Former Labour MP, John “front bum” Tamihere really doesn’t like women. And gays. Apparently it’s the women’s faction and the gay faction in the Labour party who are writing the party’s policies these days, and this is a bad thing.
By default, Labour’s politics are now determined by its well-organised factions – the women’s and gay divisions of the party.
It has drafted in a number of MPs who have studied poverty and the working class but have never come from those areas of difficulty.
The party, as a consequence, no longer had a robust debate and a wonderful test of the conflict of ideas required to shape answers for such questions as, “What do we stand for, who are we, and how are we going to apply what we stand for?”
What a stunning piece of analysis! One which completely ignores the demographics of the NZ Labour party hierarchy, which would be overwhelmingly heterosexual, and largely male. Of course there are more women and gay people in the Labour party hierarchy compared to say, the National party hierarchy, but that’s because the Labour party has always been more hospitable to marginalised people than the National party. (‘Though that’s not saying a lot.) Even so, the leader, the president, the finance spokesperson in the Labour party are all white, married men. The positions of power in the party are held by white married men. I’m thinking that they probably have quite an influence on policy.
Here’s some news for you, John. These days, women are allowed to vote. These days, gays and lesbians don’t have to disguise themselves behind a front of heterosexuality. To be sure, there’s a long way to go in terms of accepting gay and lesbian and queer and trans and bisexual people as they are, but in New Zealand and in many other countries around the world, it is much more possible for people who are not part of the straight norm to be out, in public, and (this is a shocker, John – you may find it hard to cope) even in public office.
The NZ Labour party is going through a period of re-negotiating an understanding of itself, working out new ways to serve New Zealand. Noticeably, it wants to do the best for all New Zealanders, not just those who are deemed fit by the mindset of mid-twentieth century power structures. That means that women and gay people get to have a say too. What is so bad about that?
Thank goodness John Tamihere is no longer in power, and his only platform is a newspaper column and talk-back radio, with its reach of hundreds.