Pagani advice for Labour

July 22nd, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

blogs at Pundit on what should now do:

First, stop blaming the media. 

The problem isn’t ‘right wing framing’. There isn’t a media conspiracy to get a third term National government. When you fall behind everyone airs their favourite explanation and negatives get repeated and amplified. It’s the job of politicians, not media, to inspire a change in the story. 

National did this also in 2002. It is very tempting to do, but almost always pointless.

Stop saying the polls are close. It reminds voters that Labour aims to lead a bloc in which it might not be all that dominant and which could include the toxic Dotcom party. Tortuous explanations about the Left Bloc v the Right Bloc sound cynical, as if you don’t care about winning support of people.

Distance Labour from Dotcom. One reason for Labour’s poor polling is people just want to get rid of Dotcom and somehow he has become Labour’s problem now. Only because he is an enemy of our enemy.  Labour should only ever say of Dotcom, “he shouldn’t be in the country and National should not have let him in. We want him and his party nowhere near government.”

If Labour did that, I think they would get a very significant boost in the polls. People do not like the idea of a Labour-led Government being subservient to Dotcom.

Stop barking at every passing car. We don’t need a position on every lifestyle or identity issue in the news cycle. Though Labour tries to talk about core themes, like jobs and smaller class sizes, it can’t complain when those subjects get overshadowed by its own policies. 

The temptation of releasing a ‘policy a day’ comes from a lack of confidence that the main themes are strong enough to win. This is a strategy error, not a discipline one. 

I think they are taking this advice on board.

There are no easy pathways now. The party made David Cunliffe leader for his strategy of shoring up the base with a more militant tone. He’s delivered on that strategy but it hasn’t worked. 

Correcting to the centre close to the election carries the seeds of disappointment for those who believed it would work, and has the added downside that the public don’t believe it. 

It’s too late to ditch some of the rhetoric that made people doubt whether you would put them ahead of sectarian interests, but not too late to campaign for  the values that make Labour, Labour.  It’s mission is to represent working people and their families in a broad-based party. So: do that.

I think it is too late to now try and move towards the centre.

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33 Responses to “Pagani advice for Labour”

  1. Rex Widerstrom (5,345 comments) says:

    Very sage advice from Pagani. No ideology there – no “move to the left, move to the centre” – just strategy and tactics. It could be taken and applied to just about any party in Labour’s position regardless of where on the spectrum they sat.

    Why is it that the people who know what the hell they’re doing are, at best, on the outer orbit of politics and the whole circus is being run by clowns, some of them with more than one campaign failure under their belt?

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  2. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    I think it is too late to now try and move towards the centre.

    I wouldnt hold any hope of Labour even knowing where it is anymore.

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  3. Liam Hehir (123 comments) says:

    Attacking the media can excite the base. It’s also not always misplaced, because how the news is covered does set the general perception of events. How many people here, for example, think Sarah Palin actually said she could see Russia from her house?

    For a political party or movement, however, attacking or whingeing about the media really is a loser’s strategy.

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  4. Monty (974 comments) says:

    Labour trying to distance themselves from the Mana internet party is impossible. labour will need to garner every last vote and party to try and win against the might of tha national Party. And then the trouble starts. Would anyone who actually thought about it clearly and rationally for five minutes want an unstable cluster of Cunliffe and his disloyal troops leading a multi-headed beast of the Green Taliban! the corrupt Winston and his dim-witted corporals, and the haters and wreckers in the KDC party leading a progressive NZ.

    Quite simply the prospect of the left hydra beast will permanently damage NZ

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  5. Peter (1,688 comments) says:

    Why is it that the people who know what the hell they’re doing are, at best, on the outer orbit of politics and the whole circus is being run by clowns, some of them with more than one campaign failure under their belt?

    I suspect it’s because of the left’s love of ideology, not pragmatism. Anyone who takes a pragmatic line is seen as not pure. The tub-thumping ideologues hold sway. See The Standard.

    New Zealanders are pragmatic people, not ideologues. The disconnect is fundamental.

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  6. MT_Tinman (3,092 comments) says:

    It’s too late to ditch some of the rhetoric that made people doubt whether you would put them ahead of sectarian interests, but not too late to campaign for the values that make Labour, Labour. It’s mission is to represent working people and their families in a broad-based party. So: do that.

    It is in fact far too late for Labour to claim to represent working people and their families.

    Labour, since Clarkula if not since Sir Roger quit, have represented those who don’t work – beneficiaries, the something-for-nothing crowd, teachers, unionists etc. .

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  7. Pete George (23,426 comments) says:

    But Liam, as you have probably seen at TS their claims against the media, ranging to a grand National/multiple media organisation/multiple polling company conspiracy can be easily be dismissed as so far over the top that it’s in orbit.

    If they forcefully made believable accusations they might get their point across.

