John Key has been less cunning than some thought he would be. A July election could have caught the Left on the hop and ruling out Winston Peters means nothing, he couldn’t get through his privatisation plans while working with Peters anyway.
By going for a November election, he thinks, will let him leverage off the World Cup mini-boom, and enhance running Michael Jones and Inga Tuigamala as candidates. But it means 5 months for the Budget cuts to hurt and gives us 5 more months to work. So, what are we going to do?
Here are my ideas so far:
1) the internet isn’t a substitute for action. Sites like The Standard, especially The Standard, are community hubs for the Left. We come here for discussion and ideas, and to have some online biffo with the righties. But we make a difference by action in the real world, by communicating with our relatives, co-workers, friends, and neighbours and influencing their vote.
2) talk to people about politics. Each of us knows at least a couple of people who are swing voters or National voters and each of us has the information to point out that voting Labour or Green is going to lead to better results. You know their individual issues; you can come to this site or others to find the arguments, if you need to. But I think we can take a leaf from Cameron Slater’s book: the first question is ‘are you better off since Key came to power?’ Key promised we would be and for most of us the answer is no. That makes Key a liar and a loser. Just point it out. Let’s make it our mission to each turn two people we know back to the Left by November.
3) don’t wait for leadership from the parties. The ‘Goffice’ and the Greens leadership don’t look to us, the engaged, active lefties, like they used to. So, we’ve got to make our own fun. Why can’t we make our own campaigns? We know the issues that matter: asset sales, incomes/price rises, public service cuts, Key’s broken promises.
I saw the other day that there’s a “teach-in and strategy gathering” of a group calling itself the “NZ Not For Sale” Campaign on Feb 20 at the Community law Centre on Madras St, in Christchurch. Great! Nowadays we can be, and increasingly must be, self-mobilising and great our materials out to the wider public.
We can design and print our own materials. We can organise our own teams within different communities to distribute them. I’m hoping The Standard will host something like the Campaign Hub they had last election to assist.
John Key is counting on a dis-interested population voting him back in by reflex. But he’s given us the opportunity to run a long and concerted campaign. Let’s get to it.
- Bright Red