Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Leaving Jiangxi: Tat Loo Marches Out Of The Labour Party.

Despairing Of Reform: Dunedin-based Labour Party dissident, Tat Loo (aka "Colonial Viper") told fellow members of the Anderson's Bay-Peninsula Branch that the Labour Party "is now lost at sea but does not appear to recognise that fact." Their response was a vote to put the branch into recess. Loo advised his comrades that he wanted  "no part of propping up the Thorndon Bubble careerist ‘pretend and extend’ set" and was "moving on to new political projects".
 
TAT LOO, like the ceremonial Chinese lion, is a potent mixture of playfulness and ferocity. Intelligent, articulate, passionate, politically impatient and singularly unwilling to suffer fools gladly, he set his sights on the Dunedin Labour Party about three years ago – and has only just run out of ammunition.
 
At a Special Formal Meeting of the Anderson’s Bay-Peninsula Branch of the Labour Party held in South Dunedin on Sunday afternoon (22/11/15) Loo and about twenty others announced that they were putting their controversially resurrected branch back into the constitutional limbo from which they had called it forth. Loo, himself, relinquished his executive role – but not before using-up all his remaining shot and shells in a scathing farewell to a Labour Party he had, finally, despaired of reforming.
 
“Several of the current officers and LEC delegates of the ABP Branch have become deeply dissatisfied with the performance and direction of the Labour Party both locally and in Wellington and no longer wish to remain in their roles or continue supporting the party.” Loo explained in a posting on the Labour-aligned political blog, The Standard.
 
“Labour’s inability to be consistent in opposing the neoliberal corporation-drafted Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the softening of the stance against the 90-day right to fire, the ethnically divisive and ineffective tactics against Chinese property buyers in Auckland, the voting for National’s inequitable and discriminatory social welfare reform legislation, and the support of National’s spying and anti-terrorism bill,” said Loo, “all point to a Labour Party which is now lost at sea but does not appear to recognise that fact.”
 
Loo’s conclusion was grim. “The palpable sense conveyed has been that apart from minor tinkering, there are no likely or viable prospects for positive, real progressive change coming from the Labour Party in the foreseeable future.”
 
The veteran political journalist, Richard Harman, writing on the POLITIK blog, suggested Loo’s departure was not something over which the Labour hierarchy was likely to lose much sleep: “In fact [President Nigel] Haworth and leader, Andrew Little, might well regard the move as a minor victory in their quest to make the party more relevant to mainstream New Zealand.”
 
According to Harman: “Anderson’s Bay was exactly the kind of left wing Labour branch which enabled Jeremy Corbyn to become leader of the British Labour party, a move which now threatens that party with divisiveness and possible electoral ostracism.”
 
This is nonsense. Corbyn was nominated by a clear plurality of “constituency organisations” – the equivalent of New Zealand Labour’s “LECs” (Labour Electorate Committees). The disaffection in British Labour extended throughout the entire party and its affiliated unions. Had support for Corbyn been restricted to a handful of left-wing branches the 66-year-old backbencher could never have been elected.
 
New Zealand’s “Corbyn Moment” came three years ago at the 2012 annual conference held at Ellerslie in Auckland, when the party rank-and-file rebelled against the parliamentary caucus. It was around this time that Loo’s public profile began to grow, especially after his Standard pseudonym, “Colonial Viper”, was “outed” by Dunedin-based opponents of the Labour Left’s champion, David Cunliffe – of whom Loo was a strong and vocal supporter.
 
Indeed, it is almost certainly the “Peace of Palmerston North” – shorthand for the restoration of more-or-less cordial relations between the party rank-and-file and the parliamentary caucus that was plainly in evidence at the party’s 2015 annual conference held in Palmerston North earlier this month – that accounts for the timing of Loo’s decision to recess the Anderson’s Bay-Peninsula Branch.
 
After the long list of political “sins” detailed in his statement, Loo was clearly devastated by the party’s quiescent response to what he saw as the Caucus’s continuing perfidy. The “revolutionary moment” had clearly passed, and with it any good that the rebel Anderson’s Bay-Peninsula Branch might have hoped to achieve. The curious failure of David Cunliffe to fire in the 2014 election, and the catastrophic defeat it presaged, has reduced the Labour Left to a demoralised and thoroughly chastened rump.
 
