Friday, 3 October 2014

Post Mortem At The Pub

Next Move? "Adapt or go under was the only choice Labour gave us, Trev, and now they must do the same.”

“SO, WHADDYA RECKON, TREV? Is Labour finished, or what? Can you stop crying into your beer long enough to give me a professional political post mortem?”
 
Trevor Bright was used to his uncle’s jibes, he’d been hearing them long enough. Ever since he’d announced that he was off to university to study politics, his Uncle Bruce had made a point of quizzing him on matters political – especially those relating to the Left.
 
“I’m not crying into my beer, Uncle Bruce. Anyone who kept an eye on the polls could hardly have been surprised by the election result.”
 
“Oh, go on with you, Trev! You were always telling me the polls were crap. They only contacted people with landlines, you said. Young people with cell-phones were never contacted, you said. National’s numbers were always 5 percentage points too high, you said. You’ve changed your tune a bit, haven’t you?”
 
“Yes, but I was only talking about a couple of specific polls, Uncle Bruce. The various ‘Polls of Polls’ got it just about spot-on. I looked at those on the Friday night and my heart sank. I knew the Left was in for a drubbing.”
 
“Drubbing? Nephew, that was more than a drubbing, that was a bloody massacre! I heard some bloke on the radio saying that Labour’s come full circle. That they polled about the same as they did the very first time they contested a general election, way back in 1919. Is that true?”
 
“I’m afraid it is, Uncle Bruce. In both 1919 and 1922 Labour polled almost exactly the same as it did a fortnight ago: 24 percent.”
 
“Except that back then Labour was the new kid on the block, wasn’t it? A bit like Values or the Greens – only much more popular. Sheesh, can you imagine how chuffed that lot would’ve been to get 24 percent on their first trot? But Labour’s not the new kid on the block anymore, is it Trev? It’s the 98 year-old geezer on the block. So I’ll ask you again: Is Labour finished?”
 
Trevor knew that there was a lot more to his uncle’s question that a mischievous desire to rark-up his  academic nephew. For many years Bruce Bright had been an active member of the Meatworkers Union. He’d been a leading delegate and was one of the union’s most formidable shed orators. When Uncle Bruce got going, you had to hold on tight to the furniture or risk being blown away. He remembered the Christmas dinner a few years ago when the onetime Labour supporter had really let it rip. It was an indictment he’d never forget.
 
“Labour did it to us, Trevor. Our own party. I remember watching the blokes walking out of the works on that last day; heads down, silent, gumboots scrunching the gravel. And there wasn’t a damn thing that I, or the Union, could do to help them.
 
“The Nats had always put the boot into working people – it was expected. But these bastards, the members of the so-called “Fourth Labour Government”, they’d done much more than that. Right under our noses, they’d restructured the whole damn country. Only when it was too late did we realise that, in the brave new world Roger Douglas had made for us, working people had only two choices: they could adapt; or they could go under. We were on our own.”
 
Trevor looked up from his glass of lager into the full force of his uncle’s gaze.
 
“I’ve a friend in Rongotai, in Wellington, Uncle Bruce, who tells me that in streets which used to return a solid Labour vote, people’s allegiances are now split between the local MP, Annette King, and the National Party. The funny thing is, Uncle, that the people in these streets: highly-skilled, self-employed contractors and their families – some of them living in renovated state houses – used to look upon Labour as ‘their’ party. But on 20 September most of them Party Voted National for the third election in a row. The tragic thing is that most of the families living in the un-renovated state houses didn’t vote at all.”
 
Bruce Bright blinked away tears and tipped back his glass.
 
“Good! Because it’s no more than they deserve. Adapt or go under was the only choice Labour gave us, Trev, and now they must do the same.”
 
This short story was originally published in The Waikato Times, The Taranaki Daily News, The Timaru Herald, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 3 October 2014.

48 comments:

pat said...

and here endeth the lesson.. if Labour hadnt become a Party of career politicians they would have seen what was happening to their constituency right under their noses.Im not sure that many of them understand that yet.

JanM said...

And I really think this encapsulates the essence of it. Unless Labour says 'sorry' often and loudly it's essentially catsmeat.
They betrayed us and they are trying to carry on as if nothing happened.

peter petterson said...

