Monday, November 19, 2012

That Labour meeting thing

So, apparently the Labour Party had a bit of a meeting over the weekend, during which the membership passed some rules changes imposing greater democratic control over the caucus, and especially over the leadership. But even this weak democracy - seriously people, other parties elect their leaders every year - was too much for Labour's talentless and past-it Old Guard, and they've now gone feral and are attempting to drive out one of the party's few talented and popular frontbenchers.

Way to go guys. Great own goal there. This is why I don't give a shit about the Labour Party: because its collection of time-servers and over-ambitious incompetents will turn any success into failure. Such a dysfunctional party is not worth anyone's time or emotional investment.

Meanwhile, while the media was focusing on the leadership issue, the party also asserted greater democratic control over policy. There will be a new policy platform, set by the annual conferance and binding on caucus. And there were a host of remits, supporting the renationalisation of stolen assets, a lower voting age, and support for marriage equality, which will presumably make their way into it.

And then there was David Shearer's speech, in which he introduced a new (actually very old) policy to build 100,000 affordable homes over ten years to solve the housing crisis, boost employment and skills, and kickstart the economy in one go. Its an obvious policy, apparently self-funding, and one which people have been calling for for a long time. I expect it will be popular, an example of what government can do to help. And the mere fact that it has been advocated by Labour, one of the two main parties, will have shifted the boundaries of public debate and will hopefully make the government have to justify its "do nothing" position.

This is what oppositions should do: advocating alternative policies which challenge the government. And it would be nice if Labour focused a bit more on it.