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In the Home of Labour

Written By: - Date published: 5:59 pm, April 25th, 2016 - 48 comments
Categories: elections, greens, International, Jeremy Corbyn, labour, uk politics - Tags: , , , , , ,

A week on Thursday is the day that the Scottish Labour Party dies…yet again. Some polls have even suggested they will struggle to pip the Tories for second place in the Holyrood elections. I don’t think they’ll come third. But I do think that those within UK Labour who are arrayed against Corbyn will exploit the upcoming disaster to put pressure on his leadership. That would be disingenuous on their part.

That said, Corbyn has kind of brought this on himself. It’s been entirely predictable since the UK General Election that Scottish Labour were only ever going to tank come the Holyrood elections. Knowing that (He couldn’t have not known that, could he?), and given that Scottish Labour is essentially Blairite and hostile to his Labour vision, he should have granted Scottish Labour unequivocal autonomy from UK Labour when he became Labour leader. And he should have entered into some unofficial alliance with the SNP in Westminster instead of carrying on with the same old tired attacks. Unfortunately for him, he possesses an old school vision of ‘one world socialism’, that would deny any legitimacy to expressions of nationalism – even the inclusive civic nationalism of the SNP.

It’s a shame really.

While I’ve no enthusiasm for Labour either here or in Scotland (they seem to be cut from the same jib), I believe that the UK Labour Party could rediscover some elements of its roots with Corbyn as its leader, and so be able to offer the electorate in England and Wales some real hope for the future…an alternative.

Ironically, Friday week, all that’s going to be under attack from people ideologically aligned to the, by then, all but dead and buried ‘Blairite’ Scottish Labour Party.

As for the Scottish Greens (who are independent from the Green Party of England and Wales), I’m quietly hoping this election will be a watershed moment for them and that 2016 marks the moment when they embark on the path to official opposition…and beyond.

48 comments on “In the Home of Labour ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Labour’s vision of the 20th century remains far stronger than their vision of the 21st century, and they act accordingly.

    • burt 1.1

      Labours vision for the 21st century is pretty much what failed in the late 20th century. Same tired dog shit rolled in glitter and served up as something sparkly and fresh, but it’s still guaranteed to fail dog shit.

      Here in NZ Labour are determined to reserect Muldoon’s worst policies and somehow under a red party logo they will be excellent visionary policies. Retards.

      • Alastair 1.1.1

        And the problem with National’s vision is that it is based on 18th century ideas that are simply resulting in all the problems of the 19th century being recreated again.

        What goes around comes around.

        • Colonial Viper

          I agree with you, but National is doing what it always does. Serve the 1%, rebuild the aristocracy, rebuild class walls and privilege, reinstate feudalism.

          So of course, they are heading back to the 19th century.

          They were never founded on being progressive were they? And they are following through beautifully on their brief.

        • Puckish Rogue

          Well that may or may not be true Alastair but it doesn’t alter the issue being that Labours vision is seeing it not get elected whereas Nationals vision is seeing it get re-elected

          • Colonial Viper

            The dynamics have changed, from what I can observe. Dissatisfaction with National/John Key no longer translates into voters automatically supporting Labour.

            Voters instead are going undecided, or supporting third parties.

            • Puckish Rogue

              Well I guess that’s probably true so what is Labour (or the Greens) doing to turn these voters away from voting at all

              I mean to me it seems that if you really dislike National then you’d vote for Labour or the Greens yet that’s not happening…

              • Colonial Viper

                And yes, that’s the usual logic. It suggests that these same people who dislike National also dislike Labour and the Greens.

                To my mind, Winston is the only winner in this tussle.

                • Puckish Rogue

                  If Winston is the winner then theres going to be an awful lot of losers on both sides of the house and I say that as someone who thinks Winston will most likely go with National

                  But he’ll extract his pound of flesh for the privilege

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I agree with that, however its hard to imagine what major negotiating concessions Key and National could offer to Winston to make up for that pretty ugly recent history between them.

                    And Winston would have to sell that deal to the rest of his party too.

