I have always voted Labour for my constituency seat. Last election my party vote went to the Greens. This year they will get both votes. I have become deeply disillusioned by the Labour Party which I was a member of for 43 years.
In the Sunday Times this weekend Andrea Vance wrote under the heading “Why (the) Great Uninterested aren’t buying what politicians have to sell”.
I’m ashamed to say that as soon as politics is on RNZ I turn it off. That’s bad. Have I joined the “great uninterested”? I think I’m not on my own of being sick of politicians rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
In another article in the Sunday Times there was a quote from Saul Bellow, an American novelist whose characterizations of modern urban man, disaffected by society but not destroyed in spirit, which said:
“Death is the dark backing a mirror needs if we are to see anything”.
This quote attracted me as I can’t help feeling that we are witnessing the death of the Labour Party in its current form. In the 1980’s Labour was ripped apart by the Douglas clique. Despite the efforts of lots of us to change it internally we failed dismally. Recently I described the two big parties as “Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber”. I found that hard to write having devoted decades of my life supporting what I hoped was the enduring spirit of the Party.
A grand coalition?
In this article Iain Lees-Galloway: If ever there was time for a grand coalition to heal our rifts, it’s now | Newsroom it was argued by a former Labour MP:
The fact is, on all manner of issues, Labour and National are often the two parties whose views are in greatest alignment while the other parties, for usually vastly different reasons, vote in opposition to the Big Two.
If National and Labour can often vote together so easily, is it terribly difficult to imagine them working together as a grand coalition government? Well, yes. But only because it has never happened in New Zealand.
Rob Campbell wrote on Monday:
There are such big problems – climate, poverty, health, housing. They need big responses. They need deep and often inconvenient responses. They need leadership. With apologies to the Exponents, not a contest of “Who Fears Who The Most?”. When Policy Manifestos Become Lolly Scrambles Instead | Newsroom
Maybe there is hope:
During the 3 Waters non-debate promoted by Labour I met Dr Jim O’Malley an international scientist and a seriously good thinker. Jim chairs the Infrastructure Committee at Dunedin City Council and a network of people around NZ, including him, worked hard to challenge the water juggernaut, which was imposed on our country by a small, vested interest, group. We failed with 3 Waters, but Jim and I became firm friends.
Over the past few months Jim has toyed with the idea of a new political movement in this country which reflects politics beyond the Douglas/Ricardson, neo-liberal, dog eat dog economics. In other words, he sees the Bellow quote above, “death is the dark backing a mirror needs if we are to see anything” as the genesis of a new political movement reflecting to him in his mirror of hope.
Jim is standing as an Independent in the seat of Dunedin North which has been held by Labour forever. He wants to challenge the centralist thinking of both Labour and National. Jim is standing as an Independent for the 2033 Movement, which he hopes will grow nationally as those of us disillusioned citizens seek solutions other than what is dished out to us by the two big political dinosaurs.
Here are a few quotes from Jim’s website on what he calls the 2033 Movement:
Throughout the period from the Fourth Labour government onwards Labour have adopted centre and centre right economic policies. Despite courting the unions and low wage workers the party is dominated by university educated and economically comfortable politicians creating policies that align well with their life experience. However, that experience is one of a comfortable middle class and the acquisitions of property. The “squeezed” middle class is the focus of both National and Labour while the crushed working class is largely ignored. To appease, often poorly informed, conservative economic views political debate has been unevenly focused on the middle-income part of society and the extremes of grinding poverty and excessive wealth are largely ignored.
Too few of us can see ourselves in these policies and we are buckling under the pressures of daily living without hope that the government will do anything meaningful for us.
Things like rent subsidies, income support and the removal of GST from fruit and vegetables reflect patch ups that need to be applied because the economic landscape that successive governments have developed does not meet the needs of huge sections of our society.
The two main parties are now so alike that it would be in the best interests of the country they merge. This has happened before when the Liberals and Reform merged to make National.
I am introducing the formation of a true left political movement with the aim of that movement evolving into the new left main political party by 2033. By setting a ten-year timeframe it allows time to consider policies and strategies robustly before implementing them, but it also sets a reasonable time frame for making sure we stay on path and deliver.
A new left party cannot be achieved overnight, and it will not work if it is put together too quickly. Policies will need to be written from scratch. Before policies can be written a clear strategy needs to be established and an agreed upon vision adopted.
The smaller parties have been in existence but have not been able to increase beyond a 10-15% representation. I feel this is largely because they are strong in one policy area but have failed to establish strong policy in other areas. Yet they contain many policies that are well aligned with the policies I would like to see develop in the 2033 movement.
The 2033 movement is a left movement. If you are interested in establishing a proper mixed-economy social democratic movement then join the 2033 movement and have your voice be part of the new political left.
I am attracted to what Jim has written and I welcome response from Tuesday Club readers to see what you think about this concept. It is challenging but it needs to be approached with a sense of hope. My old school moto was “Spe Gaudentes” which means “rejoice in hope”. There has to be something better to politics than the junk we are currently being fed.