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Thursday, 16 May 2019
Why I am retiring from political blogging
Mostly that is because after moving back to Wellington and taking up a new job my time for blogging has lessened considerably but also, lurking in the background, were other reasons and after time and now taking on an ongoing role at work which does not afford the time to blog (as my last role in Christchurch was frenetic bursts of work followed by gaps of downtime with little to do) I think I can retire from blogging (if only until a reason to start again presents itself).
So, as a form of coda on my last three plus years blogging about mostly politics in NZ it seems appropriate to list my reasons for retirement but also to do a quick stock-take of both blogging and politics in NZ between when I started hammering away at a keyboard in the name of trust, justice and the Kiwi way and today.
Reasons for retiring from Blogging
1) Work, work, work, work
In my old role in Christchurch I covered a significant part of the South Island as part of my work (either behind the wheel or via plane) and in between drove a desk in the name of routine paperwork. This afforded significant periods of time where my days were either free to think about ideas for a blog post, do the research and on occasion, even write the things.
Contrast that to my new role where I no longer travel regularly as part of my role (although I do travel still) and have a daily mix of projects, plans and management responsibilities to discharge and a lot less time to be furthering my blogging career.
The new role pays more and required a move back to Wellington (caffeine fueled beltway paradise city that it is) and was an opportunity that was too good to be missed, as it was allowing me near total freedom and control to do what I wanted in the scope of my work, so it was one of those job offers that are too good to turn down.
I remain firmly embedded in the regulatory/security nexus that compromises that sector of government mostly sited in Thorndon but now doing what I specialize in rather than just what pays the bills.
2) The revolution we expected never happened
Remember the heady days of the post 2017 election when we were thinking that Labour was finally going to make amends for the great betrayal of 84 and put this country on the path to the better place we always wanted to be?
Well I have news for you sunshine but our accidental princess of a leader in Jacinda Ardern has clearly signaled that not only will there be no amends on Labours part because Labour is little more than National-lite in form but that with the fiasco of Kiwibuild and the Shane Jones memorial slush fund they could not even fix the problems of Aotearoa if they wanted to.
So as I warned a few years back our coalition government has changed the facade but the ovens are still rolling as they did under National and there have only been a few cosmetic changes to the failing edifice that is New Zealand with lashing of feel good rhetoric to try and plaster of the gaping cracks of growing poverty, housing issues, immigration, water, tourism and the enviroment just to name a few.
I got into blogging in an attempt to get people talking about changing governemnt in 2017 because living under National for another term was such a depressing prospect but now that National is out of power and The Coalition government is little more than a grubby re-run of National I find myself checkmated politically by the realization that NZ politics is not just a zero-sum game its also just zero-sum. Nothing is going to change when we cant get housing sorted or a fair tax system or when all the things that were promised (both implicitly and explicitly) have not been delivered.
All of which leads us to...
3) Jacinda is the new John
Jacinda Ardern is to Labour what John Key was to the National party: a false charasmatic leader who has become not only the face of the party but the sole reason it exists in government.
And just as Pike River and the Christchurch Earthquakes cemented Key in place so to has the 2019 Mosque shootings in Christchurch boosted Jacinda (and by extension Labour) to a new political high and ensured that they will win the next election.
Also the fact that National under Simon Bridges continues to suck at levels not seen since the grim days of 2002 when Bill (the living corpse) English is not helping things. As it is today I'm all for Judith Collins as leader because at least National could stop pretending it cares and just be the evil vehicle for the ultra rich and the Chinese Government it really is rather than this "we are all real Kiwis" rubbish.
Jacinda has an instinctive appeal to the Left just as Key did to the Right and her popularity is such that, like Key, she has become the sole pillar of this governments existence. And just as the hideous effort of supporting a bunch of useless yahoos drained Key and drove him to finaly collapse in agony and bail 12 months out from the 2017 election so to will carrying not only the collective waste that is Labour but also NZ First and the Greens will suck Jacinda dry until even her own charisma will be destroyed by sheer weight of a government that is ideologically compromised and bereft of ideas.
At least Key was entertaining to blog about as he almost seemed to relishing tweaking the tail (or should that be the pigtails) of the media and the collective Left. Jacinda Ardern on the other hand comes across as little more than a compassionate conservative who has decided that Labour actually living up to what its name promises is not going to pay off her mortgage and as such its Third Way politics for all until the inevitable backlash ensues.
