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Moving away from the politics of fear

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 pm, November 2nd, 2014 - 53 comments
Categories: blogs, labour, Media - Tags: , ,

I’ve been meaning to respond to this post by Bill for a few days. This is the bit that I really disagree with: “there is a defining factor that ought to be considered…vulnerability to attack” (which isn’t from the post itself but from the front page description of it). The whole premise of the post is that a leader should be picked on the basis of who is the smallest target.

His description of the problem is accurate enough:

Whoever is leader, is going to [be] subjected to, and have to contend with, an endless barrage of innuendo and attempted smears from Slater, Farrar and/or others. These attacks will inevitably be picked up and amplified by major newspapers and TV outlets. The hope, as always, will be that any negative image of who-ever is leader gets traction in the mind of the general public and becomes projected onto the party as a whole.

But I object to the notion that any leadership decision should be based on this. For a start, it effectively allows the attackers from the right to determine who leaders from the left should be. It’s pretty much giving power to them and admitting defeat for the left to have any strategy or any ability to back their leaders against such attacks.

That bothers me a lot, because I think there has been too much implementation of policy or refusal to implement policy based on fear of the other side. The biggest example in my mind is the Foreshore and Seabed legislation back in 2005, when the Labour Party effectively allowed the opposition to dictate Labour policy. I believe that harmed the Party more than if they had held their ground and allowed the process through the courts continue. They lost a lot of support from the Maori electorate, as well as from many on the left who saw them as no longer willing to defend basic Labour values and principles.

Politics from a position of fear is never going to be successful. Politics based on conviction and the ability to put forward a sound argument is a much better strategy. It would be heaps better to pick a leader that has skills needed for the job (eg ability to build relationships and connect with people, strong debating & public speaking skills, etc), and simultaneously develop strategy to deal with potential attacks.

And in the meantime, simply ignore what right-wing commentators, bloggers and politicians are saying. The number of times I’ve seen comments along the lines of “well if [right-wing person] is supporting [left-wing candidate], then they are clearly not worth supporting”. Just ignore them, it’s noise and it makes no sense to respond let alone to pay attention when selecting a leader. Judge the candidate on their own actions, beliefs, ability.

Then there is the fact that selection of a leader based on potential attack points reduces the pool of people able to be elected. It’s a good way to keep anyone with any kind of minority identity out of the position, on the basis that they are open to attack because of that identity. It’s a way of enforcing a narrow definition of what makes an electable leader. Funnily enough, those some people who enforce such definitions also pontificate loudly about selection being based on merit. It’s a no-win situation.

Yes, anyone selected is going to be subject to attack. But there’s no point in allowing that to cloud our judgement.

 

Stargazer

53 comments on “Moving away from the politics of fear”

  1. weka 1

    I largely agree. I’m a pragmatic voter and have often made the argument that the GP for instance have made the right moves by becoming more mainstream. But there is a limit and I think the left is in danger of sinking into a fear based hole that it will never get out of. Been thinking about this a bit today as I have been commenting elsewhere on how the GP won’t talk about WINZ and welfare now either, it’s a taboo subject because of the perception of how the media and public will react.

    One of the arguments Bill has made is that Cunliffe failed as leader because he wasn’t tough enough to push back within his own caucus (dealing to the ABCs). I think this probably true, and it’s likely that within the relatively macho culture of the Labour caucus, it needed a macho push back. But I’ve also been watching karol talk about the masculinisation of politics during the Key years, and am reminded of alternatives when you talk about the need for policy from conviction. At this time it looks like we need strength and conviction as much as anything. Too much of our time has been spent reacting to dirty politics etc, and not enough time building foundations we can be proud of to support.

    (of course the problem for Labour is the internal division. Can’t work on conviction while that is going on).

  2. Fuckin’ A, Stargazer.

  3. locus 3

    Leadership in nz is a popularity contest. Popularity is not a measure of the policies or your track record of achievement. It is about whether you can make people feel a bit better, laugh, take their mind off the negative stuff they so often hear from politicians. That there are so many ways to make nz a great place

    If our next labour leader can do all this while reminding people of the benefits to everyone in a kinder more socially equitable world. ?.

