How to win friends and influence people

What a train wreck. I hardly know where to start.

Labour MP Clare Curran first blogged:

Have had a gutsful of the white-anting of Labour from both the right and the left of politics.

Then a second blog post:

And on another note, re white-anting; the attempts by the Greens to encroach on Labour territory is also happening in Australia.

The comments flowed quick and fast. Gregor said:

Greens white-anting Labour?

Surely you mean, contesting the same constituency rather than ‘encroaching’, right?

You seriously think you have the unquestioning allegiance of my vote as a worker?

And Sacha:

Is it seriously Labour policy to attack the party’s MMP allies now?

Followed by Curious:

Go look up the definition of democracy Clare, political parties put forward policy to convince voters to vote for them. This isn’t white-anting.

And Me Too:

As a Green Party voter and life-long unionist I am staggered by the suggestion that Labour ‘owns’ the area of labour rights.

Waiting for the justified mocking in the Dim Post blog… Despairing of there ever being a Labour-led government in this country ever again…

Dim-Post has obliged. I’ll come to him later.

Then Idiot/Savant from No Right Turn:

The concept that some votes are Labour’s exclusive “territory” is a perfect example of what is wrong with Labour ATM.

Wake up. There is no Divine Right in democracy. Votes don’t “belong” to your party – you have to earn them. And if you can’t, if other people are doing a better ob of appealing to your traditional constituencies, then you have no-one to blame but yourself.

Chris M:

I’m voting for Greens this year because Labour has failed dismally at representing itself as a viable alternative to National. You’ve broken election advertising/campaigning laws repeatedly, put up what was apparently only the barest resistance to National passing ludicrously bad laws, and to put it simply Phil Goff is a non-entity in the realm of potential leadership.

Then Regan:

I’m just as peeved as the next person that we’re losing votes to the Greens,but I know that politics is a competition and as such Labour has to earn its votes. As a Labour Party member, to make such a blatantly uninformed comment is exactly the reason why we’re doing so poorly in the polls, because Labour MPs are arrogant enough to assume they “own” votes

And Chris Trotter weighs in:

Well, Clare, if Labour really wanted to test the Greens commitment to building (or should that be re-building?) a strong trade union movement, it could simply ask for the Green Party’s support in re-introducing an industrial relations system in which every worker was guaranteed the protection of union membership, including automatic inclusion, at the time of hiring, in an industry-wide agreement setting forth minimum wage-rates and conditions.

Try that one on them. Hell! Try it on your caucus colleagues!

Matthew Dentith:

Really? So the Greens are stealing your rightful votes, are they? I didn’t realise that when I switched away from voting Labour to voting Green that I was being stolen.

Now after this barrage of criticism, from Labour and Green party members and supporters, you might think a conciliatory note would be struck. Instead Curran rips into them:

Listen to you all. Go and knock on some bloody doors will you and stop pontificating. Get down to South Dunedin and see what it’s really like. Foodbanks are empty.
People are desperate.

Yes I am angry and it shows.

Idiot/Savant responds:

Yes, and its terrible. But if you want to do anything about it, you actually need to persuade people to vote for you. Instead, you’re just arrogantly demanding we do, like some medieval king ordering his peasants.

Aaron adds in:

I’ve been fence-sitting between Labour and the Greens for a number of years now and recently took the plunge to become a full member of the Green party. Posts like this show this was the right thing to do.

The Green Party should send Clare some chocolates to thank her for recruiting on their behalf. David comments:

Clare: I am a trustee of a charitable trust that has, this month, raised over $10,000 for those in extreme poverty. I also volunteer for my local Green candidate’s election campaign. So, how about instead of pulling out childish attacks on people who could well be your supporters, you rethink your silly and sanctimonious attack on an ally?

Debbie jumps in:

Way to go Clare, You were the last labour MP I still had any respect for & you write this!? You own me? I’m poor & have always voted Labour so I ‘must’ vote for you now? I can’t make up my own mind? Maybe my mind just isn’t up to the job.

Danyl at the Dim-Post has a post well reading, including screen shots from Twitter. He says:

So I’ll be voting for the Greens this election, as previously stated. I’d like to vote Labour again in 2014 – but it simply wouldn’t be ethical to cast a vote for a party this dysfunctional, so there will have to be a lot of changes before I can switch back.

And getting rid of MPs like Claire Curran will be a big part of that. I’ll be casting my electorate vote for Grant Robertson, because he’s a good MP – but if you live in an electorate like, oh say, Dunedin South I think the best thing you can do for the left is cast your party vote for Labour or the Greens, or whoever, but cast your electorate vote for the National candidate. It won’t impact on the outcome of the election (unless you live in Ohariu) but it will send a message to Labour that if they force poor quality MPs on us in safe seats then they face the risk of losing that seat.

For my 2c worth I’m not that surprised by the blog post. I’ve often observed that most in National think Labour are wrong, but do not think those on the left are evil. However many in Labour believe that those on the right are evil people motivated purely by self interest. The consequence of this, is that they believe that it is treasonous for anyone not to support them in their mission to get rid of the evil right wingers. So if someone from the left criticises Labour, they are seen as traitors.

UPDATE: Also some comments made at Dim Post worth highlighting:

Me Too:

Really, she used to work in PR? Who for – Adidas? Telecom?

Russell Brown:

This is a disastrous blurt from Curran, not so much with the voters at large but with the kind of people who actually might be inclined to put a shoulder to the wheel as she would wish. Gawd.


I have worked for (in a parliamentary capacity) and door knocked for Labour in the past. But this just makes me mad, and the reason why I will also most likely vote Green.

Newtown News:

This sort of shit makes me yearn for the good old days of David Benson-Pope MP

Danyl again:

What gets me is that Curran thinks that door-knocking in her own electorate is some selfless act of charity that she does out of the goodness of her heart, and makes her a worthy person. Door-knocking is public relations! She does it because she’s the MP for that electorate and she wants to get re-elected to her extremely well paid job! So using it as a pretext to claim the moral high-ground is really repulsive.

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