The Dim-Post

December 9, 2012

All enemies foreign and domestic

Filed under: blogging,Politics — danylmc @ 9:33 am

Now that they’ve rid themselves of the threat of David Cunliffe, the Labour caucus has turned their sights on their real enemies: the Labour Party membership and the Greens. John Armstrong, senior Herald amanuensis ran a column yesterday consisting of a warning dictated to the Green Party by Labour’s leadership:

Now that David Shearer no longer has to worry about a knife being plunged into his back – at least not for a while – he needs to tackle another longer-running attempted putsch of a very different but equally serious kind.

Along with other colleagues, the Labour leader is getting increasingly perturbed by the ever more brazen campaign by the Greens to try to displace Labour as the major party on the centre-left.

Shearer, meanwhile, is understood to have given several senior spokespeople greater rein to criticise the Greens if they seem too far out of line with Labour’s thinking.

Essentially the Greens are the tail that is wagging too much on the end of a rather distracted and sometimes slow-moving dog.

In the end it is down to Shearer to give the Greens the occasional flick to remind them who is the senior partner in the relationship. But it is a delicate matter. Still, expect a tougher line from Labour from here on.

I doubt this struck much fear into Russel Norman’s heart. The current trend in the polls – Labour gaining, National declining, Greens holding steady, NZ First above 5% – is the best direction Labour could possibly wish for. Are they going to risk that trend and go to war with the Greens for the left-wing vote? (I guess it’s possible. When Labour sees the Greens steady at around 11% of the vote I don’t think they think ‘that’s money in the bag for a left-wing coalition’, but rather ‘That’s 250,000 votes that belong to us that the Greens have stolen.’ If Labour had that vote share they’d be neck and neck with National. So a war for the left is conceivable, but not very sensible.)

Labour’s other new front are their own members. There have been a few posts on The Standard recently about the Labour leadership trying to censor party members from commenting on blogs. And now a couple of the authors on the Standard have announced they’re retiring from the blog after pressure from the party.

My understanding of what’s happened here is that most authors on The Standard comment under pseudonyms. And they’ve commented on the Labour blog Red Alert using those same pseudonyms. Now, when you comment on Red Alert you have to provide your real email address. So these have been matched to Labour’s membership and the dissenting members have been contacted by party officials. All pretty creepy.

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63 Comments »

  1. While I can understand an organisation wanting to discipline members that it thinks are bringing it into disrepute – washing dirty laundry in public etc – this is really stupid. So they’ve worked out who Millsy and CV and others at The Standard are – but what is to stop the posters just changing their handles? And keep posting, with full deniability “wasn’t me Guv!”

    Comment by MeToo — December 9, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  2. Armstrong’s column is great intel – now Labour and Greens can stop asking the question, “how come David Shearer doesn’t shut down Shane Jones when he criticises the Greens?”

    Comment by MeToo — December 9, 2012 @ 10:16 am

  3. “Are they going to risk that trend and go to war with the Greens for the left-wing vote?”

    Is it not a fear of giving in too much to the Greenies that has caused many of these swing voters to shift to National in the past? I’ve generally assumed that this type of attitude is more of an attempt at the weaker National Party voters, and that retrieving any voters from the Green Party back to Labour is only a secondary thing..

    Comment by izogi — December 9, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  4. I for one stopped supporting Labour before the 2008 election when I realised that they were no longer interested in listening to their ‘grass roots’ supporters. I made comments on a couple of issues, and was told quite bluntly that I was wrong in a very dismissive way. No engagement, no discussion – simple dismissal. So I am not surprised at the events of the past few years. I am surprised that Labour are doing as well as they are. The Greens have become the real opposition party. Now often their stands are simply silly, BUT they are out there and engaging with the issues and you know where they stand, even if you disagree with them.

    Comment by David from Chch — December 9, 2012 @ 10:35 am

  5. That’s 250,000 votes that belong to us that the Greens have stolen

    More “That’s five Cabinet positions which we won’t get, reducing my chances of getting a decent spot”.

