‘The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.’
– Hunter S Thompson.
Matthew Hooton is visiting the Americas, I gather from the Twitter, to make a close study of the current nervous breakdown convulsing the United States’ body politic.
Personally, I rekkin Prozac is at the heart of the problem. Around 15% of Americans are on some form of anti-depressant and I think they’ve been overdosing.
Lead pipes were blamed for the fall of the Roman Empire. The elites all got lead poisoning and went bonkers, started making their horses into zodiacs, masturbating while the city burned, that sort of thing.
In centuries to come, I suspect, historians will recall anti-depressants had a similar role in the collapse of the American hegemony. Certainly, according to legend, the water supply over there is full of the stuff.
All that is by way of aside.
The immediate issue is that Matthew’s departure to the heart, and spleen, of the 21st Century Roman Empire has left a gap in National Radio’s programming.
So it was that late last week, from deep within the labyrinth of Radio New Zealand House , the call rang out, ‘Send for Hosking NO NOT THAT ONE.’
Anyway, I shall be on Nine to Noon this morning, shortly after 11am, discussing the state of the political world.
If anyone wants to hear me more regularly, I’m at NBR Radio here.
UPDATE: you can hear the audio here. http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201821190/political-commentators-stephen-mills-and-rob-hosking
Can’t muster much m0re than bewilderment and concern on this. I could see the appeal of the vote to leave – in fact I thought the Brits would vote to leave, and was rash enough to post this on the Twitter before the vote.
It seemed to me that if the polls were that close the Brexit-eers would get over the line – that there would be a similar ‘shy Tory’ effect seen in the UK polls at their last general election.
I don’t like the appeal to naked racism the Brexiteers engaged in. I think you could make an economic and political argument for exit without going there – in fact I think the case for leaving, if this were a more normal time globally, is stronger than Remain, without raising the flag of xenophobia or racism..
But the timing of this is all wrong. This is going to be destabilising at a time not just the UK but the world economy doesn’t need any more destabilising influences.
If I’d been in the UK, I’d have voted remain for that reason. It would have been a reluctant vote, a very reluctant one.
Anyway, here’s the Psychedelic Furs’ “Sister Europe”. Seems apt.
Buy a car and watch it rust
Sister see them fall to dust
They fall around
In another crowded room
Paint me like the shirt I’m in
‘Politics is the art not of imposing a way of life, but of organising a common life… the art of accommodating moralities to one another.’
– Michael Oakeshott
‘What makes a politician accountable is not that there are millions of people who vote, but that there are procedures of government that force him to account for himself….Lenin surrounded himself with a zealous cohort and said he was speaking for the people. In fact the people had no way of modifying his behaviour…’
– Roger Scruton
Having pondered the matter for a while, I’m doing the WordPress migration. So here it is.
Do not expect frequent posts. I usually do something on the weekend, but not every weekend.
It’s a hobby. I’m not going to make the mistake of thinking of it as anything much more than that, even though it is, obviously, a hobby which dovetails very closely with other interests and with work.
For a whole lot of reasons I’ve never liked that and, more recently, its come to bug the hell out of me.
It annoyed me a lot, last year, when there were a few feature articles about the New Zealand blogosphere and it focused almost totally on the political ones.
There are plenty of other things to write about, argue about, even get quite angry or excited about. And to me the most interesting stuff going on in the blogosphere wasn’t – and still isn’t – the particularly inane high school gang/sporting team level of “debate” (and here I use the word “debate” ironically if not totally and utterly wrongly) which goes on.
But they keep politics in its place. Where it should be.
There are a number of specialist blogs adding much to the country’s conversation – on books and on economics, to take two examples not totally at random.
I’ll write more on this, somewhere else, some other time.
Wednesday. Lets see.
Got up. Coughed up green stuff. Had breakfast. Of grapefruit and stir-fry garlic, ginger, broccoli carrots and almonds. [what? Who are you calling weird??]
And tea. Lots of tea.
Got email about press conference. Got another email asking about rumours about Richard Worth.
Cried off press conference as I seem to have a factory producing radioactive slimy kryptonite somewhere in my lungs.
Got tape of press conference. Apparently worth has done unspecified Bad Things and is being stood down.
Way to go, PM’s office. Excellent damage control. You just set half the journalists in the country chasing every possible rumour about Worth. It’s not like we had a lot on, anyway.
Got a couple more phone calls asking about various rumours about Richard Worth. I wheeze some I have heard.
By lunchtime I’ve heard half a dozen new rumours about Worth and I’m not even in Parliament Buildings.
Wrote column about superannuation. Talked to some economists.
Went to doctor. Tell him I’m feeling better, he says no I don’t and writes out a scrip.
Then he quizzes me about Richard Worth rumours.
David Lange has been in the news, and for most of us – except for the weeping John Campbell on the teev last night – it has been a useful reminder.
Here we were, all preparing ourselves for the outpouring of sentimental grief when the bugger finally dies, and then he puts out a book full of spiteful comments about other people and most of us – again, excepting the lachymose Campbells of this world – are thinking ‘Oh that’s right. You’re a ****.’
So if he sucks the big kumara anytime soon the wailing of compulsory national grief might be a bit more muted than it would otherwise have been. For that, anyway, much thanks, David.
Thanks also for reminding us what some of your colleagues were like.
And, BTW, thanks also for heading up one of our best governments – between July 1984 and January 1988. that government represented – I don’t say caused – a colossal change in NZ. Not all of that change was for the better, but most of it was. This was a much more freedom-hating, insular and small-minded place pre-1984. Despite those on both sides of the political spectrum who have tried to move us back to that, the changes your government wrought have been mostly irreversible.
No thanks though for then heading one of our worst governments, from January 1988 until you quit in August 1989. And one of the major reasons it was so bad was because of your failure of leadership. You were prepared to stop Douglas but you had nothing to replace his policies with. You called for a cuppa tea but it was the longest, most acrimonious and most costly tea break in history.