The Difference Between Jeremy And Jacinda, Is The Difference Between Government And Governance

By   /   October 3, 2017  /   62 Comments

TDB recommends Voyager - Unlimited internet @home as fast as you can get

Even if Winston Peters deigns to make her our next Prime Minister, Jacinda has made it very clear that she hasn’t the slightest intention of frightening the Establishment’s horses; and that her own – and Labour’s – determination to provide good and responsible governance to all New Zealanders, from the top down, will not falter.

THERE’S A VIDEO doing the rounds on social media. It features the octogenarian Labour MP and socialist, Dennis Skinner, addressing the British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Even Helen Clark was moved to pass on the link  to her many thousands of followers. Her accompanying comment, however, was telling: “We shall never see his like again.”

Having viewed the short video clip, however, I feel obliged to voice my disagreement with Helen. That Dennis Skinner was invited to address the Labour Conference at all is a remarkable testament to how far the party has departed from the Blairite path. The rapturous reception he received, plus the warm handshake from fellow socialist, Jeremy Corbyn, add up to one inescapable conclusion. That the ideas of Dennis Skinner are not on the way out – they are on the way back. Meaning that the British Labour Party will be seeing a great many more like him in the years ahead.

Where I believe Helen’s comment does ring true, however, is in relation to the New Zealand Labour Party. I have been racking my brains to think of any living equivalent to Dennis Skinner in the party of Jacinda Ardern – and have come up empty.

There’s a very simple reason for that. There are no Dennis Skinners in the NZLP because, in 1989, just about every Labour socialist abandoned the Party of Rogernomics to join Jim Anderton’s NewLabour Party (NLP). By 1991, the NLP had joined forces with Mana Motuhake, the Democrats and the Greens to form the Alliance. What followed was a bitter struggle for supremacy. Between 1991 and 1998, Labour and the Alliance battled for control of the left of New Zealand politics. Though Labour would, ultimately, emerge triumphant, its victory over the Alliance was only secured at considerable cost.

Stripped of its left-wing members, and all the transformational and emancipatory impulses that inspired them, Labour ceased to be a party committed to bringing the voices of working-class Kiwis into government, and became instead a party dedicated to providing good governance for all New Zealanders. This distinction between government and governance is crucial to understanding the difference between Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party and Jacinda Ardern’s.

Perhaps the best way of distinguishing government from governance is to examine the two distinct phases of Labour’s 2017 election campaign.

For the first few weeks of the campaign, the country was seized by the giddy notion that Labour’s new leader was about to upset the New Zealand Establishment’s apple-cart. Her gloriously vague slogan – “Let’s Do This” – allowed every person to project onto Jacinda all their hopes and dreams for the country’s future. Labour’s poll numbers rocketed upwards on the strength of the popular conviction that a Jacinda-led government would be a government dedicated to installing new priorities and new voices at the heart of the State.

Augmenting this heady notion was the way in which Jacinda appeared to seize the torch of radical change even as it fell from Metira Turei’s grasp. Had she not made the Greens’ priorities her own? Had she not vowed to make Climate Change the “nuclear-free moment of her generation”? Metria had lit the fires of hope, and Jacinda (at least at first) seemed willing to keep on fanning them.

That was when the Labour Party dedicated to providing New Zealand with ‘good governance’ stepped onto the stage – and everything changed. From the young and fearless people’s champion, Jacinda morphed into an earnest young person talking about “working groups” of “experts”. Her marvellous slogan “Let’s Do This” shrank before our eyes. From a brave call for radical and far-reaching change, it was reduced to a brisk and business-like appeal to simply swap one team of “good governance” providers for another.

That was all the National Party needed. Up against a ‘people’s champion’ they had nothing to offer. But, on the subject of a young and inexperienced woman asking us to believe she can provide New Zealand with ‘good governance’, from the top down, they had plenty to say. The moment Jacinda allowed her mission to be diverted from changing the purpose and direction of government, to changing the oil in New Zealand’s clapped-out neoliberal machine, all hope of genuine change was lost.

Even if Winston Peters deigns to make her our next Prime Minister, Jacinda has made it very clear that she hasn’t the slightest intention of frightening the Establishment’s horses; and that her own – and Labour’s – determination to provide good and responsible governance to all New Zealanders, from the top down, will not falter.

Dennis Skinner addressed Britain’s Labour Party in front of a massive screen emblazoned with the slogan “For the Many – Not the Few”. He and his leader talked about unions, and nationalisation, and ordinary people taking power into their own hands. Their promise was not to provide a passive population with ‘good governance’, from the top down, but to make sure that the many are given all the tools they need to bring down the towers of the few.

