The Standard – Labour faction fight

Yesterday ‘Eddie’ stirred up the Labour leadership and factional issues again by posting Labour’s three factions at The Standard.

It’s easy to be suspicious of Eddie’s motives, but regardless of what they might be posts like this at The Standard attract non-regular commenters and ignite comment that can be quite revealing.

The Labour caucus response is especially interesting. At the time of the Cunliffe conference “coup” attempt “The Fan Club” appeared at The Standard, to wave a caucus stick, then disappeared when that fizzled out.

The Fan Club has shown up on this thread too, to take the fight back to the Standardistas. While The Fan Club often presents as an arrogant arsehole they are also revealing, sometimes inadvertently (ego driven). But this is a good summary of what Eddie’s post may be about:

This is basically the faction fight: a rather unholy alliance of Auckland based Clark-era apparatchiks who never quite made it and far-left unionists who’ve filtered back in as the Alliance has died off against the rest of the party. Fortunately, the rest of the party is winning.

It was Cunliffe that started the fight at conference and when he inevitably lost he can only blame himself.

That describes a prominent Standard core well, a core that was very active in promoting Cunliffe’s chances before last November’s conference. One from that core, lprent (Lynn Prentice), posted a pertinent response to The Fan Club:

Looks to me like a pyrrhic “victory”. The type where the battle is won which merely ensures that the war is lost.

That could well be correct. Labour’s current leadership factions may have won the recent internal battles but they are losing long time activist support, and they are failing to inspire the wider electorate – in fact they are failing to even look adequately competent.

And while congratulating themselves on their internal victories they remain blind to the damage being done to Labour on the outside.

An exchange between Standard regulars Pascal’s Bookie and mickysavage, and head office heavy The Fan Club, says much:

PB: The fact that connected LP people seem to think that this post is the problem to be publicly attacked, rather than seeing it as a symptom of a problem to be identified and fixed, is yet another symptom of the problem.

TFC: I like this post. It sets out pretty clearly the people who’re doing a good job and the people who’re off in the middle of nowhere fucking around. Of course, Eddie & MS & so-on are fucking around in the fantasyland where one day they’ll win the faction fight they keep begging to have, but the fact that they are posting this kind of crap on the internet is a pretty good indicator they never will. If you have the numbers you use them, if you don’t you talk about them.

MS: Fan Club … nice to see you are back. I haven’t seen you for a while, the last time was to launch another anti Cunliffe diatribe.

TFC: Yeah, I feel that given you guys can’t seem to accept that you lost someone has to occasionally drop by and remind you of the crushing defeats you get whenever you manage to push things to a crisis.

PB: Thanks for proving my point so precisely FC.

TFC: What, you mean the point that people who want a faction fight get one? Yeah, that point’s a good one.

PB: Nope. The point that “connected LP people seem to think that this post is the problem to be publicly attacked, rather than seeing it as a symptom of a problem to be identified and fixed”.

There wouldn’t be posts like this if there wasn’t a problem.
The fact this post exists, and has so many comments, shows how shit the leadership team is.

And here you are, doing what?

Nothing good for the LP as far as I can see.

Once again there is no sign that Labour’s leadership understands the depth of dissatisfaction and dysfunction within the party.

If they want to learn a lesson about where their blindness and arsehole-like arrogance might get them they could look across the Tasman at Labor’s panic and mayhem leading towards an election. But they have shown no sign of understanding bigger picture realities.

All that’s been missing from the Labour’s three factions thread is Te Reo Putake trying to convince the Standardistas that a Labour (+Green+NZFirst) victory is a virtually assured next year, all the troops should do is shut up and dutifully support their leader and their party.

A suspiciously similar new name, TeRuhePotae, tried similar:

Can you guys stop ruining my Labour Party with petty name calling, list making, and posturing. How about you all focus on attacking the Tories and bringing a much needed change of Government to this country.

A response to that from lprent:

At present the most effective way to do that appears to be to vote Green until Labour sorts its crap out in caucus. At least the Green policies appear to be coherent, not as badly poll/focus group driven, and their caucus seems to largely work together. Well at least they do when you compare their performance against the dysfunctional and incompetent state of Labour MP’s both individually and even more so in caucus.

Basically, I’m havng a really hard time seeing the current Labour caucus being able to run an effective government without some other party providing some ideas to give them a backbone. Sure Labour would be better than the Nats. But that really isn’t that hard. And I really don’t think that choosing between incompetent blowhard conservatives and less incompetent but incoherent and vague that is the current Labour caucus is the kind of aspiration I have for my vote.

And incidentally, it is my Labour party as well and has been since 1981 when I first voted for them, and since 1984 when I first door knocked for them, or 1992 when I first started to actively campaign for them. So it will be a bit of a change next year will be the first time I revert back to the Values party I last voted for in 1978.

Problem is that I see fuckall party at present in the Labour party and far too many MPs who’d I have a real problem saying what they stand for. I don’t even haven’t agree with their ideas – I never really did with Helen Clark’s caucus. I’d just like them to show that they have some frigging ideas that aren’t half-arsed and that they have thought through. In other words,that aren’t like their quarter acre dream houses for $300k in Auckland nonsense.

Labour’s head office may think their internal party criticism is just “a rather unholy alliance of Auckland based Clark-era apparatchiks who never quite made it and far-left unionists who’ve filtered back in as the Alliance” – but their problems run much wider than that.

I know a number of people outside political insider circles who would normally have been sympathetic to Labour, and sometimes have voted for Labour.

A very common response to Shearer on TV or another half arsed petty attack from a Labour MP is a rolling of eyes and turning off – turning off Labour and turning off politics.

I started looking at how to take an active part in politics in 2009, after the Clark Government had lost. I approached some Labour MPs, offering some input from the outside of the party. I naively thought I could contribute to them rebuilding their party.

But they didn’t want new views and opinions. They wanted quiet servants who would support and praise an out of touch party that resisted looking forward. I decided I didn’t want to be a part of that, and Labour went on to keep repeating past mistakes under Goff, which failed. They then chose a leader who has proven to be no more a fresh old face on the same old party.

By the look of The Standard yesterday Labour’s leadership still has go no idea how to win a war, they are too obsessed with battles that are bonkers.

The Standard may have re-sparked factional fighting within Labour in the blogosphere bubble, but this is just one symptom of much wider and more deepseated problems in New Zealand’s political landscape that Labour’s leadership seem determined to keep ignoring.