                    Mind you if Labour comes in under 30% in 2017 (I am still picking 2014 +/- 3% for Labour) Winston will have the perfect excuse to go with National.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      John Key can offer him:

                      a knighthood

                      One person to negotiate with rather then negotiating with the Greens Labour

                      A coalition deal that more of Winstons voters would feel comfortable with (do you really think the voters of formerly blue Northland would rather go with the Greens or Labour?)

                      I’m not saying its a done deal (its Winston) but National seems an easier fit for Winston is all

                      Of course he could surprise me by going left

                    • alwyn

                      “pretty ugly recent history”.
                      What is there in the “recent” history you are talking about.
                      You must remember that Winston and John are politicians. The recent past is yesterday. Anything earlier than that is back in the mists of pre-history.
                      Look at what happened in the 1990s.
                      Winston was kicked out of Cabinet in late 1991. In late 1992 it was decided that Peters would not be allowed to seek re-nomination for Tauranga. He went to court about it but lost and quit the party in 1993, fought a by-election and remained in the house as a New Zealand First MP.
                      Despite that he went into Government with National only 3 years later. What is so recent and ugly that he couldn’t do the same thing again if he had the chance?
                      As for selling the deal to the rest of the party. What can they do? After all he IS the party and if he goes so do they.
                      Winston wouldn’t hesitate in my view. He knows he is running out of time and he wants his knighthood, another session in Cabinet with its perks and then an appointment as an Ambassador or High Commissioner somewhere nice to round out his working life. Better that than squabbling with the Greens in a Government in which he is the third wheel.

          • Bill

            Nicely or deliberately missing the point that there are variants?

            The Scottish Labour Party is akin to NZ Labour Party. But the UK Labour Party has moved away from appeasement politics of ‘Blair’s third way’ or triangulation.

            The SNP are more akin to UK Labour. They (the SNP) stole the abandoned garb of Labour and cleaned up in the UK election… and will clean up next Thursday.

            Scottish Labour is still locked down in some Blairite universe and will tank next Thursday – having already returned only one MP to Westminster at the UK election.

            So, taking parties at face value, the SNP have positioned themselves as progressive and left. The UK Labour Party has re-positioned itself as progressive and left. The Scottish Labour Party hasn’t moved. The NZ Labour Party appears loathe to move.

            In terms of just Scottish politics, (and perhaps a bit of wishful thinking) the Greens have outflanked the SNP on the left and may well, over a few election cycles, leave both the old school Tory and Labour Parties flailing in their wake and be challenging the SNP for primacy in Scottish politics.

          • Bill

            @ puckish Rogue

            And that doesn’t alter the issue being that in country after country where the political parameters of these past 30 odd years have been abandoned, the parties dropping the politics of the past 30 years in the dirt, get hammered by the media and the commentariat, and then clean up at election time.

            Where everyone clings on to the rationales of the past 30 years, the race becomes pretty close (tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum politics) and voters see little point in voting on a media driven personality contest.

      • gnomic 1.1.2

        ‘Here in NZ Labour are determined to reserect Muldoon’s worst policies’

        Aside from the issues under debate here, I feel obliged to mention that the word you want here is ‘resurrect’. Just saying. A moderately important word in the English language.

        By the way, calling people retards is often seen as politically incorrect these days. You wouldn’t want to be like Paul Henry surely?

  2. swordfish 2

    Latest YouGov poll put the Tories a little ahead of Labour in Scotland. But if you average the last 3 polls north of the border – it’s SNP 53%, Labour 20%, Tories 16% on the constituency-only vote. That’s enough, once you combine it with the regional list numbers, to give Labour 26 seats, down eleven on their 2011 drubbing but probably enough to keep them in second place ahead of the Tories.

    There does appear to have been at least a half-hearted effort by Scottish Labour to move a little Left recently in order to outflank the SNP- advocating tax rises, for instance, to mitigate the effects of Tory austerity*. But (despite a plurality of Scots voters approving of the policy itself) it appears to have done them no favours in the polls, the SNP still utterly dominant.

