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The enemy is still not your friend

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, December 8th, 2012 - 95 comments
Categories: election 2014, greens, labour, Satire, spin - Tags:

Looking at the latest poll of polls, it’s pretty clear: the Greens have managed to hold on to the massive gain they made during the last election campaign, largely at Labour’s expense as it imploded. Labour’s back to its pre-campaign level, at National’s expense. Lab+Green=Nat or thereabouts but the Left needs a good 5% more from the Right to feel confident. So, this is not the time to be listening to John Armstrong’s advice (is there ever such a time?) that Labour should to try to discredit their one viable partner – the Greens – or the advice of the Herald, for that matter, which recently advised Shearer not to try to win in 2014 and just wait until 2017 when the public would become utterly sick of Key on its own accord.

Reading the old Tory’s piece today (replete with factual errors, as always: Norman made no announcement that he’s after Finance, for instance – in response to a classic Paddy ambush he said it would be one portfolio that would be subject to negotiations), I imagine him as a Wormtongue-like figure spilling filth into Shearer’s ear:

‘Go after the Greens, they’re your real enemy’

‘But don’t we have to grow the combined Labour/Green vote if I want to be PM. How does attacking them help that? Seeing third parties to your extreme as a threat, rather than an asset, is such FPP thinking’

‘No! They stole your votes! Take them back!’

‘Doesn’t any reasonable analysis show that, actually, we lost about 100,000 votes to National in 2008, more to non-vote in both 2008 and 2011, and some 50,000 to the Greens in 2011 because leftwing voters didn’t believe in Phil? Whatever votes the Greens get go towards the total for a Labour/Greens government. Shouldn’t we be going after the soft National and non-vote?’

‘No, the people fear Russel Norman. He’s crazy insistence that the policies which has seen 78,000 people lose their jobs in 4 years and manufacturing decimated are not the correct ones for New Zealand will make middle New Zealand afraid to vote for Labour because of the risk it will bring him into a position of economic power’

‘But isn’t Russel Norman, by wide acclaim, leading the opposition to the government on economic issues, and hasn’t that been central to their success this year? If people fear the Greens so much, how have they managed to not just maintain but grow their support since their record election result? Historically, minor parties decline mid-term – the Greens were skirting 6-7% this time the last term. Hell, the guy talked about money-printing and their polls rose!’

‘And whose votes are they taking?’

Well, isn’t that part of the problem with Labour’s outlook? They’re not really ‘our’ votes, are they? Don’t we have to earn them, just like any other party? Rather than trying to shut up anyone who makes us look bad, isn’t the correct response when another opposition party starts to take centre stage as the primary opposition to the government on economics to up our own game? Shouldn’t the competition between us be to best critique and embarrass the government and offer the best alternative, not to snipe and bicker as if we’re already fighting over the spoils of a battle not yet won?’

‘Next you’ll be saying it was a mistake to banish your best economic spokesperson! No, Shane Jones is your best asset, driving that wedge between you and your only viable coalition partner has done wonders in the eyes of New Zealanders as they look for an alternative to this failed National government.’

Are you sure it was a good idea to let a man renowned as lazy, arrogant, and a misuser of public money do proxy attacks for us on the Greens? It didn’t really achieve much except making it look like I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, control my caucus and it gave Norman the opening to frame the Greens as offering the real alternative and us as dithering, unprincipled neolibs who would maintain the status quo and only really want to put ourselves at the top of the heap.

‘And that’s why you need to go for the jugular! Only when you have convinced the voting public that your only coalition partner is comprised of raving loonies who shouldn’t be allowed near the Treasury benches before hell freezes over do you have a chance of getting the right election result.’

And, what would that result be, John?

Um… yes, well, gotta go.

95 comments on “The enemy is still not your friend”

  1. Bill 1

    Not sure about ascribing any ability to excercise degrees of critical thinking to Shearer. But hey. ;-)

  2. ak 2

    Predictable noxious emission from Wriststrong.

    With the Johnny-no-mates clique under the polling gun despite months of benny/teacher/maori/younameit-bash, concerted divide-and-rule attempts are the last resort.

    As you note Ed, full of lies and distortion, typical seed-sowing fertiliser.

    Good response from Shearer though – an olive branch to Winnie (possible DPM comment).

    Now redouble the exercise for the Greens and MP, Labcats, putting a united front in the minds of the crucial, holiday-making 10%.

    Or fall like shallow saps smack into the scribes’ trap and make right colonial asps of yourself.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    Armstrong’s entire tone recently has been to try and preserve the cosy, “centrist” two party establishment at all costs. In this he has more than willing allies in Labour’s dysfunctional old guard and most of the press gallery. Any intrusion into the political elite’s neo-liberal consensus is to be treated as an enemy to the cosy world of courtiers, technocrats and professional politicians who bestroy the patronage in Thorndon’s Byzantine court.

    • Just viping 3.1

      +1

    • Neoleftie friend in arms of CV 3.2

      From digging deep in the shadows where whispers are smoke and images are mirrors the parliamentarian elites simple don’t trust or respect the common activist. After all the elites backed by ministry and treasary reports info etc know best in their insulated and cosy merry go round of centralist swop sies. Remit after policy platform was dismissed for decades from the branches, now we the membes have real meaningful say the ‘big boys’ are scared of losing their grip on the trough of power aid.

