TUMEKE EXCLUSIVE: Cunliffe launches 'True Labour' speech
It was given by David Cunliffe at 2pm Sunday at the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre on his personal beliefs for the economic vision for Labour. 70 people were there by invitation including myself, Chris Trotter and Peter Davis and I have never heard the explanation of why Labour lost the 2011 election and what vision is necessary to regain that support with the passion and intelligence that Cunliffe brought to it.
Cunliffe launched a personal vision of what I'd call 'True Labour', a renouncing of the neo liberal agenda and an explanation that the reason a million enrolled voters didn't bother to vote Labour was because despite a few policy differences, Labour was still the lighter shade of blue.
Cunliffe argued that it's the acceptance of the flawed free market mantra by Labour that has betrayed its social democracy principles and this betrayal of principle was the reason so many Labour Party supporters were uninspired to bother voting.
Such a response to the 2011 election defeat is a resounding blow to the orthodoxy of the free market dogma, and this speech, (what Cunliffe is describing as the first of a series of vision statements), contextualized the failure of neo liberalism over the past 30 years. Tracing the corrupt practices of consultants consulting asset sales for themselves from our own recent history, Cunliffe presented an argument that touches the egalitarian raw nerves of fairness and challenged the rational of simply going along with the failing Washington consensus that we didn't consent to.
The sheer corruption and fleecing of public funds for corporate profit margins at the cost of genuine social investment sparks an anger in NZers that Cunliffe argues needs to be acknowledged and celebrated in an attempt to inspire those million enrolled voters who weren't inspired.
This is the first time any Labour politician has articulated this position and explanation as to why they have lost faith with so many supporters and his denouncement of austerity politics resonates in a way that actually revives the Party.
With the speculation swirling around Shearer's leadership, Cunliffe made it very clear he believed David needed longer as leader to make his mark and that he supported him in doing that, and the energy Cunliffe brought to this speech and the vision he's wanting to inspire has the passion to excite supporters and give Shearer his best chance of leading a winning election.
Labour has needed vision and Cunliffe is providing it. By holding Labour's acquiescence of right wing market fundamentals accountable, Cunliffe explains voter disdain like this, 'when the right say they have to amputate your leg, voters don't want the left responding that the amputation should be at the knee'.
The collapse of free market dogma has never provided the left with so much ammunition, Cunliffe looks like he's going to use it.
Cunliffe's speech tour should attract a lot of attention. 'True Labour' has a lot of electoral appeal.