It was the sort of inspiring performance I’d very much like to see again in New Zealand’s Labour Party.


Want to support this work? Donate today
Follow us on Twitter & Facebook


  1. Liminal says:

    Ah, the Beast of Bolsover (where my father’s maternal side came from, and some still there – most of the men miners in the now defunct Derbyshire-Nottingham coalfield). A brilliant thorn-in-the-flesh for Parliament on both sides, a great orator, fearless and well-known for his humorous quips at State Opening o Parliament.

    Good post.

  2. Tiger Mountain says:

    all very good to state the obvious, that an already class collaborationist party–NZ Labour–gutted of left wing influence will struggle to head left, but what are the answers to this problem?

    lets not forget that the Alliance foundered on the two default flaws of the NZ marxist left–the balance between international and local work, and negotiating the difference between needed reforms and “reformism” as a social democratic ideology; the Alliance imploded over bloody Afghanistan because some old Trots could not let an international solidarity issue ride for a bit while the needs of the NZ working class were attended to

    the only notable scores of the Clark govt. were due to the Alliance

    anyway, my answer is to unite all who can be united, regardless of their party affiliation (or not) to concentrate on breaking the neo liberal consensus–the unspoken agreement since the Lange Rogernomics govt that National and Labour must preserve the structural underpinnings of monetarism–the freest in and outflows of capital, the Reserve Bank Act, SOEs etc. etc.

    opposing the TPP, halting the penetration of state infrastructure by private capital, a massive state house build, re-nationalising sold assets without compensation, returning power generation and supply to public ownership, restoring union power, are all things that can be campaigned around to end the grip of neo liberalism

    • bert says:

      Exactly Tiger Mountain. Chris is throwing grenades at Labour and running. So my question to Chris is, until you get what you desire, what should we do in the interim, because in the interim we see our country being systematically destroyed by neoliberalism. Anything a Labour lead Government would do, would be better.

      • Marc says:

        Bert, you cannot be half pregnant, nor can you be half neoliberal.

        • bert says:

          Marc, so what do we do in the interim? No one appears to want to answer the question.

          • Marc says:

            Perhaps take a clear stand, for a change, on core matters of policy, I mean Labour in this case.

            The election campaign failed to fire due to vague, opaque policy, on tax and on some other matters. So there was backing down, which looked like Labour was weak, incompetent or wanting to hide things again.

            Cunliffe made some similar mistakes.

            Take a bloody clear stand, one way or the other, on tax and social security, trade, workers’ rights, business and international trade. I know this is not as easy as it may sound, but somewhere Labour needs to come out and be frank and direct, not dilly dally around.

    • John W says:

      TM – that would be a start to undoing done damage but it would not be enough alone.

      The crisis we are heading for is not just what NACT has done but also Labour and private bankers along with infiltration of Trans National Corps into the power chain directing Govt.

      George has some clear thoughts on other basic needs in a changed future.

  3. WILD KATIPO says:

    Hang in there, Chris ,… it may not happen at first and it may pale before Corbyn but I think it will happen , except more modestly. For a start , England is a bigger place with a sizable population , – and not all are tory’s.

    I would hope its more a front , .. a front that can have applications in scaring the hell out of some horses before going on to scare the hell out of another set of horses…by increment. More stealth than full frontal attack.

    We’ve yet to see.

  4. Allan Alach says:

    Yes, Chris, I am completer agreement with you. The chance was there and NZ Labour didn’t take it. Instead we ended up with a slightly less National-lite than previously. I wonder if the backroom power brokers in Labour put some reins on her, or is this her default setting? I recall Grant Robertson, sometime last year, being dismissive of the Corbyn effect and associated policies. Corbyn’s speech at the UK Labour conference was a gem.

  5. Mike the Lefty says:

    Check out Dennis Skinner on youtube. He is good!
    I would love to meet him in person.

  6. Shona says:

    NZ Labour is dead. Throttled to death by the spineless(Robertson) the childless ( Ardern , Robertson, Hipkins etc) the dull but decent ( Little Davis) and the lack of vision of the whole party.Young people do not vote they get the fuck of NZ (if they are lucky) and never come back. Lange’s government destroyed this country. Labour deserve to die!

    • And its this type of bullshit Shona that says more about you than about the current political dialogue. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Sam Sam says:

        Manukau DHB is asking staff to take voluntary redundancy during a time when they need to increase staff. Even if an emergency package was implemented it will still take a minimum 2 years to rebuild the facilities lost in cost cutting exercise of the last 30 years.