    • geoff 3.3

      I love how Armstrong has no comments on quite a few of his opinion pieces, they must be all so hateful towards him that he wont publish them.

      • VindowViper(RL) 3.3.1

        And how he never engages in the comment threads to defend his arguments or sources.

        Pretty rich from someone who likes to think of us bloggers as ‘anonymous cowards’.

        • QoTViper 3.3.1.1

          The old school just don’t understand online engagement. Isn’t it enough he’s A Senior Political Columnist For The Herald? Why don’t the rabble just accept his pronouncements as the word of God, dammit????

  4. Johnm 4

    The future is a Green and Labour coalition as Government. Labour are tainted with the NeoLiberal rubbish ideology, that’s why they’d like to slither out of this coming reality and it’s why they’re apathetic in their opposition to Golden Boy Goldman Sachs John. I suspect most of the non voters are young. To help young kiwi couples into housing what Labour could but won’t do is impose an 80% Capital Gains tax backdated 12 years to apply to: get rich capital gains vultures funded by irresponsible lending from foreign banks to knock off 40% of the price of over inflated housing here and use that money to fund young couples to buy their own homes from the plunder reclaimed from selfish speculators. This country then might be a fit place for young people to live, work and make a future in rather than exporting them to Australia leaving NZ as a greedy little money grubbing get all you can sod the rest country it now is. :-(

  5. Neoleftie friend in arms of CV 5

    Excellent post totally agree. Russell Norman has become the leading spokesperson for the entire opposition by default.
    same old ploy from labour, don’t say anything at all about anything and hopefully the election cycle favours labour.
    Labour IMHO is more focused, almost scared of the greens than taking on the Tories.
    I want a green brown red unified front to take it to the imbedded Tories in the long term.

  6. Bill 6

    The link in the post from old Tory’s piece goes to an article about Tau Henare punting for position of speaker. The link to Armstrong’s piece is

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10852707

  7. Salsy 7

    But isn’t Shearers best asset supposed to be his ability to pull the factions together? The chief negotiator? For me this was the only distant light (post conference) in an otherwise gloomy Labour future. A leader who can negotiate the majority coalition on the day – something which may have proven difficult for Cunliffe…

  8. lurgee 8

    Question is, has the Greens and Labour combined vote reached its ceiling? I suspect so, as far as appeal to the leftie-environmental section of the electorate is concerned. There just aren’t enough socially minded and/or environmentally concerned people out there.

    So to get the extra 3-5% needed to make 2014 safe and respectable (because a shoddy multi-partner coalition will just make National’s return in 2017 more likely) there are three options:

    a) Make more people socially minded and/or environmentally concerned. Though seductive, this is a very big ask. With due respect to the respective caucuses of Greens and Labour, I don’t think there is anyone there with the intelligence, vision and charisma to make this happen. Even if there was, it will be in the face of entrenched interests and big money.

    b) Broaden the church. This one sticks in the throat of the Cunliffite pseudo-left because it involves appealing to People Who Aren’t Like Them, and thus admitting they’re an unpopular minority, even within the current Labour party. It also means adulterating some important policies. Tony Blair’s triumph in 1997 shows the benefits and risks of this strategy, in about equal measure – you can win, but it might not be worth it if you push to far with the soul-selling stuff.

    c) Lie and tell the electorate there is plenty of jam for everyone, them send them to the gulag the morning after election day.

    • Bright Red 8.1

      so, your solution is failed thirdwayism. Despite the fact that the bulk of the vote Labour has lost is to non-vote, because working class people who hate National don’t see them as a viable alternative. – that’s something that came through even about national voters in the latest poll – they would go to Labour, if it looked like a party that was going to offer a real alternative.

      • Neoleftie friend in arms of CV 8.1.1

        My four cents only, first second ways have failed third way is transition to the next way….utopia or death for the masses.

      • lurgee 8.1.2

        “so, your solution is failed thirdwayism.”

        Obviously, ‘failed anything’ is not a solution. Nor did I indicate any preference. But in terms of immediate electoral success, b) seems the most likely to succeed. And branding Blairism as a complete failure is foolish, as it is ideologically very similar to Helen Clarke’s position, and last time I checked people were harking back to her reign as the Good Old Days. Britain was better domestically, after Blair than it would have been under the Tories. I think that’s pretty indisputable. Maybe some people have to accept that is the real choice – mildly left versus full right.

        • IrishBill 8.1.2.1

          That’s loser talk, son.

          • lurgee 8.1.2.1.1

            I expect to be deemed a ‘Capitalist main roader’ imminently, and shipped off to Eketahuna for Cultural Re-education.

            • IrishBill 8.1.2.1.1.1

              The reeducation center is in Palmerston North ;)

              • lurgee

                Already there. It obviously isn’t working.

                Bit more seriously, I’m not outlining a tactical problem as much as the strategic problem of the left.

                Only a certain percentage of the population will agree with us as a ‘default’ setting. A lot of people will default to the other side, even when it is in their own interests. Either we have to come up with some astonishingly potent message and some dazzlingly charismatic leaders that will convert the soft fringes of the right into wild eyed trots (and there are a few risks associated dazzling charismatic leaders) or we have to accept the policy may not be as pure as we’d like to to be.

