Tuesday, 6 December 2016

What A Way To Go! Some Initial Thoughts On John Key’s Resignation.

So Long - And Thanks For All The Votes: To leave office undefeated and unpushed; with New Zealand’s economy the envy of the OECD, and with his party hovering implausibly close to 50 percent in the polls; no one has done it before – and it will be a bloody long time before anybody does it again.
 
RELINQUISHING POWER holds almost as many dangers for a political leader as the risky business of acquiring it. If John Key had chosen December 2015 to announce his intention of retiring from politics in December 2016, then the past twelve months would have been a messy combination of House of Cards and Game of Thrones.
 
Factions would have consolidated around the National politicians most likely to succeed, and investors would have put their plans on hold until the shape of the new regime became clear. Politically and economically, giving New Zealand advance warning of his intention to step down would have been a very foolish thing for John Key to have done. And whatever else he may be, John Key is no fool.
 
By surprising everyone with his resignation (and everyone was surprised) and then nominating Bill English as his preferred successor (with Steven Joyce as Finance Minister) Key has ruthlessly restricted the room for manoeuvre of all the other claimants to National’s crown. English’s and Joyce’s principal rivals, Judith Collins and Paula Bennett, are now at risk of being branded “rebel pretenders” to Key’s vacant throne.
 
If either, or both, of these women force the issue to a Caucus vote they will likely be painted as selfish and disruptive by English and Joyce (and Key?) . In the face of the shock and dismay which the Prime Minister’s resignation has occasioned both inside and outside of the National Party, the succession team will argue strongly that the interests of the country are best served by a calm and smooth transition of power. They will insist that the last thing National needs; the last thing New Zealand needs; is for these two ambitious women to plunge the governing party into a bitter struggle for power.
 
Whether or not the combined influence of Key, English and Joyce proves sufficient to squash the ambitions of Collins and Bennett depends on how many members of the National Caucus are willing to persist with Key’s Labour-Lite policy settings. While he could point to three election victories on the trot and consistently favourable poll results, Key’s ideological apostasy, while not forgiven, could, at the very least, be overlooked. With Key gone, however, those wishing to restore National’s right-wing default settings may conclude that the tree of free-market capitalism needs to be watered with the blood of the party’s remaining pragmatists.
 
For Andrew Little and Labour, a win for the National Right would be the best possible outcome of Key’s departure. As Matthew Hooton commented, only this morning, the Labour Party in 2017 will not be running – as Michael Wood was running – against Pamjeet Parmar, but against John Key: a very different proposition altogether. Well, not any more. Labour may have had no answer to the political shape-shifter who dominated New Zealand politics so effortlessly for the best part of a decade, but finding the correct answer to the right-wing sneers of Collins and Bennet - that will not be a problem.
 
Which is why Key left vacant the position of Deputy Prime Minister. His clear message to Collins and Bennett: if you want to fight over something – fight over the deputy’s slot. That way, if English fails to win National a fourth term, a successor will be ready and waiting. Neat.
 
But then, everything about John Key’s fourteen-year run in New Zealand politics has been neat and tidy. Almost as if, at some point early in his career, he had negotiated a deal with Mephistopheles & Partners Ltd.
 
Perhaps that’s it? Perhaps the principal shareholder in Mephistopheles & Partners Ltd has decided to call in his debt? Perhaps John Key’s unprecedented mode of departure was the severance package?
 
To leave office undefeated and unpushed; with New Zealand’s economy the envy of the OECD, and with his party hovering implausibly close to 50 percent in the polls; no one has done it before – and it will be a bloody long time before anybody does it again.
 
What a way to go!
 
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Monday, 5 December 2016.

45 comments:

Guerilla Surgeon said...

A really interesting analysis of the economy by Rod Oram today on national radio – just a few minutes ago. If we take out the earthquake rebuilds and – yes – migration (Christ I hate to even say the word these days) we find that the economy is crap. And it's the usual story which has been going on for decades in this country, of a lack of increase in productivity. What is it about us that we can't increase productivity. It's been a bugbear just about for ever.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

It's Significant that Key said he wished he could have done more for poor children in New Zealand, but that his greatest regret was the flag debacle. I suspect that's the measure of the man really.

peter petterson said...

