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