                I think it is possible to create a centre-left majority, but it means both the centrists and the leftists putting up with stuff they don’t want to. A good compromise leaves everybody mad, to borrow from Calvin and Hobbes. And occasionally those centrists will be lured away by the temptations of the right, who get to offer tantalising things like greed and individualism and consumerism and To Hell With The Consequences. A Fabian perspective is the only one likely to succeed over time – unless you want to go for the Stalinist option.

        • gobsmacked 8.1.2.2

          But Labour post-2008 haven’t presented any kind of coherent message at all, be it “mildly left” or “centrist” or whatever.

          It’s a policy hodge-podge … Shearer talks about being more hands-on, which suggests “left” (quite strongly nationalistic-cum-interventionist, in many areas, from procurement to the Reserve Bank), there are policies approved by many on the Right (on superannuation, and – to some degree – Capital Gains Tax), and so on … a confused message on trade (rightish?), education (anti-Parata, but what else? Teachers’ performance pay?), welfare (anti-Bennett, but what else? Roof bludgers?) – in short, a step to the left, a step to the right, and looking very unco-ordinated on the dance floor.

          Goff failed in 2011 for understandable reasons (Key popular, one-term gov’ts rare), but also because the voters didn’t really know – or believe – what he stood for.

          So far, ditto David Shearer. And that’s a real indictment on Labour, because old Goff had decades of baggage he was stuck with, whereas Shearer arrived with none. It’s been a mess, and it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that it’s a mess because he doesn’t know what he believes. If he did, he could have told us by now.

          • Ad 8.1.2.2.1

            Well said Gobsmacked

          • lurgee 8.1.2.2.2

            All true – and I’ve been aching for a sharper, clearer, leftier message since 2008. Since 2011, the position has changed somewhat, since the Greens made good on their earlier promise and seem to be absorbing Labour’s cast off votes on the left – bleeding that way isn’t such a concern – in fact, the more crackpot lefties go to the Greens the better, as it makes the (already unlikely) prospect of the Greens working with National even more remote.

            The problem for Labour is the stay at homes and the contestable centre. Right now, the latter is colonised by Charming Johnnie and the latter, well, their staying at home.

            I wonder if a caution-to-the-winds strategy might work. Tell people it is time to face up to the hard realities and Stuff That Needs To Be Done.

            Say it is time for decisive action on climate change, poverty, housing and whatever. Say that New Zealanders never got anywhere by putting off to tomorrow what can be done today. That it will hurt, but so does the austerity National are offering – and at least Labour can offer the promise of a brighter future.

            Run under a “Let’s get started” slogan. It might appeal to people a bit more that the current various shades of light blue being offered (with one reddish splodge which is Kiwi Build).

            Or it might be disastrous.

            But remember how exciting it was in 2011 when Labour actually announced some difficult, challenging policies – and their vote went up?

            I think there are a lot of people out there that realise Stuf Needs To Be Done, that it is Down To Us and no amount of charm or glib phrases will stop it hurting. Let’s Get Started!

            • rosy viper 8.1.2.2.2.1

              I really like that analysis lurgee. Yes, I was incredibly excited with the direction Labour was headed in 2011 after so much same-same in the 2+ years before.

              This sort of appeal to the voters is part of Milliband’s message that has given Labour in the UK a huge lead over the tories. Let’s get started – clear, distinctive, positive. Works with Shearer’s favourite Kiwi can-do thing and Kiwibuild as well.

        • Tim 8.1.2.3

          I reckon when people recollect “her reign as the Good Old Days”, they’re thinking more of the first and second terms rather than the last when it appeared she’d lost interest. That was one helluva wasted term, but then I guess the UN was beckoning. Don’t get me wrong – she’d have to have been one of NZ’s better Prime Ministers, and at least she possessed a degree of intellect as opposed to animal cunning.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      D) Get the people who didn’t vote because there weren’t any credible left leaning parties to vote for to vote. This requires a reasonable left leaning party that has credible policies that supports workers and speaks in the language of workers.

      There just aren’t enough socially minded and/or environmentally concerned people out there.

      Yes there are – they just aren’t represented by Labour or The Greens.

      • Neoleftie friend in arms of CV 8.2.1

        Well alliance imploded and is nothing now. What we need is all the old timer activists from the eighties come swamping back and provide inspiration for the new timers. The middle guard of the nineties the modernist the centralist must be tempered by the old and new faithful who are the real labourites.

      • Which is fair enough. If someone can figure out what Left voters want that is genuinely at odds with both Labour and the Greens, as opposed to a minor critique of them, I will be happy to support that movement. (most likely not with my vote, as I’m pretty sure that my Party vote is going to the Greens for the indefinite future) But so far the Greens have been the only party to achieve long-term success to the left of Labour.

    • Olsviper 8.3

      Over at the dim post danylmc said, “On the one hand, mainstream parties have to be broad churches and accommodate a wide range of views. On the other hand, you don’t see a lot of potential National candidates joining up because they hate farmers and the Auckland business community and want to sort them all out.”

