Is The New Zealand Government About to See A Repeat of The 1990s?

The 1990s began with the chaos of a disintegrating Labour Government and ended with the chaos of a disintegrating National one

In the leadup to the 1990 General Election, the New Zealand Labour Party appeared to be falling to pieces. They had gone through three leaders in 15 months, with Mike Moore the most recent to wrest control of the jinxed idol, having convinced the hapless Labour Party caucus that he was a better bet for staving off what was looming as an electoral disaster.

The move turned a disaster into a catastrophe – the National Party won 67 seats in the election compared to Labour’s 29, as the Italy-style rapid changes in leadership gave the wider public the impression that Labour had lost the plot entirely.

This majority was enough for the National Party to force on the nation what the people called “Ruthanasia” – a Budget so callously tight-fisted that it appeared that National were trying to cull the poor through starvation.

The Budget was so unnecessarily cruel – in many cases leaving solo mothers unable to feed their own children at the end of the week – that even New Zealanders were appalled by it, and only by demoting the clearly psychopathic Ruth Richardson to the back benches did the National majority survive the 1993 General Election.

By the next election in 1996, the National Party had eroded most of the trust that Jim Bolger had earned in opposition, and they were only able to govern thanks to a rickety alliance with the New Zealand First Party.

When Jenny Shipley rolled Bolger in 1997, New Zealand had another psychopath in an influential position, and this made the alliance with Winston Peters untenable. Being neither a psychopath nor willing to submit to one, Peters was unable to work with Shipley and was duly sacked.

New Zealand First then disintegrated under the gravitational pull of the National Party as it tried to withdraw from its influence, and the New Zealand electorate responded to the wheels falling off the alliance by chucking the whole thing on the scrapyard.

The National Party was duly destroyed by Helen Clark’s Labour in 1999.

Since Helen Clark took the reins at the end of the 90s there has been nothing but orderly Government, but “History, with all her volumes vast, hath but one page…”

Our current situation in the winter of 2017 is fairly precarious, with Bill English having taken the leadership at the resignation of John Key last year. Any development that brought the stability of Bill English’s leadership into question could well lead to a comprehensive National Party loss this September.

The most likely way this would happen is by some scandal being followed by a poll that hinted suggestively at a National Party loss, at which point the National Caucus panics, then Paula Bennett does a Jenny Shipley and convinces the Caucus to support her leadership instead (ironically it was English himself who replaced Shipley as leader of the National Party in 2001).

In other words, Paula Bennett may seize upon any weakness shown by the blundering incumbent PM in order to achieve her own Prime Ministerial ambitions, despite being grossly unfit for the role.

Judith Collins might also play the role of Shipley, depending on who moves first and with what support.

Either would be suicide for the National Party, because there’s nothing less orderly than an involuntary change of leader.

What the public wants, more than anything, is that the Government maintains good order, and what the public needs, more than anything, is that the Government maintains good order.

We don’t actually need it to do much else. If it can simply keep the peace, the rest of us can get on with our lives of commerce and trade. We can make ourselves rich and happy without their help – all we need is for them to not interfere.

From 1840 to the early 1900s New Zealanders developed our country from the Stone Age to first place among all the living standards of the world, and this was achieved without any of the National, Labour, Green or New Zealand First parties existing.

All we need is for the megalomaniacs at the top of the national dominance hierarchy to maintain good order, and we can do the rest.

This is why many political commentators miss the mark when they decry Andrew Little for his lack of charisma.

It’s true that Little has the charisma of a brick, but so what? He’s not going to be personally leading a company of men into battle. He’s going to be inheriting the reins of a civil machine that has been fine-tuned for almost two decades.

His job, as mentioned above, is to maintain order. To that end, being boring is a qualification. He hasn’t said a word about either of the two hot issues stirring up the left at the moment (cannabis law reform and increasing the refugee quota), and this is no doubt a carefully calculated tactic to make him appear suitable as the man to steady the ship.

After all, it’s a heavy increase to the refugee quota that is more likely than anything else to bring a massive amount of chaos to these shores, as both the Green and Opportunity Parties are gagging for it.

Some say that the National Party are the natural ruling party of New Zealand. If there’s any truth to this it’s because the National Party are the best at maintaining good order.

If Little really wants to become Prime Minister this year, all he has to do is what Helen Clark did two decades before him – simply maintain good order in his own party, and wait for the ambition and greed of the National MPs to cause them to devour each other.

