Is Labour relevant today?

The Standard has marked Labour Weekend (I presume) with a post oddly under the authorship of ‘Natwatch’ (which seems to be a pseudonym for someone not wanting to be identified as being a union official) .

Workers, unions and the Labour party

Convincing workers not to organise in their own best interests is one of the great successes of right-wing politics.

I have not needed convincing. I have never seen any need to belong to a union, although for short periods last century I was a compulsory member, the only sign of which was a deduction from my pay packet.

Yes, the undermining of the unions was a deliberate act, part of the neoliberal gutting of NZ. The political right hate unions because they protect working conditions, and raise wages – even today.

Part of union bashing, of course, is bashing the party that represents workers. Here’s a fine specimen – Look, there goes the Labour Party – sliding towards oblivion. Wilson basis his rant on Labour “faultlines” over Auckland – do National Party faultlines prove the same?. He then bizarrely concludes –

Actually, there is a point to Labour and it’s a really important one. They’re there to win elections. Labour is the main party of opposition and therefore is likely to be the majority party in any centre-left government. So they have to look credible. They have to be credible.

If they’re not, the whole centre-left suffers. A vote for the Greens is a vote for a Labour-led government. Votes for NZ First and the Maori Party are also votes for the possibility of such a government.

Not bad for a party supposedly “sliding to oblivion” you might think. Labour’s Future of Work planning is essential, Labour is leading the way on housing and poverty, Labour will work with The Greens on climate change – while National drags its heals on all of these issues (A surplus of cash and a deficit of concern for people). Like unions, the Labour Party is needed today more than ever.

There is still a need for unions – for the minority of workers who choose to belong to a workers’ collective.  The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions represents about 360,000 according to Wikipedia, but the CTU website says:

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Te Kauae Kaimahi brings together over 320,000 New Zealand union members in 31 affiliated unions. We are the united voice for working people and their families in New Zealand.

So it looks like the union numbers continue to shrink.

Some of the unions are affiliated to the Labour Party, and for the last few years have attained a pivotal role in choosing the party leader.

Current leader Andrew Little got the lowest vote from Caucus of the four candidates, and was well behind Grant Robertson in the members’ vote, but just won the leadership position due to a high union affiliate vote.

Little has a union background, but as a lawyer so he is not exactly a coal face working man.

Most of the other Labour MPs appear to have academic qualifications.

The Labour spokesperson for Workplace Relations and Safety is Iain Lees-Galloway. Prior to becoming an MP he worked as an organiser for the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, which is more of a professional organisation than the traditional workers’ unions. Lees-Galloway is ranked 14th in Labour’s pecking order so Workplace Relations doesn’t seem to be a high priority in the party.

Associate Workplace Relations and Safety Spokesperson is Sue Moroney, ranked 16. According to Wikipedia she has held a number of union positions.

From Wikipedia:

The New Zealand Labour Party was established on 7 July 1916 in Wellington, bringing together socialist groups advocating proportional representation and “the Recall” of Members of Parliament, as well as the nationalisation of production and of exchange. Its origins lie in the British working class movement, heavily influenced by Australian radicalism and events such as the Waihi miners’ strike.

Although Labour had split with its more militant faction, (who went on to form various socialist parties) it maintained what were at the time radical socialist policies. Labour’s ‘Usehold’ policy on land was in essence the replacement of freehold tenure by a system of perpetual lease from the State, with all land transfer conducted through the State(the full nationalisation of farmland). This policy was unpopular with voters and was dropped by Labour, along with other more radical policies, throughout the 1920s.

Andrew Little:

Leading the union and working alongside some of New Zealand’s biggest companies I saw first hand the kind of economy we need – about what we need to do to create and save the jobs that families rely on for their financial security.

These experiences taught me that our economy isn’t just about numbers on a spreadsheet. It’s about New Zealanders and their families and whether people have opportunity and are able to get ahead.