      According to you, lurgee, broadening the church “sticks in the throat of the Cunliffite psuedo-left because it involves appealing to People Who Aren’t Like Them, thus admitting they’re an unpopular minority, even within the current Labour party.” So unpopular that the caucus felt the need to kneecap the guy so as to forestall a test to their leadership. Furthermore, it is worth reflecting on the fact that most of what Cunliffe says was considered centrist a very short time ago.

      As with National, you can only become a genuinely broad church by expanding outwards from a firmly held core position. Otherwise you just become a vote-begging nonentity.

      • lurgee 8.3.1

        “Furthermore, it is worth reflecting on the fact that most of what Cunliffe says was considered centrist a very short time ago.”

        That’s why I called him and his claque here pseudo-leftists.

        • IrishBill 8.3.1.1

          I’d say the majority of people here are social democrats. I know I am. Historically and internationally that’s a pretty center-left position. It speaks to how far we’ve swung to the right that mainstream commentators frequently describe this blog as “hard left”.

          • Grant Hay 8.3.1.1.1

            I’d say you’re right about that. The so called Labour Party is a long way removed from it’s socialist working class roots. Can we reflect silently for thirty seconds on how that came about? Does it ever occur to any current members of the Party that cladding themselves in the trappings (LABOUR / RED FLAG / UNION AFFILIATIONS) of a working class socialist movement while catering for the aspirations of the educated middle class is well….. hypocritical really isn’t it? I nearly wet myself laughing a few years back when I saw a bunch of Labour MP’s stand to sing “Keep The Red Flag Flying”. To be fair, some of them looked mighty sheepish…

            • Grant Hay 8.3.1.1.1.1

              No… There really isn’t a reply to that is there? :)

              • Grant Hay

                It seems to me that the only reason the Greens occupy a space nominally to the left of Labour, is that Labour left that spot vacant when it chose to move to the right. The Greens have to be SOMEWHERE on the spectrum. If everyone was occupying their “correct” place on the political spectrum (assuming Labour had remained true to its roots), Labour would be where the Greens are currently and the Green Party would be a centre left party of social democrat orientation with a heavy emphasis on their Green agenda. This would be the natural political order. Labour have perverted that order by pretending to be a party of the left, while actually sliding very much to the right. It’s called trying to have your cake and eat it too….

  9. homo_floresiensis 9

    What happened to Shearer ? He looks terrible in that photo.

    He must have been looking at the National Party polling data.

  10. gobsmacked 10

    Somehow the Labour leader manages to bring me down each time I start to let hope return.

    Today (in Vernon Small’s Stuff interview) he’s talking up a Labour-NZ First government. Which isn’t going to happen.

    Here’s the deal, David: you’re going to need the Greens. You can imagine all kinds of scenarios involving other parties as well, but in the end … you’ll still need the Greens. And you can spend forever listening to advisers and pollsters and fair and foul “friends”, but – guess what? – you come back to the Greens.

    So you can either let National pin that on you (note they’ve all started saying “The Greens/Labour government”, and the order of the parties is quite deliberate) … or you can claim it yourself.

    As always, David, I feel like I’m having to teach you Politics 101. (I do hope you’ll spend some time over summer reading history books, there’s more insight there than any Pagani will ever bring). But here’s how it works – labels are either claimed willingly by your side, or forced on you by the other side. The narrative is there to be told, and you want to be telling it yourself.

    So you’re going to get labelled “Labour plus Greens” (not least because you yourself respond to every poll by putting Green votes in the pro-Shearer column). I suggest you start turning that into a positive. Claim it. Proclaim it. It makes you sound positive and certain and focused, the opposite of how you currently come across (whatever the sycophants tell you).

    There are plenty of tactical options here, but there’s only one winning strategy, and it’s not based on Peter Dunne or Winston Peters or anybody else you might fantasise about. Once you’ve accepted that, you’re halfway there.

    • QoTViper 10.1

      This times ~1,000,000.

      It’s not just Shearer’s problem, though – there’s a long and highly-annoying history of various Labour people trying to pretend that they can ignore the Greens, that they can attack the Greens, that they can accuse the Greens of unfairly stealing Labour’s god-given votes. The Labour Party as a whole needs a complete turnaround in their attitude to the Greens.

      (In before someone comments with the usual bullshit “it takes two to tango and the Greens are totally unreasonable, look at them with their willing-to-compromise, negotiating MoU tactics!” bingo.)

      • Neoleftie friend in arms of CV 10.1.1

        More newbee labourites slide off to greener pastures or back to the wilderness that stay on the long hard windy path that is post trots labour.
        Oh we had the rainbow swamp, the rise and fall and rise again of the affiliates, the abandonment of the lefties in the 80,s, the rise and rise of woman power during the Helen years, from the labour kitchen to the front parlour pink is the new red, in the rainbow coloured tent that is labour.

        • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1.1

          Here’s what I don’t get about this argument:

          Why is it always framed as if being a liberal party on issues such as gender or sexual identity comes at the expense of being left on economics or labour rights?

          The claim appears to be that by promoting these issues, the Labour party has been forced to abandon the other stuff, and this abandonment is what has lost them their ‘traditional voters’. This is simply not true.

