Getting to know National one marriage at a time

datePosted on 18:39, February 24th, 2009 by Anita

I can’t work out if it’s a getting-to-know-your-new-Government strategy or a look-we’re-pro-family strategy, but I’m seeing an awful lot of National Party wives and kids right now. This is not an exhaustive list but:

  • John Key + wife:  to the extent that last weekend the media coverage was about how it makes her uncomfortable
  • Lockwood Smith + fiancée: for some reason this was covered by the SST twice a week apart
  • David Carter + family + chooks leapt out of the paper at me over the weekend.
  • Tony Ryall + wife on the telly tonight as part of a PlunketLine story

Any thoughts about the strategy?

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19 Responses to “Getting to know National one marriage at a time”

  1. Lew on February 24th, 2009 at 18:47

    Family values!

    L

  2. Tanya on February 24th, 2009 at 19:10

    The Plunket line restored is great news, yep, family values.

  3. Anita on February 24th, 2009 at 19:15

    Tanya writes,

    The Plunket line restored is great news, yep, family values.

    I was a bit baffled about his statement that they’re going to continue funding the Health Line service at the same time. It seems like politics not logic.

  4. Mike on February 24th, 2009 at 19:33

    It’s Government as reality show.
    “Punters” can ‘relate’ to ministers, therefore the ministers are doing a good job.
    Take a look at one of Paula Bennett’s recent YouTube addresses, virtually no policy detail, instead it’s all about her, how she feels, her values and how she can ‘relate’ to working mothers.
    I couldn’t imagine Ruth Dyson presenting something so vacuous.

  5. robinsod on February 24th, 2009 at 20:02

    Mike is right of course but there is more to Lockwood and Tony’s features than mere political brain cultural identification.

    You all know what it is and if you have any decency you’ll wonder, as I do, why they feel the need to engage in such tawdry spin.

    Perhaps the thrill is in the charade… Or is that too Bakhtinian an analysis…

  6. Anita on February 24th, 2009 at 20:09

    I forgot about the publicity last year about Nick Smith + fiancée

  7. Anita on February 24th, 2009 at 20:17

    Because I didn’t manage to build this into my post, I shall write it a comment about it on the off chance anyone wants to discuss Carter’s chooks choice.

    Red Shavers?! They’re a battery breed, does this mean he didn’t try very hard to get long-term free range layer and settled for whatever breed was easy without considering productivity and temperament? Or that the Minister of Agriculture has ex battery hens at home?

  8. Quoth the Raven on February 24th, 2009 at 20:33

    Anita – I suggest you stop reading the mainstream papers and you won’t be subjected to this vacuous shit.

  9. Russell Beaumont on February 24th, 2009 at 20:36

    Why the assumption it is a strategy?
    Ex battery hens saved from the cage, good for him.

  10. robinsod on February 24th, 2009 at 20:39

    Oh My God – you let one of my comments through. Ironically although it contained less profanity than previous blocked comments it was far cheaper and gutter-gossip nastier in it’s essence than they were…

    I’d suggest (overtly rather than coyly as is your wont, Anita – and just why do you do that? Is it because it is easier to quietly steer the direction of the analysis rather than lead it? (and is that a gendered attribute?)) that what National are doing is merely the kiwi iteration of a political trend that has been developing over the last 15 years in US and UK politics – they are adopting the language of the consumer class (in this case that specific dialect of the “wimmins” magazine) in order to reconfigure political discourse around “identity” (by which I mean late-capitalist market-rhizomestoryformed “identity” rather than more traditional linear-naratological understanding of that term) and away from economic and class-based fundamentals.

    Read “Brand key” (the guest post they allowed me at the Standard before they took to banning me) for an idea (albeit a linguistically hobbled idea) of how it works or check out the last two or three posts on my blog to see how the left has allowed it to happen.

    And Labour aint gonna have an answer to it without a purge because those muthafucka red-tories are so full of liberal elite professionalist morons they don’t even know where their beat down is coming from let alone how to stop it…

    ‘Sod – you provide useful, worth-while insight, then it’s straight back to the gutter. Why do you hobble yourself so? (RN)

  11. BLiP on February 24th, 2009 at 20:58

    Anita asked:

    Any thoughts about the strategy?

    Basically the message is: “relax everyone. Its all okay now.” The subtext is: the wicked witch has gone and the men are back in charge; yes, the white, heterosexual, employed, married, male with first wife and three able bodied children National Party white trash front-bench is back in town and running the show. Get used to it.

    We’ve gone from the Nanny-State to the Daddy-State.

    The magazine’s with their suffering circulation will lap this pap up with relish and serve it back to the tabloid readers in exclusive after exclusive. The rest of the indolent MSM will continue its virtual felatio of the government.

    Makes me want to puke.

  12. Anita on February 24th, 2009 at 21:01

    robinsod writes,

    Oh My God – you let one of my comments through. Ironically although it contained less profanity than previous blocked comments it was far cheaper and gutter-gossip nastier in it’s essence than they were…

    Yeah I know. But I wouldn’t have removed it if anyone else had posted it, it’s a hard road finding the perfect comment.

    I’d suggest (overtly rather than coyly as is your wont, Anita – and just why do you do that? Is it because it is easier to quietly steer the direction of the analysis rather than lead it? (and is that a gendered attribute?))

