Molly Polly 37
You see Mike, many Labour Party members and potential supporters are currently despairing of Labour.
Take my family gathering at Christmas for instance.
My extended whanau are on the whole favourable to Labour. I myself am a long serving LP member. Even had a crack as a candidate in a National stronghold many years back. There was no hope of winning but at least Labour supporters had someone to vote for! My kids (now adults) were brought up delivering LP pamphlets, helping at fundraising events and taking turns working on LP stalls at the markets.
At Christmas lunch the talk turned to politics. There has been a noticeable shift in my once staunch LP family members. Those under 40 are now Green Party members or supporters. Some voted that way at the last election or split their vote. My adult kids stood behind Labour, but they were faltering until Phil Goff lifted his game in the last few weeks and his heroic push at the end persuaded them to give both their votes to Labour.
Without exception, their support for Labour has now waned. They feel more in tune with the Greens and particularly their Leaders, Turei and Norman. They like their policies, they like what the Greens stand for. I doubt they will ever come back to Labour. Just like many of the friends.
Those over 40 at our family gathering said they were increasingly despondent with Labour. One of them over dinner said, “It feels like Labour is a train wreck about to happen, albeit in slow motion, and there is nothing we can do to stop it!”
He went on to say, ” We had Goff slowly inching his way to disaster in the last election…and now it feels like history is repeating itself. For Goff it was going to be a hard task to win as Key was still basking in undeserved public glory. But today the general public are beginning to see through Mr Nice Guy, and the Government, is in fact, a fucking train wreck. A perfect opportunity for Labour. But what do we have? A boring, uninspiring, insipid, bumbling Leader, who so far, is unable to display much confidence in Labour winning in 2014.”
For the first time in over 40 years as a Labour supporter I am questioning my political allegiance. The trouble is, I and my older family members, just as the younger ones already have, are warming towards the Greens. We like the way they vote for their leaders, we like the fact they have a man and woman co-sharing the leadership, we like the fact they speak up clearly about the economy, the environment, child poverty, health and education. We know what they stand for.
It’s hard for a Labourite like me. Loyalty runs deep. The hours and hours and hours of stuffing envelopes, walking the streets delivering pamphlets, phone canvassing 1,000′s of people and baking for fundraisers…all for the Labour cause. Deep in my heart I believe in the ethos that has always been Labour – fairness for all, social justice, equal rights, a living wage, etc.
But Labour has become unstuck. There was some light at the end of tunnel after the election with the leadership candidate meetings. What an inspiring process. We all knew which one was the winner. But the caucus knew better. We hoped to hell they were right. But it has become increasingly obvious they got it wrong Big Time despite the memberships’ gut feeling about who should have won the leadership.
Despite a good speech at Conference, it really was too little too late. And who believes that Shearer will run rings around Key in the election debates come 2014, or that he will even come close? And it’s not that we don’t want him to, it’s just that we can’t imagine he will as there has been, so far, no stirring off-the-cuff statements or passionate interviews that can convince us otherwise. And he has been Leader for over a year now.
So as you can see Mike, many of my whanau have lost faith in Labour. The younger ones of course have already departed, but for those of us who remain, we are struggling. We feel so dispirited that we can’t even face going to LEC meetings. When we do it feels like a charade…everyone pretending to be positive about Labour and the direction it is taking, but never a mention of the elephant in the room. We know we should attend more and speak our minds, but that is difficult to do when one’s MP is close to the Leader and is part of the ABC group.
For many of us it has got to the stage that even that person is not likely to get our vote at the next election, let alone the Party.
(I can’t believe I have actually written that last sentence…)
But back to our whanau Christmas gathering.
After the younger family members had gone skinny dipping in the sea (following one of the hottest Christmas Days on record)…us oldies came to the conclusion over the last dregs of wine, that unless a miracle happens (perhaps a full membership vote in February?) and/or Labour finds it’s mojo again, the chances of ditching Red for Green is now very much on the cards.
Labour insiders will probably dismiss Molly Polly's extended comment as just another attempt to destabilise David Shearer's grasp on the party's leadership. In our ever-humble opinion, they would do that at their peril.