Monday, 1 September 2014

Stumbling towards Power?

Let's be honest about it.  Labour have absolutely nothing to celebrate just now.

The last few days have been fantastic for the left and in particular for a certain Mr D Cunliffe.  But before we get too deliriously joyous, let's acknowledge an unpleasant truth.  We (the left) don't deserve this.

Dirty Politics is the work of a very small group of people - Nicky Hager, the hacker or hackers who obtained the information which they passed on to Hager, and of course, the likes of Slater, Ede, Collins, Odgers, Farrar, Williams and the rest, who so generously provided the original dirt and scandal.

Hager has, in two weeks, managed to do what Labour has completely failed to do in two terms of opposition.  he has destroyed John Key's veneer of easy-going nonchalance, his reputation of being someone who doesn't doesn't do politics, but does it in a different way - somehow being above the ugly broil.  His likeable air of being the Prime Minister it is okay to like, the politician you might not be mortified to be seen in public with, a nice chap with a few million but who hasn't let it change him, has been shredded.

(I'm not saying that Key is any of these things, but it has been the quality the man has managed to project over the last several years.)

Hager managed this.  Labour - with all the resources and energy available to it - failed to achieve anything like it in over six years of trying.  Hager showed that Key is not only vulnerable, but very easily wounded - something that Labour systematically failed to do since he became leader.

Even during the leader's debate last week, Cunliffe was so caught up in his 'Vote Positive' delusion that he failed to turn the knife in the squirming Key.  Instead, he airy said that new Zealanders wanted to talk about policy and such like.

Well, no, Dave.  First of all, cynically, the people watching a political debate while the All Blacks are playing on another channel are likely to be the die-hard political junkies to whom Dirty Politics really is important.  In the petty world of political obsessives, this is the second coming plus the invention of the wheel plus the black death.

More importantly, Dirty Politics really is important in the greater scheme of things.  New Zealand's democracy has been under sustained attack by the forces of the right for years.

That.  Really.  Matters.

Though perhaps Cunliffe's reticence on Dirty Politics in understandable.  After all, Labour can't exactly hold its head up high.  Not because of the flimsy "The left do it too!!" defence offered up by the Poltroon-in-Chief Key, but because Labour have been so successful in not talking about this particular elephant (or should I say giant Slater?) in the living room for almost a decade.  With National cheerfully dismantling New Zealand democracy and setting new lows for corruption and abuse of office, Labour's attitude has been to allow them just to get on with it, as they have squandered opportunity and energy in the own going psychodrama of left wing disunity and infighting.

If anyone should be Prime Minister in a months time, it should not be David Cunliffe.  It should be Nick Hager.  If National are ousted (note, I did not say, "If Labour win") it will be because of his efforts and the work that he has done to expose the corrupt, destructive and anti-democratic practices of the self-serving 'elite' that have seized control of the National party.

Which is why a Labour led government is almost a frightening prospect.  They haven't earned it.  It will have been gifted to them.  And having received it in such circumstances, what on Earth can they be expected to do with it, other than continue to blunder and stumble?  If such a shoddy bunch of malcontents, time servers and incompetents finds themselves mysteriously in possession of the treasury benches, how will they manage to avoid losing them in short order?

So I welcome the potential demise of Key and his corrupt cabal of cronies.  But I don't look forward with much joy to the prospect of a confused Labour party rather nervously picking up the reins of power.  Faced with the daunting prospect of actually having to Do Stuff, rather than just Talk About Stuff (unlike bloggers, politicians occasionally have to make good on their fine words) and confronted by a vehemently vengeful right wing, it may not be a pretty sight.

Sorry to spoil the euphoria, David, but Goliath isn't actually going to take this lying down.  If Labour win, they need to be very bloody ready for an absolute shit storm.  And nothing in their last decade of abject political incontinence and indiscipline suggests that they are.

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