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.