Friday, 18 July 2014

Labour Green coalition: more venting + general spleen aimed at the Labour caucus

Another round of atrocious polling for Labour, and another round of desperate, "If we add Labour, the Greens, Mana and NZ First together, we only need a swing of about 4% to FORM THE NEXT GOVERNMENT!!"

It used to be just,  "If we add Labour, the Greens, Mana and NZ First together, we can FORM THE NEXT GOVERNMENT!!"  Indeed, I can recall the days when it seemed possible that it might just be Labour and the Greens needed.

And there were times before that when Labour used to be the largest party in Parliament, I tell you!!

But the drift away from the left has been going on for so long it can not be ignored.  And the more coalitions and esoteric combinations get talked up, the more the support for the left bloc declines, and the more wildly fanciful the proposed ways the left can win power get.

(The idea of actually getting out there with  whole bunch of sane, practical policies that people like, expressed clearly by people who really seem to care and who want to make the country better, seems to elude many.)

This has been going on so long now that it takes a few moments to remember that Labour And The Greens is not actually a political party, but to radically different political parties and there is no certainty the the will form a coalition, even if it is just  monogamous couple, and even less certainty if what is proposed is a polygamous monstrosity featuring Labour, the Greens, IMP and NZ First.  And Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all.  I'm sure t some stage, the Maori Party will be included, and people will suddenly remember that Peter Dunne worked well with Helen Clarke ... It seems there is no limit to the optimism of the left when faced with the direness of the polling numbers.

(The other response is t proclaim the polls are incorrect, not just wrong, but deliberately so and are being produced in order to make National's victory more likely.  I kid you not.)

But let us, for the moment, focus just on the idea of a Green / Labour tie up, as it seems to be the most likely least unlikely way of Labour achieving some sort of victory in September.

It is a possibility, but by no means a certainty.

Lumping the two parties together as if they were one is to make the classic mistake of assuming that the Greens have to go with Labour. They don't. Labour haven’t exactly made it easy for them. Their policies aren’t exactly going to set green hearts racing, and they will not be too willing to make concessions, as they don’t want to be portrayed as ‘beholden to the radical eco-Nazis.’

The Greens might well decide against a coalition with Labour. The voters clearly don’t like it – he more it gets talked about, the smaller both parties’ support gets! Faced with putting an unwieldy coalition of three or four antagonistic parties into government (and getting the opprobrium that would go with it) and ‘constructive opposition’ to a minority National government, they might be better off going with the latter.

Labour have treated the Greens badly over the course of several elections. they might think it is time for a bit of utu.

The Greens want to preserve the Green party.  A short term alliance with a deeply unpopular Labour party and two or three other antagonistic parties is likely to produce a dreadful government that will struggle to achieve anything and will be deeply loathed.  The Lib Dems in Britain have suffered dreadfully for putting in the Conservatives; the Greens would become even more loathed than that if they put in a Labour Party that was polling 25%.

Bear in mind that both parties have seen declining support in recent polls.  The more the Lab-Green coalition gets talked up, the less inclined people are to vote for them.  Labour supporters who want a strong government, left or right, and who reject the flakey kooky enviro-whacky Greens (and there are som of those out there) looking to National, on the (dubious and short sighted) reasoning that they've been in charge for six years, the country hasn't fallen to pieces and at least they are getting things done without having to be beholden to crackpot fringe groups; and Green voters are perhaps feeling disappointed that their party is being treated as a de facto extension of Labour, rather than a distinct entity representing their interests.  After all, there must be reasons why they are voting Green rather than Labour in the first place, and if they feel these needs are not being met an more ...

With all this in mind, the Greens might prefer to hang back and wait until the situation changes and they can form a less demented, two party coalition; or until they actually replace Labour as the main opposition party.  Which no longer seems as fanciful as it once did.

Given that Labour's policies are not massively more pro-environment that National's, the Greens might feel they were not worth supporting -  a harsh lesson to Labour on the reality of the disparate nature of the left these days, and the need to be more accommodating to left wing partners.

After all, Labour have consistently treated the Greens shabbily, and there is no reason for the Greens to think that will change now.  Not just utu, but survival instinct may prompt the Greens to frown, purse their lips and say, "Thanks ... but no thanks" when Labour offers them a chance of a quick grope and snog.

Bottom line is, Labour can not and should not be counting on the Greens to get them across the line.  It's a measure of how shamefully useless they are that this is the case.  A substantial portion of National's vote is soft, made up of centrists who might instinctively vote for Labour, but who have been come inured to National because, bluntly, Labour are not offering them anything worth voting for -  a tired, scheming caucus, out of touch leadership, a vague and muddled policy program.  And this at a time when National have been blessed with the most formidable political operator in New Zealand's recent history, and a caucus scarily intent on winning and holding power.

It's almost as if Labour have decided to sit this one out.  Not Cunliffe - he knows he's only got one shot - but too many of the old crew are sitting back and happy enough to draw their salaries.  And too many of the 'new blood' are reluctant to be associated with what looks like a doomed campaign.  Might be  career limiting move, you know.

Idiots and scum the lot of them.

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I am still here.

 I am still here.  I haven't gone away.  I'm just trying to shame you all into better behaviour through my disapproving silence.