There and Back Again

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Back from Invercargill: missed the beach-racing because the gale canceled it. Instead I got to stand in a field with a relative while we watched the partial eclipse as the clouds momentarily parted over Invercargill. That was cool!

The Phantom bought me my first motorbike jacket to go with the helmet he gave me last year. Then I went and left my rain-coat in the back of the Art-Works car. My mother will bring it up when she visits again. Before I go to Wellington next I will have to buy some new water-proof leggings for myself as mine have died specularly. A visit to the bike shop is in order before then.

It took me a day to walk the ride back to Dunedin out of my legs. That provided some good exercise.

Two open lectures this week. I could be positive about them, but both left me thinking that these people came halfway around the world not to say much of significance.

I am working my way through the list votes to revise the extra seats in the Parliament of Oligarchs. That will take a while longer.

Election in another New Zealand

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After the election I have had a go at an oligarch’s parliament. The premise is what would a parliament look like made of the least successful parties. I had a go at this years ago: the government was McGillicuddy Serious, the opposition was Values. National didn’t get in except in the Maori Seats.

I used the MMP seat allocation calendar to give them a proportionate number of seats. As using the numbers from the real elections gave them a massive overhang I reduced the numbers proportionally. National did not win any seats and I did not share any votes with them. There is an overhang of seven MPs due to independent candidates.

My bizarro parliament:

ACT 36 MPs 24 electorates 14 list
Democrats for Social Credit 13 MPs 8 electorates 5 list
Libertarianz 12 MPs 7 electorates 5 list
United Future 9 MPs 5 electorates 4 list
Mana 7 MPs 3 electorates 4 list
Alliance 5 MPs 2 electorates 3 list
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis 5 MPs 2 electorates 3 list
NZ Sovereignty 5 MPs 2 electorates 3 list
Communist League 4 MPs 2 electorates 2 list
NZ First 4 MPs 2 electorates 2 list
Conservative 4 MPs 1 electorate 3 list
Greens 4 MPs 1 electorate 3 list
Labour 4 MPs 1 electorate 3 list
Maori Party 4 MPs 1 electorate 3 list
Youth Party 2 MPs 1 electorate 1 list
Economic Euthenics 1 MP 1 electorate
Nga Iwi 1 MP 1 electorate
Independents 7 MPs 7 electorates

A creepy right-wing bias here. Maybe an coalition of ACT, Libertarianz, United Future and Conservatives would be the government, with support of some of the independents. I doubt it would be stable.

Exit, leaving on a bus

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I think I’m packed for my visit to Invercargill, down by bus and return by motorbike. A celebration for the Smith family and a chance to see the races at the Burt Munro Rally.

I haven’t packed a book for the trip. I wonder what I should choose.

Interesting thought for yesterday. The emerging school of thought on the left appears to be political theology: post-theist, secular and materialist, while remaining in the theological discipline. Apparently the book I have to read is Radical Political Theology by Clayton Crockett. A search on the catalogues led me to find that there is one copy at the Canterbury Library. (There’s a good reason for that!) I shall have to get the Hewitson Library to interloan it or consider prodding the University Bookshop to buy my own copy.

If this is the new school of thought on the left then it provides a challenge to New Zealanders if we adopt it. New Zealanders are antipathetic of anything with the stink of religion and are anti-intellectual and pragmatic when it comes to politics. This leave us vulnerable to neo-liberal leadership. It looks like we are resigned to another three years of the John Key party in power.

The Puzzle of Scottish Sectarianism

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This was an address given by the Scottish historian Tom Devine in St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin. The following is a summary of my notes:

A culture of treating people improperly, described in 1999 as “visceral anti-catholicism. It is perceived that Scotland needs anti-sectarian legislation.

Nineteenth century Irish migration clashed with an establishment represented by Protestantism and the ethos of empire. This migration was focused in area: Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Lothian, Dundee. These people and their descendents have remained an underclass, not achieving material parity with other Scots until the beginning of the twenty-first century. In contrast most other overseas Irish cultures had achieved parity by the 1920s. It did not help that Scotland was an economic back-water for most of the twentieth century outside of the war years.