    Comment by Idiot/Savant (@norightturnnz) — December 9, 2012 @ 10:49 am

  6. I assume it’s more a case if recognising that the labour vote and membership is shrinking, it will not recover, and so we need to make sure that the remaining labour mp’s are the most committed favourites possible, supported by a resolute, loyal party core. When you’re dying in a ditch it’s not the time to be having arguments with each other, it’s the time to go down fighting.

    The other option, of tying to recover, is apparently not one they’ve thought of.

    Comment by moz moved to oz — December 9, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  7. “I made comments on a couple of issues, and was told quite bluntly that I was wrong in a very dismissive way.”
    “Comment by David from Chch — December 9, 2012 @ 10:35 am”

    Ditto, Have experienced the same: How does Labour do so well? Labour Caucus need some old heads cleaned out!!!

    Comment by Paul — December 9, 2012 @ 11:42 am

  8. Headline: “Political party tries to get more votes”. Political commentator shocked.

    Armstrong’s language is revealing: the Greens are uppity people doing what they are not entitled to do … brazen, putsch, out of line, tail wagging dog.

    If they ever get into the palace, they will leave such a mess. Or at least, use the wrong cutlery at luncheon.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — December 9, 2012 @ 11:55 am

  9. If the Greens get into power and Norman becomes a high ranking Cabinet Minister then I predict Armstrong will lick his fingers as faithfully as he does those of the senior National and Labour MPs

    Comment by danylmc — December 9, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

  10. Headline: “Political party tries to get more votes”. Political commentator blogger shocked.

    I mean, surely Labour going after Green votes has the same effect on the likelihood of a left wing government as the reverse. Labour and the Greens have substantive policy differences, and I want Labour to have the strongest hand possible at the negotiating table.

    As for the pressure on authors at the Standard, well it is ugly, and I really dislike the idea of ordinary members facing pressure to shut up. But on the other hand, to be totally cynical, it does show that the membership seem to matter again. For ages and ages the membership hasn’t mattered — you can’t imagine Clark knowing or caring what the members thought — and now they do. And that probably means re-politicising the party in a way it hasn’t been in ages and ages, and to some extent this is just going to happen.

    Comment by Keir — December 9, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

  11. All pretty creepy.

    Has all the hallmarks of Curran. If given the chance she’d destroy public broadcasting with her view that True Public Broadcasting would deliver more correct thinking Labour voters.

    I think Armstrong has a point, Norman has been taking pot shots at Labour and then goes all passive aggressive when someone in Labour hits back. He’s after more votes and and Labour would ideally not have to have a coalition partner that’s too large.

    Comment by NeilM — December 9, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

  12. I’m no fancy big-city political strategist, but I would have thought that the overriding goal for the centre-left would be to get a large enough Labour + Green bloc to govern without NZ First, because (i) nobody besides possibly Winston really knows who they’ll support, and (ii) if there is a ticket to a one-term government in NZ, it has Winston’s face on it.

    One would hope that squabbling over one or two Cabinet positions would be subordinate to this.

    Comment by bradluen — December 9, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  13. Also there’s a bit of Brer Rabbit-esque ”oh Mr Norman, please don’t say I’m too fiscally credible!”/”oh Mr Shearer, please don’t say I’m too environmentally conscious” game playing going on here. It’s actually good for the Greens/Labour to define themselves against each other, and let the Nats stew.

    Comment by Keir — December 9, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  14. @Keir @13 I think that’s the play going on. So long as Labour and the Greens appear to be fighting there’s still reason to vote for one over the other. And if National is slinging shit at them, that’s all the sweeter. Negative campaigning never works well, and it’s a sign that National are scared that they are even bothering. Looks like the next election is going to be a cakewalk for the left, since the really big unpopularity bonanza for National is still to come, the massive asset selldowns and all the news of which banksters walked away with the last 30 years of public investment.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — December 9, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  15. Danylmc in the original post.
    You say that people posting at Red Alert “have to provide their real e-mail address”.
    I would be curious to know how on earth anyone could enforce this. If you want a new e-mail adress you can set one up in something like Hotmail without anything being done except to ensure that within Hotmail it is unique. I imagine it is the same in Yahoo or Google or whatever.

