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Something amazing has happened to the Labour Party

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 pm, July 22nd, 2014 - 24 comments
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“The amazing occurrence is the sustained achievement of party unity, not just for a season or a year but for an entire parliamentary term.”

In Britain.

This follows British Labour’s National  Policy Forum which was also addressed by Tony Blair. Ok it was written for LabourList by Luke Akehurst, considered on the right and not everyone’s favourite. Akehurst supported Ed Miliband for leader and credits him with the achievement.

Still, Polly Toynbee, who’s not a right-winger, has much the same message in the Guardian:

Delegates gathered to thrash out policy on every issue – but they weren’t thrashing each other, unlike previous ferocious all-nighters. Even on old intractables such as Trident, rail renationalisation or social security, agreement was reached by discussion, with just one, roundly defeated, rebel vote – against austerity.

Westminster no longer regards the party as “full of mad people”, and the party no longer thinks its leaders bent on betrayal.This outbreak of self-discipline is a sure sign of Labour’s growing terror at the prospect of losing the election.

Angela Eagle, the party chair who steered the forum, says that everyone knows “without fiscal credibility we’ll be smashed. We can’t protect the people we care about by raging from the sidelines.”

Polly of course is also a realist about the media and Labour:

The injustice of the hostile media Labour faces means its discipline must always be titanium-tight, if not twice so. No such scrutiny for the Tories.

Looks like British Labour has learnt to get over it as well as how to deal with it.

I’ve met Angela Eagle here and in the UK. She’s good. She’s right.

24 comments on “Something amazing has happened to the Labour Party”

  1. Hamish 1

    Not attacking an author but, Mike, what the hell is the point which you’re clearly trying to insinuate about NZ Labour?? Then again maybe you’re not insinuating but I don’t know because it’s all about as clear as mud to me.

    Care to clarify for the dumb-dumbs like me?

    • lprent 1.1

      I believe he was writing about the British Labour party. But I’ll let you have my opinion.

      But the crucial thing is that the British Labour party have managed to not have the ill-considered tom-foolery that has characterised them in the past.

      NZ Labour has some damn good policies this time. They look much more coherent than they have in recent elections. So does the party.

      The NZ Labour caucus on the other hand do not.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        How are the most senior advisors/staff doing in Wellington? From a distance it looks like too many are completely out of touch with the electorate AND less than competent. A mix of bad advice, poorly thought out strategy, one dimensional political thinking and ad hoc improvisation.

        • lprent 1.1.1.1

          They aren’t doing too badly considering that they had a slow start last year and have been in a position of firefighting for most of this year. Especially with the Liu smear which seems to have been the main issue with the polling. The quality of the policy in particular has been pretty good.

          However the last thing that is required is the type of half-arsed foolery by some egotistical arsehole like whoever was talking to the dumbarse ‘jonolist’ at the SST. There really isn’t much that can be done with that except for finding out who the prick(s) are and metaphorically string them up by their gonads in public.

          There isn’t a lot that any staff could do that can deal with that kind of stupidity. It plays directly into the hands of the National party at this part of th electoral cycle, and must have been done deliberately to do exactly that.

  2. Matthew 2

    Lets just hope it can happen to NZ Labour as well……

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Angela Eagle, the party chair who steered the forum, says that everyone knows “without fiscal credibility we’ll be smashed. We can’t protect the people we care about by raging from the sidelines.”

    Code: this is UK Labour buying into the neoclassical economic paradigm, buying into the debt based monetary system, buying into grovelling to the credit rating agencies and brokerages, based in the City of London and the economists paid by Barclays and RBS and HSBC, in order to be gifted this aura of “fiscal credibility”. Which will of course be nothing more than a programme of slightly milder austerity with anaesthetic.

    • Gosman 3.1

      Pretty much. Why do you think Labour in the UK have bought in to that?

      • SpaceMonkey 3.1.1

        Because the bankers are the ones ultimately calling the shots, and deviation from neo-liberal dogma will not be tolerated – do what we say or else. No politician wants to be seen as being responsible for a crashing economy.

  4. Jemuri 4

    Nice work Tat, blame the staff. Not the MPs who make all the decisions, of course, but the staff who can’t defend themselves in public. Real classy.

    • Tat Loo 4.1

      Don’t get cute with me. You know who I am, I don’t know who you are, but neither do I particularly give a fuck. Now let’s get serious. The performance of every single MP is being continually evaluated by the membership. Win or lose Sept 20, additional measures of accountability will be pushed through via the constitution and applied to caucus. This freight train is still rolling. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that any crappy non-performing MPs are going to have an easy ride or wave-through.

      As for my question re: the performance of the most senior advisors and the most senior staff. Just realise that even in the deep dark south, we hear and see and get told plenty enough of what is going on in Wellington to know that the question needs to be asked.

      But that’s about the senior end. At the bottom of the hierarchy I understand fairly well what it’s like to work as a junior staffer on a Parliamentary Services contract with limited job security and resources, and essentially at the whim and moods of the relevant MP. I know/know of/ plenty of people who were good workers and have been in the position of being completely burnt out by their MP.

      And I’m not talking about them.

      • Ad 4.1.1

        Looks like you’re sleeping about as well as I am at the moment.

        We just have to go through this, come out the other end, and reconsider a whole bunch of stuff.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          Indeed. And I get grumpy when my sleep patterns get up and down like this. Almost as grumpy as seeing a top man not quite reach in quite the right direction for the prize which is waiting right there.

  5. Murray Olsen 5

    “with just one, roundly defeated, rebel vote – against austerity.”

    That’s UK Labour completely gone. What are they offering that’s different to the Tories?

    • Tom Jackson 5.1

      Nothing much. Euthanasia would be worthwhile at this point.

    • DS 5.2

      The last time UK Labour decided it’d be awesome to run austerity in a weak economy, in 1931, it nearly destroyed itself. Say what you want about Roger Douglas, but that was one thing even he never foisted on New Zealand.

      That said, Labour in the UK will almost certainly win a narrow victory next year. Current UK electoral boundaries, turnout issues, and tactical voting gives it a structural head start over the Tories.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        Say what you want about Roger Douglas, but that was one thing even he never foisted on New Zealand.

        What?

        So, how would you describe laying off thousands of public sector workers and cancelling huge export incentive payments to manufacturers, if not as “austerity.”

        • DS 5.2.1.1

          Economic restructuring.

          Douglas wasn’t slashing spending in order to balance the budget (after all, he cut taxes, and the Fourth Labour Government presided over a massive increase in social welfare spending), he was overhauling the entire economy with a wider intent in mind. Austerity is a much more narrow idea, along the lines of “we have a deficit, and must cut!”

          Actual austerity didn’t come to New Zealand until Ruth Richardson in 1991. Arnold Nordmeyer in 1958 also imposed austerity, though his version involved tax increases, rather than spending cuts.

    • DS 5.3

      No George Osborne or Michael Gove. That’s something.

  6. Jemuri 6

    So who are you talking about Tat? I’m keen to find out.

    Blaming the help is the oldest right wing trick in the book. So tell me what you know, or are you just mouthing off against people who can’t defend themselves?

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Go take a long walk off a short pier.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1.1

        If you could make an omlette at a LP conference would take some doing. At 55 on the party list ‘last time’ thats shows your real influence. This year its past the cut off point , haha

  7. Jemuri 7

    So, Tat has nothing but bluster. He’s attacking people who can’t defend themselves, with no evidence, then gets snarky when called on to provide evidence. Glad we’ve established that.

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