    • les 3.1

      Thats the reality…if Richie Macaw or Dan Carter said they would stand for Labour as leader,they would probably romp home.

      • stargazer 3.1.1

        because the right & the media would suddenly not attack them, not delve into any aspects of their pasts, not pick on every little thing they said, not run focus groups to tease out potential negatives in the minds of voters? see, if you think it’s just a popularity contest & the one who is least likely to be attacked will win, you’re really not understanding how politics works. neither of richie mccaw or dan carter are perfect, nor do they have any experience with politics & that would show pretty fast. selecting a leader through internal party processes is about a whole lot more than perceived popularity.

      • Sanctuary 3.1.2

        And what did Labour do about it? Nothing! Why had no one apparently anticipated what to do if McCaw and Carter make pro-government statements in the middle of the freaking four-nations tournament?? Everyone knows McCaw loves tha Nats, why wasn’t that covered in pre-election planning? The rugby championship timetable was published month ago!

        People like Jerome Kaino support Labour. My counter strategy would have been to have him tweet in support of Labour, then plant a story in the media of unease in the All Black camp at the politicisation of the jersey.

        Just having Tew and Hanson denying it would have been enough to get people arguing about the wisdom of the All Black captain supporting National so obviously, rather than just allowing McCaw to influence how people vote.

  4. Bill 4

    The whole premise of the post is that a leader should be picked on the basis of who is the smallest target.

    Bollocks. The entire post was basically a thought experiment based on the supposition (if that’s the correct term) that if the four contenders were perceived as equal to one another in every other respect,then…

    Now see, I thought there was a bit of a give-away on that front given the title of the post, and the last sentence of the post. But hey…

    • stargazer 4.1

      and yet you talk about a “defining factor”. regardless, i just think it should be the least of considerations.

      and even if it was a thought experiment on your part, it isn’t on part of a lot of people. they are genuinely treating attacks from the opposition & media as a major consideration, and that kind of thinking would start ruling out a whole lot of good people.

      • Molly 4.1.1

        Horizon Poll on the Labour leadership also had a similar question re vulnerability to attack on its survey, which I completed yesterday.

      • Bill 4.1.2

        and yet you talk about a “defining factor”

        Uh-huh, but not without qualification… that qualification being a perception that no other differences exist…

        Now, other people may be treating possible attack politics as a major consideration and elevating that over and above all other considerations. But I don’t, and didn’t write a post from that angle. On that front you set up a straw man to launch an otherwise reasonable argument.

        Anyway, whatever and what not, it’s a tad ironic that you argue, ostensibly in response to my post or its supposed premise, that it’s a good way to keep anyone with any kind of minority identity out of the position when Nanaia Mahuta herself ticks a fair few ‘minority identity’ boxes.

        • stargazer 4.1.2.1

          well, as a couple of people have indicated, they didn’t quite understand what you were trying to get at with your post, and i don’t really get the point of your qualification either. but i’d really rather not rehash that here as weka did a really good job of trying to get clarification on your post.

          also, with your last comment, i think you’re missing the point. yes, nanaia is ticking those boxes, and there are people who are painting her as unelectable because of that. it then comes down what criteria people are using to make their decisions on the leadership election, and i’m saying that attacks from the right & the media shouldn’t be part of the criteria.

          • Bill 4.1.2.1.1

            and i don’t really get the point of your qualification either

            Sometimes, it’s useful to artificially isolate something from other factors to get a clearer view of what your looking at, what its dynamics are, what its efficacy might be in given situations…there’s nothing more to it than that.

  5. Great post stargazer, and I got the same impression from Bill’s post: too much credence given to media manipulation. There is value in gauging public sentiment (like Curia does), but Labour first needs to believe in its mission and figure out how to work together. It must stand strongly for Kiwi values of fairness and justice, else what is the point?

    The NZ voter is not impressed by political point scoring and infighting, could care less about policy, but it seems that personalities and culture are of great prurient interest, and the media have gleefully turned serious political news into big-brother reality-drama. A good leader would constantly remind the media of the real issues and try to keep out of “gotcha”-style reporting.