New Zealand was becoming increasingly weighted in favour of those already doing well, while throwing up barriers that stopped other people get ahead.

As a nation, we weren’t doing the kind of things we needed to do to generate new wealth, and so ordinary Kiwis found themselves fighting over a smaller and smaller share of a shrinking economy. I made the decision then that if I wanted to help turn all that around, I was going to run for Parliament.

So Little’s Labour visions are quite different to the aims of the party when it was set up a century ago.

Modern elections are fought largely over perceived competence in managing the country’s economy, so Labour competes with National on this basis. The tow main parties seem largely to be proposing similar outcomes with variations to their aims on how to achieve those outcomes.

Labour is barely recognisable today as a socialist working man’s party, but modern New Zealand is far different as well. There are far fewer labourers, and far more women in the workforce.

Labour’s relevance now has to be reinvented if they are to distinguish themselves from National. They are trying to do that with their ‘Future of Work’ project.

We’re looking to the future too. We are one of the only parties in the world doing serious thinking about the future of work – about where jobs are going to come from in 20 and 30 and 40 years’ time and how we ensure that Kiwis aren’t left out or left behind as the world changes.

This could be an important project, albeit difficult to predict given the technological and societal changes over the last 20, 30 and 40 years.

But is it too forward thinking to be relevant to most working people next year when we have our next election?

Labour lost it’s way over and has muddled through the last decade.

The party can reinvent itself and become relevant to today’s voters, but it is not yet apparent how, beyond offering a chance to Greens to get their first chance to be a part of a government.

One thing they will have to do to become relevant as a serious contender is to ditch the ‘if you criticise us you’re a right winger’ mentality.

Police numbers game

With a by-election coming up in December, which will probably include a new party campaigning on law and order, and a general election next year, parties are throwing police numbers around.

Police Minister Judith Collins in a speech to the New Zealand Police Association Annual Conference this week:

The Government has also made significant recent financial investments in policing.  Budget 2016 delivered an extra $299.2 million to Police over the next four years, including $279.9 million to fund pay increases

And of course there are more 600 more officers on the beat than there were in 2009, and advances in technology and strategy have made our police much more efficient.

That said, there is no doubt that demands for Police services have increased considerably and there is pressure on Police resourcing.

I take that very seriously and I have been discussing this with Police and my colleagues for some time.

We’re still working through the numbers but recently the Prime Minister confirmed that the government is likely to increase the number of Police.

Will we see numbers announced before the by-election?

Labour threw down the gauntlet. Oddly it’s not on their website ‘Latest news’ yet (or anywhere that I can see on their website) but Andrew Little also spoke at the conference:

I am committed to lifting police numbers in the first term of a Labour Government.

Today, I am proud to announce that Labour will hire a thousand more Police officers in our first term.

There will be 1,000 more Police officers under a Labour Government I lead.

This will take total officer numbers to 10,000, and it will be enough to bring the Police to population ratio back below the international benchmark of 1 to 500.

We will work with police to prioritise these additional officers on the serious invasive and violent offences like assaults, sexual assaults, burglaries, and robberies, and of course, the scourge that is methamphetamine.

This increase will be fully funded.

We’ll boost the total Police Budget in line with the increase in officer numbers.

That means $180m more a year for policing once all the extra officers are recruited.

Nothing from the Greens website yet.

NZ First have been calling for more police for some time. Winston Peters will address the conference this morning.

Little says Labour would welcome Leggett back

Labour leader Andrew Little says that Nick Leggett would be welcomed back into Labour, despite describing Leggett as “a right-wing candidate”.

When Leggett resigned from the Labour Party so he could stand for the Wellington mayoralty against a Labour candidate Little was not amused.

Labour MPs forbidden from associating with “right-wing” Wellington mayoral candidate

And he’s making it clear he considers Nick Leggett, a former Labour Party member, a right-winger.