Can the Lions Cope With Blitzkrieg Rugby?

Rugby is a game that is based on the laws of battle. The forwards represent the infantry, the backs the cavalry, and the kicker the artillery. Much like warfare, team styles of rugby fall on a spectrum with attritional warfare on one end and manoeuvre warfare at the other.

In the same way that the Wehrmacht shocked its opponents with revolutionary tactics in the opening stages of World War II, the reason why the All Blacks have dominated the world rugby stage for over a decade is that they’re conducting a blitzkrieg while everyone else is in World War I mode.

In other words, the All Blacks are fighting with manoeuvre warfare while everyone else is in the attritional mindset.

The concept of the blitzkrieg was based around two general principles: the schwerpunkt and the kesselschlacht.

A ‘schwerpunkt’ (“heavy point”) refers to a specific point in the enemy defensive line that was targeted for a sudden, intense rush of artillery, armour and infantry, with the specific intent of breaking the line and driving beyond.

Usually this took the form of an intense artillery barrage from multiple batteries concentrated on a single point in the line, followed immediately by a heavy tank charge with the intent of breaching the line, and then infantrymen into the breach with the intent of holding it and keeping it open.

Usually there was more than one schwerpunkt, the idea being that multiple columns of armour would break the enemy line at various points and then, as they penetrated deep into the enemy interior, link up in what was called a pincer movement, as it cleaved off a chunk of the map in a manner akin to the pincers of an insect.

When two or more columns of armour met in the interior of the enemy, that essentially meant that all of the enemy forces between the initial front lines and the two vast lines established by the armour were surrounded in the centre, making it possible to pin them with artillery fire.

Because this led to those enemy forces being rendered into chaos in much the same manner as water boiling in a kettle, this was known as a ‘kesselschlact’ (“kettle battle”).

The reason why this tactic – called blitzkrieg by the British – was so successful is that is allowed the attacker to break up tens of kilometres of enemy defensive line in one movement. This was a drastic change from the usual World War I tactic of winning a few hundred meters at a time in a slow, bloody grind that was vulnerable to counterattack.

Because so much of the enemy line was broken so quickly, it had a tendency to collapse before it could regroup, as was seen in France and the opening weeks of Barbarossa.

So much for the military lesson.

The two distinct styles of rugby union played in the world today could be roughly referred to as the Atlantic and the Pacific styles.

The Atlantic style is the traditional, attritional style of rugby favoured by the Northern Hemisphere sides and by South Africa and Argentina. It is otherwise known as “tight”, “10 man” or “up the jumper” rugby and refers to a love of mauls, scrums, pick and gos, high bombs, one-out crashballing, pinpoint kicking and generally just mudwrestling – essentially World War I-style tactics in miniature.

The Pacific style, championed by the All Blacks, is also played by Australia, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Japan used it when they shocked the Springboks at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and Argentina flirt with using it. It is derided as “loose”, “festival” or “basketball” rugby by the Northerners.

Those who play this style love offloads, cut-out passes, goosesteps, wrap-around plays, fends that knock the fullbacks over, sudden and untelegraphed changes of attack direction, chipping and regathering, passing in front of the receiver, and perfectly-timed passes that allow the winger to skin the covering tackle on the outside.

Done poorly, the Pacific style can disintegrate into a shambles reminiscent of a scratch Barbarians game, in which the players are trying to force every pass and the opposition can win simply by waiting for opportunities to counterattack.

Done well, the Pacific style gives us blitzkrieg rugby.

Like the military blitzkrieg, successful use of this tactic is much more than just throwing the ball around and having big players who can run fast. It also requires a particularly high degree of co-ordination.

If there’s one way in which the All Blacks are always more effective than their opposition it is in their ability to support a line break. Almost every time an All Black breaks the line he has options for unloading.

This is a consequence of the fact that All Black players have usually played rugby since they were small children and have an intuitive ability to read the game that has been refined over more years than the other teams’ players.

In the same way that the Soviet Union stopped the Nazi blitzkrieg by successfully using multiple lines of defence, the Lions will have to accept and adapt to the fact that their first lines are going to get broken.

In other words, if the Lions are going to stop the blitzkrieg rugby of the All Blacks they are going to have to scramble like demons.

This will require a high degree of skill as the defenders will have to make correct decisions at extreme pace.

