Sludge Report #26 – Red Blood Rising

Published: Wed 9 Aug 2000 01:31 PM
In Today's Edition: Rugby and the ERB - Red Blood Rising – Dover and the ERB - The Kids Are Not All Right
NOTE: Authors of this report will be anonymous and wide ranging and occasionally unhinged. Indeed you are invited to contribute: The format is as a reporters notebook. It will be published as and when material is available. C.D. Sludge can be contacted at The Sludge Report is available as a free email service..Click HERE to subscribe...
Rugby And the ERB
An All Black defeat and the ERB’s final stages this week. How does rugby affect the political climate? As usual Sludge has a theory.
Sludge’s analysis of public reaction in the wake of previous All Black losses leads to the conclusion that the All Black’s pain is the Labour Government’s gain.
The response of the NZ public (and media) to All Black losses are usually quite consistent.
When the All Blacks win, the front page of the paper features a picture, an over the top banner headline and a caption story and NEWS. When the All Blacks lose front pages tend to feature elaborate explanations of the failure – in the style of coverage devoted to the outbreak of a war – it is likely only one other story will make the front page. Meanwhile through the rest of the paper you will most likely see lots of trivia and human interest stories for the rest of the week.
For example Today’s Evening Post Billboards feature
- Net photo has worldwide audience
- Robbies sex romp partner strips in pub lobby
And notably not the ERB… it doesn’t sell papers because nobody is reading it. Why? The answer can be found in the Legend of the All Blacks.
The secret to the Legend of the All Blacks – as Scoop has observed before – is that the All Blacks never lose. They only ever lose as a result of cheating, or because of conspiracy, e.g. poisoning or French foul play. The media always trumpet loudly a “get used to it” and “it’s only a game” line over coming days but the we the public tend to ignore this preferring to hold on to the legend.
The impact of a loss on things political was huge after the loss to the French. In the days afterwards – in the middle of the election campaign - no party gained any political traction for a fortnight as the country writhed in pain. By the time the public finally forgave the All Blacks they had forgotten there was an election on. Attention failed to focus on what National had wanted it to focus on – Labour’s biggest bogeyman in its eyes – the ERB.
The impact in the latest failure by our men in black is falling away quicker than last time, but still political news is still hard work for a stunned public and generally not considered worth the brain power. Perhaps more importantly there are another two games to go and the All Blacks could still win the Tri-Nations again.
The conclusion of this vein of argument is that the passage of the ERB is unlikely to arouse any great public interest. Similarly the attack on Sandra Lee over the Rodney debacle is likely to blaze briefly and be quickly forgotten – remarkable though it is.
Red Blood Rising – Dover And the ERB
The decision by the police not to prosecute Dover Samuels, just announced, was widely expected and changes little, if anything, politically. The impact of Dovergate is now deeply and well ingrained both on Coalition and on its supporters the Green. Politically the whole horrible experience of Dovergate has steeled the left. It has brought into clear contrast the difference between their left-wing leanings and what they believe the Tories stand for. Consequently there is no doubt whatsoever on the whip over the ERB…. Roll on the urgency steamroller.
The Kids Are Not All Right
In fact the kids are getting their heads kicked in, increasingly regularly, on the streets of American Cities. Most recently in the City of Brotherly love, Philidelphia. The US cops do not like anti-capitalists, that much is now certain.
One of the interesting things about the latest developments in Philedelphia is how they are NOT being reported....(just like this week’s meeting of the a Socialist International congress – think Rosa Luxembourg - in Wellington. The first meeting in NZ for 20 odd years with political leaders from all over Asia and the Pacific.)
Following in the wake of extensive international and mainstream coverage of the N30, November 30th (WTO), riots in Seattle and actions on A16, April 16th (IMF/World Bank meetings) in Washington, the sparse coverage of the arrests and civil rights abuses on the streets during the Republican Convention looks almost like a media black-out.
Sludge is convinced however that this will most probably be futile. The Anti-capitalist kids are about to make a crossover Sludge reckons.
The liberal media in the US are now well and truly awake to the new groundswell of street action and protests –Most notably the LA Times has been providing good coverage of events in Philedelphia.
Shortly we have a Democratic Convention (and more protests) in the City of Angels, the anti-capitalists might even get a Hollywood treatment… Certainly they are a more interesting story than the George and Dick Cheney roadshow.
But what NZers and Australians are even less prepared for is upcoming events in Australia on the anarchist front. The Times of London reported this week that “email interception” had discovered plans by anarchists to by active at the Sydney Olympics. (Sludge thinks that describing enrolling under an alias on a newsgroup as interception is possibly a bit rich!)
Aussie Actions have been coordinated mostly so far around what is known as S11 (September 11), the first meeting of the World Economic Forum (DAVOS) in the South Pacific – in fact the first outside of Davos. Fifteen days later across the world S26 (Have you got the system yet!) in Prague is the target of activists from across Europe.
S11 has already become very controversial in Melbourne with the Labour Premiere highly critical of the planned protests but finding himself off-side with several large unions and elements within his party.
In between there are the Olympics. A planned fire-breathing for peace event. Planned actions from environmental people and recently the establishment of an Independent Media Centre for the event.
The Olympics will be inevitably be accompanied by increasingly strident calls for John Howard to apologise to the Aboriginal people and constant coverage of this among the foreign media reporting on “Australia at the turn of Millennium”. After all if the Indonesian President Abdurachman Wahid can apologise for not having done enough in 10 months, Howard ought to be able to apologise for 100s of years of oppression.)
When you tie it all together there is something kind of special going on here – perhaps the biggest public uprising in the West since 1968.
Global protests, Presidential Elections, pork barrel politics, issues of media compliance (Rupert Murdoch is a big backer of the World Economic Forum meeting in Melbourne), throw in sport, GM Food and race relations. We have here in short a recipe for the Anti-Capitalists to make a breakthrough into the mainstream. Philly victims on talk show circuit big time.... "Why are we tear gassing our kids? - Oprah, with special guest star Leonardo Di Caprio".
© Sludge 2000
C.D. Sludge
Scoop Publisher
Alastair Thompson is the co-founder of Scoop. He is of Scottish and Irish extraction and from Wellington, New Zealand. Alastair has 24 years experience in the media, at the Dominion, National Business Review, North & South magazine, Straight Furrow newspaper and online since 1997. He is the winner of several journalism awards for business and investigative work.
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