      • John W says:

        Jacinda has come close to renouncing the douglas and Lange neoliberalism.

        Labour still clings onto past mistakes made in their name deliberately by infiltrators.

        A bit of spine is what is needed to admit the mistakes of others it seems but why the reticence is the question.

      • Louis says:

        Spot on Darien, couldn’t agree with you more. Getting pretty sick and tired of these brainless beatups myself.

    • Pete says:

      Labour can be as dead as they like, as spineless, as dull and decent and as lacking in vision as they can be.

      The “childless” bit, like some epithet rather than a mere description, is bullshit.

      Can those who aren’t in poverty comment on it or realise what it’s like, or know something about what is good for the world? The same as being moneyed, or not.

      Being childless has got nothing to do with it.

    • bert says:

      Sorry but what is it that the great National party have done again? Does a PM with 6 children that lies to the country and admits to telling lies and ministers whom are clearly corrupt compare to the name calling diatribe that you have presented us with, Shona? And by the way, you don’t think Muldoon’s government contributed to the destruction of our country, alongside Ruth Richardson’s mother of all budgets. We’re still trying to gain pay equality from that.

      You’ll notice I mentioned 6 children in my post. Having 6 children or having none makes no sense whatsoever. Your hatred is actually quite shocking really.

      • David Stone says:

        Muldoons economics were as similar to Ruth Richardson’s as fire is to water. That National is bereft of progressive ideas or ideology does not absolve labour of criticism for being just as bereft.
        If Winston gives them the thumbs up, and they carry on with the status quo , and they haven’t said anything to suggest they won’t, then Shona’s comments are justified.
        But I’m going to make some more points below.
        D J S

        • bert says:

          No, Shona’s comments aren’t justified! Personal insults renders any comment irrelevant and there is also an assumption by you ” and they carry on with the status quo” that nothing will change. Just because Jacinda hasn’t put out soundbites or has at least kept some powder dry, doesn’t mean Labour won’t repeal National policy or implement significantly better policy. We simply don’t know. Remember Key telling people what he would not do, then when elected, did the opposite.

      • Marc says:

        There you go, six kids on the government’s payroll, what a bludger Bill is. On Kiwiblog they slag off people who ‘breed’, especially when the taxpayer foots the bill. Have they not noticed Bill falls into the same category?

      • Shona says:

        Helen Clark had a great deal to say about women needing to be in the workforce and working working working, as I recall when I was at the coal face of fulltime child rearing. While her government refused to fund out of school care programs or do anything about pay equity or allow income splitting for tax. Or any kind of tax break at all for double income families to assist with child care, Such hubris could only come from one completely ignorant of the reality of raising a family. So now our debt laden middle class offspring all leave NZ because there is nothing here . That is the vision of neoliberal Labour realised. If people on this thread can’t grasp that then you understand nothing of what the scourge of third way Blairite economics has done to the NZ family.Our grandchildren all born in other parts of the globe with no intention of returning here.

      • John W says:

        The human breeding program has to change. China is the only responsible Govt in facing this threat.

    • Louis says:

      And what about successive national governments destroying this country over and over Shona?

  7. jay1 says:

    Dennis Skinner 25/09/2017 Labour Party Conference

    Today the legend that is Mr Dennis Skinner spoke at conference. It was legendary and brought a tear to my eye. Enjoy………

    • jay1 says:

      Naomi Klein’s Speech to Labour Conference
      Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker Naomi Klein’s full speech to Labour Annual Conference 2017 in Brighton.

      Also really worth viewing! 🙂 Her comments are relevant to NZ and the neoliberal NZ Labour Party. 🙁

  8. Quicksilver says:

    Oh, okay then.
    Here you go National. Have another 3 years. In fact, have another 9.
    Knock yourselves out.
    Meanwhile, we’ll just wait for our well fed (relatively), well housed (relatively), pass-me-another-beer-whilst-I-turn-the-rugby-on middle class to wake up one day and suddenly decide they want a revolution. Yeah, right.
    And in the meantime, let’s offer no hope to the people living in cars, on the street, taking their own lives, suffering at the hands of profitier landlords, banks and other assorted scumbags.
    Revolution won’t happen whilst the people who voted National feel no pain. What possible reason do those 46% have to vote for a Corbyn-style party?
    Our choices in NZ, right now, are: We start the move to change now (and yes that CAN’T be done by frightening well-fed horses), or something like climate change/nuclear-biological war will render all this moot anyway.
    But at least Chris, with the world burning down around you, you will have remained true to your priniciples, eh?

