Josie Pagani explains why she voted for Shane Jones

Josie Pagani explains why she voted for Shane Jones.

The Labour leadership contest has changed the Labour party because Shane Jones stood.

He’s been fearless. And, yes, sometimes crass. But he has looked outward, away from internal squabbles and said what needed to be said; if Labour is to appeal to middle New Zealand, then it can’t say ‘we want your vote but not your values.’

To all those commentators who sneered at Shane’s style, who do they think the Labour party represents? If the party is not appealing to those in the RSAs, marae, pubs and to those browsing in Mitre 10 at the weekend, it isn’t a Labour party.

Shudders flew down spines when Shane said, ‘People need to remember that the word Labour means work.’ For many inside Labour, this was heresy. For many of Labour’s lost flock, this was a statement of the obvious they have waited to hear. 

Many in Labour support only the criminal and the indigent. Labour was grown from the working class…a class they have abandoned.

Josie also discusses the myth of unity.

There’s been a lot of talk about unity. Unity has to be earned. First you need a red meat contest of ideas about how to translate Labour principles in to policies.

David Cunliffe’s version of unity has been to double down on the policies that have been unsuccessful in the last two elections in the hope that a more assertive defense of them will convince more people to support Labour.

What Jones is doing is more interesting. He says if Labour is unpopular it’s because we are not being true to our values. Voters actually like our values and our principle that anyone no matter what family you’re born into, should have access to the same opportunities. Labour is only unpopular when it takes entrenched positions that are unfaithful to its core principles.

Jones sounds refreshing because he is brave enough to name where Labour has gone wrong and that’s precisely why some people, who he has mischievously called intellectuals, have disparaged him. The whole point of entrenched positions is that they’re painful for the party to change. But the party won’t succeed until it confronts the need to change.

Labour still thinks the electorate made a terrible error in 2008 and it is only a matter of months before they wake up to the fact that John Key is a baby killing misogynist…who also hates poofs. They have been wrong ever since 2008, and will continue to be wrong while they refuse to recognise that it is them who are the problem.

Labour needs to be a broad-based party, valuing a diversity of opinion and promoting people because they are good advocates rather than because they picked a side in a spat.

Parties need to be able to debate ideas without banishing and demonising those with whom they disagree. If you don’t have a contest of ideas you can’t be sure your own ideas are good ones.

Shane has courageously spoken out for what he thinks needs to change. That’s been valuable to Labour because its demonstrated that the party is broad based. He has made sure the race has been a contest of ideas. And he’s spoken out for the people whose votes labour has been trying to attract while the party simultaneously rejects and even trashes their priorities.

Actually in this regard I think Josie is wrong. Labour USED to be a broad-based party. Now it is a collection of narrowly focused minority groups with only the Labour badge in common. There are factions, and those faction only barely overlap. I might draw a Venn diagram of the Labour party one day, but so far the complexity has defeated me.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.