Monday, November 16, 2020

A cringe, not a crouch

Over the weekend, Stuff's Henry Cooke identified the big problem with Labour: they're stuck permanently in defensive mode. And so they are unwilling to take political "risks" over things like housing, even when people are clamouring for action. Cooke's suggestion is that Labour needs to get out of its "defensive crouch". IMHO its more like a cringe than a crouch. Labour acts like a party which is perpetually afraid of what it purports to believe in - or rather, afraid that rich people might criticise them for it. Oddly, they never seem to care about the view of the poor people they depend on for votes, either taking them for granted or relying on bullying to stifle criticism. And they've been this way for so long - there are posts on this blog criticising this attitude from the middle years of the Clark administration - that it just seems ingrained. Whole generations of MPs and staffers have come and gone (and come and gone on to become MPs, Ministers, and even Prime Minister) with this mindset, so it really seems to be all the party is now. They're chickenshits all the way down.

But on housing, on inequality, on climate change, and so many other issues, people can see that there is a problem and are demanding action. Offering a solution is pushing on an open door, and Labour could win lasting popularity and set the direction of policy for a generation by doing so. Instead, it looks like their inherent chickenshittery will squander this opportunity for change. And that's not just wasteful - it means they're going to be remembered as the party which allowed a foreign class system to re-establish itself in New Zealand, which let kids starve while its MP's hoarded investment properties, and which let the planet burn.