Supporters of Willie Jackson like Chris Trotter and Martyn Bradbury prove once again that they don't know what they're talking about.

I HEARD Labour leader Andrew Little on TVNZ's Breakfast yesterday morning insisting that he did not compile Labour's party list but, ignoring Little's sophistry, we all know - nudge, nudge, wink, wink , say no more - that Willie Jackson will be bumped high enough up the list to be assured of a comfy seat and a big, fat salary in Parliament. He wouldn't of resigned from his talkback job otherwise.

Under Labour's rules you can only stand for office if you have been a member of the party for at least twelve months. Jackson has only just joined but Little has the authority to grant an exemption and an exemption is what lucky little Willie Jackson will receive.

But Jackson's accelerated elevation into Parliament is causing considerable resentment within Labour's ranks. While the media have highlighted Labour MP Poto Williams strenuous objection to his candidacy because of his appalling treatment of rape victim 'Amy' during a Radio Live interview, there are also those who resent Jackson's rise up Labour's ranks on the grounds that he's a cynical opportunist. Which is what he is, of course.

Jackson's supporters - some of them, anyway - are trying to portray the opposition to the multi-millionaire as merely the whining of out-of-touch latte-drinking white liberals - presumably forgetting that Munokoa Poto Williams is of Cook Island descent. The not very liberal Martyn Bradbury has even coined a new word for such people - " the Identitarians." They sound like an alien race from Star Trek or Dr Who.

One such person attempting to bash Jackson's opponents with a big stick labelled 'crazy identity politics' is old fogey Chris Trotter.

In between tea and crumpets and a bit of a nap, Trotter has found time to come to the defence of Labour leader Andrew Little, only weeks after declaring that he could no longer support Labour because it had "..jettisoned the energy and idealism of its earlier self."

Its an all too familiar and predictable 360 degree turn by the man who possesses the remarkable political flexibility to hail  Hillary Clinton as a progressive while, at the same time, criticising her for being a conservative technocrat.

Martyn Bradbury is delighted to learn that Willie will see him right.
I have many objections to what is commonly described as identity politics, mostly because it often unhinges itself from any concern with economic and structural concerns. However I also don' t truck with the argument that if we just didn't highlight racism or sexism or homophobia these things would be less of a concern. That strikes me as being as a very unsophisticated argument, unworthy of someone who subscribes to socialist politics.

You see, people on the right - like Chris Trotter and his old mate Martyn "socialists are unhappy people" Bradbury just want people banging on about racism and homophobia to shut up because they, personally, find it boring.

Trotter's headmasterly criticism of Poto Williams boils down to this: Pipe down, Poto. By complaining, you're only making it worse. Hush now, be sensible. You'll only ruin it for the rest of us. Listen to me instead."

Trotter has gone as far to suggest that Poto Williams 'high pitched screeching" might have cost Labour the election: "Poto Williams’ unsanctioned attack on Willie Jackson has conveyed to conservative working-class New Zealanders the following, fatal, message. In neon-lit letters ten metres high she has proclaimed: “Labour’s priorities are not your priorities.”

This is pure self-serving baloney.

The reason why working class New Zealanders won't vote for Labour is not because of anything Poto Williams has said but because Andrew Little's Labour Party is offering them nothing but more of the same old neoliberal dross we've had for the past three decades. That's the same reason why Labour was smashed in last time round - and why a million people didn't bother to vote at all because they didn't much like any of the so-called choices on offer. But  Trotter and Bradbury would rather  just scapegoat Poto Williams instead.

The irony is that Trotter, despite his attack on 'identity' politics, actually subscribes to his own version of 'identity politics'. Its the identity politics that wants to see the Labour Party shaped to reflect the politics and interests of prosperous, conservative, middle aged and middle class white males like Chris Trotter.  When people want real change, Trotter just wants everyone to remain in the political quagmire that he lives in.


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