Good observation Chris. English has some of his baggage anyway. Have you heard any whispers about Key's next involvement? He supports Bill because he wants that knighthood too.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts are that Bennett leading National would be the best thing for Labour as she has no X-factor. Or maybe Joyce who comes across smarmy. The worst for Labour is if English wins at the next election as he has gone from zero to hero in the Finance role and could well be PM after the next election, although I think Labour is now probably in the box seat to win.

The worst thing for Labour if/when it does win the next election is that Little will look incompetent and bumbling compared to John Key and this will be exacerbated if Crusher Collins becomes the leader of the National Party as she won't become PM but will be a ferocious opposition leader who would put Labour's second term at risk unless Little somehow gains some boost of competence. Thank god Hekia Parata has gone - she had mana and would have been a bigger threat than the lot of them.

This is a bigger chance for Labour than winning Mt Roskill ever was. Little needs some media training to teach him how to talk straight and we will be away laughing for more than just one or maybe two terms.

Charles Pigden said...

Well, in the event of an enhanced role for Collins here's a rhetorical trope that Labour (and the Greens) can use for free.

They say that Ms Collins fancies herself as reincarnation of the Iron Lady. Sadly, she is more like the Mean Girl in a Hollywood Teen Movie.

This is what occurred to me reading her spiteful little emails in Hagar's book.

Victor said...

Here's the problem for those of us who are unlikely to vote National.

We might hope that the Nats choose the worst candidate, as that might result in their removal from office.

But what happens if whoever we see as the worst candidate, actually succeeds in keeping their party in power?

Stranger things have happened, particularly of late.

Charles E said...

What a total class act JK is. You'd expect me to say that but I bet most not filled with bile like some above would agree..

But I say more. I'm sixty and took an interest in politics when I was about 10, I think. I think he and the current gov are the best in my life time in every sense. I do not know much of the history before that of politics but perhaps Key is uniquely gifted in our history although I accept there is always luck too. Like business success, I think political success has a lot to do with luck: being there at the right time. The bit that is not luck is instinct and Key has that supremely honed. A natural leader.

And so to who is next to lead this excellent government?
Well it is up to English I think, if he wants it he will get it. And his luck is likely to be way better than last time. His past failure is pretty much irrelevant.
And I expect he would get on with Peters (that shit) better than Key. Another good reason why JK has gone now. He cannot stand Winston and vv. To Peters, Key is the ultimate wind-up: A man who has the Midas touch whereas Peters has a B- touch at best. A cunning political rat against Key the non-politician who beats all politicians before breakfast without effort.

And I will nail my colours up and bet now we have an election soon (as Peters already knows he says). It will be on the basis that we need to have the new leader get a mandate and now, because the year ahead may be the most volatile in the world for decades. Peters knows this perhaps because he has been told. So he will be the next deputy in due course. Three more years folks! Three more years!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"But what happens if whoever we see as the worst candidate, actually succeeds in keeping their party in power?"
Trump wasn't really a Republican though. A Republican candidate would have lost. We don't have a Trump figure, except perhaps for Winston. But as you say, stranger things have happened.

Anonymous said...

Key has left Auckland's housing market in tatters; young Kiwis cannot buy for miles around, a load of money was blown on a daft flag referendum, the dreadful TPPA was pushed and Key is a leftie globalist, in the pocket of the UN. Where is our brighter future? Overrun by immigrants, New Zealand born Kiwis shafted, Asia owning much of the Auckland housing stock, strangers in our own land. The housing mess is Key's real legacy, and oh what a show pony. He LOVES the barrel of the camera!! Was he ever honest, no, and what are we not being told? Are there skeletons in the closet?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" Where is our brighter future? Overrun by immigrants, New Zealand born Kiwis shafted, EUROPE owning much of the Auckland housing stock, strangers in our own land. "
I wonder if Maori were thinking that roundabout 1860 odd. You people never really see the irony do you?

jh said...