Time to go. Loo’s parting shot was delivered with considerable accuracy at the Grant Robertson-led faction of the party, which, he believes, is slowly-but-surely gaining the upper-hand in the Little-led caucus. “We want no part of propping up the Thorndon Bubble careerist ‘pretend and extend’ set any further and will be moving on to new political projects.”
 
Like Mao Zedong, Tat Loo is gathering what remains of his revolutionary army and setting forth on his own “Long March” to Ya’nan.
 
This essay was posted on The Daily Blog and Bowalley Road of Wednesday, 25 November 2015.

39 comments:

peter petterson said...

Loo's waterloo, not Labour's.

Anonymous said...

I take my hat off to him, Stuart Nash attacked the Standard a few weeks ago, in my opinion it was because Tat Loo's blog consistently argued against Labours seat grabbers, their total lack of clarity on TPPA and Littles backtracking on the 90 day trial period. There were other matters. His blog has one of the biggest followings. He is a bright light amongst the mediocrity that Labour has become. Phil Quin got out because of the racism of Twyford and Salmond, now joined by Tat Loo, who's next ?.

Anonymous said...

Watch other bloggers at the Stansdard like Greg Presland aka Mickey Savage attempt to shutdown Tat Loo aka Colonel Viper. Labour MPs will demand it as gratis for any contributions.

Anonymous said...

Except Tat's not going anywhere. He hasn't resigned from Labour. Nor has anyone, apparently. He's just failed at keeping the branch going and tried to make the failure look like a political gesture. Meh.

Bored Ennui said...

Well reported Chris. I hope Tat is reading this. Don't give up, you are precisely the type of person needed to represent social democracy. You sparred consistently for years with all comers on TheStandard, you have both respect and a constituency. And we know where you stand. Keep standing.

greywarbler said...

Tat Loo is probably not well described by mentioning Mao, he has a future view that would not allow for Mao's excesses. He seems to have a good grasp of our present, and a pressing desire to see us moving to save ourselves from the cumulative effect of ignoring all the economic externalities that are costing us so much in this 'free' market.

With applied intelligence now the rub of being between a rock and a hard place when climate change's effects oppress will be bearable because we have acted after being forewarned. I think Tat Loo wants to ensure that we stop rescheduling the executive action meeting for another year, or decade.

And we need to get cost effective about social welfare, which National ignores, cuts to ribbons and tries to sell to the public as if it was the John Cleese sketch on marketing stringlets.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qNj-QFZbew

It would be great if Tat Loo was part of a new leadership getting us away from the music-hall patter of the right-wing paying homage to the early 1900s, and into committed programs preparing us for the 21st century before we finish the second decade.

pat said...

Labour dismiss this at their peril.....they may be comfortable in the immediate result but it speaks volumes to the problems they face into the next election...they are betting the farm

Oliver Woods said...

I salute him. A rational and intelligent move, particularly given Labour's languid addiction to gradual self-destruction. Proud to say I once helped lead a much smaller and probably much sillier walkout of Labour members.

Pat O'Dea said...

In his alter ego, 'Colonial Viper' Tat Loo has been a consistent left wing voice at The Standard. Long may he keep this platform for his views.

As to the curious failure of David Cunliffe to fire during the 2014 elections, word from insiders in the Cunliffe camp was that he was taking too much advice from the conservative dominated caucus.

David may have thought it was politic at the time to try and keep them onside, but ultimately it cost Labour the election.

The championing of conservative policies like raising the age of Superannuation entitlement, support for deep sea oil drilling. And tactically, Labour's sectarian rejection of any compromise with possible coalition partners to their left.

As you have said, Chris, when talking of this right wing section of the Labour Party "... they would rather keep control of the losing side than lose control of the winning side".

Labour needs to learn from National which happily maintains its rule only with the support of their even more conservative coalition partners.

Unfortunately David Cunliffe learned this lesson too late when his new friends in the ABC dominated caucus immediately turned on him after the election.

Anonymous said...

