Trotter on Clark

Chris Trotter in his SST column writes on a similar theme to his midweek column – how the anti-smacking bill helped seal Clark’s fate. Extracts:

Labour had been returned to office on the strength of its socially conservative working-class base. State-house tenants most of them parents had turned out in their thousands to stave off a National win. It was their votes that had purchased Clark’s ticket to a third Victory Ball. And where they came from, you danced with the person you came with.

But then Sue Bradford sashayed on to the floor with her anti-smacking bill.

To Clark, the case against smacking was morally self-evident. But to Labour’s conservative working-class supporters it represented the lofty condescension of a childless politician clearly believed she knew more about raising kids than they did.

Clark knew her working-class base didn’t want her to pass the bill and they knew she knew. But she passed it anyway.

The hadn’t listened to them even worse, she’d taken them for granted. Instead of dancing with the Pacific Island, Maori and poor Pakeha voters had saved her career, she’d waltzed off with the bill’s middle-class backers. Labour’s most loyal supporters could hear Helen chortling at the oh-so-sophisticated humour of her academic mates and somehow they just knew she was laughing at them.

So now they’re over her: finally and irrevocably. Many are saying they’ll vote for John Key, but in the end they’ll probably just stay home on election day and watch the Labour Party lose.

They’re determined to give the damn good smacking she deserves even at the cost of punishing themselves.

agree with Chris Trotter that the anti-smacking bill is part of Labour’s problems.I wouldn’t underestimate how much teh refusla to reduce the tax burden has hit them also, with the announcement late last year being seen as insincere and too late.

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