Did anyone else wonder if Keith Locke, by announcing his resignation from Parliament, was freeing himself up for the rumoured new leftist party? Today Sue Bradford has pushed the murmurings along a further step by saying she is prepared to lead such a party. What has been overlooked, or at the least not commented on by the media, is the organisation and communication efforts surrounding the creation of the Alternative Welfare Working Group provide a strong basis for launching the new party. It is a strange mix of social conservatives and social liberals but they will be able to agree on a strongly state-controlled wealth redistributionist philosophy. ACT hung together for many years with a similar mix when you think about it.
That would leave the Greens free to focus on the environment and hopefully more willing to consider property rights as the best protector of it, although Metiria Turei is busily positioning her party as the natural vehicle for Maori aspirations.
I believe the party will emerge, and in part the emergence will have been driven by National's attempts to reform welfare, which I thoroughly support notwithstanding my expectation their policy will be well short of what is really needed.
What this highlights again, however, is the extreme political difficultly in ever undoing policies that become virtual institutions, one of the best examples being the DPB. If a new left party can effectively mobilise the beneficiary vote, and National will play as big a role in that as their own efforts, they will have every chance of gaining political representation. And with Labour looking impotent under Goff their chances are further improved.
Now is the time and I expect to see developments speed up. It wouldn't be a surprise if they coined their party something along the lines of The Social Justice Party. Their big mistake is believing that only the state can deliver such a thing, and ignoring the existing repercussions of such a fraught idea. And that is the ground on which they should be countered.