The Unite Union's Mike Treen wants you to vote for a Labour government that is still committed to neoliberal policies. But he can't offer any substantial reasons why you should vote for such a government.
DESPITE BEING supposedly opposed to neoliberalism and professing to socialist beliefs, the national director of the Unite Union has called for the election of a Labour led government, with the Green's, Mana and maybe (who knows?) the Internet Party tagging along behind.
None of this comes as any surprise. Mike Treen has already indicated his support for such a conglomeration before and, as a senior member of the Mana Party, he'll be supporting the Mana leadership in its desire to go to the electorate with this lacklustre line-up. And no doubt his old mate, Matt McCarten, has had a quiet word in his ear.
Mike Treen is linked to Socialist Aotearoa but some of its members don't share all of his Labour friendly views. On its blog Joe Carolan, who also works for the Unite Union, writes:
A radical left wing party that is captured in a coalition with Social democracy signs its own suicide note. Social democratic parties profess reforms, but they are committed to managing the capitalist system, not replacing it. You cannot do both. Mana will be more effective as an independent, left wing force outside government, pushing Labour and the Greens leftward where successful, organising resistance against any cutbacks and attacks where necessary. It should not sacrifice this Tino for the sake of being a 2 or 3 MP strong mudguard. We should be in the vanguard instead.
But even this view is entirely misplaced as it promotes illusions about 'pushing' Labour and the Green's to the left. When are people going to wake up and realise that ANY strategy involving Labour is doomed to failure? It should be abundantly clear by now that the issues facing left wing politics in this country have got nothing to do with the Labour Party.
Treen wants people to vote for a Labour government that has said on more than one occasion that it has no intention of breaking with the neoliberal policies that have dominated this country for over three decades. But Treen wants people to accept that it'll be 'business as usual'. What an inspiring vision of the future and it highlights all that is wrong about the terribly pessimistic and limited politics that Treen promotes.
Is this really all that the so-called 'left' in this country can come up with?
Of course Treen is not an idiot and he well knows this will be a difficult proposition to sell. This is a bit of problem for people like him because they somehow need to convince the 800,000 people who didn't vote last time to deliver their votes to Labour this time round.
The huge problem for Treen is that he hasn't got much to offer. The cupboard is mostly bare.
Without an alternative to market - led policies and politics and a new vision of how society could be organised, Treen is left desperately looking for anything that might convince an angry and disillusioned ex-voter that David 'socialism is not a word I use' Cunliffe is their friend.
His main selling point - if you want to call it that - is that Labour would increase the minimum wage to $15 hour.
But with the National Government having raised the minimum wage to $14.25 , a raise of 75 cents is small change indeed, especially since real wages continue to decline.
Frankly I think many people will be telling Treen to go sell crazy elsewhere.
It certainly won't propel people to the polling booths. The tragedy is that none of the obvious real work - to build a genuine left wing party in this country - has been done in favour of supporting a Labour Party that is well past its use-by date.