During the last parliamentary term we were all told repeatedly that this policy or that person was a “game changer”.
How did those game changers all work out?
Chris Trotter thought Matt McCarten was a game changer:
These are the stakes the Left is playing for â and they could not be higher. If progressive New Zealand rallies to Cunliffeâs and McCartenâs bright-red banner and helps them convince Middle New Zealand that Labourism, far from being an alien and dangerous creed, actually stands for all that is best in this nation, then it will have won an historic and lasting victory. But if it fails to seize the opportunity it has been given, then all that is worth fighting for on the Left will go down to defeat and New Zealand will be Nationalâs for the foreseeable future.
Now IS the time for all good comrades to come to the aid of the party. Because, whichever way it turns out, the appointment of Matt McCarten is bound to beÂ a game-changer.
Chris Trotter was very prescient in that post, he also predicted disaster.
[T]he Left has been given an extraordinary opportunity to prove that it still has something to offer New Zealand, but a desperately short period of time in which to do it. If old wounds, old grudges, old defeats (are you listening Jim?) are allowed to get in the way of making this unprecedented situation work to the advantage of ordinary New Zealanders, then it will end in failure.
And that failure wonât just be Cunliffeâs and McCartenâs, it will be the failure of the entire progressive movement. And it wonât just be for a triennium (or three) it will be for an entire generation.
If Cunliffe and McCarten are allowed to fail, the Right of the Labour Party and their fellow travellers in the broader labour movement (all the people who worked so hard to prevent Cunliffe rising to the leadership) will say:
âWell, you got your wish. You elected a leader pledged to take Labour to the Left. And just look what happened. Middle New Zealand ran screaming into the arms of John Key and Labour ended up with a Party Vote even more pitiful than Nationalâs in 2002! So donât you dare try peddling that âIf we build a left-wing Labour Party they will comeâ line ever again! You did â and they didnât.â
Be in no doubt that this will happen â just as it did in the years after the British Labour Partyâs crushing defeat in the general election of 1983. The Labour Right called Labourâs socialist manifesto âthe longest suicide note in historyâ and the long-march towards Blairism and the re-writing of Clause Four began. (Never mind the impact of Maggie Thatcherâs unlikely victory in the South Atlantic, it was Michael Footâs socialism wot won it for the Tories!)
Plenty of others thought Matt McCarten was a game changer…they just didn’t realise he wasn’t working for Labour. He certainly was a game changer…for National. Â Â Read more »