My friend Stephen Smith filmed the following in Cuba, looking at the pre-1959 US cars that are still running (mostly on non-original engines) there. It’s also interesting for the odd non-US car that you see: various Ladas (the original Zhiguli shape), a Volkswagen Gol in one scene, and an Emgrand EC8. Steve and his wife Ilona Kauremszky have more travel stories at their website, www.mycompass.ca, and more videos at their YouTube channel.
Archive for May 2014
Polity has gone through the MFAT OIA documents relating to Judith Collins’s visit to China, where she met with Oravida thrice.
I’ve been reading them but out of order (the second bunch only) and their summary of what I have read gels with my take on things.
These matters have been covered better on political blogs, but I can’t but help drawing comparisons between the stubbornness of this government with the days of Neil Hamilton, Jonathan Aitken and others in the UK Conservatives in the 1990s.
The Minister’s latest, that the Greens were quick to capitalize on (as they did with Simon Bridgesâwhich begs the question of where Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is), is this quotation: âDoes that have anything to do with me? Am I the minister of wetlands? Go and find someone who actually cares about this, because I donât. Itâs not my issue âŠ I donât like wetlandsâtheyâre swamps.â
This Cabinet has opened itself up to media attacks because of the relatively large holes in its conduct, of which the above seems typical.
The odd one, at least to 21st-century eyes, has to be the PM’s defence of Collins, as reported by Radio New Zealand: ‘Meanwhile, the Prime Minister blames Twitter for the stress Ms Collins has faced over her involvement with Oravida âŠ Mr Key said Ms Collins had been under a lot of stress and much of that was driven by comments on Twitter.’
One of my friends responded, ‘If he’d ever seen the abuse she dished out in her tweets, he’d know she was the instigator of most of it, not the victim.’
And the PM makes one critical mistake here: he seems to portray social media as some sort of foreign world, where specialist knowledge is required. It’s certainly one that certain members of the old media fraternity love to use.
The truth is social media arenât that different: they are merely extensions of what one already knows. If you have been in business or in public service, you should know how to write and communicate. If you’re a reasonably competent writer in your everyday life, then it’s a cinch that you’ll be good at communicating with social media.
I might get sucked in by the odd troll every now and then, but Twitter stress isn’t a valid enough excuse in my book.
However, the PM is a smart guy. He knows that most of us will forget in a short space of time and there’ll be another scandal that will surface. So the disappearance of Collins through a time-out might be a good calculated moveâat least that’s what he’s counting on.
But the fourth estate might not be as forgiving this time. Duncan Garner wrote (also noting she needed a Twitter break): ‘The truth is, her story about what she was doing in China with Oravida has completely collapsed. She has lost all credibility. What started as a pop-in cup of milk and a private dinner turns out to be a turbo-blasted official dinner involving both Governments, their officials, a senior Minister (Collins) and a National party donor (Oravida).’
The problem with all of this is: where’s Labour, in the midst of the greatest gift an opposition has been given for years?
One friend of a friend noted that maybe Labour shouldn’t be attacking, because we Kiwis don’t like whingers. It is the charge I hear from friends on the right. Labour should, instead, be coming up with solid policies and leave the attacks to the Greens (which is doing a marvellous job) and Winston Peters (need I say more? He remains a great political wordsmith).
For me, I’d like them to do both if they are to stand a chance. The job of the Opposition is to oppose.
And failure to oppose strongly may suggest to the electorate that the same thing could happen under Labour.
Six months out from the election I contested, I had my policies publishedâwhich one blog noted was unusual but welcome. That meant my policies were out for twice as long as my opponents’.
We’re talking about a party that has been in opposition for a long time, long enough to know what it wishes to do should it be handed the reins of government.
And yet, apart from a few policy announcements here and there, it has been silent. You’d think the names of the Shadow Cabinet would be in our consciousness by now. Embarrassingly, I even forgot David Cunliffe’s name recently in a conversation. I could only call him ‘not-Robertson’. (It is better than the PM calling Grant Robertson ‘Perry Mason’ today, I hasten to add.)
It makes me wonder if Labour isn’t working and whether the anti-National vote will, indeed, head even more to the Greens this year.
Apparently this is a reader survey but I agree with Antony: how on earth can a car that is not even produced, the Yamaha Motiv, wind up in the top 10? There are 100 in the full listâin other words, there are many more likely candidates of cars that readers have, well, seen and heard about. How strange that something previewed once at last year’s Tokyo Show can make it.
On Twitter, Autocar deputy digital editor Lewis Kingston tells me, ‘We’ve run a few big stories on it before’.
While I don’t know the methodology, I still find the odds of the Yamaha getting there very, very slim.
Incidentally, the Austin Metro didn’t make it.