Still working.

It seems that despite a noticeable drop off in compliant behaviour by the general public a couple of weeks after each community scare, the system implemented by the coalition government and continued under the current one (which for overseas readers is different despite the coalition being Labour led, the former partners really did have a lot of say) is working and working well. Sure like any system, gaps and flaws get identified, but then they’re identified and rectified.

And enough people are wearing masks on public transport, and using track and trace that it works even if there isn’t universal compliance.

It’s tough for the National Party and the real runners up in the last election in terms of actual victory – ACT, find any real grounds to challenge on. The economy is healthy, people are satisfied with the government, and the vaccine is rolling out in a decent time frame.

It’s tough when there is one such overarching issue dominating the public discourse, but while the right is regrouping it, it feels like there have been some opportunities for those to the left of Labour, including the Greens to really push on the one crisis in our society that the government doesn’t have a grip on. Housing. It feels like as more people come home to Aotearoa from overseas, there is a real opportunity to create a supportive conversation around state housing, the provision of it, and the construction of it.

A post a day?

Wait could I actually get away with making a new post every day? No – what would be the point? I would end up becoming ‘Phil Space the Content Writer’, and that would not do at all.

One a completely different note –

Today I discovered that lots more Kiwis are worried about a return to lockdown than I predicted, this has the positive effect of encouraging people to use the QR code, and observe good hygiene, but the negative impact of introducing a sense of fatalism and doom, when people should be feeling a bit more optimistic given how well we have done so far.

Remaining vigilant and optimistic is a tough balancing act as we enter the pandemic’s second year, and I wonder how we can do both.

One idea that comes to mind is using social media to have a genuine guided conversation between experts, policy makers and the public. Maybe this would take the form of a daily Facebook Live in the early evening, with people responding directly to questions in the chat. Of course it would need to be firmly moderated to keep the Billy TK types out – or you would have to have a dedicated team responding to their nonsense in side conversations.

Community leaders with effective Whatsapp and Vibr chats could also be identified and used to spread the message – that the plan is working, we just need to stick at it, and be proud of ourselves.

A final role could be for people who can share real human success stories, examples of mutual aid, of family and friend reunification, and of Kiwis rediscovering the benefits of in country tourism.

making sense of it all…

Like many people I have spent the last few days glued to the news from the US. The fascinating Trump Train has finally come off the rails.

I will admit freely to feeling a sense of schadenfreude watching what has happened in the US since 2015 or so, partly as a distraction from the pain that my own home country has gone through since 2010 and at the advent of the Cameron Coalition (no; I don’t blame everything on Boris and Brexit, and why might be explained in a future post).

But the US. What is the nature of the Trump Movement? Does it in fact exist as a single movement or have several opportunistically come together to take advantage of the space created by his election?

Well I’m still processing it all, but to be clear – I am very skeptical of anyone who claims that a Biden / Harris presidency will do anything to really address the underlying reasons for the mass growth of conspiratorial anti system thinking – and I am just as reluctant to believe that the vanguard at least of Trumpism represent the downtrodden and oppressed who have long been neglected by the liberal elite – and thirdly, I remain to be convinced that Bernie Sanders would have done much better as a Democratic presidential candidate than Sleepy Joe.

Some of the material I am reading / listening to in order to make sense is below (in no particular order).

Richard Seymour – is it still fascism if it’s incompetent?

Three Way Fight – blog on insurgent fascism

Numerous articles linked to by Matthew N Lyons

Mueller She Wrote & Daily Beans podcasts.

Hard Crackers – The Big Takeover which also cites Mike Davis from here.

Bellingcat on the Journey of Ashli Babbit

There’s loads more out there, plenty of signal and noise; but I would argue that the above represents much more of the former, and less of the latter.

I’ll revisit the subject later when I’ve fully marshalled myself. In my defence I was reading about events in Washington live from areas of spectacular natural beauty and poor cell phone coverage in the South Island…