Our experts wild predictions for politics in 2018 in the NZ Herald this weekend for several reasons.
The first was because the Herald had outsourced the whole bloody thing to the Spinoff, which either means that the Heralds own political reporters (Audrey Young, Clare Trevett and sorta/kinda Bryce Edwards (who at least for most of his work that I have read in the Herald seems to be phoning it in with trad articles espousing the same dull things everyone else is saying or just doing lists of internet links because why the hell not)) were not contributing or could not be bothered.
Another reason was that the "wild" in the title, which I had taken to mean "crazy, far out and gone baby gone!" instead turned out to mean wild as in "we have no bloody idea so we will just go with something "shrewd but dull", to quote Zaphod Beeblebrox.
For Christs sake people, no predictions that the reptilod conspiracy in the Beehive will be exposed, or that Jin Yang was not in fact a spy for China but instead for North Korea or that Jacinda Ardern is a bought and paid for hologram used by the Labour party until they can find a way to clone David Lange. Not a single thing which had me excited to see if it would actually come true: thanks for nothing guys!
But the main issue was the sheer pedestrian nature of most of the predictions. Brexit will bring down Teresa May's government: nice one Andrea, Peace in the Middle East: I can only assume that Wayne has his tongue firmly in Lorde's cheek, Helen Clark turns down a position on the board of a NGO: really Emma, really?
A few did have some merit to them like Leonie Hayden's prediction that Lance O'Sullivan will found the handsome Doctors Party (HDP), Joshua Hitchcok's prediction that Winston will spit the dummy and swap sides, and Guy Williams that Simon Bridges will become leader of the National party before melting down live on TV were at least attempts at something worth reading. The rest were terrible and seemed to indicate that the predictive powers at work was sorely lacking or they simply could not be bothered.
So much for "wild" or "experts" as its this kind of shoddy journalism that has turned both the NZ Herald and Stuff into the turd-like morasses of click-bait, infotainment and bald faced PR masquerading as news that they have mostly become with actual news as secondary product.
And while I support the Commerce Commission's (and the High Court's) decision to prevent these two jaundiced and feculent mouth-pieces from merging (because in doing so NZ would about the same level of media concentration as China - which has to be a good thing right...right?) that has not stopped them from devolving into something more akin to Buzzfeed or The Weekly World News than actual reliable or real news sources.
So with two weeks of my three week vacation down, the garden looking decent (at least the front half), the beard fleshing out quite nicely thank you and my summer holiday reading list smashed (had to go to the library to supplement) the time seems right to take my own crack at predicting what will happen to politics in 2018.
Problems with political prediction
Of course the political prediction business has devolved into two rather squalid camps these days, neither of which has much validity in the hard core and well paid "political analysis" game that sterling minds like yours truly play. I don't get the big bucks nor the endless acclaim and plaudits that are showered on me for making lame-ass predictions like those listed in the Herald, no sir.
The first camp for wanna be predictors is the statistical camp. "But E.A" I hear you cry, "you are a self confessed stat freak how could you not like being part of the statistical camp?" Well Sparkie, the answer is simple, stats are great for tracking what happened and identifying trends etc but just because something happened before does not make it so that it will happen again (Science at work folks) so stats can help form a picture but with things like elections and the stock market they should not be the basis for any Cassandra like utterance.
And if you can pardon my French for a moment; this is why I was always infuriated when so many people got down on Nate Silver's d**k for the 2016 US presidential election when Silver called it for Clinton by stating that Trump did not have a snowballs chance in hell of winning the Republican nomination, let alone the election, and then had to resort to word-salad for the rest of the campaign when his statistical model melted down and proved him, and it, hopelessly wrong.
So no on the stat based predictions but how about the other main camp, that of the political pundits, how well can they do?
Again, like the stat geeks, no, just no (most of the time) when it comes to pundits. Often because, at least in the US, but increasingly in NZ as well, they are just too partisan to take off the blinkers to the wholesale situation rather than whatever manufactured reality tunnel they are inhabiting.
The other reasons are that most "pundits" are journalists so they either have to get their work sent through the political/advertising-dollar thresher that is their editor/editorial policy, and so cant really say they want to or, I suspect like Bryce Edwards, just don't really have a clue of whats coming and so stick to something safe, clean and neat rather than go with what their gut is saying for fear of looking like a tool because hanging around and reporting on politicians does not make you an expert in politics, it makes you a reporter.
