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The threat to British democracy…

15 September 2015 2 comments

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On 25 September 2014, David Cameron addressed the United Nations, and justified Britain’s involvement in committing military forces against ISIS;

My message today is simple. We are facing an evil against which the whole world must unite. And, as ever in the cause of freedom, democracy and justice, Britain will play its part.”

A year later, on 13 September, after the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the UK Labour Party’s new leader, David Cameron had this to say about Corbyn’s victory;

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david cameron - tweet - 13 sept 2015 - jeremy corbyn

(Hat-tip: Chris Trotter)

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How chilling and deeply troubling for a Prime Minister to utter these words; “The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security”.

Implicit in that statement is a threat to the British people: we, the Establishment,  will not brook upsetting the status quo; your democracy is an illusion, do not take it seriously; and if you vote for Jeremy Corbyn, then  The Establishment will bring the full force of State power down upon your heads.

The question I now ask myself is; who will bring democracy to Great Britain?

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References

The Guardian: David Cameron urges unity against Isis ‘evil’ as UK prepares to strike Iraq

Twitter: David Cameron

Related blogposts

The Daily Blog: Revolution In The UK? Jeremy Corbyn and the Matter of Britain

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What do Hungary and New Zealand have in common?

9 September 2015 5 comments

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What do Hungary and New Zealand have in common? Besides having flags that are easily confused with other country’s…

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ANZAC-Flags

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Hungary Italy flags

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The answer; both are currently governed by right-wing parties, and both are guilty of inhumane, uncivilised obstructionist policies toward Syrian refugees in desperate need of re-settlement.

In New Zealand, the government consists of National and it’s parasitic satellite-party ACT, with support from Peter Dunne and the Maori Party.

In Hungary, the government consists of a large Muldoonist-style conservative party, Fidesz (pronounced  “Fee-dec” – as in ‘school decile’), and it’s parasitic satellite-party, the Christian Democratic People’s Party.

Both have adopted policies of bloody-minded stubborness refusing to assist refugees;

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PM cold on upping refugee quota

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Hungary PM - Europe's 'Christian roots' in danger from refugees

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I don’t know which is worse; the xenophobe, or the fool who attempts top justify his inaction by pointing to others;

“There are quite a few countries that don’t take refugees.”

His rationale for not increasing our efforts to held Syrian refugees (they are not migrants!) is both gutless and nonsensical.

What is it about the Right that, when faced with a humanitarian crisis, they turn their backs and look the other way? From whence does such cowardice spring?

Especially when,   two years ago, Key made these comments in a speech to the United Nations;

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key - United Nations - practising his hypocrisy

“The gap between aspiration and delivery is all too apparent, as the situation in Syria has again so brutally reminded us. 

But any failures of this institution are less failures of the Organisation than they are failures of us, its Member States, and those who have the responsibility of leading those states.

There would be no dreadful humanitarian situation in Syria if Syria’s leaders had upheld the commitments made to the international community and to the Syrian people when Syria joined this organisation and ratified the Human Rights Covenants.

This Organisation would not also have been a powerless bystander to the Syrian tragedy for over two years if the lack of agreement among the Security Council’s Permanent Members had not shielded the Assad regime – thereby re-confirming the fears of New Zealand and others who had opposed the veto at the original San Francisco conference in 1945.

New Zealand is pleased that the Security Council has at last met on the situation in Syria.” – John Key, 27 September 2013

It is not the UN Security Council that is now the “powerless bystander to the Syrian tragedy” – it is John Key and his morally-challenged government.

With our current refugee intake a measly 750 per year, there has been mounting pressure on our esteemed Dear Leader, John Key, to increase the number to one thousand, or to  double it.

After all, if the British  government had not taken in one particular female  Jewish refugee in 1939, after fleeing the Nazi take-over of Austria, our Prime Minister would never have existed.

It appears that Key is now displaying the same callous  indifference to Syrian refugees that he has exhibited to tenants of State houses and social welfare beneficiaries – despite the fact that his grandmother was a refugee and his mother a beneficiary of  this country’s once-generous state housing and welfare system.

It defies comprehension that a human being who owes his very existence to the compassion of others – now turns his back on those who need his help. John Key may have found wealth and power in his journey through life. But it appears he has also lost something along the way.