Usually these decisions involve which lines to run so as to shut down space in order to prevent the player making the line break from setting up an outside runner, as it is this aspect of the game where the All Blacks can devastate teams in very short order.

The blueprint for this ought to be the Irish win over the All Blacks in Chicago last year. The Irish defence retained its cohesion in that game despite the rapid manoeuvre attack of the All Blacks. If the Lions cannot at least equal the defensive cohesion of that Irish team, the All Blacks will cut them to shreds.

Furthermore, without a kicker near to the class of Dan Carter the Men in Black do not have a reliable Plan B. It’s blitzkrieg rugby or nothing – so the British and Irish can be expected to have an excellent game plan.

Rugby union is, and always has been, a game of skill.

The All Blacks will play to a gameplan which puts the skills of all 30 players under the highest possible stress at the highest possible tempo, because these circumstances give the decisive edge to the most skilled side, and they believe themselves to have the superior skills.

If the Lions are going to stop this blitzkrieg they are going to have to make intelligent decisions extremely quickly to an intelligent gameplan. The competitiveness of the series will hinge on their ability to do this.

Black Caps vs. Bangladesh, Champions Trophy Pool Match Preview

Mustafizur Rahman, with a strike rate of 22.7 in ODIs, would fancy himself against the Black Caps middle order if he gets a chance against them in tonight’s do-or-die encounter in Cardiff

This Champions Trophy has been one of upsets. The Black Caps got themselves into a position of control before the rain set in against the slightly favoured world champion Australia side, then Pakistan defeated the moderately favoured South Africa side, and last night Sri Lanka defeated the massively favoured India side.

An even worse omen for the Black Caps is the fact that they lost their previous encounter with Bangladesh in the Ireland tri-series a few short weeks ago.

This will give the Bangladeshis confidence before their crucial Group A encounter with the Black Caps in Cardiff tonight. They will, however, have to contend with facing a very different Black Caps side to the one they beat in Dublin.

Most notably, the Black Caps will now have the presence of all of their four genuinely world-class players, with Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Trent Boult, all of whom missed the Ireland tri-series for IPL duty, rejoining Ross Taylor in the side.

This explains why the Black Caps are still the favourites to win the encounter on BetFair. They are only paying $1.33 compared to Bangladesh’s $3.90, making them heavy favourites.

Martin Guptill has looked very good in his two starts this tournament, but has been unable to go on and play a punishing innings. With Luke Ronchi likely to continue partnering him at the top, Bangladesh will be forced to take early wickets or risk getting hit out of the game.

With Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor completing the top order, the most likely outcome of the match appears to be the Black Caps top four batting the Bangladeshi bowlers – a class weaker than the English and Australian batteries – out of the game.

If they don’t, Bangladesh will feel confident of rolling the rest of the order. The Black Caps lost 7 for 37 against Australia and 8 for 65 against England, and Bangladesh know that if they can get Williamson in early and then out early, they will be in a very strong position.

The Black Caps might be tempted to fiddle with their middle order a bit, knowing that this has been their soft underbelly for a long time.

Neil Broom’s returns have been poor this tournament – only 11 and 14 – but he has averaged 43.53 since coming back into the Black Caps side last December. His position should be okay for now.

The real question is how to fit both of Jimmy Neesham and Corey Anderson in the team. It may be that one of them comes out for Colin de Grandhomme, who has shown the ability to come to the crease and start hitting straight away.

It may also necessary to drop Mitchell Santner below Adam Milne in the batting order, as Santner has had great struggles with the bat recently.

Another option is bringing Latham in to open and moving Ronchi back down the order.

Bangladesh may find it much more difficult to chase down scores like 271, as they managed to do in Dublin, because they will have to do it against Boult, Tim Southee and Adam Milne.

However, their batting down to 7 is much stronger than it has ever previously been in Bangladesh cricket history.

Tamim Iqbal is their strongest bat on recent form. In 30 matches since the last Cricket World Cup he averages 59.53 with the bat, and has scored over 200 runs in two innings so far this tournament.

Around him there are a number of very talented batsmen, in particular Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim and the allrounder Shakib al Hasan.

If they can keep Boult, Milne and Southee out with the new ball, as England managed to do, then it will be possible for them to milk a plethora of runs in the middle stages.

A major danger for Bangladesh is that if they fail to bowl New Zealand out, they may lack the hitting power to match them across 50 overs. Despite the talent in the Bangladeshi side it’s hard to see them chasing 300 or more, even in the most favourable circumstances.