          The party didn’t move to the right on economics and labour rights because of identity politics, it’s just that as they moved rightwards on those issues, the identity stuff became where the party was more contrasted to National.

          They didn’t lose the ‘traditional vote’ because they were sticking up for ‘women and gays’, they lost it because they weren’t sticking up for those voters anymore.

          Now, if the party wants to win the centre, and compete with National for the middle class vote, then that is what keeps those trad voters at home. And that shifts the centre rightwards, because it’s only voters that count.

          And if that is the case, then they really really really have no grounds for complaint if the Greens or Mana or anyone else steps up. Nor do their party activists have grounds for complaint about it being all the fault of ‘women and gays’. Nor do they get to whinge about how other parties are scaring the horses.

          • QoT 10.1.1.1.1

            Why is it always framed as if being a liberal party on issues such as gender or sexual identity comes at the expense of being left on economics or labour rights?

            Because a lot of people (not just Labour strategists) who consider themselves incredibly open-minded and progressive are actually pretty self-centred when it comes down to it. From Trotter’s “Waitakere Man” theory to Stuart Nash’s “things that matter” posts, it all basically boils down to “why aren’t we talking about things that are important to MEEEEEEEEEE?”

          • karol 10.1.1.1.2

             Agree, PB.  And now the LP seem to be trying to ditch the women’s vote with their men’s team leaders, and not actually being for the lowest paid, whether employed or unemployed.

          • Puddleglum 10.1.1.1.3

            Very well put Pascal’s Bookie (unsurprisingly).

            For me, being left comes down to two simple points:

            1. Opposition to concentrations of power and wealth;
            2. Siding with those who are on the rough end of the exercise of such concentrations of power and wealth.

            With that view, I have no problems supporting so-called ‘liberal’ causes (despite not being what is usually understood as a Liberal – with a capital ‘L’) and, at the same time, supporting left wing economic policies. My support of both is aimed at the same target (concentrated power) and in support of the same kinds of people (those without power).

            And I don’t mind including ‘the environment’ as an actor currently at the rough end of the exercise of concentrated power.

          • Neoleftie 10.1.1.1.4

            Nice comments made me think and reply.
            So with the rise of the liberals and their agenda to advance societal advancements came a direct clash with the non liberal cornerstone who are traditional labour.
            Poor labour is a catch all party by default and has a finely balanced act split with faction liberal and not. This is not a bad thing at all and why I am a member but at this time labour must find within itself and be perceived within the electorate as vote able to capture the moving swing voter and reconnect to the lost voter and reorganise to mobilise the non voter.
            It’s a given that the left block labour and greens are liberal by nature, imbedded within ate freedom equality etc..and will always have social policy to champion this but at this time labour must win by winning the perception game.
            Do we want the Tories in power or do we want a focused reorganised and reconnected all encompassing labour to hold the treasury benches….
            Perhap time for Robertson to step up in feb and claim his place with Parker, mahuta and cunliffe as top team

          • Lefty 10.1.1.1.5

            +1 Pacal’s bookie.

      • newsense 10.1.2

        Well does Shearer look enough like Jenny Shipley to fool Peters? (Wait it was Bolger wasn’t it? Then the Ship rolled him)

  11. Neoleftie friend in arms of CV 11

    Labour can’t promote the greens as the are gobbling up the left and the intellectuals so labour is being squeezed and must be perceived as shifting right right right in step with the shifting ideological matrix of the electorate.

    • gobsmacked 11.1

      It’s not about “promoting” the Greens. It’s about smart MMP politics. Differentiating is not attacking/destroying.

      There are going to be challenges for a Labour/Green government. The media and the Right will talk about little else for the next two years. Shearer can address that obvious reality, or he can continue to look like a guy who has no vision except keeping his job.

      • Neoleftie friend in arms of CV 11.1.1

        I understand MMP and from my involvement within or without labour the ordinary member is actually quiet different from the elites within the party, it a myth really. Yes I agree the broad left should by it’s very nature and need support each other like pillars or cornerstones in an arc way.
        GP must be strong and capture the left and labour by its need must capture the centre to govern its that simple but we have some within labour who can’t share and are power crazy and scared pushed and isolated in a corner by the very party that they should serve…..well maybe.

        • That’s a pretty different message from your post in (11).

          • Neoleftie 11.1.1.1.1

            My bad…labour cant bring itself to give up the left ground to the greens by default neither should they attack them as they are on the left too, brothers in arms really, so labour is in a quandary really. Labour has to in reality hold it core support on the left and in perception move right to the centre area to capture the moving centre swing voter.
            We all know greens are the looney left Marxist fart taxers and all so labour cant be seen identifying with the greens or alienate the moderate centre block voter.
            Poor labour….that’s why we have shearer, labour want to sleep walk to power and then cobble a coalition with the greens or…..
            Oh I’m Green Red by the way ….it called the next way post peak oil and financial crunch.

            • Matthew Whitehead 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Labour has already moved to the right in both perception and reality, possibly to the right of the centre line, in fact. That is not its problem, and I’d argue that no further shift right will be productive for Labour. In fact Labour has room to its left before it even starts vying with the Greens for voters, as there’s a large core Labour constituency that’s felt disenfranchised for a long time, many of whom haven’t voted in recent elections.

