Jim Hopkins is a regular guest on The Farming Show to add levity but yesterday he got serious about Labour.
The party’s problem, he said, is that the social-socialism on which it was founded has been replaced with eco-socialism.
. . .If you think about the labour movement globally and historically and socially it emerged out of the industrial revolution and out of the creation of a huge working class that was required to run all the factories and machinery that actually produced the goods that created the industrial revolution and made the world wealthy.
Well that’s past, unfortunately. That workforce is now either robotic or lives off-shore in China or India and probably increasingly in the next decade or so Africa and in my view if you look at the left at the moment the whole thrust of the left has moved from social-socialism if you like to eco-socialism and I think actually that what you’re really seeing is that the Green Party is the new Labour Party and the old Labour Party doesn’t know where to go . . .
The Labour Party started losing its way when it became a vehicle for lots of disparate causes including feminism and gay rights.
It started with group of people who were in the party because they believed in its philosophy and principles and who were united behind those.
It became a collection of different lobby groups using the party to promote their various agenda.
These might not be conflicting but they’re not unifying either and it makes it difficult for the party to be clear about what it stands for.
It won’t advocate socialism . . . it’s lost and in my view that it doesn’t help in New Zealand that it hasn’t worked out how to integrate the Lange -Douglas government . . . into their current thinking. . .
Ah yes, they still can’t accept those ‘failed’ policies of the 80s and 90s which the Labour-led governments of the noughties railed against but didn’t attempt to change in any substantial way.
Labour has lost its roots and disowns its most successful policies in recent history.
That’s left the party without a strong foundation on which to build – even if it could agree on what it wants to build and how, which it can’t.
That’s created a vacuum which the Green Party is doing its best to fill.
Unfortunately the green is only a shell sheltering red seeds.
Environmental causes are the cover for socialist social and economic agenda – the eco-socialism to which Hopkins referred.
That agenda used to be Labour’s but it’s now outflanked on the left and unable to put a credible case in the centre to attract the swing votes it would need if it’s to lead the next government.
The fertile ground on which is used to sow social socialism has gone and the Green Party has pre-empted its role in eco-socialism.
That does leave a place for a party which is strong on the environment and reasonable on economic and social issues but Labour isn’t likely to sit comfortably there.
Maybe that’s why so many of its policies are backward looking – it’s looked ahead and can’t see a future for itself.