Comparing left wing and right wing authoritarianism

Authoritarianism and extreme tactics are not confined to the right or the left of politics.

From the British Journal of Political Science: Similarities and Differences Between Left-Wing and Right-Wing Radicals

Although some scholars have argued that authoritarianism is characteristic only of the right and not of the left, persuasive reasons exist for doubting this claim. Intuitive observation of left-wing and right-wing regimes as well as radical political movements of the left and right reveals striking parallels in their styles of political engagement, their reliance upon force, their disdain for democratic ideals and practices and their violations of civil liberties.

Political activists of any leaning tend to want to achieve their goals, and the more radical the political ideals the more radical the tactics are likely to be.

In the present article, through a series of surveys in which we have tried to idenify, as best we can, supporters of the far left and far right, we have systematically compared the two camps on a variety of political and psychological characteristics.

We find, in keeping with the conventional view, that the far left and the far right stand at opposite end of the familiar left–right continuum on many issues of public policy, political philosophy and personal belief.

They hold sharply contrasting views on questions of law and order, foreign policy, social welfare, economic equality, racial equality, women’s rights, sexual freedom, patriotism, social conventions, religion, family values and orientations towards business, labour and private enterprise.

That’s not surprising at all.

Both view American society as dominated by conspiratorial forces that are working to defeat their respective ideological aims.

Failure to get popular support has to be blamed on something other than themselves.

The degree of their alienation is intensified by the zealous and unyielding manner in which they hold their beliefs. Both camps possess an inflexible psychological and political style characterized by the tendency to view social and political affairs in crude, unambiguous and stereotypical terms.

They see political life as a conflict between ‘us’ and ‘them’, a struggle between good and evil played out on a battleground where compromise amounts to capitulation and the goal is total victory.

We see examples of this lack of compromise in New Zealand, notably with Green supporters (and some MPs), which is quite ironic given their stated democratic ideals.

The far left and the far right also resemble each other in the way they pursue their political goals. Both are disposed to censor their opponents, to deal harshly with enemies, to sacrifice the well-being even of the innocent in order to serve a ‘higher purpose’, and to use cruel tactics if necessary to ‘persuade’ society of the wisdom of their objectives.

Censoring opponents is a topical issue here with the Molyneux/Southern controversy.

Both tend to support (or oppose) civil liberties in a highly partisan and self-serving fashion, supporting freedom for themselves and for the groups and causes they favour while seeking to withhold it from enemies and advocates of causes they dislike.

I’ve seen quite a bit of that here in new Zealand lately.

When the two camps are evaluated on questions of political and psychological style, the treatment of political opponents, and the tactics that they are willing to employ to achieve their ends, the display many parallels that can rightly be labelled authoritarian.

I think that the more left wing, or right wing, a group of political activists is the more likely they are to want to suppress criticism, and more likely to want to impose their ideals on others, even to the extent of ignoring their own ideals (or making excuses for suspending them) to achieve what they think is right.

If these groups get into positions of power then some degree of authoritarianism is likely. We already grapple with it to an extent.

We have groups who want to ban tobacco, van cannabis, ban meat, ban sugar, ban selective religions, ban selective immigration, ban fossil fuels, ban plastic, ban choice on abortion, ban choice on euthanasia, and ban people from speaking who they disagree with.

The source is an extract of an Oxford Press publication in 2009.

“The future of the left is bright” and Ardern is the lighthouse

The world future for the left is bright, according to some hopefuls, and Jacinda Ardern is the Mother Theresa of progressive politics.

Ex-Labour general secretary Mike Smith has posted at The Standard – The future of the left

Australian Guardian columnist Van Badham writes “the future of the left is bright if it looks like Jacinda Ardern and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes.” She concludes “We can hope the influence of Jacinda Ardern and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes spread, or we can ensure that it does. The stakes for the marginalised remain life and death.” Very worth a read.

This optimism looks a tad premature.

The world influence of Ardern beyond a magazine celebrity level must be minimal at this stage, She has hardly had time to prove herself in New Zealand – and her Government has so far had very mixed short term results.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes hasn’t even been elected yet, she has only won a primary in a New York congressional district. Gizmodo: Democratic Candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Didn’t Even Have a Wikipedia Page on Monday:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old progressive activist, became the Democratic candidate for New York’s 14th congressional district after a primary election yesterday.

