Corbyn wins – will UK Labour now ‘Do a Cunliffe’?



The interesting thing about Jeremy Corbyn’s win in the UK and Bernie Sanders gaining in America is that their ‘old’ ideas of radical left wing policies are actually new to Gen X and Gen Y who have been brought up in a consumer culture with no idealogical compass.

Corbyn and Sanders messages have the ability of connecting with the disconnected who don’t bother voting and it can appeal to the middle who see the injustice of the current system and who are suffering from economic Darwinism as universal public services privatise.

Voters remember they are citizens when they can’t afford to be consumers.

When the economic system crashes, people demand more from Government than helping corporations.

But  Corbyn has real challenges and it’s his own Party. As David Cunliffe found out when he tried to take Labour left in NZ, the power brokers who rule these parties refuse to wake the sleeping dogs of the free market argument. These power brokers only concern is to manage the system when the pendulum finally swings back their way rather than challenge  the system and leaders who demand real intervention for the people and ask the hard questions of our corporate overlords will always face the most danger from within.

NZ is yet to hit the levels of economic hardship that can go beyond our stoic masochism to generate the anger that demands real change, but it’s coming.

Key has maintained his ‘moderate’ aura because the wealthy middle class pundits who still benefit from the maintenance of middle class subsidies haven’t been impacted the way the working poor and beneficiaries have.

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That facade only works while the numbers can be massaged, but beyond rebuilding from a natural disaster, putting all our cows in one Beijing paddock and feeding a property bubble in Auckland, National have no economic plan whatsoever.

The short term planning of the hands free let the market decide National Government have chickens that are all catching taxis back home. However the official narrative on how everything is fine sounds more reminiscent of America declaring the War in Vietnam is close to being won.

The Rockstar economy has passed out and is choking on its own vomit…

Yip, it’s about time to panic on the economic meltdown

Confidence shockingly weak: bank

Mortgagee sales jump as economy starts to come off boil

China adds chainsaw to economic juggling act

…5.9% Unemployment set to increase to 6.5%, 305 000 children living in poverty and Auckland housing market looking ready to pop – these are the realities of National ramping up of dairy (which also increases our climate change pollution) and borrowing billions in tax cuts to the richest.

In NZ, the 2014 election was such a meltdown that the belief is that politics needs to gallop to the ‘middle’ because the missing million who aren’t voting are poor, and young and won’t vote. James Shaw’s desire to work with National and give farmer’s a free ride and Andrew Little’s immediate dumping of the Capital Gains Tax are all perfect examples of this.

If the economy however slumps beyond our usual ‘she’ll be right’ mentality – that strategy may miss the political realities, and progressive left wing ideas that were once considered old will in fact sound completely new to that missing million.

But for Corbyn to succeed in leading the way, he will need to conquer the enemies in his own party first.

Chris Trotter will be giving his over view of the rise of Corbyn this Tuesday at IKA. Book here.


  1. Yes, I fully expect the ABCs to get active like they did here but a significant difference between Cunliffe and Corbyn is that Corbyn can get away with a couple of years of discord whereas Cunliffe had to fake party unity right from the start.

    Also the membership of the UK Labour party is probably a lot angrier than ours were last year and most important of all, there’s all those new members who have freaked out the Blairites. I don’t think they’re interested in any kind of wishy washy compromise.

    It’s going to be a battle though.

  2. With MMP we have a different road to the next election – arguably our Corbyn was Hone Harawira, for example. And ask Kelvin about how to deal with that!

    But here, like there, the grassroots members have the difficult task of negotiating around the place-holders to select candidates of the left, both in existing places (in NZ the Labour-held electorates), and in the ones we need to win (in NZ this means the list).

    And we need to keep reminding ourselves that the left means community/society, and the right means individuals in competition. And talking about it to people outside our inner circles.

    • That sentence Tony:

      “And we need to keep reminding ourselves that the left means community/society, and the right means individuals in competition”

      That’s a perfect summation of a thought that’s been trying to develop in my head. I’d know that I’m opposed to corporations being in charge and it’s observable that the opposite of living under corporate rule is living in community but that sentence sums things up perfectly.

