David Seymour and Judith Collins meet Daniel Hannan

Daniel Hannan is a British politician whose joy in clear thinking probably exceeds his ambition for high office (although he played an influential and honourable hand in the Brexit ruckus).  

And his thinking on the future of Britain’s Conservative party has resonance for right-of-centre politicians around the world.

Continue reading “David Seymour and Judith Collins meet Daniel Hannan”

Boris the shape shifter – yeh that sounds right – but is there substance to the shape?

It takes a lot to grind down the hard-working ideologues at the Guardian but Boris Johnson will stop at nothing.  There was a whiff of admiration amidst the self-loathing in the opinion columns “The Tories have become the party of optimists” and “Shapeshifting Tories have mastered playing to the crowd”

You might have thought the burdens of the premiership and near-death during Covid would dampen his natural ebullience.  But at this week’s Conservative party conference his autodidactic illumination of classical reference, historical allusion and ribaldry was undimmed.  Who else, a fortnight after – again – Guardian headlines “Boris admits he has six children”, would say that Britain has only 0.8% of the world’s population, despite our best efforts.

Continue reading “Boris the shape shifter – yeh that sounds right – but is there substance to the shape?”

Covid has camouflaged cracks in the Cabinet and hidden failures in the govt’s performance

Is  the  political  tide which  Labour  rode  in  triumph  to   victory  last  year    beginning  to  ebb?  The  September  Colmar  Brunton    poll pointed  at   least  to  it  being  on the  turn.

Not  that  political  pundits    saw  it  that  way.  They  were  too  heavily  focused  on  how  National’s  leader  Judith  Collins  had  crashed to  a  new  low  point and canvassing  how  soon  the  caucus  dissidents   would  coalesce   to  overthrow  her.

Those  experts  hardly   noticed  that  Prime  Minister  Jacinda  Ardern’s  once  stellar popularity   has  moved  off  its  peak  and  is  now  down  at  44% — even  though  the  communication  skills  which  propelled  her  to  the   heights   have  been  in  daily  evidence  during  the  latest  Covid  Delta  outbreak.

The  other   curious  feature   of  the  mainstream  media’s  analysis  of  the  Colmar  Brunton sampling was  the almost  universal  view  that   the ACT party  is    sucking  the  oxygen   out  of  National,  excluding  the  rather  different prospect   that  the  parties  of  the  right  are gaining  while  support  for  the  parties of  the  left  are   now  easing, admittedly  from    an  exceptional  high. Continue reading “Covid has camouflaged cracks in the Cabinet and hidden failures in the govt’s performance”

Poll results won’t deter Labour from its reform programme – but they shouldn’t unnerve the Nats, either

Latest  opinion  polling  has   created  a  stir  among  the  political cognoscenti.  On   one  side, ACT’s  rise is being seen as  a  big  problem   for  National. From  another,  Labour’s   fall  by 9.7 points   from the  previous poll points to  sharp  disillusion  with the Ardern government.

TV3’s  AM Show  told viewers ACT’s  four-point  rise  to 11 % constitutes “soaring popularity”.  Well,  not  quite.

Then there seemed to be  a  general  judgement  that Judith Collins’ fall below  ACT  leader David  Seymour’s rating  signalled  her imminent  demise  as  National  leader.

In  reality,  the  Newshub Reid  Research poll’s  findings,  while  recording sharp shifts  from  its  previous  sampling,  weren’t  much  different   from  the   Colmar  Brunton  post-Budget poll  which  recorded  Labour  down  to  46%  from  its  previous highs   in the  fifties. Continue reading “Poll results won’t deter Labour from its reform programme – but they shouldn’t unnerve the Nats, either”

Has ‘Johnsonism’ arrived?

Britain’s new health minister, Sajid Javid, says he will keep wearing a mask after formal restrictions are removed in the next fortnight.  It’s a more political than public health gesture.  Unless perhaps he’s meeting unvaccinated ministerial visitors from Australia or New Zealand.

Britain’s Covid debate is morphing faster than the virus.  Thanks to the fast spreading Delta variant and a super-charged vaccination programme it’s plausible that pretty much everyone bar Scottish lighthouse keepers will have had Covid antibodies delivered to them by the end of the year via neighbours or needle. 

Continue reading “Has ‘Johnsonism’ arrived?”

Peters found much to scorn (and the Nats should be finding fault with the govt too) but Ardern’s popularity is hard to puncture

The country’s politics  are  in  an  interesting   phase. Labour,  despite  a  litany of policy disasters, is  still  riding the  top  of its  wave, buoyed  by  the  incandescent  popularity  of  Jacinda  Ardern.