              And LOL at that characterisation of the Greens. This is the problem with the left wing is that we don’t have actual extremists, (even anarchists don’t really believe in anything as extreme as people’s normal association with that word implies) so when you get a party like the Greens who are solidly left-wing, you get gormless arguments that they’re extremist despite being eminently reasonable.

              In reality the only flirtation with extremism the left has had is revolutionary communism, and half of that was the reality of its institutional capture by corrupt authoritarians.

  12. Reality Czech 12

    Where you all complaining when Pat Gower did his story this week suggesting Gareth Hughes could be Energy Minister and Catherine Delahunty could be Education Minister? That’s a prospect that runs chills up my spine, and I’m a hardened Labour supporter.

    There truly are two wings to this Party at the moment. One lives in an idealistic fantasy, almost wishing that this was the Green Party, and the other is aware that almost half of all voters have voted National in the last two elections, and there is probably a good reason why. When National go from 20% to 47% in the space of a less than a decade, you have to understand that there are voters who ‘swing’.

    Are Labour really going to get out and get these non-voters to the ballot box? I wish we could, but the Greens have policies and increasingly the activists to encourage these folks to do so.

    Labour needs to get to grips with reality. We’ve appeared soft for the last 5 or 6 years, and that’s why so many old school, hard-working people have gone off us.

    • Fisiani 12.1

      If Labour and Greens are linked at the hip does it matter which is bigger? Does their relative strength matter? Say their combined vote is 50% Labour 30% Greens 20%. ie 3 Lab cabinet ministers to every 2 Green.
      Currently 19 Cabinet Ministers + 4 Ministers outside Cabinet +4 Ministers from other parties making 27 in total.
      Assuming same breakdown in posts gives 18 Labour and 9 Green Ministers and a caucus of 36 Labour members and 24 Greens.

      Surely that would be enough posts for the available talent pool.
      If Labour polled 40% and the Greens 10% the figures are 4:1 or 25-2 or being overgenerous to Greens 24-3 with caucuses of 48 and 12
      In order for the Greens to sit around the cabinet table with any clout they need to compete with Labour for an increased share of the Left vote.

  13. VindowViper 13

    Again a very pertinent example of a Press Gallery journalist completely overstepping the bounds of his professional role and becoming a political player.

    The Fourth Estate has a role in facilitating and reporting the political discourse; but Armstrong is simply banging on with his own opinions here, making him no different to any citizen blogger. Less so as he never engages in his own comments threads.

  14. IrishViper 14

    I don’t think of Armstrong as a journalist so much as a center-right political commentator.

  15. Grant Hay 15

    I am one of the many people who should have felt able to vote Labour for the last twenty five years. I was born and bred in Woolston to a solidly Labour voting extended family and my parents were first generation university educated.

    We all know the score. The Fourth Labour Govt decided to leave us, not the other way around. Their neoliberal nonsense and addiction to realpolitik, as opposed to the politics of principle and integrity, left almost a whole generation of people like me turned off Labour forever.

    I’ve seen no evidence that the party has tried to engage with us and win us back in the intervening years. Those of us that didn’t leave the country in disgust and despair have either stopped voting altogether or vote Green because it is closer in ideology AND as an exemplar of ethical political practise to our natural inclinations than Labour is.

    THAT is a simple truth which the Labour Party at both Party and Parliamentry levels seems unable to understand and accept. Personally I’d rather put up with mean spirited, price-of-everything-value-of-nothing National Party clowns in power for the rest of my life, than put up with the pain of voting for a Labour Party that constantly fails my reasonable expectations.

    Feel free to throw stones at me for making my feelings known. But do so in the knowledge that it won’t change the way people like me see the situation or change the way we vote.

    • bad12 15.1

      Well said…

    • Neoleftie 15.2

      The sad truth is that you are correct apart from we need a labour green combo very very soon

      • Craig Glen viper 15.2.1

        Grant Hay I think many Labour rank and file would agree with you, hence the need to take the Party back and to stop letting the Labour Caucus run the whole show. Lets hope Labour members get to have a say after February 2013.

    • cricklewood 15.3

      That’s very true, when I entered the work force as an apprentice in the late 90′s and my first real experience with anything political a large number of the older died in the wool labour voters who had belonged to the union for many years etc were extremely anti what labour did at the time and were fairly adamant the would prefer not to vote than support the members that they had betrayed them were still around. I remember union organizers getting roundly abused from the floor when suggesting the local labour candidate come to speak at a meeting.
      I don’t now how many actually followed through with what they said but I can easily imagine that many would still be quite unhappy with things…

  16. RJLC 16

    I wonder why Trotter is lecturing the Greens, his version of Armstrong’s game?
    http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/an-appointment-with-reality.html

    • Ad 16.1

      The breakup of the Alliance here is pretty on-point to Trotter’s column. Very similar.

      I would expect Norman’s team under Harre to be scenario-modelling. Simpson was Labour’s equivalent but there isnt one now really. Greens will emphasise policy gains. I don’t expext altruism from the Greens in power but I expect less discord and slippery-slope scrabbling than Labour.