  6. Lindsey 6

    If the politics of fear does not work why does Fox News pump it out on a daily basis? The USA right wing spends $$$ billions on keeping Americans fearful, if one scare does not work they just move on to another.

      • The Al1en 6.1.1

        I don’t think anyone is underestimating the media scaremongering or arguing against there being a culture of fear, just that the opposition parties shouldn’t let themselves be defined by it.

        And as for fox news, didn’t stop the democrats selecting a black man to run as president and it hasn’t stopped the electorate from voting him in twice.

        • Chooky 6.1.1.1

          +100 The Allen…and good thoughtful post by Stargazer

          Choosing a leader who is the least vulnerable or the smallest target , (given all other things being equal) can mean many things…and many are not negative or running scared

          …”vulnerability to attack”… is not necessarily giving in to fear of what the John Key dirty politics PR spinners can do to wreck havoc on the leader…it can also be a positive evaluation of that leader’s competence and charisma… in the face of the right wing media onslaught

          What ever you think of him , Winston Peters is a case in point and he is also one of the most aggressive and effective attackers of John Key and Nact policies…

          Peters has sustained attack after attack ….almost as if he has been shark bait ….but he parries it aggressively and turns it back on the attackers…he refuses to back down and either outright denies the accusations, or explains them and makes the accuser look stupid…he has been downed but he is never out

          …In the end it just serves to make Winston a very popular politician…because he shows the corrupt corporate media up for what it is

          This is what is needed in a Leader and in a Party….not running scared!!!… but turning the corrupt media back on itself and exposing it to the public for what it is

          (and you dont necessarily have to be a Winston Peters to do this….you might be a Mahatma Gandhi follower …the main thing is to expose the media up for what it is)

  7. just saying 7

    Good to see you posting here, Stargazer.

    I agree with you about the politics of fear and the enervating effect this has had on (most particularly) the parliamentary left – always cowering, simpering and reacting, terrified of not being popular.

    I was a bit bewildered by Bill’s post, and really wasn’t sure what he was trying to say. Subsequent questioning from Weka didn’t make it any clearer to me.
    Kow-towing isn’t usually his stance, and I couldn’t figure out why he thought the media might be less relentless in attacking Mahuta, and why that should be a major consideration anyway…

    I do understand the need to acknowledge the corruption we are up against, but I would have thought pandering to it would be the worst possible response. I’d prefer rage, but maybe that’s just not politic.

  8. I can’t speak for Bill but I thought the point of that post was that Nanaia Mahuta was not so much a small target for attack but she was such an obvious one (a Maori woman) that it would be just too ‘tricky’ for the media to run criticisms that weren’t really well-based on evidence.

    That is, attempted ‘dog whistles’ would come across as perfectly audible, plain old-fashioned whistles of a very distasteful kind.

    I’m not sure that is the case but that’s what I took to be the point.

    It’s possible that the opposite would ensue. All criticisms would be viable under the accusation that “I suppose I’ll be called a racist misogynist by the far left but Mahuta is just …”

    On the current post I agree that fear (and other aversive emotions) are counter-productive. They narrow the attentional focus (in order to deal with an immediate threat, in evolutionary terms) and rely upon current skills, knowledge, etc. to respond.

    Positive emotions, by contrast, provide for a more open, environment-scanning approach and therefore tend to increase skills, knowledge and be more creative overall. But they tend to emerge in ‘safe’ environments, for obvious reasons. Courage is required to treat a threatening environment as if it is a ‘safe’ one.

    (It’s the ‘broaden and build‘ theory of positive emotions, if you want a name.)

    • just saying 8.1

      (and other aversive emotions)

      And anger? (genuine question).
      Can we afford to leave anger out? It has a negative side, but it is an emotion of action.
      It can build solidarity and unity of pupose.
      It has been massively suppressed in the wider Labour movement for many years. Maybe as a symptom of Labour becoming more and more middle-class.

      • Puddleglum 8.1.1

        Hi just saying,

        That’s a very good question.

        I think anger goes with a sense of injustice. And I can’t see how the two can be separated without eviscerating any urgency around the sense of injustice.