Hard to take someone seriously (Tat Loo) who believes 9/11 was a controlled demolition job by the isreali/CIA/neo-con military industrial complex. He's gonna see conspiracies and plots everywhere, and create them when he needs an explanation fit his world view.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Anonymous@10:13

Tat Loo is certainly not alone in his suspicions concerning the Twin Towers and 9/11. In fact, upwards of a third of all Americans (including many scientists and engineers) dispute, in one way or another, the official explanation of that tragic event.

Perhaps Tat's views have changed in the light of what I consider to be the best explanation so far, which is that the meeting of molten aluminium (sourced from the crashed aircraft and super-heated by the fiercely burning aviation fuel) and water caused the powerful explosions which set off the collapse of both structures.

I feel obliged to add that your use of Tat's doubts about the collapse of the Twin Towers as a means of discrediting his analysis of Labour's failings is a pretty despicable tactic. Your comment only strengthens the validity of his criticisms.

Anonymous said...

Excellent new for the labour party, good riddance to another loudmouthed hard left embarrassment. Little needs to quickly sculpt into something that wont frighten the median voter with grand plans, beyond manning the phones, and handing out pamphlets Loo and his ilk are lead ballast - better for them to head off and genuflect in front of Hone Hariwira an unelectable fellow traveler.

I find it revolting the way the hard left inject themselves uninvited and undesired into broad church center left parties, they're policies are so electorally toxic that they would have no chance of cracking the 5% threshold (or even 1%) so they inject themselves by stealth onto Labour and try and engineer a takeover Corbyn style.

Little and co are well aware of these vile tactics and they are also aware of just whats needed to win power - solid centrist policies, support for the TPPA, making it easier for aspirational voters to buy homes and the promotion of business friendly policies to create jobs. Not the kind of stuff to excite the Mao hugging Loo - good riddance to bad rubbish

Anonymous said...

Chris,
No serious engineer doubts that the Twin Towers fell due to the fire weakening the steel beams. There was insulation on the beams to prevent this, but the blast from the crash blew it away - it wasn't designed for this scenario.
Steel loses a considerable amount of its strength when it is heated to a few hundred degrees - well below it's melting point. Most laymen are unaware of this - they think that the steel would have to actually melt for the structure to collapse.

An Engineer who is no fan of Bush.

Anonymous said...

Why the favourable quotes and references to Mao?
He was a murderous monster.

Grant said...

@ Chris: "I feel obliged to add that your use of Tat's doubts about the collapse of the Twin Towers as a means of discrediting his analysis of Labour's failings is a pretty despicable tactic. Your comment only strengthens the validity of his criticisms."

Hear hear!!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

This is all a bit too 'insider' for me, but one thing I do know is that the man is not fucking hard left. Except in the minds of the hard right :-). Mind you, anyone who believes that the twin towers coming down was a result of a controlled demolition needs a tinfoil hat. Even popular mechanics has debunked that one.

Chris Trotter said...

Careful with the "tin-foil hat" slurs, GS. Reasoned debate (and inventive polemic) only - if you please ;-)

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I think if Popular Mechanics has debunked it then it's entering that territory if nothing else :-). Sorry – I've got a thing about conspiracy theories. The whole idea that the American government would sacrifice thousands of its citizens for some obscure reason beggars belief. But doesn't beggar it as much as the idea that they can actually keep it secret. Whatever you say about America and I often do, stuff always comes out :-).

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear what new political direction Tat Loo heads off in. Maybe it will even provide me with a party I feel like joining.

Andrew Nichols said...

Little and co are well aware of these vile tactics and they are also aware of just whats needed to win power - solid centrist policies, support for the TPPA, making it easier for aspirational voters to buy homes and the promotion of business friendly policies to create jobs.

Snore....Nat lite...Why bother?

Chris Trotter said...

To: Guerrilla Surgeon.

One does not have to wear a tinfoil hat to speculate as to why the Bush Administration ignored so many warnings about an imminent terrorist attack on the US (including one warning of jet aircraft and tall buildings!) and yet did nothing to raise the level of vigilance nationwide.

