Phil Quin writes sensible stuff in the Herald yesterday.
Last week, I broke a cardinal rule and spent some time wading through left-wing blogs, as well as comment sections on more mainstream sites.
It is clear the small number of Labour, Green and Internet-Mana Party activists who populate these dusty corners of cyberspace have convinced themselves the media are systematically rallying behind John Key’s re-election and conspiring against the left.
I was unable to glean a coherent explanation as to why this might be, but my guess is that it has something to do with corporate interests and right-wing politicians uniting with a fierce determination to defend the prevailing political and socioeconomic orthodoxy that shapes New Zealand’s capitalist system and delivers its beneficiaries ever-expanding wealth, power and privilege.
This kind of reaction is neither strange nor unexpected, because Labour is losing by 30 points and performing as badly as any major New Zealand political party since Bill English’s hapless Nats of 2002.
Supporters and activists find it much easier to blame straw-men, presumably along with a mandatory 50 per cent of straw-women, than confront the painful truth that the political operation surrounding David Cunliffe is strategically misguided and tactically inept.
Proof points abound: the disastrous “manpology” to the Women’s Refuge gathering, the poorly managed Donghua Liu debacle, an ill-conceived skiing trip (which was less about its effect on public opinion than the message it sent candidates and volunteers), as well as any number of bungled policy introductions and unforced errors – from dead trees to slow trucks to resurrecting moa.
To my mind, the Cunliffe apology for being a man was by far the most damaging of these. According to a¬†Herald¬†poll, only 9 per cent of respondents thought the manpology was a smart move, and yet the overwhelming preponderance of leftist commentary insisted either that Cunliffe was right to say sorry for possessing external genitalia, or that the apology wasn’t a big deal.