All of this could be moot in the very real circumstances of rain, as a washout would see the Black Caps eliminated and Bangladesh with only a mathematical chance of progress.

For the winner, however, an Australian loss in their matchup against the bookies’ favourites England, or a washout in the same encounter, would see them progress to the semi-finals.

Considering the chaos in the other group, there’s every chance that they would then play a relatively soft team like Pakistan or Sri Lanka in the semifinal.

So there’s all to play for tonight.

Black Caps vs. England, Champions Trophy Pool Match Preview

The Black Caps demolished England the last time these two sides met in a major competition, with Tim Southee taking 7/33. The England team of today, however, is an entirely different beast

The washout against Australia a few nights ago gave Black Caps fans a lesson in expectation akin to being given a lesson in orgasm denial from a professional dominatrix. With Australia reduced to 53/3 in the tenth over of their chase, all signs were pointing towards an opening round upset as shocking as the Black Caps’ win over Australia in the 1992 Cricket World Cup.

Instead, the rain came in to deny us a fair finish to the contest. So the Black Caps will be champing at the bit to have a go at England tonight (9:30 p.m. NZT) in Cardiff, in a match that they almost have to win in order to advance to the semifinals.

The English side has been heralded as prospective champions from all corners, and this is reflected in the short odds offered on BetFair for England to win this contest: $1.52, compared to $2.90 for the Black Caps.

Looking at the achievements of the England batting unit it’s not hard to see why.

Joe Root looks unstoppable at the moment, with an ODI batting average of 49.68 and just coming off 133* against Bangladesh. Around him are three batsmen who are ranked just behind Ross Taylor on the ODI charts right now: Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler.

All of these batsmen, including Root, are capable of batting at a very fast clip, and so are opener Jason Roy and allrounder Ben Stokes.

So the Black Caps will go into the match knowing that a failure to take early wickets will likely leave them chasing a gigantic score. They need to at least get Joe Root out early if they want to have a real chance of bowling England out.

But if English batting stocks are strong, the bowling stocks are another question.

Chris Woakes has been ruled out of this match through injury and Ben Stokes may not be able to bowl his full quota of 10 overs on account of a minor knee injury.

On top of this, Jake Ball has been very expensive in recent games and neither David Willey, Mark Wood nor Steven Finn have shown a particular talent for taking wickets. This means that Liam Plunkett – at 16th – is likely to be the highest-ranked English bowler on display.

The weak English bowling is where, if anywhere, the match is most likely to be decided. They will have to get Kane Williamson and Taylor out cheapish, and avoid being hit out of the game by Martin Guptill or Luke Ronchi at the top, to have any realistic chance of winning.

If they can, then they will be into the currently misfiring Black Caps middle order. The Black Caps lost 7 for 37 at the end of their innings against Australia, mostly thanks to their middle order finding Australian fielders with most of their lofted shots.

The New Zealand middle order had already been identified as a point of weakness before this tournament, so the English bowlers should feel confident of restricting the Black Caps to a small total if they can get into it before the death overs.

However, if they can’t, then they will not be able to defend anything less than 350, because otherwise the Black Caps will hit them out of the game.

Adam Milne was extremely impressive against Australia, despite only bowling a few overs. This will make him, alongside Trent Boult and Mitchell Santner, the likely choices for bowlers.

They will be partnered by either Tim Southee or Jeetan Patel, depending on which of the two appear best suited for the conditions, and a combination of Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham as the fifth bowler.

All of Milne, Boult and Santner are more impressive than any bowler England is fielding – for reasons of pace, skill and economy respectively – so it is most likely to be here that the Black Caps win the match.

Black Caps vs. Australia, Champions Trophy Pool Match Preview

Trent Boult demolished the Australian lower order the last time these two sides met in an ODI, taking 6-33. The Black Caps will need something similar to concede less than 350 against this strong Australian side

The Black Caps had mixed fortunes in the Champions Trophy warm-up matches, but that will all be forgotten when their first pool match starts, against World Cup final opponents Australia, this Friday at 9:30p.m. (NZT).

Australia is a solid favourite on BetFair to win this encounter in Birmingham. They are only paying $1.53 compared to $2.84 for the Black Caps.

The main reason for this is their superb bowling. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are both ranked in the top 5 of ODI bowlers at the moment, and they will have both Pat Cummins and James Pattinson backing them up.