Indeed, the great Lange Government!

pat said...

apologising loud and often for events 25 to 30 years ago when a large proportion of your target audience wernt even in nappies then is pointless and counterproductive...like those with that view, the Labour party need to place that in the past where it belongs and develop a vision that deals with the world as it is today and will be tomorrow.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

They seem to have 2 choices. Maintain the party's aim firmly towards the centre, or try to engage with those people that don't vote and move to the left. I've pretty much got my ideas sorted as to what they will do, considering those that are putting themselves up for leadership. In which case they are basically going to rely on the cyclical state of New Zealand politics and hope to get in next time – or the time after. That'll probably work but what do we have as an end product. National light :-).

Mark said...

I can so relate to Bruce.I had exactly the same experience in 1980s and I will never forgive the Labour Party. I was heavily involved in the union movement and we were shafted by our own people.I am tribal left wing but you can't vote for any party on the left because all it does is empower the Labour Party. Can't do it. Either can any of the activists I knew and worked with at that time. Nothing the National Party did before 1984 or since has had the same effect on workers lives than what Labour did to them in the name of an economic theory. When I look at the Labour Party today there are still a lot of the old faces from the 80s around.The Labour Party in its present form will never ever get the hundreds of thousands of supporters it dumped on in the 80s back. And neither should it.

Davo Stevens said...

Very wise words Surgeon and so true.

We have had a Liberterian Govt. here for that last 30 years and there is no sign of any changes. I remember saying here a while back that I would reserve judgement on Cunliffe but I had already formed a conclusion as to where he slots into the political scene. And I was right when I was following his electioneering. He's a Rightwing 'Socialist'!

His CGT was targetted at the Low Middle Incomers who are struggling to get deposit together on a house. It was not relevant to low incomers and beneficiaries who will never be able to afford a home of their own. They were left out of the deal.

Charles Etherington said...

National lite will not do at all because national are already lite, part of their appeal to many.
As I've said before, the world has changed and National have gone with the trend but Labour has not and those left of you are even more out of date. So don't despair, there will be a future for the left once you rid yourselves of the false view you have of your opposition. They are not the right of old that some of your contributors still tilt at. They are liberal and more compassionate than before. Ok with gay marriage and targeted welfare for example.
Therefore new labour not only needs a new name but a new outlook that improves on modern National from an even more enlightened position. And a even better economic management philosophy. One that increases lower incomes without just filtching the cash from the better paid.
This reformation will take time and good leadership. You have the time.

Paul said...

@Guerilla Surgeon - you are right about the choices, though I've had to deduce that "ignoring the centre in favour of getting young and poor nonvoters to vote" is the favoured alternative strategy of many on the Left. I've had to deduce it because I have not seen any direct statements of that strategy - just plenty of righteous withering scorn directed at anyone who talks about needing to get *back* the votes that Labour lost in this election - votes that were redistributed within the centre, mainly to National and NZF.

Many on the Left are confusing a centrist *political strategy* with a *centre/centre-right ideological position*. This is a category error. Centrism is a strategy that works for getting elected and staying elected. It worked well for Clark, and it is working even better for Key. The governing party or parties can still enact left-wing or right-wing policies under centrist cover, and thus gradually shift where the centre actually is, as long as they do it gradually and don't frighten the horses. The reason they need to do it gradually is because most voters don't actually support those policies. This is what Clark did with things like the anti-smacking bill, this is what Key did with asset sales (and will do with RMA "reforms"). The compromise and impurity of centrism enrages ideologues at both ends of the political spectrum, but it works. Labour will not return to power in the foreseeable future without this strategy.

I find it difficult to believe that people actually think that ignoring the centre (leaving it to Key), and hoping that the "missing million" can be induced to vote, and hoping that they'll all turn out to be politically savvy lefties who were just waiting for Labour to become socialist enough to vote for, is a strategy for anything other than political suicide. But I have not read any cogent articulation of this strategy anywhere, so maybe I have misunderstood it. Maybe if I did find a good description of the strategy it would change my mind. Such a strategy would rely on an extremely detailed study of nonvoters, their political beliefs and engagements, and the reasons they do not vote.

Of course, Labour actually DID campaign on a centrist policy platform this election - it was just an unappealing, badly though out one. People do not vote for tax increases (the capital gains tax). Likewise no one votes for raising the retirement age, necessary as it might be. Labour's unappealing eat-your-brussels-sprouts policies, and the animosities both within its caucus and between Labour and other left parties, together cost it the election.

