no one run to her defence?

Some do quietly defend and confront the excuses and redirection of blame. That often results in attacks – I’ve been viciously attacked and receive ongoing abuse in social media for speaking up against man crap.

But much more male speaking up has to happen to confront one of society’s dirtiest secrets.

I’m not sorry I’m a man at all. Neither is my wife sorry I’m a man.

But I’m sorry for the fact that more men don’t speak up and confront diverting and demeaning language – man crap. I see the excuses and the making women responsible for their safety frequently.

Men should be collectively doing far more about it.

Bickering about who is and who isn’t to blame is pointless. Men need to come up with a way of fixing their own shitty record of wrecking women’s and children’s lives.

Only a small minority of men are vicious animals, but they cause a huge amount of damage in our society.

We can either say it’s not our fault, not our problem and ignore it.

Or we can collectively stand up and do far more about it.

A good way for Murray McCully to end his privileged political career would be to make a real symbolic difference, but for him to do that he woukld have to understand the problem he is very much a part of.

I don’t agree with this petition – Demand Murray McCully, Minister for Foreign affairs, resign.

Demands are more likely to entrench opinion against resigning.

But McCully could decide to resign of his own accord, if he got what the problem he is embroiled in is and chose to do something significant about it.

Victims of rape and violence don’t so much need apologies, they need understanding of their anger and they need far more action to prevent so many women and children’s lives being wrecked, and far better support given to survivors.