Because Starc is capable of batting 8, Australia might be tempted to go with all four of them in the same side – which would make for an exceptionally fearsome ODI pace battery, one of the strongest ever. There would be no respite.

The Black Caps may have three of their best ever ODI batsmen in the top 4 – Martin Guptill, captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, but question marks remain over Guptill’s opening partner and the middle order.

A number of players were tried in these positions in the warm-up matches and in the preceding tri-series against Ireland and Bangladesh. The difficulty is that there were no performances that will have forced the hand of the selectors.

Guptill will open with either Luke Ronchi or Tom Latham. The desire from the brains trust might be to favour the big-hitting Ronchi, because English surfaces in recent years have tended towards very big scores.

A variety of players have been recently tried in the Black Caps middle order. Neil Broom, Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner and Colin de Grandhomme are all possibilities for the middle order and allrounder slots.

The Black Caps bowling unit, however, is easy to select. The tried and true combination of Trent Boult (ranked 6th in the world for ODIs) and Tim Southee will no doubt share the new ball, and it’s likely that Mitchell McClenaghan will be in as third seamer.

McClenaghan’s T20 experience will help to lend him skills that are useful in death bowling, and he has been talked about in that role in particular. This should see him take the spot ahead of Adam Milne, who is improving rapidly but still lacks the knockout punch of the more established seamers.

The three seamers will be complimented by Mitchell Santner, whose relentless accuracy and subtle variations have seen him rise into the top 10 of ODI bowlers for the first time.

The Black Caps bowling strategy will be to take two or three poles early with the moving ball, and then to at least restrict the scoring in the middle overs with Santner and the variations of either McClenaghan or Milne.

This will lessen the potential impact of the Australians’ big middle order hitters like Chris Lynn, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade.

The Australian batting lineup appears to be following the general ODI zeitgeist at the moment by being packed with hitters. Any of David Warner, Aaron Finch, Lynn, Head, Maxwell or Stoinis is capable of striking at well over 100 for as long as they can stay in.

Their strategy will probably be to use Steve Smith at 3 as the fulcrum around which the other batsmen can hit. If Smith can stay in long enough then the others around him can throw the bat and Australia will post a colossal score.

Considering that 300 has been a par score in England recently even for average sides, this match between the two World Cup finalists has the potential to see 700+ runs scored.

The winner of it will have the box seat in qualifying from this group, as they will probably then only have to beat Bangladesh in order to advance to the semifinals.

Did Richie McCaw Destroy International Rugby?

The Sydney Bledisloe Cup match of 2000 was a high water mark in international rugby. In front of 109,000 people, the world champion Australia team and the desperate, wounded All Blacks fought to the death like Ali and Frazier. Many who saw it said at the time it was the most extraordinary rugby match ever played, with an iconic match-winning performance from none other than Jonah Lomu.

The All Blacks prevailed on that night, 39-35, but the Wallabies would win by one point three weeks later to retain the Bledisloe Cup, and at the time it seemed like the advent of professional rugby was about to make for a titanic era of contests for this trophy.

Professional rugby seemed like it was going to bring a lot of razzamatazz to the Southern Hemisphere circuit – Super Rugby was also huge that year. The ACT Brumbies topped the table at the end of the pool stages, and ended up losing the final at home against the Canterbury Crusaders by one point.

The next year, 2001, marked the Super Rugby debut, also for the Crusaders, of one Richie Hugh McCaw. As it turned out, McCaw was not so much a rugby player as a genius that played rugby.

He only played eight minutes of Super Rugby that year, but he did play a full NPC season, and was good enough to win selection to the All Blacks’ end of year tour, where he was handed a debut against Ireland, and promptly won Man of the Match.

The next year, 2002, McCaw became a Crusaders regular. In an odd echo of the future, the Crusaders won every single match that year, taking the Super Rugby title undefeated – something never achieved before or since.

2003 might have been the end of the golden summer for Australian rugby. They lost the Bledisloe Cup, but managed to knock the All Blacks out of the World Cup, going on to take an all-conquering England team to extra time in the final.

Come 2017, and Australia has not won the Bledisloe Cup since. Richie McCaw may have retired two years ago, but in the same way that Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage to Mecca depressed the price of gold in the Middle East for decades afterwards, McCaw’s decade of almost total dominance still depresses Australian rugby.

