Vote red, get fed

Written By: - Date published: 12:26 pm, November 14th, 2009 - 27 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

Labour needs to stand up for its electorate, the worker. While National is gutting the infrastructure Labour set up in the last nine years it had in power, like KiwiSaver and the Cullen fund, Labour’s protests are little more than the weak cries of a lamb as it goes to slaughter.

Labour needs vision, a way for the future. The economy is coming out of the first dip of the recession, and it brings with it false hope. As the secondary (and far deeper) recession comes into play, Labour has to show what it will do for the people. It has to explain it’s not about raising taxes and rubbing their hands together gleefully as they watch the money in the coffers rise, but about providing for everyone, through healthcare and education.

The ‘nanny state’ meme still plays a big part in the conscience of the nation, and Labour has to reverse this. Perhaps through actual socially progressive legislature, such as decriminalisation of cannabis users. Big items like that catch the news, and will surely make the 20% of the country that smokes that particular plant very happy indeed. Labour needs to reconnect with ALL it’s voters, not relying on the same old people coming out every year, it has to inspire more people to get off their asses in 2011 and go down to the polling station – and that’s with legislation that gets debates going, and the water-cooler talk happening.

In particular, getting back to roots with work rights is the perfect place for Labour to start, and it has to realise just because the union movement and Labour are tangled together, that does not mean the union member will think to vote Labour first. Removing the 90-day fire at will legislation, making employers give their employees work-breaks, and raising the minimum wage. This is what appeals peoples wallets, which, though unfortunate, seems one of the only ways to get through to people these days. This, plus the appeal to the actually ideological left-wingers could help Labour swing through with a majority in the house next election.

Labour needs the support of the people, and it’s not going to get it by playing the negatives in the news. Instead of saying ‘National is wrong, and this is why’ Phil Goff has to say ‘That’s not right, and this is how we’re going to change it’ and show us why we should vote for them.

Last of all, Labour needs something to capture the imagination. Something like the ‘change’ (however hollow it has turned out to be) that National, trading off Obama’s image, promised. If the recession does get a lot worse, it might even end up being ‘Vote red, get fed’.

27 comments on “Vote red, get fed”

  1. Pat 1

    20% – bollocks.

    But by all means try to win an election on a platform of legalising cannabis. Good luck with that.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    I think if Labour tried to tout decriminalisation of cannabis, it would be trumpeted from the rooftops that it was a blatant vote-grabbing excerise, and would likely cost as much, if not more, support than it gained.

  3. Pat 3

    ‘Vote red, get fed’.

    Anyone with a basic knowledge of history knows that “Red” as a political representation does not fit well with an image of “being fed”. Rather the more common association would be one of starvation. Best not pick a political slogan that C/T could drive a truck through.

  4. Daveo 4

    Promoting the legalisation of cannabis would see Labour drop to 15%. I can’t think of a worse way to alienate middle New Zealand.

  5. rono 5


  6. Joel 6

    Although I can see where this post is trying to go I think that you are missing the point, the appetite is NOT there for Labour (there might be for the ideas but this year the publiuc was going to knock down anything from Labour anyway) from the public and from the media in general and that has led to the reality that it has been really hard for the party to gain traction.

    Phil will have been working bloody hard and the Party is not about to give up. The party is coming up with idea’s it is just that with the media’s resistance it is INCREDIBLY hard to get the party building momentum regardless of what alternative you offer. There was no political space for the Labour Party this year as wrong as it is, but it is true, the public scoff at you if you are wearing a Labour Party rosette but you wait and see, it will change in the months to come. Many forget that Helen Clark was polling quite low in some opinions polls as preferred PM (like 6% I think in one) but she went on to become the PM 3 years later.

  7. Joel 7

    Double Post Sorry

  8. graham 8

    look lefties you have no chance in 2 years time but maybe if national drops the ball you could have a shot in 2014

  9. mike 9

    “such as decriminalisation of cannabis users”

    oh my frigg’n god. with friends like these labour does not need enemies

    • lprent 9.1

      I’ve never used the stuff. Been around people who do. The effects aren’t a particular problem – at least no more than alcohol and probably a lot less. It is readily available from your local tinnie and all kids know where they are.

      I can’t see any particular reason to keep it criminalized. In fact I think that legalising the use of it makes a lot of sense.

      Then it can pay HIGH taxes like any other semi-addictive product like tobacco or alcohol to cope with the associated societal costs like health effects. It removes a large chunk of the criminal income sources. It can be quality regulated. It removes a pile of police work.

      We can also get the price higher which would put it out of the price range for kids (at present it is too damn cheap)

      What reason apart from removing a free-market and enriching crims can you think of for keeping it as ?? a class C ?? drug.

      • Lew 9.1.1

        Lynn, I don’t think anyone’s necessarily arguing it’s a bad policy idea — only that it’s an abysmal platform for rhetorical reasons, one where all the good reasoning in the world won’t count for a damn against “the Labour party wants to turn your kids into junkies!”


        Captcha: HONEST

      • RedLogix 9.1.2

        Have to agree with Lew, middle NZ will never be ready for this debate.

        While the argument for de-criminalising marijuana is persuasive, I’m still no fan of it and while it’s a far less obviously damaging drug than alcohol, I believe the harms are still there. Especially for still maturing teenage minds. Moreover Middle Eastern cultures with long experience of the strongest forms of hashish are more concious of it’s pernicous effects.

        Yet paraphrasing that vivid little comment on a Guardian thread a few days ago, NZ is an alcohol-soaked hell-hole, and this fact alone renders all arguments to justify the continued criminal status of dope, deeply contradictory.