Key's legacy is sweetest for property owners, who saw the values of their homes rise NZ$400 billion to almost NZ$1 trillion on his watch, while the cost of servicing their mortgages as a percentage of disposable incomes has fallen almost 40%. But renters and aspiring home owners have not benefited from the Key era. They have gone backwards. Their housing costs are now rising faster than their incomes, particularly if they are single, on benefits, or have insecure and poorly paid work. The poorest 40% of the population saw their housing costs rise substantially under Key, and faster than than their incomes.

The right-wing think tank, the New Zealand Initiative, described that legacy best in a report in October on inequality.

"There is a massive inequality concern that is rightly troubling many New Zealanders: housing. In short, New Zealand’s ‘inequality crisis’ is really a housing crisis," wrote the NZ Initiative's Bryce Wilkinson and Jenesa Jeram. "While incomes have risen for high and low earners, the rising cost of housing especially hits the poor."
https://www.hivenews.co.nz/articles/1496-hive-news-tuesday-why-john-key-resigned-what-his-legacy-is-and-what-happens-next

but even that is narrow as there is a loss of identity for the poorer people. One can be poor if one is part of a family but if one goes to a public event ones wealth is ones status. So in our new multicultural nothingness if one has a house and nice car etc (wealth) that makes up for the unrelatedness.

jh said...

Once Redcliffs was an unprepossessing fishing village, distinguished by a collection of modest fishermen's cottages. Most have now disappeared, replaced by more luxurious residences, and property values have escalated.

“It's a standing joke that we're being taken over by the Americans and British, who have taken advantage of the stronger property markets in their own countires and favourable exchange rates”

“I know an English couple who have summer here and go back to England in the winter”

“What other parts of the city have such nice walks?..…

…………….
Not only that but the beautiful properties on the hill have been cross leased and subdivided.
The “unprepossessing fishing village” was where “unprepossessing” less well off enjoyed a life by the ocean. And the trend was started by "anti-racists" in the Labour Party.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I think he and the current gov are the best in my life time in every sense. "

And yet Rod Oram says the economy is rubbish and Key has lied about it. Gosh, who to believe – what a choice – an award-winning financial journalist, or Charles. Just. So. Difficult./Sarc

David Stone said...

Hi Chris

This has nothing to do with the article but you might be interested .

In Farsnews is an item I have been waiting for for months; The US has asked Russia to agree to allow the US intelligence officers they have been trying to rescue who have been orchestrating the rebel actions in East Aleppo, and give them safe passage to Turkey in exchange for negotiating a withdrawal of militants . It explains so much.

Cheers David J S

jh said...

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" Where is our brighter future? Overrun by immigrants, New Zealand born Kiwis shafted, EUROPE owning much of the Auckland housing stock, strangers in our own land. "
I wonder if Maori were thinking that roundabout 1860 odd. You people never really see the irony do you?
..................
You never see the irony that while you trot out "Europeans did it to Maori", as a group Maori are most opposed to our high levels of immigration.

Wayne Mapp said...

Guerilla Surgeon

You seem to forget that people have their own experiences to go by. New Zealanders have had 8 years of John Key. 50% of them remain pretty impressed. They measure that by their own lives and those of family and friends. They don't need to read Rod Oram to know what they should think.

This was the error of Hilary Clinton. Trying to tell her fellow Americans what they should think, using Hollywood stars and the MSM to give "lectures". In my experience people hate that because it does not respect them. They like to make up their own minds.

So Charles is perfectly entitled to draw his own conclusion without your smart alec response. For him, his own experience is a far better guide than Rod Oram.

Anonymous said...

The current levels of high immigration into NZ just don't make sense. It's impacting on our housing and job markets the most, unsurping Kiwi born Kiwis and giving away the golden goose to people from afar. Call me a racist, I don't care. I hate seeing my children's and my grandchildren's birthrights and legacies just being handed away willy nilly. Wait till fifty years down the track when whites are a minority, as is already happening in our Auckland schools, especially South of the Harbour bridge. Globalist, elitist rubbish, the master plan of Agenda 21.
Key and co are absolutely treasonous. I don't believe for a minute that he is leaving simply because the wife has had enough of empty nights. There is far more to it, he was always going on about that golden fourth term, and he always was a glory hound.