“His campaign manager is well-known ACT party identity. We know that there’s money from the right-wing that has gone into his campaign. He’s a right-wing candidate.”

Wellington Mayoral candidate Nick Leggett appears to be public enemy number one for the Labour Party as its MPs are forbidden from associating with him.

Labour Leader Andrew Little has pulled rank, preventing MP Stuart Nash from speaking at an event where Mr Leggett was also speaking.

Mr Little said the event was for right-wingers who have routinely sought to undermine the Labour Party and it’s not right for a Labour MP to share a platform with people who do that.

Now Labour’s Justin Lester has beaten Leggett in the mayoralty Little seems to have changed his views, or at least his public stance.

NZ Herald  in Another contender in fight for Mt Roskill:

Former Porirua mayor Nick Leggett would be welcome back into the Labour fold as someone with a “big future ahead of him”, Labour leader Andrew Little says.

“Nick is a talented guy…whether he just saw an opportunity for those who wanted to back him for mayor against a Labour candidate, who knows,” Little said, after Labour-endorsed Justin Lester was confirmed as mayor last night.

“He is a talented guy and he has got a big future ahead of him. But he has got to work with people who can organise for his success.”

Leggett resigned from Labour – which he joined at age 15 – just before announcing his nomination for Wellington mayor as an independent.

In that way he avoided being expelled because it against the rules for members to stand against endorsed candidates.

Little made an attack on Leggett in August, saying his campaign was being run by an Act identity and that his campaign was being funded by “right-wingers.”

Leggett took issue with that description, saying he was a moderate who was “pro-enterprise” but also a strong advocate for social issues while mayor of Porirua.

He believed Little’s comments reflected the fact there was a “purge” going on within Labour to rid itself of members considered “right wing”.

It sounds like both Leggett and Little were not happy at all with each other.

So what now for Leggett? Will he “work with people who can organise for his success”? If he rejoins Labour and puts himself forward as a candidate next year it would be interesting to see where he was placed on the Labour list.

This is an odd flip flop from Little. Is it a genuine attempt at conciliation? Or is it an attempt to stop Leggett looking around at other parties?

Sanders/Trump/Brexit syndrome in NZ?

In the US and UK where there’s a lot of disillusionment with politics and parties, as illustrated by strong levels of support for alternatives like Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn.

Volatile polls suggest there could be a large lump of disgruntlement in New Zealand too, but there is one significant difference here – no political alternative has appealed as much.

NZ First has picked up some of the protest support, but Winston Peters is hardly a breath of fresh air on the political scene here.


Waiting for the top job…

None of the other alternatives have popular appeal – Andrew Little, Metiria Turei and James Shaw don’t have the maverick attraction of Sanders, Trump, Corbyn.

However Brexit may have a parallel in our flag referendum,

There may be a groundswell of disgruntlement but here there is no one to attach it to.

Dunne: “the decidedly inferior Mr Little”

In his weekly blog post Peter Dunne has made it clear that he doesn’t rate Andrew Little highly.

Dunne is obviously not angling for a memorandum or any sort of understanding with Labour. He may not care, it’s unknown whether he will stand again next year. He may also not care for an alliance involving Greens and NZ First along with Labour.

Dunne’s post takes a historic look at why he thinks Little’s spurning of the centre is likely to be unsuccessful, interspersed with some fairly pointed remarks about Little.

While the Leader of the Opposition is right to talk of “coalitions of interests” he is wrong to assume he alone can put them together without the glue of the centre ground. Fraser, Holyoake, and more latterly Clark and Key fully understood that point.

Mr Little, who is nowhere near their league, appears not to.

Not very complimentary.

So, the Leader of the Opposition thinks elections should not be about who wins the centre ground. He is right, up to a point, especially about bringing together “coalitions of interests” in his bid to win office.

Where he is wrong, however, is that no New Zealand Government – single or multi party, pre or post MMP – has ever been elected without winning over the centre ground of politics. Moreover, for at least one hundred years, New Zealand has had moderately conservative governments, led since the 1930s by either National or Labour.

