Saturday, 8 December 2012

Wither now for the left?

So, the polls for both the NZ Labour Party and the Greens are up, much to the disgust of the Cunliffistas.

Question is, has the Greens and Labour combined vote reached its ceiling?

I suspect so, as far as appeal to the leftie-environmental section of the electorate is concerned. There just aren't enough socially minded and/or environmentally concerned people out there.

So to get the extra 3-5% needed to make 2014 safe and respectable (because a shoddy multi-partner coalition will just make National's return in 2017 more likely) there are three options:

a) Make more people socially minded and/or environmentally concerned. Though seductive, this is a very big ask. With due respect to the respective caucuses of Greens and Labour, I don't think there is anyone there with the intelligence, vision and charisma to make this happen. Even if there was, it will be in the face of entrenched interests and big money.

b) Broaden the church. This one sticks in the throat of the Cunliffite pseudo-left (pseudo as Cunliffe isn't much of a leftie, and his clique is more a personality cult than a band of clear eyed ideological warriors) because it involves appealing to People Who Aren't Like Them, and thus admitting they're an unpopular minority, even within the current Labour party. It also means adulterating some important policies. Tony Blair's triumph in 1997 shows the benefits and risks of this strategy, in about equal measure - you can win, but it might not be worth it if you push to far with the soul-selling stuff.

c) Lie and tell the electorate there is plenty of jam for everyone, them send them to the gulag the morning after election day.  It is worth noting that something like this strategy has been used very effectively by the NZ right, though with 'empty future with no prospects' replacing gulag.

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