  9. CLEANGREEN says:

    Re-nationalise rail, yes Helen did this but the National Government have all but destroyed our rail system since as they want to sell it again, – that is a certainty.

    Soour regional rail is being closed down and trucks are now wrecking our roads and asking Government to spend money to fix them again!!!!!!!

    Yes after National ‘privatised local road services’ two years ago , now due to the failing road conditions forestry, & truck companies are sending out press releases like this:
    Roads crisis ‘too big’ for us
    \Andrew Ashton Published: August 11, 2017 11:23AM

    BIG ISSUE: The Waipiro Bay Road as it was last year, one of many roads that have been having issues with wet conditions and heavy traffic. Twenty-two rural roads are scheduled for some sort of maintenance between now and October. File picture
    Waipiro Rd closed
    BIG ISSUE: The Waipiro Bay Road as it was last year, one of many roads that have been having issues with wet conditions and heavy traffic. Twenty-two rural roads are scheduled for some sort of maintenance between now and October. File picture
    THE forestry industry says the region’s roading crisis is too big for Gisborne District Council and Tairawhiti Roads to handle alone.
    A new report entitled “Roads in Crisis” prepared by Eastland Wood Council, in association with Federated Farmers, forestry owners and forestry management companies, calls for a joint approach to improving the roads and suggests the Government should be approached to take charge.
    “The region’s roads have become a problem that exceeds the role and responsibility of Tairawhiti Roads and Gisborne District Council to make change. It is paramount that others step in to assist the process,” the report says.
    It points out that forestry, trucking and farming operations are all affected by the region’s poor roads.
    “This is a major regional and national problem that requires the council, Tairawhiti Roads, and the forestry and farming sectors, along with central government, to start the process of solving this with appropriate collaboration of stakeholders.”
    EWC chief executive Prue Younger said it was important to note that the report was not about throwing stones but about recognising the “scale and urgency” of the problem.
    “We want to collaborate to find the solutions and work as a region to support an approach to central government to make that change to the process.”
    Ms Younger said it was now “time to act” and for the industry to drive a collaborative approach to change the roading crisis.
    GDC’s assets and infrastructure committee will consider the report.
    Concerns from Waikohu County Council
    The EWC report comes just a day after more concerns were raised by former Waikohu County Council roading contractor Bernard Cranswick, who said the situation there was at its worst level since Waikohu was amalgamated into Gisborne District Council in the 1990s.
    Mr Cranswick said there was “just no maintenance going on”.
    “The roads are falling to bits. Waikohu County used to have two graders permanently grading and two diggers permanently water-tabling. But at the moment that work just isn’t getting done — it’s farcical.”
    Mr Cranswick also questioned why the work was not done when the council received $1.20 per 1km of truck movement in road user levies from the government to carry out the work.
    At present, there were slips in the area that had not been cleared from the road verge for four years, while the Mata and Tauwhareparae roads were “tearing trucks to pieces”.
    GDC director of lifelines David Wilson said the wettest year so far in 73 years, coupled with an unprecedented amount of heavy vehicles on the network, was putting extreme pressure on the region’s roading network.
    “Our contractors SSE and Downers are working hard to keep up across the network.
    Longer-term strategy
    “The council is working closely with our roading partners to develop a longer-term strategy and plan around our roads.
    “Part of this is ensuring that our roads remain open and safe for our community.
    “We are having issues with a couple of our roads and we will work with our contractors to ensure that the community have safe access to their homes and farms,” he said.
    There was some confusion that the council was looking to close roads.
    “I would like to reassure our community that we are not considering closing roads, but we might consider enacting the Gisborne District Traffic and Parking Bylaw, which allows the council to restrict use of certain classes of vehicles on roads only if conditions worsened.
    “It is one tool in the tool box available to the council.”
    Restrictions would not be implemented without stakeholder engagement and then not before all other options had been exhausted.
    Mr Wilson said the present dry spell had given some respite and crews had been able to make necessary repairs on the network.
    “What is critical is the safety of the residents. We need to ensure that this is paramount in any plan that we make.”

  10. Marc says:

    Chris sums it up rather well, in another surprisingly good post:

    “That was when the Labour Party dedicated to providing New Zealand with ‘good governance’ stepped onto the stage – and everything changed. From the young and fearless people’s champion, Jacinda morphed into an earnest young person talking about “working groups” of “experts”. Her marvellous slogan “Let’s Do This” shrank before our eyes. From a brave call for radical and far-reaching change, it was reduced to a brisk and business-like appeal to simply swap one team of “good governance” providers for another.”