    bradluen @ 12.
    I fear that your thoughts and hopes are far from the real world. All politicians want power and the more powerful their ministerial office the happier they are. They want their bums in the ministerial limo’s. As the parody of the song goes “The working class can kiss my ass. I’m in the BMW at last.”.
    I am quite sure that the Labour party would far rather that the Greens faded away and that only Labour got the left vote than that the Greens stayed strong. The Greens no doubt feel the same way.
    The statement, attributed to the British Conservative MP John Boyd-Carpenter, applies equally to Labour and the Greens.
    When a new MP remarked that it was exciting to be “face to face with the enemy” he responded “No, those are the opposition. The enemy is behind you”.

    Comment by Alwyn — December 9, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  16. I’m no fancy big-city political strategist, but I would have thought that the overriding goal for the centre-left would be to get a large enough Labour + Green bloc to govern without NZ First, because (i) nobody besides possibly Winston really knows who they’ll support, and (ii) if there is a ticket to a one-term government in NZ, it has Winston’s face on it.

    I don’t know much about game theory, but have a sneaking suspicion the LP would far rather hook up with NZF + Peter Hair on the basis that green party MPs won’t team up with National to bring them down, evne if the numbers were there to do so. The LP seems to view parties ‘to their left’ as threatening in the sense that they are ‘stealing our votes’ but non threatening in the sense of votes of confidence. I think that if given the option they’d hook up with Winston or Peter-no-mates on the grounds of ‘Centrism’ and not scaring the horses.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — December 9, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  17. There is a reason your are not a big-city political strategist Pascal.

    Comment by Tim — December 9, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

  18. Is there a reason you can’t parse worth a fuck though Tim? I mean, is there?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — December 9, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

  19. “The LP seems to view parties ‘to their left’ as threatening in the sense that they are ‘stealing our votes’ but non threatening in the sense of votes of confidence.”

    I’ve found it quite interesting how the Labour Party has broken down under MMP, as in many people who were probably its former supporters have split into different parties with some success (notably Green and Māori, but also others). This just means these parties coalesce into a government of some sort if there’s enough total support, but it’s also meaning that voters get to indicate specifically what they most want in a government, instead of just having to vote for the least worst of two options. For whatever reason (lack of issues? motivation? inclination of supporters to prefer something big and lethargic?) National hasn’t yet had the same thing happen to it under MMP. If it ever did then it could be really fascinating, because there are probably components of National that would work comfortably with a party like the Greens on many issues, and might even form a government without Labour if it weren’t bogged down by the other part of National that has to be totally different… and the Labour Party would suck in such a scenario unless it can figure out what it wants to stand for to voters these days besides “the only safe alternative to National”. It’s getting away from that left/centre/right metaphor that so completely dominates and dictates traditional politics, I guess.

    Comment by izogi — December 9, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

  20. There is a pretty strong argument that Labour can effectively ignore the Greens and not bring them into coalition since the Greens will never support a National-led government, so the Greens are basically trapped. This thinking certainly seems to have informed Labour’s coalition choices in the last few elections. Every time Labour doesn’t bring the Greens into coalition, there are always cries of “betrayal” and dark promises that Labour will somehow pay for it, but there’s not much the Green party or Green voters can do. Green voters are already not voting for Labour so they can’t punish them, and the Green party can’t turn against Labour without alienating its voters.

    Danyl, your political memory is either very short or is obscured by your support for the Greens and your desire to see all attacks on them as illegitimate, but you may recall that in the 2002 election, the Greens and Labour fought very hard and very publically over GE, and the result was a big success for Labour.

    Comment by Hugh — December 9, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  21. Oh, ickle pascal sensitive tonite.

    Comment by Tim — December 9, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

  22. Armstrong has had a thoroughly good wank when writing his piece. He must have had several more reading the above posts

    Comment by peterlepaysan — December 9, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

  23. Surely one of the biggest threats to Labour at the next election is swing voters being put off by the greens extreme policies and personalities. In which case, Labour needs to be able to credibly say to said swing voters that they will be keeping the Green party on a short leash. So attacking the green party consistently on policies they disagree with may be a good strategy.