      The first coalition test coming up is whether they coordinate media over the impending asset sales referendum. It has been set up to herald the coalition itself. Will leaders share and coordinate the hits?

      Armstrong and the whole MSM will foreshadow the coalition on this.

      If they can do that well, knowing it is futile and heroic, they could write a coalition deal as a manifesto before the election, and separate out what they disagree on, and publish it, for all to split their vote on.

      Is it not a task of this site to draft, form and test a Labour-Greens coalition live in the blogosphere? Where anonymity and hence deniability is a virtue and a necessity.

      • Colonial Weka 16.1.1

        “Is it not a task of this site to draft, form and test a Labour-Greens coalition live in the blogosphere?”
         
        Interesting idea. Can you expand on that?

        • Ad 16.1.1.1

          Well,

          1. test a policy per week from likely Coalition partners. contrast and compare. What would be ideal, what would be possible, what would be likely. From Customs to Welfare and everything between. Draft each one into statements, here. A time limit of a week each portfolio to form a text.

          2. Bundle them. Invite comment from the party policy teams.

          3. Release to the parties.

          4. Release to public.

          This site would drive the whole bow-wave of coverage.

          Open Source Government.

          Got to be more fun than endless tactical arguments surely.

    • Colonial Weka 16.2

      Never mind Trotter’s post, read the comments by bsprout about the GP thinking on coalition with Labour, eg

       

      Compromise isn’t just an issue for the Greens, it is possibly a bigger issue for Labour. From what I can tell many of the proposed changes in policy and organisation appear to be shifting closer to Green thinking and process. Labour is moving to more bottom up democratic decision making and both parties claim to form evidence based policy. Labour has to try and convince the 80s remnants within the party that they aren’t moving too far to the left or becoming too green. There are probably bigger divisions within Labour than the Greens and internal conflict is just as likely to occur. The Greens are reasonably skilled at managing conflict and leadership change and I can’t imagine any of our leaders having to put up with the circus that Shearer has had to endure.

      …To me the crux of a successful coalition will be the agreement and what processes are set in place to manage the relationship. The Greens may be the smaller party but would would never accept the sort of treatment experienced by the Maori Party under National. Your statement “Greens really do believe that the way they arrive at major decisions is every bit as important as the decisions they make” is largely true, appropriate decision making is one of our principles.

      • karol thrace viper 16.2.1

        Most of sprout’s comment seems fine to me, but THIS:
         
        I can’t imagine any of our leaders having to put up with the circus that Shearer has had to endure.



        I would have hoped that none of the Green caucus would have put up with the circus Shearer has been leading, pormoting and supporting.
         
        Oh well…. there’s always Mana.

  17. newsense 17

    Patronising shit isn’t it.

    ‘Tougher line likely in future on controlling Greens’ ebullience.’

    Makes the Greens out like little kids, Shearer as the uncle at the Christmas Party being castigated by the Pater Familias of the sensible Tory.

    ‘to further test the limits of Labour’s patience – the latest example being an incendiary opinion piece’

    more of the above

    can you say cunt in a family broadcast?

    Thing is that Norman simply does a good job of calling Jones out. And then, John Armstrong comes running to his rescue. Rather like the Fran O’Sullivan has been running to Shearers. If these two (Shearer, Jones) want credibility they need to stand on their own Labour mana, and not have it propped up by these Tories.

    Rather reminds you of Gerry Brownlee saying- ‘hey you’re not an expert, you’re a very naughty girl’ to Julie Anne Genter. WRONG.

    Hmm…may even have to go and do some door knocking for the Greens if Armstrong keeps seeing them as such a threat to right thinking people everywhere.

  18. infused 18

    Having Russell Norman as Finance Minister is a good reason to leave New Zealand.

    • Grant Hay 18.1

      Because……??????

      • infused 18.1.1

        I shouldn’t have to explain this.

        • Grant Hay 18.1.1.1

          If you’re too lazy to do so you won’t object if I hazard a reply on your behalf??

          I imagine you believe that Russell Norman is some sort of financial Beelzebub, who will single-handedly destroy the country’s economy in his first week in office after being sworn in and issued with a ministerial warrant. Furthermore, you honestly and fervently believe that he is both stupid and malevolent enough to do so while the rest of the caucus, including his Labour colleagues, cheer him on from the sidelines???

          • infused 18.1.1.1.1

            Yes, because Labour are so desperate to get back in the command. The Greens will have a lot of power to negotiate this time around.

            So far, everything he has said is retarded.

            Just google him in regards to finance minister. Not hard to find.

            • Grant Hay 18.1.1.1.1.1

              Only extreme inexperience or naivety would lead someone to seriously promote such an analysis of the political situation. Either that or you think the rest of us are stupid enough to believe your facile and vapid scaremongering tactics.

              I’ll ask again. Do you truly believe that a minister of finance works in isolation, without check or balance, from the caucus of the Government of which they are a part, from the declared policies of that Government and from the Prime Minister, who in the event of a Labour / Green coalition, would be a Labour PM?????

              • geoff

                Do you truly believe that a minister of finance works in isolation, without check or balance, from the caucus

                Does Roger Douglas count?