Without government since the late eighteenth century Protestantism was identity and the primary means of communicating news. The segregation of Irish Catholics was instigated by the Church of Scotland in the 1920s. (Segregation was my term for what Devine described. The Church at the time called for the repatriation of Irish Catholics to Ireland. The Church of Scotland has since apologized for this action.) The Irish in Scotland were scapegoated.

The Scottish brain-drain (my term, significant among New Zealanders). In the 1920s Scottish people stopped looking at emigration from Scotland positively. This does not mean that migrants of Scottish descent returned to Scotland. This makes me wonder how will the emigration of New Zealanders have long-term affect on New Zealand?

The animosity towards this group of Catholics, now indigenous, remains among post-Christian working-class males in the area where Irish Catholics and Protestants settled in Scotland.

The sectarian history of New Zealand has not yet been studied.

End of Ordinary Time

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I was not at church on Sunday morning. I decided that it was the best time to fit in an opera, Don Giovanni, into my weekend. I would have gone on Saturday afternoon. Instead that time clashed with a barbecue I was attending at Bethune’s Gully. Wonderful spot for a barbecue; we had fine weather, sausages and ham in a clearing.

I picked up an order of service when I visited Opoho church in the evening. When I got home then I wrote up my devotional calendar for the next week: readings from the Prophets and the Gospel. This proved to be the Books of Daniel and Luke. I was surprised to find that the next Sunday was the first in Advent. The church year was finishing before I noticed it. We are leaving the long time of Pentecost with its serious readings into the anticipatory period of Advent. Make way for the season of lights!

I was at church in the evening for our successful candidates’ meeting. It wasn’t for me. I have made an early vote. It was an entertaining evening. I was time-keeper, armed with the triangle from our music basket. The candidates had tea-cups for refreshment. Our chairman for the evening was equipped with a water cannon as at the famous candidates’ meeting at Aro Valley. There was also a mysterious black pouch on the candidates’ table. The National Party Candidate picked it up and asked “John, what do I say next?” into it. “Which John?” a voice asked from the audience. I think that there would have been about 140 people present. Opoho people like their politics. I can be partially seen in one of the Otago Daily Times’ photos, wearing a frightening pink checked shirt.

A post on Istanbul Streets Blog means I have discovered the Yashim mysteries from the public library. I’m on to the third book in the series now.

Vote early, vote often

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It looks like I will be in Invercargill next weekend. The Phantom will be in there for the Burt Munro Rally, always something to look forward to! November has always seemed like a birthday month to me: two siblings and one parent in the same month. We shall be celebrating. That’s next weekend, the same time as the country is going to vote in a general election.

I made the point of visiting the election office to cast my vote early, a week out from polling day. Despite the number of Smiths, Andrew Smiths and even two Andrew William Smiths, I had my papers very quickly and voted within the space of five minutes. No guesses on my vote for the election or the referendum. I won’t disguise the fact that I am partisan for one party; two if you count my opinion on the referendum.

Dashboard is acting up for me. I really need to put more effort in getting a new computer.

The end-of-year chow-down began today as the Knox and Salmond Colleges had a barbecue lunch to celebrate: a big plate of meat and potato salad, a bowl of pavlova, a tub of ice-cream and glass of white wine later, and I was feeling full. One of our volunteers said it was like a three-course lunch in France. A French three-course lunch is apparently made up of cheese, meat and sweet courses. I’m sure that’s why I was a kilo heavier when I weighed myself at the gym this evening. Our combination of Summer, Christmas, End of Year and New Year makes November/December a fattening time.

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3…

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Strange. WordPress decided to send out an edit I made to an old entry as my latest update on RSS-Feed. I don’t know why that happened. I hope my interface is not acting up.

Parish Council last night, reported back on our Rugby World Cup Night, and on Dunedin Resource Group Meeting. Both were worthwhile events to attend. One of our sponsorship children has left Child Fund and we are supporting a new child in Sri Lanka, a twelve year old cricket player.

The Centre for Theology and Public Issues held a Forum on Inequality and the Future of Dunedin at the Burns Hall, the beginning a new series of forums that will continue in the new year. Well attended. I think that there were over two hundred people there. Quote of the evening went to Laura Black: “Globalisation has made us consumers. We need to be citizens.”

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