Armstrong on Labour

December 3rd, 2011 at 2:05 pm by David Farrar

writes in the NZ Herald:

Nothing should be exempt from scrutiny. Not even that most delicate of subjects – the role of the party’s trade union affiliates.

Will any of the leadership contenders have the courage to say that should be a party of one person, one vote?

The party kidded itself – as it had done since losing power – that voters would come “home” to Labour once they came to their senses and realised the overwhelming superiority of its policies and that John Key is not quite what the media cracked him up to be.

This toxic combination of false hope and unfathomable arrogance was shattered last Saturday.

The arrogance is unbelievable. How many times have you heard from a Labour MP that Labour won the campaign? I don’t recall anyone in National in 2002 claiming National won the campaign. Quite the opposite – National did an independent review of what went wrong.

Labour’s overall vote shrank by 15 per cent at the 2008 election. That was not unusual for a party that had been in power for nine years. But Saturday night’s result saw Labour’s vote shrink again, this time by 23 per cent on the 2008 provisional result.

All up, nearly 300,000 voters deserted Labour between 2005 and 2011 – that amounts to 35 per cent of the party’s 2005 election night tally.

That reminds me of Darien Fenton’s reaction to someone suggesting that Labour should try to win back the votes of former supporters such as the Mad Butcher. Her response was “Why?”. It sums it up.

Take welfare reform. These are tough times. People who are working cannot fathom why those on benefits – including sole parents – should not be obliged to look for work. Labour’s response that there are no jobs misses the point. Worse, Labour promised to make beneficiaries eligible for the in-work payment – a device which was designed by the last Labour Government to reward those finding work. Labour would have turned what was a hand-up into a handout.

That was one of their worst policies – $70 a week more for a parent not in work and $10 a week for a parent in work.

Perhaps the best example where Labour is wrongly positioned is national education standards. Parents want them – plus league tables rating schools’ performance to boot.

Labour predictably sided with the teacher unions. That may have produced a warm glow of solidarity. Siding with parents – as the Australian Labor Party did on the issue – would have sent a powerful message about Labour’s readiness to adapt and modernise.

Australian Labor is far far more moderate than NZ Labour.

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23 Responses to “Armstrong on Labour”

  1. tvb (4,210 comments) says:

    Australian Labour is deeply in hoc to the Unions though they are at least trying to do something about that. As for policies NZ Labour is extremely leftwing and time will tell whether they will change. At present NZ Labour is simply pushing the agenda of various interest groups lashed together in an uneasy alliance. It rather look like a cadaver with each interest group having a go at their morsel of policy. But first things first – a Leader with a good back story and it seems they have found one in Mr Shearer.

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  2. Johnboy (14,998 comments) says:

    What a surprise. That the poor old, sad old Armstrong creature seems to have done a change of course.

    Bit like gybing when you see the mark isn’t quite where you thought it would be! :)

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  3. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    Australian Labor is far far more moderate than NZ Labour.

    Australian Labor is far more moderate than NZ National. They want to sell uranium to India.

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  4. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    Armstrong backed Labour all the way during the last six weeks and now is claiming he knew it was going bad all along.

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  5. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    Hope Shearer read this.

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  6. trout (902 comments) says:

    Is this the same Armstrong that was opinionating before the election that Goff and Labour was on the up and Key and National were losing their way? I suggest he should avoid presenting himself as an expert witness.

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  7. reid (15,970 comments) says:

    The arrogance is unbelievable.

    It’s not arrogance DPF it’s cognitive dissonance.

    Liarbore people IMO truly think evil forces operate against them whenever they lose because IMO they truly think they are heroic battlers on behalf of their base therefore their means are justified by their ends therefore the only people who get concerned about their means are simply those who aren’t yet sufficiently attuned to the humanitarian righteousness of said ends.

    This is why they can’t see the wrongs in anything they do.

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  8. Jimbob (640 comments) says:

    Some of these so-called media employees are just grovelling mannequins tapping keys for coinage. Their opinions are about as useful as the steam off a fresh cow pat.

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  9. Positan (383 comments) says:

    Yes, Armstrong does appear to have changed his stance – but what’s wrong with that? Surely what he’s written this time is far more apt and relevant? Any unbiased observer would have to describe it as a fair and accurate summation.

    For heaven’s sake, are some of us so completely slanted they still have to condemn the writer for his prior stance – even when he’s chosen a 180ยบ deviation – and has written what’s inarguable as to substance, truth and fact.

    Surely, that’s exactly the sort of ignorant conduct most reasoning people despise so much – and condemn – when demonstrated by the nihilistic minions of the Left?

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  10. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Sound advice – same as Trotter’s. Shame they didn’t say it three years ago like many of us were.

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  11. oldpark () says:

    At last Armstrong that illiterate chump ,when the election campaign was in full swing,he lost it completely.It was Labour all the way.AT THAT TIME I WONDERED WHY A MEATHEAD LIKE THAT, WAS THE SAME AS RATS SWIMMING TOWARD A SINKING SHIP.Maybe current sales of the Labour inspired newspapers comments have taken a hit.Couldnt believe that the people who bought their paper were daily under the cosh.Armstrong and his colleagues were forever biting the hand that kept their paper solvent,and licking the boots of non readers mostly beneficiares.He will have to jump through a few more hoops before i start buying such a one eyed rag again . That goes for the other piece of news filth.Herald on Sunday.

