Labour’s woes

April 26th, 2014 at 12:13 pm by David Farrar

writes:

Could things get any worse for David Cunliffe than they did this week?

It is quite conceivable they might, of course. Cunliffe’s leadership of still has a way to go before it hits rock-bottom. But this week’s very public exhibition of the disunity which flows freely and abundantly from the deep schisms within the party may well have proved to be sufficiently damaging to have put victory in September’s general election out of reach.

Has there ever been another case of such a senior MP retiring from politics not at a scheduled election – but just five months before the election?

Labour’s embarrassment at losing as a result of a quite brilliant piece of politics on Murray McCully’s part left Labour powerless to hit back at National.

But that was no excuse for the outbreak of factional warfare in the form of the Labour left indulging in a danse macabre on Jones’ still warm political corpse.

Yes the fact some have been celebrating the departure of Jones, shows how divided they are.

Jones’ departure immediately prompted an at times bitter argument over whether he had been of any real value to Labour during his nine years in Parliament. As far as those on Labour’s left flank were concerned, he was just an over-ambitious blowhard who had a way with words but who was driven by self-interest, rather than being imbued with team spirit – something which was amply illustrated by the shocking timing of his going as far as his many critics are concerned. They had two words to mark – or rather celebrate – his exit: good riddance.

For those on Labour’s right flank, Jones had been someone who, for all his faults, could reach into segments of the voting public which those on the left professed to represent, but with which they had long lost touch.

I think what some on the left have missed, is that it is not just about Jones – it is about the symbolic importance of an MP effectively saying Labour is now too left wing for me, because they’re too close to the Greens.

With the left of the party running its own agenda which puts purity ahead of pragmatism, Labour’s appeal is shrinking. Those voters whom Labour needs to capture will see Jones’ exit as a further narrowing of Labour’s appeal. The “broad church” is turning into The Temple of the Tyranny of the Minority.

There is an intolerance of diversity of views. National is comfortable that some MPs did and did not support same sex marriage. Likewise National is comfortable some MPs are economically interventionist and some are small state market libeals. However in Labour if you don’t support Fabian type economic policies and socially liberal policies then you are told you are in the wrong party.

also writes:

Whether it is truth or simply perception is irrelevant: Jones was seen as the last bastion of the centre ground for Labour as well as providing an important buffer from the view that the party was more obsessed with identity politics and political correctness than everyday grafters.

He was certainly the one who articulated it best.

The party now has to work out how to at least hold those voters and shed the perception it is lurching ever leftwards without Jones.

And wait until the gender quotas come into play and all the top candidates on Labour’s list are women, because they have to do so under Labour’s new rules to ensure equality of outcome.

MP Kris Faafoi said despite the perception Jones was on his own in the centre, others were there as well. “Many think economically he was on the right track as well. I don’t think it’s a sin to have opinions like Jonesy’s in the party at all. I guess it’s our job now to fill that void. We need to, because we need that centre ground.” He had hoped Jones would be “in the trenches with us” for the campaign.

The trouble is that the reality is that in almost every policy area, Labour’s policies have moved to the left and are now closer to the Greens than they are to say what Clark and Cullen did.

Tags: , , ,

21 Responses to “Labour’s woes”

  1. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    This job offer for Shane Jones actually has to materialise and for how long?

    And Jones won’t make it back to benches with the current crop of Labour.

    Wonder if Jones is thinking the worst right now.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Ross12 (1,149 comments) says:

    wb

    I think too much has been made of the job. I don’t think it is ” a result of a quite brilliant piece of politics on Murray McCully’s part ” — clearly Jones had been looking at his own position for sometime ( probably since he lost the leadership race and maybe from before it started). McCully says the position he has offered Jones had been discussed within the Department for sometime , so I think it is a case of two things coming together conveniently for both parties at the right time.
    There was no fancy political planning by McCully just good timing maybe.

    Vote: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. thor42 (916 comments) says:

    Very good post DPF.

    A commenter over on WhaleOil put it very well – Labour is no longer a “broad church” but rather a “Westboro” church.

    The left-wing’s celebrations over Jones’ departure show very strongly that if you are a hard-working grafter – the kind of person that Jones tried to represent – then Labour is not interested in you. I’m sure that will not go unnoticed.

    Vote: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    “in almost every policy area, Labour’s policies have moved to the left”

    Citation needed. Seriously, tax hikes for the rich? Cullen+Clark. Interest free student loans? Cullen+Clark. Handouts to the middle-class via WFF? Cullen+Clark. Nationalising the rail network? Cullen+Clark.

    Trying to channel the “moved to the left” meme a bit much perhaps?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 21 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,795 comments) says:

    The well publicised (what fools!) reaction of the left to Jones’ departure, more than anything will drive voters fromLabour to the Gnats and the Greens.

    Here’s my guess for the next TVNZ and TV# polls.