Ocasio-Cortez defeated 56-year-old Joseph Crowley, a man who served ten terms and was the chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

Why is Ocasio-Cortez’s victory a big deal for Democrats? She’s a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and a former organizer for Bernie Sanders. Crowley, the man she defeated, was being groomed to be the next Speaker of the House.

Bernie Sanders was seen as a great left wing hope in 2016 but he couldn’t even beat Hillary Clinton as the Democrat candidacy for president, and Clinton couldn’t even beat Donald Trump.

So what else did Van Badham say in her Guardian article? It was headlined Jacinda Ardern is the very hero the global left needs right now

As social media birth announcements go, Jacinda Ardern’s handheld Facebook Live of herself and her newborn Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford is charming.

New Zealand’s prime minister introduces her new baby with radiant sincerity.

Giving birth was a big event for Ardern and Clark Gayford, and Neve, but it was normal, it is something that happens to everyone. It was hardly heroic.

But as a political communication, the video is matchless. In an epoch overcast by growing shadows of reenergised rightwing authoritarianism, Ardern’s public hospital nativity offers a luminous symbolic affirmation of her leadership not just of New Zealand, but of the western electoral left.

Good grief. She is currently on maternity leave so is not even acting Prime Minister at the moment, let alone saviour of the world.

It’s not that long ago that Justin Trudeau was the darling of the world left. And Bernie Sanders. Some in the UK even thought that Jeremy Corbyn was the beginning of a great swing left.

The leader of the first Labour government in New Zealand for a decade shares the explicit left agenda for investment in health, education, climate action, public housing and social justice. Ardern’s pledge to build “a kind and equitable nation where children thrive, and success is measured not only by the nation’s GDP but by better lives lived by its people” is the ancient standard of our side.

Ardern does have some worth ambitions, but she is a long way from proving herself and her Government.

To understand why is to look beyond policy and into her representation of it. What distinguishes Ardern is her active embrace of what Walter Benjamin referred to as “the time of the now” and the diverse and complex identities of a community that no longer sees itself as by, for and of propertied, straight white men. Doing so shatters a traditionalism that imprisons the left even as much as it inspires today’s right.

Another variation on popular demonising, this time of  “straight white men”. Juts imagine how Ardern would be revered if she was not white and not straight. She gets away with not epitomising diversity by having empathy foe non-whites and non-straights, something no man has every been able to achieve and never can – unless he’s a progressive left wing hope of course.

If today’s left is going to stand a chance against an ascendant, muscular right, my hope is that she and other avowed socialists emerging within her electoral generation eschew the stale temptations of left melancholy for energising examples of a visionary left that looks as different to its past as a pregnant woman in a feathered cloak does to a room of suited men.

“Strong men” of the right are now lining up governments from Italy to Turkey to the United States. The times of the now are ones in which we can construct majorities of a diversity they cannot – and do not wish to – represent. We can hope the influence of Jacinda Ardern and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes spread, or we can ensure that it does. The stakes for the marginalised remain life and death.

Ardern may yet go on to do great things for New Zealand, but she first needs to settle into motherhood hoping her Ministers miraculously acquire cohesion and competence in her absence (they didn’t do very well on that while she was Prime Minister).

Then she has to prove herself in a small country at the bottom edge of the world before she becomes the Queen of the World.

Being anointed as the Progressive miracle unfolding is as premature as awarding Donald Trump a Nobel peace prize before meeting Kim Yong Un – or as premature as awarding same prize to Barack Obama, who was probably seen as a great new hope for the left/progressives around the world, until he proved to be a mediocre president at best.

Van Badham seems to be a progressive opportunist.

In 2016: Time to hail Hillary Clinton – and face down the testosterone left

Supposedly progressive men denounce Clinton with foolish and vicious regularity. But a victory for her next week would really be worth celebrating.

People are surprised when I express support for Hillary Clinton. My economic politics are hard to the left and, unlike hers, explicitly socialist. But it’s entirely because my analysis of inequality is economic that I endorse Clinton – not as a least-worst option, not even due to the nature of her opponent, but on her own terms as a leader pledged to the material improvement of women’s economic and social reality.

