Tuesday, 22 April 2008

pangea day

i'm having a bit of a sad day today. it's very difficult to watch someone close to you going through a difficult time, knowing that you really can't do anything to help them, other than to offer unconditional love and support. sometimes that doesn't feel like enough.

it's also been difficult watching the journalism standards here, which are nothing like what i wrote about yesterday. chris trotter has been the only one i've heard talking about the breach of trust and lack of ethics involved in recording and reporting on a closed session at the labour party conference. this compares to the breach of trust a year or so back, when guyon espiner was involved in broadcasting a pre-interview chat with dr michael cullen. it's the duplicity involved here that is so frustrating: mr espiner was well aware that dr cullen believed he was speaking off the record. and finally, there was the front-page herald report last week giving the impression that the labour party was planning to distribute government information as campaigning material. turns out that there was no such plan; someone had just made an off-the-cuff comment from the floor.

it seems very strange that these kinds of ethical breaches occur only when the labour party is involved. there's been no spying on other parties' annual conferences. closed sessions have thus far been respected as such. there's been no airing of pre-interview chats involving other party's politicians. furthermore, the herald has been found to be in breach of the press council's standard of accuracy. they didn't tell the full truth in that front-page editorial on the EFA last year.

this seems to show that there is some truth in the contention that the main opposition for the labour party in the 2008 campaign won't be the national party. they provide no effective opposition at all. they have no policies, no vision for the country, no leadership skills, and pretty much the same front bench that was in power in the 1990s. no, the main opposition will be the media. and that is a much tougher opposition.

one thing that must be said about the labour team though, is that they don't give up. they take the punches and keep standing back up to fight on. and while the media sideshow continues, they continue running the country and implementing the policies that improve the lives of the majority of new zealanders. that's what it's all about for me, and that's what the conference was about. i don't have to rely on media reports, i was at the labour party conference. and what i saw was an energetic bunch of activists who care deeply about this country, committed to developing and implementing policies that deal with the issues of importance.

so to cheer me up (and hopefully you as well) here is something sent to me by a friend a few days ago. may 10 is the first ever pangea day, when 24 short films will be broadcast simultaneously around the world. it's an attempt to build a global community, a step towards peace, and an encouragement to social action.

for a short taste of the sort of things that are planned, watch these short videos of a choir in one country singing the national anthem of another country. they really are lovely. france sings for the USA, kenya sings for india and japan sings for turkey.

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