There for the sake of fame and power and rubbing shoulders with Joe Famous. Never a shred of substance or real caring about Kiwis. There is more to this than meets the eye, but the msm is just too besotted with Key to see it or to care. Daft to the last, and always, always, such a bunch of lapdogs. Sigh. Under anyone in National, our future is doomed. Sellouts and turncoats, all of them.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Wayne, you seem to forget that sitting prime ministers enjoy a huge advantage in the preferred Prime Minister stakes. It's simply a matter of recognition. Helen Clarke's figures were abysmal before she became Prime Minister, then the same woman became the preferred Prime Minister for years. So unless you can subtract that effect, I'm afraid I'm not impressed by John Key's figures. There is a man who as someone said, leaves no legacy. And I must say, that his statement about poor kids and flags lost me what vestiges of respect I ever had for the man which was very little. Sorry, I realise you actually HAVE to defend him. As far as Charles goes, he is entitled to his on opinion, but not his own facts. I'm quite happy for him to think that John Key is a great Prime Minister. But the facts say that he is less than ordinary. The only reason I got sarky about it was Charles's self-satisfied "three more years." He's sort of like that. Smug. So I like puncturing his bubble.

Victor said...

David Stone

What requires explanation is your reliance on sources as obviously and openly biased as the official Iranian news agency. Do you truly not see a problem here?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Further to that, sorry got distracted. Charles's experience is not necessarily the experience of much of the country. Ask poor people what they think of John Key's stewardship and you would probably get quite a different answer. That's if they haven't been taken in by his hail fellow well met shit, which 99% of them won't be. Particularly that little girl he seems to have used for electoral purposes and then forgotten all about.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

JH. You seem to forget that I am also opposed to our very high immigration levels. I just don't blag on and on about it to the exclusion of anything and everything. As I may have said before, I bet people avoid you at parties.

Charles E said...

Thanks Wayne. Bang on the nail. GS never has shown the slightest idea what opinion is. He only has other peoples’ opinions. I'm not sure he even exists.

Rod Oram is just another smarmy immigrant commentator talking down his nose to we poor dumb Kiwis. Whereas in his country the economy has gone so soo well eh Rod? Why did he leave I wonder and what has he achieved? Zero. I doubt that Helen and her finance minister took any notice of him either. He gets to bore us on RNZ because he is their pet platitudinous liberal leftie. These are the sort of people who put Trump in power, as you say Wayne. Not bad people, but they are snobs, yet without the class that might just make it understandable. They do not realise how the majority laugh at them.

Why am I totally unsurprised you think he knows best GS?
It is so telling when people use this opportunity to pour their bile on Key this week. Speaks to their lack of character, and more. Not just some on the left. Brash, that total failure politically couldn’t control himself, again. peters... yuk.
Whereas I note the things Little has said and that male Green leader, James somebody? It does them considerable credit.
Also I note that our host has a mature and intelligent response too.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Jesus Charles, you really love to crow. How the hell you managed to survive the Helen Clark years I just don't know. Probably just retreated into that bitterness you're well known for. As I said, you are entitled to your own opinions – just not your own facts. Rod Oram (award-winning journalist) is a lefty? Yeah right – simply because he disagrees with you. He provided the figures Charles. When you take out the earthquake rebuilds and migration, the economy is pretty much static. Productivity is about the same as it was before Key came into power, and exports are about the same percentage of GDP as they were pre-national. And yet we were promised increases, and they've been in power eight years right?. So until you provide me with competing figures Charles, you know what you can do with your opinions.

