The Labour reshuffle is out and as TDB noted last year when Andrew Little won, it’s a step to the centre.
While Cunliffe’s Labour was hardly revolutionary, the questions he raised and the issues he championed have been seen as part of the problem so progressive identity politics and social justice will be quickly replaced with JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.
The hard word of God fell upon many behind the scenes of the Labour Conference on how important framing the debate was for the election and how being off message was damaging.
Little’s Labour won’t talk 5 Eyes or Abortion rights or Transgender rights or TPPA or Cannabis reform or euthanasia. It will be JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.
Labour are targeting those who voted Helen Clark and now vote John Key, that’s their audience and to those folk, NZ is conservative with a little c and likes to get bargains at Malls.
That’s why two of the most attractive MPs to that electorate, Stuart Nash and Kelvin Davis have both gone up. This will cause angst amongst twitter and social media activists but the grim reality is Labour is pitching to an electorate who voted Key despite gross abuses of power, and that electorate wants to hear clear and simple messages like JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.
The challenge for activists will be to hold and defend the line while dialoguing with Leadership. Most of the policy activists want to change are all in the Labour Party policy platform. They all pretty much suggest an inquiry to look into these issues, that’s where activists should put their efforts, in participating and influencing those inquires once Labour is in power. It’s a hard lesson to accept, but 2014 proved NZers detest big ideas and want very simple politics. You can’t get much more simple than ‘JOBS, JOBS, JOBS’.
With the mainstream media openly hostile to progressive politics and a middle class who have allowed their inflated house valuations blind them to their previous egalitarianism, there isn’t much space for Labour to take risks or be too provocative.
Labour have cleverly kicked TPPA into touch by giving Trade to David Clark and not anti-TPPA Twyford or pro-TPPA Shearer, so Labour retain a ‘wait and see’ position.
It’s a smart reshuffle that allows Labour to look like it’s reaching out to the voter base they need to win over to gain power. Activists need to know that their issues will be heard and given weight post that win however or Labour can expect backlash.