The problem with all of this is: where’s Labour, in the midst of the greatest gift an opposition has been given for years?
One friend of a friend noted that maybe Labour shouldn’t be attacking, because we Kiwis don’t like whingers. It is the charge I hear from friends on the right. Labour should, instead, be coming up with solid policies and leave the attacks to the Greens (which is doing a marvellous job) and Winston Peters (need I say more? He remains a great political wordsmith).
For me, I’d like them to do both if they are to stand a chance. The job of the Opposition is to oppose.
And failure to oppose strongly may suggest to the electorate that the same thing could happen under Labour.
Six months out from the election I contested, I had my policies published—which one blog noted was unusual but welcome. That meant my policies were out for twice as long as my opponents’.
We’re talking about a party that has been in opposition for a long time, long enough to know what it wishes to do should it be handed the reins of government.
And yet, apart from a few policy announcements here and there, it has been silent. You’d think the names of the Shadow Cabinet would be in our consciousness by now. Embarrassingly, I even forgot David Cunliffe’s name recently in a conversation. I could only call him ‘not-Robertson’. (It is better than the PM calling Grant Robertson ‘Perry Mason’ today, I hasten to add.)
It makes me wonder if Labour isn’t working and whether the anti-National vote will, indeed, head even more to the Greens this year.
My last paragraph was off about where the anti-National votes went, but the old Saatchi & Saatchi headline held true in the 2014 General Election: Labour isn’t working. I don’t think I need to restate what I wrote four months ago—and what I had been saying even before that.