At the moment the Left and Right political blocs are poised more or less evenly in the polls. So how do we grow the Left vote to win in 2014?
A lot of commenters here think the answer is for Labour to move to the Left. Frustrated at the slow closing of the polls, they think (with the National government being such an obvious disaster) that all Labour needs to do is become more radical, and the voters will come flocking in. With respect, I disagree. If it was as simple as that, The Greens and Mana would be rocketing ahead. And they aren’t. For all the criticism leveled at Labour’s leadership, the Greens and Mana leadership aren’t doing any better at moving in the polls.
So, sorry to say it, but simply moving Labour further Left isn’t going to do it. Much as I hate the phrase “center left”, the centre seems to be where the vote are, and my guess is it’s where Labour has to stay to win them. That leaves space for Mana and the Greens to position themselves more strongly, and, thanks to MMP, it means that a Labour / Green (/Mana?) coalition government is likely to be more Left wing than Labour itself (fine with me).
OK, so what does grow the vote for the Left? I don’t have anything to add to the well known factors:
(1) Hammer the Nats. The disaster that is the National government is obvious enough to us, but it clearly isn’t obvious to the electorate in general (yet), or National’s polling would be falling faster. So – all Leftie parties need to keep hammering the government’s record, keep getting the message out…
(2) Have better policy. We need plausible, costed, more equitable, more sustainable, better policy – be bold!
(3) Turn out the vote. The non-voting block is huge – motivate even a fraction of them to vote Left and we win. But we can’t assume that having suitably leftie policies is enough to do it or these people would be voting already for Mana or Green – and they aren’t. So, find out more! Why aren’t these people voting? And what would it take to get them to vote Left?
(4) Cooperate cooperate cooperate! I don’t have any hard evidence, but anecdotally voters want to see cooperation between parties of the Left. Coordination and agreement – a government in waiting, building confidence in the policies.
So, that’s my list, no magic bullets, just the usual hard work. What have I missed? How do we grow the Left vote?