    So we’re clearly talking a really fundamental, deep-seated re-alignment that marks Post-Referendum politics, albeit arising from years of Labour complacency, cynicism corruption and decay. Closely allied to the Blairite ideological transformation that conceded so much ground that the SNP gratefully filled. Has at least the potential to be an enduring hegemony for the Nationalists. (It took the once-dominant Canadian Liberals 35 years to regain a federal majority in Quebec, for instance)

    Important, though, not to suspend our critical faculties when it comes to the SNP – there remain questions over just how progressive they are.

    * I notice, too, that Scottish Labour has been taking an increasingly ambiguous stance on Independence, with Dugdale suggesting MSPs will be free to campaign for independence in any Second Referendum. Acknowledgement, maybe, that the SNP has been successful in convincing a lot of Labour’s former constituency that Independence is the road to social justice / equality.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      “Important, though, not to suspend our critical faculties when it comes to the SNP – there remain questions over just how progressive they are.”

      My feeling is that “being Progressive” hasn’t delivered what was promised and isn’t really what Europe is looking for any more.

      • swordfish 2.1.1

        Yeah, I was using “progressive” in a fairly broad (arguably, loose, somewhat sloppy) way there, CV. Simply as a synonym for Left, anti-austerity, pro-social services, public ownership, redistributive, egalitarian and so on.

    • Bill 2.2

      Given that the principle goal for the SNP is to achieve independence, many of their policies have to be viewed with that in mind. This will be the first time they’ve had a Holyrood campaign where their manifesto hasn’t contained an explicit call for an independence vote if they return a majority. The fact they returned a majority last time, kind of caught them on the hop. So now, they are sensibly saying that a second referendum will only be called when a clear majority want independence. This isn’t so removed from their previous stance – just that they now understand that their own popularity doesn’t correlate exactly to the wishes for independence.

      So they’ll work on it and seek to maintain a majority in the mean time. The left leaning camp within the SNP has gained ascendancy with Nicola Sturgeon, but the more centrist or right wing still has influence and so … odd balancing acts.

      eg – they are going to cut air passenger duty to pull more planes through Scottish airports at the same time as committing (in line with the science) to a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020… and they won’t progress their current moratorium on fracking to an outright ban.

      The income tax rate thing is a nonsense. There is no power to alter the rate of tax of one band without altering the other bands by the same amount. I believe that changes sometime soon and more subtle tax policies will become possible in the future.

      What I find most interesting is that many of the SNPs policy announcements seem designed to steal fire from the Greens or mollify the Greens (also a pro-independence party) while essentially leaving the Labour Party to auto destruct.

  3. CoroDale 3

    Labour’s finance face, could make a glass eye weep. Something about tourism doing ok and something else a bit sluggish! If that’s the opposition, we’re going to need people power pronto! NZ or UK, same empire, on the way out. Hold the whiskey back, we’ve got laws to make. Tired of wasting our time protesting on the streets, it’s our corporate govt who needs to hit the streets, bum first.

  4. adam 4

    And yet here in NZ, labour are still besotted with the free-market and it’s ideological bed mate neo-liberalism.

    Then they wonder why the populous would rather not vote for them. Odd fish is the NZ labour party – “wet” is the term which comes to mind.

    I say watch the NZ greens vote fall as well, once peoples perception of them moves to just another political party, being bed with the whole neo-liberal ideology. Their current male co-leader is doing them few favours.

    So Bill, I disagree with the green vote, I also disagree with Colonial Viper on it in NZ as well. NZ has no alternative, it’s all the same dish water – and I think Scotland will drink from the same sewer of tired, pointless ideology as well.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      A question adam – what do you see as being the alternative that NZ needs? Is it for Labour to go back to its working class roots? Is it for the Greens to dig down to their Values Party roots?

      Or does it need to be something quite different to this, something which isn’t as reliant on nostalgia?

      • adam 4.1.1

        Something quite different, and a nod to the roots.

