Chris claims that “banal is what gets you elected” so that’s what Andrew Little and Labour are busy doing – full bore banal.
He has posted at Bowalley that Busy Doing Nothing: Why Andrew Little Needs To Keep Labour Out Of The Headlines:
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the Labour Party is currently engaged in a critically important political campaign. No, it may not look like Labour is doing very much at all at the moment, but that is the whole point. After the sheer mayhem of the last four years, a period of tranquillity is crucial to Labour’s chances of re-election.
All of the party’s research suggests that by the end of 2014 the New Zealand public was fed up to the back teeth with Labour.
As 2015 loomed, what Labour most needed to do was to get its name out of headlines. No more leadership elections. No more Caucus back-stabbing. No more shots of furious rank-and-file party members calling for the heads of the “Anyone But Cunliffe” faction.
The new leader, Andrew Little’s, best course of action, after he’d spent a little time reassuring the voters that he could string together a coherent English sentence, and that he wasn’t in the least bit sorry for being a man, was to say and do as little as possible and just let the people of New Zealand get used to him.
One problem with this approach though is that Little has gone backwards this year, especially with his capitulation to Winston Peters in Northland.
And while Little stays out of the headlines it gives more opportunity for Winston Peters and now Ron Mark, and James Shaw and Metiria Turei, to build profile and support, or at least keep Labour’s support in the mid-twenties along with Little’s missing in action strategy.
At some point, however, Andrew Little is going to have to give the voters something more than an absence of embarrassing headlines. Part of establishing that all-important connection with the people who vote is to say or do something powerful enough to bind them – the politician and the voters – together.
By far the most effective way of doing this is through words and gestures; symbolic moments that imprint themselves on the voters’ minds; events that leave people thinking: “That guy would make a damn good prime minister.”
Little has done more of the opposite this year, and with the inaction added to that it’s a very risky strategy.
Perhaps National will keep being over-cocky and cock some significant things up, and Little’s Labour may come through be default, but with the current numbers that will be with substantial power sharing with NZ First and Greens (if NZ First will go that way).
Labour hasn’t just treaded water this year, they have slipped under the surface a little more.
It won’t be easy to swing from banal into overarm.
SIDE NOTE: Trotter has made several references that suggest he has been fed inside information from Labour…
“All of the party’s research suggests…”
“Except that is not what the polling and the focus groups are telling Labour.”
…and has done a friendly post with a bit of added input of his own.