Tuesday, 4 September 2012

More on the Labour / Green alliance fantasy

Over on the Standrad, there has been another of the apparently endless series of posts extolling the likelihood of some red-green coalition. The latest one is courtesy of James Henderson:
I reckon that if Labour and the Greens combined get more votes than National next election, they’ll be able to find enough support parties to govern. Vice versa too. 
During the last term, National averaged an 11% lead over Lab+Green. This term 3%. Since June, less than 1%.
Look, I'm not saying this is an impossible outcome. I am saying it is far fetched, and the left seem to be pinning far too much hope on it.

It's pretty pathetic, really, to see the Labour Party that once stood for the best progressive instincts of the country, whining about how it can still scrabble to the line with a considerable dose of support from minor parties and professional factionalists.

Labour have to learn to stand on their own two feet if they are to be a viable governing party. They can’t rely on the Green to toddle along with 15% of the vote and push them over - or anywhere close to - the line. The Greens have their own interests and their own voters’ interests to think of. They are not just a slightly dishevelled, pot smoking extension of the Labour Party. They can – and will – do business with National if need be. Labour will lose support if they are constantly chasing the elusive Green Alliance. They will look feeble, disgust their supporters and find themselves going no-where if they try. Stop dreaming about Red-Green alliances, if the Red team can’t get itself into a more useful position, it won’t be going anywhere near the Government benches.

What can Labour do? On studying the talent available, very little. The best team is in the top jobs, shuffling them about would make a minute difference, but there isn’t very much they can do unless they face up to the reality that vaguely aping National’s policies with a few populist, opportunistic postures, isn’t going to get them anywhere.

I suspect, bitterly, that Labour is simply hoping Key gets bored and goes away before the next election – for if Labour’s talent pool is pretty shallow, National’s – without Key – is a sort of anti-pool.

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