Sunday, November 06, 2011

The cakes of wrath

But frugality is called for. So when the bank says you're stretched, and you own a house, an apartment and a bach, what to do? You don't want to sell because the apartment and bach are rented and bring in a moderate income. But you need more money to do them up, so the rentals could be higher. So you do what National's intending. You hold on to a majority shareholding of the properties. Then you tell your family they can buy shares in the remaining 49 per cent of the house, bach and apartment. With their investment money, you improve the properties, increase the rentals and the dividends go skywards.
Does this happen? Is this the sort of family financial transaction that goes on among the Coddingtons and their friends? I know, I know, you are going to say "oh Alice, come back, it's just an analogy," but I think it is reasonable to measure people by the quality of their metaphors. Most of us do not own three prop erties and most of us do not make deals with members of  our family.

But then most of us are not like La Coddington. We do not buy these family analogies because we bought them once before, in the eighties. We were told that managing an economy is just like managing a household budget. We were told that Margaret Thatcher was a household superstar, that she and her followers throughout the world would put everything back in balance. Thirty years on, we are in recession again and we are looking forward to twenty more lost years, to add to those already lost. For many people, all of those last thirty years were lost; for others, the going has been good but the next thirty years are dreaded.

Of course, none of the above applies to people of money. They can live in a silly fantasy world of ruched curtains framing trompe l'oeil landscapes, where the righteous are rewarded with riches while poverty is the wages of indolence. The people of money may well sell shares in their properties to their children, but that is because their hearts have been hardened by a thousand deals, because they are incapable of seeing life beyond profit and loss, because even their children are rivals. Despite the best efforts of the neo-liberals to turn us all into little businesses, most of us have not lost our humanity.

In any case, La Coddington's ridiculous analogy falls apart as it takes flight: "With their investment money, you improve the properties, increase the rentals and the dividends go skywards." Does she really think that this investment money will be used to improve our state-owned enterprises? No, it will be used to provide further financial incentives to people like her;  because the wealthy need constant incentives to become even wealthier while the poor need constant beatings, not to encourage them to become less poor but to satisfy the blood-lust of the rich.

Meanwhile, in another part of the woods, the Bridgester recalls an adventure:
Suddenly I realised my oversized Burberry handbag could have been interpreted as a symbol of rampant materialism but no one seemed bothered - not the friendly young woman collecting litter, the two men chatting quietly about how to change the system or the guy slumbering in the shade of a marquee.
Pausing only to ponder whether an oversized Burberry handbag could be interpreted as a symbol of a rampant chavette, we can at least award Bridgeman a merit badge for effort. At least she tried, she made the long journey from Rem to Town, she tried to find out what was going on.

And what is going on? More to the point, what's eating Ghastly Glucina? Here's the start of the piece what she wrote last week in her new role as a political pundit:
Jacinda Ardern may be nicknamed "The Teef" due to her giant gnashers, and her Labour colleague David Shearer of Mt Albert may despise his counterpart in New Lynn, David Cunliffe, but it's nothing on the Act scale of conflict zones. In Epsom, John Banks is fighting for survival. His hoardings have gone up with his name plastered across them, but the Act logo is barely visible. His leader, Don Brash, has spent the past week gallivanting in London
It goes on, and on; it doesn't get any sweeter. All well and ugly, you might conclude, but then you see the start of this week's dispatch from the bottom line:
Spare a thought for Jacinda Ardern. Her boss Phil Goff is so desperate to get her into bed, so to speak, he's prepared to splurge $1.2 billion. He says Labour would fork out that much for the Auckland rail loop. But this is just a clever way of getting around the funding rules and pumping money into the Battle of the Babes in Auckland Central. Meanwhile, there was a flurry of speculation this week about the whereabouts of Don Brash's mojo - just returned from a gallivanting trip abroad, it then went berserk in front of a TV camera.
Already we can see some issues with the appointment of Glucina as a pundit.  For a start, she is at best semi-literate, not a disqualification for gossip creatu res but normally considered something of a drawback in political journalism, at least on any other paper but the Herald. Then there is the unique quality of her punditry. Alone among the pundits, she opines that the proposed Auckland rail loop is nought but a cunning ruse to get round the funding rules. Alone among the pundits, Glucina detects a flurry of speculation about Don Brash.

The question many media commentators will be asking is one posed in different circumstances by Aretha Franklin: who's zooming who? What motivates Glucina's schoolgirlish attempts to slime all over Ardern and Brash? Did she suffer some slight from either or both from which she has never quite recovered? Or has someone with more than half a brain (but not much more) put her up to this?  I think we should be told.

Oh, one more thing: As an added bonus, one can see Glucina in Metro this month, in the special Rich White Celebrity Trash section. Call me a ferret if you like but she does not look like her Herald byline photograph any more.

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