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Lefter 42 ~ Here comes dystopia

August 22, 2011 by emweb


Apart from my revulsion at the fact that so many New Zealanders actually profess to like John Key, I honestly thought Labour could win the next election. Or at least, I did think that, a month ago. But it seems Labour just can’t mobilise itself to do … anything much.

Despite being continuously handed ammunition on a platter, Labour has fundamentally failed to capitalise on any of it. We’ve seen some sporadic sniping, but it has all proved ineffectual against National.

One has to wonder why Labour has failed to capitalise. To me, the two major parties seem two empty shells. Except one has a leader.

As for Labour, Goff has stated he will go when he’s ready, and you can only assume he will be ‘ready’ after a crushing election defeat. And that seems to be the consensus in the ranks – that the forthcoming election failure is the only real way to replace Goff.

As for his successor, there’s … nobody.

For who would replace Goff? There’s a colourless bunch to draw on. If there was a successor in the wings, they should now be trying to show some life, but so far, we haven’t seen anything like that. Even Shane Jones seems to have had the life sucked out of him. Goff must have some kind of hold on the ministers that we can’t discern.

Why has their been no cohesive resistance to National? Labour’s just not ready. Labour gave itself a moral and social mandate with the capital gains tax, and actually stole headlines from Key and left National floundering, then … what? Nothing. I maintain that Labour doesn’t know what it stands for anymore. If Labour doesn’t know, how can we?

National has become so emboldened by Labour’s patent inability to engage that it’s even been announcing punitive measures against New Zealand’s poor and disenfranchised, for next year, and still, there has been very little reaction.

While this once again demonstrates a fundamental difference between left and right (the left looks for the good in people, the right assumes people are bad so need punitive measures and strictures to keep them in line), the measures also offer something worth resisting. Not only that, National has handily helped define the constituency Labour needs to engage with.

And Labour has done … nothing.

National has even announced it won’t be campaigning till after the Rugby World Cup. Labour has reacted by doing … nothing. It’s so worried at looking unseemly in public, as with the Christchurch situation, Labour has gone for ‘pathetic’ instead of unleashing … anything.

You have to wonder why. To me, it looks like the principal Labour members are failing to support Goff in any effective political way (not that he’s giving them much to support) because they are too intent on lining up their personal ducks for a Labour comeback in three years time. Which would mean personal ambition is trumping collective aspiration. For, and I hate to say this, while you might be a suffering beneficiary who’s going to find life really difficult until at least 2015, those Labour ministers are receiving bloody good wages for themselves. What do they care about you? Not much, by the looks of it. And we need to think they do care.

If this cynicism is true, how does it make you feel about Labour? It makes me feel sick. If true, it’s malicious, and to the detriment of the classes that are supposed to be Labour’s core constituency.

I hope I’m wrong.

I suspect I’m not.

So we will get inflicted with another three years of National because of one man’s vanity combined with the inability of Labour members to rise above their own personal ambitions for the good of their electorates, condemning us to another term of an increasingly oppressive dystopia that is using a recession and an earthquake to justify anti-humanistic, culture-quashing policies.

What are the alternatives for us? Mana looks like a left-wing party, but it’s seemingly not for the general New Zealand left-winger. Much as I like Hone Harawira’s gumption and honesty, when he talks about his constituency, he can’t even bring himself to mention Pakeha. He has Sue Bradford on side, and I think she has some credibility, but John Minto? He has unfortunately become the rent-a-protestor he was unfairly accused of being in 1981. He might be there as a sop to the Pakeha left, but many of us on the Pakeha left just find him embarrassing.

Makes you want to vote Green, doesn’t it?

[You can follow lefter on Twitter: look for ‘lefterNZ’ . Note the initial ‘l’ is lower case.]

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