    Comment by swan — December 9, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

  24. If anybody wants to dream of a Labour-led majority without the Greens, here’s a reality check …

    http://www.elections.org.nz/calculator/

    Just enter the numbers and make it happen. Let us know how you did it.

    The Greens aren’t “trapped”, Hugh. They could easily sit on the sidelines, watch a Shearer/Mallard/Winston shambles fall apart, and help themselves to an extra 10% in the early election. By which time Grant Robertson will be leading Labour, and the Greens will be dictating terms.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — December 9, 2012 @ 11:43 pm

  25. @sammy: By “sit on the sidelines”, do you mean vote against a Labour government on supply and confidence? Because I doubt that their supporters would reward them when National came to power as a result of their vote.

    Comment by Hugh — December 10, 2012 @ 5:22 am

  26. “By “sit on the sidelines”, do you mean vote against a Labour government on supply and confidence? Because I doubt that their supporters would reward them when National came to power as a result of their vote.”

    Or, abstain on confidence and supply votes, thereby permitting National to govern as a minority government under the constant threat of being brought down whenever the Greens want to do so (plus not having a majority in the House to pass any non-budgetry legislation), while saying to Labour “if you ever want to be in Government again, you have to do it with us”.

    The point is that, on the current numbers, the alternative to a Labour-led Government would be a largely-neutered National Government limping along until the Greens choose to pull the plug. It does not seem inconceivable that the Greens (and their supporters) would prefer this alternative in the short-term over a long-term future of being ignored by Labour as having no other options.

    Comment by Flashing Light — December 10, 2012 @ 8:27 am

  27. @Ben Wilson, “Negative campaigning never works well” – I’m afraid to say that negative campaigning always works well. When polled the public always says that negative campaigning makes them hold the perpetrator in contempt, but the reality says something different.

    Were it not for the Exclusive Brethren freaking out a few thousand voters, Ansell’s massively negative Iwi/Kiwi campaign would’ve delivered a Brash government. Obama went super-negative on Romney early on and it stuck.

    Comment by David C — December 10, 2012 @ 8:54 am

  28. The Greens will never, ever keep National in Government under any circumstances and the only people who have ever suggested that they would are political commentators interviewing the bottom of a bottle of chardonnay.

    Comment by Trouble Man — December 10, 2012 @ 9:15 am

  29. First they came for the Exclusive Brethren
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t an Exclusive Brethren

    Comment by OECD rank 22 kiwi — December 10, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  30. Then they came for the people who kept misusing Pastor Niemoller’s speech
    but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t……oh sonofabitch

    Comment by David C — December 10, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  31. The Greens will never, ever keep National in Government under any circumstances…

    Interesting statement given that National walked away from the Greens offer to extend their MoU in April.

    Comment by Gregor W — December 10, 2012 @ 10:39 am

  32. “Ansell’s massively negative Iwi/Kiwi campaign would’ve delivered a Brash government.”

    If Iwi/Kiwi was a negative campaign, I thought it was framed in a positive way because Don Brash was still telling people how he’d take the country forward. Compare this with Labour’s “Can You Trust John Key?” campaign. In those ads, they provided no reason at all to vote for Labour except to say “that guy’s worse, and we’re someone else”. It’s hardly a wonder it failed.

    Comment by izogi — December 10, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  33. @David C, It’s not a sound long term strategy when you’re in government.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — December 10, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  34. Anybody else remember Erin Leigh? No surprises really.

    Comment by barnsley Bill — December 10, 2012 @ 11:08 am

  35. Labour is better off demonstrating why National don’t deserve votes….and why Labour does. Bagging the Greens does neither.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — December 10, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  36. Oh…for got: John Armstrong uses a phrase something like the Greens having “too much power” in any coalition. I don’t understand where pulls these ideas from. A party that could be 1/3 of the government MUST have considerable influence on every aspect of policy. How much is “too much” will depend on the prejudices and preconceptions of the person doing the valuation. Armstrong gives us insight into how own preconceptions and prejudices by even using the phrase. I though his understanding of MMP was more nuanced than that. It appears not.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — December 10, 2012 @ 11:26 am

  37. @Ben Wilson, you’re right, it’s not that helpful towards the day-to-day running of a Government. However it’s a farken good election strategy. Go negative, go hard and go early.

