Guest Post – Reclaiming the left

This guest post was emailed last night. I don’t agree with everything in here, but far be it from me to filter the voices of those on the left frustrated and zero traction.
How To Win It From Here – by Reclaiming the Left
So, it’s a bad time to be a leftie. Labour looks like losing the “election that couldn’t be lost.” And losing it badly. I had high hopes for Cunliffe, and I liked Goff too. Sigh.
I’ve been pissed off with a lot of the left for ages. There’s a lot of squabbling, but more importantly, very little focus.
Let’s get some things straight. Socialism is about the collective, not individuals or interest groups. Socialism is not about hippy bullshit. Many on the left have forgotten that. However, if we get back to our roots, and smash a few big-hitting policies straight off the bat, we might just do it.
The Big One: Work for the Dole
WfD is the best socialist policy there is. Everyone has a right to a job, but the government has the right to your labour as well. I’d do WfD right; good pay ($15/hr, 40hrs) with maybe 3 months on an infrastructure project then 1 month training on reduced pay. That sort of cycle would give people a chance to get back into the labour market easily enough. Yeah, it’d cost a bit (more on that later) but it’d break welfare dependency because it would turn the dole into a “community wage.”
And if you refuse it, and don’t have a disability? You get nothing.
The Next Big One: Revitalising the Provinces
Small town NZ is dying. Auckland is turning into a cancer, a tumour too big for the rest of the country to handle. Let’s revitalise the provinces – (1) special economic zones (e.g. zero corporate tax!) for places like Tokoroa and Kawerau, (2) moving some bureaucratic jobs into the provinces e.g. WINZ, (3) using WfD infrastructure projects, and (4) making sure all overseas immigrants settle in smalltowns. Try outmanouevring that, National.?
Paying for It: Alongside the zero tax zones above, we ramp up corporate and individual tax to pay for it. Now, standard economic theory says that individuals and companies will leave NZ to lower tax zones. I don’t believe they would, but if they do, adopt a “Fine then, fuck off” policy. Either you put NZ before your own selfish interests or you don’t; like JFK said, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Patriotism appeals to plenty of National and NZ First voters (not Act, but who cares.)
Education: Charter schools are a dumb f**king idea but plenty of parents love them. Fine. Keep them, but demand they follow the national curriculum, are funded no more than state schools, and are reviewable via the Official Information Act.
Universities are even easier. Education should be free. So, we halve the number of students admitted and keep funding the same! More dollars per students = a free education, as well as better quality universities. There’d be massive downstream benefits as well, as high school students would be motivated to get the A’s they need to get into uni. This is a real no-brainer.
Public Sector: People like Prebble and Douglas had a couple of good ideas. They wanted a “competitive” public sector where the big dinosaur departments were broken up; they wanted a specific “brand” per department, more accountability via output statements etc, and they wanted public servants to have more flexibility and autonomy. Nanny National has gone the other way, building monstrosities like MBIE in the name of “efficiency” forgetting “effectiveness” is what matters. Split up the public service and have them competing for budgets.
Justice: Debtors’ prisons. Not for private debts, but if you owe thousands in parking tickets or speeding fines, you go in the big house. Done.
Deport that enormous fat-f’er, Dotcom.
Defence: A strong defence force is vital to NZ. Establish a third regular infantry battalion immediately, giving us the ability to indefinitely deploy one if required.
The above are all bold, solid socialist ideas. Break ’em out now, forget about the kumbaya-singing, hugging hippy bullshit. This blog is full of redneck National voters and I bet even a few of them would consider voting for a National that brought in the above.
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