    “That was all the National Party needed. Up against a ‘people’s champion’ they had nothing to offer. But, on the subject of a young and inexperienced woman asking us to believe she can provide New Zealand with ‘good governance’, from the top down, they had plenty to say. The moment Jacinda allowed her mission to be diverted from changing the purpose and direction of government, to changing the oil in New Zealand’s clapped-out neoliberal machine, all hope of genuine change was lost.”

    To be absolutely honest, Jacinda never intended to be a true people’s champion, or say, a working woman’s or man’s champion. She has a career background in politics, as a graduate so to say, having worked in little else but the political establishment that existed since Labour’s betrayal in the late 1980s. Working in the office’s of Phil Goff, Tony Blair and in some administrative roles, and being a president of an international youth movement for a short period, that gives Jacinda damned little ‘qualifications’ as a working person, an ordinary one, lacking the academic literacy and conversation she can master.

    Jacinda has gone through the incubator of the academic and philosophical’ third way’ ‘progressives’, bringing reforms from the top down, representing the modern day urban liberal minded professionals, who were once university graduates.

    While she has some ideals, she will only govern and bring change within the firm constraints of a hardly changed neoliberal system and its establishment, nothing more, as leader of whatever government, even if it would be a simple Labour and Greens alliance.

    And for the rest, the ‘working class’ as we once knew it is dead as a cold, washed up, half decayed fish on a polluted beach. What used to be our working class has largely been abolished, shifted to overseas production, or has been transformed and partly replaced, to be made up of self employed contractors, tied to the constraints of individual service contracts. The rest is made up of the easily available ‘class’ of new immigrants with low to average qualifications, that can be taken advantage of, by employing them in the low paid jobs most NZers dread to work in.

    Those professionals, self employed that are now the bulk of the remaining middle class, and the ones in the upper class, do all to send their kids to university to get degrees, so they won’t have to stack goods on supermarket shelves, or to work in garages, in courier jobs, in trucks transporting goods or what else there is. They are the new, present day Bourgeoisie and Petty Bourgeoisie, who can live with new immigrants from Philippines, the Pacific Islands, India, some from China, Cambodia or elsewhere, to do the less pleasant jobs.

    And as the migrants come and come, we will not have any revolution or serious challenge of any kind, as most locals simply hope to somehow climb the social ladder, even in small steps, by getting degrees or at least polytech qualifications, to do the slightly more acceptable or better jobs, administering the new migrant working and service class, that keeps the wheels turning.

    So that is where we are at, the rest is just nice slogan talk, PC mindfulness and much crap. Add technological change, where people are just performing wheels in a system, robot like, zombies staring at shiny new gadgets, unable or unwilling to converse much in traditional human, natural ways, and the complex inter-dependencies, and we have some go around the bend, commit crimes, try drugs, drink in binges, or those at the worst end, go and kill others or even themselves, in despair or contempt for the status quo of an increasingly screwed up society in a modern day world that loses all touch with nature and what used to be humanity.

  11. Frank says:

    a question….who here believes Jacinda or anyone for that matter will be allowed to demonstrate a successful alternative to neoliberalism……ask the Greeks

    • TootingPopularFront says:

      Jacinda says neoliberalism is dead, commits to an interventionist government:

      • Marc says:

        From that interview:
        “Ardern however ruled out major changes to the legislation that sets out New Zealand’s monetary policy.

        “For me the neoliberal agenda is what does it mean for people? What did it mean for people’s outcomes around employment, around poverty, around their ability to get a house? And on that front I stand by all our commitments to say that none of that should exist in a wealthy society. And there are mechanisms we can use that are beyond just our economic instruments and acts, to turn that around,” she told RNZ.”

        “Espiner challenged her on this, saying Labour’s current plans would not take New Zealand away from neoliberalism, as it still wanted to keep core crown spending low.

        “Being fiscally responsible is not akin to a neoliberal agenda,” Ardern replied.”

        So no changes to monetary policy, and fiscal responsibility, but some intervention, which she never specified. We have some forms of intervention already, such as WFF, the benefit system, tax distribution of some scale. So what does Jacinda actually mean, and what differences will it make to what we have now?

        It is easy to make such comments in a campaign, but again, we are left to speculate what it will really look like, what Labour may do differently. We only got limited policy on it.

        It may simply be ‘neoliberalism light’, what we may get.

        • John W says:

          Hone campaigned on changing the heart of neoliberalism – the banking system.

          All the others comply with Bankers sucking the system and all in it dry.

  12. Aaron says:

    I think Labour was really lucky they changed leaders so close to the election, otherwise the downward slide back to 25% may have happened as it did to the last two leaders.