        This profound tension makes de-criminalisation one of those fatal ‘centre-rail’ issues, one that would make the S59 Repeal look like a love-in.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.3

        Actually, it’s use isn’t illegal as that would be against the UN declaration of Human Rights and, of course, against the BoRA. It is illegal to be in possession of it though.

        I agree though that it would be better to have it be legalised.

  10. rave 10

    Can’t see Phil and Annette thinking let along talking Red. Drinking it is the limit.
    Labour’s always put profits ahead of workers because thats capitalism for you.
    If they thought pink they might venture down the road of redistribution, but even that would bring a strike by capitalists and Labour with no guts to follow thru with nationalisations and a planned economy. Sutch was as radical as Labour got and that was in an insulated economy. Standard and Poors and Citibank run this country.
    As Sutch said NZ is a footnote in the books of the MNCs. If you want to stop being a footnote you have to burn the books.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Yep, Labour are definitely in the capitalists camp and that’s what makes them a centre-right party and not a centre-left.

  11. Bill 11

    Wee while ago I happened to read a wee article in one of the British papers about the British Labour Party…..the number of miners and others who accounted for the MPs of the Labour Party in the early days as opposed to now.

    No working class MP’s these days. Neither there nor here.

    Labour represents it’s constituents just fine, but Labour’s constituents are not those of us who are the working class. Look at the background of the MPs to figure the constituency the Labour Party represent.

  12. gingercrush 12

    Eww legalise it and it’d be so regulated and pathetic you may as well leave it alone.

    I’d much rather see less action on the small-time dealers and those who possess a few plants. I don’t believe legalising it will be a good thing. Giving out spot fines could be a possibility. But I’d just leave it and have the police simply enforce the big dealers etc and leave the small guys alone.

    • Noko 12.1

      The problem with that gingercrush, is that it still leaves distribution in the hands of the gangs. Removing this stream of revenue from the gangs would have a huge impact on their income, and would help in the fight against them. I’m not going to address your beliefs on the effectiveness of regulation, however because that’s just a can of worms unrelated to the issue.

      Justification for some of the biggest human rights removals (property confiscation, right to privacy) in the last fifty years has been drugs, and the “scourge” they represent to society. Evidence supports that decriminalising all drugs (Portugal, since 2001 and the Netherlands since the 70’s) reduces the number of users, reducing the social impact, and saves millions in police enforcement costs.

      Why should a guy walking down the street be fined for smoking a joint? There’s no logical reason. It’s unjust to fine someone because some people don’t like his behaviour that isn’t harming anyone and that he deserves a fine. Well, unless you’re bloody Jim Anderton.

      That it’s an incredible medicine, and that people don’t have access to it (apart from in the form of Savitex, and any individual wanting to obtain it for their healthcare has to go through the Ministry of Health shows how vindictive the feelings are against people who want to use it to treat health ailments. Doctors can prescribe addictive opiates, but they aren’t allowed to prescribe a drug shown to not have any physical addictiveness, and helps with a insanely large number of health problems.

      However, I think was the author of this post was trying to get through not that cannabis should be legalised, but that Labour needs to champion a cause to get into the news. Causes have to be controversial to get attention, which is (I think) why he/she used cannabis as an example. I mean, just look at the commentary in this left-leaning blog and you see that it’s controversial on this side of the fence as well.

  13. Jemima 13

    Much as I am a lefty, I agree we don’t have much of a chance at the next election. Phil Goff is not popular at all in the polls. As for legalising cannibas? No way!!! Heaps of the people who are into that kind of stuff are Green Party members anyway, and although the Green Party often says Labour doesn’t have their unconditional support, since when have the Nats actually done anything that cares for the environment? Think of the whole thing with the ETS. Labour indirectly gets many of the votes from the legalisation of cannibas supporters, through the Greens. If Labour were to publicly announce support for the legalisation of cannibas, they might gain a few votes, but the number they would lose would greatly outweigh any gains.

  14. Re: OP –

    I don’t think there is an left-wing activist in the country who doesn’t believe that Labour shouldn’t appeal more to its working class vote.

    The problem is, and I say this without contrition, the 5th Labour government got caught up fighting the NZ brand of the culture wars, at the expense in many instances of introducing a new social-democratic policy platform.

    Both swing and traditional voters got fed up waiting for assistance, and in the meantime were teased away by promises of “Labour Plus” and “Toppling the Nanny State”.

    It is without a doubt that the 2000s will be remembered as a decade, in many respects, as so often quoted by the right, as a lost opportunity. That is not to say I agree with their prescription however. To regain the interest/trust of the electorate, the parliamentary party needs to have larger mea culpa, and then continue with its vigorous policy development to come with a manifesto in 2011 relevant to today’s voters.

    It is without a doubt that Labour will pick up votes at the next election. National is increasingly being regarded as a worse version of the same, i.e. none of the good that Labour was doing, but more of the bad. What remains to be seen is, will it gain enough support to regain power?

    P.S. The anti-EFB thugs, and the religious right were not spawned in reaction to the Clark government, but seem to be a phenomena increasingly common in Anglosphere democracies – they are akin to the Tea-partyists in the U.S. and the BNP in the UK.

  15. Yuri Clarksuski 15

    Labour needs to stand up for its electorate, the worker.

    Labour’s constituency is the beneficiaries and the criminals. The workers are the victims of Labour’s high-tax social policies.

  16. prism 16

    very funny gitmo you’re top of your game today

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