That was someone misguided in several ways.

Van Badham on Julia Gillard ousted: Achievement does not equal respect if you’re a woman

Julia Gillard navigated through the financial crisis, presided over a 14 per cent growth in the economy and pushed through several impressive policy reforms. The problem for the Australian PM was not her performance. It was that, from to beginning to end, she remained female.

Based on this, if Ardern revolutionises New Zealand and leads the world into a wonderful progressive utopia it will be on her merits and her femininity.

And one could guess that if she fizzles or fails it will be the fault of men.

Probably stuck with the current system

A fascinating and very perceptive analysis by Danyl Mclauchlan at The Spinoff: The New Zealand Project offers a bold, urgent, idealistic vision. I found it deeply depressing

It covers neoliberalism, the failure of the left to sell their ideals and have a revolution, and looks at what can be done to fix New Zealand’s problems. It’s lengthy by there are many things worth discussing.

Politics is technocratic because modern societies are complex: many things could be better, but almost everything could be much, much worse, and all the high-minded values in the world are worthless if you can’t keep the lights on.

It is compromised because pluralism – the challenge of different groups in society holding different and conflicting but reasonable and valid views – is the central problem in politics, and cannot be fixed by re-educating everyone.

Political reform should be cautious, because outcomes are uncertain, and overconfidence bias is real, especially among groups of intelligent experts who reinforce each other’s assumptions, a dynamic that often leads to catastrophic failure despite the best of intentions.

Maybe the current system’s inability to address the housing bubble, inequality and environmental issues means we’re hitting the limits of a political system based on caution and compromise, and that will eventually provoke a wider crisis similar to the near economic collapse of the early 1980s, which led to the neoliberal reforms.

It’s a fairly common fantasy – especially on the radical left – that there will be a crisis followed by a left-wing rebirth.

It’s also common to see this on the radical right – there will be a revolution taking us back to some mythical ‘good old days’.

I think it’s dangerous to assume that the left would be the beneficiaries of any kind of crisis or collapse.

Same for the right.

We’re probably stuck with the current system, and trying to make change within it.

That’s almost certainly correct. Incremental change trying to improve what we have, rather than changing things entirely and replacing it all with some vague ideal.

We are probably stuck with the current system.

But it is a lot easier to tweak things to try to improve problems rather than a total replacement of something that generally works fairly well with something vague that would have unpredictable and less perfect.

Q&A: the state of the left wing

On Q&A this morning: John McTernan, former advisor to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Australian Labor Party talks about the state of left wing.

Clinton lost to Trump because she didn’t make an emotional connection with voters.

Jeremy Corbyn is doing terrible damage to the left in Britain.

What about Little and emotional connection? Difficult to look like a Prime Minister when in opposition. He needs to come alive during the election campaign. Also to run on issues that emotionally connect with voters like housing.

Greens – the big challenge for Labour is to hold on to labourers, workers. Their concerns are more socially conservative than Greens and Labour needs to double down and hold on to it’s base (maybe too late for that).

Labour have to win the centre and than govern to the left.

It looks likely National will be returned but you can’t count on anything in elections.

Hide right and wrong about left wing social media

In his latest column Rodney Hide writes about an ailing left that lacks puff and policy, and also blasts the political left on social media.

He is right that the left can be appalling in social media, but he is wrong that it is only the left.

Herald: Left lacks puff and policy

The left now suffer from closed minds and moral smugness. They are moribund and backward-looking.

They run from ideas. Opposing philosophies distress them.

They pillory dissenters as stupid or immoral and often both. There’s no debating or explaining, just abuse for those who step outside received wisdom.

The left have taken to social media with gusto. It only takes 140 characters to abuse and attack.

They fill Twitter and blogs with their righteousness and smugness, puffed up by their own perceived moral and intellectual superiority.

There’s no allowance that a person with a differing view might offer an opportunity to learn and to strengthen your ideas and perhaps, just perhaps, to change them.

That’s never allowed as a possibility.

Their minds are closed and they gasp and take offence at any idea or opinion different to their own.

Indeed, ganging up against dissenters on social media is what binds them. Their attacks on others proves to them their correctness and superiority.

The left are puzzled about why they’re politically marginalised but never trouble themselves to listen to those who have turned away from them. They look down on them and despise them.

