Friday, October 28, 2011

In the year 2033

Who would have thought this Labour Party would have the courage to open the can of worms that is the debate about Government Super’s sustainability—and to open it with a flourish.

What they’ve done is to look at the financial chaos around the world and realise that a large portion of it comes from government’s borrowing unsustainably to fund election bribes welfare. And they’ve made a tough call.

Government Super in its present form is unsustainable, they say. And they’re right. Yes it is.

The simplest way to remedy that is to raise the age at which Government Super is payable, they say. And they’re right. Yes it is.

So, therefore, they say we must immediately got on with raising the age incrementally … so that by 2033 the qualifying age will be 67.  Did they really say 2033?

2033?


Surely, Phil, you have to be kidding.

Yes, yes, I know you’re simply opening the debate, and for that I doff my hat to you.  But to kick the can down the road to 2033 is, frankly, to acknowledge the problem and then do nothing about it. (And no, implementing compulsory “saving” and raising payroll taxes to pay for this and other promises is not a solution, but two new problems.)

Mind you, acknowledging this problem is still one step further than Smile and Wave has done. He’s now hamstrung by his ridiculous promise never to touch Government Super as long as he’s PM. If this announcement makes him wriggle while others around him grasp the necessary nettles, then all the better for that.

And if the necessary nettles are grasped, and this National Party wants to put blue water between itself and Phil Goff on Super (rather than the red water that separates them now Goff is outflanking them on the right) they could easily announce a much more robust plan to raise the age in more appropriate increments to erase the problem in much better time.

Or they could even do something along these lines.

PS: In more “are they finally getting it” news, it turns out that Hone’s Mana Party is prepared to grasp a few nettles themselves.

Correctly diagnosing the present tax system as being bad for the poor, since every dollar the poor earn and spend is taxed like hell, Mana wants to get rid of all income tax on the first $30,000 of income, and to get rid of the Government Slavery Tax (GST) altogether.

All good stuff—or at least it would be if they planned equal cuts in spending to balance this out. But still, it’s a healthy start.

PPS:  And in even more “finally getting it” news, it looks like even the National Party are able to admit when they are wrong: they’ve announced this morning that exploding youth unemployment has (finally) changed their mind on the Youth Minimum Wage. Bravo!

Yes, three years and several thousand youngsters on the scrapheap too late. But still: “Bravo.”

Except, except ... as Eric Crampton points out the large print of this policy announcement giveth while the small print taketh away. What National pledge to do is not to take away the Youth Minimum Wage but instead to "expand eligibility for the New Entrant's Wage (now called the Starting-Out Wage)":


The starting-out wage will be set at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage and three groups of people will be eligible:
  • 16- and 17-year-olds in their first six months of work with a new employer.
  • 18- and 19-year-olds entering the workforce after more than six months on a designated benefit.
  • 16- to 19-year-old workers training in a recognised industry course involving at least 40 credits a year.
What's the sum total of the changes then?
  • 16 and 17 year olds get an additional three months' eligibility for the training wage. Maybe this is enough to make employers deem the transactions costs worthwhile, maybe not;
  • 18 & 19 year olds have access to the starting out wage - this is new;
  • Youths in training only have to be doing 40 instead of 60 credits per year.
In short, there's not much there. 

Cartoon by Richard McGrail
Not.  Much.  There.

Shorthand not just for this policy announcement, but what's between a politician's ears.

Except this time, there's even less than meets the eyes.

Sometimes a party will be accused of hypocrisy when it simply says the populist and wrong thing while quietly getting on and doing the right thing. Given the electoral environment, in which doing the right thing is rarely the populist thing, behaviour like this is understandable, and almost forgiveable.

What is neither is to say the right thing, and to take all the flak for it, while not even intending to actually do what you say you'll do.

This isn't hypocrisy.  It's just flat-out political flatulence.

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“Mr Brownlee: Tear down this wall!”

There are two film featurettes highlighting this year’s disaster in Christchurch. Here’s the trailer for the first, When A City Falls:The People’s Story, a feature documentary about the people in Christchurch before, during and immediately after the earthquakes. It is harrowing.

The second film has a different focus, takes in the longer time frame since the quakes, and looks at a different, though related, disaster.  With interviews from local Christchurch business owners and commentators, this one looks not at the earthquakes directly, but at the man-made disasters following in their wake.

