John Armstrong hasn’t had this good a time for ages
Ignore for a moment the installation of veteran MP Annette King as deputy-leader. That is ostensibly a temporary move designed to avoid Little being bogged down in Wellington and freeing him up to get around the country to sell the revised Labour message he is promising to deliver.
But it also gives Little time to see who on the party’s new front bench performs with panache and substance to deserve promotion. It also leaves a difficult decision to another day.
With the elevation of Kelvin Davis and Carmel Sepuloni and to the frontbench, Little is not only responding to Labour tradition that Maori and now Pacific Island community-based MPs be so represented.
Their presence alongside Phil Twyford, Chris Hipkins and Jacinda Ardern, plus the promotion of fast-rising David Clark, marks a long-overdue generational change which brings a much fresher face to Labour.
Those are, on the surface, the good bits. Â But Little’s had to hurt people to do this. Â Read more »
I’ve noticed a few things about Labour, but the one thing that sticks out is the absolute deference they all hold towards Helen Clark.
I despise her politics, but am mature enough to recognise a superb politician.
Helen Clark took over the labour party when it was in disarray, she withstood a coup attempt and ruled the party with an iron fist for 15 years.
She moulded the party into her likeness and the two became synonymous.
The labour party was Helen Clark and Helen Clark was the Labour party.
That was Labour’s strength and it was also its Achilles heel.
Eventually the voters tired of her and Labour lost to John Key’s National party.
Now this is where it gets interesting.Â Read more »
Grant Robertson has retired hurt
In the hurricane of media that accompanied Andrew Little’s elevation – inevitable with any new leader – it would be easy to overlook runner-up Grant Robertson sitting stunned in the eye of the storm.
Yet Little’s next steps now become crucial. Handling Robertson and the party’s “second power base” will be a key issue for Little as he puts his new team together.
In the immediate aftermath of Little’s win Robertson understandably expressed disappointment.
He had, after all, won 56 per cent of the caucus, 55 per cent of the party membership and it was only Little’s status with the affiliated unions (and perhaps an echo of the gay-shy stance of some unionists evident during the 2013 run-off) that thwarted his second bid for leader.
But he expected the union vote to go against him, and Little’s three-to-one advantage with the handful of private sector unions affiliated to Labour was in line with feedback both camps had received.
What must have surprised Robertson’s camp was the unexpectedly low vote from his fellow MPs. His lieutenants were expecting him to clean up by about 21-11 on a two-man preferred basis, with most if not all David Parker’s second preferences going his way.
We’ve seen the photos. Â Grant and Cindy were devastated. Â But now comes the hard part. Â Because of Grant’s lower than expected support in caucus, he may not end up as deputy leader. Â Read more »
Pots, pans and pannier bags blogger Russell Brown rarely, if ever these days, writes about politics.
He has broken habit by writing about Labour’s just completed leadership election.
Unusually for him it is brief, he’s normally a big fan of the tl;dr post.
Iâll be brief (itâs 5am where I am and have to catch a plane) but the Labourâs leadership result and the means by which it was achieved both seem disastrous for the party and for the prospects of the centre-left.
Little didnât win the support of the party or the caucus, he loses his electorate more badly every time he contests it, and heâs vowing to dump all the intellectual capital built up by David Parker. I canât see any good thing about this.
Am I missing something?
Tim Watkin has an interesting post at Pundit about the task ahead for Labour’s new leader.
He wonders whether or not they have a three year project or a six year project in frontÂ of them.
Whoever wins, Labour won’t be a charismatic party that voters will turn to as an exciting alternative to National. Instead, whoever wins will have to win back voters’ trust through being dependable, decent and speaking to the interests of the many.
‘Decent’ recalls Jim Bolger’s ‘decent society’ slogan, and Bolger would be a pretty good role model for any winner. Not a flamboyant or visionary politician, but one who knew how to win elections.
So who to vote for? For me Labour Party members will need to start by asking themselves this question: Can Labour win in 2017?
Essentially, is this a three year or six year project? Is one of those four the next Labour Prime Minister?Â Because that answer suggests different people.
Chris Trotter wonders whether Labour can put its troubles behind them and start to recover relevancy with the voting public.
THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labourâs Leadership Contest is all over bar the voting.
The contrast between the road-show just concluded and what was, effectively, the David Cunliffe Coronation Tour of 2013 could hardly be starker. Then, it was the rank-and-filesâ and the affiliatesâ moment to deliver a very emphatic one-fingered message to a caucus it had grown to despise â and they delivered it with both hands. This time, itâs been the Labour Caucusâs Victory Tour.
In both 2012 and 2013, Labourâs MPs had warned the partyâs members and affiliates that Cunliffe was unacceptable â but they refused to listen. Now they know what happens when a leader lacks the fulsome support of his caucus colleagues. No oneâs saying it out loud, but the most important single feature of this yearâs leadership contest is David Cunliffeâs absence. No matter which of the four grey eminences emerges from the complicated processes of preferential voting as Labourâs new leader â Caucus has won.
