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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Phil Goff isn't racist - he 's just appealing to racists

So much petty dumb bullshit in the in tray this week. Top of the petty dumb bullshit heap was Phil Goff being a boring grey baby boomer thrust to greatness by an evacuation of senior executives and desperate for traction in the marketplace saturated by the opposition. He's like the CEO of DEKA - had it survived to now.

If his career path had taken him somewhere else he would probably be the general manager of Rendall's right now. A reliable senior executive with solid management skills and a good rapport and thorough familiarity with the organisation who can take over in a crisis situation. That's who anyone would appoint to take over - they don't have to be charismatic. They just have to get Labour's vote to within two or three percent of National on election night to be in a negotiation position with the smaller parties to form the government. Is that such a big ask?

Does Phil Goff think he can get to within two or three percent of National by making a speech entitled "Nationhood" and having it about the foreshore and seabed supposed racial polarisation - take a look at the branding:It so closely resembles Brash's atrocious hate-mongering Orewa script that Goff could be the second great plagiarist unveiled this month. It's all the same thing, but this time it's from the Labour Party leader:

New Zealand is at a cross-roads.

We can celebrate the rich tapestry of our heritage and use it to move forwards as a nation; or re-open wounds and divisions where there can be healing.

I want to talk about some of these issues today, and the choices that the Government is making this week, and in weeks ahead.

It will make choices in the global community of nations about climate change. It will make choices about Treaty settlements relating to forestry and about the foreshore and seabed.

And Brash:

[...]And fifth, the topic I will focus on today, is the dangerous drift towards racial separatism in New Zealand, and the development of the now entrenched Treaty grievance industry. We are one country with many peoples, not simply a society of Pakeha and Maori where the minority has a birthright to the upper hand, as the Labour Government seems to believe.

Over the next few months, I plan to give a major speech on each of my five main priorities, but today I want to speak about the threat which “the Treaty process” poses to the future of our country. I am focussing on this topic because, just before Christmas, after Parliament had risen for the year, the Government announced its foreshore and seabed policy, a policy with potentially huge significance for the future of our country.

So let me begin by asking, what sort of nation do we want to build?

Is it to be a modern democratic society, embodying the essential notion of one rule for all in a single nation state?

Or is it the racially divided nation, with two sets of laws, and two standards of citizenship, that the present Labour Government is moving us steadily towards?

Blah. Blah. Blah. Crisis. Division. The past. Those tricky, but pathetic Maoris. The long-suffering Pakeha taxpayer... It's like a twist-a-plot novel where you are asked to either chose the wealthy privileged, aloof, geeky white guy leading a party manipulated by interest groups and powerful lobbyists to run a Prime Ministerial dictatorship with barely any constitutional controls for three years at a go, or the only other option is that Tame Iti and Tipene O'Regan get to run the country as feudal-corporate overlords in an Apartheid state with the help of some conniving race-traitor. This is what the voters are being presented with when politicians pick this path and in essence it is every bit as absurd as any insane pastiche I can concoct.

Do I have to read Goff's pile of bullshit to know that it looks and smells like the same bullshit as Brash? Sold for the same reasons, to the same people - and it will in the end have the same effect. Brash lost. Goff will lose. Then there will be someone new. Do I have to read it all - do I have to read to the inevitable bit about Maori "privilege" and the patronising padding? Well it's not going to be worth it is it. It's not going to worth dignifying it with serious inspection is it. It's going to be a waste of my time to read it. I'd rather spend the time talking about why he's going there.

Trevor Mallard kept popping up the blog-whistle posts on Red Alert, and he finally got a ticking off over the obvious anti-Maori post on a sentencing issue in which he also criticised a judge. It was like a tacky, shitty, moronic pizza campaign stunt. It was the first test of whether the Maori Privilege line would work. That was the feedback from their listening to the provinces tour. Be more racist. A lot, lot more racist. So Trevor Mallard gives them a test run... and I guess no-one did a good enough job in convincing him that an anti-Maori line for the Labour Party is just about the most idiotic thing imaginable.

Why would any Maori - let alone anyone at all - lift a finger to help the Labour Party when their leader is a wannabe Don Brash? This is why Tariana Turia - the only Maori in the Labour caucus with any balls - left the party. She had to. Because it was run by ruthless, opportunist... mofo a la blanc as Hone Harawira might say [because he mangles his words, it's "les mofos blanc" apparently.]

