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

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

why do we hate the ones we love the most?

Reading the comments on PC's thread asking if he should stand for the Libz in Epsom, I was reminded of my post last month about my bitterness about the Labour Party. It seems that the right share the same dislike of their closest political friends as the left do.

But why?

My theory is that a lot of it is about potential and jealousy. For example, the Labour Party had to potential to make a strong socialist difference in NZ but it has squandered this. The jealousy arises because they are still seen by so many as the left party of note, even though they are bloody not left. (Somedays I don't even feel they are centre-left). And yet left people vote for them in droves. We on the left console ourselves with mutterings about false consciousness.

It's not just about being pure. Although some in the Libz may see Act as the less pure form and shun it for that reason, my experience in the Alliance is that members are quite realistic about our chances and know that to ever have a chance of being (back) in Government we would probably have to coalesce with Labour. The realities of being a minor party in NZ, at least in the medium term, are that you are going to have to get the best deal you can from the major party that is closest to your side of the spectrum.

So when it comes to choosing whether to stand in marginal seats it becomes a fascinating discussion.

Should you stay true to your kaupapa and stand regardless of whether it might knock out your most preferred (other) candidate, because it's more important that people who support your party and its principles have someone to vote for and that the flag is waved?

Or should you stand aside in the interests of a party or candidate that you don't really support, just see as the least worst option, and someone who, unlike yourself, has a chance to win?

So often it seems to come down to an emotional rather than strategic reason that breaks the deadlock.

(BTW - PC you do have a third option - stand in Epsom but consider endorsing Hide in the last week if it looks like a close-run thing)


stephen said...

I dunno. I think it has at least as much to do with tribal affiliation. We have to make more effort to distinguish ourselves from those who are overtly similar.

At least, that's how it is in the People's Front of Judea.

span said...

with labour and the alliance there's also issues that go back to the original split off by the NLP in the late 80s (well before my time). there are personal relationships that never healed and there are people who feel betrayed - on the labour side because so many lefties went to NLP and the lefties remaining in labour felt they could have changed their party if that hadn't happened, on the alliance side because they couldn't understand how some people could stay in a labour party that did those things.

ruth said...

Well I don't think it is about being philosophically pure at all. It is about personal power and wanting the limelight for oneself. Anyone who tells me otherwise is full of it. So now you know ;-)

Make Tea Not War said...

To some extent its about a sense of betrayal. I absolutely loathe Tony Blair and the third way for example because I'm from a family of coal mining/ship yard working, union belonging Labour Party supporters. And Tony Blair SHOULD know better. Whereas I don't really expect that much from born to rule Tories.

PC said...

There you go, I guess I'm full of it. :-)