Prior to 9/11 neo-conservatives had openly discussed the need for a "Pearl Harbour" -type incident to free the hands of the Administration and set in motion the transformation of the Middle East - their fantasy de jour.

Sometimes goals are accomplished by NOT doing anything - Sins of Omission.

Remember the FBI's Chicago Office memo about Muslim students learning to fly jet airliners - but not how to land them! - that got "lost" somewhere in the Bureau's upper echelons?

You really should Google the University of Otago's Dr Charles Pigden and track down his philosophical papers on conspiracy theories before you accuse anybody else of wearing a tinfoil hat.

greywarbler said...

Perhaps this could be an intermittent thread in a series on future-savvy young people in politics with principles, or acronym-ready FSYPPP.
Presumably there are standouts who fit my title for the needed new breed, pragmatic idealists.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I think Occam's or rather Hanlon's razor suggests mistakes rather than deliberate sins of omission. If there was a conspiracy, it's far more likely to have been a conspiracy to cover up the original mistake. As Robert Heinlein once said "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity". Not my favourite author, but THAT is sound commonsense.
As I said a conspiracy like that would have to involve so many people, that some of whom would have spoken up by now. You simply can't keep secrets in the USA. I quite possibly don't know as much as Prof Pigden on conspiracy theories, but I know enough about this one thank you. I agree with him that they should be investigated, and this one has been – ad nauseam.
Obviously there ARE conspiracies. But more often people see conspiracies where none exist. I think that is the case with the twin towers. Not as ridiculous as the idea that we are being ruled by lizard people, but still unfounded.
However it seems you have some skin in this game Chris so this will be my last word on it :-).

Anonymous said...

Everything is obvious in hindsight.
See all the warnings (and "warnings") re Pearl Harbour.

manfred said...

In a better world, workers parties would treasure solid and principled people like Tat Loo. Sadly the reality of this nasty shit heap means we need people with not of few of the gangster's characteristics to manipulate their way to power...and people like Loo are often discarded. I can't comment on Loo's case specifically, however.

Luckily, I believe, as well as being hard-nosed, Andrew Little possesses the knowledge of how a realistic social democratic project should respond to the challenges of the 21st century

It's unfashionable according to some to support Labour, but without this kind of bullshitting there will never be a change of government and what's left of the welfare state will be reduced to a shell by the paid up partisans of the NZ ruling class and their international pimps.

Do you really think that people like Grant Robertson, Ardern and Little want to see 30,000 homeless people in this country and NZers thrown off the benefit left right and centre, for fucks sake?!

Do people fucking understand what it takes to enact reforms that are beneficial to the working class under capitalism? Do they think that just grabbing a mega phone and proclaiming the 10 point plan to some sort of semi-trotskyist transitional state is going excite more than 2 percent of the vote? Only in very extreme circumstances has any more than a very small minority wanted those kind of policies...and those are not times to which we want to return. Really as a country we're in the same game as we always have been, staving off chaos and trying to make this economy tick over. Some dipshit Corbynist project is only going to result in instant ruin for any chance to unseat Key.

Unknown said...

What Labour needs is working people. Since unions got the boot left wingers with an agenda rushed in to fill the vacuum. Most of you haven't got a clue: you did a cleaning job while at "varsity". Labour has been the biggest blight the NZ worker has ever seen. Labour has brought us closer and closer to the third world.

Unknown said...

Wages went up after the black death.

greywarbler said...

Manfred
I think that the impetus of many who comment here is driven by the knowledge of how hard it is to achieve or recover any advancement in wellbeing by the largest group of humans under capitalism. So don't have a brainstorm Manfred about critics of Labour or dismiss Tat Loo who is looking at facts, reality and cost-benefit analysis to more of his policies
than anyone else.

pat said...

@Unknown23.05
"Labour has been the biggest blight the NZ worker has ever seen. Labour has brought us closer and closer to the third world."

Have you ever been one? A worker that is....Labour introduced Family Support to howls of protest from the Nats and those further right...that Godsend wage subsidy mechanism that stopped the last remaining skilled workers in NZ from joining the rest of their family members in the great exodus to Australia....even this bunch of fascists realise they can't afford to remove it because even with it the majority of NZ workers still need two incomes plus to survive....Third world my arse.