The left view their political failure as the fault of voters who must be hoodwinked, stupid, selfish, or suffering some other ethical or intellectual shortcoming. Why else would they not be supporting the left when they are so good and true?

The problem is never with the left or their doctrine.

They are a self-reinforcing sect who in their wretchedness and anger are becoming ever smaller. Their narrow and insular outlook prevents them reaching out. Little wonder it’s not attractive to new recruits.

Labour is the narrow party that has shut itself off from the great bulk of New Zealanders.

I’ve seen a lot of all of this on Twitter, Facebook and on left wing blogs. And also on right wing blogs.

But I think that Hide is right, this is a real problem for Labour in particular.

Even Andrew Little has turned bitterly on ex Labour supporters, dissing them calling them right wing for having the gall to criticise Labour or stand against an anointed Labour candidate.

And there is no sign that this burning off of potential support is going to be dampened.

If the left want to attract more support they need to look more attractive.

UPDATE: I have also quoted what Rodney has said at The Standard and they are already  proving his point. That’s both funny and quite sad.

UPDATE 2: Greg Presland has had a crack back in a post – Dear Herald you can do better than Rodney Hide

Greg questions some of Hide’s claims, like the left is moribun and backward looking – only some of the left fits that description, and so does some of the right – and “National is now the vibrant party looking to the future and open to diverse views” is certainly questionable.

But Greg ignores the toxic nature of left wing social media, which is often on show at The Standard.

The biggest left wing blog?

A few days ago The Daily Blog posted a fund raising drive – July Contributions drive – last days

Brothers and Sisters, if you think The Daily Blog is an important voice in the NZ media landscape, then we need your contribution.

The Daily Blog is the largest left wing blog in NZ and you know how dire the mainstream media has become so these few platforms left to fight back at the Government and corporate power are more essential than ever before.

Asking for pocket money from brothers and sisters aside, the largest left wing blog in New Zealand?

Yesterday The Standard made a slightly different claim in Offer to NZLP candidates:

As the most widely read left blog in New Zealand, the Standard is a regular stop for most Labour Party members who spend time online.

Whether the largest or most widely read blog doesn’t really matter, a lot of political discussion happens on other types of forums anyway, especially Facebook.But the two posts highlight the different niches that the blogs are trying to cater for.

The Daily Blog:

Putting together a 5 night a week 7pm current affairs show and co-ordinating 40 of the best left wing progressive voices each month don’t come cheap.

A lot of Bradbury’s and The Daily Blog’s focus is now on Waatea Fifth Estate streamed talk show. It is quite a commitment and a big task rounding up participants for that every week day. It can sometimes be interesting but I doubt whether it makes impact beyond a fairly small audience.

Meanwhile The Standard and Labour have both moved in new directions – more openly campaigning for local body elections.

We think that offers candidates for Labour Party positions a great platform to get their ideas out to members and to debate them. Which is why, with nominations for various significant party positions closing soon, we’re offering candidates the opportunity to provide guest posts ahead of the conference in Auckland this year.

Democracy works best when people know who they’re voting for and the Standard is about democracy. So if you’re planning to stand for a Labour role and you want to speak to thousands of Labour members, contact us via

We’ll make sure that your post is at the top of the site for at least half a day and will moderate comments.

In the past The Standard has been adamant it represents the ‘labour left’ and not the ‘Labour Party’. Despite this they have dabbled in party politics at times, but is the most hard out Labour campaign approach I have seen there. This looks to be a significant change for both the party and the blog.

Will The Standard offer similar campaign support for Green candidates, especially now that Labour and Greens are promoting themselves as a joint election deal? Or are Greens not labour left enough for them?

There’s an opportunity for attracting more Green blog discussion now that Frog Blog has shut down comments.

One Abusive Anonymous Bloke

One Abusive Anonymous Bloke, one toxic forum, a poor advertisement for ‘the labour left’.

There were generally some very good discussions at The Standard on Little: Labour to Defy TPPA.

However one of the most negative aspects of The Standard was also on display – one of their resident trolls, ‘One Anonymous Bloke’. They (their gender is uncertain) have a history of persistent personal attacks that are a major factor in The Standard being seen as an abusive toxic forum weighted heavily in favour of long term abusers.

