The Labour Party has a death wish. In what looks like a bid to make sure it loses September’s general election, last Friday the Labour-Green alliance launched a major plank of its election platform titled Budget Responsibility Rules. What the Labour Party is saying is that if it wins the election it will hold public spending in check. It is saying it will be no different from National and there will be no change in the neo-liberal voodoo economics that we have suffered for 30 years. And it is saying the working class can go to hell.
No wonder the National Party’s David Farrar said in his Kiwiblog:
“I’m delighted that Labour and Greens have signed up some Budget Responsibility Rules. This represents a huge shift for the middle ground of NZ politics.”
“For the last 20 years or so the parties of the left have campaigned on tax increases and massively increased spending. Now Labour and Greens have said that will keep government spending to under 30% of GDP.”
“In 2008/09 Labour left office with core crown expenditure at 35.5% of GDP. It took a massive effort by National to get it down to under 30% by 2015. Labour and Greens opposed pretty much every one of those spending cuts or restraints yet now they are saying they will stick to a similar expenditure level. Again, this is a huge shift, and a massive victory for the forces of fiscal conservatism.”
Every thinking worker, trade unionist, Labour Party and Green Party member and every left-winger of any description should be furious with the Labour and Green leaderships. What right have they to throw the election?
Even the loyal Labourite Richard Wagstaff, President of the Council of Trade Unions, is critical. He says on the CTU website:
“If an incoming Labour/Green Government is serious about fixing the problems we have in our education, health, housing and other public services, if it’s going to correct the imbalances we have in terms of pay equity, if we are going to really tackle income inequality and our environmental challenges together as a nation, then it will need to be prepared to invest significantly. That will test these rules as they stand.”
“We support higher levels of government activity and investment than these rules permit. There is an urgent need. Many countries who are more successful than us socially and economically have much greater government activity.”
Andrew Little, James Shaw, Grant Robertson, Jacinda Ardern are useless, useless, useless! As far as Labour is concerned, their whole parliamentary caucus is lamentable. So utterly divorced from the working-class experience, they have no idea of how to win support, even if they had pro-worker manifesto, which apparently they won’t have. No wonder only half of a confused working class turns out to vote. Andrew Little and the rest believe that to win the election they must appeal to middle-of-the-road voters by being conservative. They never learn.
Just when a continuation of a National-led government was starting to look shaky, Labour and Green come along with their stupid budget rules that effectively say that National’s economic policies are so good that they are going to adopt them.
If anybody had any illusions that the Greens would have a progressive influence on the alliance with Labour, they must surely be cured now.
We have a longstanding problem with the Labour Party. It is stuffed with treacherous right-wingers, who are utterly devoid of labour movement principles. Whether Labour leads the next government or loses the general election, we will still be faced with the issue of a political organisation to stand for the working class and oppressed.