There is a bitter fact that I think the NZ Right has come to terms with (hence the death of ACT), but the Left has not. This fact is that most people disagree with our political ideas and our view of the world. *The centre is where it is*. There is no mass of people waiting for Labour to move to the far left so they can vote for us. Overtly moving further to the left will entail a loss of votes, not a gain of votes.

Anonymous said...

Like many past generations, the ones that move towards the end of their working lives often tend to become more "conservative" or at least "moderate". That has happened to the generation called the "baby boomers", who would once have voted Labour, and similar parties in developed societies.

They have over recent years moved towards National, as Key has made it easier for them, himself coming from a sole parent, state house kind of background, who got into work, business and made his pieces of silver. Key seems to be a "moderate" Nat, even though for many that distrust him, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

But the newer, younger generations are apolitical, in their majority that is, more than any generation has been for a long time.

We had about a million people that were entitled to vote last election, but who did see no reason or incentive to do so. Some did not even enroll, and many that did enroll, they did not go and vote.

It is the choice Labour has to make now, to either choose the reduced pool of voters in the "centre ground" more and with more successful means, or to find ways (at last), to reach out, converse with and motivate the close to a million that are a pool that should be tapped by true, responsible democrats.

I fear Labour will opt for the first option, so we will have a return to "National Light" and lose a whole new generation, who may never become interested, participating democrats, which would be a huge shame.

Yes, it is very difficult to reach out and win over those many hundreds of thousands of non voters, but surely, there must be a way to do so, as otherwise our future will look bleak, a bit like a fake democracy, for those bothering to vote, and otherwise a dictatorship of the winners over much of a disconnected, disowned and non participating society.

We are at a cross roads, and answers and actions must be offered a.s.a.p.. Potential voters must be talked with now, not only a few weeks out from the 2017 election.

JanM said...

Pat, that is nonsense. There may be a number of younger voters, but there are many of us, Labour's former loyal supporters who remember only too well. In any case, the results of that betrayal remain with us and are carried through to the next generation which, judging from their failure to vote, do not expect justice or fairness from anyone.

Anonymous said...

"The Nats had always put the boot into working people..."

Really?

Has it not been *Labour* that for the past three elections has been promising higher (and more) taxes - *bleeding* the working people?

Hasn't it been National that kept Labour's WFF policy intact?

Labour hasn't been the party of "working people" for at least 30 years. For the last 30 years it has been the party of beneficiaries and special-interest groups. It has some massive problems ahead of it -

* Leadership.
* Renewal of MPs - there is precious little of this (apart from Stuart Nash and Kelvin Davis).
* The economy - it is ticking over nicely - better than almost any other Western country.
* Welfare - benefit figures are plunging and are likely to continue doing so.
* The Greens. Voters know about the "vote for Labour, get the Greens" scenario and are spooked by it.

peterpeasant said...





it is nearly two generations since the LP led "reforms" of douglas/prebble/moore !984/87.

The NZLP (what is left of it) is now reaping the benefit of Douglas. Prebble, Moore sabotage of the Lange regime.

Those of us that have to get our hands dirty and sweaty pay the rent and feed the kids are never considered.

Capital gains taxes and tax breaks for those that do not need them do not make a lot of sense to the poorest 39% of the countries active voters.

I think we were once called the proletariat.

markus said...

Obviously agree with the underlying sentiment expressed in the post.

But, at the risk of seeming outrageously pedantic, I'm not sure I would have chosen the Rongotai Electorate to illustrate the swing of disillusioned former Labour voters to National.

Rongotai (like Wellington City as a whole) remains well to the Left of New Zealand in its political sentiments. Based on the 2014 Preliminary result Lab+Green 56% L+G+NZF 62%. And it really hasn't changed that much over recent elections. The L+G+NZF vote was precisely the same, for instance, in 2008 (62%) and just 4 points higher in 2005.

Similarly the Nats in Rongotai have climbed only very gradually / mildly since 2005 (from 28% up to 33%).

The Hutt Valley, (especially Upper Hutt in Hipkins' Rimutaka seat) might have been the better option. The Lab-to-Nat swings over the last 3 elections there have been more pronounced than anywhere else in Greater Wellington (though they still pale into insignificance besides the wholesale swings in Auckland, Christchurch and some of the Provincial Cities since 05).

TruthHurts said...

The Elephant in the room:
82% of men DID NOT vote for Lsbour.

Repeat

82% of men DID NOT vote for Lsbour

Wayne Mapp said...

