At Labour's annual conference, leader Andrew Little underlines his party's continued commitment to the politics and policies of neoliberalism. Were you expecting something new?

WHEN JEREMY CORBYN WAS elected leader of  UK Labour in September, Andrew Little was careful not to endorse the policies of the left wing politician who has revived the political fortunes of his party.

The best that Little could offer was that he supported Corbyn's more 'refreshing style of politics'. He described that politics as being 'more open and more honest'. Yet, less than two months later, Little commanded that Labour's annual conference be closed to the media. Obviously Little's era of 'more open and more honest' politics has been postponed. Probably indefinitely, if his Machiavellian career as a corporate-friendly union leader is any indication.

But we have learnt enough from Labour's annual conference over the weekend to know that, under Little's leadership, there's going to be no 'revolution' (I use the term loosely) but rather a digging in around conservative business-friendly economic policies while, at the same time, jettisoning the party's identification with identity politics.

The new politics represented by the likes of Jeremy Corbyn in Britain and Bernie Sanders in the United States has left Little and his Labour Party untouched. When people, more than ever, want a real alternative and real change, Little still has nothing to offer but some empty catch phrases.

It's all about 'jobs, jobs, jobs' he declared at the conference. I thought I was listening to Jim Hacker from Yes, Minister. When isn't it about jobs? I would have taken more interest if Little had talked abut re-empowering the state and re-nationalising privatised areas of the economy - as Corbyn has done - but he didn't.

Of course the people who were seen running away from Labour's election wreckage last year, have returned to pontificate again on how simply wonderful Labour is going to be this time around. It'll be different from last time. And the time before that. And the time before that.

Here's our old mate Martyn Bradbury getting carried away again, just like he did in 2014 when he was convinced Labour was going to win.

'Andrew Little’s blunt, no frills home-brand meat and 3 veg speech is one of the smartest and most clever I’ve heard.' declared the editor of The Daily Blog. How easy and convenient it is for Bradbury to ignore that Labour is still committed to the very same neoliberal economic polices he criticises most every day.

But, wait, there's more. Bradbury goes on to say that "That’s not to say this version of Labour will be any great left wing revolution." Can you guess what's coming next? Ladies and gentlemen, you hated it in 2011 and 2014 so its back again for another tired and farcical workout in 2017. It's the old 'lesser evil' argument or as Bradbury blusters, Labour "are a damned sight better than National."

The obvious problem for Bradbury and others like him  is that no-one swallowed this argument in 2014 and they're not going to in 2017 either.

But Bradbury is the same guy who has blamed the working class for Labour's dismal election defeat in 2014, so we can't expect anything approaching an honest and principled assessment from him.

I doubt very much that the million or so people who don't bother to vote will want to sit down with Andrew Little and sup on the thin gruel he is serving up as a so-called political alternative.

They sang 'The Red Flag' at the end of UK Labour's annual conference in September. The politics of the New Zealand Labour Party are such that 'The Red Flag' is viewed as an embarrassment. Remember this is the party whose previous leader, David Cunliffe, wanted everyone to know that 'socialism is not a word I use."

 In the arid and conservative political environment that is Andrew Little's Labour Party, they were getting excited about Jacinda Arden's revolutionary idea of putting Labour propaganda in Xmas crackers in order to recruit new members. We're winning with Labour!


  1. Another good analysis of Labour. Nice counter to Chris Trotter's piece on The Daily Blog.

    Here's a take from Redline:



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