Little fronts for shitty ideas

Labour leader Andrew Little is wasting the coolest job in politics.

In opposition you get to critique the undoubtedly crap work of the Government, and take time to dream up alternative policies.

There’s few other lines of work where can your idea can leap from your brain straight onto the public agenda.

An Opposition should be an ideas crucible, generating critique and concepts that touch on public need and keep the Government off-balance.

Your ideas have few limits, but must be internally consistent. Since they’re just ideas, you can make up the bits that hold it together.

This morning Andrew Little has been advocating the idea of a time limit on insurance decisions. Five years after the Christchurch Earthquake people are still waiting for conclusions to insurance claims.

In one of his most cringe-worthy interviews, Little poorly evaded answering the obvious question, posed multiple times by an admirably persistent Guyon Espiner. The question amounted to: under your idea, what would happen if insurance companies don’t settle by the deadline?

Andrew Little didn’t have an answer. He and his team had forgotten to dream up this part of the idea.

The shoddiness of this situation beggars belief: with the time and inspiration to develop ideas, Labour moots something as basic as a deadline, but can’t dream up how to make a deadline enforceable.

I’m not about to do the job for them, but off the top of my head I can think of three ways that would pass muster for the 24 hours this idea is live.

I feel sorry for Little. He is very poorly served by the Labour idea factory and his media people (who should really be the idea factory), and doesn’t appear to have the capacity to do this on his own.

This is perhaps the most disordered and shallow politics I’ve seen from Labour since it went into opposition. If you can’t do the ideas-driven job of opposition well, then you’ll be lost in Government.

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