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Some gentle advice for Labour peeps

Written By: - Date published: 10:08 pm, August 27th, 2013 - 58 comments
Categories: democratic participation - Tags:

The contest for the leadership of the Labour party heralds a new era of democracy for the Labour party, and for New Zealand, and people are quite rightly excited about it.

As I’ve said before, this is a great opportunity to bring unity to the party and to get a head-start on the election campaign.

That said, the right see this as a chance to try to further a narrative of division. Not that they’re doing a very good job of it as they aren’t particularly experienced in democracy, have no experience in this kind of organising opportunity, and thus don’t know how to counter it.

Which is why we’ve seen all sorts of desperate trolling from John Key all the way down to the usual inane suspects. The fact that they are keep changing tack suggests to me that they’re not getting any traction and they probably aren’t getting much joy out of their market research either. It’s very hard to test or focus group to such a specific situation (what are they going to do? Get together a focus group made up of a cross-section of Labour members, test anti-Labour messages and then hope everyone keeps their mouth shut?).

My guess is this means they’re probably scouring teh webz trying to get a sense of where they can put a wedge in. It’s up to you, readers and bloggers, to give them no such chance.

In other words. Don’t. Feed. The. Trolls. This process is about Labour talking to Labour, and simultaneously showing voters just how strong and democratic Labour really is. Whatever the usual right-wing suspects say is irrelevant.

As an aside, any Labour people who think it’s clever to dabble in a bit of under the radar backstabbing should be aware that there is no “under the radar”, and if you damage the democratic process you’ll be assisting the right and it’ll be known. Not that I expect any such thing to happen of course.

And that concludes my gentle word of advice. Now let’s get back to it – what a great time to be in the Labour family!


58 comments on “Some gentle advice for Labour peeps”

  1. Pete 1

    The lifeblood of politics is media attention. Labour have guaranteed themselves the lion’s share of this for the next 3 weeks, and beyond as a new leadership team establishes itself. Then there’s the local body elections where right candidates look weak. Then there’s the conference and a by-election in Christchurch East. Then the parliamentary recess for the summer. If the new Labour leader can cultivate good relations with Maori, as David Cunliffe (or Shane Jones, to be fair) has been suggesting, then Waitangi Day should be positive too.

    Unless we send troops to Syria or something, the Nats and their fellow travellers have just lost the media initiative. And they know it.

  2. infused 2

    “That said, the right see this as a chance to try to further a narrative of division. Not that they’re doing a very good job of it”

    Clearly they are, for you to post this.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    I would love there to be a closed section of The Standard, open rarely and briefly only for special reasons, where the Trolls weren’t allowed and the rest of us could debate a topic in substance.

    No telling if I would be permitted in myself, of course 😈

    In other words. Don’t. Feed. The. Trolls.

    Ah yes. Loose lips sink ships.

    • lprent 3.1

      It’d be easy enough to put in place. I’d mostly have to put the user login back on and to ensure that it was set to require full validation.

      Irish has wanted a private bar space for a while. I was intending to try to put one in place for next years campaigning.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Very nice. I’ll imagine up some simple concepts and see if you think they are workable.

        • Lanthanide

          I’d advise caution.

          Allowing the best contributors to cloister themselves away out of the ‘main street’ as it were will see the public area be overrun by trolls and turn to crap.

          • lprent

            I was thinking more of an area where campaigners could go and discuss the theory and tactics of running campaigns across the whole of the country. It is something that has been severely lacking for the last 4 elections when it has been feasible to do it.

            Also in a cross-party manner as most activists on the left involved in campaigns will willingly help others (or keep silent as required). Keep the pseudonyms, but allow a place for people to directly message each other if they want to establish personal contact. I wouldn’t anticipate that it’d get large.

            The main area is always going to be my focus.

      • Gruntie 3.1.2

        I wouldnt rush into a private section for The Standard – Key will put the GCSB onto it – there will be nothing private about it !

  4. Nick 4

    There has been a focus on democracy within the party since the reforms to the leadership selection process were proposed. The catch cry of the Cunliffe faction has been that the current dominance of the ABC faction was unfair due to it coming about as a result of processes which did not involve a democratic selection of the leader. However it’s clear that dissatisfaction with Labour and factional infighting still exist independently of the lack of democracy.

    The question is this: Will everyone be happy with the result just because it has been arrived at through a more democratic process? I think not.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      The question is this: Will everyone be happy with the result just because it has been arrived at through a more democratic process? I think not.

      To me, the “Result” is the top 10 seats in Labour’s line up, not just who is Leader.

    • weka 4.2

      However it’s clear that dissatisfaction with Labour and factional infighting still exist independently of the lack of democracy.

      The question is this: Will everyone be happy with the result just because it has been arrived at through a more democratic process? I think not.

      When NACT won the last election, should the left have been happy with the result just because it was via a democratic process?

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        you’ve been punching hard and fast lately, great to see in action.

      • Nick 4.2.2


        That’s the point many people are making. This democratic process, while no doubt having benefits such as promoting open debate as to the direction of Labour, will also air many of the conflicts between Labour’s factions whilst not solve the problem of factional infighting and undermining once a final, democratic, result is arrived at.

        This is especially true if Cunliffe wins IMO. His faction has no natural leader other than himself, and the ABC’s will figure that losing 2014 is worth it if it creates the opportunity to challenge him post election and reclaim the leadership, with a goal of victory in 2017.

        • David H

          Except that the rhetoric coming out of the Nats camp is ramping up so we already know they are starting to shit the proverbial bricks and these have the sharp Labour Corners.
          So the winning/losing of the election in 2014 has now become real of those in blue, especially if Cunliffe wins.

