What do Andrew Little, Grant Robertson and David Shearer have in common? They've learnt next to nothing from Jeremy Corbyn's historic leadership victory.

THEY'VE HARDLY BEEN singing 'The Red Flag' down in the New Zealand Labour Party in response to Jeremy Corbyn being elected the leader of the UK Labour Party. Despite the fact that Corbyn's mandate dwarfs that given to Tony Blair two decades ago, the response from prominent Labour Party politicians here has ranged from lukewarm to negative.

Both leader Andrew Little and  former deputy-leader Grant Robertson have emphasised Corbyn's style rather than his substance.

"I think there is a demand for a more refreshing style of politics, which is more open and more honest, and the more of that we can have, frankly, the better." said Little.

Robertson was also keen to emphasise Corbyn's style ""I think he's given people something direct and clear to believe in and that's probably the lesson for us - is being able to go to the electorate in 2017 with bold, direct and clear policies and we will do that."

But, not surprisingly, neither Little and Robertson went as far as to actually endorse Corbyn's policies. Indeed Robertson went on to say that policies that were popular in one country would not necessarily be popular in another. In other words, Labour will not be diverted from its continued allegiance to neoliberalism - but  maybe it will try to communicate that message in a 'bold', 'direct' and 'clear' way. Wow. Be still my beating heart.

Little and Robertson will continue to blithely ignore that Labour has lost three elections in a row because it has failed to present a clear alternative to the policies of neoliberalism. It has accepted the fundamentals of the market and the policies of austerity and therefore has had little to say. They can package those policies in a thousand different ways and they will continue to be rejected by the electorate, and nearly a million people will continue not to vote.

Former leader David Shearer certainly doesn't get the message. On Friday he wrote on his Facebook page that a Corbyn-led Labour Party would be 'unelectable'. As a MP in a political party that has lost three elections in a row, and will lose a fourth if it doesn't radically change direction, Shearer knows all about being unelectable.

Jeremy Corbyn has shattered the neoliberal consensus that has dominated British politics. Here in New Zealand though Andrew Little wants to ensure that the rule of the market remains unchallenged.


  1. There are nearly 400 responses to Shearer's comments, and most of them dump on him. There is an appetite for change and Labour is not reflecting it. But is there a Jeremy Corbyn - like figure in Labour? The answer is no.


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