Just a short update on the reactions to my post yesterday expressing disillusionment with the Labour Party. It has attracted a bit of attention in various places, so rather than try to deal with every comment I thought I'd respond to some of the feedback generally.
"This is why I joined the Greens"
I've heard a bit of this in the last 24 hours. I like the Greens, and they have some good people and policies, but I'm not tempted to join their party.
The Greens have a huge advantage over the other main political parties: they have never been in government. Should they find themselves in power in 2014 (which, despite my pessimism about the let's prospects generally, remains a strong possibility), they will be forced to make daily compromises, and to back policies that their party members dislike. They will probably be accused of being sell-outs more than once. If the Greens can deal with the unrealistic expectations of many of their supporters, they may thrive. But they are yet to be tested.
I shall watch all of this with interest, but I will be happy just to spectate and comment.
"You're harming the left's chances of winning in 2014"
I've had a bit of this too, though not as much as I expected. I accept that some party faithful won't like what I have said or written, and some will take the view that even if they agree with what I say, I should have addressed my concerns internally.
The trouble with that theory is I sense a real disconnect between the rank and file and the caucus generally. I don't mean everyone in the caucus, because Labour has some fantastic MPs who go out of their way to listen. But I don't have the ear of Labour's leader, and I'm not sure I have the strength or patience to fight these battles at the committee level, nor am I convinced anyone would listen.
I am also wary when people argue that it's for the greater good that I say nothing rather than stand up against injustice. But when David Shearer in his recent speech to Grey Power went on the attack against beneficiaries, some of the most vulnerable people in our society, I realised he wasn't speaking for me. Why should I pretend it didn't happen? I accept this probably doesn't make me a good party man, but I'm fine with that. I'm not tribal about my politics. I don't owe anyone my unquestioning loyalty.
And calling someone out when they have done wrong is not sabotage.
"You're being overly dramatic"
Sure. Guilty. I just write what I feel. Maybe Labour's supporters should all just pretend everything's fine, and we'll see how that goes.