I suspect that many of Barry's mates voted New Zealand First.

Pat is right. These events are now 30 years ago. The nephew had not been been, probably not for another 5 years.

When I was first active in politics (in Labour) I used to hear about 1951 from those who had lived through it. I had not been born in 1951, and neither had I grown up in a union household, so it did not seem to me to have much relevance to life as lived in the 1970's.

It really is time for the Left to stop banging on about the "failed neo-liberal experiment". That battle was lost long ago.

Of course Chris is one of the worst offenders, but I suspect he knows that particular war has been lost, hence his rather nicely written fables, such as this one. and his alternative histories.

But to win, Labour has to focus on the future, paint their vision in a way that actually appeals and seems to be relevant to the present, and stop wallowing in the past of what might have been.

pat said...

Those of a left leaning political viewpoint would do well to note Pauls dose of realism...youre so bitter that your brains have stopped working...your inability to support Labour or any other party that will support labour simply hand the treasury benches to the right....that is really going to improve the lot of those you advocate for.not.
My children were born during he period of the Lange/Douglas government and as far as they are concerned it is as relevant to their lives as WW1 or 2.
Did those events and those that followed under Richardson negatively impact their lives?...of course, but it is equally true that it is of only passing interest to them and the vast majority who are eligible to vote...remember a goodly proportion of eligible voters wernt even born here and consequently their history is even further removed from your feelings of betrayal.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this post.

This election result, now that all the votes have been counted, is virtually the same as last time. Winston did slightly better, and Labour did slightly worse.

In other words, despite the most favourable circumstances since... ever, the National Party received a lower percentage of votes than it did last time. The only reason it can form a right wing government is because of rorts in Epsom and Ohariu. The right cannot get a vote of over 50%. It appears to be a bridge too far.

On the other hand, when Labour, the Greens and NZ First do well, they can easily get over 50% combined, and about 60% in 2002. Those three parties are all opposed to the kind of free market policies that the core of the right want. NZF is largely supported by anti-free market conservatives.

I'm not convinced that the left has that much to worry about. In an election where the media practically yelled "Vote John Key!" from every rooftop, his side still could only win by cheating the MMP system.

That's it. This is the high watermark of right wing politics in NZ, and it's still not over 50%.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"failed neo-liberal experiment".

The problem is Wayne that they are still experimenting and it still doesn't work. If you manage to get out of your neoliberal shell and read a little more widely your find out that they've managed to fuck up Kansas' economy in the last few years. So it's not over, because the right are too stupid to realise it doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

I am tribal left wing but you can't vote for any party on the left because all it does is empower the Labour Party.

If you're not voting for a parliamentary party of the left (i.e. Labour or the Greens), you're de facto voting for National. And if you can't see the difference between Labour and National, then more fool you.

Anonymous said...

who goes to the pub anymore to do post mortems?

What happened to "Post Mortem on Facebook" or "Post Mortem on Twitter"

I'm pretty sure there were enough Pre Mortem's that would have given an indication of why Labour didn't do well.

When I was in my 20's in 1984, the 1951 water front issue was ancient history that had no relevance to how I voted.

Today, I suspect the 1984-1987 government has as much relevance to the under 40 year olds as 1951 had to 20 year olds in 1984 (that is, zero).

For Labour to get in and have relevance it needs to sell a vision of what it would do to counter the continuing (and worsening) inequality that has developed in New Zealand. To that end, reviewing the results of censuses from the 1980's through to the present would be illuminating with respect to how far New Zealand has moved towards being tenants in their own land. And, especially, how Maori and Pacific Peoples are now very much the least likely to be property owners and much more likely to be tenants.

Instead of framing the discussion in terms of "Left" and "Right", how about framing the discussion in terms of "Growth Lobby" and "Sustainability Lobby". The Growth Lobby loves population growth as that keeps the population/property/rental ponzi going. Who benefits from continued pressure of population on rental vacancies, properties to buy and sell, houses to build etc? Who benefits when there is an excess of rental properties compared to tenants? Switch from a "Growth" frame set to a "Sustainable" frame and you are more likely to see better outcomes with respect to equality than continuing to mine the past for metaphors such as "a post-mortem at the pub".

Anonymous said...

apologising loud and often for events 25 to 30 years ago when a large proportion of your target audience wernt even in nappies then is pointless and counterproductive

Have to agree. When have the Nats ever apologised for *anything*?

james said...

