I've reached the point where I really can't be bothered fighting for a Labour government any more. I don't really know what the party stands for, and there is an immense amount of crap going on behind the scenes. It's coming to the fore and it looks ugly.
I also sense a leadership void at the top. I thought David Shearer was the answer to the party's woes, but now I wonder. I don't have any inside knowledge, but the perception is growing that he can't control rogue members of his caucus team. A leader who can't control his team doesn't deserve to lead. I know Shearer's new to the leadership role, but he has to step up. Maybe he will, and perhaps this latest crisis in Labour will bring out some previously unseen strengths in the man.
But I am no longer the optimist. When I hear David Shearer speak he sounds to me more like a National Party leader. I'm sure his advisers are telling him to chase the middle vote, but all we seem to be promised is a slightly softer version of what we already have, and without asset sales. Why is he off chasing the votes of business groups and rural voters, when the main reason why Labour did dismally in 2008 and 2011 is the failure of traditional urban Labour voters to get to the polls? They are typically the poor, the young, Maori and Pasifika. They don't give a crap about the knowledge economy or reforming the Reserve Bank Act. Many of them have figured Labour just doesn't care about them. I'd like to assure them they are wrong, but are they?
I have a fine local MP in Phil Twyford, and I will continue to support him. There are also a lot of amazing and dedicated people within the party, many of whom are immensely frustrated by what they see going on. I admire their commitment and energy, and the huge amount of patience they have. Many of them remain fiercely optimistic in situations where I just fall into despair.
I've only been a member of the party for a short time, so I can perhaps be criticised for being naive. I'm not renouncing my membership, or anything as dramatic as that, nor do I mean this post to sound like a prolonged flounce. I'm just going to stop helping for a while. I have many other uses for the energy that party activism requires me to expend.