Writing on the Wall for Shearer

David Shearer’s days are numbered. Two Fairfax journalists have started sounding the death knell.

Vernon Small considers that the coup attempt is imminent:

Just short of his first anniversary as leader, David Shearer delivers his first speech to a Labour Party conference next week.

But as storm clouds gather over his leadership, it is shaping as possibly his last.

Members, activists and unionists contacted for this article said over and over that the speech at the Ellerslie racecourse conference centre next Sunday was crucial to Shearer’s grip on the leadership.

His first priority is to convince the party rank and file that “he has what it takes” – and those grassroots members will be looking for a hard-hitting address taking the fight to the Government while outlining a clear and personal view of where he intends to take Labour

Unless he can carry that off, the groundswell in the party is set to break into the open with a push for a leadership challenge, most likely when the caucus meets in February – or even sooner, according to one business lobbyist in close contact with the party.

While no heir apparent has emerged – the same issue that kept his predecessor Phil Goff safe through Labour’s dark days from 2008 to 2011 – the party would look again at David Cunliffe, deputy Grant Robertson and potentially others if Shearer continued to disappoint.

There is a problem in Labour. The member activists want David Cunliffe as leader…while caucus hates David Cunliffe.

Andrea Vance contends time is running out too;

Here’s not what’s going to happen at Labour’s annual conference later this week. David Cunliffe is not going to rugby tackle David Shearer to the ground while Grant Robertson sits on his head, with Andrew Little shouting “bags be leader”.

Irritatingly, leadership spills don’t happen that way. If only.

Labour is especially good at the nasty, tortured coups – so if the party is going to roll Shearer, expect it to be beastly. But don’t anticipate blood on the floor of the Ellerslie Racecourse come next Sunday night.

It might not be Sunday night but it can’t be far off. My Labour sources tell me that a delegation visited Shearer last week…while Grant Robertson was conveniently offshore.

Unless Shearer can miraculously cure his stuttering then he is dog meat, stutters and repetition are deadly on the campaign trail where there are more impromptu standups than set pieces. Media tire very quickly of being asked to constantly retake interviews. It can’t be long before Duncan Garner puts together a little farewell present of Shearer at stand ups requesting retakes after he screwed up his statements…5 minutes of stuttering and flummoxed looks would fell him faster than Mallard’s knife.

  • thor42

    They seem to have naff-all options for another leader.

    Cunners is hated by caucus.

    Robertson would piss off the large Pasifika vote who aren’t ready for a tailgunner as leader.

    Little is a unionist and has the personality of a fire hydrant.

    Their best option is probably to go with a cardboard cutout of Lenin or Trotsky or someone like that….

    • Dave

      Aha, but think of how many happy dogs there would be if Little stopped on corners and in parks……..

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    Bros – I am not convinced by all of this. Nothing is going to happen in the Labour conference. Sheep will continue to “bah” “bah” and Labour will run with it. Though Labour’s IQ is less than 10, they are smart enough to know as long as NZ First crosses 5% threshold Emperor and his cronies are toast. So they will just float until 2014. Grab the power, knife Sheep after 2-3 months, install Roberston/Jacaranda Garden combination and rule NZ for the next 20 years. So I suggest you all work hard and save money because come 2014, you will have nothing left to save. The communists will tax you to death.

  • Travis Poulson

    While the momentum seems to be building up as far as pointing out Shearers unsuitability as party leader goes, I don’t think it will be until the new year before anything kicks off. While I might agree he’s not the right man for the job, there sure as hell isn’t a suitable replacement either. Unless of course your definition of suitable is keeping Labour low in the polls.

    • thor42

      I hope they do replace Shearer.
      I think that whoever they replace him with will mean that Labour do even *worse* in the polls.
      I can’t wait!

  • Lion_ess

    What’s changed in the Labour Party since the Goff coup when the three David’s went up for the leadership? I imagine it’s worse now than it was then – after-all, they selected who they thought was their best option. Don’t know that revisiting the runner’s up is likely to result in a better outcome. What instruments do the other two play.

  • Dave

    I too am suspicious, but look at the recent history. Mr Rufus Painter, the Video, Fail, Fail and er, um, ah, FAIL. The entire country knows Shearer is gone, its just a matter of when.

    Then the Nasty Wannabbees, a lot of them with knives out, sending their leaderless leader out with half of the facts and looking like an idiot. Like others have stated, Labours leadership options are not just limited, there are no good successors anywhere.
    Yes, like on Big Brother, Mr Shearer, its time to go!! But who can succeed after the Sheep?
    If John Key were to announce he was going, there are options, but i dont see any at all within Liebour.

    • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

      Dave – What about uncle Goff aunty King combination again? It can’t be worse!! At least Goff can scream continuously non-stop until his veins pop!!!

  • cows4me

    What exactly do Liarbore stand for other then poof marriage and wealth redistribution? Perhaps if they could pull their heads out of their arses and put forward a platform that offers a rather tied electorate something new then this in-turn would attract a better class of candidate. They really are quite pitiful.

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