Thursday, July 13, 2017

The meh factor

On Tuesday, Labour announced its "families package", which redistributed National's tax cuts into Working For Families and extra help for parents with young children. It was better than what National is offering, but at the same time, its hardly awe-inspiring - tinkering around the edges, rather than real change. Stuff's Vernon Small argues that its just not enough to excite voters into voting for Labour:

So the two big parties have set out their Family Packages and are at each other's throats over the details.

Who gains, how many and by how much. Who pays, how much and to how many.

But it is no surprise there is no baying from the crowds in the stands.

Because in the big scheme of things, the argument is really being played out in a very small ball park.


Accepting that Labour's fiscal plan next week may change the story, Labour may have a problem; that the two plans are not only similar, they are too similar to make a difference. That while they have different ideologies at their core, those different world view have not taken them far enough to energise the voters.

And that's a real problem. Labour wants people to vote for change. But when it comes down to it, the only real change they're offering is who gets the Ministerial salaries. Everything else is basicly business-as-usual, the rich get richer and the poor keep getting screwed. Oh, they'll offer a bit more money here and there to put a sticking plaster on that oozing sore, and change employment laws a bit (but not too much) to give workers a better chance, but its basicly the same shit with different dungworms. And who really gives a fuck about that?

The worst part is that they've bullied the Greens into signing up for this, in the name of offering "stable alternative government". Except that what it means is that they're not really offering an alternative at all - and the Greens aren't allowed to offer an alternative to them (which is what Labour really fears).

If you want people to vote for change, you actually need to offer some. But if you let the right set the fiscal and policy parameters, you simply can't do that in any meaningful sense. The solution is obvious: reject National's fiscal and policy straitjackets, and open up policy space to do something real. Sadly, that's probably too much to expect from Labour.