The first rule of politics is learn how to count. And, as much as we would all like to see Labour and the Greens govern by themselves, 13 and 32 don’t add up to 50
That’ll be why, when the Greens came to Labour with a plan to campaign together, Labour said no.
But John Armstong’s claims that this is a deliberate slap in the face to the Greens are silly. Firstly this was a confidential meeting so Labour wasn’t exactly making a spectacle of saying no. Secondly, whether we like it or not Labour are going to have to grow their vote to at least the mid-thirties and even then they (and the Greens) will need New Zealand First if they want to govern.
I don’t think the Greens proposal would have helped achieved either of those things. And it looks like Labour didn’t either.
In fact Labour and the Greens campaigning together might have hindered Labour from cutting into National’s big soft vote and would have signaled to Winston that he wasn’t welcome.
Indeed, I’d bet the farm that Labour and the Greens are still talking. There’s no way either of them are going to be at the Cabinet table without the other and they know it.
What Labour and Green supporters need to do is quit the gnashing and the wailing and doing the work of the right, and instead focus on doing what we’ve always done and work together on the ground to grow both the Green and the Red vote as much as possible.
In an ideal world Labour and the Greens could campaign together and win. But we’re not in an ideal world (which is kind of why we need to win government and change things), and if working with Winston is what it takes to undo neoliberalisim then that’s absolutely what we need do.
And here’s a novel thought, it might help if Russel and Winston could put aside their differences and work together a bit more too.
Update: numbers updated to latest poll (Roy Morgan). My point still stands.