Good on Chris Hipkins. The other day, he wrote:
“National won the last election quite comfortably. Kiwis are fair minded people and will be willing to give them a fair go at the job before they pass judgment. I expect that will be reflected in the opinion polls for most of the current parliamentary term. I would be very surprised if we make much of a dent in the poll gap before election year. But I’m not worried about that either.
New Zealanders will next get the chance to weigh the pros and cons of a Labour-led or a National-led government in 2011. They will judge National on what they have delivered and all parties what the respective parties are offering for the future.
In the meantime our role as an opposition is to keep the government honest. We need to highlight what they are doing and the impact of the spending cuts they are making.
At this point in the electoral cycle nobody expects to see new detailed policies from Labour. But they do want to see us out and about listening to their concerns and reconnecting. That’s what Phil Goff’s ‘Touching Base’ visits have been all about. It’s also why the Labour caucus has visited places like the West Coast, Wanganui and New Plymouth.
We need to keep listening. We need to talk about our values”
That’s a sober and very competent look at the current situation. It says ‘don’t worry about the polls much for now, just get on with it’. I couldn’t agree more. The polls are unlikely to turn at this point. Just keep chipping away.
Yet John Armstrong thinks it was a huge mistake for Hipkins to be honest and realistic in public because National seized on the passage about the polls and had a laugh about it in Parliament yesterday. Well, Armstrong is a Tory arse kisser who has previously written that National ought to lie to stay popular and hasn’t written on a substantive issue in living memory, so excuse me if I ignore his ‘analysis’.
Hipkins and the other Labour MPs writing on Red Alert aren’t stupid, they know that every word they write will be read by the journos and National and potentially used against them. Despite that, they haven’t shied away from being honest; they haven’t slavish toed the party line. That honesty and the unique insight Red Alert allows the public into the thinking of MPs is why it has been an absolutely fantastic development.
So here’s my message to the Red Alert writers: There will always be old trolls like Armstrong and your opponents will always twist your words. Screw ’em. Stay honest and provocative. Keep up the good work guys.