A while back, and on a few occasions, I’ve opined that NZ Labour ought to essentially cut and paste the policies and announcements of the SNP – who have themselves occupied ground abandoned by Labour.
Some people seemed to think the suggestion was too simplistic and suggested that the situation in Scotland was somehow unique and not necessarily applicable to a NZ context.
Well, after the SNP rout of Labour in Scotland and Labour’s defeat in England and Wales, Miliband resigned and…well, along came Jeremy Corbyn.
Competing with him for the leadership of UK Labour are three, what I’d call ‘bubble gum’ candidates: that’s bubble gum that’s lost its taste and is nothing more than an annoyance you want rid of btw. That’s enough on them.
So Corbyn is packing out venues and has picked up a momentum that has certain entrenched interests of UK Labour spitting tacks. For example, lists of newly signed members have been sent out to local branches with the idea that suspect members should be identified and culled from the lists. Desperate stuff when you reflect that they seem particularly worked up over the possibility of infiltration by Militant Tendency…who must surely number somewhere in the dozens these days.
So what is it about Corbyn that has got people animated? Could it be his straight answers to straight questions as illustrated in this clip where leadership candidates are simply asked if they’d have former leader Miliband in their shadow cabinet?
Maybe it’s just his common sense…
…and the part of the electorate who we most need to speak to is those who didn’t vote – 34 per cent at the last election. They are more likely to be young, from an ethnic minority background and to be working class, as are the hundreds of thousands who weren’t registered to vote at all. These are the people who would benefit most from a Labour government that stands up against discrimination, reduces inequality and poverty, creates a fairer society for all
Then there’s his rejection of the UK’s nuclear deterrent…incidentally a flagship policy of the electorally rampant SNP.
And while other candidates head wank over the legacy and lessons of Tony Blair and their political proximity to him, (‘Will it damage me or aid me?’) Corbyn would have no problems seeing him defend war crime charges in court.
And so it goes on.
No accommodation with any middle ground or ‘radical centre’: just knowing what you stand for and standing up on it. Which is what Labour has to be – a place for expressing solid principles in a political context. Win or lose, that’s Labour – and anything else, no matter the country or situation, is mincing, backtracking, selling out and not anything most people would care to vote for.
Anyone in NZ Labour paying attention yet?