As to people "pouring their bile" (interesting because I thought Don Brash was one of your heroes) it's not as if anyone is kicking the man when he's down. :) He's allegedly leaving on a high remember. And I'll just repeat this "It's significant that Key said he wished he could have done more for poor children in New Zealand, but that his greatest regret was the flag debacle. I suspect that's the measure of the man really. Get a comment about that when you finish kissing the man's arse.

jh said...

Wayne Matt
Why did John key say "no" to a Vancouver tax on foreign buyers?
Ans: because he doesn't want house prices to fall. If they did people would see that the gains were false (same house as before but worth less).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The his was the error of Hilary Clinton. Trying to tell her fellow Americans what they should think, using Hollywood stars and the MSM to give "lectures". In my experience people hate that because it does not respect them. They like to make up their own minds. "

Yes Wayne, perhaps people do like to make up their own minds. But people are also easily swayed by Bullshit. Trump got in on the vagaries of the American presidential election system, Hilary's refusal to court the white working class, and Trump's particular brand of chaos. And you have to feel sorry for them, because they think he's going to solve their problems, and yet he is only going to make them worse in the main. He's been speaking about draining the swamp, but he seems to be putting all the snakes and alligators into his administration. He is quite possibly going to fuck up the whole American medical system such as it is and leave millions of people without any medical insurance. He is quite possibly the most corrupt President the US has had in living memory, and he will increase his wealth and that of his friends at the expense of the ordinary people as many extreme capitalists seem to think is right and proper. So people may have made up their own minds over there, but they got it wrong. People can't properly make up their minds unless they have the facts. Unfortunately, facts are pretty boring for many people. Charles for instance. Trump didn't supply any, Hilary tried to – and guess who won out in our post-truth society.

Anonymous said...

key (of course) was getting flakey with his arguments that high house prices and high migration was a sign of success (only life boat afloat analogy).

On the flakey side I would add support for Superdiversity (an alleged social science term). Then there are the propaganda pieces such as Nigel Latta's The New New Zealand [featuring Paul Spoonley] and fast talking Mr Mike Hosking.

Anonymous said...

I just find Key weak. He never really achieved anything, never wanted to upset the horses in any direction and always just wanted to be Mr Nice guy. It was never about strong leadership and always about compromise, compromise, compromise.
He was a bored multi millionaire, who saw the Prime Ministership as a platform
to being known and adored. Don't quite get his popularity. Much more of a watered down Holyoake than a Helen Clark or a Maggie Thatcher. Shouldn't good leaders be
strong willed, determined and of steely backbone?

Jens Meder said...

Regardless of the departure of John Key or what govt. we have, as far as the slow per capital productivity growth is concerned the fact should be known by all, that productivity beyond the hours we care to work and a reasonable optimum in the division of labor has been achieved, the only other way left to increase the productivity of labor is in raising the capital investment rate per head of population.

When there was talk of "catching up with Australia" over 10 years through intensified investment in knowledge and education, this elementary fact that even more knowledge cannot achieve much without more capital available for applying that knowledge, and the call to replace the "Knowledge Society" slogan with "Ownership Society" was ignored, and has remained being ignored right up to the present.

Will we carry on under the status quo, or are we going to systematically raise our national capital savings and investment rate above what free market liberalism can deliver through our investment elite alone, as a priority over freely consumable tax reductions ?

Charles E said...

It's instructive that GS fails to realise that his reference to Oram's compared to my opinion of Key completely misses the point and that happens to be why Key was so outstandingly successful as a PM.
Key has perfect empathy for others, for how they see the world, for their experience of it. And Oram & you GS do not.

Victor said...

Charles, you disappoint me. I never had you figured as a Pom Basher.

What makes you think that Rod Oram is talking down his nose to you. He's just talking...but with a different accent and idiom to yours.

And you really can't blame Oram for the state of the UK economy. He left there years ago. Moreover, for most of the last four decades it's been run by people who don't share his attitudes.

greywarbler said...

Guerilla Surgeon
I enjoy your 'smart alec' response to things RWingers burble so please keep on. Rod Oram is like a tonic. He can't be right all the time, but his judgment of NZ business usually seems spot on and I do believe I have heard him self criticise, which shows he can apply objectivity all round. His background in a larger economy makes his opinion so useful in our little inbred state.