    If you remember David Cunliffe was all gung-ho and challenging John Key verbally with Labour over the 30% mark. I remember being quite inspired – and then it all faded.

    When Andrew Little came in he had the famous “Cut the crap” comment and we all loved him – and then he faded as.

    I think Jacinda was incredibly lucky to time it the way she did.

  13. Marc says:

    Let us face the realities, New Zealand’s Labour movement is a mixed bag of history, so is that of the Labour Party. Some is good, some is lacking. As for progress, yes, in New Zealand women got the vote, same as men, earlier than in other countries. But as for Labour and its leaders, and others who pushed for change, a fair few seem to have come from outside New Zealand (Mickey Savage for instance), and whatever was changed here, did only really ever happen, because in other, larger and partly more advanced, more powerful nations, the change was already happening, so we followed suit.

    There is much myth about New Zealand ‘leading’ the world and social change, it has rather, mostly, been nothing but a useful social laboratory experiment, what was done here, if it was not already done somewhere else.

  14. Marc says:

    This morning I listened a bit to Nine to Noon on RNZ. They had one employer head (a global employer leader) on, defending liberal immigration practices. Without the movement of cheap and willing (or desperate) labour, many businesses would not make the profits for their shareholders, as local workers would expect fairer wages than some may get.

    As long as we have this kind of formidable force fight for the status quo, for neoliberalism, and the privileged, we will have to fight strong, and what Chris writes above makes sense, as it is time to call an end to the endless misinformation and propaganda such as this:

    The ILO itself is a weak, somewhat ineffective labour organisation, as it does not have any power to ensure individual states stop labour exploitation, except perhaps child labour and unpaid slavery.

    This is what is wanted, so that global business has a large pool of poor, desperate, willing workers, who can step up at any time at any border, to compete with better paid workers in other countries.

    Exploitation continues, and hundreds of millions live in poverty, that is why the Bourgeoisie and Petty Bourgeoisie get away with keeping their affairs in nice order, and their lifestyles privileged, with kids able to go to university, while many others are simply the needed slaves and servants to keep the wheels turning, whether within or without this country.

    Hence Labour is trying to appeal to the voters that include the Bourgeoisie, as without it, it would only be a fringe party. There simply is NO true workers’ party left in NZ Inc.. The third pay proponents have only help create and protect a new form of Bourgeoisie, a bit better off than the new poor and the precariat.

  15. Nick Morris says:

    The historic structure of Socialist impetus as represented by Skinner and Corbyn et al was never a very good fit for New Zealand because of the small size of the population and the small size of typical businesses.

    An us vs them mentality typically works best when the “them” is distant and faceless. In New Zealand that was never the case.

    Worse, the success of the neo-liberal project – or at least it’s result – has been the evisceration of New Zealand manufacturing and other large factory-style activities where large work-forces could allow revolutionary movements – or more dedicated worker-focused politics to flourish.

    Historically, beneficiaries have always managed to coat-tail on the struggle of workers, looking for extra numbers to give greater impetus to their demands. However, beneficiaries without an industrial arm have close to zero leverage. In the post-industrial New Zealand, beneficiaries and the isolated, under-educated, working poor are a poor substitute for the massive industrial workforce that existed, and to some degree still exists, in Europe. And even those more fertile grounds are confronting an unpromising reality.

    All meaningful advances, then, will have to be made by the power of persuasion, at least, not seized by the strong arm of industrial action.

    The same can be seen throughout the West, but here in New Zealand it is particularly true.

    Well-meaning, liberal politicians like Jacinda might be persuaded by your force of argument. But force-majeur, with its demands nailed to the palace gate, (never a very effective method of achieving social change, in my view) are a technique of the past, no matter how much you regret it. And mass insurrections of various sorts are in fact likely almost anywhere to follow the same route, and be as successful as the Arab Spring.

    The new reality is that ideas and powerful argument will have to overwhelm selfish self-interest. Will it succeed? Who knows? The forces of social change are at a tactical disadvantage when confronting raw power without principle. But when was it different?

    Stop dreaming of 1918 or 1848, or 1968, Chris. The heavy lifting will have to be done by people like you winning the hearts and minds, not Arthur Scargill closing the mines.

    A Labour-Green government will be the best hope of a Government prepared, at the least, to listen to you.

    And just by the way, I’m no Josie Pagani with my true heart in the neo-liberal project at some comfy level. But years and experience have taught me that all true advance is made by consensus and its accompanying bipartisan impetus.

    The unpalatable truth may just be that if, for instance, meaningful action is to be made against climate change, then maybe, just maybe, the horror of a green-blue coalition cannot forever be dismissed out of hand.