        When I think about my own anger at how people are treated in this world it is one half of the motivation for why I want to do something about the injustice I see. The other half I’d like to think comes from compassion, or at least an inbuilt sense of obligation to do something to help those who suffer from an injustice.

        But when it comes to how I respond politically, I wouldn’t want the anger always to determine the direction or form of that response. It gives me the energy but doesn’t usually give me a clear enough ‘steer’ on how best to counter the injustice. Anger tells me what needs to end but not, in anywhere near the same clarity, what needs to begin.

        So I guess I’d say that, in politics and political movements, anger can give the energy but it needs something else – hope, optimism, compassion, human dignity – to produce something better than the current unjust situation. It has to draw on, or be harnessed to, something creative.

        I think you might be right about anger being downplayed as the labour movement has become more middle class.

        I see that as being linked to what I’d call the ‘liberalisation’ of the left – that is, the left – including the labour movement – becoming more an expression of liberalism than anything more radical.

        The two are distinguished by a different degree of urgency and clarity over purpose. For me, the phrase ‘middle class liberal’ is reserved for those who believe that, while things can be improved, one shouldn’t move too hastily in case more harm than good follows. It’s therefore important to weigh things up carefully, etc., etc..

        That’s fair enough but only if you assume that the present situation isn’t that bad and, therefore, is not a reason for too much anger.

        But when you or those you love have, and still are, experiencing real hardship there’s no room for that kind of ‘softly, softly’ incrementalist approach to change.

        The need is urgent – and that’s where the sense of anger comes from when no change occurs.

        Righteous anger (not its caricature) needs to make a comeback.

        (It’s interesting that anger has a very visible place on the right – anger at government getting in the way of business; anger at ‘bludgers’ wasting hard-earned tax dollars; anger at environmentalists getting in the way of growth; anger at Maori wanting special ‘privileges’, etc.. That anger has been very well harnessed.)

        • just saying 8.1.1.1

          Thank you for your thoughtful reply.
          By coincidence, there is a relevant post on “From the Left’ this morning:
          http://ontheleftnz.com/2014/11/04/where-anger-ends-and-change-begins/

          I find the blog ironic because it talks at length about the problem of the left getting bogged down in anger and the need to move on but the “solution” (from the title – “where change begins”) sounds pretty flimsy and “aspirational” to me:

          I want to push for change, but I want to do so in a way that inspires people to do the same. This frustration, this feeling of uncertainty and dread for the future, does not have to be the mark of the left-wing blogosphere. We can be constructive instead of destructive, and we can do so without bitter rambling and convolution. I’m on the left because I’m angry, but I’m On the Left because that’s not all I want to be.

          Because sure, of course we want to effect positive change, of course we want to use our energies for creative rather than destructive ends, but maybe we can’t just decide to put aside our anger until it has led to the urgency and clarity of purpose that those situations from which it arises, rightly demand.

          I have a picture in my head from when I was in the Alliance during the first MMP election campaign. We were struggling hard to get the attention we needed to talk about the changes we believed in. And one day the Greens came into town and it was like a parade with balloons and food and music and all these laid-back beautiful people in costumes. And I thought ‘maybe that’s we should be doing?’ And then I thought about what we were actually saying and who and what we were campaigning most passionately for and the people we were, and the whole idea of us being like the Greens seemed like a (very funny) travesty.

          I know when people talk about taking a positive creative approach they are not necessarily talking about creating a party atmosphere to draw the punters in. Problem is, I don’t really have any idea what it does mean and I fear increasing violence is inevitable as more people have less and less to lose.

  9. Ad 9

    This is so naive from Stargazer it beggars belief.

    Cunliffe was brought down by a massive negative campaign from the media – fuelled by a number of sources but to the same end. Does it need saying that National are now in power because of this? New Zealanders made a clear judgement about the success of the politics of fear: they agree.

    The power of the negative is a political necessity. Formed well, as Elias Canetti explains in Crowds and Power, fear emerges from crisis as the energy towards inevitable change. The skill and luck of politics is to manufacture crisis and fear towards your ends.

    However the left have no alternative but to be negative. There was no revival of a left language following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1988, or the Asian Financial Crisis, or the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-8. We can only negate.

