Once again, the polls look bad for Labour and its leader, Phil Goff.
And, once again, the punditocracy waxes eloquent on the Opposition's seemingly insuperable electoral hurdles: the steady erosion of the Maori vote; a Green Party in decline; the enduring popularity of John Key and his National Party.
All true. But none of these "hurdles" is insuperable. The real barriers confronting the Left aren't to be found in the external world, but in the interior world of the Left- wing mindset.
He's right. Phil Goff's admission last week that we are stuck with him until the 2011 election suggests that Labour has inwardly given up the ghost on getting back into power next year; in their own minds, at least. But worse is to come:
Labour has become electorally implausible because it no longer projects itself as either psychologically, or morally, convincing.
Mr Goff, in last week's "State of the Nation" speech, spoke of a Labour Party dedicated to serving the needs of "the many, not the few".
He lambasted those who avoided paying their fair share of tax and he vowed to cap the salaries of state sector chief executives at the level of the prime minister's annual income.
A traditional Labour message, and by all accounts powerfully delivered.
But was it real?
No, not really. It took the redoubtable Right-wing blogger, Cactus Kate, less than a day to uncover the fact that a significant number of Labour MPs belonged to one or more family trusts, the very same tax avoidance device that Mr Goff was railing against.
Oh dear. It seems that Labour has learned nothing from its 2008 election spanking, and is still very much set in the "do as we say; not as we do" mindset. You'd think that Goff and his minders would have done some fact-checking before Goff made his State of the Nation speech; apparently not.
And Trotter's not finished with Goff; there's the vexing issue of just who gave state sector CEO's the pay rises Goff now wants taken away, as highlighted here last week - read on:
And what about all those state sector CEOs on excessive salaries? Well, Mr Goff is to be congratulated for wanting to share the "pain" of economic recession more equitably.
But, in order to restore a measure of equity to the pay scales of the public service, surely Mr Goff would have to renounce his own, and Labour's, continuing support for the State Sector Act?
After all, Mr Goff was a cabinet minister in the fourth Labour government, which introduced the State Sector Act. Its purpose?
To bring the private sector's market- driven discipline into the public service: to give the heads of government agencies the same powers and responsibilities as corporate chief executives and pay them accordingly.
If Mr Goff is now acknowledging that the ideology underpinning the State Sector Act is flawed, then I, for one, will cheer him to the echo.
But if he still adheres to the neoliberal ethos which gave it birth, then he should let the market in CEO salaries find its own level, and like the original author of the State Sector Act, Stan Rodger, remain steadfastly on the sidelines and keep his mouth firmly shut.
Indeed. This is one rewrite of history that Phil Goff cannot be allowed to get away with. He was part of a Cabinet which approved increases in state servants' salaries and locked them in for five years. Let us never forget that.
Now it's not all condemnation. Trotter ends his piece with some sage advice for Phil Goff. However, you'll have to read THAT bit yourself, as we aren't really in the business of trying to improve Phil's fortunes!