      It also makes it clear why those on the right like being ‘individuals in competition’ – they’re winning the competition!

    • 1000% Tony,

      Bang on there, and I feel that the Gen X & Y have finally woken up to this, and are prepared to give egalitarianism a chance now.

      We need the young with us here so we can bring even distribution of our collective wealth back for all not just the filthy rich.

    • “With MMP we have a different road to the next election – arguably our “Corbyn was Hone Harawira, for example. And ask Kelvin about how to deal with that!”

      Yes Tony, well said.
      But Cunliffe has to take the blame for choosing Kelvin over Hone. Sadly for the left Little looks as though he’ll prefer Davis over Hone again.

      Meanwhile National gift Act a seat and use them to push through radical ideas like charter schools.

      And they tell me to stop moaning about Labour?!

  3. Now wait for the British Tories (via Crosby Textor) aided and abetted by the sly, treasonous Blairites, to begin the discrediting campaign of Jeremy Corbyn! This will be their focus, to take him and the British Labour Party down. It’s the way they work. We know that from our very own bunch of deceitful political crooks disguised as representatives of the people, using right wing blog sites to bring opponents’ reputations into disrepute.

    I’m surprised the US Republican Party hasn’t started a smear campaign on Bernie Sanders by now! But early days I guess at the moment eh? No doubt the Republicans are aiming for Hilary Clinton’ throat. Could be if they concentrate on Clinton, Bernie just might be able to slip through and win. He seems to have heaps of support.

    In a fair, decent, open and honest society, David Cunliffe should have won the last election. But NZ is far from fair, decent, open and honest at the present time, despite leading the world not so long ago in egalitarianism.

    Nicky Hager’s “Dirty Politics” is evidence enough of how this nation has sunk into the stinking cesspit of filth, corruption and downright dishonesty over the past seven years. And guess what? It’s getting worse!

    SO GO JEREMY AND GO BERNIE. Both bright positive lights on a very dark horizon of political squalor and sleaze! The people, albeit the UK and hopefully the US very soon, at last seem to be gradually waking up from a thirty year slumber! We could do to follow suit!

    Are you looking and listening NZ Labour Party?

  4. Can’t help thinking that it shows how far to the right the Labour party, both here and in the UK have gone, when the media shriek about now having a socialist leader as if it is something totally unheard of. But then I suppose in the past 30 years that is so true.

    • Agreed, but I think that the UK is more socialist than NZ. NZ has picked up nasty habits from the US, one of which is a fear or reds under the bed which, despite the Daily Mail’s efforts, isn’t an issue in Britain.

    • @ DIALEY – Yes.

      Oh the irony of of it all, tainted with a hint of humour as well 🙂 Media screeching hell, fire and brimstone at the thought of a socialist leader, leading (a socialist) British Labour Party!

      But then as has been mentioned before, there is a whole generation throughout the world, who have known nothing else other than neo lib politics over the past thirty years! They have to come to terms that socialism just might be a viable alternative to that which is not working for the majority at present.

      • I think it’s even more than 30 years, Mary_A, because when people are born they have no awareness of politics and economic models, etc. I’d say anyone under about 45 would have very limited knowledge of what it is like NOT to be living under neo-liberalism!

    • Agreed.

      For the last 30 years the world has moved to the right. More centrist. More libertarian which means less controlling and more individual freedom.

      This is particularly true when you consider that Muldoon and his predecessors ran the country roughly along Isolationist/ Socialist lines and that mold was only broken because the country was close to bankruptcy by the early 80’s.

      You could also cite modern Russia which is maybe centre/right Nationalist.

      And China too. Communist only in name and run along the lines of crony/capitalist these days.

      • More libertarian which means less controlling and more individual freedom.


        So you ignore all the laws passed by National restricting rights to protest; reducing the rights of workers and unions; and vastly increasing the power of State surveillance?!

        Jeezus, Andrew, what fucking planet did you beam down from?!?!

        • Frank, may I be the first to pull out this quote;

          “National has several levels within its organisation that try to sway public opinion. Groups target talkback radio, social media, surveys, and media polls. Crony commentators manipulate, obfuscate, smear, and stigmatise”

          He’s been beamed in from Nation Party HQ.

