In an unexpected political development, Labour Party apologist Chris Trotter tells his former university lecturer that he can no longer loyally support Labour because it has "jettisoned the energy and idealism of its earlier self." It seems Trotter's "ultra leftists" were right all along.

THERE WAS AN INTERESTING exchange of views in the Otago Daily Times last week.

Dr Jocelyn Harris, emeritus Professor at the University of Otago, wanted to know why a former student had lost his youthful radicalism and was now intent on criticising the Labour Party at every given opportunity.

The former student Dr Harris was referring to was Chris Trotter. She wrote:

"Many years ago, I taught Chris Trotter when he was a bright young radical with a passion for fairness and justice. What on earth has happened to him? It baffles me when a columnist claiming to write 'From the Left' tries week after week to undermine the very party that stands for the very values he once espoused."

Many of us would take issue with Dr Harris that the Labour Party remains in any way a vehicle for radical ideas. And, indeed, Chris Trotter appears to agree with us. In his reply to Dr Harris he writes that he is a critical of the Labour Party because ..", somewhere along the way, it jettisoned the energy and idealism of its earlier self."

Interestingly, he also suggests a similar affliction struck Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.  Yet Trotter was a vocal supporter of Clinton throughout the presidential campaign, even claiming she was a political 'progressive'. He denounced supporters of Bernie Sanders as "ridiculous".

Jocelyn Harris
Trotter suggests that if the Labour Party "resembled in any way the political institution that existed when Jocelyn lectured me all those years ago, I would have very little to criticise."

All well and good. The problem, of course, is that Trotter isn't consistent. While he might be criticising Labour for its lack of "energy and idealism' today, tomorrow he will be strenuously defending that very same party and attacking anyone who might dare to suggest Labour is a political basketcase.

Indeed at the last election he attacked opponents of Labour as 'ultra leftists'.

So in 2017, when Chris Trotter inevitably joins the campaign to get Labour elected  to government and makes all kinds of outlandish claims about the party, it will be worth recalling that this is the same party he told his former university lecturer bore no resemblance to the Labour Party of his university days and was bankrupt of both "energy and idealism". 


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