While the Labour Party has been central to the campaign to force the government into conducting a referendum on asset sales that campaign has always been fatally undermined by the failure of Labour - and the Green Party - to commit themselves to renationalisation.
Labour leader David Shearer has already made it clear that he would not renationalise Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy. Had Shearer done this then National may have had a bigger fight on its hands to partially privatise them.
Nor is the Green Party committing itself to renationalisation. Like Labour it stomps its foot about the partial privatisation of the power companies but stops well short of saying it would renationalise them. Personally I would simply renationalise the lot of them without compensation but neither Labour or the Green's will even commit themselves to buying them back.
Neither of these two parties are committing themselves to over turning state owned enterprises legislation which has required the SOE's like Mighty River to purse profits rather than provide a social service. Apparently they are both happy to allow this plank of neoliberalism to stay in place.
But the power companies that both Labour and the Green's are so fervently defending are the same power companies that have helped to ratchet up power prices to the point that, according to a study by Victoria University researcher Geoff Bertram, we have some of the highest power prices in the OCED.
At the root of it all, both Labour and the Green's still believe in the power of the market and believe that capitalism - despite all the evidence to the contrary - can be harnessed for the social good. This is what Norman says:
We believe deeply in peoples goodness and creativity and I think that creating a space where entrepreneurs can come up with great ideas to deal with some of the environmental challenges we face is important and good markets can provide that space.
These are the comments of a former socialist and now a failed social democrat. I don't think Shearer would disagree with Norman but somehow the Green co-leader escapes the wrath of 'left wing commentators' like Chris Trotter and Martyn Bradbury. In fact he is benignly and favourably interviewed because that quote is from a interview conducted by Martyn Bradbury.
In the end, the only solution being offered by the so-called 'social democratic left' is replacing David Shearer with David Cunliffe. But replacing one machine politician with another machine politician is no solution at all.
Perhaps if we had begun the work of developing a democratic movement that was independent of the bankrupt Labour Party and its allies in Parliament we wouldn't be in the mess we are.