    Comment by David C — December 10, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  38. If Labour could rid itself of those front bench trough-snuffling, self-serving, back stabbing MP’s long past their best by date (if they ever had one)…and return to their grassroot policies, I would give them my vote.

    Comment by Suzie — December 10, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  39. “If Labour could rid itself of those front bench trough-snuffling, self-serving, back stabbing MP’s long past their best by date (if they ever had one)…and return to their grassroot policies, I would give them my vote”

    Help me out here. What are the grass roots policies of a modern Labour movement in a western democracy.

    Comment by TransportationDevice A7-98.1 — December 10, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  40. @Flashing: In that scenario the most likely result is an early election, and it might not reward the Greens. But even if things played out as you described them, the Greens are giving more support to National than they are to Labour (that is, they voted against Labour on supply and confidence, and abstained towards National), which would be a hard sell for most Green voters.

    Frankly though, if attacking your future coalition partner is OK when the Greens do it to Labour, it’s OK when Labour does it to the Greens. I can see why Green supporters feel that the situations are different but it’s not because of any general political principle.

    Comment by Hugh — December 10, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

  41. The main difference between Labour and the Greens is that Labour has a track record of selling out their principles to get into power – the reason they don’t announce policies is so they can remain flexible and adopt whatever position they think will win them more votes – trouble with that is that most people don’t want to vote for people that wont say what they stand for.

    The ‘policy’ positions they have announced recently have confirmed a superficial analysis of the issues they are designed to address and are thus pretty thin and unlikely to bring about substantive change – no surprises there.

    The Greens have had consistent policy positions from their inception – these are gaining traction as the electorate is becoming more educated regarding the issues (the Greens are attracting the vote of people with generally higher levels of education that the general population). They are also attracting the votes of people who don’t like the kind of cynicism demonstrated by Labour and who appreciate the kind of integrity the Greens demonstrate in the behaviour of their MPs and in their policies. The Greens are taking a huge risk if they enter into a formal partnership with Labour – it will effectively muzzle them. These alliances never seem to end well for the minority party – they end up alienated from their grassroots supporters and soiled by the company they keep – they will have to use an extremelylong spoon to sit around the table with those guys.
    It might actually be Labour’s long term strategy for ridding themselves of the Greens once and for all – except they are pretty hopeless at long term thinking.

    Comment by Sam — December 10, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

  42. if attacking your future coalition partner is OK when the Greens do it to Labour, it’s OK when Labour does it to the Greens.

    Norman’s butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth act I find irritating.

    There’s an odd dynamic I think with Labour and the Greens based on the Greens’ purist branding vs Labour’s battles-scared from the realities of power and compromise pragmatic centrism.

    Labour bears the burden of being in power whereas the Green, who don’t, can be peoples’ dream party.

    Now, if there turned out to be a Labour/Green/whoever coalition govt then the Greens will want to keep their image clean. Labour may run the risk of carrying the can for difficult social and economic decisions leaving the Greens looking all wholesome.

    Comment by NeilM — December 10, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

  43. I suppose that last comment might have implied some sympathy for Labour.

    I had sympathy back when Clark was dealing with the Greens but not any more.

    I don’t really understand Shearer, he’s supposed to be mister nice guy, promising to turn Labour away from gotcha politics.

    But nothing’s changed. Goff and even Adern seem to be taking Mallard as a role model and Curran continues to be scarely insightless and authoritarian and yet is the Labour brain on technology and communication.

    With the thought that Gareth Hughes could also be part of a coalition govt it doesn’t look very pretty to me.

    Comment by NeilM — December 10, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

  44. I suppose, then, if Labour ever wanted to kill off the Green Party and restore its present support to the safe and proven worker’s aristocracy, the best thing by far to do would be to actually give the Greens some power in a coalition and demonstrate to all Green supporters how dreadful it truly is. After all, the short term provision of power has worked for killing off so many other radical small parties in recent times.