    Optimism – even when paired with crisis as when Barack Obama entered office – can engender even worse backlash. Cue US midterms when the super-zealot right get in, Obama’s poll ratings.

    There is of course no magic formula for winning politics. But mere lack of respect for the negative is a sure fire way to entrenched failure.

    • stargazer 9.1

      as to your first point, the problem was that there wasn’t a strong enough strategy to deal with those attacks, nor was there a sense of the whole caucus coming out strongly to defend the leader. there were a lot of issues around the media strategy in this campaign but i’m not prepared to go into that here.

      the fact is that any leader chosen is going to be subjected to that machine. the response should be around how we fight back against that strategy, not cave into it.

      i agree that there is a place for negative politics, but again, that can be done from a position of strength. so, for example, in 2005, the targetted mail strategy was really effective because the messaging was shocking and strong eg “eviction notice” sent to state house tenants. it’s about a pro-active approach, rather than one that effectively concedes defeat to the other side by accepting their framing and tactics. what i see in your comments is a pretty defeatist attitude, and that really isn’t the only option.

    • weka 9.2

      “New Zealanders made a clear judgement about the success of the politics of fear: they agree.”

      That would have to be one of the more disingenuous comments I’ve seen made since the election. If there’s one stand out thing about this election, it’s that there are complex, multiple factors involved.

      ‘New Zealanders’ didn’t do anything collectively. Some voted left, some voted right, some didn’t vote at all. Of those that voted right, what evidence do you have thaty they agree that the politics of fear is successful (as opposed to the politics of greed)? Or that they have a hive mind?

      As far as I can see stargazer was talking about fear within the left, and that we shouldn’t be letting that dictate our policies and actions. Pretty sure your response is to something else entirely.

    • miravox 9.3

      DC survived the negative campaigning and right wing attacks.

      He was bought down by his caucus colleagues.

  10. Jenny Kirk 10

    Interesting discussion – I had a similar discussion with a couple of Maori friends a while back. They both (a man, and a woman – professional people, well versed in working in the general “Pakeha” world) thought it was too risky for Nanaia personally to be Labour Leader because of what they perceived would be a non-stop stream of personal attacks on her.

    I thought that personal attacks on a brown woman would create such outrage among the wider public to such an extent it would backfire on the “attackers”.

    StarGazer has good points : but can we afford to ignore such potential “attacks” as just media noise when it has been shown to have such detrimental effects on people’s thinking.

    On the other hand, if whoever is Labour Leader can pull the rogue caucus members together and stop the anonymous sniping and back-stabbing that’s been the main focus of certain MPs – and the only criticism comes from outside of Labour – then maybe we can ignore potential “attacks”.

    So the real question is : can whoever is Labour’s next Leader make the caucus into a unified and cohesive force for the good of us all ?

    • Karen 10.1

      If the caucus is united then they can all counter attacks on their leader. Call it out as homophobia, racism, sexism, or union bashing and respond to media pushing these lines by questioning their motives in promoting hate based statements.

      I, like Stargazer, think the Labour Party is too timid when it comes to backing policies that they know to be beneficial to NZ, but which are seen as challenging to some sectors of the population influenced by talkback radio. It seems Labour are too frightened of a backlash to have policies that would tackle poverty effectively.

      • Chooky 10.1.1

        +100 Karen and stargazer

        ….and this discussion is timely because it looks as if there is now going to be a concerted attack on the Greens ( imo the Greens have to get their act together and be prepared to support their own and counter attack )

        On the Nine- to- noon ‘Hooton PR Spin show’…..Hooton brought up homeopathy for another beat up saying there is a nut fringe in the Green Party ( no opposition from Ryan or Williams)…there was no mention that around the world homeopathy is considered important in medicine eg Germany and India

        ….Hooton also said the Greens are going nowhere unless they join forces with Nactional ( again no opposition from Ryan or Williams )

        …in fact this would be a kiss of death for the Greens to join forces with a John Key Nact Party which supports and is beholden to the corporates… (the right wing spin rumours of such, a week before the Election is the reason why the Greens lost about 5% and a possible 5 extra MPs on Election Day)