And for the record, let me note that for 12 months prior to his election to the presidency, I was calling it for Trump because to my eyes it was clear that Hilary (cooked or not) was having trouble, even with her 1.4 Billion dollar campaign budget, of convincing the voters to vote for her; I also called the 2017 NZ election a month in advance and repeatedly called out Andrew Little for the gormless fool he was when most others were still singing his praises and stating the oft repeated mantra of not getting rid of leaders before elections (even when it was clear that Little was as electable as a $2 sack of horse manure) rather than take a chance on the obviously more popular candidate of Jacinda Ardern.
However to be fair to all parties there are really only three things in politics which can be predicted, given how boring politics is once you strip out the personal politics and party feuding, and they are elections, bills and policy and personal changes but still there is room for making hay if someone actually puts their brain to it.
There has to be a better way
So which of these two camps will I be in? What methods will I be using to divine the future?
The answer is neither as I will be using far more reliable methods of scrying the entrails than those two which is, of course, turning to occult means and methods to predict the future.
And while I didn't happen to have a goat nearby, nor could I find a willing virgin, and the last time I danced naked around a bonfire in my backyard shrieking eldritch phrases* into the night during a full moon my neighbors called the cops, I did have on hand my trusty deck of tarot cards and the book of the I Ching.
At this point, some readers will be surely wondering if I am taking the piss or if I am actually serious?
The answer is that I am being both serious and piss-take, as while I am using occult (although I prefer the term arcane to occult) as a means to mock the weak ass attempts at political prediction in the NZ Herald I am genuinely going to marry what the cards and coins give with my own knowledge of the political situation in NZ and abroad to flesh out and make firm these predictions.
However before we get to good stuff let me assure you lovely folks that have used both the Tarot** and the I-Ching for over 20 years*** and they have both served me well with nary a time where their advice was not helpful or heeded. And for those who don't know how these two methods work I have included links here and here to help the uninitiated get up to speed before we start.
Also worth noting is that I used the I-Ching for the predictions about the four main political parties and the Tarot for the more general predictions about NZ politics, Trump and the fate of the world.
Labour Party for 2018: Rot within
Well, well, well, what do we have here. Labour being humbled by corruption in 2018. Who would ever have guessed. The nature of the scandal itself remains unclear (but if there is enough interest I can follow that up with the Tarot cards) but its hardly important as scandals come and go and all first time governments get their hand smacked when the honeymoon period is over.
The interesting part is that being humble is the key to success for this hexagram so this seems to indicate that it will be possible Labour arrogance which will lead to issues for Labour rather than an actual scandal itself and the transforming figure (corruption could not be clearer) talks about decay within the roots which for me indicates that there may be some lingering resentment inside Labour towards Jacinda (ie those being the roots of the party) from the established party itself rather than some sort of bad behavior by the party.
Finally the hidden hexigram which is loosening whch relates to solving problems by untying knots and indicates that for Labour to fix its issues it will need to untie itself from its problem.
Overall I think the I-Ching is referring to Labour backpedaling on its promises from the election to make a better NZ and to atone for the Great Betrayal by the older hard core party faction which does not care for fixing anything (the same faction that was willing to back Andrew Little and all those that preceded him right into a lost election) and only want power for its own sake.
National Party for 2018: Slowly rebuilding
Transforming: Gradual advancing
Hidden: Not yet fording
These hexagrams could not be more clearer as it is painting a picture of National having to come together to bring great rewards but its also clear that this process will take time and that even with all this done National will remain on the cusp of change rather than change itself.
The I-Ching talks about the fox crossing the river and making sure not to get her tail wet and I think this refers to National needing to deal with its dead-wood problem and its internal divisions (think the Todd Barclay scandal splitting the party base) before it can get to the other side of the river.
Dead-wood MPs like Bill English, Gerry Brownlee and Nick Smith, to start, need to be removed for the party to rebuild, to come together as its their insistence on remaining in prominent positions within the party that keep it fractious. It also warns about any crazy plans for the party to clone itself (see last a few posts back) as that is certainly not coming together.
Then there is the obvious split between the country and business sections of the party, which have come to a head, again, with the Todd Barclay saga and will continue to fester until someone can figure out how to bring both sides together (perhaps not sending a tobacco industry lobbyist into rural Clutha could be a start).
NZ First in 2018:Quiet contemplation
For NZ First 2018 will be all about its alliances, mutual support from spiritual kin but it will also be about getting rid of old ideas and eliminating what is unusable, outmoded or worn out.
The transforming figure (viewing) is all about looking at things from a distance and contemplating their meaning rather than acting.
