Is the Deputy Prime Minister the same “socialist” who used to argue in the 1980s for the necessity of party activists and MPs to stand up and be counted if their party was selling its soul? Huw Jarvis examines whether Jim Anderton still stands for the democratic principles he once fought for.
Over the last two decades Jim Anderton has been part of two different political parties that have shifted to the right and drifted away from their founding principles. In both situations the parliamentary wing in government has been behind the rightward trajectory while the party organisation has attempted to fight this transformation. However there is a crucial difference between the two parallel situations. In the 1980s Anderton argued in favour of the supremacy of the party organisation, and to that end he led a bitter fight against his parliamentary colleagues in the Labour Party, but in 2002 Anderton now leads the parliamentary wing of the Alliance in their battle to suppress the power and influence of the party.