This year’s Super Rugby table makes for confusing reading. The current leaders of the Australian conference, the Brumbies, have fewer tournament points than the current wooden spooners of the New Zealand conference, the Blues.

New Zealand rugby is so dominant that the 4th-ranked Kiwi team, the Highlanders, has only lost three games all season. Despite this, they can’t climb any higher than 4th because the Hurricanes have only lost two, the Chiefs one and the Crusaders zero.

Even worse is the effect this dominance has had on the Internet rhetoric. At the turn of the century, trans-Tasman rugby banter was between equals. In recent years, however, it has taken a darker turn: the prison rape metaphor, once only applied to descriptions of All Blacks matches against the hapless Celts, crept into summaries of Bledisloe matches.

At its nadir, the Internet rhetoric was entirely based on the degree of sexual impotence the Australian players and fans would suffer as a consequence of the losses and for how many years afterwards. The jokes were that the children of Australian players would be too ashamed to admit their paternity to their classmates.

So the question is this: was Richie McCaw so good at rugby that he actually destroyed the international game? Did he set standards so high that all other nations just gave up on hoping to ever match them?

Probably not. After all, Australia made it to the World Cup final in 2015, and they did about as well there as any other side could have hoped to have done – namely, a loss by a two-try margin.

Alexander the Great died at age 33, and within months of the same age Richie McCaw retired from international rugby. The struggle for a successor to Alexander saw his empire shatter into four pieces and then to further disintegrate.

Kieran Read now leads the All Blacks, and his side might play the role of the Seleucid Empire, the early favourites to recreate the total world domination that McCaw once achieved.

However, no order can exist indefinitely, and it is in the nature of peaks to erode into valleys. The standards set by McCaw are unlikely to be maintained for the simple reason that the men tasked with doing so will not possess McCaw’s genius.

This column believes that it is in the Australian nature, despite a decade of denial, to recognise the smell of blood at the first opportunity and to take advantage of it. Therefore, it predicts that the current sorry state of Australian rugby will not last for much longer.

And as long as one side can stand up to the All Blacks the others will always believe themselves to have a hope.

The Great Division at the Heart of Generation X

The 1999 film Fight Club was highly prophetic for those too young to identify with the Baby Boomers and too old to identify with the Millennials: those of us who vaguely, apathetically, identify with being called Generation X. Speaking to us in the midst of a quarter-life crisis, Tyler Durden told us what we already suspected, but dreaded being forced to accept: we are the middle children of history, no purpose, no place.

It’s true. We stand for nothing. Nothing unites us, apart from this cynicism. We have no Great War – Afghanistan and Iraq will never define our generation like Vietnam did the one before us and World War II the one before that. Very few of us fought in it, and the body count incurred simply does not compare.

Neither do we have a Great Depression.

The proportion of Baby Boomers raised in absolute poverty dwarfs the proportion of Generation X raised in absolute poverty, as the several decades of technological advancements and massive industrial and economic expansion after World War II all but eliminated childhood poverty by the 1970s, save for the unfortunates born to mentally or physically ill parents.

Where the Baby Boomers used the political system as a weapon to enslave the coming generations and to keep them working to maintain Boomer leisure and privilege, Generation X mostly refused to engage.

And where the Millennials are taking measures to overthrow the current political and economic systems and to replace them something not borne of the poverty mentality of the Boomers, again Generation X mostly refuses to engage.

In this sense, Generation X is a generation of springtime, in that we comprise the part of the sine wave where yin transforms to yang, and life begins to blossom but without direction, owing to its inexperience.

But in the same way that the springtime is a season of broken weather, so too is Generation X naturally unstable, and so too will we break apart.

But can we really like ourselves without knowing who we are, and doesn’t that require a purpose and a place?

The natural division at our heart is like this: half of us are like the Boomers, half are like the Millennials.

It might be that the Boomers end up representing the “old left” in the exact same way that they once represented the “new left” against the “old right” of the Greatest Generation, with the Silent Generation playing the role of autumn.

This suggests that half of Generation X will sell out and throw their lot in with their parents, resisting change and acting to perpetuate the same injustices on the Millennials that the Boomers imposed on them.

In this way, half of us will become the “old left”. Probably this means that, as we age and become the leaders of industry alongside the Boomers, we will advocate for more governmental control and regulation, fewer entrepreneurial freedoms and the continued importation of millions of third-world people to destroy the solidarity and so also the wages of those we employ, screaming “racism” every time a Millennial or Generation Z complains about anything.