        The reality the election will be won and lost in Auckland. I know the rest of the country don’t like to hear that. And by being lost – I mean a whole lot of people not voting. It appears we are right on track for that eventuality.

        Ever time the national party are dishonest, it’s a win win for them. Look at the way the trolls gloat here about. They have dragged down politics to its’ lowest dirtiest point, and it wins them elections, because their base votes, no matter what. They only have to convince very few voters to vote for them, on top of the base, and they win – if a larger group of people don’t vote.

        So nod to roots. One thing the values party started on was integrity in politics. They would do well to embrace that more. They would do well to link the environment to the current economic mess. And talk about the economy being a mess – under employment, the problem with the growth model, the tax base, the low wages, food banks, the deferment of debt to the next generation, excessive greed by the already wealthy, economic war on the weakest – the list under these Tory bastards does not end.

        And old, or nostalgic nod – don’t expect anything from the corporate media – seeing as we just passed anzac day. Remember the herald was the main voice behind the invasion of the Waikato – it’s been a Tory rag for over 100 years – give up on it already.

        New, the web – it’s being done – reach out with social media to people in enjoyable ways, with integrity.

        New – Hope is a message peopel need, but hope with integrity. Hope alone is not enough.

        Also what One Anonymous Bloke does, call out these rats when they lie. You don’t argue with them, or put forward arguments. Politics is not about logic when it’s this debased. Lies are lies and it is a fine art at the moment – just look at the trolls.

        Also get many many peoples ideas. Not just a few so called experts. Experts are useful, but they hardly ever say – I mucking around with this, and came up with…

        The game is afoot and the Tory scum, hold many cards – except the real power of people. And the only way to get that power involved – is with hope and integrity.

        • International Rescue

          “the list under these Tory bastards does not end.”

          This is precisely your problem…your irrational hatred of National makes it impossible for you to see them for what they are. Key’s National are moderates. They are not the right wing/neoliberal antichrist you would paint, just as Clark was not the left wing harlot that the right used to paint her as. National have borrowed billions to prop up an inefficient and ineffective social welfare system. They have exercised moderate, conventional economic theory that would not sit uncomfortably with many of the worlds centrist even moderately left wing parties. They have invested more money in health and education than any previous Gvt. You, and Labour’s current leadership, just don’t get it.

          • Bill

            Ever thought of opening a toilet roll factory? And printing comments like that on the individual sheets of your rolls?

          • adam

            I’m labour, but I’m not the labour party.

            International Rescue, the national government as moderate went out the window with the 90 day bill, the attack on solo mothers, the attack on the weak, the selling of state assets, the selling of state houses, the embracing of radical economic theory – you and yours like to call conventional – but is in reality very radical in that it does not work. Blaming welfare for tax cuts is like me blaming your mother for you being an idiot – unkind and a deliberate attempt at a rial. I agree welfare is not working, but the wholesale wreaking of the system by this radical government means it does not work.

            Lets get back to the list shall we – Radical in nature government – creating a tax haven, bribes to China and Saudi Arabia, the signing of a deal which is not a trade deal the TTPA, the charter school project, the destruction of what is left of union, the wholesale underfunding of disable – the weakest in society, the wreaking of government departments to prove a ideological point, being ideological, using attack dogs like Whale oil and other to under mine democracy.

            Crumbs International Rescue I have not touched the surface, and this government is not looking moderate like the lie you are spinning. But radical, and deeply idealogical. Worse of all, divisive and bullies to the weakest in society. Not two words I put in a sentence when describing being moderate.

            • Colonial Viper

              I appreciate your response on what you think the alternative political paradigm needs to be, Adam.

            • Stuart Munro

              And the worst of it is – for all their adventitious cruelty and unprincipled arrogance they have achieved nothing whatsoever economically.

              There has been no real growth – balance of payments is an illusion based on foreign real estate purchases – poverty and unemployment are at record levels.

              Folk like PR and International Rescue are not rightwingers – they are the infatuated dupes of a serial economic failure. $120 billion in debt heading for $150 billion this year – and they love it – can’t get enough of it – they are SOOOO fucking stupid!

