Josie Pagani on Labour’s woes

Last night on The Cauldron, Josie Pagani elucidated precisely what it was that is costing Labour this election.

She has written a post about it and what Labour must do to arrest the sinking polls.

First, stop blaming the media.

The problem isn’t ‘right wing framing’. There isn?t a media conspiracy to get a third term National government. When you fall behind everyone airs their favourite explanation and negatives get repeated and amplified. It’s the job of politicians, not media, to inspire a change in the story.

There is also no point blaming whoever went public at the weekend to criticise David Cunliffe for going on holiday. It was poor discipline, but poor discipline is not the main reason the party is 30 points behind National.

Politics isn?t fair. Even if ?the media is sometimes unfair (such as when the Herald went too far with unsubstantiated claims of undeclared donations from Donghua Liu), one of the things the public are judging is how you behave under pressure. Stop complaining.

Unfortunately for Josie the Donghua Liu donations weren’t unsubstantiated. I suspect there is more to play out on that. She is right though in the folly of blaming the media, but they just can;t help themselves.

David Cunliffe just yesterday was claiming smears and media beat ups, and his loyal mouth piece and donation launderer Greg Presland was on the Standard claiming a smear about his visit and cozy lunch with NZ’s Rolf Harris.

Stop saying the polls are close. It reminds voters that Labour aims to lead a bloc in which it might not be all that dominant and which could include the toxic Dotcom party. Tortuous explanations about the Left Bloc v the Right Bloc sound cynical, as if you don’t care about winning support of people.

Distance Labour from Dotcom. One reason for Labour’s poor polling is people just want to get rid of Dotcom and somehow he has become Labour?s problem now. Only because he is an enemy of our enemy. ?Labour should only ever say of Dotcom, “he shouldn’t be in the country and National should not have let him in. We want him and his party nowhere near government.”

They can’t distance themselves from Dotcom, Grant Robertson wold have nothing to talk about, Clare Curran outsources the IT policy to him and David Cunliffe needs him to govern.

Stop barking at every passing car. We don?t need a position on every lifestyle or identity issue in the news cycle. Though Labour tries to talk about core themes, like jobs and smaller class sizes, it can’t complain when those subjects get overshadowed by its own policies.

The temptation of releasing a ‘policy a day’ comes from a lack of confidence that the main themes are strong enough to win. This is a strategy error, not a discipline one.

Last weeks great policy launch was to ban cosmetics to protect rats and mice.

There are no easy pathways now. The party made David Cunliffe leader for his strategy of shoring up the base with a more militant tone. He?s delivered on that strategy but it hasn’t worked.

Correcting to the centre close to the election carries the seeds of disappointment for those who believed it would work, and has the added downside that the public don?t believe it.

It’s too late to ditch some of the rhetoric that made people doubt whether you would put them ahead of sectarian interests, but not too late to campaign for ?the values that make Labour, Labour. ?It’s mission is to represent working people and their families in a broad-based party. So: do that.

Labour lacks a pathway to victory and the one they are on is full of bandits poaching their vote.

About the only thing David Cunliffe hasn’t yet done is get caught rooting some asian beauty…that might provide a circuit breaker, perhaps he could have a chat with Len Brown to get some pointers.

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