While I have no love for the Labour Party, it would be nice to think - if just for the sake of meaningful political discussion generally - that some Labour members and supporters might begin a real debate about the future of their party.

It would be nice to think they might stop blaming John Key for Labour's problems and it would be nice if they stopped making excuses for Phil Goff. It would be nice if they stopped misrepresenting the working class in this country or even attacking the working class - once described by one Labour apologist as 'gutless, witless, passionless creatures of the barbecue-pit and the sports bar'.

But it's not going to happen.

The latest poll results show National trampling all over Labour. The One News poll puts National on 54% to Labour's 34%. while the TV 3 poll 56.3% support for National, with Labour a distant second on 29.6%.

In the midst of economic shambles and the Government with no plan other than to make working people pay and pay again for the crisis, Labour's dismal performance in the polls must be of concern to even the most uncritical of Labour supporters - like most of the people who write for The Standard.

One thing is for sure, we cannot expect Phil Goff to lead any debate. He's suggesting that National are still enjoying a honeymoon period. With the National Government half way through its term its stretching credibility for Goff to insist that Labour's poor polling is due to some kind of electoral benevolence toward National.

Of course Goff would say this because this relic of the 1980s is pursuing the same neoliberal economic policies that he has enthusiastically supported for the past twenty five years.

Goff might talk about cronyism and the economy serving the needs of the many but it is all political posturing. He is not offering any alternative - just the 'promise' to manage the free market better than National.

Of course Goff has made it clear that he is a unreconstructed free marketeer. He says there is no alternative to the free market and even very mild 'democratic socialism' is unpalatable to him. He has even boasted that the Clark Government 'saved capitalism' .

But you can bet there will be no challenging of Goff's view. This is a political party that has been emptied out by twenty five years of subservience to neoliberalism and the cadres of the free market.

What we need is a working class and socialist response to the economic crisis - but it won't be coming from Phil Goff's Labour.


  1. Your postings, Steve, would carry more credibility if you got over this propensity of yours to seriously (and I'm almost at the point of saying "dishonestly") misquote people.

    To take my description of the men who voted for the NATIONAL PARTY and try to pass it off as a description of the NZ working class is really a very shoddy way of trying to make your case.

    A little more intellectual honesty please - or your ability to influence this important debate will shrink to zero.

  2. I'm just quoting what you said, Chris.

    You were mightily upset when working class voters deserted Labour.

    You went on to denounce working people who rejected Labour as being people who 'just couldn’t cope with the idea of being led by an intelligent, idealistic free-spirited woman” and voted 'Helen Clark out of office.'

    Perhaps they didn't want to be led by a woman whose party slavishly adhered to neolilberal economic policies to the detriment of the people it claimed to represent.

    I'm all for 'intellectual honesty' so when are you going to stop pretending that the Labour Party is the way forward?

  3. Oh COME ON Steve! A fair cop's a fair cop. Stop trying to pretend that my post-election column in the SST was in any way a commentary on the proletariat.

    If anything it was a polemic against the New Zealand petit-bourgeoisie - those small business owners whose fetishisation of sport, business and right-wing politics produces the very worst manifestations of Kiwi masculinity.

    You really need to come to terms with the fact that words are always imbedded in a context. To use them against somebody without reference to the context from which you took them IS intellectually dishonest - and the sooner you realise that the better.

    As things now stand, you are teetering on the brink of the sort of "Fuck you, I'll misquote and misrepresent you any way I like!" trollishness that makes the Right's blogs so very tiresome and unpleasant to read.

    "Against the Current" deserves a better fate than that.


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