It’s good to see that former Labour MP and Shearer’s former Chief of Staff, Stuart Nash considers issues of my civil rights a distracting, manufactured issue.
Labour MUST NOT get sucked into the game of responding to these periphery and/or manufactured issues because it would risk losing focus, momentum and credibility.
Both David Clark’s $15 minimum wage bill and Clayton Cosgrove’s bill on state asset sales were both drawn in the same ballot as Louisa’s bill (how many knew this?). Both these bill’s represented headline Labour policies at the last election, and were very popular across a wide range of voters. These are prime examples of Labour concentrating on issues that matter to a significant number of good hard working Kiwis, yet many of those same struggling Kiwis have no idea that we are still fighting hard on their behalf. Both issues have, by-and-large, been lost in the melee caused by the marriage equality bill.
I’m frightfully sorry, I didn’t realise that the fight for my rights was getting in the way of the things that truly matter. I didn’t realise we were cutting in line. Shall we take a number and move to the back of the queue?
Louisa’s Bill was ill-timed… For the past month or so this issue has been at the forefront of the mainstream and social media. In the meantime, the state assets sales programme is in trouble, farms have been sold to the Chinese, educationists decry the rise of charter schools, the poverty gap is increasing at an alarming rate, Kiwis are heading to Australia in record numbers, our unemployment rate is climbing, and there is at least one dreadful health story a day that should be in the papers.
I’m sorry, I didn’t realise that parliament is incapable of dealing with multiple issues at a time. And here I was thinking that MPs are able to put bills that are important to them in the ballot to be drawn randomly, and that parliamentary procedures put time aside to debate multiple issues every day. I see now that I was mistaken. I see now that 121 MPs are only capable of dealing with one thing at a time.
I’m sorry that our media aren’t paying attention to the issues that matter. I’m sure it has everything to do with us noisy, attention-seeking gays pointing all the media towards us rather than Labour’s own smug incompetence and inability to inspire an audience.
The genie is out of the bottle, so what has to happen now? Louisa has to hold back. The vast majority agree that her bill is morally right and should be passed into law, but now it needs to take a back seat and let the issues of health, employment, education and finance come to the fore, otherwise there won’t be anyone left in New Zealand who can afford to get married.
Yes, Louisa should hold back. I’m sure if you ask her nicely, she’ll gladly lay down in front of the bus along with the beneficiaries and Green-voters you’ve already run over on your charge to reclaim the centre.
Or… maybe we could press forward with the things that matter to the people? Maybe we could stand up and say “Yes, if New Zealand wants to maintain it’s position as a vanguard of equality in the world, we should welcome Marriage Equality with open arms! And we should also oppose Asset Sales, and raise the minimum wage, and make things better for beneficiaries, and we can do all of these at once, because there’s 121 fucking MPs and god damn we should be able to work together!”
Maybe we should realise that we can do all that at the same time, rather than trying to rank issues and decide what’s more important: Be a strong party that cares about providing equal opportunity to those without (queer*, poor, women, Māori, etc.), and aim to make this country a stalwart of egalitarianism.
Instead of blaming the media and the gays and the voters, maybe Labour can look to themselves and see that they’re the problem. We don’t give a shit about them, because they do so little to inspire us. They just sit there going “But we’re Labour! Why don’t you like us? We hate all the same things John Key hates, why do you like him more?”
Labour needs a huge shift in leadership. It needs to promote politicians who are actually able to inspire the people to vote for them, politicians that the people know will have our backs. Politicians who are able to give rousing speeches that make us give a shit about government again, not a series of ready-processed lines, handily punctuated for the Stuff “journalists” to copy/pasta into another trite article. It needs more politicians like Louisa Wall who are prepared to stand up in front of the whole nation and fight for things that truly matter to them, even though it means they’ll have to deal with the most horrific vitriol.
Shearer is the true distraction. Him and the other senior MPs who have sat on their arses.