As someone said on Twitter yesterday, “the first disaster was the earthquakes.  The second disaster is the political decisions made in their aftermath.”

Because what wasn’t destroyed in the earthquake is being destroyed now, by government both central and local. Literally. And I don’t just mean people’s buildings—often without their permission, or even their knowledge. What’s being destroyed is enterprise, people’s futures, and the very future of business in what was New Zealand’.

What’s needed to repair and renew the city is not gobs of (borrowed) government money; it’s the enterprise of entrepreneurial NZers who are currently locked out of their city.

Referring to both the hurricane fencing that surrounds the Christchurch CBD, and the unhelpful attitude of CERA and other bureaucrats who are impeding access to private property within the CBD and delaying the resuscitation of business activity, let us all echo the youngest of the interviewees on the second featurette:

"Mr Brownlee, tear down this wall!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

#OccupyWallStreet: A new slogan…

_DavidGallandGuest post by David Galland of Casey Research

In New York City for our “Singularity Summit,” Alex Daley of our Casey Extraordinary Technology service and I decided to see what all the commotion is about and so wandered through a light drizzle to Zuccotti Park, home to the Occupy Wall Street protestors.

The group sure is attracting a lot of media smoke, so might there also be fire?

While it may be a conceit, as a young person arrested in the Oakland Induction Center riots, circa 1967, I like to think I know at least a little about grouping together in order to take it to the man.

So, based on my experience, how does OWS stack up?

In a word, pathetic. For three reasons.

1. Lack of a solidifying (or even coherent) purpose. 

First and foremost, the movement lacks a cohesive purpose.

As expected, there were a dozen or so cliques touting anti-capitalist themes. But other than in a general sense, they were far from the majority, which I would loosely describe as loosely described.

We saw one group against fracking and another small pod holding up signs calling for justice for the victims of Ecuadorian death squads. One old-timer held up a soggy sign with a passage of the US Constitution, lecturing passionately to a small contingent of bored youths on how said passage had been violated.

Standing nearby in the small park, an aspiring young Che was trying to get the attention of fellow les miserables in order to tell them how South America had been a non-violent paradise prior to the arrival of the white man. Others want to "eat the rich," while another... Well, you get the idea.

I am sure there was a divergence of opinions on this and that back in the Sixties, but I can assure you that everyone who sat in at the Oakland Induction Center, and dozens of other locations like it, was clear that the objective of the protest was to stop the Vietnam War. In the case of Oakland, by blocking the doors to the center through which the US war machine was regularly processing thousands of slaves, er, draftees, precedent to flinging them into a losing war in a country that not one in a hundred of them could even point out on a map.

By contrast, Occupy Wall Street appears to be little more than a gathering spot for the misguided, ill-informed, disgruntled and disenchanted. That is not to say that there aren't some legitimate gripes represented among the motley. Rather it is that unless and until they actually decide on a specific objective, their chances are slim of accomplishing anything more than encouraging copycat groups in other countries to riot for more targeted purposes - for instance, in Italy to protest government austerity measures.

As to who is encouraging those other groups, look no further than the television vans around the park perimeter. I strongly suspect some producer somewhere decided that OWS could be made into good drama for the nightly newsertainment, and so it came to pass. Given the lack of vigor in the park, it wouldn't surprise me at all if said producer had to periodically nudge the lumps with the toe of his boot and encourage them to make some noise for the cameras.

2. What leaders they have, appear to be both idiots and ideologues. A leader leads, as in getting the masses to act in concert in order to achieve a specific goal. Given the Tower of Babble gibberish so clearly in evidence, it's clear that no one near the top of the flock has a unifying vision or the ability to rally the troops in cohesive action.

If you want to understand just how painfully moronic the purported thought-leaders of this movement are, you only have to take a few minutes to watch this YouTube video.  (I have to warn you, however; this may cause irreversible brain damage.) The speaker is none other than uber-greenie Bill McKibben.

Doug Casey recently referred to these guys as "watermelons"... green on the outside, red on the inside, and I can't argue the point. In case you are wondering, the spastic wiggling of fingers in the background is called "twinkles" - and is done when trying to express enthusiasm for a speaker without interrupting them with applause.

