Thursday, August 09, 2012

Who cares about Labour?

The media and blogosphere today is full of talk about Labour, in the wake of S'ua William Sio's coming out as a bigot, David Shearer's coming out as a beneficary-basher, and Trevor Mallard's coming out as a moron. Meanwhile, I'm wondering why anyone cares.

Seriously. Its been clear for quite some time that Labour has given up, and that it is not interested in offering a real alternative policy direction from the government. They've taken the perfect opportunity presented by the financial crisis, and squandered it. Now all they are offering is a different management team, pursuing the same old policies as National: cuts, shrinking the state, and beneficiary-bashing. It is simply sickening. And as we've seen in the UK, it's also a losing strategy. People won't turn out to vote for a "choice" between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. They'll simply give up on politics instead, rather than grant legitimacy to people who do not represent them.

Why would anyone support such a party? Why would anyone get up in the morning to volunteer to knock on doors or leaflet for them? Quite apart from being utterly uninspiring, there's also the blunt fact that any good work you do will be undermined within a week by the clowns in caucus sniping at one another. Party activism is a two-way street - and the Labour caucus is not keeping up its end of the bargain.

Basically, Labour is so far gone, and so uninterested in reforming itself, that I have stopped caring. There are a lot of good people in the party, but institutionally it is a waste of political space. Fortunately, we have MMP, and so we have alternatives (and, if the Electoral Commission recommends lowering the undemocratic threshold, we will hopefully have more). But its still a tragedy for the overall left in NZ that its major party has sunk to such a state.