But Dunne also opines that Little is nowhere near the quality or popularity of Labour’s successful leaders, like Norm Kirk, David Lange and Helen Clark.

It is no coincidence that along the way, Kirk, Lange and Clark had all moderated their message to win the public confidence, and that Labour only won office when they did so.

Yet the far less impressive Mr Little apparently believes he can eschew those lessons.

And again:

But again, the decidedly inferior Mr Little knows better.  

Dunne is yet another ex-Labourite who is not on good terms with the current Labour leadership.



Little: I’m not in the centre at all

Andrew Little on  ‘If that’s the centre, I’m not in the centre at all.”


RNZ (audio) Andrew Little rejects labels of centre or left

The Labour leader Andrew Little has dismissed Helen Clark’s advice Labour should work at ‘commanding the centre ground’ saying labels such as centre are meaningless.

He said virtually the same think on Breakfast where he tried to explain: “I’m focusing on issues that affect middle NZ’s and solutions for it'”.

There has been technical debate about whether centre, left and right are the right argument, like at Dim-Post in Notes on the unidimensional spatial model of politics.

Talking about ‘the left’ or ‘the centre’ is useful shorthand, but the ‘median voter theory’ or, as political scientists call it, the ‘uni-dimensional spatial theory’ of voter behavior is meaningless and has been discredited for several decades, although some pundits still seem attached to it.

For intellectuals interested in values and policy the unidimensional model is important. You can pick your side – ‘the left’ or ‘the right’ – and decide that they’re the good guys, and the others are the bad guys, and convince yourself anyone voting for the bad guys is doing so out of bad intentions or false consciousness.

But very few voters think about politics like this. They decide based on social identity, valence issues like competence, their mood, largely determined by economic factors but also influenced by retail politics: interactions with politicians and their supporters.

I think of this as ‘The Good Look’ spectrum (based on the press gallery’s current favourite euphemism for when a politician does something illegal or evil or stupid, that it is ‘not a good look’) and it interacts with the left-right spectrum

Rob Hosking (of NBR):

Little’s right. It is meaningless, mostly, But in politics you pick your battles, you choose what messages you want to send, and you don’t want to choose those which reinforce your existing negatives. This one does.

Vernon Small at Stuff: John Key promotes Helen Clark. Andrew Little distances himself from her views. Say what?

Even if things should fall apart, it seems the centre cannot hold Labour leader Andrew Little’s interest.

In a strangely intense rejection of Helen Clark’s suggestion that parties on the left must “command the centre ground” to win elections, Little dismissed the idea as “meaningless” and “a pretty hollow view”.

Strange, because it is truism. Winning power requires 50 per cent plus one of the voters – and Mr 50 and Mrs 51 are by definition in the centre.

That is where the centre is critical.

He may even have been worried his own insiders would take “centrism” as an abandonment of his mandate.

As he explains it, he is constructing a “coalition of constituencies” ahead of next year’s election. It is one that transcends simplistic Left and Right, but is focused on some salient issues, such as health, housing, inequality and the needs of small business.

But whatever the explanation, it seems odd that Little would allow himself to be seen as offside, or peeved, with Clark’s view.

She is, after all, Labour’s most recent and consistent winner.

Contrast Little’s stance with Prime Minister John Key’s enthusiastic championing of Clark, his former rival, as the next United Nations chief.

Clark was, after all, popular with many a centrist and women voter in her time and still commands respect. Showing magnanimity towards her can hardly harm his prospects of a fourth term – and might well improve it.

Which underscores just how odd it was that Little would distance himself from her comments – especially when the UN secretary-general vote is coming to a head.

I’m not sure that this is a winning strategy.Others are also doubtful.

Tough gig for Mike Jaspers coming in as media guy for as he eschews the centre.

