Josie Pagani has some sound advice for Andrew Little.
I bet he doesn’t listen though, but he really needs to.
How many times have we seen shots of Labour party leaders declaring unity while standing in front of caucus members, smiling the kind of smile you produce by sucking air through your teeth?
Labour doesn’t need more protests of unity. It needs more open debate.
People used to join the Labour party for the policy fights. A contest of ideas was how you sorted good ideas from bad. Achievements like paid parental leave and the nuclear free policy were achieved only after advocates won the argument; Unity was earned by debate, not by shutting debate down and pretending there was no diversity of opinion on these issues.
You can’t have a contest of ideas unless you accept into the fold people with a range of views, and celebrate ideological breadth. Bill Rowling and David Lange were both early sceptics of the nuclear free policy; yet today publicly arguing for a minority position within the party is mistaken for disloyalty.
So Andrew Little’s first challenge is to change this culture.
That is so true. Labour has this tug the forelock, doff the cloth cap, kneel in obeisance to the leader mentality that was beaten into them by Helen Clark and her stasi-like control of internal party debate. Those attitudes now need to be beaten out of them.
The 600,000 people who voted Labour a few months ago had nothing to do with this leadership contest. Most didn’t care because the election purported to be a contest between fifty shades of beige: ‘fairness’ and ‘opportunity for all’ as if anyone in Labour is in favour of unfairness and opportunity only for a wealthy few.
The exception was David Parker and Andrew Little differing over capital gains tax and the retirement age. Andrew Little wants to jettison Labour’s election policies on those issues. He will now have to respond to Parker’s question – if not a CGT, then what? Not forgetting the CGT is more popular in the polls than Labour right now.