Saturday, December 03, 2011

Earthquake in Wellington

About 7:20 a reasonably strong tremor brought both of the kids running and the dog has gone off into her own tremors and panting. Went for about 6-7 seconds getting stronger but no big jolt. Sam is 13 and that's the worst she has ever felt. Robert says no wonder the people of Christchurch can't sleep.

Update: 30 Km east of Picton 5.7

Reported as "biggest recorded in around twenty years."

Friday, December 02, 2011

Are you missing John yet?

Confession: I actually warmed to John Key during the campaign because he dropped the smile-and-wave persona and actually looked like Phil Goff was getting right up his nose. I heard commentators describing him as "looking like a coldfish" and "refusing to engage" and "hard-faced". To me he looked unsmiling and deliberately detached from the silly gamesmanship of Labour blaming National for the inevitable detrimental effect on New Zealand of the worldwide recession. He showed calm and concentrated discipline in the process. I started to empathise with him. This is the John Key I'd like to see and hear more from. But I'm an oddity.

So I suppose I am destined to miss the new John until his re-appearance in 2014.

Marcus Lush on David Shearer - what the listening audience doesn't see

Had been listening to Willie Jackson and JT yesterday and still had my radio tuned to Radio Live this morning . David Shearer popped into the studio on his way to the airport to talk about his prospects for leading the Labour Party. Marcus Lush made some interesting comments after his departure in respect of what the listening audience doesn't see. He was impressed that the guy had turned up in person and shaken hands with all the news staff. Said that Shearer obviously really wants the job. But there was something he was uncomfortable with. Whenever he was asked a question Lush said Shearer's eyes immediately darted to the right. Lush preferred someone to look him in the eye when conversing and suggested that it was a habit that Shearer would need to be "media-trained out of". Otherwise he came across as (I was waiting for the word shifty but Lush deliberated just long enough to leave the word loudly unspoken) "too politician-like."

And if I hear one more time about how Shearer negotiated with Somali warlords I will .... roll my eyes again. Has anyone asked whether his negotiation successful?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Cracked 9,000

Have been blogging for six years and never exceeded 9,000 visits per month. Last month the counter reached 9,500 and the stats through the year have been steadily climbing. Thank you for tuning in. Finding the time to blog is becoming increasingly difficult but the growing readership makes me resolve to keep it a priority.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What can the government do for the poor?

What ... can the government do to help the poor? The only answer is the libertarian answer: Get out of the way.

— Murray N. Rothbard

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Political Progress

I emphatically disagree with the proposition that ACT should once again try to tie their factions together. It shouldn't aim to be the "broad church" that is the National Party. It should declare itself economically and socially conservative. How hard is that?

Then those people who are ecomically conservative and socially liberal know where they stand and can act accordingly.

It still remains for those who reject ACT (or whatever Banks decides to call it) to form a new entity that does manage the differences that will inevitably arise because people are always somewhere along a spectrum. But there needn't be differences as gaping as those between people at opposite ends of the social spectrum.

It'll take goodwill, genuine compromise and committment to discipline. But I ask you, what else is left?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Politically homeless

That's that then. I wanted Catherine Isaac in parliament and voted accordingly. But it didn't happen and I see this morning Catherine has, wisely in my view, ruled out assuming leadership or any other active role in ACT.

Ms Isaac said the future depended on Mr Banks. "Will John Banks embrace Act ideology and its policies and seek to advance them?

"I don't know how John Banks is planning on conducting himself. His history is with the National Party, not with Act, and I don't know to what extent he embraces Act principles."

She said she did not intend to take an active role in the party, but there was a future for a classical liberal party.

Mr Banks' conservative views have rubbed the more socially liberal Act members the wrong way. But he was comfortable because of what he called the "80/20" principle - he agrees with 80 per cent of the party's policies.

But will a leader keep the 20 percent he doesn't agree with? Liberals and conservatives can often agree on a majority of economic policy but are deeply divided on social issues - those that arguably have more impact on individual personal lives.

Catherine is right on one other thing too. There is a future for a classical liberal party. One that attracts all ages. The 'disengaged' who are perenially cynical about self-serving politicians. Young people like my son who baulk at socialism and collectivism, but don't identify with a political brand of any sort. NOT conservatists; and NOT statists.

The Libertarianz can surely not go another election with their ever energetic efforts but disheartening results?

There are rather a lot of politically homeless people out here I am afraid.

And on a related note Oswald asks about The Conservative Party, "Why are they getting even more derision from the so-called right-wing blogs?"

My answer:

Because 'so-called right-wing blogs' are misnamed?

Conservatives are by definition anti-abortion, anti voluntary euthanasia, anti same sex marriage and adoption, pro-criminalisation of drugs, and happy to use the state as an instrument of supression. None of which interests me.