The other half of us will become the “new right”. Probably this means that, as the Millennials also age and gain in economic and political influence, they will still look primarily to members of Generation X for immediate guidance, and those of us willing and able to fill these roles will naturally do so.

It’s very possible both that the Millennials and Generation Z, having been raised in an abundance mentality that sharply contrasts with the poverty mentality of the Boomers and their immediate predecessors, will demand a radical transformation of society and revaluation of values, and that they will look to members of Generation X for moral, philosophical and spiritual guidance.

This column predicts that half of us will succeed in reciprocating these expectations from the next generations, whereas the other half will cling to the old ways out of fear and fail.

The next generations might well be horrified at the sexual permissiveness, the suicidally reckless obsession with alcohol, the negligent attitude to the potential negative consequences of mass immigration, the indifference to the mental damage of exposure to suggestive television advertising and the brutally cognitively restrictive education system that all combine to characterise the culture that we have become used to – after all, none of these phenomena are caused by the expression of universal or eternal moral truths.

Will we stand aside for the next generation, or will we try and strangle it in the crib in order to shore up our own positions? That is the essential question that will divide Generation X over the coming decades.

How Individualism Defends the Anglosphere

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, a couple of extremely virulent and aggressive political movements swept the Western world – communism and national socialism – eventually leading to the deaths of some 50 million people. How did the Anglosphere avoid getting sucked up in these murderous, psychopathic insanities?

The soul-grinding deprivation of the Great Depression caused horrific trauma all around the world. Perhaps on account of an absence of historical guidance and precedent, a number of countries voted extremists, demagogues or lunatics into power on the grounds that desperate times called for desperate measures.

But none of the core Anglosphere nations of Britain, America, Canada, Australia or New Zealand came close to voting a totalitarian into power before World War Two, and none of them have since.

As the European Theatre of World War Two dawned, there seemed to be three major forces. The central powers, represented by Germany, Italy, Austria and Romania, were fascist; the eastern powers, represented by Russia, were communist; and the western powers, represented by the British Empire, America, France, Holland and Scandinavia, were liberal democracies.

The liberal democracies won, and won an opportunity to reshape the world in their image in the coming decades – which they mostly seized.

But ninety years after the streets of Europe were once filled with running battles between communists and national socialists, it looks like they’re going back to the same stupidity.

So why didn’t the Anglosphere put a totalitarian in power before World War Two, and why aren’t we going to put one in power in the coming decade, as the inexorable laws of demography push Europe closer to civil war?

There is a different culture in the Anglosphere. Namely: we are not a slave race, and so we do not tremble in worship before power. In fact, almost uniquely in the world (along with Holland and Scandinavia), we openly express contempt for those who wield it.

Because of this, we don’t get swept up in mass movements and personality cults like the Europeans. There is no concept in the Anglosphere of awaiting some great leader to free us from a terrible and unfortunate state of disgrace, such as which put Hitler in power. Neither is there the kind of entrenched, systematic corruption that leads to the mass resentment of the wealthy that puts Marxists in power.

In fact, if anyone stands up with even vaguely Hitler-like rhetoric, that person is immediately shut down for being a crackpot. There’s no way that you can stand on a street corner and rant about Jews without getting jeered at or having garbage thrown at you.

The trajectory of the British Union of Fascists was much different to that of the Nazi Party: “As the party became increasingly radical, however, support declined. The Olympia Rally of 1934, in which a number of anti-Fascist protestors were attacked, isolated the party from much of its following.”

Even at the apogee of British fascism, The Battle of Cable Street, a maximum of 3,000 fascists were met by 20,000 counter-demonstrators. They were even outnumbered two to one by the Metropolitan Police, which made them, at peak strength, orders of magnitude weaker than the Sturmabteilung in Germany.

And no fascist movement in America, Canada, Australia or New Zealand became anywhere near as strong as the BUF.

There seems to be an inherent wisdom in the Anglosphere consciousness that is capable of recognising massively dangerous egos and imposing a kind of order upon them before they become capable of doing too much damage. It is not in our nature to grovel before a big man; our nature is pulling the fingers, flipping the bird, saying “fuck you”.

It seems to be the natural gift of the Anglo people to keep order without the need for totalitarianism – perhaps a function of having the right amount (not too much, not too little) of diversity of thought, much like the Swedes with their lagom or the Dutch with their famous tolerance, care is taken to act with the correct proportionality.