Jaspers is filling the vacant position in Little’s office as Chief Media Officer. I don’t know if he has started yet, but he would appear to have taken on quite a challenge.

Little dismisses Clark’s centre ground

This morning on TV1’s Q & A Helen Clark said that to win an election it was necessary to command the centre ground, but Andrew Little dismissed this as unnecessary and said that his aim was to form a “a coalition of constituencies” such as low- and middle-income Kiwis concerned about issues like housing and the economy.

Stuff: Labour leader Andrew Little dismisses Helen Clark’s advice about ‘commanding the centre ground’

Clark told TVNZ progressive parties like Labour could not be written off and had to “roll with the punches” despite poor results around the world in recent years.

“The truth is that the modern politics in democratic societies has become a bit like a consumer exercise. You try something; you try something else.”

However, they had to ensure they had the support of voters in the centre in order to succeed, she said.

“It’s possible and it’s necessary, because to win an election in New Zealand or probably any Western society, you must command the centre ground.

“You have your strong core of supporters, but you must get the centre ground voters, and I think I was successful in that for quite a lot of years.”

And John Key has been successful for three elections since Clark led the country.

But Little sees Labour’s future opportunities.

But Little said he didn’t think an analysis about the centre is at all helpful – “it’s meaningless”..

“What I talk about and what I think about are the issues of the day and the constituencies who are most concerned.”

Little said his focus was instead on forming “a coalition of constituencies”, such as low- and middle-income Kiwis concerned about issues like housing and those in the business sector unsatisfied with the Government’s efforts to grow the economy.

“Right now, we’ve got a whole bunch of people in New Zealand who are being shut out of the kind of opportunities that were taken for granted 20 years ago.”

Little has a bit of work to do to convince voters this is a winning strategy. It’s a huge risk trying something untested like this.

Labour “all the more certain” to win

Party President Nigel Haworth has said that Labour are “all the more certain” to win next year’s election because of Andrew Little’s leadership.  He was speaking at an event in Dunedin celebrating the centenary of the party.

That’s rather optimistic given the current state of the party and polls.

ODT: Labour confident in its 100th year

The event was held at the Community Gallery to celebrate the party’s centenary exhibition.

It allowed Labour to look back on its achievements with pride.

“We have done the hard yards. The other side has picked up what we’ve done and sort of tinkered with it,” Prof Haworth said.

The party expected a September 2017 general election, and was six months ahead of what it had anticipated in its preparations, Prof Haworth said.

Hard to see how Labour is six months ahead of preparations, unless they mean with fund raising or candidate selection.

Clare Curran acknowledged the party had not always lived up to its ideals.

It had mostly, but not always, stuck to its values.

“Let’s be honest,” she said.

Asked about the comment, Ms Curran told the Otago Daily Times  there was no point  “glossing over” the economic upheaval of the 1980s, but people should remember it was one part of a significant history.

Labour in the 80s rescued the country from the dire economic situation left be Rob Muldoon, nut now some on the left seem to see Lange and Douglas as dirty words.

Mr Little was keen to look forward, rather than back, devoting much of his speaking time to a campaign-style speech that talked about the “Kiwi dream” and the “deep housing crisis”.

Littler has been using those themes for some time.

If elected,  Labour would not put up with further delay to the Dunedin Hospital redevelopment, and would start rebuilding immediately.

‘If’ elected? I thought politicians spoke more positively than that.

Labour would guarantee no loss of services, and would safeguard its status as a “fully fledged” teaching hospital, Mr Little said.

Dunedin hospital has battled against losses of services for decades under successive governments. With the city and coastal Otago falling behind other parts the country population-wise and the ongoing centralising of expensive health facilities it’s hard to see the level of services maintained.

Listening to Mr Little’s speech was Labour supporter Richard Thomson, deputy commissioner of the Southern District Health Board and a member of the hospital redevelopment partnership group.

He declined to comment when approached by the ODT.

Thomson will know the reality of the situation.