    I think it is probably a gendered attribute yes. One generally finds that women are more likely to use inflectional, syntactic and rhetorical styles which invite engagement and dialogue rather than bald statements which invite rebuttal. That pattern appears all over linguistics, for example there is some interesting analysis of high rising terminals (going up at the end of a sentence, which is gendered) that it’s because it is an inflection which invites engagement in the discussion.

    that what National are doing is merely the kiwi iteration of a political trend that has been developing over the last 15 years in US and UK politics – they are adopting the language of the consumer class (in this case that specific dialect of the “wimmins” magazine) in order to reconfigure political discourse around “identity” (by which I mean late-capitalist market-rhizomestoryformed “identity” rather than more traditional linear-naratological understanding of that term) and away from economic and class-based fundamentals.

    “market-rhizomestoryformed”?!

    Are you saying that it’s a strategy to turn politicians (and politics?) into a consumer good, because we have lower standards for consumer goods? With consumer goods we weigh up pros and cons and we accept a certain level of defect and failure. It would be much easier for politicians to live within that paradigm than one which has absolute standards.

  13. Anita on February 24th, 2009 at 21:06

    BLiP,

    Hee!! :)

  14. robinsod on February 24th, 2009 at 21:21

    it’s a hard road finding the perfect comment.

    especially when I start it with a misplaced apostrophe!

    That pattern appears all over linguistics, for example there is some interesting analysis of high rising terminals (going up at the end of a sentence, which is gendered)

    It’s also a linguistic marker more prevalent in colonial dialects (amongst both sexes) including ours.

    “market-rhizomestoryformed”?!

    Are you saying that it’s a strategy to turn politicians (and politics?) into a consumer good, because we have lower standards for consumer goods?

    No exclamation mark needed – like many post-structural geeks I use the faux-german model of conjoining words for affect.

    Past that I’d say it’s not a strategy to turn politicians into consumer goods so much as a (successful) attempt to tap into the logics of consumerism. Politician = product is too blunt. Politician-can-be-thought-of-using-the-same-cultural-psychic-mental-muscles might be a more appropriate way of thinking of it.

    The result is probably very similar. At least until the politician/faux-product is discovered to be poisonous. As it recently was in the states…

  15. Anita on February 24th, 2009 at 21:44

    robinsod writes,

    No exclamation mark needed – like many post-structural geeks I use the faux-german model of conjoining words for affect.

    I expect extra capitalisation and heavy metal umlaut in that case! :)

    The result is probably very similar. At least until the politician/faux-product is discovered to be poisonous. As it recently was in the states…

    Do you think that is the downside for politicians? Part of our consumer-mental-muscle-memory might be how to discard without a second thought.

  16. robinsod on February 24th, 2009 at 22:12

    Do you think that is the downside for politicians? Part of our consumer-mental-muscle-memory might be how to discard without a second thought.

    Like we have discarded coca cola? No sorry, that’s a little facetious but if the money is available for branding then I don’t see why the parallel shouldn’t stand.

    It should be remembered that the red/blue divide in the US was only 48/52 and that even that small swing could be interpreted as the result of a better marketing campaign by the dems (and it was about fuckin time!)

    I don’t see why National couldn’t run a rolling rebranding campaign that would see them in power indefinitely. Of course they are finding that governing can take their eye off the marketing ball but they’ll deal with that and I ask you – where is Joyce? He seems to have disappeared from the media…

    There is a chance that the media and the public will be forced to reunite government-cause with personal-effect because of the recession but I’m not gonna place money on it – we’ve seen in the states how disconnected the electorate has become from cause and effect…

    And as I said earlier the current opposition are way way way outta their league when it comes to this kind of marketing politics…

  17. Anita on February 25th, 2009 at 07:22

    Russell Beaumont writes,

    Why the assumption it is a strategy?

    Because the other option is that Tony Ryall’s wife followed him around all day yesterday for no good reason and ended up in shot of the TV cameras by accident and that women’s magazines keep turning up at the Key’s front door without an invitation and getting an interview and photo session by accident.

  18. BeShakey on February 25th, 2009 at 08:59

    The Plunket line restored is great news, yep, family values.

    I’m intrigued – why is it good news that, particularly at a time when the government is preaching restraint, that they are paying the failed tenderer for a contract millions to duplicate the services offered by the successful tenderer. It’d be a different thing if there was any suggestion that the tender process was flawed, but there isn’t. This is simply fulfilling a bad policy/good populism promise from the election. But it doesn’t bode well for the Nat cries for fiscal restraint.

  19. What would Hayek say on February 25th, 2009 at 09:52

    Hey Robinsod – I enjoyed your comment and insights. Leaving out the my side has god/marx/environment/market on its side aspects of political parties, the current marketing of politicians is an interesting topic. Lew made a good start looking at ads by John Ansell.

    I instinctively feel that all sizzle and no sausage marketing may work short term but then fail with the fickle consumer who turns up the bbq and discovers that there actually is no beer and sizzler sausages.

    At the moment I suspect national have enough policy (sausages and beer) as much by having a pragmatic rather than ideological policy that they can keep up a rolling marketing campaign (like coke).

    I’m not confident that greens or labour have anything in the policy shop. Greens have shopped a lot of sizzle over the years but like the CDO bubble the reality of a weekly pay packet that covers the rent, food and clothes for the kids and a few dollars left for a packet of fags and a beer is the focus for people at the moment. Brand green doesn’t offer what the blue collar person wants, which is something that works and they don’t care if it is the market that provides it or government, just make it work so they can look after their kids as best they can and see them hopefully do better than they have.

    For labour – who were an essentially pragmatic policy party, a fatal drift to academic ideology at a time of uncertainty and a shockingly bad marketing campaign means they now have handed the pragmatic policy space over to national. Unless Labour can develop a coherent discourse with the public as to why their policies will be more successful (sausage) and present a better marketing campaign (sizzle), they will have to wait for national to make significant mistakes. That could see them spending a lot of time waiting.

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