How can you young activists raise such an issue at this time?
How can this possibly be a priority? It’s simply not a big issue for anyone I know. It’s not important to me or my family. Labour needs to focus on the issues that matter. The issues that matter to me, that is. Not to other people.
What on earth were you thinking, raising an issue that affects the health and wellbeing of a number of people? Yes, health is an important issue, but not when it’s the health of people I don’t even know or care to mix with.
You may be young, but that’s no excuse for your behaviour. Your enthusiasm, energy and idealism would be regarded as assets in any other political party, but we aren’t just any political party. We know what’s best, and what’s best is that you shut up and stop advocating for people who need help, unless they happen to be people I know or members of a group I approve of.
And now there is the predictable media backlash, and you are responsible. You must have foreseen what would happen once the media began speaking to senior Labour MPs about your remit. You must have known that one or two MPs would shoot their mouths off and say things that made the whole party look foolish and disunited. That’s on your head, not theirs. We can hardly blame Stuart Nash for just being himself. His longstanding inability to keep his mouth closed at the right time is a matter of public record. You knew this.
Look, we do appreciate all your work. But maybe it’s best that you stick to delivering pamphlets and knocking on doors during the election campaign, and let the grown-ups do all the thinking. We know what’s best for the party, and we have used this knowledge to build NZ Labour into the potent and irresistible political force it is today.
We can make the world a better place with your help, but maybe not just yet. We can’t do it all overnight. It takes time to change things. You need to be patient. The struggle against the right will never be won if we start supporting policies that I don’t care about.
The time for change will come, but first we need to win power. Then we will need to negotiate our first term in office without alienating the public, and then win a second term. After that we will need to tread cautiously as we head towards the third term danger zone, in case the voters begin to tire of our social engineering. And when we eventually find ourselves back in opposition we will need to put our entire focus on attacking the government of the day over the issues that matter to me.
So the time is just not right for this sort of policy that doesn’t affect me personally. Not now. Perhaps not this decade, or the next. But in fifty or sixty years we may be ready to have a discussion about this sort of thing.
Young Labour, the work you do is important, and we value your efforts. I certainly don’t mean to discourage you from participating in our party’s policy development. But we would be grateful if next time you asked the adults for permission before putting up a policy remit.