‘One Anonymous Bloke’ chose to target one person, as has been their habit for years.  In one thread here are all their responses to ‘acrophobic’


Liar – the GST increase more than clawed back the income tax cut.

Why do you tell so many lies?


Something can be highly unlikely because it’s prevented by the Greens’ rules, to whit: Green Party members would have to forget that the National Party is a slow civil war upon New Zealand in order to go into coalition with them.

I expect you to fail to understand that, like a:

a: failure or,
b: liar.

Which is it?


Yes, by removing the first part of my comment, you can produce a quote that makes it look as though I said something different.

Are these sort of Kindergarten pratfalls the best you can do?

Yes, they are.

“By removing the first part of my comment, you can produce a quote that makes it look as though I said something different” is very ironic given OAB’s habit of doing just that.


Misrepresenting what Weka said too, eh Wormtongue.


Too funny: fish, meet barrel.


Labour controls the weather. You need to get out more.


Of course there isn’t, you dimwit, since the TPPA is not in force all we have to go on is informed opinion (which doesn’t include yours).

The lying Prime Minister says the government (ie: taxpayers – again not you, you’re a drain on society) will fund the extra costs to keep the retail price of medicines unchanged.

If you had a clue you’d know that, and you don’t.


I have plenty of clues, moran, not that you’ve provided any. For example, Northshoredoc is a better source on this subject: a better wingnut than you’ll ever be.


Are you dense as well as dishonest? What part of all we have to go on is informed opinion are you having trouble with?


You can call it what you like, and that says something about you. You Tory wankers want to restrain my trade to satisfy your Yankee crush: do it on your own dime, shitheel.


Criticising National Party sycophancy is not xenophobia.

If you don’t know how the TPPA restrains trade you haven’t been paying attention.


Please explain why you’re contradicting your lying Prime Minister. Do you think the lying Prime Minister is lying, or are you:

a: Lying or,
b: Running off at the mouth in incompetent ignorance for which you will demonstrate no personal responsibility.

Which is it Glibertard?


I am, liar.

Why do you tell so many lies? Can we charitably assume that you tell so many lies because you’re utterly devoid of original thoughts or opinions, or are you in fact a mendacious wretch, like the Prime Minister?


Your rote-learned lies (all of them) on the Greenhouse Effect are lies. Your rote-learned lies on Lab5’s economic competence are lies (note that I’m not saying Lab5 were economically competent, just that the rote learned lies you tell on the subject are lies). Your rote-learned lies about poverty, are lies.

Your rote-learned lies about the TPPA, are lies.

Even Bill English contradicts your rote-learned lies. Even the lying Prime Minister contradicts your rote-learned lies when it suits him.

Why is that?


I already have, multiple times, on multiple threads. “This is the rainy day the government has been saving up for” ring any bells?

Your lies about welfare have been debunked so many times by so many people – check out Werewolf’s ten myths about welfare and see how many boxes you tick – pretty sure it’s all of them.

Your lies about the Greenhouse Effect come straight from the list of denier lies, as can be seen by cross-reference with Skeptical Science.

I’m inclined to be charitable and assume that you believe these lies because you’re biased and stupid, rather than that you’re deliberately mendacious, but really, who cares: kids are still dying while you tell them.


For example: “many living in poverty do so because of poor choices”

All you’ve offered in support of this vile hate speech is to confess your disgusting betrayal of people who’ve turned to you for help.

Lie number one. I’ve referred to others above.

This is typical behaviour of ‘One Anonymous Bloke’, targeted personal attacks and attempts to discredit someone they choose to try and drive away. I’ve seen them do it frequently and have been on the receiving end.

They have been allowed to continue like this for years with little or no challenge from Standard moderators. It is accepted behaviour, it’s even encouraged. And it is onbe of the main reasons why The Standard is seen as a toxic forum that reflects poorly on ‘the labour left’ and by association, on Labour.

At the end of the thread One Anonymous Bloke’s behaviour was challenged:


Easy to tell when [deleted] has been proved a liar…it gets very abusive.
Good on you doubt you will get slapped with a ban shortly for a few inconvenient truths however.

