Headless Chickens (or Nob and Nobility)Posted: December 14, 2008
Last Thursday night I attended the first Christchurch event of ‘Drinking Liberally’, which appeared to be organized by the local Young Labour members in Christchurch. While, I am given to understand that ‘Drinking Liberally’ is supposed to be a ‘left’ forum, a number of the issues discussed related specifically to the Labour Party and how Labour could be better organized to win the next election.
I don’t want to discuss this aspect of ‘Drinking Liberally’ in this posting. However, I do want to draw upon several comments provided by the guest speaker to the event, EPMU General Secretary (and incoming Labour President) Andrew Little in relation to the ‘Fire at Will Bill’ (which at that point) was being pushed through the House by the National led Government. In a question to Andrew about the Union’s reaction to the Bill’s passing and what their course of action would be, he responded that when the Bill was formally put into effect in April 2009, then the Unions (and one assumes the Labour Party) would act.
The comments reminded me of an episode from Blackadder III. In which Blackadder and Baldrick had been captured by the ‘evil’ French Revolutionaries and were to be executed by guillotine the next day. Baldrick immediately thinks of a cunning plan which involves Blackadder and Baldrick doing nothing until AFTER they had been guillotined. Baldrick explains that his rationale behind this course of action was because chickens, after they had their heads cut off, ran round and round the farmyard and out of the gate.
The strategy of the CTU and the Labour party appears to be roughly the same. Wait until the blade slices off your head and then grab it, run around the farmyard and out the gate. Or, in this case wait until after the Government passes the 90 Day Probation Bill and then oppose it. To be fair, the CTU have started up an email campaign against the Bill which by Thursday night had gained 2000 signatures. However, the main assault against the Bill is to come in April. Up until that time, the Unions (and one assumes the Labour Party) will conduct an extremely low level campaign of networking.
In France, when the newly elected Conservative Government attempted to pass employment laws punishing French youth several years ago, there was mass civil unrest. Even in the United Kingdom, one of the more conservative of the European nations, unjust laws have been met with protests. While, I am not suggesting unrest on the French scale, the New Zealand left could do worst than organize marches, protests and the like to show its disquiet against this fascistic Bill before its passing.
It appears however, that the strategy of the Unions (and of the Labour Party) is the same as in the 1990s. Wait until the Bill is passed and then pray to hell that a Labour Government gets elected next term and removes it.
It’s a very sad and tepid strategy.