Unfortunately I don’t think the latest Roy Morgan is a rogue poll. But I also don’t think that it’s the result of David Shearer’s GCSB fiasco as the electorate doesn’t tend to make up its mind on single issues.
Rather, I think that the electorate has simply run out of patience with Labour. As has been pointed out time and time again, politics is about narratives – about finding a positive story about your own brand and a negative one about you opponent and punctuating these stories with example again and again and again. And yet Labour’s “top teams”, both under Goff and under Shearer, have repeated failed to grasp that very simple fact.
So in four years we’ve not seen any consistency either in how they have opposed the government or how they have promoted themselves. Instead we’ve seen four years of disparate silver bullet PR fiascos ranging from dying Phil Goff’s hair and sticking him on a motor bike, to ill-timed blairite triangulation attempts such as David Shearer’s bene on a roof speech, to desperate and self-defeating attacks such as the gcsb debacle and the backstabbing of their own colleagues and staff members.
And to make matters worse this absolute lack of strategy has been punctuated with own goals like Trevor Mallard’s ticket scalping, David Shearer setting the Auditor General on one of his own Senior MPs, Trevor Mallard’s offensive facebook postings, Shane Jone’s transparent lobbying for his donor, Trevor Mallard’s ill-judged bike race with the internet’s village idiot, various MPs’ twitter outbursts, Trevor Mallard’s obsession with David Farrar, various frontbenchers’ failure to attain profile, Trevor Mallard’s… well you get the idea. In short they’ve inadvertently allowed a narrative to form that they’re not a competent government in waiting at all.
Now before Edward the Confessor or some other Labour-leaning commenter wades in, what you read above are not my words. They are the words of a disillusioned left-winger who despairs for the Labour Party of old, whatever the Labour Party of old was.
If left-wing activists are this disillusioned by the Labour Party, how can the floating voter have any confidence that Labour is a viable alternative to lead New Zealand after the 2014 election. We have commented tongue-in-cheek in the past about the Greens becoming the main opposition party, but maybe that's not such a fanciful notion any more.
David Shearer was supposed to sweep in like the proverbial new broom and usher in a new era for Labour. Instead it's been same-old-same-old; the same faces, the same failures and the same outcomes.
Is Labour history?