Posts Tagged ‘politics’

One of the elements I really like in my position is seeing new resources go up on the web.

Fifty years of Victoria University’s The Spike student magazine is now online. The University Library has digitised the complete run of The Spike Victoria College Review which ran continuously from 1902 – 1949, then in 1954, 1957 and 1964.

From the editorial in Issue one:

“We be wayfarers together, O Students, treading the same thorny paths of Studentdom, laughing at the same professorial jokes, grieving in common over the same unpalatable “swot,” playing the same games, reading the same indigestible books. Let us also pause for a few moments together and stretch out a hand of welcome to a small white stranger, that has come amongst us with little preliminary under the name of The Spike. Hast thou The Spike, fellow-student? If not, I pray thee make all haste to procure it, less worse things befall thee, and thou art impaled on its venomous point.”

The Spike is a fascinating view into student life at the University during the first half of last century. In particular we have found some interesting and moving pieces published during the World Wars. With the coming centenary of WWI in 2014 approaching these will be invaluable for researchers.

From the October 1916 The Spike in Extracts From Soldiers Letters;

Wellington,21st September, 1916.

Dear “Spike,”-

Extracts from Alan MacDougall’s letters will be of abiding interest to his old friends. These will be pardoned for thinking that when he died, Victoria College lost its most perfect student. In tribute to him, will you publish some extracts from certain recent letters of his which tell of the work he was engaged in and how he viewed it, and which unconsciously body forth those qualities of perception, faith, humour, generosity and noble courage which will keep his memory ever green in the hearts of those who loved him. At the end, with his friends in the line stricken down, he was lonely; and we do well to believe that he has passed into an immortal Fellowship.

I am, etc.,


“We are well fed and clad; frequently well housed in billets, as now, and always pretty happy. It’s just as well to try and be happy in the face of the ever present possibilities of this life. The way we look at the facts is that if a Jack Johnson or whizz-bang is addressed to you, it will find you. The goods are always delivered-fatalism of a cheery sort. How one finds out the real men in this sort of work! the cool quiet ones, the gasbags, the dare-devils, the paralytic, the shirkers. From what I know of other battalions I conclude that we are to be reckoned fortunate beyond most in our personnel, both officers and men. We trust each other and we shall back each other.”

The Spike joins Hilltop in the collection of Victoria student magazines found in the NZeTC .

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I feel that I must give you fair warning. Today’s post is going to dwell on one of those twin banes of conversation, politics.

I describe myself as a liberal conservative; centre right, with a strong libertarian streak. I believe in a small government, individual responsibility, and in simpler cheaper legislation and regulation.  I also happen to be passionate believer in the Public Library system.

By now you may be thoroughly confused. Sometimes I am as well.

So how can I, who believes in lower rates, focused local government and a tighter definition of “core services” defend what many would consider a luxury? It all comes down to how you view rates and taxes. It also comes down to what sort of community you wish to live in.

Many of my would be compatriots on the political right view rates and taxes as theft, a necessary  evil that should be paid, but cut to the bare bones. I view rates and taxes more like the body corporate fees one might pay in an apartment. If we didn’t pay them the walls of our “building” would fall down and then where would our investment be?

How is the public library a “core service”? How does it help prevent our “building” falling down? If you consider the roads etc as the internal, then libraries are part of the external. On a purely superficial level they help show a community that is proud and vibrant, and as such they help attract investment and continued involvement within the community.

I don’t think it incongruous to talk about the social good the Public Library provides. The Library provides education, and entertainment at a relatively free level. It seems self evident to me that if your citizens are happy, educated and entertained then there are going to be fewer problems, that a bit of judicious spending on social services should lead to less crime and policing lessening that burden on the tax payer.

That’s my defence, what’s yours?

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