                I don’t think Russell Norman would ruin the economy, Infused’s arguments are mere name calling. If Infused is so passionate about this point and if he actually had a solid argument as to why Russell Norman would be worse than Douglas + Muldoon combined then he would provide us with that argument. This suggests to me that it’s really his bigoted gut calling the shots.

                • Grant Hay

                  Hi Geoff. Totally agree. Truthiness is a great word / concept and perfectly describes this kind of but glib but superficially believable statement aimed at the gullible. Whether “Infused” is a deliberate purveyor of “truthiness” or should take the moniker “Confused” I’m not quite certain at this stage.

                  PS. I rather think that Douglas is the exception that proves the rule. He only got away with what he did because of an accident of social and political circumstances. The good ship Labour was riven from top to bottom and from side to side by a particularly cleverly executed mutiny while the Captain was distracted by a mid-life crisis. Many caucus members (not to mention the party at large) seemed to be so stunned and conflicted by what was going on around them that they couldn’t work out how to react. I especially remember being sad and outraged at the time that even a traditional Labour stalwart like Sonja Davies of “Bread and Roses” fame, couldn’t bring herself to break ranks and speak out against what was happening, even though you could tell she was not happy at all. Perhaps many of them didn’t possess the frames of reference to allow them to make sense of those times. Tragic really and we’re all still paying the price.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Perhaps many of them didn’t possess the frames of reference to allow them to make sense of those times.

                    IMO, that’s the biggest weakness of hierarchical systems. When the top doesn’t work those below them don’t know how to respond.

                    • karol

                      Could that be happening with the LP caucus now?  Back bench MPs not really understanding what’s happening?

                  • geoff

                    Yeah and considering how many people even today can’t seem to (or don’t want to) understand how the free market ideology has caused the decay of society, it’s not suprising that during the 80′s reforms that even people close to the changes had no idea what effect it would all have.

              • David Viperious H

                I’m afraid you are wrong there. English seems to operate with complete impunity.

            • Draco T Bastard 18.1.1.1.1.2

              Yes, because Labour are so desperate to get back in the command.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

              So far, everything he has said is retarded.

              http://www.positivemoney.org.nz

              The only one saying stuff that happens to be wrong happens to be the RWNJs such as yourself. The people incapable of accepting that their beliefs are wrong as the evidence shows.

            • felixviper 18.1.1.1.1.3

              “Just google him in regards to finance minister. Not hard to find.”

              A lot of examples of him making Blinglish look a fool. Is that what you meant?

    • If you think that’s scary, you really don’t belong as part of any civilised society. (So maybe the USA is a good fit? :P) Norman would make an excellent Minister of Finance.

      • infused 18.2.1

        That doesn’t even make sense. One of his polices is to print money, like the USA.

        Our economy here has to change.

        • Skinny 18.2.1.1

          Printing money is what other Countries are obviously doing i.e USA. Norman is actually engaging his brain by staying with the evolving  moves in managing monetary policy.

           What is this lot in power doing apart from failing it citizens? 

        • geoff 18.2.1.2

          Our economy here has to change.

          Yeah so this is the part where you tell us how the economy has to change otherwise
          what you’re saying doesn’t even make sense.

        • cricklewood 18.2.1.3

          to be fair emulating the US economy is hardly aspirational…

        • Oh, I’m sorry, I replied on the intellectual level of your initial post.

          Very well then.

          “Printing money”, to use your terms, is kinda a necessity in the current global fiscal environment where other economies are doing the same thing. Ideally we shouldn’t have to do it, but we’d need to convince everyone else to stop first.

          It’s not as if this is the entirety or even the most significant part of Green economic policy.

          Now, ideally we’d have a competent Labour finance spokesperson that would allow the Greens to focus on other areas they’re also competent in, (because honestly, I don’t think Finance is really the #2 portfolio if your government is full of good ministers, and although I prefer the Green finance policy, all of their MPs would be better suited in other roles) but right now Norman is the lone voice of sensible fiscal policy among a political landscape scoured by National- and Labour-fronted neoliberalism.

      • Neoleftie 18.2.2

        Not yet maybe in ten years when the conditions are right for change.

      • geoff 18.2.3

        He certainly couldn’t be worse than the dipshit from Dipton, who refuses to take the ships’ wheel as we drift closer and closer to the gigantic waterfall.

  19. karol 19

    As i’ve said on the poverty watch thread, in my BSG Starbuck-viper guise (awaiting clearance), this focus on all the money men, just is a way of the NActs dictating the main battlefield.  While the media et al focus on Norman as the potential deputy PM, the focus is shifted away from Turei and others in Mana-Greens-Labour, who are doing excellent work on poverty and other left wing social policy areas.

    The MSM are building up Norman as the potential Green Leader, because it suits their neoliberal focus. 

  20. sid 20

    Next elections are for the NP and Key to loose. It will not be the great policy announcements of Labour (or that of the Greens) that will increase the votes, but the frustration of the people voting NP out. Meanwhile, Norman, by announcing “monetary easing”, only shows his hand: he is not the change this country urgently needs, but just another average politician. I would like to believe that Shearer deep down inside has got what it takes, but he needs to show some guts and speak out…and time is running out on him, too. Shearer just might miss the momentum.

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