Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 9. 1969.
I Am sure there were many people who were amused by Alister Taylor's article on the Labour Party conference. However, apart from some smart abuse at a member of the party's executive who could be immediately recognised by Mr Taylor's description, the article contained the same hackneyed phrases and cliches we can the Labour Party which have become popular among left and right wing critics of the party over the last couple of yean.
Indeed, I was disappointed that Mr Taylor, who is, I believe, himself a journalist, could not produce anything more perceptive than the cry that the Labour Party has no policy, a statement which could just as easily have been road in the Dominion or N.Z. Herald.
His description of Labour's leadership as "an entranehed and bureaucratic USSR type hierarchy" might seem imaginative and cutting although it was merely a steal from Owen Gager's idea of labour leaders as the "Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party" (Salient. May 21, 1968). Another interesting reference was the mention of political commentators Professors Chapman and Jackson who "knew by heart their lines for the numerous radio and TV interviews ... they've learnt them at the three or four or five or ten previous ... conferences they've attended. Nothing ever changes." An interesting comment, especially when compared with tome of Professor Chapman's remarks at the end of the conference which he said was "such a contrast to the last three that it's startling". Mr Taylor said that the young radicals come full of hope "and at the end go away shattered". But Professor Chapman told us that "youth have got their major beachhead"—a representative of the party's executive.
For all its faults, the Labour Party Is the only political party in New Zealand which offers any hope to the left wing in New Zealand (among whom I count Mr Taylor) for the implementation of the progressive policies they espouse. Withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, radical re-organisation of the Security Service, a more liberal education policy than Mr Muldoon's, the lowering of the voting age to eighteen; all these are policies which we can expect a Labour Government to implement.
I do not expect or ask Alister Taylor to jump on the Labour bandwagon for 1969, but I would have hoped that, as a responsible political commentator and activist he might have bean able to provide more constructive criticism of the Labour Party and its policies, instead of repeating the old hackneyed cliches and criticisms of read anytime in the Sunday Times or the Red Spark.
P. L. Franks,
Hutt Youth Branch, N.Z. Labour Party.