It’s thoroughly depressing to look at the NZ Herald this morning, to see the Labour Party ABCs are back to their treacherous ways. These ways involve feeding lines about internal party struggles to the mainstream media.
In doing this, they are, and have in the past, supported the kinds of attack politics used consistently by the National Party’s well-oiled smear machine. The result of such organised attack politics is to drive away potential left wing voters.
The party I vote for will be the one that ticks the most of the following:
- will be working for all New Zealanders, and especially for those who are least well off
- will have MPs who all put the people they represent before their own career ambitions
- will work for the whole party
- will not be solely focused on winning the middle class vote: that is the “neoliberal” way
- will not be hung up on appeasing the MSM and corporate polling companies: that is the “neoliberal” way
- will be working actively to forge a new green left direction: necessary to face the many challenges in a peak everything world, where climate change is a major threat to us all
- will work as hard as possible for the party vote during an election: look to those Labour MPs who scored well on the electorate vote, had few Cunliffe-Labour Party billboards in their electorates, with the Labour Party vote dropping noticeably in their electorate
- will not have MPs who are so disloyal as to white-ant their leader to the (not really Labour friendly) mainstream media
- will understand how Dirty Politics* are used to disengage voters, especially those most likely to vote for left wing parties.
- will be working tirelessly for a fair and inclusive NZ, where no child goes hungry, where everyone has an opportunity for a good education, and where beneficiaries are treated as equals to others and with respect
- will be working for a caring society in which everyone has a living income
- will be working for a society where all those who want them have opportunities to get good jobs, with fair pay and employment conditions
- will consider the least well off and least powerful first, and not put them to the back of the bus
- and much more, where the priorities are a more equal, sustainable, community-focused, (all the) people-first society
The aim of Lusk and his allies like Cameron Slater was to use a two track strategy to install far right MPs in the National Party, move the party and ultimately government to the right. This involved having a smiley front man (John Key) as leader of the party, and PM. He would be kept at a distance from the attack politics. Opponents, within National, and in opposition parties would be relentlessly attacked using covertly orchestrated black ops. This involved National MPs and party staffers feeding information to Cameron Slater, his Whale Oil blog, and often in coordination with David Farrar and his Kiwiblog. This served as a vehicle to feed attack stories to the mainstream media. Alongside this, attacks and threats (of personal revelations) were used to ensure journalists worked for and not against the attack bloggers..
Lusk based his approach on the idea that attack politics disengages many potential voters from politics and is a disincentive to voting. The result is that it lowers voter turnout, but especially disengages more potentially left wing and independent voters. (p. 18 of Dirty Politics: How attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment).
Such attack politics were used consistently and relentlessly against David Cunliffe, before he became leader of the Labour Party. Some of the MPs in (the mainly right wing of) the Labour caucus were also against Cunliffe becoming leader, hence their name “ABC: Anyone But Cunliffe). And these ABCs appear to have been consistently feeding their version of the struggle to the media. Such an approach also fed into the Lusk-Slater black ops attack machine.
Cunliffe never has had a fair go, being always under attack from the right wing smear machine, while also never fully being supported by the conservative elements within his own caucus.
Any opposition party MPs who work in such a ways as to reinforce the National Party smear machine, are complicit in driving away potential left wing voters.