Vengeance with a Back

The osteopath has been doing an Eddy Izzard on the spinal column  – yeah I know that’s chiropracty…chiropractory…chiropractism…whatever they call it – and yeah I know osteopaths and chiropractors view each other with the kind of warm regard normally associated with relations between Black Power and Mongrel Mob, or maybe between the local Playcentre Committee and the local Kindergartetn Committee….but the general approach, when you’re on the slab, seems awfully similar.

They both sort of try to turn you into a gibbering, breathing pretzel.

A few things I have been reading – stuff about NZ’s economic imbalances, mostly, and I really want to get away from it right now, because I think we’re going to have to have someone turn our economy into a gibbering pretzel.  Which would be an improvement, I suppose, and at least our economy only needs a ‘crack yer bones’ treatment rather than the economic equivalent of chemotherapy, although we’re going to need it for about a generation.

We’re not quite Greece, although another recession or another earthquake and we will be.

I’d planned to get away from all this stuff, and I now shall do so.  Elsewhere on the web, Dr Yobbo has been visiting hotels in Auckland and working out what he can nick:

 ‘Vanity kit’, consisting of three cotton buds in a small cardboard box. I stuck one in each nostril and still didn’t look like Prince’s ex. It’s possible I was doing it wrong, but I reserve the right to sue.

Dirk Flinthart has been sleeping badly:

 …when I heard a stentorian electronic monotone blaring out from somewhere downstairs at 0300, I groaned and pulled the pillow over my head. But Natalie got up and investigated, and didn’t come back, and that kind of meant I had to do something manly and tough, so I got up and grabbed my robe.

A bit closer to home, and a bit more seriously,  Chris Trotter – and others – are saying the polls understate Hone Harawira’s support because a lot of his supporters use cellphones, and/or are young.

It is now an article of faith among some sections of the Left that the methodology of New Zealand pollsters is irredeemably flawed. They argue that since more and more young, brown and/or poor Kiwis no longer use landlines, polling agencies that continue to rely on interviews with landline subscribers are bound to produce results significantly skewed towards the opinions of old, white and rich voters.

Ah, yeah.  Parties doing badly in the polls always seem to argue that for some reason their supporters aren’t getting polled.  I heard Labour and, particularly, Alliance people run it in 1996, (and Labour people again in 2008)   on the grounds that a statistically significant chunk of their supporters couldn’t afford phones at all. 

In 1996, just under 1996 of NZ households had a landline: in 2008 it was around 98%.

I’ve heard National and Act people run  the same argument, in 1999 and 2002, on the grounds that a disproportionate number of their supporters are self employed, and too busy to answer polls.

It was almost  all self-deluding, whistling-in-the-dark stuff, although from memory Act did do a bit better than the polls suggested in 2002 (National did worse).

There might be a bit more variation in tomorrow’s byelection, because it is for the country’s northern-most Maori electorate, and if the stereotypes are true, there is a disproportionate number of the country’s drug dealers in that electorate – people who famously buy cheap prepaid cellphones on Trademe rather than have a landline. 

  But I’m always dubious about stereotypes, especially self-serving ones, and this one is a bit too pat. I’m also not too sure if drug dealers are particularly conscientious about voting.

Tim Watkin, meanwhile, was on the panel with Winston Peters last weekend and wonders if it is all over for the guy.  I had a similar response, watching the same interview, especially Peters’ ‘We’re still relevant’ at the end:  it had the same slightly desperate  and defeated tone as Muldoon’s ‘I love you too, Mr Lange,’ in the last debate in the 1984 election.

Watkin also notes something I think is being under-estimated by most of the opposition parties – especially Labour: that there is a very different mood in the country.

 The earthquakes in particular have changed the mood of the country in ways we still don’t entirely comprehend. There’s a wariness abroad in the land; a sense that things have changed.

He’s right, although I’d say the change started before the earthquakes – Canterbury’s tragedy has, however, made the mood deeper and stronger. I’d say the origin is in the global financial crisis and the realisation that the country can’t go on running up debt.  The earthquakes have given this an even sharper focus:  they’re a reminder that we are very vulnerable on a number of fronts and we need to be a lot more prudent if we’re going to deal with these. 

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