This is probably a combination of the concept of fair play, which prevent anyone from falling too far down, and the concept of the tall poppy syndrome (Swedish: Jantelagen), which prevents anyone from developing a disruptively large ego.

Anglos generally don’t brook shadowy, sinister conspiracies like other Westerners, and are prone to instantly reject ideologies that require that human nature fundamentally be reshaped, believing in almost all cases that such a thing is simply not possible.

This column has long predicted that natural demographic laws will force Europe into a kind of civil war when Muslims in Europe realise they have the numbers to enforce their religious proscriptions on the natives. This will probably lead to the coming to power of another tyrant, because it is the nature of Europeans to swing from one extreme to another.

Whether the Anglosphere will shed the blood of its young men another time to put the European continent to order is another consideration.

A Look at the Black Caps Squad For The Champions Trophy

The Black Caps squad for June’s Champions Trophy has been announced. The full squad is: Kane Williamson (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Neil Broom, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitch McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Jeetan Patel, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor.

The Black Caps have a tough group to get out of. They must qualify in the top two of the pool to progress, and their group of four contains world champions Australia, home favourites England, and giant-killers Bangladesh. Finishing last is a realistic possibility.

Matt Henry might be the big omission from the squad. Over his 30-match career Henry has 58 wickets at 25.10, which makes the case for his inclusion about as compelling as the case for Trent Boult before the 2015 CWC. It is certainly a significantly better record than any of McClenaghan, Milne and even Southee.

Despite this, the Black Caps pace battery will be very strong. It looks as though the pace bowling attack will be based around Trent Boult (as could be expected up until the 2023 CWC), with Adam Milne returning to his pre-CWC injury third seamer role and one of McClenaghan or Southee sharing the new ball.

Adam Milne has the potential to be a tremendous bowler, as he has both the pace and accuracy. All he needs to learn is the subtlety that divides the cricket master from the journeyman and New Zealand will have another weapon in the bag.

Mitch McClenaghan has surprised a lot of people and continues to do so. He has been excellent for the Mumbai Indians in this season’s IPL and the Black Caps selection panel appears to believe that this white-ball success will translate well to English conditions.

English conditions will also suit the tricky Tim Southee. So in all cases, Kane Williamson knows he has 30 overs of top-drawer pace bowling available to him.

The Guptill-Williamson-Taylor axis comprises three of New Zealand’s best ODI batsmen ever and, if anything, these three players are better than the ones that took the Black Caps to a CWC final. So most of the top order picks itself.

Tom Latham is enduring a horror season with the bat, but he is still likely to open the batting alongside Guptill. His current average of just under 30 might make his place in the order look questionable, but with six Test centuries by age 25, his experience and skill against the new ball will be useful in English conditions with high levels of lateral movement.

The real selection questions are around the middle order.

The Black Caps are yet to find a dependable replacement for Grant Elliott, although the squad does include a number of possibilities. Neil Broom might be considered the front-runner for the position but Jimmy Neesham has recently been surprisingly good in the last batsman’s position.

Any number of players could take the allrounder’s position at 6. Probably the Black Caps will go with Corey Anderson, whose awful run with injuries seems to be over. Anderson, like McClenaghan, has been impressive in the IPL, and Williamson ought to be able to depend on him for four overs at least.

The other allrounder’s position at 7 is another open question. If Tom Latham opens the batting, there may be little advantage in choosing Luke Ronchi at 7, as Ronchi has been very poor with the bat for a long time and does not offer more than Latham with the gloves.

Mitchell Santner might have fallen out of favour slightly in the regard of the current set-up, and this could mean that Colin de Grandhomme takes his place as the bowling all-rounder, if the brains trust decides to go with Luke Ronchi at 7.

Given the strength of the top order with the bat, the smart thing to do might to pack the middle order with hard-hitting allrounders.

Likely team for the first match versus Australia on the 2nd of June, starting at 9.30p.m. New Zealand Time:

1. Martin Guptill
2. Tom Latham (wk)
3. Kane Williamson (c)
4. Ross Taylor
5. Neil Broom
6. Corey Anderson (5/6)
7. Colin de Grandhomme (5/6)
8. Mitchell Santner (4)
9. Mitchell McClenaghan (2)
10. Adam Milne (3)
11. Trent Boult (1)