Saturday, May 30, 2009

Super Gorilla finally uncloaked by budget

It's not often I bump into Landlord Jim, so seeing him at the flat the day after Bill English's first Budget was some good fortune. I harangued him on how it was in his interests to get that underfloor insulation done, seeing as how it'll only cost a third of the standard retail to do it from July 1. But get in quick, that'll be one oversubscribed scheme.

I had just got back from listening to Andrew Geddis overview the principles of electoral finance reform down at the Railway Station campus. There was a good thirty odd people in attendance, but nowhere near the level of interest that the one up at Kelburn a couple of years back returned. It was a choice presentation, MCed by a jocular Jonathan Boston.

But the big shock was overhearing something before the gig. A scythe of retirements is cutting through the politics department in Wellington. Margaret Clark, Elizabeth McLeay, Nigel Roberts, Dr Bob (Gregory) and others are leaving the game for good. Some might have returned in a part time capacity, but the paperwork was so complicated as to make the idea academic.

Yeah yeah, I know that Margaret Clark was long overdue. But Lloyd Geering is still speaking heresies and he's pushing the century. And for them all to depart at once is some sort of brains trust mass suicide for the university department. Then again, given the diminished responsibility of a politically ignorant student base represented by the deteriorating narcissism of the VUWSA body politic, add a tightening noose of budgetary constraints from Treasury, and there's little joy in remaining.

And as far as Bill English's Budget goes, it's a holding pattern. Law and Order election campaign Band Aids have been nailed down and that's it. The insulation is good, but since Labour were going to do it anyway, and it is a bit of a recession easer, fair go. But everything else is on hold while deeper plans are forward planned. The Big Switcheroo is coming, but not today.

So what's with the Vic Uni politics department? Were they ahead of the curve? Well, there's no Baby Boomer to take over the Head of Department. The succession goes directly to Gen Xer Jon Johannson. For the rest of us, we've got ten years to get our shit together:
By 2019, Generation X — that relatively small cohort born from 1965 to 1978 — will have spent nearly two decades bumping up against a gray ceiling of boomers in senior decision-making jobs. But that will end. Janet Reid, managing partner at Global Lead, a consulting firm that advises companies like PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble, says, "In 2019, Gen X will finally be in charge. And they will make some big changes."