For me this indicates that NZ First will spend much of this year maintaining its allaince with Labour based on the bigger picture and removing away all the bad stuff that screw up the party in the past.
Maybe some old MPs will get put out to pasture or in NZ First case, removing Shane Jones, but I think this year will be less about people and more about Winston focusing on his legacy and building towards that end via his alliance with Labour and the Greens.
Of course this means that Winston will remain in charge and able to keep people like Shane Jones in check and the issue who who is boss will not be an issue. Winston knows this is his last chance at a legacy and will keep on trying to build and maintain that by working with like minded people and parties so I don't think the Heralds prediction that NZ First will split from the coalition will be occurring this year.
Transforming: Great Exceeding
For the Greens, 2018 will be the year that they rebuild and they will have to hold onto their ideals to do so in the face of crisis.
Its not hard to see that what will bring the Greens into a conflict of the faith will be either the environment or its opposition to things like the TPPA,although I think that it will be the environment this year.
The Greens only just survived 2017 and will have to be brave in the face of 2018 and what challenges it brings and will have to be true to do so. The hidden figure here is Diverging which is all about gathering small things to achieve a goal so it will be bay steps all the way through 2018 with the party watching each and every move it makes carefully to make sure that they don't screw up and/or diverge from the true path but with each small things/step they do/take the end result will be greater than the sum of its parts and worth the while.
NZ Politics as a whole in 2018:Keep the fire burning
Future: making goals real
Surrounding Energy: Cruelty
This reading was full of wands which relate to fire, energy and enthusiasm. Its clear that the coalition has a lot of work on its plate and that coming form the past (the oppression of the neo-liberal era under National) there will need to be some concrete steps (the safe goals) before the greater society can be imagined.
By aiming for safe and achievable outcomes Labour can make those goals real and while their will be strife and cruelty it will be Valor (risking tings single handedly) which will see it through.
The surrounding energy of Cruelty and Strife means that National will not just let the neo-liberal project be dismantled and will create issues for the alliance but the card of the Priestess is so clearly a nod to Jacinda Ardern that its clear that a lot of people will be looking to her to see things through and she will have to use her own personal courage when others within her party will want to hold things back.
But all that fire for change, burning in the Greens, NZ First and Labour, will be more than enough to keep the progression towards those goals in 2018 but it wont be easy and courage will be needed.
Donald Trump in 2018?
Answer: Prince of Disks
Surrounding Energy: Sorrow
I will admit that this reading baffled me quite a bit and perhaps its all that chaos that surrounds and is generated by Trump himself that so scrambled this reading to start.
The two key cards are the Hierophant (which symbolizes strength of faith, organized religion and surrendering power to the group) and the Prince of Disks (which is an earth card and symbolizes commerce, money, reality (ie being "grounded") and persistence, endurance, concentration and initiative).
Both of these cards are male, one is old while the other is youthful; one is the structured gateway to mysteries while the other is practical earthly energy that is near unstoppable.
Surrounding this is sorrow (bad news and loss) and the hope that science/rationality will prevail and a future where virtue (plans into action and success after struggle) exist.
But success for who? Who is the Prince of Disks and why will we end up loving him?
I think the cards are saying that the structure imposed by the Hierophant will give way to the energy of youth and harmony will prevail but that still does not answer the question: who will be our Prince come to rescue us or will that Prince be a more metaphorical prince of the inevitable energy of youth over the established order of the old.
Or is does this reading show that trump is unstoppable, no matter how much liberals piss and moan about him, and we will all have to just surrender to his "love" in 2017?
Whatever you take from this this will be the prediction to watch in 2018.
World War Three in 2018?
Of course the Death card does not always means death it can also mean change and the acceptance of, but I am going to put my cryptic reading aside for the moment and go out and dig a fallout shelter in my back yard because as much as you like to sugar coat things its a card with a skeleton holding a scythe on it and its called Death*4.
Sometimes its best not to take the Tarot too literally but perhaps in this case some warning may be worth taking.
So that's it for my political predictions for 2018. Lets see if they come true
*-"Ia Ia Cthulhu fatang fatang". Try it some time, you will be surprised
**-for those interested I am using the Crowley: Thoth deck due in large part to its amazing art by Lady Fredia Harris which appeals to my artistic sensitivity more than the more common Waite deck
***-One of the few things I have always had with me when I traveled through Asia for that long decade was my Tarot deck and my I-Ching book.
*-I possibly would have panicked more if I had got the Tower but only in a full reading.