      • “More libertarian which means less controlling and more individual freedom.”

        That has to be the Tui comment of the year.

        We’re now living in a society more under State surveillance than ever before and you call that more libertarian??

        Plus workers rights are being undermined and that’s more “individual freedom”?

        You truly are naive Andrew.

  5. The fight is now on to win the next British Election for Prime Minister and defeat Cameron and Boris Johnson

    “Corbyn has also pledged to renationalise Britain’s railways and bring energy companies into public ownership if he became prime minister. He is in fact the public’s favorite Labour candidate to be the next Prime Minister, second only among all candidates, to Boris Johnson.

    At his final rally, Corbyn told supporters he was determined to win back those who do not vote at general elections.”

    • LOL, blimey, if you’d said to me a year ago that the line up would be Corbyn against Bonking Boris I would have choked on my coffee.

    • Is Boris Johnson planning to lead the UK Conservative Party? I’ve not heard anything about that, though apparently he has a left-wing opponent whose father was a bus driver.

  6. The only way that UK Labour Party will “do a Cunliffe” is if Corbyn turns out to be a light weight air head who says left and then drags them to the right!

    • I agree. David Cunliffe never seemed remotely left wing to me. He appeared to me to be trying to play both ends against the middle.

  7. If you started work as a 16 year old when all this became the living nightmare in 1984 you will be 47 now, all those that age and younger will have very little idea what even a hint of a just society is

    • I’m younger than 47. I remember 1984 and the betrayal of NZ by the Rogernomes. I was a teenager and interested in politics.

      Plenty of teenagers are still actually interested in politics, if politics is interesting.

      It’s this boring neo liberalism which is turning them off IMO

    • Andrew, I watched Balair’s speech at the event hosted bythe Institute of Chartered Accountants…

      Blair used a whole heap of cliches;

      “infinitely more choice over our lives”…

      “Business… productivity, skills, businesses create jobs not govt”…


      But you know what else he never said?

      He never annunciated what those “values” were.

      His reference to “infinite choice” means little to people trapped in poverty, poor housing, unsupported disabilities, unemployment.

      And his references to business could easily have been transferred to a speech from a Conservative Party Leader.

      In fact, Blair’s entire speech was indistinguishable from something David Cameron might’ve said. In which case, why vote for Party B, when the government in power (Party A) is pretty much the same?

      No, Andrew, there is no choice involved with Blair’s speech. It’s like going to a supermarket and finding two brands of canned beans; both exactly the same; costing the same; indistinguishable.

      Not much choice then, is there?

      Or, to put it into terms you can understand; imagine if both National and Labour were both left-wing parties, nationalising former SOEs that had been privatised. Would you be happy with that?

      I doubt it.

  8. I think that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters within Labour may have a better chance of getting their messages across than David Cunliffe ever had. The UK still has a good public broadcasting service with the BBC, maybe not as good as it once was, but heaps better than what we have in NZ.

    It was largely the MSM here, and their influence, that did all to discredit and sabotage Cunliffe from the start, and the daggers within Labour’s caucus came out with little scruples, as they felt enough support was there, for them to not support and to undermine David Cunliffe. The NZ MSM is a disgrace, most of it, but in the UK Corbyn may actually have a chance, also able to use 5 years as an electoral term to prepare to fight the next election.

    Re UK Labour, I would not rule out a split of the party, a break off of those Blairites and so-called centrists. But some of those may as well join the Conservatives then.

      • A “disaster” was created by the MSM, looking at every opportunity to attack David Cunliffe, thus discrediting him from the start. The MSM has as bad a few editors and so-called “journalists” working for them, as Cam Slater is as a blogger.

        The last general election was a foregone conclusion, once the MSM smeared Mana and Hone, and also Cunliffe, who got too little support from some in his caucus, which was all due to a fire that was started and fueled by endless media bias all over the show.