Meanwhile, there are those willing to lend a hand when others are in need;

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References

Wikipedia: Fidesz

Wikipedia: Christian Democratic People’s Party

Radio NZ: PM cold on upping refugee quota

ITV News:  Hungary PM – Europe’s ‘Christian roots’ in danger from refugees

Interest.co.nz: Contrasting family histories of John Key and David Cunliffe revealed by ancestry research

Fairfax media: They’re not migrants, double the refugee quota now

Beehive.govt.nz: New Zealand’s Statement to the UNGA General Debate

TVNZ News: ‘We can do more’ – Little says NZ refugee quota should be 1250

Other Blogs

No Right Turn: Raise the quota

The Dim Post: Nothing will come of nothing

Imperator Fish: Keep your dead children off our beaches!

The Pundit: Guts, guts, got no guts

The Standard: “Get some Guts!”

The Standard: How much does New Zealand spend on refugees?

 

 

 

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 4 September 2015.

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Flying the flags of discontent – MOBILISE!

7 September 2015 4 comments

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DISOBEY

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On 1 September, the Flag Consideration Panel, based in Wellington, whittled down ten thousand submissions for a new flag – to just four. Sadly, my personal favourite, ‘Lazer Kiwi’, was not amongst them;

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Lazer Kiwi

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On a more serious note; Key’s $26 million vanity-project – a new flag based on his own, personal, fern-fetish – has taken a step closer.

This  distraction from this country’s real problems (housing, child poverty, tanking economy, unemployment, etc) began as a joke that most dismissed with an eye-roll or shrug at best – and outright scorn when people realised they were paying for this exercise through their taxes.

It has been said that Key wants a new flag to be  his “legacy”.

It is a crying shame that he could not set his sights higher. Like eliminating child poverty.

That would have been an achievement. Key would have joined the ranks of honoured former prime ministers; Michael Savage, for introducing State housing and progressive social welfare policies; Norman Kirk, for saying ‘No!’ to atomic bomb testing in the South Pacific; and David Lange, for making New Zealand nuclear-free.

Instead, Key’s ‘ambition’ for this country focuses on a small  rectangle of brightly coloured cloth that we can wave in the wind.

As I wrote on 20 July, I will be participating in the upcoming two referenda on this issue. But not in the way our esteemed Dear Leader would like it.

I offer the following strategy for those voters who are opposed to this referendum;

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The referendum will be carried out in two parts. The first part will be a referendum held in November-December this year to determine which alternative people might prefer;

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flag referendum stage one

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This is the ballot paper to spoil by writing over it your opposition to this referendum. In a written piece entitled “Winston Flags Referendum For Protest“, fellow blogger Curwen Rolinson suggests writing “I support the current flag” on your ballot paper. Or you can create your own appropriate message.

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The second part of the referendum will be held in March next year. This will be the run-off between our  current ‘Stars’n’Jack‘, and an alternative selected from Step 1.

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flag referendum stage two

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This step must not be spoiled. A clear message can still be sent to our esteemed Dear Leader by voting for the status quo, to keep the current flag.

If the alternative is defeated, and the incumbent flag is maintained as the preferred choice, John Key will have been shown to have engaged in a vanity project, and wasting $26 million dollars of taxpayers money in the process.

By this simple strategy, we, the people,  can show the same scorn to Key’s  pet-project as he did to the asset sales referendum in 2013.

Step 1: Spoil

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Step2: Foil

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flag-referendum-Ballot Two

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Remember the tactic;

Step 1: Spoil

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Step 2: Foil

Fly your own flag of discontent.

Share the message. Spread the words: Spoil and foil.

It is in our power to stop one man’s vanity-project and his so-called “legacy”.

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Previous related blogposts

The Flag Referendum – A strategy for Calm Resistance

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 2 September 2015.

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Letter to the editor – Key suggests private providers for children in CYF services?!

4 September 2015 Leave a comment

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>
date: Mon, Aug 31, 2015
subject: Letter to the editor

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The editor
Sunday Star Times

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On 31 August, on Radio NZ’s ‘Morning Report’, our esteemed Prime Minister gave his strongest hint yet that parts of Child, Youth and Family could be contracted out to private providers. Key said,

“Child Youth and Family does outsource to the private sector already some contracts, and I think last year $81 million of business went to private sector contractors, so I can’t get up and say there is no involvement with the private sector, because there already is that. I don’t think we’re seriously talking about the private sector taking control of all the children, but if there is some small function they could do, maybe, I’d have to see what that is.”

