Monday, October 17, 2011

Labour: Time For Plan B

"If you can't be good, be good at it." - Old English proverb 

What on Earth is going on with Labour? Not meaning any disrespect to the party, even though they'll never get my vote; but the closer they get to the election, the worse they seem to look. Unlike ACT on Campus, Young Labour is directly controlled by the party, and testament to centralized control - they got the poor kids to do a 'Stop Asset Sales' dance in the middle of Wellington Central. Are they desperate or trying really hard to look desperate?
Every poll, every survey, and every commentator on the upcoming election says this will be a piece of wees for National, not only will they be the most represented party in Parliament, but they could potentially govern alone. With this, Labour seems to want to fight this to the end and try to win the election. While I admire their determination, this close to the election - they are fighting a losing battle, and my recommendation to Labour would be to change their campaign strategy completely. At this time, the best offense is a good defense. 

Losing the Left

Unlike National, who do well to encourage voters to vote strategically, Labour doesn't do this so well: if you can't be good, be subtle. National has backed Rodney Hide in Epsom and United Future seems to hang on to Ōhariu quite nicely. Labour has nothing to gain from not standing candidates in electorates, but it needs to change its strategy from "Vote for Goff and get a Labour government" to "Vote for Labour and get a serious opposition to National."

Not everyone supports National's policy, but clearly even less support Goff. If Labour wants votes, taking Goff out of the picture and pitching themselves as the team to oppose National's policies may work better. People can keep the smiley John Key in government, but not completely unchallenged. Labour appears incompetent as an opposition and a weak challenge to National because they keep fronting Goff for Prime Minister. Labour and Greens votes will be turned off by the idea of voting for the loser, and the current Labour government is going to lose the election, but that doesn't meant they have to lose the war. Chances are people will simply not vote if it appears their side will lose the election and drop their nuts while in opposition. 

Let's be honest, they've made a bad impression on voters while in opposition so far, with the ridiculous filibustering of the VSM bill and few credible contributions to parliament. No one will trust a party that makes poor opposition to be in government. They might lose this election, but proving themselves as worthy opposition will mean they can win the next election.

Splitting the Left

The reason why Greens are polling at an all time high - in my opinion - is because Labour appears incompetent. Not only losing the election, but having no credibility or authority in parliament just means wasted votes. With the way the results look, Labour will have 31% of the seats (iPredict) but will probably have 13% of the voice. The Greens will get 11% of the seats but will continue to have a bigger and louder voice. With the Greens appearing more credible and centrist than they used to, it almost renders Labour irrelevant. Apart from where the Greens have been caught with their pants down astroturfing and media manipulating, they appear to represent a stronger and more determined opposition to the government, even when they could go into coalition with National! With no disrespect to the man, the Phil Goff brand had never worked with the public, and Labour is going to have to remove his image from the campaign if they want to purport their policies.

The Anti-National Agenda

Rather than campaign for expensive $15/hour minimum wages, bullying National's homosexual MPs, mandatory exercise for kids, censoring media and sending money overseas;  things like 'Worried about National? Vote for us' and 'Don't like a National policy? We'll stop them' will be received better. Technically, 'stop asset sales' is one such idea, but surely they can push this better than dancing around Lambton Quay with sandwich boards. Why not 'we'll stop asset sales, let's own our future' as a slogan? It's a bit longer, but the key words added imply the actions, rather than a bizarre chant that conjures up the image of Phil Goff's face.

New policies like capital gains tax and $15/hour minimum wages are not engaging voters or switching them over to Labour. Their strategy needs to be to prove that they'll make a formidable opposition, especially in a way that switches voters back from the Greens.

Why am I writing this? I'm a libertarian free-market supporter that feels best represented by ACT!! I'm not the sort for 'I told you so's or having a whinge on people, I prefer constructive criticism. I doubt Labour will take it though, and all of this does hang on the information brought forward that says their policy alone makes them more popular than National. Clearly if their policy is more popular, than it should be that which they'll sell to voters, not a certain Phil Goff that appears weak and incompetent. As much as I support a National government over a Labour one, National shouldn't really go completely unopposed. Labour has a duty to its supporters and especially former supporters to step up to that role.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the video, it seems representative for impoverished views


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