This comment over at The Standard cites one of my favourite (or, really, least-favourite) bits of political bullshit often parroted in this country (and sorry, Standardites, it ain’t the one about y’all being a Machiavellian Secret Labour Party Front, that’s just lol-tastic).
It’s the, “Well you’ve had nine years to do suchandsuch, and you haven’t!” line, which gets brought up, almost invariably, any time the Labour Party have announced a radical new (and, let’s face it, vote-attracting) policy. Like universal student allowances, or tax cuts (and GOD did we hear it constantly when Cullen finally rolled them out).
And it’s always pissed me off, but I had a hard time explaining exactly why. Last week? Lightning bolt!
The National Party is the nation’s teenaged son, who threw a huge party in the 90s. Mummy Labour and associate minor-party aunties have spent 9 years cleaning up the broken bottles, half-full cans of Woodstock, getting the vomit out of the bathtub and apologising to Council workers for the illegal bonfire, while National sits back and says “JEEZ, MUM, you haven’t even vacuumed the carpet, what the hell have you been DOING all this time? God, it’s shocking how lazy you are. I’m sick of the way things are around here. It’s time for ANOTHER PARTY.”
The more I think about it, the clearer it gets. The friends little Nat wants to invite are the same wankers who got thrown out last time for being lying little shits. Like a sulky teenager, when confronted by the fact that he and his buddies have been caught smoking behind the bike sheds, he just mutters that it’s not fair that somebody narked.
Have Labour led perfect Governments for the past nine years? Fuck no. Have they achieved everything they may have wanted to achieve, or that their supporters might have wanted them to achieve? Probably not. But, and stop me if I’m sounding a bit too Emissary here, the Labour Party, like the rest of us, only have so many hours in the day and so many sessions in the House, and they’ve got a shitload of policy through (love it or hate it).
Criticising them for announcing policies now by saying, “Why didn’t you do that while you were busy doing a lot of other stuff, some of which was probably necessary to lead up to this, or was a higher priority*, huh? HUH?” is just ridiculous.
Mind you, what’s new?