            • International Rescue

              The 90 day bill is moderate. There has been no ‘attack’ on solo mothers or the weak. The partial sale of state assets is not right wing policy, it is economic orthodoxy exercised by many centrist Gvt’s. NZ is not a tax haven, the TPPA is a huge trade deal, and charter schools are also mainstream across the world.

              The simple truth is you are totally out of touch with mainstream thinking in NZ, indeed globally.

              • lprent

                The 90 day act wasn’t “moderate”. It was extreme. A friend of mine gave up a good job to go to one with higher pay.

                After 4 weeks, her arsehole employer dropped her under the 90 day provisions because she wasn’t learning fast enough – in the finance industry! I have a MBA with a considerable component of finance, and I work as a computer programmer. Some of the stuff she was talking about being asked to do would have been hard for me to learn and do in the first month.

                Having a look at the arsehole employer for the 4 months showed that she did pretty much the same thing to at least 3 other employees across several recruiters, each time avoiding paying the recruiters.

                It took my friend about 4 months to get another job (again with higher pay than her original job) without much income because of the daft rules from WINZ to keep benefit payments down. She damn near starved!

                Basically there is no comeback on shot employers misusing the 90 day rule. I think that there should be. Perhaps making an example of some of them here? Just so that their names get into the search engines.

                • International Rescue

                  The 90 day act is common overseas, so it is moderate. It also protected employers against lying scum employees (see I can do the emotive rhetoric as well) who lie about their experience and qualifications. Perhaps naming and shaming such employees on facebook would be a good idea?

              • adam

                Are you living under a rock International Rescue?

                My guess you have not heard of section 70

                Economic orthodoxy is being exposed as the lie it is – all across the globe

                New Zealand is a tax haven, via the privacy act and the changes by this national government to the law around trusts.

                TPPA, is not a huge trade deal – read it – any idiot can see it’s not a trade deal.

                Charter schools, epic fail from libertarian think tanks.

                Out of touch – Pot – Kettle – as you are a hard right libertarian.

                I did notice, you are quite happy to see them carry on the war on the weakest.

                • International Rescue

                  It would instructive for you to engage on any one of those issues.

                  Shall we begin with Charter Schools. Far from being an epic fail, they have been a huge success. Care to engage in a meaningful discussion?

                  Or your ludicrous claim that National has made NZ into a tax haven. Do you have any expert support for that? You’ll find the definition here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_haven seeing as you seem confused.

                  Or perhaps the TPPA, an agreement that liberalises trade between the signatories, but you say isn’t a trade deal.

                  You really have no idea, but I’m happy to prove it.

                  • adam

                    I’d like the learning outcomes for charter schools to be public then we can have the debate. But, once again dishonesty rules with you lot, and they are not in the public realm.

                    Where these major successes you speak of? Hawaii?

                    Tax haven = anywhere you can hide money to not pay tax. Sorry I take a liberal definition of tax haven. So any government who abuses power, like most do, to produce the New Zealand form of tax evasion, is a tax haven in my definition. Sorry if to broad a definition for you.

                    So you have not read the TPPA agreement then – to argue it is a Major trade deal makes you look silly.

                    Section 70 – no idea I take it – so national are a radical government attacking solo mums and children.

                    And let me remind you economic orthodox is being proven everyday, in every-way, to be failing. Or are you going to pervert Adam Smith and Ricardo some more?

                    Back to the base argument – National are a extreme and radical government. You have said, or done nothing to prove any different.

                    • International Rescue

                      “I’d like the learning outcomes for charter schools to be public then we can have the debate.”

                      They are. Shows how little you know.

                      “Where these major successes you speak of? Hawaii?”

                      Many places. That you need to ask just shows how intellectually lay you are.

                      Come back when you’ve read those and I’ll school you some more.

                      “Sorry I take a liberal definition of tax haven. ”

                      You’ve made up your own definition. Good old leftist dishonesty.

                      “So you have not read the TPPA agreement then – to argue it is a Major trade deal makes you look silly.”