So, what's got McKibben and his troupe of scary sycophants all heated up at Zuccotti Park? None other than the proposed extension of the Keystone Pipeline, an evil tube of death flowing from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. In McKibben's own words, according to certain unnamed scientists, "If we build this pipeline, it is game over for the climate."

Game over for the climate? Egads! Death to us all, including the doe-eyed little polar bears! And people accuse us here at Casey Research of being gloomy and doomy.

Thanks to regular correspondent Marko, here are a couple of maps that clarify the dire threat posed by the proposed Keystone extension, this veritable Godzilla of Goo. So, what does the extension actually look like? See the dotted lines on the map just above. Monstrous!

Devastating, no question about it.

Next, (right) we see a map of all the many pipelines in the US that are interconnected with the Canadian oil fields.

How can anyone deny that McKibben and his chorus are right... we should fight this monstrosity at all costs! To the ramparts!

That would show those filthy Canadians what to do with their filthy oil... namely swing that dotted line west in order to better ship the stuff off to China.

3. If You Aren't Getting Arrested, You Are Doing Something Wrong!

Seriously, I wanted to stand up in the middle of the park, clear my throat and yell, "Hey, listen up! What are you doing here? Pull yourselves together and get down to business!" (Egged on by Alex for his personal entertainment, I'm pretty sure.)

So, here's the set-up. The protestors, which number only in the dozens, are encamped in a small park in a fairly non-descript and unimportant corner of Manhattan. They are literally surrounded, in order of scale, by the police, the media (in nice, cozy vans), and Falafel vendors (it's hard not to love the contradiction between the signs saying "Down with Capitalism" and the Falafel vendors doing land office business selling the protestors their grub).

In other words, like the "Free Speech Zones" now mandatory for anyone caring to express an opposing opinion as presidential motorcade6s rush by, the Occupy Wall Street folks have allowed themselves to be corralled within the boundaries of a designated protest area, approved by the powers-that-be as suitable for the malcontents.

Exposing the extent of the farce, the New York Police force has a portable, extendible watch tower that looms over the park, keeping a Sauron-like eye on the goings-on. That thing would have lasted about ten minutes back in the good old brick-throwing days.

If I learned nothing back in the Sixties, it is that (once you decide on an objective) you need to assemble in the spot that most forcibly gets your point across - by disrupting business as usual - until the government has no choice but to arrest you, after which you return to same scene and repeat until someone gives. You win if the other guy blinks. Were I trying to discomfit Wall Street, I'd be blocking the doors of the major financial houses.

But what I'd really do is to forget Wall Streeters; they are mostly only symbiotic parasites stuck in the guts of the Washington overlords. And so, speaking only hypothetically here (because one would never advocate an open uprising against one's own government), were I leading the Occupy Wall Street mob, I'd have them on the next bus to the Golden City of Oz. And once there, I'd hand out chains and padlocks for the mob to lock themselves, like early Christmas ornaments, to the gates of the White House and to the front of the congressional hive.

That, however, probably won't happen. Instead, I suspect these directionless 'shrooms will remain largely hunkered down in their little park, venturing out only occasionally to be joined by sport rioters with no larger purpose than shouting out in a crowd, until the Northeastern winter picks them off one at a time.

"Hey dude, where you going?"

"Ah, er, out for a latte."

"Really? You sure? That's what the last hundred people said, and they never came back. "

"No man, seriously, I'll be back.  Seriously."

And so, rather than ending with the bang of exploding tear gas canisters and the strident sirens of paddy wagons, I expect OWS to end one day after the few remaining protest leaders, staring at each other across the leftovers of last night's falafels, realize they are pretty much alone and shuffle off muttering something about the need to get a job.

If you sense a certain disappointment in my remarks, you would be right.

For starters, the protestors provide such tangible proof of the failure of the US educational system. Things have gotten so bad, so politically correct, so politicized, so degraded by teacher bias, so removed from the hard sciences, so enamored of the big lies, that the vast majority of rank and file down at Zuccotti appear almost devoid of reason - and therefore rationality - about what it is they are doing.

Secondly, I'm disappointed because if there was ever a good time for a protest - against the sovereign states with their constant meddling in their economies, in starting wars, tampering with justice, interfering with the personal pursuit of happiness, and regulating business out of business - it is now.

Unfortunately, if there is a unifying theme even remotely present in the OWS movement, it is that the government needs to meddle more, not less.

