UN Resolution 2334

There has been plenty of coverage of the vote in the UN Security Council condemning Israel for its settlements in the occupied territories, in the UK media. It even commanded editorial comment, such as this from Simon Tisdall in the Guardian. However, as far as I can find it, nothing in the New Zealand press. Not a Dickie bird! Which is especially odd given that New Zealand was one of the non-permanent members, final month of the two year membership, that voted for the resolution; and was one of the two countries singled out by Israel to have their ambassador withdrawn.

For those of you who feel that the press reporting has overstated the severity of the wording in this resolution, please do have a look for yourself here. In this case the journalists are doing no more than reporting the facts.

Hopefully, the lack of reporting in NZ shows that New Zealanders are less concerned with geopolitics and more concerned with getting on with their lives. I think Queen Elizabeth II would approve.

Liberal Values

In the England that I grew up in it has always been assumed that being “liberal” was a good thing. All right-thinking, educated people would have a “liberal” outlook on the world. In the UK, as in New Zealand, national politics has offered a choice of two parties offering remarkably similar “liberal” policies; centre-right (Conservative and National parties respectively), and centre-left (Labour and Labour parties respectively).

However, that “liberal” consensus has vanished, and those with a “liberal” outlook don’t seem to have noticed. They have forgotten that truth comes in many shades of grey. The rail against a “post-truth” culture because they no longer hold a monopoly on deciding what is true.

Sweden’s Minister for Culture and Democracy writes to Facebook calling on them to censor fake news voluntarily or the government will compel them to do so. Mark Thompson writes in the Guardian that we are “in a battle . . . between facts and lies.” And he singles out the New York Times, where he is CEO, and the Guardian as the kinds of news sources that “believe in the opposite of fake news”. He even has the temerity to state that in order to be properly informed peole should pay to hear his views.

But he is precisely the kind of “liberal” that believes the world is warming AS A FACT and that the £350m per week claim by leavers in the Brexit campaign was flat out wrong AS A FACT. In both cases there is more than reasonable grounds to take the opposite view from his own.

As I wrote on 15th Nov the satellite data shows no meaningful warming since 1998. And the fiscal pick up from Brexit is certain to be greater than £350, if only because outside the EU we will be able to require multi-national to pay corporation tax on their UK activities in the UK; regardless of the view you may take on the safety of our current rebate had we remained.

At one point Mark Thompson did acknowledge the old advice that you should “expose yourself to multiple sources of news”. Just now it seems that it is only the British media who do not trust people, especially electors, to do that. I have seen no such comparable tendency to censorship or paying for news and opinion here in New Zealand.


Prime Minister Resigns

John Key that is. He was actually in power, whereas Matteo Renzi was merely in office.

There is a slight difference in the coverage between New Zealand and the United Kingdom press.

In the UK, the BBC goes with “Mr Key, a popular leader, said it was a personal decision, and later denied media reports his wife of 32 years, Bronagh, had given him an ultimatum.” Never too highbrow to resist a bit of mindless and baseless tittle-tattle when its there for the taking! But it goes on that Mr Key “was formerly at Merrill Lynch as a foreign exchange dealer” and was “known by the local media as “Teflon John” because very little controversy has stuck to him during his time in office.”

Maybe the UK press is getting used to the idea that rule by bankers and other establishment figures has a limited life expectancy, and are suspicious that he is going now before things get tricky.

There is some scepticism in New Zealand; Jennifer Lees-Marshment, an associate professor in politics and international relations at Auckland University, said in The Guardian: “The Key brand has become disconnected and he has increasingly appeared to be someone who doesn’t understand what it is like to be an ordinary New Zealander any more.” This is not a view your hear in New Zealand today.

Liam Hehir, a conservative commentator in New Zealand writing for Stuff, states that; “I believed then (as I do now) that in this doggedly centrist country, Key is about as good a prime minister as any conservative New Zealander can reasonably hope for.”

Even the leader of the Opposition Andrew Little paid tribute to outgoing Prime Minister John Key, saying he has “served New Zealand well”.

The New Zealand press and politicians seem minded to cut John Key the sort of slack that UK politicians can only dream of. Maybe he really was that good?