Julia Louis-Dreyfuss: The debate winner.
Who won the television debate between Jacinda Ardern and Bill English? Possibly it was Shortland Street. Or Julia Louis-Dreyfuss.

I BAILED OUT of the 'leaders debate' after about half an hour or so. That was enough. It was limp. It was uninspiring. It was two centrist politicians engaged in a polite debate that never rose to any great heights. 

The winner on the night? I haven't seen the ratings, but possibly it was Shortland Street on TV2. I myself spent my time watching Veep, which was far more productive. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as Vice President Selina Meyer was my winner on the night.

Despite offering basically the same dreary right wing package deal as Andrew Little, Ardern is rising in the polls mainly because she isn't Andrew Little. That's what this is about. This isn't about the Labour Party regaining some of its poll popularity because of its policies, its Jacinda Ardern rising in the polls and dragging Labour along with her. And if Jacinda Ardern manages to pull off a win for Labour, it will be  worth checking Labour's party list and be further depressed by the calibre of the MPs she'll be dragging into government with her.

Jacinda is media friendly, she tries, she's keen, she talks a lot about 'caring' and 'values'. She wants to 'value' us into the future. And she can't be criticised for having the personality of a wooden plank, as was the unfortunate Andrew Little. It's interesting to note that some of the very people who were critical of Labour's 'identity politics' are now identifying strongly with Ardern. Some of them, back in the day, were loyal supporters of Helen Clark's neoliberal regime.

Sue Bradford: Time for a new left wing party.
Jacinda Ardern and Labour only represent change in the sense that they'll be occupying the parliamentary seats presently occupied by the other crowd. But it'll be business as usual and Ardern's big talk about 'being brave' won't go anywhere near upsetting the rule of the one percent.

Ex-Green MP and long time activist Sue Bradford has written a paper - which I hope to discuss at some stage - which proposes that we need a new left wing party. In the face of the continued rightward march of the Labour Party, Sue concludes:

"We must build a new kind of party, one that has not been seen in this country for a long time, if ever, capable of mobilising people and resources on a scale that can achieve a future far better than the one capital has mapped out for us and our children. To do this well will require bravery on all our parts, and a huge amount of sensitivity and care as well. It is important that we refrain from telling ourselves the task is too difficult. We can do it, and our time is now."

 I agree with Sue.


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