Brian Edwards has struck a dilemma…one I am sure is playing out¬†throughout¬†the remaining base of the Labour party:
I find myself wondering whether I want to be bothered with the Labour Party any more. Increasingly, it seems to me, the Greens reflect the philosophical and moral values to which I subscribe more accurately than the Labour Party whose philosophical and moral values are now so ill-defined as to be beyond definition.
I‚Äôm a socialist at heart and, whatever it is, New Zealand Labour is not a socialist party. It wasn‚Äôt just Rogernomics that scotched that idea; Tony Blair‚Äôs ‚Äėthird way‚Äô, a significant influence on the Fifth Labour Government, was really just a watered down version of Douglas‚Äôs ‚Äėtrickle-down‚Äô economics. The ‚Äėthird way‚Äô was, by definition, a ‚Äėmiddle-way‚Äô, neither one thing nor the other and ill-suited to political idealism of any stripe ‚Äď a Clayton‚Äôs political philosophy.
Oh dear it appears that Brian has had a crisis of confidence:
I‚Äôve done reasonably well in life. I‚Äôm not rich but, at 74, I‚Äôm what you might call ‚Äėreasonably comfortably off‚Äô. In the process, I‚Äôve paid a hell of a lot of tax. And I don‚Äôt mind. I‚Äôm a firm believer in progressive taxation ‚Äď ‚ÄėFrom each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,‚Äô as Marx¬† so neatly put it. You can call that Communism or Socialism or pure Christianity. ¬†It doesn‚Äôt really matter. What matters is the core principle that the strong should support the weak. So it‚Äôs good that Labour‚Äôs new leader is at least intent on keeping a Capital Gains Tax as Labour policy. The earnings of the rich¬†should¬†be taxed to support the poor.
But I‚Äôm not comfortable with Mr Shearer‚Äôs reported intention to move the party ‚Äėto the centre‚Äô. It‚Äôs a misnomer for one thing. Labour is already in the centre. It has already lost its working-class constituency. Any move ‚Äėto the centre‚Äô will merely be, as the share-brokers say, ‚Äėa technical correction‚Äô, not as extreme as in ‚Äė84 but a move to the right nonetheless.
What Labour politics now seem to be about is finding ‚Äėsellable‚Äô policies and a ‚Äėsellable‚Äô leader in order to regain power. (For National read ‚Äėretain power‚Äô.) What Green politics seem to be about is persuading people to come across to policies not obviously or immediately founded in self-interest, but in the long-term interests of all of us and (there‚Äôs no avoiding it) of the planet. No doubt they‚Äôd like to be in government too. But it doesn‚Äôt seem to be their primary motivation.
So I find myself wondering‚Ä¶
Oh I am sure Russel Norman is ecstatic with glee at the prospect of Brian’s¬†pearls¬†of socialist wisdom.