I normally take the Herald with more than a grain of salt. This is the paper which since the creation of the Labour Party has opposed and criticised its policies. It has been consistently critical and the sense of right wing bias is overwhelming.
In this morning’s Herald the tradition of right wing bias has been continued. In an article titled Labouring under an electoral delusion John Armstrong has laid out his lack of understanding of the current reality for all to see.
Firstly he claims that there has been little to rouse the public. Well yesterday was taken up with workshops and sector meetings. These are never exciting to the press. They are not for publicity purposes, they are for organisational and networking purposes. I guess that they are not as exciting as a party stoush but sadly for Armstrong and co those days are over.
He then claims that the party is moving leftwards. That is far too crude a word to use for a draft policy platform that is very sophisticated. If moving leftwards is wishing to increase support for ordinary kiwis, opposing crony capitalism and wanting to protect the environment then yep guilty as charged.
I agree that very few electors will ever read the policy papers but Armstrong does not appear to understand that these debates are important for party morale. Also what matters with political parties are organisation, resources, campaign ability and passion. And in these areas Labour is starting to look good.
The organisation is in robustly good health compared to even a few months ago. David mentioned last night that over this time membership had doubled.
This has major implications. The finances are obviously improving although Labour can never outspend National. But what is evident is that the ability to campaign is dramatically improved. Labour’s activist base and their ability to campaign face to face are critical to Labour’s chances and the more the merrier.
Armstrong then claims that Cunliffe is trying to be all things to all men by adding riders that all policies should be costed and affordable. This I really struggle with. Firstly he is being criticised for being too left and then for being wishy washy. Which one is it John?
He then trots out some National supplied attack lines. Apparently David has been invisible for the past couple of weeks? Really? His media exposure has been huge.
And a lack of urgency? David has been working huge hours. He has gone from being a lowly backbencher to the caucus leader very quickly and has put a huge effort into setting up the leader’s office. Expect his performance to pick up as the office settles down.
John criticises the lack of new policy. Umm wait for David’s speech today John.
Finally John picks on a rather far out remit to justify his claim that the party is moving leftwards. Unfortunately the remit was voted down. John chose to repeat it anyway.
I am afraid that this conference will be boring for the media. There will be no blood on the floor or any manufactured crisis. There will instead be a happy united group of activists getting ready to campaign for next year.