    Gnats 52%, Labour 22%, Greens 17%, Winston 4.9%, Act 1%, CP 3.5%, MP 3.5%

    Vote: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. thor42 (916 comments) says:

    @Adolf Fiikensein – “Here’s my guess for the next TVNZ and TV3 polls.

    Gnats 52%, Labour 22%, Greens 17%, Winston 4.9%, Act 1%, CP 3.5%, MP 3.5%”

    A pretty good guess there I’d say, AF.

    It’d be great if the Greens went down rather than up (and if the Nats gained even more – putting them up close to 60%). However that may be a bit much to hope for – at least for now.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. DJP6-25 (1,268 comments) says:

    Whats bad for the left is good for the rest of New-Zealand.

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “McCully says the position he has offered Jones had been discussed within the Department for sometime ,”

    Why is a National MP concerned about the career of a Labour MP

    Unless of course, the parties have a collusion

    J Key certainly did not scotch that kind of analogy helping H Clark into the UN and holding her hand over the anti smacking bill.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Paulus (2,501 comments) says:

    Poor Damian O’Connor – he must feel very lonely and unloved.

    Vote: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. tvb (4,205 comments) says:

    Jones’s list raking could not be assured especially with Labour’s current polling and the man ban. I presume it would have been more damaging for Labour had he resigned closer to the election due to his poor list ranking. Now that would hurt Labour.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. freedom101 (462 comments) says:

    I wonder if Murray McCully can offer Damian O’Connor a position as special envoy to Pitcairn Island.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. SPC (5,392 comments) says:

    Key is proposing a continuing move to the right while he remains in office.

    If Clark and Cullen were still in power they would have moved further left.

    This is what centre-right wing and centre-left wing parties do.

    Parties like ACT and the Greens hold their positions firm for longer – and they wait for the more centrist parties to drift towards their policy line during their time in office. But they never reach this point before being removed from office. Thus the faster a government moves the shorter its term.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. kowtow (7,625 comments) says:

    I’m in agreement with the labour left……

    Jonsey was nothing but an overambitious blowhard on the look out for No1 (but he didn’t have a way with words,he was more like a shit stand up comedian)

    Any self respecting trougher would have resigned in shame after that credit card fiasco……..

    …..but he’s managed to hang in there and now the reward,another taxpayer funded sinecure.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. martinh (1,155 comments) says:

    Yes labour is moving more to the left and more to oblivion.
    Dont forget though that there are always different factions in a party so dont just criticise them over that. Many on the right were celebrating at Judiths troubles.
    The problem with the left is their fractions are all well to the left now as those on the right in labour cant be fucked with this overwhelming amount of left zealots that have taken over in there and cunliffe greases the monkey in front of

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. johnwellingtonwells (121 comments) says:

    Labour’s whoas????????

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Ross12 (1,149 comments) says:

    wb

    ” Why is a National MP concerned about the career of a Labour MP”

    McCully was saying the position was discussed NOT the idea of Jones being offered the position. A few month ago they could have been thinking of a number of different people for it or they maybe have just been thinking of how the whole setup could work and not thinking of anyone in particular.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. s.russell (1,563 comments) says:

    Labour is becoming less and less of a broad church and more and more like the Exclusive Brethren where it is forbidden even to speak with people outside the sect lest they be contaminated. It wasn’t long ago that they even tried to pass a law forcing MPs to confess if they spoke to a capitalist.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. RF (1,271 comments) says:

    leftyliberal. 12.42pm. Thought I was reading the standard after seeing your comment… Citation needed. That’s the type of crap statement I see used over there.

    Old habits must be hard to break.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. ShawnLH (3,396 comments) says:

    “There is an intolerance of diversity of views.”

    There never has been genuine tolerance of diversity on the hard left.

    There should be a name for this law, but it seems to be the case that the degree to which leftists talk about diversity is indicative of how much they are in reality opposed to it.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. thor42 (916 comments) says:

    The *great* thing is – if the Nats get a lift in the polls to close to 60 percent (and you never know) then that will free up a number of longstanding Nat supporters (myself included) to move further to the right and support ACT.

    Up until now it has been a case of “every single vote for National is vital” and so I have not had the comfort or leeway of being able to support ACT. (Several others over at Whaleoil have expressed similar views).

    However, if the Nats get a good number of ex-Jones supporters (pushing them to near 60 percent) then that will provide the required level of “safety for National” as it were.
    You should then see a lift in both the Nats *and* ACT’s poll ratings.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. OneTrack (2,604 comments) says:

    “Labour’s embarrassment at losing Shane Jones …”

    Are they really worried about losing Jones? Most of the comments I see imply most of them are glad he has gone. Someone else they can declare an “Enemy of the People(tm)” and one less voice of unapproved thoughts as the party marches on to a pure Progressive State.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.