As the year winds down, I’ve been thinking about The Standard, particularly this blog’s influence in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We’re sometimes called an echo chamber, a far left talk fest or, memorably, a “dreadful 21st century bastardisation of a once proud Labour broadsheet“.
The truth is that The Standard is very, very representative of the broad left and its allies. The authors range from Marxist through anarchist, social democratic, green, centrist, centre right to libertarian. The commenters also cover all strands of political thought, mainly being the voices of Kiwis who are engaged in politics and concerned about their country. We like to argue and we’re not afraid to do so publicly.
It’s also a strength of this left wing site that it attracts often interesting righties such as former Cabinet Minister Dr Wayne Mapp and commentator and professional stirrer Matthew Hooton. ‘I agree with Matthew’ is almost a comedy punchline round these parts. Actually, I rarely agree with what the right says here at TS, but I appreciate the opportunity to see how they are thinking. And despite the whinging about TS on other conservative blogs, the moderation here is not about limiting the expression of ideas. If you can argue a controversial point intelligently, your contribution is welcome.
And don’t think the Standard doesn’t make a difference. I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago, Deportee, that was the first media article to point out that John Key had given a false impression about the ability of Kiwis sent home to fight for their Australian residency. Specifically, the post broke the news that the cost of the flights home had to met before the appeal could start. This week, the Government announced that those travel costs would be dropped. It was The Standard that made that happen.
There will be posts in the next couple of weeks about the most commented and read pieces on The Standard, but in the meantime, here’s the TRPies, my end of the year bouquets.
First up, respect to Lynn Prentice. As readers know, LP does an amazing job of keeping the site running. As we learned from Ben Rachinger, the Standard is often under cyber attack, but the privacy of contributors has never been compromised. And this year, The Standard has been under a different kind of attack. [deleted]. Happily the racist, misogynist fantasists behind this attack on freedom of speech have shown themselves to be legal numpties.
Secondly, to my fellow authors. It will come as no surprise to readers that we don’t always get along. All of us see the world differently and we are passionate about what we do at the Standard. Authoring is hard work. It’s time consuming, often a battering for the ego and the responses can be hit and miss. But when it’s good, it’s very good indeed. Nothing better than seeing a post take off and generate a life of its own.
And the Standard is the leading left blog primarily because of the quality of the posts. It takes a good topic, clever thinking and engaging writing to spark a real debate. That happens here every day without fail, which is truly amazing.
Thirdly, to the commenters. At a guess, less than 10% of readers also post comments. We have a community of contributors here who really make the blog what it is. The authors may provide the vehicle, but it’s the commenters who turn the key and drive the site. Thanks to all of you.
My end of the year list:
Politician of the Year: Andrew Little. He has got the LP caucus humming after 7 years of division. And he is starting to look like a potential PM.
Up and coming politician: Kelvin Davis. His election was controversial for some, but he has done amazing work in his shadow portfolio and has seen off Serco Sam. Next in his sights: Judith Collins.
Political event of the Year: The Ponytail assault. The right would like to think it’s old news, but having a pervert for a PM is never a good look. It was John Key’s American Psycho moment.
Citizen of the Year: Helen Kelly. Nuff said.
Best commenter: felix. I don’t often regret my contributions here, but it’s entirely my fault felix doesn’t comment here any more. Come back mate, you’re missed.
Best other blog: Your NZ. Yes, I know; rolly eyes all round. But Pete George has steadily lifted his blog’s profile, readership and reader comments. It’s easily the best of the righty blogs right now, even if it is regularly pompous and disingenuous about issues like Dirty Politics.
Best post: For reference, here’s a small selection of the year’s most debated posts:
But my favourite post of 2015 is Mandy Hager’s “An open letter to Andrew Little”. It’s as good a guide to how the parliamentary left can win the next General Election as you could hope to read. An outstanding, challenging post.
So that’s my list. What’s yours?
Other authors have made suggestions about other categories, such as best journalist/jonolist of the year, porky of the year, strangest political event of the year ( if only Colin Craig’s Mr X had a ponytail!). If we get a decent list, maybe next year we can get a sponsor and do it properly. I hear Xero are keen on supporting good challenging discussions. Give me a call Rod, we should talk.
But for 2015, it’s up to you, dear Standarnista; what’s worth celebrating, commemorating, or just contemplating? What made this year special for you?
lprent: Material relating to a current case removed. It has restrictions from court orders