    Comment by izogi — December 10, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

  45. I agree – Pita’s insistence that the Maori Party do more good by sitting at the table with National than as part of an effective opposition is looking increasingly desperate and feeble. Quite a sad end after such a promising beginning.

    Comment by Sam — December 10, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

  46. “@Flashing: In that scenario the most likely result is an early election, and it might not reward the Greens. But even if things played out as you described them, the Greens are giving more support to National than they are to Labour (that is, they voted against Labour on supply and confidence, and abstained towards National), which would be a hard sell for most Green voters.”

    I agree – but if the two choices for the Greens REALLY are being taken for granted on the left of a Labour/NZ First minority Government or else helping a defanged National Party limp on for a period in office, it may well be that the smarter long-term move is the latter. Whether the Greens’ supporters will see it that way is, I guess, something neither of us really know.

    However, I suspect the more likely option is one of those messy compromise governing arrangements NZ has developed over time, wherein everyone needed for government is given something to keep them happyish.

    Comment by Flashing Light — December 11, 2012 @ 7:19 am

  47. >I suppose, then, if Labour ever wanted to kill off the Green Party and restore its present support to the safe and proven worker’s aristocracy, the best thing by far to do would be to actually give the Greens some power in a coalition and demonstrate to all Green supporters how dreadful it truly is. After all, the short term provision of power has worked for killing off so many other radical small parties in recent times.

    I’m all for trying that.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — December 11, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  48. Labour suppprt the TPPA. which is very much right wing. Therefore Labour are essentially right wing. Laissez faire hands off free market neo liberalism is a spectacular failure, being propped up by welfare (printing money). This obvious fact appears to have escaped our entire media.

    Comment by Phil Toms — December 11, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

  49. I’d suggest that if Labour, having a majority with Green/NZF and no majority with just NZF, seek to sideline the Greens, the following strategy might work.
    - refuse to enter into a confidence & supply agreement, but signal that abstention or support will be forthcoming in an initial confidence motion to allow Labour to form a government.
    - come Budget time, produce an alternative budget and refuse to support any Labour budget that doesn’t incorporate this in substantial part. This will force Labour to negotiate or lose supply.

    Comment by richdrich — December 11, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  50. “…come Budget time, produce an alternative budget and refuse to support any Labour budget that doesn’t incorporate this in substantial part. This will force Labour to negotiate or lose supply…”

    This is a political suicide note. No government would agree to being blackmailed on something as fundamental as it’s budget, and voters would agree with them. In the subsequent election, the Greens would be wiped out by an electorate resentful at being forced back to the polls so soon by the tail trying to wag the dog.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 11, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  51. The best they should realistically aim for is “influence proportional to their seats in the coalition”. So if they are 15% to Labour’s 35%, they should aim for a 15/50 = 30% say.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — December 11, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  52. …the Greens would be wiped out by an electorate resentful at being forced back to the polls so soon by the tail trying to wag the dog.

    Unless of course by some chance the alternate budget accurately reflected the mood/concerns of the electorate.

    Comment by Gregor W — December 11, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

  53. Exactly Gregor. Quite a lot of people don’t actually believe in neo-liberalism and would be quite happy to see a rightist Labour budget defeated.

    Funny how when John Banks (< 1% of the vote) gets his policy wins, it's smart politics. If the Greens try, it's "blackmail". Class war with only one side fighting, eh?

    Comment by richdrich — December 11, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

  54. Apropos, a timely commentary on life under the jackboot of ‘austerity’ in Ireland, and the risks of being politically co-opted by by your coalition partners:

    “Targeting young families, the elderly and the sick, as the government slashes child benefits, triples prescription charges and rubber-stamps controversial property tax.
    Another political party is selflessly sacrificing itself to the ‘preying’ mantis of the Irish establishment. We are seeing the Labour Party (in coalition with the conservative Fine Gael) being slowly ingested before our eyes as they struggle to justify their support for the recent right wing austerity budget to an increasingly angry populace.

