The latest piece from award-winning columnist Bob Mittsky.
I realise you’re a busy man, but I know how important my columns are to you, and I know you go out of your way to read every word I write, even when you’re on the road.
And who can blame you? I don’t wish to inflate my own importance, but when I took a break from writing these columns the ship of state almost foundered on an metaphorical iceberg of really bad icy stuff.
But I’m back, and just in time! Because your leadership campaign is in serious need of an intervention.
So let me give you some advice. I hope you value this advice, although to date I’ve never asked for any sort of payment from you. But more about my fee later.
It seems to me that you and your main opponent Grant Robertson are essentially promising the same things to party members. You’re both out there on the hustings promising much the same sort of core left-wing stuff that people love, like the living wage, and a more interventionist hands-on government.
But it’s not enough. Why fight over the same old predictable ground? If you really want to win and win well, then you should be looking to outflank your enemy, hitting him where he least expects it. Luckily for you I am expert at spotting weaknesses in my enemies, and I know just where you need to attack Grant Robertson.
The trouble with Robertson is that he’s really only a soft socialist at heart. Dreams of a proletarian paradise are not for him, and I’ll wager he doesn’t lie in bed at night dreaming of smashing the bosses and seizing the means of production; and he’s never once given a speech demanding the deaths of prominent capitalists and collaborators.
This is where he is weak. Grant Robertson is not seriously committed to the goal of global socialist revolution.
Ah, I can almost hear your brain ticking over. I know what you are thinking. “But why should I espouse revolutionary class consciousness?” you ask. Think about it. We all know that the Labour Party membership are much more left-wing than the general public, so to win the Labour leadership you will need to appeal to the left. Under my plan you will go so far left that you’ll probably bump into Uncle Joe on the way. How can this fail?
Don’t go thinking that the membership won’t stand for radical socialist ideas. If it wasn’t for the capitalist stooges and running dogs who run the media, we would have been a worker paradise long ago. Without the pernicious influence of the corporate-controlled media, New Zealand would be a socialist utopia in which happy and contented workers prospered on collective farms or in factories, while the bosses and all the fools doing their bidding would suddenly find themselves being shipped away to work camps in New Zealand’s Antarctic territories.
So pitch your policies firmly and unashamedly to the left!
You can make a start by forgetting about all this minimum wage nonsense, because it supposes that some people should be allowed to earn more than the minimum. But why should we value the labour of one person over another? Start by setting a fixed hourly rate for all work, with some exceptions in order to recognise the special value of highly skilled political consultants like myself.
If you promised to pay CEOs what we currently pay cleaners and service workers, you would earn widespread support. Better still, promise to dock the pay of firefighters and nurses. Do this and you’ll win the leadership contest easily. You might think those two professions are among the most admired and trusted in the country, but don’t be fooled. I personally can’t stand the fact that those fit and athletic firemen get all the beautiful women, while the rest of us lumpy, balding, pasty types have to settle for the leavings.
And don’t get me started on nurses. Yes, they do a good job in difficult conditions, and they help the sick, but they have also seen me at my worse, including a particularly unfortunate visit to the emergency department last month that involved the extraction of something furry and four legged from a region of my person I would rather not discuss. No, the nurses have seen too much and must be silenced forever.
I have compiled a list of policies for you to consider, and I will send them to you separately. They include smashing Fonterra and turning it into a state-owned workers collective, new traffic rules that prevent a return to neoliberal policies by banning right turns, and abolishing all local government bodies and replacing them with people’s soviets made up of loyal party members.
Once you are elected leader you will of course need to change your approach. The average voter is more conservative than the average Labour Party member, so you will have to explain to your party that all your plans of implementing a workers paradise are being put on hold until after the election. Once you have won power you can smash your enemies, but you need to get there first.
So as soon as you become party leader you will need to start advocating for tax cuts, asset sales, cuts in government spending, and wide-scale welfare reform. Watch as National’s voters desert John Key and come over to you!
Then, once you are PM, you will be able to begin your reforms. But not at first. You will need to first earn the trust of right wing voters by carrying through with most of your election promises. Slash taxes, cut welfare, and sell everything that moves, and then, after maybe three terms in office, and once the capitalists have become sleepy and complacent, strike and strike hard!
It’s a brilliant plan, and I’m willing to help you implement it. All I need from you is the guarantee of a safe party list position, and a commitment to give me whatever money I may ask for from time to time, whenever I ask for it. Don’t ask questions about what I intend to do with it, and don’t ask to see receipts. And if you see me driving around in a late model European car, dining at the finest restaurants, and sailing around Auckland Harbour on a luxury yacht, be assured that everything I do I do in order to bring about a worker’s paradise.
As a show of solidarity to you and our fellow workers, I enclose an invoice for my expenses to date. Please pay by the 20th of the month.