“Their Hysterical Reaction Tells Us…”

Martyn Bradbury on Brexit an enormous threat to global economy:

I don’t think most people understand just how much danger the global economy is now in…

The initial shockwave…

We have an undeclared currency war erupting…a global economy already on its knees.

Brexit is a terminal blow.

I didn’t think the British would leave the EU because I didn’t think they were so masochistic, but the inability of the political elites and corporations that have benefited from globalisation to understand the anger of working classes being hurt by the extra competition has seen the great dream of a unified Europe end.

Let’s be clear – this is a shocking result because it turns everything on its head.

The irony of the British wishing to escape the parts of globalisation they didn’t like could in turn create a global economic collapse that a burns them as badly as it burns everyone else.

Brexit‬ is a result of the working classes being hurt by globalisation…

I suspect there is more in it and many more reasons for why people voted the way they did than “the working classes being hurt by globalisation”.

Some like Bradbury are claiming it proves their pet theory.

Bryan Gould writes: Their Hysterical Reaction Tells Us Why The Remainers Lost

It’s a bit more complex than that too.

Among the many hysterical reactions to the Brexit decision, a particular post on Facebook caught my attention.  The author was convinced that the decision to leave was the equivalent of the Visigoths’ sacking of Rome; civilisation itself was apparently in its last days.

It did not seem to occur to him that the decision to leave the EU was the product of a vote in which a majority of his fellow-citizens had simply, as part of their democratic right, acted on a view, or views, on a subject of interest to the whole community, that were just as valid as, but different from, his own. 

The barbarians whom he castigated were not invaders from elsewhere; they were Britons like him, enjoying the same right as he had to consider the issues and express a view.   It is what is called democracy.

The fury and hatred aroused by the discovery that there was actually a majority that disagreed with those who thought that they alone were capable of reaching the right and proper decision – and the vitriol with which those sentiments are expressed – provides us with an insight into the mentality of many of those who simply could not believe that any view other than theirs was possible.

For them, whether to remain or leave had ceased to be a practical issue to be calmly and rationally assessed.  It had passed beyond the bounds of rationality and was approached with all the zealotry of the religious fanatic. “Europe” had become a symbol of who they were or wished to be – making common cause with all those of similar sensibilities across the continent.

It is becoming clear that many Labour voters – almost certainly a majority – voted to leave.  It is true that Corbyn, partly perhaps because his heart wasn’t in it and partly in an attempt to placate his critics, found himself caught in a sort of no-man’s land. 

As a consequence, the Labour leadership missed the chance to place itself at the head of that majority who were fed up with the obvious, serious and growing deficiencies of the EU as a model for European integration.

That’s a different reason altogether to Bradbury’s “working classes being hurt by globalisation”.

Among the many insights the Brexit decision provides is a spotlight on how far detached most of Labour’s parliamentary leaders are from the voters they claim as their own.

It’s not just Labour’s parliamentarians who are detached. I have no idea what attachment Bradbury has to the working classes.


Labouring with housing for the homeless

Housing for the homeless, for those living in cars, living in garages and cramming into shared accommodation, has suddenly become a media and political issue even though it’s been a problem for many years, decades.

One morning about ten years ago we found a person sleeping on the floor in a passageway in the building where I work. He must have have entered before the building was locked at night.

Like many social issues it’s a difficult one to deal with. Many homeless people live on the fringes of society and can be difficult to accommodate in the system.

But homelessness happens to be an issue that is suddenly getting the media spotlight. And political interests have either created this attention  or are trying to benefit from it.

Bryan Gould: Homelessness a problem Govt chooses to avoid

The Prime Minister, asked yesterday morning on National Radio, what advice he would offer to an Auckland family with nowhere to live but in a car, suggested that they should, “Go to see Work and Income to see what help they could give them.”

The advice that a desk officer in Work and Income could miraculously find them a house they could afford was the equivalent of shrugging his shoulders and saying, “I have no idea of what they could do and I don’t really care.”

This is a very politically loaded paraphrase from Gould and misrepresenting the Prime Minister like this won’t help informed debate.

WINZ is actually a valid suggestion as they deal with emergency benefits and housing for those who are struggling. It is probably the best place to start.

And saying the Government is choosing to avoid the issue is ignorant or dishonest.

Last week: Emergency housing funds good start – providers

New funding will give some relief to families currently forced to live in cars and garages, emergency housing providers say.

The government yesterday announced it will provide $41 million over the next four years to fund 3000 emergency housing places and a special needs grant for people in crisis.

The fund will provide about 800 beds at any one time across New Zealand – 360 of them in Auckland.