The answer is - contrary to what Trevor Mallard may think - no one but the hard core of Labour support will vote for any version of Don Brash as leader of the Labour Party. You think they would have learnt that. You think they would have learnt that going to the right in 1949 was a failure, but they repeated that again this time 'round and got the same result. And now - only a year after being thrown out they are right back to a failed strategy of trying to be more racist than the Tories. It is the most idiotic tactic for Labour to adopt. Does it have to be spelt out? Are they that thick? Let's make Phil Goff seem more right wing!? His weak point sure ain't that he's not right wing enough. More right wing than now? They already have invented a party for that and it's called National.

Phil Goff is at 5% - and this is how to lower it:
By making a speech called Nationhood in all the crispy starched white wrapping with exactly the same message as Brash. Now why would someone want to vote for that - why would you? Why would anyone?

People will vote for a solid Labour leader, not a Labour leader trying to be a Tory arsehole. If they want to vote for a Tory arsehole they will vote for the real McCoy every time. How can these people who have been active in the party since their teenage years and running in elections for decades in Phil Goff's case not have understood that by now?

So Phil Goff has been given a hospital pass from Trevor Mallard — that is the most charitable possible gloss that can be applied to this risible foray into overt race-baiting; but it's difficult to be that charitable.

It's so much more pathetic that the appeal to the paranoid angry white man comes from a Labour leader. It was pathetic when Helen Clark retreated into the dark cave of the unspoken white assumption of superiority over the coloured peoples of the Earth and the role of the white race of British peoples and it's pathetic now the inheritor of the club starts down into the same recesses. That was some nadir - the foreshore and seabed confiscation - it looked like they had adopted Cullen's re-position submission, but now all that consensus seems to be drowning in this Brash rhetoric - despite no official re-flip-flopping.

The thought that lurks behind Brash and Clark, and evidently Phil Goff's thinking, is that rich vein of white entitlement and the reaction when that is challenged. The beneficent colonising force delivering social progress and a classless utopia upon the altar of Civilisation that latter day Rhodesians, like Chris Trotter, think justifies ripping off Maori for centuries comes with the deep insecurity that it's all proven to be merely a temporary advantage of technology and militarism in a period of an Imperialist trading empire and premised on a continuous supply of the white race of British peoples for the perpetual economic expansion and social enrichment of the white race of British peoples populating the country already and to the disadvantage in just about every way to Maori and that the ideas used to justify the situation are myths and that it is unjust and unsustainable. It's bouts of guilt and anger for the inheritors and traders in Maori land. But they firmly believe they are the finest, fairest and most noble race of men ever and also the least racist of all the white colonies — and if those goddam ungrateful niggers say otherwise we'll kill every last one of them like we did in Tasmania.

That is what is lurking down there. That's the dark well from which Phil Goff wishes to draw upon. That's the target demographic when he opens his pie hole and it's Don Brash's speech notes that come out. There is absolutely no escaping that conclusion. That's all their own marketing.

It's so many levels of stupid below where they usually are that maybe it really just is as reflexively racist as it seems. That the area of their brain clouding their judgment is the racist bit - because this makes no sense in terms of winning the next election or helping the party long-term. It alienates the wrong people, it seeks to attract people ignorant enough to only be appealed to on a race basis and those people will evaporate before election day. It's lose - lose all round.

And then confirmation:Phil isn't a racist.

Honest. Parekura says so.

And Shane Jones - who was on the Fisheries Commission, double dipping as an MP as well for some time - part of the privileged Maori tribal elite by any definition - is going to say what about this attack on him from his own leader? That sell-out who won't stand in the Tai Tokerau seat against Hone Harawira because he has a personal pact with him not to; this blathering lightweight who slithered onto the list when they were confiscating Maori land, what does this dribbler of verbiage have to say to this criticism from his boss:“Phil Goff”s robust speech on nationhood yesterday was an invitation to get in the ring and debate the issues of the future. The Maori Party response is to hide behind the fig leaf of race rather than account for why they do sly deals with a privileged tribal elite."

Like him. He is the tribal elite. Like Dover Samuels before him, like Nania Mahuta. Does it get more privileged and tribal elite than that? It's a joke. It's a woeful, pathetic, grossly hypocritical joke.

