National's victory marked a disastrous defeat for Labour. We have to look beyond electoral politics for real political and economic change.
Only 68 percent of eligible voters bothered to vote. Yes, a third of the voting population decided that it didn't want to participate in the 'democratic' process to elect yet another neoliberal government. Yet the mainstream media wants us to believe that the turnout was 'disappointing'.
Clearly the voters didn't share the opinion of both the politicians and the corporate media that, just by voting, they had a real say in the economic and political direction of the country.
They certainly didn't share the opinion of blogger Martyn Bradbury who waxed lyrical about the 'power of the individual' and the joys of voting. Wrote Bradbury: 'bless our civil society, today is a true celebration of the power of the individual and our liberal progressive democracy!'
Perhaps Bradbury might spend some time reflecting on what are the implications for representative democracy when the major parties are peddling similar austerity policies that will only serve to further cut living standards, public services and the social rights of working people.
There is clearly widespread anger with the economic policies that are being pursued but, other than through the Mana Party, that anger has not been heard in parliament. And that anger will continue to be not heard in parliament.
But there has been no talk in the mainstream media about the disenfranchisement of ordinary people. The fact that this election was simply about which political faction of capitalism had the 'best' austerity policies has gone conveniently unrecognised by the mainstream commentators.
Labour, which attempted to paint itself as the natural party of the working class, didn't convince anyone and its vote collapsed. Labour's tossed a few policy crumbs in the direction of working people ( eg no GST on fresh fruit and vegetables) but, ultimately, it had no plan to upset the pro-capitalist and neoliberal applecart. When Goff talked of 'making hard decisions' we all knew it wasn't going to be business that was going to be at the sharp end of those 'hard decisions'.
Now the discussion among what's left of Labour's support base is about who to replace Goff with. But the cupboard is looking bare and I'm sure that no-one in Labour will be thanking Phil Goff and former president Andrew Little for leaving the party with so little to work with. (I'm very happy that Little, who betrayed and sold out union struggles time and time again, failed to get elected as a Labour MP. He could only sneak in via the list.)
But in the end the speculation over Labour's leadership will only serve to give pro-Labour political pundits and bloggers something to write about. Eventually The Standard will begin to churn out its 'Isn't John Key terrible?' articles again and commentator Chris Trotter will continue to hanker for his blue Labour, sans social liberalism. Pointless diversions.
But next year John key and his chums will be on the attack again, slashing services, axing jobs, bashing beneficiaries. Labour can do nothing to stop them.
Labour has got nothing to offer ordinary people and that means we can only fight the National Government by taking action outside parliament through demonstrations, strikes and other activities.
That said, I opened the Sunday Star Times this morning and saw a large advertisement placed by the PSA. The advertisement urges the 'incoming government' to put people before profit, make 'our country a fairer, more equal society' and ensure that 'services are there when they're needed'.
This is the same PSA leadership that has sat on its hands for the past three years and allowed the Government to smoothly axe over 1300 jobs.
The Government plans to axe more jobs in the coming months and the PSA's only response is to run pointless newspaper advertisements.
Even now it looks like the CTU and PSA bureaucrats, despite everything, are still not going to organise and fight.
The policy for the last three years has been not to rock the boat because 'a Labour Government will make things better for everyone'. How does that strategy look now?