John Key’s poll numbers are remarkable but what is even more remarkable is that no backbencher has opposed any of the wet policies propagated by the current leadership. Nor have they thrown a temper tantrum about being passed over for promotion, or has there been an internal donnybrook where a hamfisted disciplinarian gets told to fuck off by an angry backbencher who doesn’t like being bullied.
The real test of this will be when the current speaker goes to London, as is well flagged, at the end of the year. When Lockie heads off there will be a chance for someone to get a promotion, especially if someone from within cabinet gets the job.
The smart money is on Nick Smith returning to cabinet because his sins weren’t career ending, and no one else in caucus understand all the green hippie shit like Nick does. They even like him, which is a huge achievement for Nick, a confirmed member of the wet wing of the party but also an engineer and scientist so not afraid of looking for the truth through peer reviewed research.
If this happens many of the backbench will realise they are never going to make the step up. They will have few incentives to maintaining their ovine devotion to the party and the leadership, because the leadership offers them nothing except a request for more ovine behaviour. Then expect the current lot will start wondering whether bovine devotion is worth doing, and may become the most dangerous of animals, a clever sheep.