Although providers welcomed the announcement, they said the government also needed to address the underlying problems that were leaving increasing numbers of people homeless.

So the Government is clearly trying to address the issue, and this will have been planned and the funds allocated some time before homelessness jump into the spotlight.

A cynic could suspect that news that the Government is trying to do something about it has prompted opponents to try and create a negative impression.

And last month the first increase in benefits for a long time kicked in. Governments will always be questioned on whether they are doing the right things and doing as much as they can but claiming the are deliberately ignoring social problems is dishonest.

Gould suggests:

Yet let us be clear. The problem of families with children forced to live in third-world conditions is eminently resolvable. It simply requires the application of resources – resources that a country with our wealth could easily afford. The issue is one of priorities.

Allocating Government resources is always one of priorities. But there is simply nowhere near enough money to fix every social problem, even if that was possible – money is just one part of a complex mix.

We could put an end to child poverty and housing shortages if we decided to move the issue nearer the top of the list.

While Gould refers to ‘the issue’ he names two and they are both parts of much wider issues. Many children statistically deemed to be in poverty in New Zealand are already housed.

It doesn’t happen because we choose that it shouldn’t. We choose to elect a government that we know will give a low priority to the most vulnerable in our society – a government that on the other hand will strive might and main and will take considerable political risks in the interests of, for example, its friends in the foreign trust industry.

Gould now switches to his real aim – to promote a change of Government. As if that would suddenly fix all problems with housing and children.

Sadly, the cynical view of human nature represented by the values of so-called “middle New Zealand” now allow our government in effect to wash its hands of the problem.

This sort of political rhetoric will do nothing to house the homeless and lift all children out of poverty.

Gould seems to think that waving a socialist wand will solve all the problems, but he is expressing a more extreme ‘diss the Government, vaguely suggest magic solutions’ than the Labour party he supports – a party that is struggling to be taken seriously as an alternative to National, in part because of messengers like Gould.

And it’s not just Gould.

NZH: Andrew Little’s crowded house stunt backfires

There have been recent stories in the media about overcrowding in Auckland, with people having to live in cars, garages and tents on properties.

The problem appears to be worst in Otara, where one house in particular reportedly had 17 people living on the property, with some forced out of the house to sleep in a tent.

Everyone recognises there are real and serious problems with housing , especially in Auckland.

Labour leader Andrew Little attempted to show reporters an overcrowded house in South Auckland yesterday – but it backfired when the indignant owner insisted it was only being renovated.

The media were given an address on Bairds Rd in Otara, which fitted the description of the above house, to wait for the Labour leader.

However, as the cameras were set up, the occupant came out and told journalists the house was in fact being renovated and the tent was full of furniture and renovation materials.

Labour’s communications director Sarah Stuart redirected journalists to the party’s local office before Mr Little arrived.

At the office, Mr Little was a little lost for words and confused about which house he was earlier meant to be at.

There was a house with a tent in the yard whose occupants his MPs Jenny Salesa and Peeni Henare had been working with, he said.

An important part of an MP’s job is to help constituents.

I think that using constituents with problems for political stunts with the media is highly questionable.

However, as the cameras were set up, the occupant came out and told journalists the house was in fact being renovated and the tent was full of furniture and renovation materials.

Labour’s communications director Sarah Stuart redirected journalists to the party’s local office before Mr Little arrived.

At the office, Mr Little was a little lost for words and confused about which house he was earlier meant to be at.

There was a house with a tent in the yard whose occupants his MPs Jenny Salesa and Peeni Henare had been working with, he said.

“I haven’t been to that house, I’ll need to clarify which one that is – there was a house that I was invited to go and talk to the people of, then asked not to go, people didn’t want the level of attention,” he explained.

Labour does not look capable of managing a crowded house story let alone a country.

And it looks like Labour MPs may have a mission to find people with housing problems.

Yesterday Clare Curran posted this on a closed Dunedin News Facebook page:

Dear admin I hope this post is ok:
I am concerned that Work and Income are making calls to people living in state houses to tell them they no longer qualify for a state house and they need to find a private rental. This is despite their circumstances remaining the same. Can anyone verify this has happened to them or someone they know? Message me if you want to provide the information privately.


I thought that generally constituents went to MPs if they wanted help. Here it looks like an MP trying to find people who will help her with a story she is pursuing.

It seems odd that she claims “I am concerned that Work and Income are making calls” but then says she wants verification.

One example was given:

I know of someone who has been in a HNZ house for years and was given a month to get out so a refugee family could move in. There was no change in her income or anything else

Curran responded:

Can you get in touch and ask if she will speak to me

Another Labour housing story in the making?