The involvement of the private sector in government services, often resulting in poor outcomes and shockingly high cost over-runs, can be traced back as far as the mid 1980s with the failed INCIS police computer project contracted to IBM. Serco/Mt Eden, Talent 2/Novopay, and failed charter school Te Pumanawa o te Wairua are just some of the latest examples – that we know of.

John Key must be suffering another of his brain fades, if he has forgotten the Serco and Talent2 debacles already.

With regards to Child, Youth and Family, and the critical problems they have been facing, it defies understanding that our prime minister would contemplate, even for a micro-second, handing over aspects of support for our most vulnerable children to profit-driven corporations. If this is where New Zealand is heading, then as a nation we have truly lost the plot.

What possible benefit could a company like Serco have to offer children in State-care? Organising fight-clubs for 12 year olds?

The only solution is for the National government to cease under-funding critical social services such as Child, Youth and Family and ensure they are properly resourced; staffed; and work closely with other State agencies to achieve common goals.

Contracting out to private providers is not an answer. It is a cop-out. With vulnerable and damaged children paying the price of this lunatic idea.

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-Frank Macskasy

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[address & phone number supplied]

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References

Radio NZ: Key – More CYF private sector involvement possible

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Letter to the editor – Does Dear Leader recall the ’81 Springbok Tour now?

3 September 2015 5 comments

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: Mon, Aug 31, 2015
subject: Letter to the editor

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The Editor
DOMINION POST
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In July 2008, a journalist interviewed John Key, asking,

“In 1981, were you for or against the Springbok Tour?”

He answered,

“Oh, I can’t even remember … 1981, I was 20 … ah … I don’t really know. I didn’t really have a strong feeling on it at the time. Look, it’s such a long time ago.”

It was the first, of many, instances of Key’s “brain fades” where important dates, events, and discussions seemed to slip from his memory.

The shortest interval of time between an event and attempting to recall it was in November 2014, when Key “forgot” that he had had a txt-conversation with right-wing blogger, Cameron Slater. It took less than twelve hours for our esteemed Prime Minister to “forget” that he had texted Slater the previous evening.

With the All Blacks’ selection being announced at Parliament on 30 August, in the presence of John Key, one hopes that this event will now ‘jog’ his memory regarding his stance on the 1981 Springbok Tour.

At the very least, no National/ACT supporter will ever again be able to insist that “politics be kept out of sport”. The only thing missing was the National Party logo on the All Black’s shirts, alongside all the other corporate sponsors.

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-Frank Macskasy

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[Address & phone number supplied]

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References

Fairfax media: All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad announcement ‘not politicised’ – PM

NZ Herald: In search of John Key

Radio NZ: PM’s contact with blogger questioned

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An unfortunate advertising placement, child poverty, and breathing air

2 September 2015 6 comments

 

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mike hosking - simon collins - 300000 plus kiwi kids now in relative poverty - nz herald

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I was reading Simon Collins’ piece on child poverty in the Herald, and a small advert caught my eye… (See image above)

I’m not sure if Mike Hosking wants to be associated with our mounting child poverty crisis. It’s simply not his style. More accurately, it makes people like him feel queasy and uncomfortable. Rich people don’t like feeling uncomfortable – that is what wealth is supposed to eliminate. It reminds Hosking, and others like him, that whilst he is enjoying their wealth, others are surviving their poverty.

That sticks in his mind, deep down, somewhere, in the places where his parents tried to instill values of fairness in him when he was a child. That makes him resentful.

That is why the affluent; the rich; the powerful; the Comfortable Classes,  hate the poor so much. Otherwise, why do they invest so much time writing so defensively and caustically, when a blogger like Chloe King airs her views, in defence of the poor and the powerless? What is Chloe King to them?

Why bother?

Because they feel guilty.

Especially when she reminds them why they should be feeling guilty.

When  Mike Hosking made his views on child poverty perfectly clear on 9 April;

“Children cost money. If you can’t afford it, don’t have them. It’s not hard.”

– he was in full vengeful retaliation mode.

This was Mike Hosking – mouthpiece for the Comfortable Class – sheeting blame for poverty to the victims who have to endure it.

It would be like the victims of the Great Depression being blamed for being out of work; no money; and relying on soup kitchens to survive each day.

