There has been quite a bit of recent twitter angst about the left and tactics.
It was started off by the Turnardern campaign. This site pretty well ignored it. The only post I can find where it was mentioned was mine pointing out that National’s social media team were deleting MPs tweets on Christmas day and the common feature was that these were tweets featuring prominent turnarderners.
But then Ani O’Brien had a piece published in Stuff and accused the left of acting hysterically.
What should have been a flash-in-the-pan, barely noticed protest has now made not only national headlines but it has also been featured in international press.
This is thanks to the characteristically hysterical response of the increasingly militant and intolerant section of the Left who are determined to attribute the most horrendous of social crimes to anyone who holds opinions contrary to theirs.
The founder of the #TurnArdern movement has had his private and business information published online, been threatened, and – along with all who have participated – been labelled a misogynist, racist, white supremacist extremist.
Now, I do not know the people involved with the protest, but as far as I can tell turning books around is about as benign as political objection can get.
While her complaint about the nature of the protest itself is fine, her other claims need some further analysis. The founder’s name was published in the Herald, someone tweeted information about him obviously obtained from the Companies Office records and there was a bit of holiday to and fro over twitter. This was hardly a concerted campaign by the left.
True he was labelled as a misogynist, racist, and a white supremacist extremist but this was because his own twitter history, since deleted, clearly showed that he held views which could accurately be categorised as such.
And there was quite a nuanced debate on twitter about the subject, at least amongst the left.
O’Brien however described the left’s response as a “hyperbolic response” which is interesting because it is the same response I had to her article. Grand conclusive statements based on a twitter pile up is I thought was a perfect example of one.
She also said this:
Handing victory to populist right and centre-right parties by steadfastly ignoring the experiences of the working class and scolding them for their failure to adhere to the new cultural demands of middle-class, university-educated liberal elites.
The Left – of which I reluctantly remain a part – must reflect on to what extent the new values and rhetoric they’re espousing are no longer compatible with those who have been their core voters.
Politicians on the Left must be aware that parroting the neo-academic liberalism of their pals on Twitter will inevitably alienate those for whom economic stability and traditional values are most important.
If we learn one thing from our international counterparts it should be that you cannot spend election year insulting the working class and calling them bigots and then expect them to turn around and vote for you.
And here I have to admit that her comments deserve further consideration.
Because internationally the left has allowed the right to drive wedges through areas of our traditional support.
I was very impressed with her after seeing her on Television in 2015. She had advice for Labour which looks like a tailor made description of the 2017 election. She thought that to win Labour needed …
… to come back to a focus on what New Zealanders need, what New Zealanders want. And … to paint a bright future and stop portraying yourselves as the losing team and speaking about everything as a disaster and as the Titanic.
People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. And if you keep having your leading message being “we are losing we have lost, we lost again our opposition is so strong, they are so powerful”. Nobody wants to be on that team.
And so basically it is a fake it until you make it moment …
You and I know that what matters to Kiwis is the well being of our families and the well being of our land and the cleanliness of our water. You and I understand that in order to have the best country possible for people for our children we need to take care of ourselves and each other.
Kiwis understand that and they are always going to pick a brighter future over a dirtier less equal unfair society.
The six podcasts cover a variety of different successful progressive campaigns including Labour’s 2017 campaign and talks about the importance of positive simple branding and ideas being the cornerstone of any successful campaign. The basic theme is that to win progressives should not move to the middle but should instead seek to persuade through progressive and uplifting campaigns.
She interviewed respected progressive and former Labour Chief of Staff Neale Jones about the New Zealand campaign and he gives some interesting descriptions of what happened during the election year when what looked like potentially an unmitigated disaster became a success. Neale said this about Ardern:
She was positive. She was able to frame the challenges in terms of what we can do together as opposed to just sitting there complaining about it. People don’t want to hear what’s wrong, they want to hear that you have a plan to fix it.”
Other campaigns that Shenker-Osorio covered include:
The basic themes of each episode are that inclusive language, a good ground game and most importantly a positive uplifting campaign based on core shared values is the way to win.
So while I do not necessarily agree with Ani O’Brien’s description of current local left behaviour I agree whole heartedly with her about the importance of messaging.
Happy new year to you all. Next year we should be sure that our principles are sound, our language inclusive and our progressive campaigns successful.