In a recent longer article on two by-elections in Britain and their meaning for politics there, Kenan Malik made the following point/s about the Labour Party in Britain:
“At the heart of its crisis lies the question: What is the Labour Party for?
“Labour lost its status as the party of the working class long ago. A recent opinion poll on party popularity found that among working-class voters, Labour had fallen far below the Conservatives and even into third place behind UKIP. Over the past 30 years, Labour, like many social-democratic parties, has transformed itself into a party appealing primarily to the metropolitan middle class, a large proportion of which voted to remain in the European Union. In the wake of the referendum, many such supporters are switching allegiance to the Liberal Democrats, the most pro-European of British political parties. One poll suggested that the Liberal Democrats could overtake Labour at the next general election.
“The trouble with Labour is that the party simply no longer works. It is neither a social-democratic nor a liberal party, neither a plausible alternative government nor an effective opposition. It is difficult to know how it could find a role in today’s Britain.”
The same basic points could be made about its NZ cousin. The only function the NZLP seems to serve now is to provide the ruling class with a ‘B’ team to take over when longs periods of government exhaust National and some fresh faces and ideas are needed to keep people interested in capitalist politics and maintain the pretence that any of the problems that afflict 21st century society can be solved with the confines of the existing system.