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Back Jack

February 24th, 2010 by Peter

You may have noticed that I’ve added to the footer of the site a ‘Back Jack 2010′ button. This is in support of Jack Yan for Mayor of Wellington and I thought I’d write something here on the blog to explain why I back his candidacy and why I think it’s important.

Back Jack 2010

This October the people of Wellington, New Zealand, will vote for their new mayor. The election is just another example of a wider trend that I find encouraging in democracy of the race being thrown open by candidates who come from outside of the Political Establishment. In this case the candidate that has emerged from the people is Jack Yan.

It has became obvious over recent years that at all levels of politics that the political establishment has became more and more divorced from the reality of life, they can’t adequately address the problems faced because they’re no more real to them than theories on a piece of paper. What is needed are people who understand how things work in the real world, people who have experience in the real world and people who have been successful at getting results in the real world.

It seems to me that in all elections the candidates who are from the establishment approach the electorate with arrogance; they don’t engage because they don’t feel they need too. They are the politicians, they represent the big parties and they feel that is enough. Talk about the things that matters? No need for that, they feel that name recognition alone is enough to carry the vote. Jack Yan, on the other hand, has approached questions such as job creation and stimulating the economy. Here his knowledge of technology from business is showing as he promotes free-wifi in the city to promote business use and a broader technology platform to provide the economic stimulus for job creation. This is exactly the type of thinking that economies, not just in Wellington but around the world, could really benefit from. The only way to take things forward and grow the economy is to stimulate it, to make it an environment where businesses can flourish and new employment opportunities will be created. So much thinking in the post-recession economy seems to be negative and punitive towards banks and businesses but that is not going to help growth.

Another thing that Jack Yan has made central to his campaign is openness and easy access. Jack sees the city as being made up of all of it’s populace and has started a website called to allow everyone a chance to contribute to the debate on issues that affect the city. It’s important, in a true democracy, for the electorate to be engaged in the process throughout the years not just at election time. Your Wellington is a way for people to do just that. In the Roman Republic the people had a voice all year round, it’s time our democracies got back to a system where the politicians represent – and indeed, answer to – their electors.

If you’re not a Kiwi you may perhaps be wondering why the election in Wellington is relevant to you. Whatever and wherever the election it’s important to remember that every time someone who cares and who has policies that benefit the people wins, even if not where you live, it is one more voice for change and one less position held by an establishment that serves only itself.

You can visit Jack’s Campaign website by clicking here.

Stevenson’s Inspiration?

February 19th, 2010 by Peter

Stranger than fiction: the true story behind Kidnapped

A very interesting piece in the Guardian today about the true story that is, according to a new book, the inspiration behind Kidnapped and several other novels. I have often wondered where the inspiration for some of the works of great writers comes from and how they draw on elements of real life in their narratives. The true story is quite something, though the ending – like many true things – seemed to lack the justice we’d have liked to see for the protagonist. While he won his case in the courts it was post mortem and he didn’t benefit.  I can see the similarities between this and Kidnapped but I think it must be one of many things that joined together to form inspiration as the Appin murder is also a large part of the plot.

On another note, the story also reminds me in some ways of Son of Fury, a 1942 film starring Tyrone Power and the quite wonderful Gene Tierney. The question is was the film influenced by one of the novels or directly by the true story? It’s interesting to see how entirely different stories (such as Kidnapped and Son of Fury) can both use recognisable elements from one real story. I guess that is a testament to the variety of artistic endeavour that two very different stories can share the same root.

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