Friday, 8 August 2014

No Cookies! But Maybe The Balance Of Power: Why Kelvin Davis And The Labour Right Are So Scared Of Internet-Mana.

On Message And On Fire: The Labour Right are terrified that having established a parliamentary bridgehead the Internet-Mana Party will play the role of the broader Left’s staunch chorus, with Hone Harawira, Annette Sykes, Laila Harre and John Minto passing withering judgement upon the antics of a back-sliding Labour Caucus.
 
THE CRUDE POLITICAL GAMBIT of Kelvin Davis and his supporters in Te Tai Tokerau has fallen flat. His plans to knock Internet-Mana out of the electoral race have been revealed and the Maori voters of the North will punish him severely. Not only for his confrontational and abusive rhetoric, but also for the rank ingratitude and disloyalty he has displayed toward Labour. The rest of the country can only shake their heads in wonder at the strategic stupidity of the man.
 
Davis is, after all, the candidate to whom the Labour Party’s Ranking Committee gifted a very favourable position on the Party List. His role in Te Tai Tokerau was not to go all out to take the seat from Hone Harawira, but to maximise Labour’s Party Vote. It is staggering that Davis and his allies have been unable (or unwilling) to grasp the simple fact that the welfare of the people of the North will be most effectively secured by a victory in the forthcoming election for the parties of the Left – of which Internet-Mana is rapidly becoming a critical component.
 
The scuttlebutt in left-wing circles is that Davis has been “rarked up” by Labour’s ABC Faction, who not only need their leader, David Cunliffe, to fail on 20 September, but who are also determined to deny Internet-Mana a parliamentary bridgehead. Their plans to haul Labour back to the “centre” (the Right’s code word for an ideological position acceptable to Business New Zealand, Federated Farmers and the mainstream news media) will suffer a serious setback if Hone Harawira, Annette Sykes, Laila Harre and John Minto get to play the role of the Left’s staunch chorus – passing withering judgement upon the antics of a back-sliding Labour Caucus.
 
In this effort, the Labour Right is marching in lock-step with the National Party’s and the right-wing news media’s political objectives. The more intelligent among them understand that, over a three year term, an Internet-Mana presence in the House has the potential to haul back “Overton’s Window” from its present location well to the right of the political spectrum and reposition it much closer to the left. The overwhelming priority across the entire New Zealand Right is, therefore, to strangle this potential left-wing Hercules in his cradle. Wittingly or unwittingly, Davis has allowed himself to become a pawn in its game. How else to explain his willingness to be associated with David Farrar and Cameron Slater, the twin serpents sent to dispatch the Left’s infant hero?
 
The ABC Faction’s tactical priority is to smear David Cunliffe as Internet-Mana’s secret enabler: the politician who’s promising publicly to have nothing to do with Kim Dotcom’s creation while all the time secretly plotting to give Maori Affairs to Hone, Social Welfare to Laila Harre, and Foreign Affairs to John Minto. They are well aware of how badly the idea of any kind of Labour “deal” with Internet-Mana is playing with young, reasonably-skilled but indifferently-paid women workers whose extremely limited grasp of politics is almost exclusively informed by what Patrick Gower, Tove O’Brien and Corin Dann tells them on the six o’clock news.
 
In the past, these young women: retail workers, hairdressers, receptionists and office personnel of all kinds; have provided Labour with the numbers necessary to evict National Governments. Without them, securing victory becomes extremely problematic. Helen Clark lost what British snobs would call the “Chav Vote” to the dashing John Key in 2008 and poor old Phil Goff never seriously tempted them in 2011. David Cunliffe just might win them back in 2014, but not with Kim Dotcom looming behind him like a pantomime demon.
 
It is this need to distance himself from Dotcom and his allies that explains Cunliffe’s refusal to call out Davis for the dangerous political distraction he has become. Indeed, in a funny sort of way, Davis’s extreme animus towards Harawira and Dotcom has played into the Labour Leader’s hands. It has enabled him to reiterate in even more unequivocal language that Labour will have no truck with Kim Dotcom; that there will be no electorate deals done with Internet-Mana; and that no Internet-Mana MPs will be invited to serve in any coalition Cabinet over which Cunliffe presides. In Andy Williams’ immortal words to the importunate Cookie Bear: “Not now. Not ever. Never. No cookies!
 
Such is the general ignorance which still surrounds the MMP electoral system, however, that many of those reassured by Cunliffe’s rejection of the Internet-Mana Party may be shocked to discover on Election Night that they have somehow managed to win seats in Parliament. What’s more, as the sworn enemies of John Key’s government, if the numbers are there for David Cunliffe to become Prime Minister with Internet-Mana’s support they will happily make him so. This will undoubtedly provoke an outcry from those who interpreted Cunliffe’s “Internet-Mana will have no place in a Labour-led Government” as meaning “We will not accept the votes of Internet-Mana’s MPs in assembling the support needed to form a government.”
 
If that turns out to be the case, then New Zealanders are in for a crash-course in constitutional realities. They will discover that if Internet-Mana have the numbers to make David Cunliffe the Prime Minister, they will almost certainly also have the numbers to prevent John Key from resuming office. Whether some of the voters like it or not; whether National likes it or not; whether the mainstream news media likes it or not; and whether Kelvin Davis likes it or not; if the rules of MMP return the Internet-Mana Party in sufficient numbers to break the National Government and install a Labour-Green coalition – then that’s exactly what it will do.
 
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of 6 August 2014.

14 comments:

alwyn said...

Can we have another Poll on whether we want MMP after a couple of years of such a Government? Particularly after a Labour, or Green, Minister says no to extraditing KDC and grants him citizenship.

Barry said...