[You’re a sad wee misogynist, Mark. People don’t get banned here for inconvenient truths, and even if they were, I don’t see much truth in anything acrophobic has written anyway, so if a ban comes, it won’t be on those grounds. TRP]

You have some assumption about a word I used?
OAB gets to abuse anyone exposing his/her/it’s nastiness & lies, anyone else gets a petty little telling off.
The utter failure, nastiness, hypocracy & dishonesty of the Left exposed in just a few comments.

[Two words, Mark. I left the word “it” undeleted, just so the readers can get an idea of how you see women. TRP]

TRP targets the use of ‘it’ while supporting OAB’s persistent personal attacks. Unfortunately this is also typical of The Standard standard.

And under protection of site moderation One Anonymous Bloke continued:

My challenge to Acrophobic is very simple: to produce evidence – not personal anecdotes or assertions – of the right wing dogma they have learned so well.

Where Bill English and the Prime Minister contradict their assertions, I feel confident in calling them lies. Where the academies of science of every country that has an academy of science contradicts the right wing dogma they have learned so well, I feel confident in calling them lies.

When Epidemiology contradicts the right wing dogma they have learned so well, I feel confident in calling them lies too.

If you don’t like that, get some personal responsibility and rebut my criticisms. Why am I obliged to tolerate or be polite in the face of lies in politics?

acrophobia responded:


1. You think lied because I apparently contradict something John Key says yet you call John Key a liar?
2. You think I lied because I question some notion you have of scientific consensus. You do realise that challenging scientific theory is not only an exercise in free speech it is also part of the scientific method? Would you have accused Galileo of ‘lying’ for opposing the prevailing consensus that the earth was the centre of the universe?

If you made any criticisms of worth I would be happy to engage. Instead you resort to ad-hominem almost from the get-go, accompanied by a flurry of irrational diatribe.

My challenge to you is simple. Quote a single instance where I have lied. Just one.

One Anonymous Bloke #17:

For example: “many living in poverty do so because of poor choices”

All you’ve offered in support of this vile hate speech is to confess your disgusting betrayal of people who’ve turned to you for help.

Lie number one. I’ve referred to others above.

It’s ridiculous to call that a lie, but that’s how One Anonymous Bloke ‘argues’ against things they (presumably) disagree with, repeated accusations of lying.

This disagreement by abuse is sadly common from the left and on The Standard.

One Abusive Anonymous Bloke sadly sums up the state of left wing debate. It is also one of the most negative aspects of The Standard and it has been their trademark for years.

“Care for people rather than the economy”

There was an interesting line up on Q & A this morning, with a repeated theme of people versus corporations and the economy.

First Tim Groser was interviewed on the Government view on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Then Labour leader Andrew Little was interviewed, also about the TPPA. He said things like “our moral duty is to protect the interests of New Zealand citizens”, “we will legislate to protect New Zealanders” and “I’ve got to make judgement calls on what’s the best interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders”.

On the panel were two who were pro-TPPA – international relations specialist from Auckland Uni Dr Stephen Hoadley and Government Relations Consultant Charles Finney.

Also on the panel was Helen Kelly, President of Council of Trade Unions, who was against the TPPA, seeing it as corporations versus people/workers.

If you think the economy is just existing for corporations and they should be able to do whatever they like  without Governments actually being able to put in restrictions or make laws that are in the the interests of New Zealand people then you might say that these sorts of deals are ok.

Curiously, following this, there was an interview of someone also pushing people versus the economy lines. Greg Presland has posted about this at The Standard.

Anat Shenker-Osorio on the creation of left metaphors

Communications Anat Shenker-Osorio has some simple messages for Labour in its quest for Government.  The left’s strongest advantage is its care for people rather than the economy and the message that will resonate is a positive one emphasising the care of people and the environment.

For unions she proposed that it should be emphasised that they are not somewhat dated third parties but a collection of people.

“We have a better brand.

“Our brand is that we love people and we are on the side of people and we are on the side of the nation and we just need to stop having the argument about who loves the economy best.”

If you want a flavour of her approach to politics and her scathing critique of the current infatuation of some with “middle ground” or “third way” politics then the video below provides this. Basically her message is that the left should engage the base, persuade the middle rather than cater to them and if it is not alienating the right it is not doing things properly.