The fact is that John Tamihere, the Great Brown Hope before Shane Jones - when he was in Cabinet - threatened to derail the entire fisheries settlement unless he got for him and his mates' Maori urban corporations (incl. Willie Jackson) a cut of the cash with no strings attached to fisheries. A straight out rort at the highest level. Tamihere then retires immediately back to being the CEO of Waipariera Trust (who had paid him a fat golden handshake while he was an MP) after getting thrashed by Pita Sharples in the election. From whence he will participate, no doubt, in distributing the cash he managed to screw out of the rightful beneficiaries. That's just a very small taste of Labour's record on the matter.

There are probably more tribal elite issues for the Labour Party than for the Maori Party. All the side deals by Cullen in the run up to the election over the foreshore and seabed are examples of favouritism - both Parekura Horomia and Nania Mahuta had the main Iwi in their constituencies paid off and promises made in a hope they would retain their seats - and unfortunately they did. But to focus on Maori alone would let the Labour party off the hook. Within a year of coming to power in 1999 - for example - Labour gave over 100 million dollars to the marginal West Coast seat in an attempt to buy off the overwhelmingly Pakeha district - and that was partially successful. There are so many instances of Labour's favouritism and privilege towards it's chosen groups - that it is astounding that the leader of the party would ever want to risk raising the issue.

I've met Phil Goff on a few occasions - mostly non-political events - and he's a decent chap and would make a safe and cautious PM I am sure; but Phil Goff is like an old Tony Blair for a country that never cared for a Tony Blair. He's left his run 20 years late and spinning out race baiting bullshit barely fit for one of Trevor Mallard's blogs is a mark of desperation.


At 30/11/09 9:48 am, Anonymous Gosman said...

Interesting that Chris Trotter suggests the total amount of serious liberal left in N.Z. number only around 5,000.

If this is correct then it is understandable where Goff is coming from politically.

Would you disagree with that estimate Tim and if so what do you think the potential size of the liberal left is?

At 30/11/09 12:02 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

There would be more serious liberal lefties than there are of whatever stripe Chris Trotter is.

At 30/11/09 12:34 pm, Anonymous Gosman said...

Possibly, however I am reminded here of a debate that I read on Frogblog the other day where a Vegan was arguing that the Greens should be pushing a totally meat free vision for N.Z. as that was the most ecologically sound position. It was pointed out, (rightly in my view), that advocating such policies at this point in time would just condemn the Green's to Political obscurity.

Regardless of your views on the right's and wrongs of what Goff had to say in his speech the fact of the matter is he isn't going to get a groundswell of support for preaching the liberal left view of cross cultural interaction.

He might be able to tap into a much larger vein of people who feel uncomfortable with some of the things that have been going on recently in the country with regard to the Maori Party and National and use this opportunity to convince them that Labour is a serious alternative to the current set up.

If Chris Trotter's analysis is correct then what do you think is the better approach politically to take - trying to tap into the up to 200,000 voters who might feel alienated by recent events in Race Relations and who swapped allegience from Labour to National last election, or satisfying the the few thousand left wing liberals who either already vote Labour or the Green's?

At 30/11/09 1:03 pm, Anonymous kerry said...

I've read the speech and find nothing to compare Goffs speech to Brash.

At 30/11/09 1:37 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

Kerry: it's called "Nationhood" the same title as Brash's speech. The Labour party even put a picture of the foreshore and seabed next to it on the website for people as thick as you. It's on the same themes and it's the same vibe. It's done for the same reasons. Any pojnts of validity in Goff's speech is lost when it's riding around in white robes burning crosses.

Gosman: My point is that experience shows it never works. It doesn't even work that well for National, and doesn't work at all for Labour. In doing this it risks a flight to the Greens of its liberal urban base - many of whom are active supporters. I am surprised they haven't been putting the boot in and capitalising, but the Greens are just hopeless. If they both think their enemy is the Maori Party then they will just push them closer and closer to National - and that isn't going to hurt the Maori Party in the electorates it's going to hurt the chances of Labour forming a government.

At 30/11/09 2:16 pm, Anonymous Gosman said...

Chris Trotter's asertion is this liberal base that you state Goff is alienating is just not that big. Hence it makes political sense to try and get the large number of potentially left leaning voters who feel uneasy about certain cultural issues in the country, (I dislike throwing around the 'Race' word whilly nilly), to at least sit up and listen to what Labour has to offer.

