With backgrounds in political science and commerce, Ms Clark and Mr Key have almost certainly done this maths while Mr Little, a lawyer, clearly never has. It shows: between them, Ms Clark and Mr Key have won six general elections and 15 electorate contests while Mr Little has won none of either. His public rejection on Sunday of Ms Clark’s advice that he should target the centre – dismissing it as “hollow” – will surely not endear him to Labour supporters. Neither was this just another off-the-cuff Little blunder.
He repeated his rejection of the centre on radio on Tuesday and in an email to Labour’s remaining members. National’s strategists rejoiced.
If you think centre is a dirty word well …
The reason Mr Little has so boldly rejected century-old mainstream political theory is because the Wellington unionists and far-left activists who advise him are convinced a major sea change is under way in global politics, rendering the old left-right spectrum obsolete. Evidence for this, they believe, is Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the US, the Brexit vote and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and polling upswings by neo-fascists in France and Germany.
The revolution is coming!
What Little and his advisers miss is that in the US the majority of the population has said the US is heading in the wrong direction in every poll since 2004.
By contrast in NZ the majority of the population has said NZ is heading in the right direction in every poll since 2008.
There is nothing happening in global politics right now that we haven’t seen before. Mr Little may think he can make progress by mimicking the “coalition of constituencies” tactics of Mr Sanders, Mr Trump, Mr Corbyn, Ms Petry or Ms Le Pen but all he is doing is giving up more of the centre ground to Winston Peters or even the Greens’ James Shaw.