If I wasn't so lazy, or maybe indifferent, I might suggest a counter-demonstration with a simple slogan:

Stop Meddling!

Concise and straightforward. Better, because from the standpoint of organizing, it opens up a wide vista of potential protest locales. The Fed, the FDA, the Congress, the Treasury, the White House, the State Department, the Department of War... why, the list is (sadly) almost endless at this point.

And it wouldn't start on Wall Street, but about 227 miles south.  In Washington.

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Unbreaking news: New poll

More unbreaking news for you, this time: the latest opinion poll with 100% agreement.

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The mystery of currency creation

Ever wondered about the mystery of currency creation? Given that the way currency is created is behind so many of the world’s problems in the four decades since the world went permanently off gold—you know, massive inflations, massive instability, the theft of your savings, the Great Financial Crisis…

So here you go, mystery explained in six minutes by Rich Dad advisor Mike Maloney, explaining how currency is created through "fractional reserve banking," and why the banking system “is a pyramid scam of epic proportions.” The video is only 6 minutes long but, as David McGregor at Sovereign Life says, “you will learn more in that time about the root cause of our economic problems than thousands of hours watching the news on TV.”

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Portraits, by Richard Schmid

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Richard Schmid’s portraiture is bold and energetic, seeming to come out of the raw canvas like a thunderbolt.

art_press_schmid

Thanks to Jasmine and Jesper for putting me on to his work.

12am317

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Poor old Banksie

Poor old Banksie. There are complaints about the traps that Labour have stooped to “dirty tricks” in their attempt to smear ACT’s Epsom candidate John Banks.

Amusingly the so-called “dirty tricks” involve posting around the electorate flyers quoting the candidate, and posting online his fiscal record while in office–all very helpful you would think to a candidate whose billboards boast his “experience” as his best feature.

Yet his record has less than meets the eye; leastways, less than met the eye of Don Brash and the ACT selection team when they selected “Banksie” as their candidate in their must-win seat. Because they apparently didn’t know when they selected him what everybody else knew long ago: That Banksie is a bigot. That Banksie is a spendthrift. That if he wants to run on his “experience,” then he can expect his past experiences to come back and bite him.

 His statements quoted on the pamphlets would bad enough, especially for any candidate representing a purportedly “liberal” party.  But it his fiscal record as Auckland mayor that should frighten the socks off anyone voting for him in the hope that the ACT Party represent fiscal responsibility.

If there is a surprise for me in Epsom [writes Labour's Epsom candidate David Parker, accurately], it is that so few people knew that John Banks tripled Auckland City Council’s debt during his last three years as Mayor. This recent history is very damaging for Key as well as Banks, given their repeated assertions that they are fiscally responsible and Labour is profligate.
The reality that Banks was “borrow and spend” will get through. I am telling everyone! Every letter box in Epsom will get this message…
    The reality is that Banks’ very public record is there to haunt Key and Banks. The man who claims Muldoon as his hero has the worst economic record of any Mayor, ever, in the entire history of New Zealand.
    While the last Labour government ran budget surpluses and reduced government debt, this is what John Banks did to Auckland:

        Auckland City Council debt more than trebled in his last 3 years as Mayor!
            2007          2008         2009                31/10/2010
            $135m      $322m      $499m             $738 million !!!!!!!!

This was all pre amalgamation [and therefore represents the debt racked up just for the much smaller original Auckland City Council], and resulted in three credit downgrades for the council from Standard and Poors (from AA+ to AA-).
   
The Act spin that debt increased because the old Auckland City was borrowing for the new City is untrue. (That extra $416m of borrowing in the 2010 year took Auckland City Council debt to $1,155m at the time of amalgamation, but is excluded from the above figures.)
   So John Banks certainly does not stand for fiscal responsibility.

He sure doesn’t.

One can only wonder about ACT’s sickening pragmatism in selecting this bigoted moron as their candidate in the first place.

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Feeding the 99% plus [updated]

Peter Schiff visits the #OccupyWallStreet crowd to debate capitalism with them, arriving under a banner reading “I Am The 1% … Let’s Chat.” “Schiff had plenty of takers,” recounts John Hayward at the Human Events blog.

