What the hell are Labour thinking?
It’s been announced that Carmel Sepuloni, the latest in phony, insincere Labour harpies, has been selected to be the Labour candidate for Waitakere.
In doing so, they rejected Phil Twyford, perhaps the only Labour politician who has been able to whip up public discontent over a government policy – the Auckland supercity.
Sepuloni is famous for not very much, except her ability to whinge about a lack of speaking rights at a Polynesian festival the other week. (Come to think of it, it now seems awfully contrived given that her selection was coming up, doesn’t it).
The other Labourites seeking nomination included Hamish McCracken, a former gameshow winner who grates worse than an early 1990s boy band and wannabe Labour MP, and Ann Pala. According to my sources, Pala gave a speech so bad that it probably prevents her from holding any kind of quasi-political responsibility anywhere in the nation. I’m including DOC boards and the local school board in that assessment too.
But back to the main contenders – Sepuloni and Twyford.
Waitakere is a largely middle class electorate. For all the talk about westies and bogans, the locals there are aspirational. Its 60% European, 14% Maori, 17% Pacific Islander and 13% Asian. Given that Paula Bennett of National is part Maori, and Sepuloni is Polynesian, neither would have any tactical advantage in appealing for votes on race.
But there is an issue that is up for grabs out west – the supercity. It’s not an issue associated with either Bennett or Sepuloni, but the people out west are nervous about loss of identity. It would be an issue Twyford would have been able to artfully pursue, and one Bennett would have been unwilling to debate Twyford on. But the lazy, shrill Sepuloni will not be able to prosecute that argument anywhere near as effectively.
Instead, Sepuloni would have to rely on other Labour talking points, plus make the argument for change based on personality. But why would anyone vote out a prominent, pleasant, part Maori youthful cabinet minister for a less prominent, unpleasant Polynesian backbencher? There’s no compelling need for people to change their allegiances to Labour, no “unique selling point” for Sepuloni to accentuate?
So why did Twyford lose? My header suggests that Labour were braindead to choose Sepuloni, but there must have been more to it than political incompetence by the party. Twyford must have abysmally weak links into the party faithful if he is incapable of gaining the nominations for Mt Albert, Auckland Central and now Waitakere. He will now be damaged goods in Parliament for this third rejection.
Twyford, as a rather intelligent looking middle class white liberal male must be completely out of kilter with the factionalised gay/maori/polynesian/trade union Labour Party. Put short – he’s a smart man who has failed to build his links into a party that is factionalised. Twyford, ironically, would have thrived in the Greens, who could have used an erudite, middle class looking white man with real world talents to lead them.
For example, Twyford’s background as former head of Oxfam will mean he will have skills in management, humanitarian issues, advocacy and analysis, international relations and diplomacy. These are all valuable skills in the real world and in productive government. But they are not values of a defeated Labour Party that seeks to reward race and mediocrity instead of real life talents.
And that’s precisely why Labour are in opposition, and will continue to remain there.