The party is over for the good old days of left leaning with the Labour Party.and has been for a considerable number of years for those with eyes to see.

They will for sure continue on the road they have been travelling gladly along with the bus hogging the center line,or to put into the words of Stuart Nash,the other day,we have to pay more attention to the productive working block,not to the moaning unproductive block.

There is only one Party now within N.Z.that comes close to that of the old Labour Party and its values and that is Mana.

Chris Trotter said...

Dear God, Pat! I really didn't expect to ever encounter a living breathing example of the stereotypical ahistorical Kiwi - but here you are, large as life, and don't you fit the bill! Anything that happened yesterday is irrelevant: only the future matters.

I wonder, do you feel that way about your own childhood? About your own family history? Do you really have no interest in the sort of world your parents and grandparents grew up in? On how it might have influenced the way you were raised?

Does it occur to you that your absurd determination to blank the past, along with the memories of all those people who lived through the past - and when it comes to Rogernomics that's hundreds-of-thousands of people - might actually be a by-product of the very same historical forces you are so keen to ignore?

You may not be interested in History, Pat, but History is interested in you.

pat said...

Ah Chris you miss the point...it is not that i am uninterested in history, quite the contrary but if you would like to cast your mind back to your younger days you may recall that your passion for history and politics was not shared by the seething masses that were more likely concerned with where the next dance was, who was buying the beer and does that young lady enjoy my company (to be polite)...i would suggest it is even more pronounced today, as the distractions are so much greater and the issues have been greatly complicated (deliberately).
Add to this the fact that those who will support Labour irrespective of their competence (on the back of good past deeds) are literally a dying breed, the disengaged million or so and I dont think it is unwise to advance a course of action that gives the Left a realistic chance of gaining the treasury benches so as to effect a change of direction.
Not an attempt to blank the past which I am happy to discuss and am well aware of its significance, ..a pragmatic attempt to stop the ideals I was bought up with being trampled underfoot by current circumstances.
As a student of history I am sure you are aware that extremism begets extremism.

Davo Stevens said...

@ Paul: Have to clear up some serious mis-conceptions you have. It would surely be obvious to anyone with a few brain cells that there is little point in voting in a Govt. that is the same as the one in power! Why change it? The main reason that Labour bombed out was because IT"S POLICIES WERE ALMOST THE SAME AS NATIONAL!! Most of the non-voters were Low Incomers and beneficiaries, now why didn't they bother to vote? Could it possibly be because there was nothing in the policies of Labour that would help them? That's why they stayed away.

The Anti-smacking Bill was not Clarks, it was Sue Bradford of the Greens WBB (Whack-a-Brat Bill) and she got the MP's to vote on conscience not party lines. Even John Key voted for it.

John Key has talked about a Tax Shift again, kind of, sort of, maybe, sometime in the future. Claims that it will help the Low Incomers, how? By giving them $2.00 a week? Whilst he and his mates will get hundreds. And the result is that we will all pay more for the services we need to survive. The best way he could assist the Low Incomers and beneficiaries is to make the tax threshold at about $15,000 a year. He won't do that as the Low Incomers are the biggest tax base in NZ.

I repeat what I have been saying all along; Labour needs to move to the Left where it belongs and articulate it's policies properly and well.

Anonymous said...

Dear God, Pat! I really didn't expect to ever encounter a living breathing example of the stereotypical ahistorical Kiwi - but here you are, large as life, and don't you fit the bill! Anything that happened yesterday is irrelevant: only the future matters.

I think you are missing the point. It isn't really about ignoring the way the Rogernomics era shaped both the Labour Party and the country, but rather a recognition that we ultimately have to leave the past where it is: behind us.

Here's the thing: Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson didn't go on and on about the evils of the 1890s Liberal Government or the 1930s Labour Government. They simply went and did what they wanted to do in the here and now, framed their ideas in the here and now, then claimed victory. In the UK, Thatcher did what she wanted to do without publicly bashing Clement Attlee, even as she destroyed much of his legacy.

Basically, we have to recognise that traumatic as the 1984-1990 era was, the Left should stop engaging in infighting about the rights and wrongs. Leave that for the historians. Meanwhile, we've got a world to change *now*.

Angry Tory said...

When I look at the Labour Party today there are still a lot of the old faces from the 80s around.The Labour Party in its present form will never ever get the hundreds of thousands of supporters it dumped on in the 80s back

Which is of ouse why Helen Clark didn't run a three-term government with all of those faces from the 80s in Cabinet.