If he does this by offending the liberal left then it doesn't hurt him much as they are small in number, (so Trotter's argument goes), and they really have nowhere else to go as The Green's are natural coalition allies of Labour anyway.

I'm not sure why you state that this doesn't work as Winston Peter's made quite a lucrative political career out of appealing to a similar section of society. What evidence do you have that it doesn't work?

At 30/11/09 2:53 pm, Anonymous toad said...


How about Goff trying to educate those who switched from Labour to National for reason of race relations policy instead of pandering to their racism.

Apart from a few hard core bigots, racial prejudice is the product of ignorance.

We don't see calls for the recriminaltisation of gay sex and legitimisation of discrimination on the basis of these days gaining any traction these days. Society has moved on from homophobia, and it can move on from racism.

Goff should be taking the lead, rather than dragging it back by appealing to les mofos blancs.

At 30/11/09 3:29 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

1949 a lurch to the right didn't work. Clark's F&S lurch to the right didn't work either - the narrow win in 2005 was due to Brash being an old duffer and the student loan bribe - and it created the Maori Party which has sheared off 2-3% of Labour's vote. Is that working? How's that working for them? How's them apples tasting?

And then they go and do it all again...

People vote for strong leaders who are true to type and represent their natural stakeholders robustly - that applies to all parties. Winston does that best by pandering to conservatives, but Phil Goff is not cut from that cloth - this is not his natural ground, and he is going to be uncomfortable trying to occupy it.

At 30/11/09 4:20 pm, Anonymous Gosman said...

Jeeze Tim having to go all the way back to 1949 is a bit of a stretch don't you think?

It could be argued that the F&S legislation, while not being a major factor in the win in 2005 at least allowed Labour to neutralise a potential area of attack from National. As for the loss of some of the Maori vote, Labour still won the Party vote amongst the Maori seats in 2005 by a fairly large margin. Remember it is the Party vote that really counts under MMP.

I could equally go back to 1981 where Rob Muldoon took advantage of the impact of the Springbok tour to shore up support amongst key rural marginals to show you where it does sometimes pay to pander to the more conservative elements of society to garner enough votes for victory in an election.

With the exception of possibly the Nuculear Free legislation I'm not sure if there are too many liberal left policies that are massive vite pullers. That is not to state I expect Labour to abandon all, or even some of them, just that Goff's moves in this area may well be a smart political move as suggested by Chris Trotter.

At 30/11/09 4:35 pm, Anonymous Gosman said...

@ Toad

Where has that ever worked as a political strategy?

People tend to take a rather dim view of politician's trying to re-educate them.

For a start is smacks of elitism and the people alienated by Cultural issues like this don't tend to respond well to being told they don't really understand the deeper meaning behind it.

Also, while people do like strong politicians who can lead, they also like to think that the Politician is representing their views. Telling people that being called 'White M@therF%ckers' by a Maori is not racist or is excusable is quite a hard sell I'd suggest even for the strongest leader.

It may very well be possible to achieve what you are stating should happen but I very much doubt you will get much traction in the political sphere from such an approach.

At 30/11/09 6:32 pm, Blogger Joseph said...

"In the end I left with the feeling that Goff was preparing to move his party to the left, just as Clark had done at the end of the 1990s with the rhetoric of “closing the gaps”, but that the core values of the Labour Party were still the suppression of tino rangatiratanga, commitment to neo-liberalism and a pandering to powerful foreign interests in return for trade deals."


At 30/11/09 8:15 pm, Anonymous pointer said...

Good grief. It took you 2,261 words to say what I/S said in 132. And he said it better.

At 30/11/09 11:15 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

Pointer: Well I also Twittered it, so I guess if you're using brevity as a measure I must be ahead. But seriously, the thing most people have missed is the hypocrisy of it - that the Maori tribal power elite Goff is criticising includes his own Maori caucus and I've given some examples.

At 1/12/09 8:37 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Toad

We don't see calls for the recriminaltisation of gay sex and legitimisation of discrimination on the basis of these days gaining any traction these days. Society has moved on from homophobia, and it can move on from racism.

The MASSIVE difference is that the government is writing out multi million dollar cheques and handing over large areas of forestry and fishing quotas to elite groups of GLTG based on historical grievances.


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