    If social advance is to be attained over poverty that transcends electoral reversals, someone will have to convince the Right that taking disadvantaged people seriously and giving them respect works for all.

    In other words, no politics as usual will ever get us where we need to go. And that means we must think long and hard, not just about reimagining our tribal affiliations but, more specifically, about what actually WORKS in the real world.

    • Marc says:

      Ok, the power of persuasion, how will that work with the global corporates then? I see many young users of gadgets and social media converse with each other all day and night, but hardly engage in much effective ‘persuasion’ of Google, Facebook, and the many other players there now are on the modern technology market. They hand over their personal, private data 24/7, used to manipulate them as consumers and citizens.

      How will you ‘persuade’ the likes of Monsanto, of global food corporations, and those ripping resources out of soils and seas?

      Greenpeace are fighting an endless uphill battle, dependent on donations from NGO and non corporate donors, and their resources are miniscule, and what they achieve are just temporary short term victories here and there. Meanwhile the corporations and the endless army of willing or desperate workers and slaves, having to earn a living, will ensure they will in the end maintain the upper hand.

      What you propose only works if all voters are educated, informed and enabled, plus independent, to express informed opinions, and collective pressures, but we are FAR from that.

      Last I saw, commerce and business, large and small, are thriving, especially BIG business, banks and what else there are.

      They are not making much needed changes, it is more like greenwashing and whitewashing what they do, little else, as profitability and profit come first, same with maintaining the status quo. More third way nonsense will NOT cut it.

      • Nicke says:

        You don’t have to convince everyone, just a broad enough coalition tp face down the interested parties.

        When Left and Right alike see the power of Facebook or Google as against the national interest they will fall, no matter the apparent strength of the outfit.

        But the argument must first be won. Like the anti-nuke one, as an example here.

        • Marc says:

          Hah, waiting for the anti nuke stance to have worked, it has only done so in few places, such as New Zealand, where (so far) few considered a need for nuclear energy generation, and where these isles are in such an isolated place on the planet, it does not really matter.

          Meanwhile the nukes keep spreading, North Korea working high power to build their arsenal, the US want to ‘modernise’ theirs, the Russians, Chinese and others do the same, and also build more nukes (weapons), and there has been no effective move to stop nuclear weapons spreading at a global scale.

          The same will go for Facebook, Google, and whatever corporations there are. New Zealand itself is irrelevant, and globally, only the EU does put a stop to some things, but face legal challenges that may force them to back down in front of the corporates also.

          Those ordinary ones, needing to work and earn a living, they will fall prey to the ‘market mechanisms’ and rather not risk their bread and butter, or morsels – unless they take actions as were taken in the past (collective and resolute action).

          • Nick says:

            It was ever the case.

            My point is that change can come quickly when the right tool is used. Seeming impregnable castles stood for centuries…and then came the cannon.

            Attitudes may seem frustratingly immutable, but can turn on a dime. Remember how adamant people were against gay marriage. Then one day we woke up and it was over.

            How hard it is, is not a good reason for abandoning the field. But dreaming of some short cut is equally chimerical. Certainly some things cannot be achieved by New Zealand alone. Big revelation. But some things require only that the argument be won here.

            To have a government more sympathetic to the debate can only be a good thing. But the debate still has to be engaged and ultimately won or all “advances” will be merely illusion.

    • David Stone says:

      A bit late with this Nick , but I think neoliberalism itself will eventually do the recruiting for change. We started off 30 odd years ago with a very even spread of wealth, more so than most countries; but the accumulation of that wealth in fewer and fewer hands, and more and more of those hands outside New Zealand is accelerating . Inevitably more and more are going to realise they are on the loosing side , and will wake up to the fact that the’ve been diddled. (trickled down on). And will start looking for an alternative. But just how many would chose an alternative now is anyone’s guess because there is no party except perhaps NZF that is clearly setting out an alternative . We hope Jacinda will change that but there’s not really much reason to expect it.
      D J S

  16. patricia bremner says:

    Chris you are a defeatist. You lose before you begin because you see any cooperation or compromise as damaging.

    What you do is bring the cassandras out of the woodwork.

    How the right love your white ant behaviour.

    Why haven’t you got on your soapbox in public??

    If you know a better way, stand as a member instead of a knocker.

    Try being uplifting, or is that too hard?? Easier to be a bloody knocker eh!!

    • Sam Sam says:

      The chicken little mentality won’t work on the right. Convincing the left might.

      • Nicke says:

        You must convince enough of each.

        It becomes “common knowledge”.

