Josie Pagani on Trotter’s World

Josie Pagani Facebook Page

Josie Pagani has written a classy post on her Facebook wall about Chris Trotter’s post regarding Labour becoming a refugee camp. It addresses some of the issues besetting Labour currently in a thoughtful way that unfortunately will be falling on deaf ears:

Chris Trotter’s latest column attacking Labour for being a ‘refugee camp’ for voters is infantile.

I grew up in the 1980s in England. I watched the left eat away its support for nearly twenty years by blaming the working class for not voting Labour. “What on earth is wrong with them?” they asked.

Actually it was worse than that. They used Trotter’s type of rhetoric, pretending they stood up for a ‘real’ working class, but they actually despised working people, looked down on their values, and enough working people understood that and elected Mrs Thatcher.

These were wilderness years for Labour. It lasted decades.

This is the same attitude that saw Clare Curran whine on Red ALert about the Greens stealing Labour’s voters…some they have continued to do BTW.

It took the wonderful oratory of Labour leader Neil Kinnock to name and shame the snobs. At the 1985 Labour party conference in Bournemouth, he picked up Labour councillor Derek Hatton and the Liverpool ‘militants’ by the scruff of their necks with his eloquence and set the Labour Party on a long path that took it back to government.

What Kinnock said in 1985 to the factions who thought their values were better than the voters’ values, needs to be said to Chris Trotter and anyone else who wants to take New Zealand Labour into the wilderness:

“I tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far-fetched resolutions. They get pickled into a rigid dogma. And you go through the years sticking to that outdated, misplaced dogma, irrelevant to the real needs of people.”

Unfortunately I suspect Josie’s refreshing outlook is in the minority in Labour, who seem set to return to “pickled dogma”.

Chris Trotter sneers at a Labour party which is winning back former Labour voters and has “rediscovered its respect and admiration for their values – especially their commitment to hard work and personal betterment.” Oh, how terrible – a Labour party that values hard work and personal betterment!

His thinking is exactly the indulgent smug behaviour that allowed a Thatcher government in the UK to attack unions and destroy jobs for nearly twenty years.

Unfortunately for Josie Labour still is stuck opposing the values of hard work and personal betterment, instead they seek to protect the work-shy and oppose policies that would develop precisely the large numbers of blue collar jobs that Labour so used to covet.

The variety of left he advocates asks Labour today to repudiate social democracy in the form recognisable to every successful, history-making social democrat leader the world over. Helen Clark, Obama, Gillard, Hawke, Schroeder – not one of them would indulge Trotter’s view.

The real dividing line on the left today is between Trotter’s version, where no one ever has to make tough decisions and a pretend utopia can be romanticised because it never has to be elected; and genuine social democracy that is radical precisely because it stands beside working people who worry about their jobs and need more money in the weekly wage packet to pay the bills. That’s what I want.

I suspect that Josie Pagani’s thoughts are very much in the minority in the union and teacher dominated Labour party.


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  • AnonWgtn

    Whilst I a diametrically opposite in political principles to Trotter, I read him regularly and have a great respect for his views.
    At least he is honest to his cause.

    • Alex

       I agree.  Unless Trotter has changed his views just recently, I thought he was saying exactly the same things as Pagani — ie, Labour needs to ditch the liberal elite fixation with political correctness and victimhood, and start emphasising bread and butter economics and an honest days’ pay for an honest days work.  I seem to recall Trotter attacking Curran for her outburst against the Greens. 

      So I’m a but confused about Pagani’s critique.   

      If Labour want to return to its roots, it needs to support the building up of NZ manufacturing and mining.  They need to tell National that they’ll support the mining proposals in return for measures to ensure that miners and their communities are handsomely rewarded like their Australian counterparts.    

      That’ll be a slap in the face for the Greens, allow it to distance itself from the middle class “trendy left” and pinch votes from National.

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    Whale – May be you should convince Josie Pagani to join National…..

  • thor42

    Whatever the faults of Labour (and they are **many**), MMP pretty much guarantees that they will be back in power in 2014. Unfortunately. 

    • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

       Thor42 – I agree. Unless National works out a coalition partner who can bring in at least 3-4 MPs, their vote share alone cannot be much higher than the toxic due of  Labourers and Frogs

  • Thesorrow&thepity

    Labour seems to be playing the game, “vote for us because you’re tired of the other”. With um argh shearer who knows what their policies are. Trotter is an old fossil but his analysis on labours election night implosion was quite good, if they’re back in come 2014 there’ll be infighting & scores to settle amongst themselves, thats assuming Cunliffe doesn’t try n knock Shearer off his perch (mid to not too late 2013 if that were to happen perhaps), potentially they could even shoot themselves in the foot pre election if the leadership change is too messy & leaves them disunited

  • eurekis

    Pagani probably wants the sort of labour party that the bliar changed the englander one into.  One that practises the same worn out neo-liberal claptrap which has caused the meltdown of most western economies.
    If you study the mess that Greece, Italy, Spain (not forgetting England whose deficit as a % of GDP is worse than Greece’s) got themselves into you will find it was entirely due to ‘de-regulated’ financial systems that rewarded bankers who encouraged dingbats to tip every cent they could borrow into asset appreciation ‘investments’ ahead of yer actual productivity based growth.

    NZ Labour is full of bourgeois tossers who haven’t done a day’s hard yakka in their lives that much is true, but they aren’t backing Totter’s spiel.  They are all cramming into the phonebox where whasshisname, the labour leader, swaps outta his pseudo-leftie suit into his pseudo-tory tights.
    And therein lies the problem the vast majority of Labour MP’s are dodgy on the issues faced by battling kiwis because their families left issues like the need for public housing or fully funded healthcare a couple of generations back.  They may think they share the values but as soon as they open their mouths the battlers hear the same cliches as those delivered by the nats.

    Too many years were spent on narrow special interest politics at the expense of the basic food, shelter, and health issues.  Now battlers won’t listen to them because Labour still gets it wrong.

    If they had fought the fight on the basic issues battlers would have accepted Labour’s prediliction for stressing over the private lives of non-hetrosexuals, but now that they stick to the narrow sectional issues while adopting tory economic issues, most battlers have decided “why bother neither mob is going to do what we need to see done economically so we’ll vote for the mob whose  view on social issues is closer to our own”.

    Well that is what they were saying but whasshisname’s 6 month hiatus gave the Greens and to a lesser extent Mana the space to speak directly to ordinary kiwis – for a change without it being re-interpreted for them by a labour ‘spokesperson’.  More and more voters in the depressed socio-economic areas where youth unemployment is closer to 70% than the 25% national average are deciding they like what the greens are saying.
    “I don’t know much about that ecology stuff but that bloke/woman really knew what is happening in our schools/jobs/doctors so they prolly right about the other stuff too.” is a refrain that has been echoing around many former labour electorates.

    To use a term popular with the sort of liberal ninnies who steal bad ideas from foreigners then favour worrying over whether gays n lesbians can marry ahead of developing and selling a coherent economic strategy for New Zealand; “Labour has jumped the shark”