Does anyone recognise this dude?





Stuart Nash versus the constitution and the Police

Stuart Nash, Labour’s spokesperson for Police, was strongly criticised recently for comments made on the sentencing of Nikolas Delegat, including by law professor Andrew Geddis who said Nash was “calling for the undermining of New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements”.

Pundit: Shut up, Stuart Nash (with added thoughts on the Nikolas Delegat case)

Stuart Nash is trying to make political hay out of Nikolas Delegat’s crime and punishment. The problem is, in doing so he’s calling for the undermining of New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements. That’s … not a good thing.

Here’s what the NZ Herald quotes Nash as saying:

Labour’s Nash said the Government should tell the Crown Law Office to appeal the “ridiculously light” sentence handed down to Nikolas Delegat for assaulting a policewoman.

“The Prime Minister and the Police Minister must come out and condemn the sentence as totally inadequate and state that Crown Law will appeal. This would send a very clear message that this type of behaviour against police will not be tolerated by our communities and offenders will be punished accordingly.”

There’s just so very, very much wrong with this. The Government can’t tell Crown Law to appeal anything. That decision lies in the hands of the Solicitor General, who is a non-political appointee.

Second, Ministers cannot come out and “condemn [Delegat’s] sentence as totally inadequate”.

What Stuart Nash is calling for here is Ministers to completely ignore fundamental precepts of our constitution. Now, I get why he is doing so – he’s seeking to capitalise on some widespread outrage with how Delegat was treated (more on that in a moment).

But the fact is that the Government cannot and should not do what he’s saying it should, and he’s completely out of order to demand that it do so.

A party spokesperson for Police should know these things.

More problems for Nash with publicity about him attacking Police officers.

Early yesterday via Newstalk ZB: Stuart Nash in stoush with Police top brass

A skirmish between Labour and the police has blown up into an all-out war of words.

Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard has written to Labour leader Andrew Little, complaining that Napier MP Stuart Nash is going too far in his criticisms of Eastern District Commander Sandra Venables.

Mr Nash said he’s raising issues that the community wants addressed, but admits he possibly shouldn’t personally target the District Commander.

“She might not be allowed to come out and say MP Stuart Nash is wrong and I refute this, I’d like to meet him at dawn with pistols.”

“But what she can do is start taking a really proactive stance on communicating with the community.”

Nash said he might make future criticism less personal, but he still stands by his criticisms of police leadership.

The Deputy Commissioner has had enough, saying Stuart Nash is repeatedly attacking someone who isn’t allowed to reply publicly, and that he’s incorrectly blaming the District Commander for the problems he sees.

Judith Collins had a dig at Nash

Police Minister Judith Collins thinks something very simple is behind Labour’s criticisms.

“Well I think they both probably have a problem with strong women.”

After his strong criticisms and response Nash softened somewhat later in the day.

Stuff: Labour’s Stuart Nash under police fire over his attacks on the Eastern District Commander

Labour’s police spokesman Stuart Nash is backing down on his sledging of a District Commander after police attacked his behaviour in a letter to Labour leader Andrew Little.

“By and large my criticisms aren’t based on what people tell me, they’re based solely on statistics,” he said.

Little and Nash have met to discuss the letter from Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard, which was also posted on the internal police bulletin board, and Nash says a decision not to mention Venables name in future was his.

“What I’ve said to Andrew, what I’ve promised to do is that I will not mention the District Commander by name again and I’ll confine my severe criticisms to the Police Minister and the lack of funding,” Nash said.

“It’s what I suggested as the best way forward.”

Collins pinged him again:

Police Minister Judith Collins said Nash is in the wrong and “needs to stop it and act more professionally”.

“He needs to stop attacking a senior police officer or any police officer who is not actually able to defend themselves publicly,” she said.

Nash’s plan to change tack and concentrate his criticism on Collins was a sign he has a “problem with strong women,” Collins said.