So blogging is not going to offer any solace as it would be little more than cataloging the decent of the Titanic while strapped to a deckchair on a perilously inclined deck and I have better things to do with what free time I now have.
But all is not lost...
4) FukYoo Politix still lives!
I really never liked the term populism to describe the political mood in both NZ and around the world and instead gave it my own term because this never seemed like a populist uprising and more just a sullen, dare I say passive aggressive, means of screwing with the status quo while Rome burns down around them.
While the past generation struggles with its own wasteful and selfish legacy (that's you you Boomer assholes) and the current generation (thats you X'ers and Millennial's) are mostly empty theatrics, PC gibberish and aggressively making sure they get theirs, at the expense of all others, the coming generation (the one that decided protesting climate change was more important than a day at school) is still 10 to 20 years away from getting their hands on the levers of power and unlike the previous generations clearly realize that climate change (and commitment to real change) is not just political sloganeering (I'm looking at you John/Jacinda Ardern and National-lite) but a matter of survival.
This generation will make changes and it wont fit with our comfortable notions of 20th century living, aggressive global capitalism or our sad refusal to rock the boat because we cant see that what we sought to destroy in World War Two and the Cold War is now the norm (I'm looking at you China, Russia and even the US) but will simply do what needs to be done because politics based on rising sea levels will be a lot more simpler and direct than anything Jacinda Key is promising with her false lure of internationalism and fighting fascism.
But their time is not yet, and like Disco going underground in 1979 to re-emerge 10 years later as House Music, so too will I bide my time from my secret lair beneath the Earths Crust (actually Newlands in Wellington but close enough) always watching and waiting for the right time to re-emerge and join the party that is the new wave of politix around the year 2030.
The sea levels should be high enough by then that Simon Bridges will have to commute to his job (that being some sort of Lionel Hutz style lawyer somewhere in the great swamp that will then compromise Tauranga) and people will no longer be able to lie in the face of reality lapping at their doorsteps.
So, in summation
Blogging for the last three years has been a lot of fun but its time to quit while ahead, or at least not embroiled in some scandal or burnt out by just reporting the same old shit but with different rainbow sprinkles.
Highlights include being right most of the time, even when it was going against the accepted grain (such as predicting Donald Trumps triumphs as President, the Rise of Jacainda (when no one else was), the downfall of National and the fact that Jin Yang was a spy and China is the main threat). My secret? Not being beholden to one party or political ideal but just being myself and trusting my gut.
Also, I often enjoyed my words and phrases being plagiarized by other bloggers and on several occasions journalists (you know who you are). They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and they are right.
There have been a few downsides but mostly they were minor compared to the fun of taking the mickey out of politicians and the press while adding in the odd post about other things in life.
I am also beholden to those who commented as while few in number you brought color and variety to the blog and kept me honest, even when being a pain in my ass, and for that I appreciate your feedback, sarcasm, trolling and just taking the time to say what you thought. Don't stop, just keep on in someone else comments section as free speech is only free when you exercise it.
Then there is the political press which has been a schizophrenic mix of really good reporting and abysmally pedestrian BS but even here I can sense that the love affair with our new government is over and the knives will be out in force.
Already Stuff has been turning out a string of excellent articles and opinion pieces (mostly under new and hungrier reporters) while the older hands seem stunned that they no longer can dispense the wisdom (I'm looking at you Tracy Watkins and Co) and flail around jurnolistically like penguins slowly sinking into a tar pit.
The blogging space also has changed and I wish my fellow bloggers well in their endeavors, I read all your work even when I disagree with it 100%, you are the fifth estate and you are the future, keep it up!
I may drop the odd post from time to time if the situation demands it but with Jacinda now slowly making sure betrayal feels good while easing us down the road to SFA I have better things to do with my time (such as after 35 years of martial arts I am going to try something different like Yoga and see how that turns out and get back to completing my record collection) until the time is right to get the band back together and make mucho dollars from the inevitable reunion tour (I'm looking at you At the Drive In and all the other bands who thought that selling out was the right thing to do).
Until then its up to you my little munchkins, the readers, to make your way, have fun while doing it and stay true to what you do (or else pay the price when you kids revolt against all that you stand for).