The Labour Party has collapsed under the weight of three decades of abject surrender to the demands of neoliberalism, but there are still people messing around in the rubble.

Some people still  think  that the Labour Party  can be a progressive political force and they have been encouraged by David Cunliffe's careful, calculated  and modest nods to the left. But all that has done is divert attention from his other comments and actions that have made it quite clear that Labour has no  intention of touching the neoliberal fundamentals.  Cunliffe gives with one hand, and takes away with the other.

His declaration that 'socialism is not a word I use'  was not only not criticised it was applauded by 'New Zealand's leading left wing commentator' Chris Trotter.

Cunliffe's real desire is to distance Labour from the era of Helen Clark and Phil Goff rate rather  than develop a new and substantial  progressive political project. The fact is that Labour, and those who cheerlead for it, don't actually think there is any validity in  an alternative social and economic system to the prevailing one.

Of course Labour is going to have to campaign for the votes of people it has betrayed time  and time again. Offering  little in the way of a real alternative the  claims that it will be  'different' from the  Labour government's of the recent past are already less than convincing.

It's also unimpressive that David Cunliffe has avoided taking any  responsibility for the legacy of previous Labour governments that he faithfully served in.

None of this will convince a disillusioned  electorate who have decided that they won't be fooled again. The new zeitgeist is Russell Brand's condemnation of the empty charade that is  representative democracy and his call for a new revolutionary politics.  Middle aged and wealthy   white men declaring that Labour is where it's at is about as exciting  as a wet Sunday afternoon. Their politics, born in smoke-filled Labour and union offices,  is  only slightly more interesting  than an episode of The Brady Bunch.

We have witnessed the slow and inevitable death of Labourism and social democracy.

Unfortunately, nothing has yet emerged in this country to replace it. We are a long way from having our own Syriza. We aren't even at the point of  conducting discussions  to form a new broad  party of the left - which is what is  happening in Britain now.

Instead we have futile efforts being made to trying to revive the dead corpse of the Labour Party. This is  like pushing water uphill - but less fun.

Focusing on the shortcomings of Labour's former leader David Shearer  has  avoided admitting that Labour's problems run far  deeper than who leads it.   It was essentially a displacement activity by those who cannot face up to Labour’s demise.


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