The 2014 Budget has only served to highlight just how hopeless David Cunliffe and the Labour Party are.

THE GENERAL consensus out there in medialand and the blogosphere  is that National's 2014 Budget, mixed together with the election in mind,  has effectively outflanked the Labour Party. By throwing a  few choice lollies  the way of 'middle' New Zealand,  Labour  has been  left looking like an also ran in the 'pick and mix' stakes. John Key grabbed all the nice  soft-centred  chocolates  leaving David Cunliffe with a few hard boiled sweets and a stick of  liquorice.

A few calculated entitlements like free doctors' visits for children under the age of 13   won't do National's   re-election chances any harm but it will leave Labour, already struggling in the polls, in danger of falling further behind. It's grim news indeed for David Cunliffe and co when National turn into  what political commentator Bryce Edwards has described as 'Labour Lite'.

But much of this is Labour's own fault. It had three years to learn the lessons of the 2010 defeat but hasn't. Intent of fighting for what it perceives to be the political 'centre', its message  that it can run the economy better than National is entirely unconvincing. Cunliffe's comments that Labour has no intention of interfering  in 'the market' is hardly a vision of a different future for the country. Yes, lets all rush to the polling booths because Labour is a friend of big business!

In the absence of any meaningful alternative manifesto, getting Labour reelected has turned into a numbers racket. The equation is this:  Labour + Green Party + Mana Party + NZ First + Internet Party = David Cunliffe, Prime Minister.  That's if the numbers add up, of course.  This is a big 'if' indeed.

The fact that Cunliffe is an empty shirt who stands, like the party he leads, for nothing more than the same neoliberal crap we've had for the past three decades  is apparently of no great   consequence to Labour's  supporters. Racist nationalists and wealthy capitalists with libertarian beliefs are now  all welcome in Labour's tent these days.  This is described, in terms that George Orwell would recognise, as an expression of 'unity'. Stupid blogger Martyn Bradbury thinks this is an expression of 'left unity'. I'm sure he would welcome the Church of Scientology into Labour's camp if he thought it would boost the polling numbers.

What National's Budget has  highlighted (again) is that Labour is bereft of any plan for the future that isn't tied to the demands of capital.  Labour are, in the end, hopeless.

Of course if Labour do lose again, it won't be the peddlers of Labour's snakeoil who'll be the victims. They'll all toddle off  back to their comfortable union offices and media outposts. It'll be the people they've betrayed who will be left to face the consequences of a third term National-led government.


  1. Serious questions... When, ever, has Labour (Social Democracy) not been "tied to the demands of capital"? Who doesn't know how neo-liberalism has been implemented through the past three decades? Even Keynesian reforms were fitting for - and acceptable to - capitalism, and implemented accordingly by "left" & "right" governments globally...
    As it stands, isn't your opinion piece implicitly suggesting Labour is capable of untying itself from "the demands of capital" - perhaps as simply as via a stuffed shirt stumping-up smarter electoral tactics to counter "danger of falling further behind ... in the polls"? I wouldn't be asking had you not extended to "the consequences of a third term National-led government". Isn't this suggesting that Labour can break from "the demands of capital"? Therefore, isn't this, also, perpetuating/peddling illusion to the working class?

  2. The answer is that Labour Government's, despite the rhetoric, have always been tied to the demands of capital. The difference is that in the past 30 years they have become vehicles to pursue neoliberal policies. They are effectively dead as progressive political forces. I think, from your opening comments, you probably agree with this.

    It is quite clear that the Labour Party is a lost cause and has been for decades. Of course Labour never was a socialist party, but the prospects in being 'reclaimed' of even a party of mild social democratic reforms is zero.

    My argument has always been that we need a new left party. But it is the union bosses and various Labour cheerleaders in the media who are peddling the illusion that the 'solution' is voting Labour in November.

  3. Agreed of course - aside of the idea of "a new left party".

    I'd argue that - instead of repetitions of failed, formulaic top-down best-intentions - the working class will be best served by building, at rank & file level, our own independent political movement.

    Harder to accomplish and less spectacular in the short run, perhaps, but potentially THE extra-parliamentary democratic force capitalism can't reckon with.


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