And one of the alumni of Anonymi says Key is a leftie globalist, in the pocket of the UN. Such a scrambled linking of facts half-digested that look like something the cat brought up - fur balls mixed with bits of grass.

pat said...

'50% of them remain pretty impressed. They measure that by their own lives and those of family and friends. They don't need to read Rod Oram to know what they should think."

Oh dear Wayne...at least please be accurate....47% of those who were not so disaffected remained "pretty impressed"....so in effect 36% of NZers decided they preferred the devil they knew...hardly a ringing endorsement.

David Stone said...

Hi Victor
Given my comment bore no relationship to this discussion I didn't really expect Chris to post it; Rather I thought he might see fit to check it out, and maybe he knows where to look for backup or repudiation. Since he's posted it maybe he is disposed to indulge me with a response to your comment.

The source merits all the scepticism you want to afford it, and the item would need verification to wholly accept it , but that doesn't distinguish it from other sources of news. But the article supports what I had guessed back in September so I find it very appealing.

The thought struck me back in September when the UN aid convoy was blown up immediately it had entered rebel held territory in Aleppo. US blamed Syria and Russia, Russia called US into Question, Syria said little and the MSM just went with the narrative that Russia had bombed the convoy.

Why?

I thought then and I think now that the real purpose of that convoy was to get US assets out on an unnoticed backload before the rebels were cleaned out and their embarrassing presence was exposed. The rebels blew up the convoy to trap them and draw US more actively into the fray . They had already said they would not let aid in. I think Al Nursra and ISIS are playing the US for fools.

Cheers David J S

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Shouldn't good leaders be
strong willed, determined and of steely backbone?
Er... Yes and no. In the sense that you seem to mean, only if you are a fascist. Compromise is often necessary. General Eisenhower was often perceived as weak in 1944 to 45. But he was managing disparate and very egotistical people. Who possibly would have buggered everything up without him managing them.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I'm not sure if we're talking at cross purposes here Charles. But I tend to form my opinions by supporting them with facts. You seem to regard this as a weakness. As if I don't have opinions of my own. The thing is Charles you read as many of the facts as you can get, and as many different opinions as you can get, and then you form your own. That's called analysis. I regard it as a strength.
You called the government "excellent". I said it wasn't, and supported it with facts. For some reason this annoys you. But then I'm not at all sure what you form your opinions from – quite possibly they arise out of thin air.
Your opinion on Key is superficial to say the least. And I think this is shown by your last statement. Key gives the impression of having empathy but in effect has none. What you take to be empathy, I see as bonhomie. There is a difference. And his abandonment of that young girl after he used her as a prop in an election campaign shows this I feel. His statement about flags and children if taken at face value also seems to show this. However, if you could give me some concrete evidence of his empathy I would love to hear it. Not holding m'breath mind.

jh said...

Another John Key legacy
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11762347

Note how Nigel Latta, Paul Spoonley and Mike Hosking praised our export education.

greywarbler said...

Very interesting David Stone. The USA being played for fools in their own machiavellian game? Better than Chess I think to them, but doesn't have as good music. Has anyone written an opera or musical around Machiavelli I wonder, there's rich background for dramatic staging.

I don't think you are right separating a piece on Key from USA adventures in the M.E. They are global in their sweep and have visited us militarily often, in fact they are making us their holiday destination du jour quite often. They referred to a holiday when conducting practice ops around Timaru last year, was it? And we have had warships helping at Kaikoura in a nature-made rather than man-made disaster.

J Bloggs said...

GW: I can't recall where I heard/read it, but Someone once opined that a sizable part of the problems in East/West relations largely stemmed from the fact that the respective leaderships approach to international relations came the mentality of their national games. For the USSR/Russia this is Chess, while for the US it is Poker.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Grey Warbler.
http://www.operaballet.nl/en/opera/2016-2017/show/new-prince

Victor said...

David

All sources of news need to be treated with a degree of scepticism.

