Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Burns is out; let the Dolchstoßlegende begin!

The judicial recount in Christchurch Central is complete, and National's Nicky Wagner has won by 47 votes. Which means its about time for the Labour hacks to start their angry Dolchstoßlegende muttering about how their guy would have won, if it wasn't for the Greens - just as they did over Epsom and Ohariu. Obviously, this is true in a mathematical sense; the 2,321 votes won by David Moorhouse is far more than Wagner's tiny majority. But its predicated on an absolutely toxic assumption: that Green supporters owe Labour their votes, and that they have some obligation to stand aside to let Labour win. Which is absolutely nonsensical.

To point out the obvious: the Greens are their own party, with their own priorities. If Labour wants their electorate votes, it has to earn them. Clearly, Labour does earn some of those votes (Iain Lees-Galloway earned mine). Equally clearly, it doesn't earn them all. Stamping your feet and demanding support out of some assumed feudal overlordship of the left is unlikely to help earn more. And doing it where the outcome is absolutely meaningless (as here) just makes you look even more arrogant.

(And yes, it is meaningless. Under MMP, whether voters in Christchurch Central chose Nicky Wagner or Brendon Burns makes no difference to the overall outcome. It makes no difference even in terms of the Labour list; Burn's success would simply have meant the elimination of some other Labour MP. The only person it matters to is Brendon Burns. But while its a tragedy for him, and for Labour's organisation in Christchurch, it means absolutely nothing in terms of the balance of power in the House).