                      So you have changed from saying it is not trade deal to it is not a major trade deal. Any advances?

                      “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a proposed regional free trade deal between 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

                      “And let me remind you economic orthodox is being proven everyday, in every-way, to be failing. ”

                      Ah, no. Economic orthodoxy is pulling people out of poverty, it is empowering economic freedom, and liberating people previously enslaved by the economic repression of socialism and communism.

                      At some point I’ll realise you aren’t really stupid, just pulling my chain.

    • Bill 4.2

      You do understand that my comments referred only to The Scottish Green Party, yes?

      I’d agree we’re all swilling around in the dishwater here in NZ, but (maybe) there was a kind of flood in Scotland that washed away the kitchen sink and a good proportion of the house with it. And then sunlight…

      • adam 4.2.1

        I live in hope.

        Mind you if the SNP are the future of the right wing, then I’d be happy. 🙂

    • aerobubble 4.3

      Sorry but I saw the panel with the female co leader sloshed and taking the bait on the fifteen percent line, wt was that?

      Nothing needs to change for us to get a progressive govt, the players are in place. All Lab voters need to is party vote Green and LAB in the constituency seat, like Nats do for the same reason in Epsom. Epsom has four MPs, ACT, NAT, LAB, Green all based there. Should make people sit up.

      • Bill 4.3.1

        You talking about Maggie Chapman or Metiria Turei….the Scottish Greens or NZ Greens? What bait on what 15% line?

        To get a progressive government here in NZ, the players that are in place would have to quit playing the bullshit game they’re currently playing and, y’know….play something progressive.

        • aerobubble

          Aside from yes they need to engage with progressive policies that deliver to peoples concerns, like dodgy meat in our super markets and how small suppliers cant sell fresh meat from their own premises less they reap the wrath of the…
          …why else do we exaplian low food prices. But hey nobody in Lab guves a crap.

          The fifteen percent that Greens were targetting, wtf was that, always brought up by media and nobody had a comeback for it, and she was obviiusly to sloshed to either.

  5. Northsider 5

    There is one more nail for the Scottish people to drive into the Labour (Scotland Branch office) coffin. Council seats and their attached perks.

    In in 2012 local elections Labour won 392 seats (32%) against the SNP’s 425 (35%). Independent got 16% of seats, Tories 9%, LibDems 6% and Greens 1%.

    These paid elected members were the backbone of the system Labour established in Scotland. Many would double as Councillors and staffers in MPs and MSPs offices. Many had roles in quangos that Labour created. Many moved onto jobs in supplier/contractor companies. Stories of cronyism are rife.

    When Labour Scotland lost 41 Westminster MPs they also lost a hundred attached paid jobs in constituency offices and in Westminster. A sizeable part of the Labour machine was wiped out with those 41 seats. Another swathe of jobs for the boys will go after next weeks Holyrood elections.

    The local elections will be held in May 2017. Labour stiill controls Glasgow and many city councils. A whole sytems of back scratching meant that few labour councillors looked underfed. Few in Scotland will shead a tear for them.

  6. rhinocrates 6

    A coherent and relevant vision. Competence to govern, and if promising change, ability and commitment to implement that change and make it work.

    The Labour caucus doesn’t offer that. When it actually stirs from its dinner table at Bellamy’s, it stinks of staleness, hysteria and entitlement, not ability.

    Polls often show that people like Labour’s declared policies when they’re told about them, but they won’t vote for the party. It’s not because they’re dumb. They may not be aware of detailed policy but they sure have an instinct for ability or at least its appearance and Labour can’t even manage that.

    (Witness the latest Roy Morgan – another drop)

    Moreover, most experts in branding will tell you that it takes years to turn a brand’s perceptions around, not minutes after the first press release and shiny new logo. Labour’s got just over one year – it’s not enough.

    I linked to this before:


    One key point is that the MPs have to get a hold on their portfolios and develop an expertise in the technicalities instead of so obviously treating them as sinecures, stepping stones or tokens of status.

    Otherwise they look like bloody spoiled children.

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