However, it seems sensible to apply particular scepticism to a so-called news organisation that has, at various times, claimed that US security policy is run by extra-terrestials or that an Iranian inventor has developed a means for time travel.

greywarbler said...

GS
Thanks for that. Emirati-American talented guy Mohammed Fairouz on Machiavelli in English with Dutch-English subtitles. Over there their brains work faster learning different languages.

Now that Brexit has happened I suppose the Brits can go back to the old language, as promoted by Flanders and Swann, 'The English, the English, the English are best, So up with the English and down with the Rest." And similar here.

Victor - Are you being entirely honest here. Was that news agency running a spoof or using hyperbole perhaps when they connected US security police and extra-terrestials? After all many here have wondered if Key's home is named Planet Key. And Iranians are very clever and such people with old deep cultures yet working in the nuclear age could be said to have the ability to move between thinking of different times.

greywarbler said...

J Bloggs
And NZ's game is.....Rugby. So what does that say about us. I think of Tom Lehrer's putdown about Spanish bullfighting - Watching an 800lb Pot Roast at full speed. Only we don't eat our rugby players. But we do admire them all the way into mental and physical damage, such as if they keep playing with broken bones or get up and play again after being knocked unconscious. Quite the gladiator lovers we are, nothing cerebral about us.

But then Americans besides poker also play gridiron.
So what do NZs do for sit-down pursuits, TAB, Scrabble, on-line porn?
Must not stray so far from John Key (who's he?), so what does he play for light relief? The derivates market?

Charles E said...

GS says: ..'I thought Don Brash was one of your heroes..…' and ' ....Your opinion on Key is superficial to say the least. And I think this is shown by your last statement. Key gives the impression of having empathy but in effect has none....'

Citations please. Facts? Are you a mind reader now?

You see, you just make it up GS. Your posts are riddled with logical fallacies. Straw man being your favourite. You constantly 'think' what others may 'think' then attack that.
So how much time have you spent with Key to know what his character is?
I have met him on several occasions and witnessed first hand his empathy and ability to listen & connect with anyway from any walk of life. Yet any reasonable person anywhere on earth does not have to have met him, to see that is his greatest talent, among many others. That you cannot see that sums you up. Or if you can, your inability to admit it is even worse.

Victor said...

greywarbler

To the best of my knowledge these were not spoofs.

I do, however, know of one example from 2012 of Farsnews picking up a spoof story
and running it, in all seriousness, as its own.

The story in question concerned a claim that more Midwestern Americans wanted Ahmadinejad as their president than wanted Obama.

Oh dear!

But let us assume, for arguments sake, that Farsnews is using language in an allegorical or some other non-literal way. How, then, would we know when it's being literal?

Perhaps, by this argument, the report that David Stone has conjured with might also be best understood allegorically.

Meanwhile, I'm left with the to me impenetrable mystery of why secular New Zealand leftists are so happy to condemn Sunni theocrats and extremists but so willing to make excuses for their Shiite equivalents.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"..'I thought Don Brash was one of your heroes..…"
Do have to put/sarc in front of everything sarcastic? Don brash is extreme right, so are you. Oh God sometimes..... Still, I will take to doing that now because obviously you don't recognise sarcasm.

As far as John Key goes, I provided two examples of his seeming lack of empathy, and expressed the opinion that you were mistaking a certain superficial charm and bonhomie for empathy. You realise that as a politician it's basically his job to be charming to people like you right? You have provided no evidence to the contrary except your impression.
You claim some special insight through having met him, yet claim that anyone can make the judgement on his empathy without meeting him. And I have done so.
And I notice you have not commented on either of my examples which suggest to me that he does lack empathy. Which is pretty typical, because when you get down to brass tacks you got nothing.
Again – perhaps you would like to specifically comment on his remark that he wished he could do more for the poor children of New Zealand but his greatest regret was the lack of a change of the New Zealand flag. That suggests to me a man who is completely out of touch with empathy, sympathy and just about anything else. At the very least it was a reasonably rash statement to make, though as usual the lapdog New Zealand press has made nothing of it.