Andrew Little…

…said he supported Nash “who is doing his job as a local MP” but they had agreed he would keep his focus in the political arena and in particular on the Police Minister.

That’s a wishy washy ‘support him doing his job but he will change how he does it’ sort of comment, and doesn’t reflect the message he brought back from Canada of presenting a positive party.

Labour staff appointments

Andrew Little has made two appointments to vacant positions in the Labour leader’s office.

Chief of Staff – Neale Jones


Jones has been upgraded from his current job of Political Director in Little’s office.

Te Reo Putake has some detail at The Standard:

Excellent appointment for Chief of Staff. I’ve known Neale for years and he is a top bloke and good value for the job. I know he also worked with Andrew Little at the EPMU, modernising that union’s comms, and, clearly, they both work together well. I predict good things for Labour.

TRP has been predicting good things for Labour for years. He might be right about it one day.

Modernising the Labour Party may be a lot bigger challenge than modernising union’s comms.

Labour stalwart Greg Presland:

Neale is really good. Safe pair of hands and dedicated to the cause.

So Jones strengthens the EPMU influence in Labour. Some, especially those with union connections, will like that. Others may be less enthusiastic.

Labour leper Phil Quin tweeted:

The appointment of Neale Jones, a dyed-in-the-wool loyalist, is testament to Andrew Little’s utter impregnability as Labour leader.

Also from Twitter Stephanie Rodgers (who works in union comms):

Nice one, comrade

Little became Labour’s leader due to the crucial Union vote (affiliate unions have 20% of that vote).

Chief Press Secretary – Mike Jaspers


From NZH Labour confirms senior positions including chief press secretary

Mike Jaspers will be chief press secretary, filling a position that has been vacant since Sarah Stuart left in May after little more than a year in the role.

Jaspers works in communications for New Zealand Rugby including when New Zealand hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

He has experience in Parliament – previously working as a press secretary for Sir Michael Cullen in 2006/07, and before that in Parliament’s press gallery for TVNZ.

It’s understood Little previously tried to hire Jaspers after he became Labour leader.

From a different sort of union, the Rugby Union.

Jaspers has been given the most attention by journalists and media who seem to rate him highly. The Standard reaction was more wary. Bill:

Fair to say “Neale Jones good, Mike Jaspers…jury out”?

Jaspers was very effective with the Rugby Union. This may pose a bigger challenge. He has to fill a void and somehow transform how Little and  Labour are presented.

One thing both Jones and Jaspers will need to try and overcome is the negativity that has oozed from Labour from the top down. On his return from a visit to Canada Little indicated that he was keen to follow Justin Trudeau’s positive methods.

Party comms can’t control what is said in social media but they can try to influence it. It desperately needs a positive makeover.

A comment on The Standard’s New lineup for Labour Leader’s office thread is a symptom of an entrenched problem of Labour’s image of vicious intolerance.

He is a semi-literate, trolling muppet, like Pockish Rogue and Maninamuddle. Their new tactic is to derail by being friendly and matey. Why else are they constantly cackling away on nearly every thread on this site?

A new form of Peter George.

Don’t respond to their apparent friendliness. Study the ways of One Anonymous Bloke. He identifies these sleazebags early in the piece and gives them hell. We all need to. Tell them to fuck off.

Friendly bad, fuck off good, so ‘In Vino’ and others seem to think.

Little recently very publicly branded ex-Labour members Quin and Wellington mayoral candidate as right wing traiters and and effectively told them to “fuck off”.

Enticing people like them, like me, and like thousands of other ex-Labour voters, to consider ticking Labour again will be a big challenge for Jones and Jaspers.

While some at the Standard are enthusiastic about these new appointments, hoping they finally have a ‘game changer’, shit continues to be thrown around their nest and elsewhere in social media.

Jones needs to reform the attitude of the party from within and from the top down.

Jaspers needs to present to the public a far more positive Labour, and to somehow paper over the crackpots.