          As for the ABC faction. I think a few may not even bother (having now seem the writing on the wall) or their LEC’S will say Naaa sorry not this time (or they should).

        • McFlock

          This is especially true if Cunliffe wins IMO. His faction has no natural leader other than himself, and the ABC’s will figure that losing 2014 is worth it if it creates the opportunity to challenge him post election and reclaim the leadership, with a goal of victory in 2017.

          Except that this is exactly my visceral impression of some vocal cunliffe supporters, too – especially if he wins in the labour membership sector but loses overall because of unions+caucus.

          But realistically, I don’t think anyone significant in Labour is prepared to shaft the left and the country in 2014 just so their candidate will have a shot in 2017 (maybe one or two fringe zealots on either side, but I think to get to higher levels in a party one needs a certain amount of pragmatism and intellectual distance). Anyway, a victory for the left does not automatically exclude a leadership challenge.

    • felix 4.3

      Nick, no-one is expecting everyone to be happy with the result. That’s not even really a democratic ideal anyway.

      The key is for everyone to be happy with the process. Then the result stands.

  5. George D 5

    Tautoko that. Though I’m not Labour (obviously), I think there’s a time for unifying around a process which is inclusive, and getting back to the policies and objectives that give us the future we need. This is such an opportunity.

    Key and his lot haven’t worked out a coherent working narrative, despite having had several days to do so. Spinning this as division is the best they’ve got, and it’s not making traction.

  6. Hanswurst 6

    “The fact that they are keep changing tack suggests to me that they’re not getting any traction and they probably aren’t getting much joy out of their market research either.”

    To me it suggests more that they’re just knee-jerking all over the place. The idea that they would have a good idea within 100 hours or so of how much traction or otherwise they were getting just doesn’t seem credible. They’re spooked, otherwise they would know their lines, stick to them and wait for several days to see how far they were getting.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      The idea that they would have a good idea within 100 hours or so of how much traction or otherwise they were getting just doesn’t seem credible.

      National (their corporate serfs) will have a couple of standing focus groups/survey groups on call. Politically aware people from across the spectrum but otherwise basically ordinary Kiwis.

      12-24 hours to formulate the questions, 24 hours to carry out the polling/focus grouping, 12-24 hours to analyse the results.

      Less than 3 days to get the results back, if they worked quick. It’s Tue night so they will be getting the feedback from Saturday. That’s before anyone announced.

      One problem they might be having with all this small group stuff is that they are not getting any internal agreement in terms of responses and that the reactions of the people they are sampling are all over the map. Or that just about everyone likes what they are seeing from Labour at the moment.

  7. tracey 7

    Key is showing vulnerability under pressure. His outburst today at red zoners is appalling. Cf his donation to rio tinto and warner bros.

  8. chris73 8

    Yes because Labour is so clearly united National needs to create division…ever consider that the Labour party themselves make it just so easy for the right?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      1.8% swing against National and they are gone.

    • Tracey 8.2

      actually that gets discussed here often chris73.

    • millsy 8.3

      Dont you worry Chris.

      When John Key buggers off to NYC, and Winston retires to a Karaka stud (leaving his supporters to go back to the National fold), and urban liberal will line up against rural conservative, wealthy corporate against small business owner, and 10 generation farmer v Chinese speculator, Labour’s contest will be long forgotten.

  9. geoff 9

    Irish: Seems your gentle advice has antagonised Shane Jones. Apparently he has declared he is going on the attack against twitter trolls and ‘as god as his witness, it will end in tears’.


  10. Skinny 10

    The Right the Pot and the kettle.. So what the likes of Peter Goodfellow and Gibson & their fellow rich list donators don’t have a huge say in what goes on within the Rights political party’s? Give us a break, oh wait the captains of industry have lobbied to take smoko breaks away from the surfs! The benefits Unions get from support to any candidate & propping up cash strapped left partys is a mere drop in the bucket compared to what Nact leaders & their party’s get.

    I really hope the Labour leadership contenders take this slur on Unions to task and expose to the gullible public what’s really happening in this Country!

    Let’s not get overly PC about this Irish Bill.

  11. Tigger 11

    I wonder how many of those twitter trolls are DPF?

  12. Takere 12

    Well yesterday…looks like Jones came out on top again! Cunliffe got caught out in the media for plagiarism and Grant got owned by PinoKeyo over unemployment numbers plus 1 and 3 MP’s applying for Shearers old job! Go Shane!

  13. vto 13

    Some 2c says that steeping the LP in this new democratic process is brilliant…

    It gives the members a stake.
    It values the members stakes.
    It, together with the Greens similar approach, inspires the use such stakes in the wider political environment.
    It exposes the lack of similar structures in the nats and other parties.
    It makes people feel a part of the process.

    Well done.

    The result will be good and it will strengthen the labour party.

  14. Takere 14

    We need a George Galloway type leader. Not a pasty god like pretender phoney like cunliffe. Working class, my arse.

    • vto 14.1

      you come across like someone with a heavily vested interest takere…

      .. care to disclose?

      • Chooky 14.1.1

        @ vto

        Shane Jones is an advocate for the oil industry which also likes to spurt forth

        ….and Takere is Jones’ PR man on ‘The Standard’….more spouting forth

      • Takere 14.1.2

        I would like the labour of old, pre 2000 not the latte & chardonnay set thats ruined the party. Get some grassroots union advocates up front, not the bunch of lightweight parasites they have now.

    • Tracey 14.2

      You’re kind of Shane Jones Ken Davitian aren’t you Takere.

      • Takere 14.2.1

        Nah sista I’m not a fat bastard. Implying that George is a fat bastard too isn’t nice. Unity??

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