        • Sam Sam says:

          You think far to highly of conservitives. Remember the staunchest mentalities where fostered in religious groups run rampant with pedophiles. So they know how to keep lips shut.

    • Once was Tim says:

      It is defeatist. Sometimes I wonder whether Chris fails to understand the magnitude and insidiousness of the neo-liberal agenda/dogma/religion/ideology/cult/language. There are those that have grown up knowing nothing else and others whose political awakening only came when it began to emerge and take over.
      Understandable that as one gets older its tempting to get all nostalgic, but I wonder why he doesn’t put his talents towards an alternative political movement rather than trying to be the Left’s answer to Mathew Hooton.
      @Chris: as Rache once said, “It won’t happen overnight, but it WILL happen”

    • Nicke says:

      As a historian, the finest hour of the Left might seem to be the 1951 waterfront strike.

      In fact it was a disaster and set the country and the Left back a decade.

      But glorious, of course.

  17. David Stone says:

    Thanks for the link, brilliant!
    Although Jacinda has not articulated much to convince anyone that she has a grasp of the structural changes needed to unsettle the neoliberal settlement , it could be hoped that she could wake up to it more easily than most of her parties’ hierarchy .
    It occurred to me decades ago that the promoters , and the administrators , both in the public sector and the private sector , who have embraced , utilised , and administered this ideology would never have the gumption to change it, as they have first to acknowledge that they made and sold, and committed their lives to an ideology that has ruined the country, ruined the world, and was always a pile of bullshit.
    Many people accepted the ideas and went along with them. But those that administered them have shouldered responsibility for them, and their life’s work is forfeit once they acknowledge they were wrong. Only a minute proportion of the population have the moral courage to do that.
    Hence the change, repair, has to be implemented by old people who never did go along with it, who have railed against the changes from the moment they were mooted, like you , like Winston, like the people that went to Wellington to the first NLP conference, like Jeremy
    Corbyn: And young people who never signed up to the settlement and are looking at the world with the open minds of youth. We might be able to squeeze Jacinda in there.
    I agree there is no justification for assuming a labour led government in the next term will implement changes to unsettle the neoliberal settlement.
    But given the disruption to international agreements made during the settlement, that have to be made in order to reclaim our sovereignty so to be able to make such changes it will be extremely problematic for any NZ government as dependent on international trade as we are .
    Jeremy Corbyn is our hope, as well as UK’s society’s hope.
    The UK is the source of the modern western world’s concept of and
    initiation of social democracy. OK I know the idea is much older than that,
    But in terms of our present world they are the seat of democracy that the western world has emulated. And they feel it.
    They also still seem to be the centre of the world’s banking system
    notwithstanding Wall st.
    This is where the philosophical depth in the ideals of genuine social democracy, the potential to control the banking system, the “mana” (strange I can’t find an english word in my head that quite works there)
    in the arena of democratic record, and a man and a movement set on a course to do the business lies . Jeremy can “do this” , Jacinda probably can’t even had she the blueprint clearly in her head.
    The best hope if Winston gives labour the go that she keeps abreast of labour in the UK and in touch with Jeremy. The May government could yet fly apart over Brexit and it might not be a 5 year term. (UK labour’s claims to be able to negotiate a better deal might prove their ruin if that happens though).
    D J S

  18. Afewknowthetruth says:

    Until politicians are prepared to tackle the inordinate power that banks and corporations have over NZ society, nothing can possibly change for the better.

    As long as banks and corporations control the media and have free rein to lie to the masses, nothing can possibly change for the better.

    Deceit, cowardice, betrayal, ignorance, complacency and delusion are the bywords of the age we live in, and will continue to be until the system collapses, I’m afraid.

    • John W says:

      100% and without cowardice. A strong Govt would be needed and a peoples mandate with a common understanding of how we have and are being ripped off by a small investor state using the system of money creation. That can be changed.

  19. UKDemocrat says:

    For the record Skinner addresses Labour Conference every year; until his retirement from the National Executive Committee last year he even Chaired sessions; he also saw an 8% swing to the Cons in Bolsover this year, indicating that the old Labour heartlands have rejected Corbyn and his 1970’s politics. Labour only stemmed the bleeding in June by mobilising a usually apathetic your vote and convincing people who backed Remain in the EU Referendum they were best placed to minimise the effects of Brexit, a trick they’ll be unable to repeat at the next election in 2022, thus saddling the UK with another decade of Conservative government.

  20. Louis says:

    Yawn, yet another tedious beatup of the Labour party, no surprises there Chris but for a change of pace, any thoughts on the National government and its governance of 9 years?