Brian Edwards has struck a dilemma…one I am sure is playing outÂ throughoutÂ 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.
Iâ€™m a socialist at heart and, whatever it is, New Zealand Labour is not a socialist party. It wasnâ€™t just Rogernomics that scotched that idea; Tony Blairâ€™s â€˜third wayâ€™, a significant influence on the Fifth Labour Government, was really just a watered down version of Douglasâ€™s â€˜trickle-downâ€™ economics. The â€˜third wayâ€™ was, by definition, a â€˜middle-wayâ€™, neither one thing nor the other and ill-suited to political idealism of any stripe â€“ a Claytonâ€™s political philosophy.
Oh dear it appears that Brian has had a crisis of confidence:
Iâ€™ve done reasonably well in life. Iâ€™m not rich but, at 74, Iâ€™m what you might call â€˜reasonably comfortably offâ€™. In the process, Iâ€™ve paid a hell of a lot of tax. And I donâ€™t mind. Iâ€™m a firm believer in progressive taxation â€“ â€˜From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,â€™ as MarxÂ so neatly put it. You can call that Communism or Socialism or pure Christianity. Â It doesnâ€™t really matter. What matters is the core principle that the strong should support the weak. So itâ€™s good that Labourâ€™s new leader is at least intent on keeping a Capital Gains Tax as Labour policy. The earnings of the richÂ shouldÂ be taxed to support the poor.
But Iâ€™m not comfortable with Mr Shearerâ€™s reported intention to move the party â€˜to the centreâ€™. Itâ€™s a misnomer for one thing. Labour is already in the centre. It has already lost its working-class constituency. Any move â€˜to the centreâ€™ will merely be, as the share-brokers say, â€˜a technical correctionâ€™, not as extreme as in â€˜84 but a move to the right nonetheless.
What Labour politics now seem to be about is finding â€˜sellableâ€™ policies and a â€˜sellableâ€™ leader in order to regain power. (For National read â€˜retain powerâ€™.) 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 (thereâ€™s no avoiding it) of the planet. No doubt theyâ€™d like to be in government too. But it doesnâ€™t seem to be their primary motivation.
So I find myself wonderingâ€¦
Oh I am sure Russel Norman is ecstatic with glee at the prospect of Brian’sÂ pearlsÂ of socialist wisdom.