        As only few New Zealanders bother listening to informative reporting on Radio NZ, there was no way that the wider public was informed about matters of substance in the last election campaign, as even TVNZ and Maori TV were put under pressure to fall in line with what Key and Nats and their key position holding media lackeys wanted.

        You are the prime example of an ill informed, biased and short sighted individual, I fear, given the silly comments coming from you so often. Perhaps go back to school and learn reading real information, and then reassess your poorly formed views.

      • It would be a much shorter list than the number of lies, deceptions and gaffes made by John Key, but of course you wouldn’t want to know about that would you, Andrew?

      • If you insist, these immediately come to mind:

        > Embellishing his CV

        > Attacking JK for living in a fancy house when he was living in one too, in Herne Bay

        > Apologising for being man

        > The ‘caravan transport policy’

        > The capital gains tax that excluded ‘a family home’ but then couldn’t define what a ‘family’ was.

        There’s more but I’m busy

        • “> Attacking JK for living in a fancy house when he was living in one too, in Herne Bay

          > Apologising for being man”

          both of those are lies generated by the MSM

          context matters

        • FFS how petty. Doesn’t matter how enormous Key’s gaff are they’re either ignored or chucked about. Cunliffe was shafted by his own team. That’s it, full stop. Disgusting.

        • A short summary of a very big list of lies, deceptions and memory fades from our PM: has lied about knowing Exclusive Bretheren election tactics, owning Tranzrail shares, voting on the drinking age, owning a vineyard, NZ soldiers in Afghanistan. Has made hotheaded and false claims about 170,000 jobs from Budget 2011, New Zealanders’ incomes, SIS involvement in political harassment of Nicky Hager, Solid Energy’s fiasco, illegal spying on Kim Dotcom.
          There’s a lot more, but you are not the only busy person here, either.

  9. i think that making cunnliffe/corbyn comparisons is drawing a long bow..

    (i know trotter is running around the traps saying that ‘we have already been there..done that’..cunnliffe was our corbyn’ was a disaster’…but i think he is talking utter shite..

    ..corbyn has a massive mandate for change…for his leadership..

    ..cunnliffe did not..he was shoe-horned in..sent out with an empty policy-satchel..and then thrown out when the electorate studiously ignored those ‘we’re not quite as bad as national’ policies..

    ..and that was the real betrayal of those neoliberal-freaks in labour who control such matters..ensured he had s.f.a. in the way of policy to offer/inspire anyone..

    (and especially nothing for the disposessed..for me the nadir of all this was when cunnliffe appeared on the cmpbell show in the week before polling day..and confirmed..that like national..a labour govt would lift the benefit-rates for the poorest/sickest..(unchanged for 27 years)..’at the rate of inflation’.. is/was all more than a country-mile from corbyns’ promises to end

    ..and that heaping of blame upon cunnliffe for that soft-tory-labour-campaign turning into a clusterfeck was way out of line..

    (and funny story..!..the best performances from anyone in labour in q-time in ages..was last week when cunnliffe asked a question two days in a row..he showed what an asset labour mis-treated/didn’t support..and then threw away..)

    ..and the only cunnliffe/corbyn comparison i would that the moment when labours’ support peaked in ’14..was in those five minutes when cunnliffe wrapped himself in the workers’ flag..(shortly after he won the leadership..and talked about working in a positive way with the greens)

    ..this i saw at the time as a hint of/at the possibilities..but as i noted..those neoliberal/blairite/clarkist-freaks controlling the budget pursestrings..ensured he was sent out empty-handed..

    ..and it was all downhill from there..

  10. Shouldn’t the question be, will Corbyn do a Cunliffe?

    Cunliffe failed his own supporters with his continuation of third-way neoliberal policies.

    Yes, Labour MPs were against him, but Cunliffe turned on his own supporters. Such a shame he didn’t have conviction. Meanwhile, the left of NZ waits for a Labour leader to ‘get it’.

  11. One of the big differences between British LP and the NZ one is that there is a long tradition of left currents in the British one. There is no such tradition in NZ.

    Corbyn has about zero relevance to the LP here.

    His success does, however, indicate that a significant body of people are fed up with beige politics, with politicians who stand for nothing other than being in politics and government.

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