Tell ‘im he’s dreamin’

andrew little chair collapse face

Someone needs to take failed Labour politician Bryan Gould aside and quote the infamous words of Darryl Kerrigan.

The recent poll showing that Labour is losing rather than gaining ground will have been very disappointing to the Labour leadership – particularly because their improved performance across the board might have been expected to produce a lift in popular support.

The Labour Party seems, after all, to have put behind it most of the deficiencies that have held it back. The parliamentary party is more united and has largely eschewed the kind of in-fighting that gave such a damaging impression of disunity. The front bench is competent and working hard, holding the Government to account for its deficiencies, of which there is no shortage.

They have a competent and respected leader who is clearly demonstrating his credentials as a prospective Prime Minister. They have agreed a collaborative arrangement with potential coalition partners and are ready to remedy the oversights – such as the failure to focus adequately on the importance of the party vote – that cost Labour votes in the last election.


Really? Surely he jests?

He wistfully remembers his failure as an MP in the UK before embarking on a  fantasyland rail against neo-liberalism.

It has perhaps failed to grasp that what it is really up against is a hegemonic force – a neo-liberal revolution – that has shaped political attitudes in western democracies across the globe for more than a generation and that now represents a norm so powerful that it is not even recognised as such by those who might be expected to oppose it.

This hegemony cannot be changed or challenged just by nibbling at the edges – by attacking short-term policy failures on specific issues, or by sharpening up campaigning techniques. What is needed is a fundamental statement of what the Labour Party stands for, and a persuasive account of why it will produce a better and more successful society than has been delivered by the current neo-liberal orthodoxy.

Many of those who might consider voting Labour do so precisely because they are looking for a different set of values than those demonstrated by our current Government and than are reflected in today’s New Zealand. The National Government makes no secret of its belief that the market – which they see as the mainspring of economic activity and as an infallible moral arbiter of what is and is not worthwhile – must always prevail.

Again he needs the wise counsel of Daryl Kerrigan. The Labour party has no idea what it stands for, what its brand is or even what to do. Saying otherwise won’t make them do anything different. They’ve tried the same tactics for nigh on ten years now…with the same results. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the very definition of madness.

Gould wraps up in typical academic fashion, insulting those who disagree with him as lesser or feeble minded fellow citizens. This is precisely the attitude of the current Labour mob, and the biggest single reason they won’t get re-elected. They keep telling voters they are stupid.

Many of our more thoughtful fellow-citizens, however, do not want a society where the bottom line is all that matters, where the market decides who prospers and who is left behind, where social and environmental issues take second or third place to the drive for profit.

They want to see a society which is stronger, happier and healthier because we have learned all over again that we are all better off if we look after each other. They are ready to learn the lesson, increasingly reinforced by experience around the world, that we do not have to choose between market efficiency and social justice – that those societies which fairly share the fruits of economic success also produce the better economic outcomes.

Labour should, in other words, be braver in taking on its opponents on these big issues – the ones that matter most. Yes, personal competencies, the correct policy options, campaigning effectiveness, all have a role to play, and Labour owes it to its supporters to get those things right.

Go for it, let’s see what happens. See the overbearing attitude, the insults. The fact is the more Labour listens to embittered old socialist fools like Bryan Gould the worse they are going to do, Back in the day…and I mean way back…foolish people who crossed the line were exiled. They were forbidden food and shelter within the boundaries of Rome. Something like that should be reinstituted, except they should be banished to the socialist paradise of Venezuela.

Meanwhile, I suggest Andrew Little adopts Darryl Kerrigan’s advice when Bryan Gould offers his advice.


– NZ Herald

Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.