    Even the usually calm and collected silver tongues of the party are starting to get nervous. The last political victim of the establishment mantis was the Green Party who were coaxed into a coalition by the establishment’s Fianna Fáil party in 2007. The angry public had its revenge in the 2011 election when the Greens lost all their seats in the Dáil (Parliament) and Fianna Fáil itself succumbed to exhaustion and had its own meltdown after the collapse of the Celtic Tiger economy.”

    Comment by Gregor W — December 11, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  55. Even as we speak there’s a living example of a centre left govt, which promised much instant social good after a much disliked conservative govt, in coalition with a Geen party.

    It’s in France and its not looking at all rosy.

    Comment by NeilM — December 11, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  56. I wonder if Curran will be able to take time out from organising show trials to comment on Telecom’s latest move.

    Comment by NeilM — December 11, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

  57. Whom is it that is really bringing labour into disrepute ?
    Whom is it that feels a little titchy when members speak or type their thoughts on ‘their’ party
    of choice?
    Whom is it that believes the members are surplus to requirements anyway and should not
    have an opinion either way?
    Whom is it that tramples over paid up members?
    Whom is it that denies paid up members the democratic right to have a say in who should
    be leader of their party?
    If having an opinion and voicing that opinion is so repugnant to labour politicians, then they
    should just hit the road, find another job,because it is a job aquired by those members,the
    labour grass roots that do the donkey work, that put you there in your comfy seats, should
    they have a say,a word, and utterance,you bet your life they should.
    As far as bloggers and the commenters go,by attempting to shut down and punish free
    speech, you are showing that you are ignorant of the 21st century way of communtication,
    surely if members and voters feel let down,tossed aside, as they were done by HC, til now,
    then now is the time that members and voters should be taken notice of, if only to cool the
    waters and make peace.
    Yes, i have been a labour voter in the past,i voted for other parties while HC was in charge,
    give me a reason to come back and vote labour, this is your job labour politicians,prove to
    me that you can again engage the people, and make them believe in labour.

    Comment by anne — December 11, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  58. “Even as we speak there’s a living example of a centre left govt, which promised much instant social good after a much disliked conservative govt, in coalition with a Geen party. ”

    Not just as we speak, there was one back in 1997 too.

    Comment by Hugh — December 11, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

  59. FFS! Is John Armstrong a sock puppet for David bloody Farrar?

    Comment by Mr February — December 11, 2012 @ 11:42 pm

  60. I think it’s interesting to compare what Hollande was giving the impression he would prior to being elected with what he’s actually doing once in office. Which hasn’t pleased the left of his party nor the Greens.

    I suspect Labour would go down much the same path.

    Although in defence of Hollande he still thinks his economic policies will be successful enough to reverse Sarkozy’s increase in the retirement age – keeping it at 60.

    Whereas Labour have given up even on having any an economy that could support retirement at 65.

    Comment by NeilM — December 13, 2012 @ 12:43 am

  61. Those who think that the Greens would be electorally wiped out by trying to hold Labour to ransom clearly don’t understand the Green support base. It is generally made up of those who are heartily sick of both major parties, and want a truly different set of policies to be pursued than currently is by the Labour/National duopoly. The Greens would be in real trouble if suddenly they rolled over, let Labour govern for a small price and become co-opted into a government that (if Labour is in charge) will probably just be more of the same.

    Comment by alex — December 16, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

  62. +1 alex; which is precisely why the GP have been forthright in their expectations as coalition partner.
    Drawing a line in the sand early is simultaneously a message for the NZLP and GP supporters.

    Comment by Gregor W — December 17, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  63. “Labour’s other new front are their own members. There have been a few posts on The Standard recently about the Labour leadership trying to censor party members from commenting on blogs. And now a couple of the authors on the Standard have announced they’re retiring from the blog after pressure from the party.

    My understanding of what’s happened here is that most authors on The Standard comment under pseudonyms. And they’ve commented on the Labour blog Red Alert using those same pseudonyms. Now, when you comment on Red Alert you have to provide your real email address. So these have been matched to Labour’s membership and the dissenting members have been contacted by party officials. All pretty creepy.”

    Given the way they tend to act on said blog, and crush dissent I’d call it pretty Karmic.

    Comment by Lee C — December 22, 2012 @ 8:10 pm


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