        Williams joined in on the Green beatup and said the Greens wont survive unless they become part of a government…people will forget about them and wont vote for them ( no opposition from Ryan or Hooton or mention that the Greens are at record popularity in the polls subsequent to the Election)

        Bullshit to both Williams and Hooton…the Greens are increasingly relevant with an environmental crisis looming and global warming ( and Hooton knows it)

        ….the Green brand image is hugely important and attractive to those who value the environment (which is increasingly under threat from frackers and other corporates eg pollution and draining of rivers and waterways )

        …If the Greens go to the right with Nactional they destroy their brand image for most of their supporters….and also have it at risk of being taken over by the right wing and the corporates ! ( Hooton knows this too)

        The Greens should let the Nact voters come to them…not vice versa …they certainly should not succumb to attacks by the right wing

    • stargazer 10.2

      jenny, i’m definitely not saying that we ignore such attacks, but that we prepare a strategy to counter them. that’s what the leadership team would need to do and what the caucus and party would need to implement. and what i’m also saying is that we don’t let those attacks define our actions or our policies. that just gives too much power to the attackers & ends up with our side giving away too much of our own political agenda.

  11. Jenny Kirk 11

    I do agree with you Stargazer, and Karen – I’m just not sure how successful such a strategy would be if the Labour caucus is NOT united. That is the first thing that has to happen – and it has to be a genuine unity – and I’m not sure if that is achieveable with some of the current MPs.
    I also agree Labour has become too timid on beneficial policies. I was dismayed when the Labour Govt drew back on the phrase “closing the gap” – for instance. This was a dramatic slogan and could have been worked on to make NZers aware, and angry, that their country had become so unequal – as has now started to happen. Likewise with raising taxes on the wealthier incomes and other policies.

  12. Anne 12

    All sides are making valid points.

    Ad is right when he says :

    Cunliffe was brought down by a massive negative campaign from the media – fuelled by a number of sources but to the same end. Does it need saying that National are now in power because of this? New Zealanders made a clear judgement about the success of the politics of fear: they agree.

    Sad to think voters agreed… but that is what happened.

    stargazer is right when when she says:

    … the problem was that there wasn’t a strong enough strategy to deal with those attacks, nor was there a sense of the whole caucus coming out strongly to defend the leader.

    If anything stargazer has understated. We know there has been an element in caucus who were collaborating with the negative campaign on Cunliffe and destabilising him in the process.

    Jenny Kirk is spot on when she says:

    … if whoever is Labour Leader can pull the rogue caucus members together and stop the anonymous sniping and back-stabbing that’s been the main focus of certain MPs…. then maybe we can ignore potential outside attacking.

    (paraphrased)

    And therein lies the problem. All the candidates bring something positive to the leadership but the one that counts at this point in time is the one who can pull the rogue caucus members together and stop the back-stabbing…

    That will require someone with considerable strength and authority.

    • Karen 12.1

      I agree, Anne.
      Choosing the best leader is a dilemma, as all four have both strengths and weaknesses, but unless the rogue members of caucus are brought into line it won’t matter who is leader, or what the policies are.

      I went to the meeting with Andrew Little yesterday and he seems to have a really good handle on the problems with caucus unity and believes he can sort them out.
      Basically he said there were 32 people working individually and very little teamwork, and this was a similar situation within the EPMU when he took over.
      His politics are probably more conservative than I would want, but if there’s no unity we’re stuck with the Nacts.

      At the moment I want Andrew as leader, all candidates with front bench positions making best use of their talents, and Nanaia as deputy. I see Grant as a future leader. However, I am leaving my final decision until the end of the hustings.

  13. shorts 13

    there have been a lot of attacks that have seen recent Labour leaders fail in the public eye – the worst IMO were from stories seeded by members of the parties own caucus

    You can’t expect a leader to be seen to be strong if their own party refuses to be loyal and support them

  14. Sanctuary 14

    I read in the comments the other day that people had be rung up by curia and probed on their views on the contenders in the Labour leadership contest. You can guarantee the point of the polling is to find what the public like least about the contenders. This is the sort of research that allows a millionaire money man from Parnell to appear to be the everyman – John Key has sophisticated polling telling him exactly where to attack his opponents in a way that will get heads nodding. In other words, Key doesn’t just know what the public are thinking, he knows exactly what to say to manipulate them into being told what they should think.

