On one issue at least, Helen Clark is true to her word. In 1990, Clark vowed to be as “vicious, nasty and opportunist as anyone” to return Labour to power. Eighteen years later, her promise still holds.
Well that is one promise she has kept.
Clark also knows the power of fear. Labour’s superb “Don’t Put It All At Risk” advertising campaign in the last few days before the 2005 election, while funded with illegal spending, was more powerful even than National’s iwi/kiwi billboards.
Just as with Crosby / Texter’s “Are You Thinking What We’re Thinking?” campaign for the British Tories in 2005, “Don’t Put It All At Risk” was devoid of content and simply invited voters to define for themselves what they were most afraid of and associate it with Don Brash. Along with Labour’s letters to state-house tenants implying they would be evicted if they voted National, the campaign was the ultimate in fear-mongering, dog-whistling politics, and it won the election for Clark and Labour in 2005.
The state house eviction letters was classic fear-mongering indeed.
If “smear and fear” is successful in taking just five points off National’s support – driving it down from 53% to 48% – then Labour has a chance of forming a government whatever happens to its own vote.
With a Labour result of just 31%, the Greens on 10%, Winston Peters getting 5% and the Maori Party winning all seven Maori seats, a Labour/Anderton/Green/Maori/New Zealand First combination would hold 64 seats in parliament, enough to form a government.
Yes it is possible even from 31% Labour could form a Government. The only way one can be sure of a change in Government is to vote for the two parties which will definitely not support Labour.
These are minor shifts in public opinion in the heat of an election campaign, during which around a third of voters will engage in politics for the first time for three years, and make up their minds to swing the result. Political junkies like me, Chris Trotter and you, as a reader of these columns, don’t ultimately decide elections. Those reading the Hollywood pages this morning are the people who count.
Sad but true.
A National result of 48% would still be the party’s best result in 57 years yet, with Labour on just 31% support, Clark would remain prime minister, Michael Cullen would remain finance minister, Jim Anderton would remain in charge of our most important export industries, Winston Peters would keep the baubles his foreign minister’s job delivers, Jeanette Fitzsimons would get to decide what lightbulbs we must use and the Maori Party could deliver the foreshore and seabed to iwi.
Matthew sounds like Roald Dahl 🙂