Now, when I was young, growing up, we lived off my dad’s sole income; mum stayed home and herded us kids. Dad’s income paid for the mortgage, food, power (a bill once every two months!), fuel for the car (an American  gas-guzzling, noisy, metal beast that I swear was a reincarnated T29 Soviet tank  in a former life), insurance, doctor’s visits (medicine was free – remember that?), and even a camping holiday to Taupo or somesuch place. We weren’t rich by any means. But dad’s income was sufficient for the things that average Kiwi families enjoyed.

And funnily enough, we didn’t need mass consumerism or seven day shopping and other such nonsense to get by.

The point is this; not being able to “afford kids” is like telling someone they are not worthy to breathe the air or drink water.

When did an act of nature become dictated by the amount of money a person had? Especially in New Zealand – a country  once upon a time we thought to be egalitarian?!

If our fellow New Zealanders “can’t afford” to have children, I suggest it’s not the cost of having children that is the problem. It is the inadequart income being earned by New Zealanders that is the core problem (I refuse to call it an “issue”) here.

In his article, Simon Collins presented two charts showing the growth (or lack thereof) of incomes since 1982;

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Table1

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Table2.

Notice how incomes for the lowest paid have stayed low – even after Working for Familes was introduced in 2004? The lowest ten percent have moved from $15,400 to $17,700. Last year, they failed to be counted as Collins pointed out;

The report does not include figures for the poorest 10 per cent of households, who include most beneficiaries, because the names of benefits changed in 2013 and some beneficiaries appear to have reported only how much they received since the new benefit names were created, missing out their incomes for the first half of the 2013-14 year.

Very convenient for the government, no?

Meanwhile, the top ten percent have increased their income by fifty percent, from $50,200 in 1982 to $75,400, last year.

Let’s be clear here. When right-wing ‘pundits’ and cheerleaders for the rich deride the poor for having children, this is barely-coded moralism and victim-blaming.

It is attempting to paint the poor as suffering “deeply flawed character”, almost to a DNA-level.

In fact, many right-wingers openly refer to welfare recipients as “inter-generational”; the subtle nod to ‘bad DNA’ being made without recourse to the more clumsy eugenics policies of you-know-who.

By blaming the poor for the temerity to have children, the Right shift the blame and deflect attention from the real question; why are people so poor that they cannot afford to raise a family as we used to, before the advent of Rogernomics?

Is it because, since 1986, Baby Boomers have voted seven tax cuts for themselves?

Is it because, as taxes were cut, GST was introduced and increased, as was user-pays in areas such as education?

Is it because simple things like medicine has gone from being free – to five dollars for each item?

Is it because trade unions are no longer able to advocate for their members, and wages have not kept pace with productivity, as this chart from the New York Times showed for US workers (and most likely applies here as well)?

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Yes. All of the above, and more.

The next time a right winger is ranting on about the “breeding poor”, remember that what they are really trying to say is;

… it’s their fault they are poor; they are unfit humans. Their bank accounts prove it.

… it’s not my fault I’m paying less tax than my counterparts did, thirty years ago. I just voted for it.

… only the Comfortable Class should breed. For we are superior because we have the moral fortitude (and good genes) to make money and keep it.

… don’t bother me about the poor. I’m trying to enjoy my Beluga caviar and Bollingers, thank you, without being reminded…

Well, too bad.

We will continue to remind you.

Don’t choke on your bolly.

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Create a society that values material things above all else. Strip it of industry. Raise taxes for the poor and reduce them for the rich and for corporations. Prop up failed financial institutions with public money. Ask for more tax, while vastly reducing public services. Put adverts everywhere, regardless of people’s ability to afford the things they advertise. Allow the cost of food and housing to eclipse people’s ability to pay for them. Light blue touch paper.” –  Andrew Maxwell, Irish comedian

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References

NZ Herald: 300,000+ Kiwi kids now in relative poverty

The Daily Blog: Now we got bad blood – being poor in a rich world

Newstalk ZB: Mike’s Editorial – The cost of a child

NY Times: Bill Marsh/The New York Times
Sources: Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley; “The State of Working America” by the Economic Policy Institute; Thomas Piketty

Previous related blogposts

When the teflon is stripped away

Mike Hosking as TVNZ’s moderator for political debates?! WTF?!

Mike Hosking – Minister for War Propaganda?

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 28 August 2015.

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