    In terms of having to consider how you deal with that sort of attack you don’t need to throw five and six figure sums at Curia to guess along what lines the attacks might take depending on who wins the leadership outcome. For example, it should have been obvious to Labour the moment Farrar’s polling had picked up that the public had some questions about Cunliffe’s honesty, because that was the moment that everyone in National started using the term “tricky”. Once the attack line was sorted, and polling confirmed it’s resonance, then the two-tier attack strategy swung into action. To be brutally honest, after that Cunliffe never had a chance. Serious questions need to be asked of Labour’s experienced political operators that they not only failed to predict the attacks on Cunliffe, but that they appeared to be such helpless victims in the face of it.

    I guess that, for now at least, the two tier strategy of the government has been blunted. But for heavens sake, it doesn’t matter who wins the Labour leadership. The party strategists should be able to use their common sense and work out the government’s attack lines and come up with an offensive counter-play PR strategy that can run from NOW. How hard is that to do for a bunch of professional politicians?

    • stargazer 14.1

      “But for heavens sake, it doesn’t matter who wins the Labour leadership. The party strategists should be able to use their common sense and work out the government’s attack lines and come up with an offensive counter-play PR strategy that can run from NOW. How hard is that to do for a bunch of professional politicians?”

      well said.

    • les 14.2

      what you say is dead right.So thinking of the 4 candidates who is the best one to be ‘smear proof’,only one I can see.Cunnliffe contributed too,terrible gaffes,seized on by the Natz and the compliant media.Like it or not simplicity,buzz words,is what the general public absorb.

  15. Tracey 15

    stargazer

    I dont disagree.

    I believe we are entitled to know HOW each candidates proposes to counter such tactics.

    • stargazer 15.1

      sure, but that’s a different issue. what are their proposed media & PR strategies, who will be on their comms team, how will they improve the speed & effectiveness of response (which would include reframing and moving the conversation to talking about progressive issues) – all of these are important factors in terms of leadership skills and ability. and i’d really want to know this from the candidates: if you think you have these skills, why didn’t you use them during the campaign? and if you did, examples please.

      • Tracey 15.1.1

        do you know if anyone has asked and What the answers are? my sense is its a taboo topic.

        • stargazer 15.1.1.1

          i’ve not been to a hustings meeting yet. will put the question in & see if it gets through.

          • Tracey 15.1.1.1.1

            cool.here I asked mahuta. she suggested they need to get amongst the people to get their message out face to face to counter dp.

            skinny was going to put it to little and report back. to my knowledge skinny hasnt posted the response yet.

  16. Peter 16

    With all due respect the main tool of selling, especially in politics is FUD – Fear , Uncertainty & Doubt. Mr. Key is one of the experts!

    • stargazer 16.1

      not always. obama did pretty well with hope & a “yes we can” message. he might not be a successful president but that campaign was pretty successful.

    • Chooky 16.2

      Re “main tool of selling”…. agreed Peter…. but only as the right wing use it…you only have to watch ‘House of Cards ‘ to see this in operation!

      ….Really the Left Parties ALL have to come up to speed on countering the slippery right wing PR ops using ” Fear , Uncertainty & Doubt”

      …PR operatives like Hooton masterfully create problems where there are none eg recently for the Greens

      …otherwise the Left Parties are sitting ducks in open season! … (and then dead ducks and cooked ducks)

      Countering personal attacks from the right wing is one issue….putting forward your own Left message in a positive way and sticking to it and not getting derailed ( into infighting or exhaustion and acquiescence ) is another issue

      The Left need media training!

  17. Dont worry. Be happy 17

    The politics of fear?….the politics of smear more like.

  18. Murray Rawshark 19

    The person who has the best policies and a plan to nullify the ABC influence should be chosen. You don’t combat aggression by giving in to it and wearing adult nappies. We need to fight back far more effectively and not let sociopaths frame the debate.

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