Sunday, 21 September 2014

ROUT!

Triumphant! John Key leads National to its greatest victory since 1951, routing the forces of the Left in the process.
 
 
Progressive New Zealanders,
we have some very serious
thinking to do.


This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Another Song For Election Day (As Requested By "Kat")

 

NOT DARK YET: Bob Dylan's haunting hymn to the failing day and the advancing night.
 
 
 
I was born here and I'll die here
against my will
I know it looks like I'm movin'
but I'm standin' still
Every nerve in my body
is so naked and numb
I can't even remember what it was
I came here to get away from
Don't even hear the murmur of a prayer
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.
 
 
Video courtesy of YouTube.
 
 
This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite.

Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation (For All Those True Scots Who Voted "Yes")

 

SUCH A PARCEL OF ROGUES IN A NATION: British folk-rock group, Steeleye Span, captures the bleak bitterness of Burn's 1791 poem in their superb 1973 rendition of the traditional Scottish folk song.


Farewell now to our Scottish fame
Farewell our ancient glory;
Farewell even to the Scottish name,
So famed in martial story.
Now Sark runs over Solway sands,
And Tweed runs to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue,
Through many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few,
For hireling traitor's wages.
The English steel we could disdain,
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O would, before I'd seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My old grey head had lain in clay,
With Bruce and loyal Wallace! 
But pith and power, 'til my last hour
I'll make this declaration;
We were bought and sold for English gold -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
 
 

Video courtesy of YouTube
 
  
This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite

Friday, 19 September 2014

A Song For Election Day.

 

THINGS HAVE CHANGED: One of Bob Dylan's more enigmatic expeditions, it captures to perfection the wayward impulses and bland excuses of twenty-first century life.

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed
 
Video courtesy of YouTube
 
This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite.

What Is This Election About?

Vox Populi, Vox Dei: The Voice of the people, is the voice of God - or the Devil. It depends in the end on what sort of people we are, or have become.
 
THIS ELECTION is about us – the people of New Zealand.
 
No surprises there, you might say. In a democracy, aren’t elections always about what the people want?
 
Pretty much: and the modern politician’s dependence on polls and focus groups only accentuates the voters’ ability to determine the shape and complexion of their next government.
 
How else to explain John Key’s wholesale purloining of what used to be considered good left-wing policies – like free doctor’s visits for children under 13 and the extension of paid parental leave?
 
But if this election is about us, then why hasn’t Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics, put a bigger dent in TeamKey’s support? Have 30 years of devil-take-the-hindmost capitalism, supplemented by a steady diet of winning-is-everything, it-pays-to-be-selfish reality television made dirty tricks acceptable? Have fairness and decency become yesterday’s news?
 
Is that why Labour polls so poorly among blokes? Because good Kiwi jokers no longer do compassion? Is the Greens’ and Internet-Mana’s focus on poverty seen by the boys in the barbecue-pit and the sports-bar as rewarding the losers with their own, the winners’, bitterly resented taxes?
 
Because if that is the sort of people we’ve become, then, sadly, that’s what this election is about.
 
This essay was originally published in The Sunday Star-Times of Sunday, 7 September 2014.

2014 General Election: Chris Trotter's Prediction

Your vote is your voice  - use it and be heard!
 
National: 43.5%
Labour: 27.4%
Greens: 13.5%
NZ First: 8.0%
Conservative Party 4.0%
Maori Party: 1.0%
Internet-Mana: 1.0%
Act Party: 0.5%
United Future: 0.1%
Others: 1.0%

This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite.

Getting The Message: Chris Trotter's 'From The Left' Column, Election Eve, 2014.

Moments For Truth: In 2014 some of the biggest turnouts have been for journalists – not politicians.The extraordinary public response to these messengers and their messages tells us a great deal about the electorate’s hunger for the kind of journalism that offers more than the usual “He said/She said” style of reporting the news; something more than political spin. Above all else, voters want to hear the truth. (Photo by John Miller)
 
THIS HAS BEEN AN ELECTION like no other I have experienced. Oh, sure, I have been in town halls that were packed before. And I have heard people arguing the toss over policy before. But, in the past, those town halls had been packed by people who had come to hear their political leaders. Those arguments had been over the content of the various party manifestos.
 
Not this time. In 2014 some of the biggest turnouts have been for journalists – not politicians.

Nicky Hager, the author of Dirty Politics has filled halls from Auckland to Dunedin. I was present at the meeting he held in the Mt Eden War Memorial Hall. The big auditorium was filled to capacity, with people standing around the walls and in the foyer. That was impressive enough, but when the former Court of Appeal Judge, Sir Edward Thomas, led Mr Hager onto the stage, the whole audience rose as one to give him a standing ovation. I’ve been told that his Dunedin audience responded in exactly the same way.
 
I attended another big public meeting on Monday. Billed as “The Moment of Truth” by that merry political prankster, Kim Dotcom, it was supposed to prove once and for all that the Prime Minister, John Key, knew all about the big German’s situation long before being briefed about the combined NZ Police/FBI raid on the Dotcom mansion in January 2012.
 
When I arrived shortly before six o’clock on Monday evening, the queue of people waiting to get into the Auckland Town Hall was already over a block long. In my considerable experience of political meetings this was without precedent. Officially, the Auckland Town Hall auditorium can seat 1,673 persons and last Monday it was chock-a-block (with a further 800 people said to have been turned away). As I watched the venue fill up, I couldn’t help thinking how pleased John Key and David Cunliffe would be to see the public turning out in such numbers to hear them on a chilly Spring evening.
 
In all honesty, however, those two-and-a-half-thousand Aucklanders had not turned out to hear Kim Dotcom, alone. Most of them were there to hear the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Glenn Greenwald, and the fugitive whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, talk to them about what our Prime Minister knew about the GCSB’s plans to undertake the mass surveillance of New Zealanders – and when did he know it.
 
The extraordinary public response to these messengers and their messages tells us a great deal about the electorate’s hunger for the kind of journalism that offers more than the usual “He said/She said” style of reporting the news; something more than political spin.
 
Above all else, voters want to hear the truth.
 
Or, at least, they say they do.
 
There are times when my fellow New Zealanders remind me of the man who lived in a town by a flood-prone river. One day the Weather Office issued a serious flood warning and advised the town’s residents to evacuate their homes immediately. But the man said, “I’m a godly person. God loves me. God will save me.” The rain poured down and the river flooded. From a passing rowboat a civil defence volunteer hailed the man. “The town’s flooding! Let me take you to safety!” “No thanks,” the man shouted back, “God loves me. God will save me!” The river rose higher. A helicopter appeared. The rescue-team’s loudhailer crackled: “Mate, you’re in danger! Let us winch you to safety!” But the man shouted back that God loved him and that God would rescue him. About an hour later, the man drowned. Arriving at the Pearly Gates, the man’s bedraggled ghost complained bitterly to St Peter: “I loved God. I prayed to Him for help. How could he let me drown?” St Peter sighed. “God sent you a weather report, a rowboat, and a helicopter. What the hell are you doing here?”
 
Well, in the run-up to Election Day, the voters of New Zealand have been given the opportunity to read the investigative journalism of Nicky Hager and Glenn Greenwald, and to hear the direct personal testimony of Edward Snowden.
 
The truth about the sort of society we’re becoming has been very clearly explained.
 
So, what the hell are we waiting for? How much more rescuing do the voters of New Zealand need!
 
This essay was originally published in The Waikato Times, The Taranaki Daily News, The Timaru Herald, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 19 September 2014.