What's wrong with the Labour Party? It's an important question and one that this blog has addressed on many an occasion but if you want another insight into the wreck that is Goff's Gang you cannot go far wrong by looking at some of the main ideas generated by the recent Auckland seminar held by the New Zealand Fabian Society. This was one of a series of seminars presently being held throughout the country.
While the Fabian Society has been slow to post any reports of this seminar on its website according to one sympathetic blogger it arrived at four fundamental conclusions:
1. New Zealand needs leadership. It doesn't have it.
2. NZ’s currency needs to be regulated.
3. We need a Capitol Gains Tax (of which, more later) and;
4. An economic crisis is coming. We can manage our way down through it, but if we ignore it, it will be more calamitous than we seem able to imagine.
Of course the Labour Party's blog, The Standard, gave the seminar 'a big tick'. The person giving the seminar 'a big tick' was Mike Smith.
He wrote: 'I found it the most grounded and stimulating discussion about the critically important issues facing the New Zealand economy that I have heard in years.'
But Smith would say that because he is chairperson of the NZ Fabian Society. It's hardly a neutral assessment then but if Smith wants to blow the Fabian trumpet all over the place then that's up to him. We don't have to treat anything he says seriously after all. Smith has a major credibility problem anyway because as, General Secretary of the Labour Party, he enthusiastically and unswervingly supported the neoliberal policies of the Clark Government.
Smith hasn't had an 'road to Damascus' experience though. He still supports free market economics - he just thinks 'his people' can do a better job making it work. He hasn't quite figured out yet that the motor is stuffed and no amount of tinkering will get it to start.
What is sorely apparent is the Fabian Society, like the Labour Party, have absolutely no vision of a future without the free market. It has failed to prevent a clear economic alternative. Advocating a capital gains tax is hardly the product of a sweeping vision - even a capitalist zealot like Don Brash doesn't turn his nose up at the idea of such a tax.
And New Zealand needs 'leadership'? And Phil Goff, an enthusiastic supporter of neoliberalism for the past twenty five years, is going to provide it? Give me a break. The guy is a walking car crash looking for an accident.
Here's the thing. Both the Labour Party and the Fabian Society think its their job to save the free market. They want to treat the symptoms of the disease but not the disease itself. We on the left want to eradicate the disease. By the left I mean the genuine socialist left rather than the pseudo-left represented by the likes of Mike Smith and The Standard.
Our mediocre and bankrupt political and business elite and their allies in Parliament are desperately trying to save a system that cannot be saved. More importantly, they are trying to save themselves.
The NZ Fabian Society is on the road to nowhere. And, in accordance with its political philosophy, its traveling down that road in a gradual way.