National  is  plumbing  the  depths, as  it  has  done  before  when  it  has  suffered  a  massive defeat.  ACT, in contrast,  believes  it  is  climbing  out of  the  shadows   to  win  broader, and more  permanent, support. And  Winston  Peters  has emerged, once  more,   from  the political  wilderness and  struck the  themes  which could propel  NZ  First   back  into  the  role  which it has  played  so  often  before.

Peters  scored  direct  hits  on  the  kind of “woke” politics and policies currently in the ascendancy under the Ardern government, delighting in  verbal sprays on the “woke elite” or “Ngati Woke”, cancel culture, the Auckland cycle bridge, the He Puapua report, ditching referendas on Māori wards, the decision to buy the land at Ihumātao, increased state usage of te reo Māori and especially “Aotearoa”. Continue reading “Peters found much to scorn (and the Nats should be finding fault with the govt too) but Ardern’s popularity is hard to puncture”

Climate could provide Peters and his party with a platform for warming voters and bouncing back at the next election

Peters  is   back,  the  headlines  shouted.

Well,  not  quite.  Winston Peters  may  have  stepped  into  the political  limelight  again, after  a  spell  in political  darkness – but he  and  his  party  are a  long  way  from  Parliament.   And  even  though  he  looks  fit  and  well,   can he – at the age of 76 –  find  the  spark  which  will fire  up  the  NZ  First  engine  again?

His  disciple,  Shane Jones,  is  firmly  convinced  he  can.  Furthermore, Jones believes the  party can forge a  new  crusade  out  of  the  “perfidy”  of  what  the Climate  Change  Commission is  doing  to  NZ.

Jones   sees  the  commissioners  as  “ideological  termites”,  who  hold  sway  over  the  government  with  “mad  ideas”  of the sort that could  required us all as if we  are  all  going to  ride  bikes

Jones  cites the  example  of 10,000 bikers in  Birkenhead  exerting  their power  on the  government  to build a bridge  for them over  the Auckland  harbour.

Continue reading “Climate could provide Peters and his party with a platform for warming voters and bouncing back at the next election”

How the Nats have opted to invest in the future with small change

A post on the left-wing The Standard blog expresses bemusement at National’s re-election of its party president.

MickySavage writes:

You would think that the conference held immediately after National suffered one of its worst drubbings in its history National would take the opportunity to refresh its leadership and change its direction.

If you did you will be disappointed.

May we suppose this means he was disappointed?

Surprised, perhaps, but Labour and its supporters surely should be delighted at National’s disinclination to overhaul the party leadership after a disastrous general election result.

In his report on the party elections, Stuff’s Thomas Coughlan noted there was some change. But it was small change.  Continue reading “How the Nats have opted to invest in the future with small change”

NZPP leaders decide the best way to make progress politically is to step back from Advance NZ

Browsing through items of political news published on Labour Day, we came across a statement from the New Zealand Public Party (NZPP) and Reset New Zealand which declared they were retreating from Jami-Lee Ross’s Advance New Zealand party.

Not a full retreat, necessarily.  Rather, they

“ … have moved away from their election alliance with Advance NZ to reform back into the intended party”.

The intended party?

 An amalgamated party without Ross and his supporters, we imagine. 

“We recognise the importance of this movement continuing to improve itself in many ways, and at the same time staying true to its core”, said NZPP’s leader, Billy Te Kahika.

“That means NZPP will continue to call things out on behalf of the public, hold this government up to scrutiny, demand its accountability, and defend our rights and freedoms.

“We will also be a watchdog of the New Zealand media that continues to be hostile towards the organisation that is rightfully questioning the Government’s COVID-19 narrative and educating the public about the patently dishonest actions of this sector towards us and the persistent slanting of facts and misinformation”. Continue reading “NZPP leaders decide the best way to make progress politically is to step back from Advance NZ”

It might be a rogue poll but the Nats must offer alluring policies – and get back to championing our rural regions

Latest  political    polling    puts   Labour   at  60.9%,   which – if  carried  through  to  the election – would   give  it  77  seats  in the  next  Parliament.    Is  anyone  (apart  from the  most fervent  National supporter)   surprised?

National’s  campaign  manager,  Gerry Brownlee,  dismisses   the   Newshub  Reid Research sampling  as  a   “rogue”  poll.    This begs   the   question  whether  he  would  have done  so,  if  it had   shown his own  party  a  bit  higher than   25.1%.

Other   polls   (even  one suspects  National’s  own  private polling)    have  had  Labour     above  the  50%  mark.

With  the  Covid-19   pandemic  raging  around the   world,  New  Zealanders  are  comforted their  government  has  got it   right:   they  only  have to  look  as  far as  Victoria  to see  what happens    when   the  governing  authorities   make a  mess  of it. Continue reading “It might be a rogue poll but the Nats must offer alluring policies – and get back to championing our rural regions”