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  8. Liam Hehir (123 comments) says:

    I agree. Not every accusation of media bias is credible. Some are, because journalists are humans and not robots. It just very rarely a deliberate action (let alone a conspiracy).

    The question is, if you suspect you’re not getting a fair go from the media, what do you do about it? Whining feels good but doesn’t really get you anywhere.

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  9. mjw (390 comments) says:

    I think all these centre/left/right labels are getting pretty meaningless. Even Act is describing itself as a Centre Right party now.

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  10. MT_Tinman (3,092 comments) says:

    Liam Hehir, there is nothing wrong with “media bias”.

    It is dishonest media bias that grates.

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  11. emmess (1,420 comments) says:

    Labour are incapable of moving to the centre. For that to happen they need a popular Tony Blair or Bill Clinton type figure to take over, and that is the last thing most of their caucus/membership wants as the last time that happened, we got the disaster that in their opinion was Rogernomics. So they will continue in a death spiral of bad elections results, leading to tiny or non existent pools of leadership talent, leading to worse results, and so on.

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  12. Pete George (23,426 comments) says:

    The question is, if you suspect you’re not getting a fair go from the media, what do you do about it? Whining feels good but doesn’t really get you anywhere.

    Whining is unlikely to get you anywhere, but going by the general mood at The Standard it doesn’t make them feel good either.

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  13. kiwi in america (2,495 comments) says:

    Josie gives excellent tactical and strategic advise (for which the left will hate on her once again). She neglects to mention the schizophrenic place Labour is in ideologically. As I stated in my guest post on Easter Friday, Clark and her successors gradually burnt off the centrist moderates in the party leaving a power vacuum filled by the activist left. Mike Williams and Labour apologists brag about Labour’s boost in membership under Cunliffe – these new members are former Alliance members who are far further to the left than the caucus. This has led to the ideological disconnect between the caucus and the party that can now no longer be managed by arguably the more politically savvy and pragmatic Parliamentary wing of Labour. The unions are always to the left of caucus and now, aligned with the harder left membership, has the power to choose the leader. The activist left now have the ability to impose their candidate on a reluctant caucus.

    Labour now occupies a shrinking piece of electoral real estate that of the moderate centre left and Shearer found out how trapped any leader with centrist instincts like him became: if you drag the party back to the electorally rich centre and take National front on for the hearts of middle NZ, they run the risk of driving the activist left back into the arms of the Greens or Mana (now Internet Mana). Cunliffe told the party he was deep red Labour and a bona fide socialist and the left swooned and voted him in. Labour’s more leftist policies has helped stemmed the flow to the Greens but has driven what’s left of Labour’s moderate centre into non voter land or increasingly to National. A move to either the left or the right has consequences and none of them equal more party votes for Labour. Clever election tactics can never fully overcome these fundamental realities.

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  14. wreck1080 (3,864 comments) says:

    there will be some huge bribe a week out before the elections.

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  15. Liam Hehir (123 comments) says:

    Then why do they do it all the time? “Being offended” isn’t supposed to feel good either – but some people seem addicted to it.

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  16. cas (36 comments) says:

    I thought the Opposition was much more focused in Parliament this afternoon and the Government was not quite on song in reply. having said that there is abound to be another cockup from Labour in the not too distant future, so it will be back to normal.

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  17. burt (8,190 comments) says:

    Labour seem to have failed to notice it’s not the media who are being harsh on them – it’s their own stupidity. Can’t expect Labour to work that out though – they still haven’t noticed their entire ideology is a failure and always has been.

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  18. Pete George (23,426 comments) says:

    The troops were trying to show unity today.

    Little said he was not concerned about Cunliffe’s performance as a leader.

    “It doesn’t just stop at David,” he said.

    “It’s every body doing their bit and contributing to a campaign on the ground and in our portfolio areas.

    “We have got past anger a long time ago, we are focused on what a campaign needs – a positive contribution by everybody and focused on the issues that matter.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10294305/Cunliffe-The-fightback-begins-now

    Very ironic they have a VotePositive slogan. It’s like Winston having a VoteYoung slogan, or Greens having VoteOil.

    “I am sure that the caucus will be as determined as I am that we stick to our knitting and to our core messages about jobs, homes and families, and avoid distractions,” Cunliffe said.

    Sticking to their knitting is not going to convince anyone the wool is a tangled mess.

    And Cunliffe’s admission he was warned about the sex offender but went ahead and met him anyway won’t help the fightback.

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  19. burt (8,190 comments) says:

    And Cunliffe’s admission he was warned about the sex offender but went ahead and met him anyway won’t help the fightback.

    Really ? I bet he’ll be sorry for that too ….

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  20. Pete George (23,426 comments) says:

    Mr Cunliffe admits a prominent New Zealander’s possible sexual offending had been raised with him before he met with the man in Queenstown last week.

    The Labour leader says the meeting went ahead because no proof had been supplied.

