On the Changing of the Guard of Populism, plus a soul music playlist


The weekend’s Newshub / Reid Research poll results – Act up 11.1%, National up 1% but still only 28.7%, Labor down to 43%, Greens up to 8 , 5% – shows that the combined center-right vote is still languishing nearly 12 points behind the combined center-left vote, 45 months after the last center-right government was defeated. As much as anything, the latest poll tells us what the political landscape looks like without Winston Peters. Peters’ coat of retro populism – he’s always been so adept at campaigning for a better past – is now worn by Act frontman David Seymour. The grudges have found a new champion.

Closer to the elections, the fact that all key policies in the law are over 40 is going to become a bit more problematic. Not just for the voters, but also for the National Party. As a lead partner, National will have to take ownership of the Party Act’s craziest political ideas in much of the Labor Party who were previously associated with the Greens, before voters realized that uh, oh the Greens were on to something with this climate change thing. No such forward-looking revelation is likely in Act’s purse of heated Thatcherisms: tax cuts for the rich, cuts in welfare for the poor, privatization of state assets, severe against law and order, gun control shine, a dog-hound virtual denial of climate change… is this the retro 1980s vision that the next head of National will really want to implement when it comes down to it? election 2023?

Speaking of which, it’s obvious Judith Collins won’t be National’s leader in the next election. She is the space reserved until the eve of the election, to maximize the sense of relief when people like Christopher Luxon are clustered in the highest office, at a time that will deliberately deprive voters of the time to have elections. doubts and wondering if Luxon is really Todd Muller: The sequel. Basically, voters seem to be urged to buy a new Luxon flash without having the chance to test it out.

Peters in new bottles

During this time…. The country’s first mass effort saw some 15,000 people successfully get vaccinated. Overall, the Ardern government continues to manage the pandemic extremely well to the point that the Reserve Bank is under pressure to intervene early on interest rates, in order to dampen the economic recovery. Across the Tasman River, New South Wales offers an instructive view of how New Zealand might have done under a center-right government. Until recently, National had touted NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s high-risk approach as a model of how we should proceed. Open the borders, get back to business. Yet that’s the problem with high-risk policies: they are risky. And when they fail, others pay the price.

Overall, the center-right attack on the government was not based so much on competence as on feelings of resentment: it was a low-substance, high-attitude strategy. Malcontents are heating up at Seymour and his portrayal of the government as a bunch of overeducated and out of touch elitists from the heart of New Zealand – why would this government be determined to force its liberal opinions to swallow honest, decent, hard opinions? -work Kiwi fighters, cockies and tradies. These types of salt from the earth are said to be very dear to the Epsom man. You don’t mind, Epsom-ites would like them to live next door, exactly.

lethargy at work

And what should Labor gain from the weekend poll. He loses nine points among the friends of the heyday of the center-right who voted him last October. Some of the change has taken place among former NZF supporters, some among new fans of Act’s crass populism, and some reflects the center-right’s continued desperation with Collins. Given this low level of competition, Labor should do much better.

With the exception, however, of the healthcare reform package earlier this year, Labor appeared to be unsure of what to do with the mandate it was given in the last election. Apparently Labor chose to interpret this support as a badge for a job well done – although for most Labor voters it was in fact a license to move forward with what remains to be done. Since October, the “as you go” approach has become more like a government dead in the water. The Labor Party seems so focused on micro-managing its own political risks, that it seems unwilling – or unable – to lead head-on in dealing with the country’s problems. The poll should be a wake-up call for Labor, but don’t hold your breath.

Footnote one: The work turned out to be unable to resolve the issue of housing affordability. Sadly, few can seriously expect better from a national party that was selling state houses the last time it was in power. Or a Party Act more likely to view the spiraling house prices as the marvelous workings of the market mechanisms of supply and demand. The Housing Act’s only ‘solution’ is to reduce the legendary regulatory ‘red tape’ on land use, build more houses on the city limits and leave, for example, the provision of infrastructure. adequate transport at the mercy of the market. Hey, if our grandparents never cared about developing ribbons or letting developers build houses on the land we need to grow our food… then why should Act care about such complexities? Populism likes to keep it simple.

Footnote two: While the government’s apologies for the dawn raids of the 1970s are welcome and expected, they also play a role in the center-right criticism that Labor is more about token elite politics and signaling. of the virtue that it is not about solving the problems facing the country in 2021.

The racism at the heart of Dawn Raids – where Pacific migrant labor was treated as desirable one day and disposable the next, depending on the whims of the market – is being re-enacted by the Immigration Service right now. People who were drawn here to help during the pandemic – or who enrolled in long-term college courses, or accepted private sector jobs with a reasonable belief that they had a future in this country, are betrayed. They are put out to dry by an immigration service that seems chronically incapable of acting in a competent and humane manner. The perpetuation of such injustices mocks the government’s expressions of contrition for the dawn raids. After all… to be meaningful, an apology must surely go hand in hand with a commitment to make amends.

Playlist, soul music

One problem with compiling Spotify playlists is that their niche music catalog is relatively poor. Try to build a playlist of gospel music – pre-war and post-war black gospel and white gospel – and there are so many essential tracks that Sportify just doesn’t have. The same goes for reggae music of the classical era which is not obvious.

So this week’s soul music playlist has to be a bit of a compromise. It doesn’t claim to be anything other than a collection of hits and lesser-known tracks worth your time from the golden age of soul music (circa 1962 until the early 1970s). By necessity, there are omissions. To take just one of a dozen example: “You Got To Be A Man” by Helene Smith in the mid-60s was clearly scammed by Prince to write “Kiss” but it’s not on Spotify. Here it is anyway, via Youtube:

As for the playlist… Lee Moses came from Atlanta. He was a good singer, a great Hendrix-style guitarist, and a keyboard enthusiast too, but it all came to naught other than the few records he left behind. Moses was only active for a brief period in the late 1960s before disappearing into relative obscurity in Atlanta. Chicago soul genius Curtis Mayfield wrote “Um Um Um” for Nordic soul favorite Major Lance. He also wrote the big Jerry Butler hit which I have included here (Mayfield also played his distinctive guitar and did the backing vocals on this track.) He also wrote and provided most of the beautiful vocals on the Impressions track, reminiscent of the best of the 1950s doo wop era, while continuing the style.

Bobby Bland’s “Little Boy Blue” dates from an earlier time, 1957, but its moving strangeness is timeless. The track is not only a showcase for its guitarist Clarence Holloman, but in itself constitutes a strange piece of psychopathology. It packs a disturbing range of emotions during its 2:38 duration: regret, guilt, sexual pride, and the urge to console, humiliate and dominate the object of the singer’s raw need. There aren’t a lot of songs like that. Maybe a good thing.

Jerry Butler enjoyed several successes in the 1960s before starting a successful second career as a decades-long leading figure in the cauldron of local Chicago politics. As I mentioned before, the Homer Banks track was slipped by the Spencer Davis Group for their hit “Gimme Some Lovin”. (Besides the obvious melodic similarities, the bassline is the same.) Aside from James Carr’s troubled life, he was also arguably the best soul singer. Finally, I included Lynn Williams in a moody “Don’t Be Surprised” in part because of her hopelessly hooked doggy lyrics. Don’t be surprised if you find her going mad, or crying on your doorstep, or on the train tracks, with a train going up and down behind her back. All because she lost you, right? It is the soul for you: therefore downwards, it is like upwards. Reuben Bell’s deep soul lament comes from the same corner of the woods.

The last song on this playlist “Cryin ‘In The Streets” was inspired by the assassination of Martin Luther King. It could be the murder of George Floyd, and many others. Here is the playlist:

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