The fact is the Fourth labour government was far, far to the right of the current Key government; Key is carrying on Helen's polices --- if anything borrowing more than Cullen would, and on social and Maori policies, governing significantly to the left of Clark. There's nowhere for Labour & The Greens to go without promising full communism.

Angry Tory said...

The right cannot get a vote of over 50%.

Clearly state-school educated. Something like 65% voted for parties to the left of Labour at the last election. 65%.

Considering what you no doubt consider "hard right" but the rest of the world would see as centre-left or even hard-left --- ACT, National & Conservatives they got nearly 52%.

I can't imagine a better argument for immediately banning state-sector unionism and chartering (really privatising) even damn state school in the country than your idiotic comment.

Victor said...

Paul

I'm in essential agreement with you. Labour presented us with the electoral worst of both worlds: middling policies and radical posturing, tailor-made to scare the horses.

And those few policies that were a mite less anemic than most were bound to be unpopular with a wide cross section of the public. Worse still, they weren't explained adequately, even by David Parker, who did a better job than most.

But I don't think that the answer was just a more radical policy mix combined with more centrist rhetoric, although that would have helped. The public has been taught to think in essentially neo-liberal terms these last three decades and much that the Left has to say appears counter-intuitive to the average sensible voter.

I'm not sure what can be done about this. But of one thing I'm convinced: constantly reliving the past won't, on its own, provide much enlightenment.

A besetting sin of the left is its nostalgia for battles long gone. As a Grade A nostlagic myself, I can understand the allure of Times Past. Apart from anything else, it's comforting to recall events of which one knows the outcome, particularly if that outcome smells in retrospect of bright red roses.

Our excellent host, Mr Trotter, is another Grade A nostalgic. But perhaps he might ask himself exactly what New Zealand Labour has to offer to an immigrant solo mum in Botany (for example) and what possible relevance his nostalgia might have to her or her children.

Victor said...

On reflection, my previous post may have been excessively dismissive of Labour's policies.

The party's undertaking to build substantially more houses was (by the standards of these timorous times)both bold and radical.

It was also practical, sensible and, to my mind, wholly appropriate to our current circumstances. And it would certainly have been of relevance to the immigrant solo mum in Botany posited by that previous post of mine.

Of course, the policy was also very much in accord with one of Labour's most venerable and hallowed traditions. Does this last point have much to do with the price of fish? I doubt it.

Jigsaw said...

Quaint really. I grew up in a working class environment in the 1940's and 1950's and I didn't know anyone who didn't vote Labour-mind you if there was anyone then they kept it really quiet. However I never knew anyone even vaguely like Bruce Bright. Most of the working men I knew were deeply suspicious of the
union officials of both their and the other unions and considered that they had other motives for wanting to occupy their positions. I recall my father pointing out Toby Hill (post 1951) and it wasn't in a friendly way. I think what Pat meant was that many
young people just don't see history as being relevant to them personally. I think that they should and so obviously do you Chris but it doesn't make it any different.
I think it's easy to build up myths about the past - just look at the Maori effort in doing that- but finding the truth can be a daunting task.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Ah typical jigsaw – plenty of assertions no evidence. What you answer my questions? You might have to do a bit of research. Mind you you could start by giving us some examples of Maori myths about the past.

Charles Etherington said...

We're getting there don't you think Chris?
1. History important of course as it is what we are made of but don't get stuck on it and we are not guilty because of it. WE are the forgiven or at least the forgivable.
2. Labour is multi-fractured and you need a plan to gather up the left under your banner. So your current enemies are in opposition with you. More on that later.
3. The Key Team are outright winners currently so forget taking the fight to them for now. Again, later.
4. The Key Team are already National Ultra-Lite in all important ways which suits the times so of course Labour cannot just be another version of them. 5. Labour will need to look like a significantly better alternative government in waiting, but not one dependant on the very very unpopular Watermelons & and Winnie-Preening Club. Yes unpopular. Ninety percent of the country detest those pretenders and time, money and space wasters. They are what is wrong with MMP. They are your main problem currently and should be top of your hit list once you gather yourselves under a new leader. I would choose Parker as he is likeable, smart and cool headed, and I presume, a good team builder (if not, I'm wrong). Those attributes are what Key has in abundance and Cunliff totally lacks. How on earth did you allow C in to the top job? Oh I know, you changed your selection rules. Fatal mistake I think. Only the elected crowd should choose who leads them. Certainly not the odd bods who make up membership & the irrelevant unions. It's the people who stand up for election by the masses some of your correspondents look down their noses at who must live & die with their leader. Basic stuff. Fix it.
And why do I care? We need a proper sound opposition and I think Labour should get a last chance to be it. The alternative is more awful by a country mile.