The ensuing encounter is a master class on what happens when a serenely confident man, with full command of his facts, talks to a passionate mob of clueless wonders who don’t know a thing about their supposed cause, and don’t think they should have to… Schiff doesn’t just engage these people, he short-circuits them.  You can see one or two of them making a visible effort to think, which they abandon after realising it’s easier to chant slogans.

Schiff’s basic point, which is grasped but dimly: capitalism does not need to be fixed it needs to be restored. But there is at least one point of agreement...

(At least he found folk to debate. Across the Atlantic it’s more a case of #UnOccupyLondon as it turns out the “occupation” is really by a bunch of empty tents. HT Phil S.)

Here’s something else the #OWS crowd (and most of today’s politicians) need to get to grips with:  “What the protesters [and the politicians] do not realize is that the wealth of the one percent provides the standard of living of the ninety-nine percent… all of us, one hundred percent of us, benefit from the wealth of the hated capitalists. We benefit without ourselves being capitalists, or being capitalists to any great extent.”

How so?

Because, explains George Reisman,  the vast majority of the wealth owned by the so-called “one-percent” is not held in the form of candy bars or champagne bottles, but in the form of the capital goods and equipment that produce the consumer goods on which we (and the protesters) all depend—capital goods that only come to represent wealth to the extent they are used to produce the goods and services people, in their capacity as consumers, really want.

_QuoteThe protesters have no awareness of this, because they see the world through an intellectual lens that is inappropriate to life under capitalism and its market economy. They see a world, still present in some places, and present everywhere a few centuries ago, of self-sufficient farm families, each producing for its own consumption and having no essential connection to markets.
    In such a world, if one sees a farmer’s field, or his barn, or plow, or draft animals, and asks who do these means of production serve, the answer is the farmer and his family, and no one else. In such a world, apart from the receipt of occasional charity from the owners, those who are not owners of means of production cannot benefit from means of production unless and until they themselves somehow become owners of means of production. They cannot benefit from other people’s means of production except by inheriting them or by seizing them.

But in the modern world (at least, to the extent that the so-called “one-percent” are not simply milking government subsidies and bailouts, which is how Russel Norman, Bill English & David Cunliffe all seem to think business should work), all of us benefit from the private ownership of their means of production whoever owns them—just as long as the owners are left free to produce and innovate. We all get the benefit of their production, both as buyers of the products of those means of production, but also as sellers of labour employed to work with those means of production.

_QuoteThe wealth of the capitalists, in other words, is the source both of the supply of products that non-owners of the means of production buy and of the demand for the labor that non-owners of the means of production sell. It follows that the larger the number and greater the wealth of the capitalists, the greater is both the supply of products and the demand for labor, and thus the lower are prices and the higher are wages, i.e., the higher is the standard of living of everyone. Nothing is more to the self-interest of the average person than to live in a society that is filled with multi-billionaire capitalists and their corporations, all busy using their vast wealth to produce the products he buys and to compete for the labor he sells.
    Nevertheless, the world the protesters yearn for is a world from which the billionaire capitalists and their corporations have been banished, replaced by small, poor producers, who would not be significantly richer than they themselves are, which is to say, impoverished. They expect that in a world of such producers, producers who lack the capital required to produce very much of anything, let alone carry on the mass production of the technologically advanced products of modern capitalism, they will somehow be economically better off than they are now. Obviously, the protesters could not be more deluded.

This is not just hyperbole. The world the protesters yearn for (and which the politicians are only to eager to deliver) is one in which multi-billionaire capitalists and their corporations are increasingly and ruinously shackled. We have everything to lose by that, and only the chains of penury to gain.

We are all better off by multi-billionaire capitalists and their corporations not being shackled; not being stolen from (or subsidised); but instead being left free to produce, free to innovate, and of course free to fail. Indeed, our very well-being depends on the freewheeling production and creative destruction of capitalism. History itself shows that this is so:

_QuoteThis can be seen in the fact that today, the average worker works 40 hours per week, while a worker of a century or so ago worked 60 hours a week. For the 40 hours he works, the average worker of today receives the goods and services comprising the average standard of living of 2011, which includes such things as an automobile, refrigerator, air conditioner, central heating, more and better living space, more and better food and clothing, modern medicine and dentistry, motion pictures, a computer, cell phone, television set, washer/dryer, microwave oven, and so on. The average worker of 1911 either did not have these things at all or had much less of them and of poorer quality.
    If we describe the goods and services received by the average worker of today for his 40 hours of labor as being 10 times as great as those received by the average worker of 1911 for his 60 hours of labor, then it follows that expressed in terms of the amount of labor that needs to be performed today in order to be able to buy goods and services equivalent to the standard of living of 1911, prices have fallen to two-thirds of one-tenth of their level in 1911, i.e., to one-fifteenth of their level in 1911, which is to say, by 93 1/3 percent.