Shenker-Osorio is in New Zealand to give a talk to the CTU Conference.

So Q & A had a triple hit on people versus the economy:

  • A staunch Unionist
  • A Unionist who has become leader of the Labour Party
  • A communications expert, researcher and political pundit 

Anat Shenker-Osorio is a communications expert, researcher and political pundit whose one-of-a-kind work is challenging the way dozens of organizations and political figures talk about the most pressing issues of our time.  She’s the author of the acclaimed book“Don’t Buy It: The Trouble with Talking Nonsense About the Economy.”

What Little, Kelly and Shenker-Osorio all failed to acknowledge (and possibly understand) is that a healthy economy is good for workers and for people in general. There is a very close relationship between the health of the economy and the well being of and opportunities for people.

Playing the economy versus people line might fools some of the people some of the time but most of those people may be the ideological players rather than the voters.

Incidentally I wasn’t very impressed with Shenker-Osorio but you can make up your own mind if you missed her this morning on Q & A:

Video: Expert advice for the political left (7:54) 

Anat Shenker Osorio, an expert in the science of linguistics who helps left wing or progressive organisations to help them target their political conmunication.


Deep discussion at Dim-Post

Danyl kicked off some deep discussion at Dim-Post on Jacinda Ardern’s image promotion – Hang on a second.

But the context around Ardern’s surge in popularity complicates all of this a bit, I think. She isn’t popular because she’s an effective campaigner, or because she’s been breaking big stories or landing hits on the government in the House. She’s popular because she’s gotten glowing coverage in the women’s magazines over the last few months, appearing on the cover of Next magazine and being profiled in the Woman’s Weekly. I assume this is all being facilitated by Labour’s new comms director who is a former Woman’s Weekly editor and it is a level and type of coverage that any politician – even the Prime Minister – would envy.

Ardern’s popularity subsequent to that coverage tells us something very interesting about the power of that type of media, which is something that political nerds like me are usually oblivious to. But it’s also something that’s happening because she’s really pretty. And there’s something problematic about insisting politicians shouldn’t be judged on their looks when they do appear to be succeeding specifically because of their appearance.

Prettiness, sexism and political capabilities were all thrashed over. Danyl updatred his post twice in response to criticisms.

If you’re interested in a leftish view of all this the thread is worth reading. But one comment stood out from the crowd.

Left wing women are horrible no matter what they look like.

Comment by Redbaiter — August 28, 2015 @ 10:44 am


The world must be an ugly place for Reddie. He sees nearly everyone as left wing.

The Dim-Post post was also discussed at:

“Left wing commentator”

I get called many things and I know I’ve been referred to as a right wing blogger – presumably either by people far more to the left, or presumed based on few post or a single post.

It’s odd where I sometimes find references to myself and to Your NZ. I was checking Your NZ on Alexa and found there was a link in from in a section about Cameron Slater on Larry Williams.

 In 2014, he participated in a series of one-hour pre-election panel discussions on the drive programme – retaining the position following the release of Nicky Hager book Dirty Politics amid calls from left-wing commentators for him to resign.[45][46][47]

I guess I must be left-wing-ish relative to Slater and Williams, on some things at least.

Talking of popping up in other places they don’t seem to be able to let go at The Standard. In Daily Review a few days ago:


If The Standard only had Open Mike and Daily Review tomorrow, what would PG have to fill up his blog?


If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Funny Greg. You seem to be hiding behind a tree listening often enough.


I had a quick look just before and it would appear that he is fixated on R0B at the moment but I couldn’t be bothered reading yesterday’s to see what that was.

Sad to say, but absence hasn’t made the heart grow fonder

Who’s fixated on whom Hateatea? I did one or two posts referring to R0b and moved on. I post about many blog posts and bloggers, it’s one of the niche things I do.

The rest of the thread is funny too.

I suspect that few of them there see me as a left wing commentator”.

In the political blogosphere the wings flap around a lot but I try to get to the guts of issues somewhere in between.

This could also apply to politics:

Image result for left wing right wing

This depicts a sentiment I see expressed on both the left and the right. The Tweedlenational/Tweedlelabour despair:

This is a good attempt to show various political inclinations.

I think I’m fairly centrist, except on the issues I’m more socialist, conservative, libertarian or populist.