Chris Trotter said...

Plenty to think about in that missive, Charles.

Many thanks for the constructive tone.

pat said...

Bear with me for I have a plan...a plan to re-engage the missing million, a plan to revitalise Labour and secure their support for generations to come, and best of all all a plan that will improve the lot of many of those who have been excluded fro our rock star society, sorry economy. A plan simple but not easy.
Indeed this plan is" so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel"...sadly, like this great quote, I can not claim to have thought of this plan as it has been used many times in the past (that bit is for you Chris)...indeed the National Socialists used it in inter war germany, Hamas have used it in Palestine and even the Labour party used a version of it their earlier days.
For demonstration purposes we will take the most recent of those examples...ask yourselves why any sane person would support an organisation that brings with it the risk it will use your children as suicide bombers, will use yourself and community as a human shields and bring the might of an exceedingly well armed and unsympathetic neighbour against you?
The generally agreed answer to this question is that Hamas for some time now have been providing the social support networks that were once the domain of the authorities.Fatah, once were the goto guys for this but after a long period in power in which conditions failed to improve the Palestinians were welcoming of Hamas" support regardless of the risk indeed to the point where Fatah were nearly entirely removed from influence...sound familiar?
Consider the impact of a series of Labour operated (and branded) community help centres in the neediest parts of our communities which are providing free medical ,legal, and housing etc assistance,,,, a one stop shop that is staffed by volunteers.
Impossibly expensive and labour is broke I hear you say...not necessarily so. Our community organisations are already doing much of this work and many of them will be labour supporters , the Party is full of lawyers and am sure there are many medical professionals who would be prepared to volunteer a few hours a month for this type of service as many already do.
Hell ,even incorporate the electorate office and add that funding, the state GP visit subsidy and you have the beginnings of your funding.The Labour Party then once again becomes a source of practical help to those it claims to represent instead of being yet another bunch of self serving politcians who are big on words and short on action.
The goodwill generated from action rather than words is exactly the goodwill extended by those whose lives were directly helped by the labour party in generations past and is the greatest foil to any multi million dollar media campaign funded and facilitated by the right.
And the biggest bonus of all? Helping our fellow Kiwis and demonstrating that they do count and havnt been discarded.

Jigsaw said...

GS- What you answer my questions? translation please?

Chris Trotter said...

You know what, Pat? That just might work!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I posted you a series of questions some columns ago jigsaw – you haven't answered them. They were designed to make you think rather than spout platitudes.

Jigsaw said...

GS- Your belief in your superiority is just nauseating at times. Try considering this myth or more accurately downright lie that Maori are in a partnership with the Crown. A lie that is going to cause us and our children and grandchildren endless trouble in the years to come. I don't even recall what your [previous questions were as they are usually so biased and based on a failed philosophy - beside which I have life to live and don't spend all my time on blogs-however entertaining. I spite of what you may think your opinion is not the only valid one about and everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Jigsaw said...

GS- I won't bother reading any more of your comments and if you wish to regard this as some sort of victory-be my guest. For someone to write that you hope to make me think (lie you - or at all?) is deeply insulting and doesn't even begin to be any part of a reasoned debate. Almost as bad is to accuse me of writing platitudes which is likewise to claim superiority which must do something for you I suppose-I hope it helps. For someone who claims I used ad hominem arguments you seem to resort to this constantly and if it's supposed to be a contest then I declare you the winner. Personally issues interest me far more than attacking people. Luckily I am off on a trip so it will be several weeks before I return. No doubt you will still be around but don't expect any further reactions to you 'Jigsaw's at it again' comments which I somehow doubt you will be able or indeed want to resist.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Jigsaw, I have no belief in my superiority as such, only in the superiority of my evidence not necessarily my opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion – even yours. But you are under an obligation to make it an informed opinion. Time after time I've provided you with evidence to the contrary of your philosophy, and yet you refuse to engage. And, short of time as you are, you still seem to make time to make assertions about your failed neoliberal philosophy. Incidentally, how can regulated capitalism be a failed philosophy? It seems to be successful wherever it's practised. Certainly the most successful economies of the 20th century, and some of the 21st have heavily regulated their economies. Yet you refuse to believe the evidence that's placed before you. As I said before you are true believer. You should definitely read Eric Hoffer.

