It’s been an intense day or two for Andrew Little. An off the cuff response to an innocuous question from a small local paper journo has got a lot of Labour Party haters in a froth. But why?
Obviously, it’s not because he said something offensive. He didn’t.
It’s not because he lied. He didn’t lie.
It’s not because he prevaricated or tried to change the subject. He didn’t point at a shiny object or say “Look over there. A flag/panda/jihadi bride!”
Nope. Andrew Little is being dealt to by the usual suspects of the lying right and the infantile left because he has an obvious character fault.
Andrew Little actually says what he believes to be true and answers questions accurately. He’s not a consummate liar. He doesn’t have a well paid dirty tricks squad seeding the media with talking points and provocations. He’s his own man and he is painfully straight. Paaaainfully straight. It’s not in him to bullshit.
Perhaps that makes him unfit to lead the country.
We’ve obviously gotten used to a much lower standard of leadership in recent years. Perhaps we’ll never get back to expecting our politicians to tell us the truth. But if we vote in a progressive coalition at the next general election, at least we’ll have the opportunity to find out what honest, sincere leadership looks like.
So why are the haters, even the ones who claim to want National gone, climbing into him?
Andrew Little has turned the Labour Party around. The caucus are working collectively within and without. Labour are quietly building good relationships with the two prospective coalition partners. The third potential partner, the Maori party, are also leaning toward a change of direction, or so I’m told.
The thought that the Key Government is going to collapse under the weight of its own bullshit is driving Key and his acolytes to personal attacks on a man on whom they can find no dirt. It’s driving them nuts that he is succeeding where Goff, Shearer and Cunliffe could not.
The thought of a left wing lead Labour Party achieving power is anathema to some who claim to be lefties, too. The most obvious characteristic of these folk is their inability to work collectively. That’s often reflected in their insignificant influence in actual politics; nobody much wants to work with them either. Any fool can shout the odds in the pub. But its hard graft in the real world that gets things done.
The Tories are on the slide. The loss in Northland is an indicator of the trashing to come. Bugger the polls we get to see, their internal polling is telling them the true story. John Key has burnt off sector after sector. His attack on the flag has made rural and provincial NZ question whether National really are their kind of party any more. That may not translate directly to votes for Labour, but any softening of the right’s vote will bring this Government down.
We, on the left, need to hold our nerve. For the first time since the Clark years, all of the principal opposition parties have solid, sensible leadership. We may have a fear of a fourth term for Key, but it’s nowhere near his fear of us. If we can organise, organise and organise, we can win.
New Zealand can win.
So, fear not.
He may occasionally stumble, but he won’t fall. Andrew Little is closer to Bernie Sanders than some might like to think. Like Sanders, Andrew has been speaking truth to power all his adult life. Like Sanders, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the fight in the dog. And, like Sanders, Andrew wants to lead a country where fear does not haunt hundreds of thousands of Kiwis every day of their lives.
An end to fear; lets have fairness instead.
So, fear not. We can do this.
We will do this.