Unknown said...

Have you ever been one? 
......
Labour also increased immigration to create a non ethnic state ("other people shouldn't be excluded" ) thereby diluting the National capital and sending a "this isn't your country" message.
The left deny any house price - migration link or quality of life population link or downward effect on wages. Dr Greg Clydesdale’s Growing Pains wins.

Unknown said...

Labour represents the distillation of the idea's of the 1960's radicals. The NZ working class are the ("thick as pig shit" ):enemy

pat said...


Well if nothing else I guess you have nailed your colours to the mast....you may wish to examine the immigration numbers (net) since the immigration changes of 1987 and reflect upon the subsequent tinkering and outcomes (intended or otherwise) by both National and Labour administrations.

http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/snapshots-of-nz/yearbook/people/population/7-million.aspx

As a thick as pig shit enemy of your (imagined) state I have submitted no position on the desirability or effectiveness of the outcomes of immigration policy of any administration but the briefest of examinations shows NZs history has been one of waxing and waning migration through its entire modern history so would submit its a little selective to accuse Labour of a plot to destroy your version of the world....which it would appear is unlikely to include the likes of myself.

Bushbaptist said...

Need to correct your comment at 20.08 Pat. Yes Labour put in place what was called the Family Benefit in 1939 but unfortunately Hitler screwed that up and it was shelved until the war was over. The Family Benefit, renamed Family Support, was introduced in 1947 I think. It was a Gnat Govt. in power then. Rob Muldoon dropped it in the 1970's.

Helen introduced the Working for Families Allowance. It was a targetted Tax Break for middle incomers mostly and Beneficiaries didn't qualify even if they had children to support. The Key Gang carried it on to try to keep the lower middle incomers on side.

pat said...

need to correct your correction Bushbaptist...you will see from the attached link that Labour did indeed introduce "Family Support", later renamed Family Assistance in the 80's....I remember it quite well having a young family at the time....it was later substantially enhanced by the Clark Gov under its newer title
http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2002/02-16/twp02-16.pdf

section 3.1

Grant said...

@ Pat & Bushbaptist.

Pat's link gives the following info which tallies with my own memory of events.

"The Family Benefit: Established in 1946. Paid to principal caregivers. The benefit was universal (not targeted
by income). In 1976 the value of the payment was $3 per week ($156 per annum) per
child. The value increased to $6 per week ($312 per annum) in 1979 and remained at this
level until 1991, when the benefit was merged with Family Support. Between 1976 and
1989, eligibility was automatic for children sixteen years or under. The benefit could also
be received for older children undertaking schooling. Between 1 January 1989 and 1 April
1991 the automatic qualifying age was lowered to fifteen."

And further:

"Family Support replaced Family Care, the Family Rebate, the Principal Income Earner
Rebate and the Family Maintenance Allowance on 1 October 1986. Family Support is a
refundable tax rebate available to low-income families irrespective of their work status.
The level of the unabated entitlement is based on the number of children in the family.
The entitlement for the eldest child in a family is greater than the entitlement for additional
children. Further, since 1 April 1988 entitlement has reflected children’s ages, with
entitlement for older children being greater than that for younger children.2
From 1 October 1986 to 1 April 1991, families qualified for Family Support if they qualified
for the Family Benefit (see Table 1). The Family Benefit was merged with Family Support
on 1 April 1991. With the discontinuation of the Family Benefit, new eligibility criteria for
Family Support were introduced. These new criteria were based on responsibility for the
day-to-day care of dependent children."

pat said...

will also note that the ability to capitalise the family Benefit for a home deposit was removed some years before the demise of Family Benefit which previously had been the means for many working class families to secure a deposit for home ownership...all at a time when mortgage interest rates were heading to in excess of 20%....fun times.

Grant said...

@ Pat. All family benefit was good for by the time we got it in late 1990 was capitalizing to by car seats for the new baby..

Bushbaptist said...

Your right Grant and Pat, I stand corrected. I had forgotten the change to Family Assisitance.

Must be getting old!

pat said...

we are all getting old(er)...i had forgotten about the baby seats