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  12. Johnboy (14,998 comments) says:

    Move to Wellington oldpark!

    You can get a quality rag here called the DomPost!

    Much preferred by those of us with long drops! :)

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  13. Martin Gibson (227 comments) says:

    The desire for a two horse race motivated so many New Zealand journalists to have a “Weekend at Bernies” with Labour in the lead up to the election.
    Now they want some blood, and it’s time to talk up the fight for the leadership, which is more likely to cause an actual two-horse race in 2014.
    Ah the swings and roundabouts of bullshit headlines and the truth.

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  14. Positan (383 comments) says:

    re Lee C. I haven’t yet read Trotter but I do have to agree that the bias in Armstrong’s views made them close to unreadable for so long. For whatever reason he’s changed his stance – and credibility would have to be the single most important quality to any political journalist – I think that his getting back on the rails of reality, as far as goes his reporting, is a point to be saluted rather than condemned.

    Much of Armstrong’s previous stuff was discernibly at odds with what could be easily determined, so if he’s now opted to return to the straight and narrow, good luck to him.

    Only grudge-carrying, hate-filled specimens of the lunatic Left, who’d see it as betrayal, would castigate him for the fact of such a decision. The bulk of us are not so fatuous.

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  15. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Positan My nickname for saidjournalist is ‘John Hamstrung’. I’ve also described him as a political windsock, who blows in whatever directions the political wind is going’. So you can assume I’m not a fan.

    It may be that he is a skilled analyst free of bias and that he is to be applauded for his intellectual bravery.

    But consistency has only been seen in one regard IMO – he is a water-carrrier and cheer-Leader for Labour. To my mind he loads his articles with dog-whistles to the left, and seems to see his role, not as a political pundit, but as a covert strategist for his favourite Party, that is when he is not uncritically regurgitating running Labour Party spin.

    Meanwhile, you suggest we are to kill the fatted calf for Hamstrung’s return to sensible writing. I’d suggest you wait to see if this isn’t merely an example of ‘Hamstrung of the Herald’ drawing attention away from the fact he made a balls-up of his political analysis of the election.

    Fear not, Positan, he will soon be composing a new hagiography about the next Leader of the Labour Party – regardless of who it turns out to be – and running a narrative about how this one will be the Nemesis National have so long feared, etc etc.

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  16. Bogusnews (444 comments) says:

    Quite a good posting actually. I remember hearing HC asked how people could get ahead under her govt. She listed six things, every one relied on the person jingling a cup under the govts nose. Labour still has the problem of rewarding beneficiaries and only allowing people to get ahead with their help.

    I was talking to a journalist last night and we inevitably got onto the subject of the election campaign. He was disgusted at how the journos covered the campaign, particularly with the biased reporting against National. Interesting that now the election is over and Labour so decisively lost that the journos are finally twigging to Labours problem.

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  17. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    “All up, nearly 300,000 voters deserted Labour between 2005 and 2011″

    And what did National poll in 2002? A paltry 21% yet within 6 years they were in government. Some in the media have a short memory.

    “These are tough times”

    Not so tough that the government can’t give the wealthy tax cuts. Again, Armstrong’s memory is woefully short.

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  18. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    “Armstrong backed Labour all the way during the last six weeks and now is claiming he knew it was going bad all along”

    Yeah he’s not the brightest light on the Xmas tree. Worse, he seems to think it’s ok that children should live in poverty. How dare Labour attempt to help them.

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  19. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    “Australian Labor is far far more moderate than NZ Labour.”

    Read: “I like the ALP more than I like the NZLP”. LMAO

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  20. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Oh and btw, the ALP has just voted in support of gay marriage. A good example of them being “more moderate than NZ Labour”. :)

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  21. Elaycee (4,304 comments) says:

    Given the magnitude of the defeat, Labour should be trying to to work out why voters opted in droves to go off to other left parties such as Winston First and the Gweens. And this didn’t happen in a hurry – the polls had predicted a Labour wipeout for months and months. But it was ignored.

    And as long as Labour keeps it’s head firmly in the sand, they’ll remain in the political wilderness.

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  22. dime (9,468 comments) says:

    Ross – that tax cut was sweet too. I spent a good 4 hundy yesterday drinking piss and dining in some cocked restaurant. No doubt my buddies spent the same.

    Under a labour government that 4hundy would have gone to lazy shit heads and the poor. A horrible thought.

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  23. Positan (383 comments) says:

    re LeeC: You may be right, Armstrong might return to purveying the same sort of Labour-leaning claptrap he’s peddled for so long – but it’d be poor journalism of which he must be now well aware.

    My earlier point was that those of us who are not of the verminous Left don’t have to react in the same rabidly-spiteful, aggressively vehement way whenever the opportunity arises to gloat over matters like Armstrong’s present lot – willful presentation of wrongful material to readers and well and truly hoist by his own petard. Intimate awareness of personal inferiority is the home turf of the Left.

    There’s hope for anyone prepared to change and acknowledge past error of their ways. If Armstrong’s now able to address actuality and put Labour lala-land fantasy behind him, surely we all should welcome the change – whether or not his new awareness has stemmed from his employer hinting at the future inadequacy of his contract – or whatever.

    With his latest offering he’ll now be seen as a traitor to Leftist objectives – and there’s usually no way back from there.

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