The problems in recent years have not been due to the rampant running amok of multi-billionaire capitalists and their corporations, but the opposite: the running amok of regulators, subsidisers, bailout merchants and money printers—all of them keen to shackle winners, subsidise losers, and print more of the same collapsing currencies whose printing led us directly to world disaster. Concludes Reisman,

_QuoteThus, however ironic it may be, it turns out that virtually all of the problems the Occupy Wall Street protesters complain about are the result of the enactment of policies that they support and in which they fervently believe. It is their mentality, … and the government policies that are the result, that are responsible for what they complain about. The protesters are, in effect, in the position of being unwitting flagellants. They are beating themselves left and right and as balm for their wounds they demand more whips and chains. They do not see this, because they have not learned to make the connection that in violating the freedom of businessmen and capitalists and seizing and consuming their wealth, i.e., using weapons of pain and suffering against this small hated group, they are destroying the basis of their own well being.
  However much the protesters might deserve to suffer as the result of the injury caused by the enactment of their very own ideas, it would be far better, if they woke up to the modern world and came to understand the actual nature of capitalism, and then directed their ire at the targets that deserve it. In that case, they might make some real contribution to economic well being, including their own.

Read Reisman’s thorough critique of the economic fallacies behind the #OWS movement:

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This one’s for relief. The next one’s for joy.

25rugby-image3-articleLargePicture ex New York Times

The wait is over.  The nerves assuaged. The World Cup jinx shattered. On Sunday night we  could finally party like we’d wanted to in 1991, ‘95, ‘99, ‘03, and ‘07. The long wait for a Wold Cup was was finally over, and the partying could start in earnest.

The moment when it came was explosive. Strangers were hugging strangers. People you didn’t know wanted to tell you every World Cup loss they’d been to, and how this one made it all better. Everyone was cheering Stephen Donald to a standstill (Stephen Donald!), and folk who knew better were singing along with gusto to a Freddy Mercury song to which in younger days they’d sworn eternal hostility. (Yes, I confess,  I was there too.) Hell, there were even people cheering Steve Hansen to the rafters for his cunning lineout move, and others could be heard thanking Helen Clark for getting the Cup here in the first place.

There was joy aplenty, but not unalloyed joy. It was joy heavily tinged with relief—and not just because the victory was so narrow, nor because the French team had fought so heroically, and so nearly successfully, to deny the ABs the victory.  It was relief that after twenty-four years the moment was finally here; that the Cup we’d thought we owned was finally ours; that for four years we could say our team are not chokers, they are the Wold Champions!

Let’s just say those last five words again, just because they sound so good: They are the World Champions!

It seems a long wait. Twenty-four years, and within that an inexorable four-yearly cycle in which the nation’s psyche was dissected anew with every semi-final and quarter-final disaster. It was hell, wasn’t it.

Yet perhaps this narrowest of victories—so sternly fought for; and with all our home ground advantages so narrowly and heroically won—might just tell us all the lesson we needed to learn: that to win a World Cup, in any code, is surely a task as hard, as tough, as the victory when it’s achieved is sweet. And more: that all those years of crying at our failure cut so deeply because all that time we thought the trophy was ours by right; we learned on Sunday that the trophy needs to be fought for, and fought for with every last sinew. (As Matt said in yesterday’s comments, “You're a world champion if you can take what that French team threw at NZ and prevail.”)

Perhaps now we’ve  won it in the tensest of struggles to a team everyone was unaccountably ready to write off we might now realise how difficult the task of raising the Cup really is, and we can perhaps prepare to forgive some of those on whom we’ve poured scorn in failures past. (Okay, maybe not John Mitchell, but if Stephen Donald can be so rapidly rehabilitated … ?)

Now we’ve got the monkey off our backs we can reflect that we never really owned the World Cup at all, and victory in its pursuit is sorely won, and so much more worthy of celebration for all that.

Which means next time we can celebrate with pure joy, and not just with relief.

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