WHEN THE TWO MAIN parliamentary parties are largely indistinguishable from each other, when each has pledged its allegiance to the market and to corporate interests, it comes as no surprise that attention might fall on the front people whose job is sell the party to an increasingly - and rightfully - disinterested electorate. With no new ideas on offer, we are reduced to personality politics.
So, enter stage right, the newly elected Labour MP for Mt Albert. With Annette King conveniently bowing out of parliament, Jacinda Arden will be Labour's new deputy leader.
Chosen by leader Andrew Little (in the same unilateral way he chose conservative non- Labour candidates Willie Jackson and Greg O'Connor) Arden will do the right thing. In her nine years of a fairly mediocre and perfunctory parliamentary career, she has demonstrated that she will be a deputy leader who the corporate sector will enjoy working with. She won't frighten the horses.
While Arden might criticise the symptoms of neoliberalism - like growing inequality and poverty - she does not recognise that neoliberalism itself might just be the problem. It would be nothing short of insane to think that an anti-capitalist could exist within the ranks of the Labour Party, but Arden's predictable politics are still confined to thinking that real solutions lie in the better management of 'the market'. She will be Andrew Little's 'steady pair of hands' in the same way that Paula Bennett plays that role for Prime Minister Bill English.
Arden's strength is, according to The Commentariat, the fact that that she is the new girl on the block who will be able to connect with the electorate in a way that the dull and charisma-challenged Andrew Little can't. But given the fact that less than 20 percent of the eligible voters in Mt Albert were enthused enough to vote for her, even this a mute point.
Jacinda Arden offers little to get excited about and she is certainly no reason why anyone should consider voting Labour. She is poor substitute for a party offering genuinely progressive policies that provide an alternative to the prevailing neoliberal narrative. We head to yet another general election where, in the absence of a progressive left wing party to support, the only sensible choice is not to vote.