Salient. Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 8. Monday, July 1, 1963
Will Labour Win?
Will Labour Win?
The death of Mr. F. P. Walsh should increase the chances of Labour in the 1963 election. Walsh was a poor party man. He was a stubborn individualist. As a leader of industrial labour he seems to have conceived his role as creator of a new voice. He was not content to serve the larger Labour movement. If he had been loyal to the parliamentary party and not faithful to principles of oligarchic power, Labour may have done better in the last 10 years.
Labour needs unity, in public at least. It may at [unclear: lost] get it.
The Labour Party has, however, many more bridges to cross before November. Party organisation is their weakest point. Before the war Labour was superior to National in this department. National saw their weakness and remedied it—an expensive business but one National could well afford. It proved a worthwhile investment.
National understands public opinion and works on it. Labour has been too doctrinaire and perhaps lacking in courage. The Labour Party Conference's recent exclusion of the Press is one example. The opinion of Labour is clouded because too much attention is paid to prejudiced diehards—both at a local and a national level.
This brings us to the next point. Labour needs men-men of ability and education with oratorical powers and political finesse. Labour seems out of touch with the age group under 30—they will remain out of touch at their peril.
It is a change of attitude Labour needs. It must throw out its old image of a "depression" party which people run to in time of need. Socialism is no longer important to it either.
By adopting methods like this Labour may secure the wide base of support it needs for electoral victory. Mr. Nordmeyer is a shrewd leader. He knows parties no longer stand for principles. The modern political party is a vehicle for the expression of the wants and dislikes of a fickle public.
What the Labour Party needs is organisation.