Pols 101 for David Shearer

I think we’ve frankly got to be worried about Labour’s prospects when people are giving him advice which shouldn’t need to be said.

Like Morgan from Maui Street pointing out that leaving your Maaori Affairs spokesperson on the back bench doesn’t bode well for any hopes you have of retaking the Maaori seats.  Personally, I’d go for the theory that Labour’s strategy team are a bunch of entitled dipshits who assume that eventually the Maaori Party will collapse and that everyone hates Hone Harawira as much as they do, and thus in the fullness of time those silly brown people will remember to vote for their rightful overlords.

Or they’ve forgotten about the Maaori seats.  Anything’s possible.

Then there’s Dr Bryce Edwards explaining that Labour need to present a credible alternative government and be different from National.  I respect Dr Edwards very much, but I have to say that this is hardly a groundbreaking idea.

I mean, how the fuck does Shearer expect to be Prime Minister without being a credible, substantially-different alternative to National?  Hello?

Maybe this is nothing new to the Labour leadership.  Maybe they’re trying, but for some reason (quackslikeaduck) it’s not working.  Hell, they have a distinct shortcoming in only having 34 MPs (and being used to having a lot more, unlike the Greens) – which makes Shearer’s “top 20” lineup seem a little ridiculous.  (There’s no bottom 20!  Six members of the top 20 are also in the bottom 20!)

But I just cannot conceive that it is that difficult for people with the level of political experience they have to make a dent, to wave a bright flag, to summon a few basic bullet points which sum up the point of their party’s existence.  Unfortunately, that means the only logical conclusion is they don’t give a fuck as long as their safe electorate seats play ball.


  1. Pascal's bookie

    I’ve been trying to figure them out for ages, usually end up too drunk to remember where I was up to. Ahem.


    item: They fully bought into the “It’s just National’s turn, our turn is next” theory of politics. You see this a lot. A LOT. Lots of times. You can’t turn around without seeing it at least twice. For example: “Look at the poll trend, gap is closing from x till now at about 1% per y months, now extend that out to the election and we win by z”. This is an idea that makes me glad I don’t have a dog, as it means a dog doesn’t get kicked. They don’t seem to get that polls don’t move by themselves; that it’s not some data that they are independent of, that it’s not about ‘turns’, not really.

    item: They want to win the middle, not by articulating a vision that speaks to the middle, but rather by being just like National but having more popular policy.

    item: They really want to be hip and leftie and radical, but only as an image. They don’t actually understand that the Labour Party in NZ is a conservative party failing miserably at stemming a revolutionary neoliberal right.

    item: The looooove being the Guardians of the Heritage of the NZ Labour Party and All Who Have Sailed Upon Her. And that’s stuff’s important, but mostly for retired party people curating a museum in Blackball. It’s not a way to win elections, because you look like a bunch of self involved fuckwits, and it’s not progressive.

    item: They think they can win voters from National, by speaking like National about things that appeal to National’s base. I have no words for how wrong this is. There is, somewhere, a lucky dog.

    There are more items, but that’s enough for now. I don’t know what these items have to say. By the time I get to the part of teasing out the theme that appears to be wanting to leap out saying “Tally Ho that’s it” I’m either drunk, or wanting to be so.

    • Draco T Bastard (@DracoTBastard)

      They think they can win voters from National, by speaking like National about things that appeal to National’s base.

      IMO, it’s this one. Despite having been the most successful MMP party thus far they seem to be thinking as if it’s still FPP.

      • QoT

        The thing that I just cannot comprehend about this approach is that it just says “we only want to win. Not to affect change, not to make the world a better place, we just want to win.”

        And then you get Labour supporters saying things like “Oh but we need to win so we can do the good things” … because lying to the public about your intentions is totes okay if you do it for the right reasons.

  2. mickysavage

    Labour’s relationship with Tangata Whenua is really concerning. It used to be that the Maori seats were the strongest of Labour’s seats. Nowadays the party vote for Labour in the Maori electorates is down to 40% and plummeting. They need to sort it out.

    Having the front bench look more ethnically diverse would help. And yeah, give Louisa Wall a significant role. She is wonderful.

    Why should Megan Woods be promoted and Louisa left behind?

  3. Rhinocrates

    The thing is, I think, is that Mumblefuck comes from a bureaucratic culture where willy-waving counts. He thinks that he has to prove who is boss right away in order to get everyone working to the goal… whatever it is. However, political parties are different, as Helen Clark understood. Instead, you have to obey Coppola’s rule – keep your friends close and your enemies closer. It worked for her. However, Shearer is an idiot, an insecure vain idiot.

    • QoT

      And he’s clearly being advised (and accepting advice from, because that’s a two-way street) other insecure, vain idiots.