David Cunliffe might have been given the bum’s rush by caucus, but that shouldn’t stop him continuing to attempt to take the top job.
The first step is to use some rare political metrics to create doubt in caucus’ minds. He should be getting private polling done that shows Shearer is useless in the eyes of the public, and that Labour will be in opposition with him as leader. Then he needs the same poll to show that he will immediately give Labour a five point bounce. Ideally he should use a polling company like Research First for his polling as an honest poller like our pinko mate Farrar might give him answers he doesn’t like.
These polls get distributed around the caucus, and quietly leaked to the media a few days later. Then the question that the media are asking is “can Shearer win?” followed by “would the Labour caucus rather be in opposition than in power?”
While the polling is being done Cunliffe can take advantage of the stupid decision to send him to the back bench. The back bench is where Keating undermined Hawke before nailing him, so a call to Keating would be smart. Keating will probably tell him to start making a series of speeches hammering John Key, and hammering him hard. This starts by reviewing John Key’s election promises from 2008 and 2011 and asking the kind of questions Shearer should have asked about “when the brighter future is going to arrive?” and “when we are going to catch up with Australia?”
Shearer has been too useless to do this, but a couple of big hits on Key, pinning him on his broken promises would give caucus another clear example of why they need Cunliffe as leader.