The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

United's future

STC has posted about United Future's prospects come the end of the year, and in particular has referred to Dunne's contention that he is looking for a proper coalition with Labour and seat(s) at the Cabinet table.

This expectation of Dunne's seems at odds with the likely outcome for UF in the election. If they do have only one or two MPs, which certainly looks the go at this stage, then Labour may not feel the need to deal with them except on Confidence and Supply basis, and as an alternative to the Greens - in other words, the same arrangement that they have since 2002.

I doubt that Dunne is going to be in a power broking position where he can say he wants a Crown car - Anderton only has one because of his personal relationships and the fact that he was in Cabinet before the 2002 election imho.

The worm is not going to feature this year - Dunne is going to struggle to keep UF's profile up enough without it, and I know several people who voted for his party in 2002 who will definitely not be voting that way again.


Jono said...

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span said...

why thank you for your blog spam jono - i have actually asked you a question about this over on your blog - is there somewhere you can point me to a bit more info about the whole bizzo please? ta muchly

STC said...

Michael Cullen made it clear he was happy with UF, at conference.

UF's commitment has been to support a stable Government. I think that their "Stable, Commen Sensical" approach could still find some resonance.

Apparently they are going to be openly more ambitious this time, talking themsleves up as a genuine contender for "third party" of NZ. Expect them to heavily bag NZ First, and if Brash falters, National.

span said...

i don't know about the resonance - in 2002 UF were the fashionable party to vote for if you were unsure, this time around i don't think they're going to get the sympathetic media coverage. plus Dunne's new haircut makes him look like a bit of a dweeb (sorry but it does).

Xavier said...

Yeah, I'm not too fond of UF. I don't care how 'stable' they are, they are scarier than the Greens ever could be

Scott said...

Notwithstanding Dunne's hokey traditionalist rhetoric and opportunistic accomodations to the obscurantism of various religious micro-sects, UF is a classic example of the 'postmodern' political organisation.

The party has an almost non-existent grassroots, and very few voters have any clear ideas about what it stands for, but these things aren't supposed to be considered problems, because Mr Dunne looks sensible on TV, the party name sounds kinda new and flash, and the party logo looks kinda neat.

Organisations like this can only exist in a political vacuum, when the majority of the population has ceased to follow political events with any care and social divisions and polarising issues are hidden from view.

2002 was that sort of year - the desire to get rid of National and unsullied neo-liberalism that made voters discinclined to clutch at cloud-like small parties in 1999 was gone, and the seabed and foreshore and the spectre of uppity Maoris, let alone uppity gays and feminists, had not yet begun to blight Labour and energise the right. I doubt whether Dunne will get much traction this year.

In retrospect, he probably should have sat outside the government and really emphasised the reactionary social conservative stuff, in the hope of intersecting with the opposition to Labour's 'liberalism' which Brian Tamaki and John Tamihere, amongst others, have tapped into. Then again, Peters has tried just that trick, without too much success, and Dunne's wealthy but liberal constituents may have been unimpressed.

All in all UF is destined to be no more than a political footnote, and a rather dull one at that. Come to think of it, what happened to the other 90s flotsam of the right - the Conservative Party reincanation of Ross Meurant's ROC, and the Liberal Party split from National? And what about that recent (stillborn?) Freedom Party split from Act? Someone should organise a minor ceremony or something when these outfits wind themselves up.

Rich said...

Parties like UF only really exist thanks to the "grumpy vote" - since this is by definition dissatisfied with the government of the day, being in coalition can only damage them.

span said...

maybe the grumpy vote is getting bigger then - certainly UF, NZF and the Alliance (and probably the Greens, but a different class of grump) have benefitted from it in the past.