As an upfront disclaimer, I’m a Cunliffe fan and an ex-constituent of his, though I have previously given the side-eye to some of his statements on asset sales.
Get your invisible hands off our assets
You know that at the last election, the one that we lost so badly, nearly 1 million people didn’t vote. Over 800,000 people: a fifth of the population didn’t vote.
Now you know, there are lots of reasons that people didn’t vote, and there were even more reasons why people didn’t vote for Labour. Let me give you just a few.
The major reason that voters didn’t vote for Labour, and sometimes didn’t vote at all, is simply that Labour failed to inspire voters that it was a credible alternative to National.
When the right-wing party says that it’s going to cut your leg off, voters want the left-wing party to say that it’s not going to cut your leg off. Voters don’t want to be told that the left-wing party is also going to cut your leg off, but cut it off a bit lower down and give you some anesthetic.
I think that’s a major reason that nearly one million voters deserted us at the last election. It wasn’t because we failed to communicate our policies. Quite the opposite. Those voters saw that our policies – with the exception of asset sales – were mostly the same as National’s. So we can’t really be surprised at the result.
Oh yeah, baby, you know how I like it.
Now, sadly, there is this one disclaimer:
I want to be clear from the outset that this speech represents my own views and does not pretend to represent overall Labour policy. All policies are being reviewed in the post-election period.
And I have no doubt that someone will argue that I am, for once, the intended audience of this speech, and there may very well be a wider strategy whereby Shearer keeps faffing on about Excalibur and Noo-Noo Zealand to appease the masses and Cunliffe gets to throw sops to the disaffected core … but dammit, I’m going to enjoy this one while it lasts.