Friday, August 04, 2017

Coalition relations and the silver lining

So, Jacinda Ardern has stuck the knife in by saying that she had told the Greens this morning that she would not have Metiria Turei in any Labour-led Cabinet. Political parties work for their members and their own interests of course, so I expect Labour to do what's best for Labour and the Greens to do what's best for the Greens. At the same time, that's crossing a boundary. Its one thing for Metiria and the Greens to decide that a recusal from any future Cabinet post is the best way of handling this. Its quite another for another party to order it. And it smacks of the usual Labour arrogance.

In case Labour people are having trouble understanding this, imagine of the Greens had said "Stuart Nash doesn't get to be in Cabinet" or "Greg O'Connor doesn't get anywhere near the justice sector" or "Trevor Mallard doesn't get to be Speaker" or "Willie Jackson doesn't get to be anything". Sure, they might all be good ideas (because right wingers, proto-fascists, useless has-beens and misogynist rape-apologists have no place in a left-wing government anyway) - but its not really the Greens' place to say. Part of good coalition relations is knowing when something is another party's business - and Labour just crossed that line. And by doing so, they've lost any basis to complain if the Greens demand a scalp of their own as utu (the sad thing is, there's just so many to choose from. Why does Labour tolerate these people? How bad is their judgement that they'd personally handpick a rape-apologist for a list spot?)

There is a silver lining however: not being in Cabinet means not being bound by Cabinet Collective Responsibility. Which means that if Labour forms a government, Metiria will be absolutely free to criticise them if they continue to weaponise poverty and wage war on the poor. So, Labour can either sort that shit out quick-smart, or they can have Meyt standing up to them in Question Time every sitting day holding them to account for not doing so (and wedging them against their own supporters in the process). Because shitting on the poor doesn't stop being wrong simply because a Labour apparatchik rather than a National one is collecting a fat salary for overseeing it.

Labour would probably be very upset with this. But they've made their bed. Now they get to lie in it.