Stuart Nash has burst into print over at the Daily Blog.
It is an interesting post.
He talks about how the Labour Party is now more united and disciplined. Fair call. I am pleased to see that this is happening.
He talks about how winning is everything in politics. Again this is fair enough. Seven years of National’s current rule shows how important it is that a Labour Green government is elected.
He then criticises the party because more than one Labour member apparently said that they preferred Maryan Street to Nash as an MP. He concludes that some in the party think that winning is a sin. Unfortunately for Stuart he does not understand that his vainglorious success in Napier probably hurt the party’s prospects.
Good on him for winning. If you look at the 2011 and 2014 election results in Napier you will see that his proportion of the electorate vote barely changed but National’s plunged by 19% points because of an energetic campaign by the Sensible Sentencing Trust’s candidate Garth McVicar. His success was directly due to McVicar’s presence but hey, in politics winning is all important.
But the share of the party vote in Napier went down by 3.13% compared to the countrywide figure of 2.35%. It is the ABC of proportional politics that winning electorate campaigns do not actually help, the level of the party vote like winning is the only thing that matters.
Vainglorious campaigns in an MMP environment where electorate seats are won and the party vote goes down are a waste of time.
He then chips at Labour supporters for not being disciplined. He does not say how but clearly Mr Nash is a proponent of a Blairite third way where policies and beliefs are calibrated to be most likely to sway the infamous swinging voter. Discipline and blandness are the way to achieve great victories.
It is notable that he does not mention one policy the party should focus on. Not climate change, child poverty, the flow of resources from the poor to the rich. It is not clear where he stands on these or other issues.
He then has a chip at this blog and calls it a bastardisation of a once proud Labour broadsheet.
Clearly he does not understand the importance of open debate and discussion. And he clearly does not understand that the discussions generated by the Standard represent a distillation of the thoughts of activists and progressives throughout the country.
Occasional commentator Matthew Hooton does and has said that he reads this blog to understand what activists in the party are thinking. Nash saying that the discussion should be closed down and activists should rely on personal communication with their MP is a joke.
The discussions that occurred on the Standard arguably affected the last two leadership campaign results. David Cunliffe was the overwhelming favourite on this blog in 2013 and this was reflected in the result. The support for Little was also clear although more muted and is reflected in the closeness of the result.
Mr Nash may prefer that activists do not publicly debate policy and concentrate on delivering pamphlets and parroting the leader’s lines but this will end in tears. I meet many good political activists who use their time to campaign on discrete issues rather than get involved in party politics. Nash’s view would only increase the frequency of this occurring.
I can recall seeing the Labour campaign launch in 1990 during the dark days of Rogernomics where a small group of MPs occupied a small room and gave Mike Moore a standing ovation after he had delivered a tepid speech. That a once proud party was reduced to shutting its members out of the campaign launch because the parliamentarians were afraid of the members spoke volumes.
The Labour Party has a proud history of activism and the promotion of cutting edge radical policies. Mr Nash’s recipe of muted debate and bland third way triangulation of issues is a sure path to irrelevance.