(Chris - I hope you dont delete these comments because you may not like them - like you or someone did when I commented on an article of yours on the daily blog website - so sense of looking at the facts over there.)

I have often wondered where the idea comes from that only parties of the left will ever help maori as you suggest in Para 2. I would venture to say that the reality is more along the lines that parties of the left have done very little for Maoris in the last 100 years. There have been the endless parade of maori seat MPs who – other than Ngata – have achieved what seems to be absolutely nothing for maori. Yet in the last 10 years more progress has been made with initiatives within maoridom than was achieved in the previous 100 years.

This is just one of the more visible problems that Labour has. They want the maori vote but what evidence can they offer to support the request? Labour is so diverted by such silly things like the man ban (ie: identity politics) that they have problems remembering what they stand for.

Wayne Mapp said...

This part "of the rest of country" views with some dismay the way you and seemingly much of the Left is in thrall of KDC. You seem to see him as some magic elixer that will restore the socialist nirvana that was the original promise of New Labour.
Actually the Right has no expectation that the next govt lies in the hands of Kelvin Davis. We know perfectly well that if Labour, Greens and IM get 50%, they form the govt. And driving in The North tells me that Hone is going to win. He has has at least 100x more hoardings than Kelvin!
So the Nats are operating on the obvious formula of the Nats and the likely supporters of the Centre-Right getting 50% or more of the vote. That means in a spectrum, ACT, National, UF, NZF and Conservative (maybe the last two could have their order reversed), getting the necessary numbers.
No trickery, just going out and doing the work to win the votes.

Alan Rhodes said...

Mana started out as a raw nationalist firebrand party wedded to a Maori racial agenda.

Since this was never going to have wide appeal it had to soften that agenda by trying to look softer and cuddlier to the wider poor and unemployed, which included Hone's 'white m'fers'

Since its primary inception vision is racial/exclusivist/separatist Maori, the later cynical graft-on should fool no one, but it appears to.

Into this mix strides a German squillionaire with a penchant for collectable cars, $30 million dollar homes and a self-indulgent livestyle that the nation's growing poor and unemployed couldn't begin to dream of.

How could this unholy mix of ethnic national triumphalism and crass materialism have any unifying vision? How does it make any sense?

Worse, how could anyone possibly see this 'Mad Hatters' lot as a 'party of the Left'??

Aha, but of course. There was indeed another party of triumphalist racial nationalism that claimed to be Left-wing....the National Socialists of Germany, the Nazis.

Alan

Debbie Sullivan said...

Barry, Im curious to know what examples of gain for the Maori constituency from the past 6 years you can provide? As far as Im aware the health, income, educational and imprisonment statistics havnt improved of late?

Anonymous said...

The Daily Blog seems not to believe in freedom of speech.
Any comment that does not agree with them does seem to get deleted, I have noticed that too.

Dotcom is a joke and he makes a dark stain upon our political scene. He is trying to buy freedom, and via our Parliament.So wrong.

Anonymous said...

Aha, but of course. There was indeed another party of triumphalist racial nationalism that claimed to be Left-wing....the National Socialists of Germany, the Nazis.

Godwin's Law applies, of course.

Internet-Mana is simply a bizarre marriage of convenience, but it is convenient for all involved, so it works. Good on them.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Actually Wayne, most of the left think of him as an arse who should never have been allowed into the country in the first place. But you sow the wind..... :-). I will admit though that most of us are enjoying the jolly up he's giving you people – out of sheer revenge :-). And if he has become a hero, it's largely because of you lot and the FBI :-). Oh schadenfreude :-). Haven't had so many laughs in years. Debbie, don't hold your breath waiting for statistics. :-)

JanM said...

Hee hee - some of these commentators on the right are using very big words - I think they could take lessons from the Christchurch students - no obfuscation there!

jh said...

Point of order Your Honour! Isn't Labour Right more like Labour Left of Centre!?

thesorrow&thepity said...

Perhaps this is your 2005 moment Chris? I can understand all on the left hate Key & want him gone, & MMP is like a game of political tetras, which we'll have to see on election night how the blocks stack up.
However in 2005 all of us on the right wanted Clark gone, but considering what a complete wally Don Brash was it's safe to say the entire country dodged a bullet in 2005.
So lets say Cunliffe gets the numbers in terms of the left block, how would the next three years pan out Chris?
A PM who may likely have lost a large portion of his Labour list allies on election night due to the victories of Labour constituency MPs & hence further surrounded at cabinet by his enemies all plotting to roll him as PM.
A coalition which if NZ First gets back in (which guarantees Winston would be needed) may well after the honeymoon find that all their egos won't fit into the cabinet room.
That's before the elephant in the room is even addressed, who is the real David Cunliffe?
So far he's proven only that he'll always say to an audience exactly what they want to hear, telling socialists bread n roses, yet sending the message to the business community that Labour won't rock the boat. I can understand you're hopeful Cunliffe will provide the former but there's nothing to guarantee a govt under him would pan out that way.
End of the day if it happens you may well end up regretting Cunliffe becoming PM, even if he only is PM for 12 to 16 months.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

How often does someone who's just won an election get rolled by his caucus? Don't be bloody silly, if they think he can win elections they'll crawl over broken glass to kiss his arse :-).

thesorrow&thepity said...

To Guerilla Surgeon: Yes they'll kiss his arse at first, but they'll still be waiting for some stuff up down the track as they still hate him (hence my saying 12-16 months). If there's a few govt embarrassments & his popularity with the public stays low enough then they'll roll him mid way through the first term.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Perhaps, but you know what happens as soon as people become Prime Minister, their popularity soars. Just look at Helen Clark's figures before and after. I can't think of a time when a successful Prime Minister has been dumped. Mind you I can't really be arsed checking :-).