To paraphrase US comedian Lily Tomlin, who was talking about cynicism at the time, no matter how dire Labour’s political management reveals itself to be, it’s impossible to keep up.
Last week, I broke a cardinal rule and spent some time wading through left-wing blogs, as well as comment sections on more mainstream sites.
It is clear the small number of Labour, Green and Internet-Mana Party activists who populate these dusty corners of cyberspace have convinced themselves the media are systematically rallying behind John Key’s re-election and conspiring against the left.
The paranoia is hilarious.
Supporters and activists find it much easier to blame straw-men, presumably along with a mandatory 50 per cent of straw-women, than confront the painful truth that the political operation surrounding David Cunliffe is strategically misguided and tactically inept.
Heh, nice dig at quotas. But an important blunt assessment by a former Labour staffer.
To my mind, the Cunliffe apology for being a man was by far the most damaging of these. According to a Herald poll, only 9 per cent of respondents thought the manpology was a smart move, and yet the overwhelming preponderance of leftist commentary insisted either that Cunliffe was right to say sorry for possessing external genitalia, or that the apology wasn’t a big deal.
My mantra during this pre-election period has been that Labour’s strategists are misguided in their conviction that fewer than 30 per cent of the vote is sufficient to form a viable government.
With others, like Shane Jones and Josie Pagani, I have urged the party to lift its sights to become a 40 per cent party, capable of winning a broad spectrum of voters from all parts of the country.
The sad thing is that many on the left celebrated Jones leaving the Labour caucus, and they revile Pagani and want her gone also.
In particular, we make the case that Labour has all but surrendered in provincial New Zealand, and that this is a strategic bungle of epic proportions.
Labour holds just one seat in provincial NZ, and they may lose that one in this election.
If Labour fails to break well into the 30s, the party president and general secretary should resign and party council members should convene urgently to consider their own positions.
It is not shocking in the context of New Zealand electoral history for John Key to win a third term; what is untenable is that he looks set to do so with a higher vote than either of the past two outings.
As for David Cunliffe, he should resign with grace and alacrity as soon as it becomes apparent he is unable to form a government, which might be far earlier on the evening of September 20 than any Labour voter would wish to contemplate.
I’m told David Cunliffe has made it very clear he has no intention to resign in the event of a loss.