Shane Jones wouldn’t be quitting if he thought he was going to be in government next year. His resignation is a very clear warning bell; Labour cannot win if it loses people like Shane Jones and voters who support him.
And Labour cannot keep Shane Jones and the people who support him unless it looks like a party capable of winning, and that means a party that is inclusive, focused on jobs, better pay, and on celebrating opportunities for all of us to do better in life.
That is a basic core message that the Labour left ought to be able to unite around. The grave threat to Labour are the people, many of them Cunliffe supporters and workers in his own office, who are celebrating Shane’s departure and calling for even more Labour voters to be purged.
Here’s what Martyn Bradbury said on the Daily Blog tonight:
“Labour dodge a bullet….(it’s like) the relief of a haemorrhoid being surgically removed, losing Shane Jones is no different to that. Good riddance”.
no shane jones was labours john key and accordingly pushed national policies. HE WAS IN THE WRONG PARTY HENCE HE HAS DISCUSSIONS WITH MCCULLY FOR SOME TIME.”
Some, not happy to stop at driving Shane out, want to see others gone too:
Goff Mallard and King should have walked the plank.”
There’s no problem finding other Labour party staffers and candidates who share the view that Labour needs fewer not more people on its side, and that it can define itself by throwing people out rather than bringing them in. These are the militants who make every issue, from man bans to building roads a litmus test, and if you fail - good riddance.
The viciousness of these heretic hunters is driving people out of the Labour party at a time when Labour needs all the votes it can get.
If you disagree with these policy police or attempt to debate an issue, you are not just an opponent - you’re an enemy within.
This is a warning call for Labour; very few extra votes will be attracted to Labour because people like Shane are being driven out. And the more people who are driven out of the party, the more the party is dominated by people who don’t even realise there is a problem, let alone what the problem is. The risk then, is not just that Labour ends up in opposition next year, but that it is in no better position to heal itself for future elections.
In 1996 the Labour party dropped to 14% in the polls, ten weeks out from an election. They choose not to batten down the hatches and double down on failed strategies. They looked at why they were so unpopular, and changed. They reached a more respectable 28% on election day, and laid the seeds for victory, and the most successful Labour government of my lifetime so far in 1999.
Today there is only one way to stop a calamity, and that is for genuine progressive to run towards the party and demand a focus on jobs, and higher wages, not on banning Nigella, or trucks, or roads, or whatever NGO the Labour party is trying to be this week.
Focus on what Labour is for, and stop being against every passing thing the government does. We want to hear more from people who celebrate New Zealanders and less from the heretic hunters who want to purge the party.