I see John Tamihere’s been let back into the party. On one hand it’s just a party membership and Labour’s a broad church. On the other hand he’s professed a desire to stand for Labour in Waitakeri, has made a big show and dance about his attempts to join, and was (still is?) a man who regularly had a wine in Ponsonby with the party leader. Given the evidence on the other hand I think it’s fair to discuss the possibility of Tamihere being brought back into caucus.
First of all let’s dispense with the f*cking ridiculous notion that Tamihere speaks to the working class. Remember this is an aging, privileged man with a chip on his shoulder. When he was young he could get away with his bigoted claptrap because of his “boyish charm”. Now he’s just another has-been bore who believed his own publicity, didn’t live up to his potential, and blames it on teh gayz and the unions.
I think the real issue the “JT” scenario throws up is the fact there’s a group in Labour that think that provincial and/or working class are synonyms for “bigot”. I can tell you from long experience that’s not the case. Getting Tamihere on board is like getting Goff talking about Maori privilege or Shearer trying some bene-bashing – all it will do is piss off the liberals in the party and make working class and provincial people feel even more patronised. It’d also confirm their suspicion that Labour doesn’t even know who they or how to connect with them.
That said, Tamihere’s only just a member and Labour is a broad church. Hell, it now accommodates me and him.