Charles Etherington said...

Speaking of not responding GS, and myths...... are you still trying to maintain your delusion about 'your million'? (Along with DS with his about a million people working for less that $30k p.a., which clearly is fiction)
See my post previously where I said:
"And GS: your million non voters are also a delusion. They can only be considered as supporting the parties in exactly the ratios of the actual voters. If not, why would they just as likely have not voted because they were perfectly happy with the status quo? You only think they are as unhappy as you because you are so self absorbed.
Above all you guys need to get out more. The world and particularly NZ is doing well, but you lot can't see it for all your moral vainity. Get over it!"

Myths about the past & present are a huge problem, particularly on the left currently and really should be right up there as priorities for self examination. The classic one is 'the failed neo-con policies of the past'. What is the point of this one? Look who rules, mostly, and look at their policies, most of them. A look who has failed. It's you!

Maori, as Polynesians suffer from very damaging myths too like the delusion their ancestors were here for 1000s of years and had a wondrous society which colonisation by Pakeha ruined. All nonsense. They were stone age resource & neighbour plunderers when they came here 700 years ago from a very nasty Polynesia. Certainly no different from Pakeha ancestors, who used to be similarly uncivilised but with one wee difference: That was about 7000 years ago. A culture will not succeed if it gets stuck on a fabricated past. Same for a political movement.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"And GS: your million non voters are also a delusion. They can only be considered as supporting the parties in exactly the ratios of the actual voters."

Charles – Considering that most of these non-voters are poor, I think we can reasonably safely say that the majority of them would vote for a left-wing party. Of course the only way to test this is to get them to vote. But I think it's a reasonable assumption even so, and not one just put forward by me, but by respected academics.

And I see you are still perpetuating – if not myths about Maori - then myths about your own society. If you actually investigate it you will find that in the nineteenth century Britain – presumably the country your ancestors came from fought approximately one war a year. So it wasn't actually 7000 years ago that we were killing each other in Europe or out of it for that matter.
Jigsaw read my posts or not I don't care, but I can't remember ever having accused you of ad hominem attacks. And I suggest that you read the definition of ad hominem before you accuse me of it. I have never attacked your character so much as your opinions, which I have quite cheerfully insulted – as you have mine. I'm sure if I had been abusive Chris would have blocked me. I'm quite happy not to have to respond to you ever again because you don't care about evidence anyway.

Charles E said...

GS you may think those who do not vote are poor and if they did vote would vote for your lot but that just confirms two things: your delusion about people unlike you and your contempt for those you label poor.
We cannot actually tell, ever, but my thesis is they are just as likely to vote just like the rest of us. 'Poor' people vote conservatively just as much as to the left I suspect and 'rich' and stupid people vote left too. Look at the huge number of idiots in Wellington who voted Green! Laughable. I suspect loads of them work for the Gov on fat salaries and look down on the poor as you presumably do, as vote fodder for the left. How disappointed and perplexed they must be that many appear to have voted for Key.

Charles said...

GS: Pakeha ancestors gave up being stone-age hunter-gathers about 7000 years ago.
Do your research...
And read what is there, not what you imagine to be.
Actually I am joining Jigsaw and no longer taking any notice of you, starting today so I only have one last thing to say to you:..................Bye!!!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Charles, whether you listen to me are not I think I will continue to respond to you, because others might be taken in by your attempts at rational argument. The overwhelming majority of those who do not vote are poor – and also young. This was attested by an academic who has investigated this thing on the radio a little while ago. It's a fact, but of course you refuse to either acknowledge it or test it.
Your second argument is equally ridiculous, I didn't say that we were Stone Age hunters and gatherers in the nineteenth century, but of course you are being a little disingenuous in suggesting I did. Your point was not that we were hunters and gatherers 7000 years ago as you well know – you are making the point that Maori were violent and tribal in the nineteenth century. And so were we – in the nineteenth century. It won't wash Charles. I will continue to point out your errors of fact whenever they occur. :-)

Anonymous said...

Re Pat on the 7th
I am a health professional, am up for it, how do we start?