Yesterday I was thinking about Chris Trotter’s post about the factions and the post at The Standard by Eddie, also about factions.
It got me thinking. This was Helen Clark’s legacy. This was her construct and her gift to Labour.
|The Right||The Left||The Careerist Left|
|David Shearer (leader)||David Cunliffe (leader)||Grant Robertson (leader)|
|Phil Goff||Nanaia Mahuta||Chris Hipkins|
|Annette King||Louisa Wall||Jacinda Ardern|
|David Parker||Sue Moroney||Phil Twyford|
|Clayton Cosgrove||Su’a William Sio||Clare Curran|
|Shane Jones||Lianne Dalziel||Maryan Street|
|Damien O’Connor||Parekura Horomia||David Clark|
|Kris Fa’afoi||Rajen Prasad||Trevor Mallard|
|Ross Robertson||Rino Tirikatene||Darien Fenton|
|Carol Beaumont||Megan Woods|
|Raymond Huo||Ruth Dyson|
Some of those names do seem out of kilter though. For a start there are 14 names in Cunliffe’s camp. If that were so he would have won the leadership ballot in February.
Also I would have put David Clark into the Right Faction…not necessarily because he is ‘right’ but because he seems pretty smart and one who could easily get a job outside of parliament. He has the dourness of a presbyterian but the smarts of an economist.
But all that is neither here nor there. The purpose of this post to for you to see the legacy of Helen Clark.
In order for her to reign as along as she did over the Labour party, and over the country, she had to ensure that no one could roll her. Therefore she cosseted and nurtured interest groups, but also made sure that the larger factions never had enough support to be able to gain total control. Each faction would need the support of at least one other in order to rule.
Clark of course had Heather Simpson to coral and instil fear into the faction bosses, and the members. In this way Helen Clark was able to control the party absolutely.
When she left she named Phil Goff as her replacement, mainly out of spite. I don’t think even she thought that Goff would last, but last he did, until defeat. It was an inept leadership, which was strange for someone who had trained his entire political life for the moment…and he bombed it. But Goff was really let down by the factions…they hadn’t yet found their true form, that was still to come as the caucus finally realised that Clark was gone never to return and they had to make their own way.
David Shearer has inherited this mess. But worse he is pathetically weak and easily manipulated. By now though the factions have entrenched and now Shearer is merely a place holder for the real leader who will emerge in due course.
But Clark’s legacy is deeper than that…have a look at that list of names…a talent pool as shallow as a bird bath. That was Clark’s final legacy…delivering a bunch of inept, barely capable middle manager types to parliament, a great many of them through her office. They were certainly no threat to her and they are no threat to John Key.
This is the modern labour party, chosen personally by Helen Clark, many never having had a job outside of the beltway. Chosen only for their ineptitude and undying loyalty to the cult of Helen Clark.
In doing this she may well have destroyed the Labour party.