    “There is a suspicion that a person who asked to meet me and my candidate down there might be a person in that category. All I can say is had I known that, and we did ask around if there was any reason not to meet, we wouldn’t have had the meeting.”

    Details of Greg Presland’s devout defence of Cunliffe, only to be contradicted: Cunliffe cheerleader chumped by change of tune

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  21. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (869 comments) says:

    Dear God – Please do not allow Messiah Jesus V2.0 listen to Josie Pagani’s sensible advice….otherwise they could start to improve their positions. Please make Messiah ridicule Josie….

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  22. Unity (483 comments) says:

    I thought Josie Pagani’s advice was excellent. She should have been on Labour’s team. However, Labour have been very stupid themselves also and when you think of them combined with the Greens and Internet Mana, they just seem too terrible to even contemplate. They don’t have the calibre of MPs that National has and someone above also said they will probably offer a bribe just before the election. Rather like Helen Clark when she bought the 2008 election with her illegal Pledge Card I would imagine. She was never punished either!! No, they look like a rag tag bunch and, have any of them ever worked in the business real world, or are most of them public servants, school teachers and unionists? That’s my impression.

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  23. Pete George (23,426 comments) says:

    The sorries keep coming – My holiday was too long – Cunliffe

    MEA CULPA: Labour Leader David Cunliffe says he wouldn’t have taken a holiday had he known how poorly his party was rating in the polls.

    Labour leader David Cunliffe has admitted to making errors, including taking an over-long three-day holiday in Queenstown last week.

    Cunliffe emerged from a caucus meeting of his MPs today promising to make changes to the way he and the party delivered their messages and admitting that the holiday was a mistake.

    “I take responsibility for things I could have done better,” he said.

    “I’m happy to say that with the information that I now have about the movement in the polls, which I didn’t have when I made that decision [to take a holiday], I would have made a different decision.”

    For crying out loud. Polls sort of keep happening. And they have been happening in the wrong direction for Labour for months.

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  24. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (869 comments) says:

    Wait for Labour to announce a policy that all student loans will be waived and the funding will come from a “Future Generation Protection Levy” to be charged on rich pricks. Take that on the chin uncle Key.

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  25. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (869 comments) says:

    “Sometimes tough times make you tougher. I’m coming off the back foot here and I’m going to get back on the front foot, and I’m going to give you guys the campaign that you think New Zealanders deserve, that I think New Zealanders deserve, that I can’t wait to get out and do.” – Cunning Cunliffe, Messiah Jesus V2.0.

    I think John Key will be shaking in fear now and looking for future job options…..

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  26. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Could it be that Internet-Mana have planted McCarten as Silent T‘s right-hand man to derail him even more?

    The hopeless socialist leader is getting shafted with the “help” of the advice given by comrade Matt and the third-rate lawyer Greg Presland, aka Micky Savage.

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  27. Pete George (23,426 comments) says:

    Re McCarten it could be any of:
    – McCarten is incompetent
    – McCarten can’t overcome Cunliffe’s incompetence
    – McCarten can’t overcome Labour’s incompetence
    – All of the above
    – McCarten is competently trashing Labour to open up opportunities for Dotcom/IMP

    If it’s the latter then it’s yet to be seen whether it will work for Dotcom/IMP. The whole left could end up being a disaster zone.

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  28. RightNow (6,966 comments) says:

    “The sorries keep coming”

    It’s as if Cun’liffe is taking lessons from Len Brown. I look forward to the upcoming news clip of him beating his breast while tearfully apologising for not leaving the toilet seat down.

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  29. Reid (16,197 comments) says:

    The whole left could end up being a disaster zone.

    “could” = wrong tense

    “end up” = really? Never.

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  30. Odakyu-sen (570 comments) says:

    “The problem isn’t ‘right wing framing’. There isn’t a media conspiracy to get a third term National government. ”

    But, but, but….
    I thought the media always conspired with the forces of the left.

    Who would’ve thunk that the media were pro-National. It’s as if they must think National to be a left-wing party…

    …Oh, wait a minute…

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  31. Mark (1,471 comments) says:

    Under Cunliffe the drive to the left and the threat of the greens being in any coalition is far more frightening than Dotcom and his cronies.

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  32. Grant (434 comments) says:

    “Labour Leader David Cunliffe says he wouldn’t have taken a holiday had he known how poorly his party was rating in the polls.”

    What crap!

    Dear David, if you want to know why you won’t be PM? It’s because you make the assumption that all NZers will take everything you say at face value.
    Wrong, wrong and bloody well wrong again. Only the die hard tribal lefties, and the mentally deficient are that dumb.

    In essence….. you tell untruths. Often. And most of us know it.

    G

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  33. goldnkiwi (1,256 comments) says:

    I am feeling sorry for the man (not yet emasculated?). For whatever reason, internal or external, I believe he is out of his depth.

    Just because he has aspired to be a politician and PM, reality must surely be biting. He is not up to the job. It happens.

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