Yes, they will have slayed the Cunliffe dragon…sort of…for one of the contenders has cut a secret deal to help rehabilitate the man with the brain as big as a planet. Trotter thinks that had Cunliffe stood things may have been a bit different.
Had Cunliffeâs name been on the ballot paper, he would, almost certainly, have triumphed again. I donât think itâs stretching the truth to say that among Labourâs staunchest supporters â Maori and Pasifika â the Member for New Lynn is loved. When informed that their champion had withdrawn from the race, a hall packed with Maori and Pasifika trade union delegates audibly groaned and tears flowed. Only when told that Nanaia Mahuta had entered the fray did their spirits noisily recover.
But, no matter how strong the loyalty shown to Cunliffe by the true believers who give Labour two ticks, it was made abundantly clear to the party membership just how ugly things would get if he insisted, once again, on soliciting their support.
The embittered David Shearer may have led the charge, but every political journalist in the country knew that his acidic tongue was just the poisoned point of a much larger spear. Shearerâs mission was to demonstrate to the rank-and-file and affiliates that the longer Cunliffe persisted in his fantasy of continuing to lead the party the worse things would get. They had to know that Caucus was perfectly willing to destroy the Labour Party in order to save it.
Rather than unleash a no-holds-barred civil war at every level of his Party; one from which it would likely not recover; Cunliffe bowed to the inevitable and withdrew from the contest.
From that point on, the outcome of the 2014 Leadership Contest ceased to matter very much. Â Â Read more »
The fun thing watching the British Labour party flounder is that we’ve already seem this play out before. Â We know where it is going to end up.
Ed Miliband today blamed ‘powerful forces’ in Britain for his leadership crisis, insisting his falling popularity was the result of taking on big business.
The Labour leader used a make or break speech to suggest a shadowy network of banks, energy companies, payday lenders and hedge funds is plotting to stop him becoming Prime Minister.
He insisted he has the ‘resilience’ and ‘thick skin’ to do the job ofÂ changingÂ Britain, after a poll showed only 13 per cent of people think he is ready to run the country.
It’s never the fault of a poorly performing party and its leader, it’s some dark, unseen, well funded cabal of saboteurs. Â National and its attack bloggers here, and “business” in the UK. Â Read more »
My good friend Brian Edwards (MGFBE) is not happy.
He begins with a focus on euthanasia:
In the past Iâve written several posts and articles about voluntary euthanasia. The âvoluntaryâ bit is crucial, since no-one who wants to go on living, however great their pain or however inconvenient their continuing existence to others, should be cajoled or browbeaten into changing their mind.
But it is hard to come to terms with the overweening arrogance of someone who believes they have the right to deny another human being, whose ongoing suffering has deprived them of all joy in living and who wishes to end that suffering, the right to do so.
The laws that govern these decisions and procedures will of necessity be complex and they must be watertight. But they are not beyond our ability to design and implement. Other countries have done so.
I donât want to restart this debate. That is not the purpose of this post. This post is about the significance of comments on euthanasia cited in this morningâs Herald by the four contenders for the Labour Party leadership.
Iain Lees-Galloway has taken over responsibility for the âEnd of Life Choice BillâÂ after its sponsor, Maryan Street, failed to get elected in September. Lees-Galloway is apparently gauging support before deciding whether to put the Bill back on the private membersâ bill ballot. It was removed last year under pressure from the Labour leadership who, according to the Herald, âwere concerned it could be an election-year distraction or that it could deter conservative votersâ. The new Labour leader, whoever that is, could apparently have the deciding voice on the voluntary euthanasia question.
So what did the contenders for that position have to say?
Well, Nanaia Manuta was in favour of reintroducing the billÂ because it would show âthat Labour would stand up for those difficult conversations that need to be hadâ.
I thought that was a pretty principled position to take.
David Parker, who voted against legalising voluntary euthanasia in 2003, didnât want to comment till heâd talked to Lees-Galloway.
Non-committal and therefore less satisfactory perhaps.
Grant Robertson and Andrew Little both support voluntary euthanasia, but neither considered it a priority at the moment. The fairly clear subtext of their replies was that it was a vote-loser and that a party that had polled 25% in September couldnât afford to be seen supporting unpopular policies.
Iâd call that unprincipled.
David Cunliffe stood on a platform of return Labour to its socialist roots, and got pasted in the election.
Ed Miliband is facing the same issues.
It seems that these dinosaurs and the wider Labour movement simply don;t understand that socialism is rooted and the voters know it.
It takes Boris Johnson to cut through theÂ nonsense in his Telegraph column.
According to some despairing Labour MPs, Alan has only to signal the tiniest flicker of interest, and there will be a putsch. All he has to do is almost imperceptibly incline his brow, and they will storm Ed Milibandâs office, hurl the fool from the window, and crown Johnson the leader without even the formality of an election. Such is the gloom, apparently, that now envelops the Labour rank and file.
As for us in the Conservative Party, we look on in bemusement â and we wonder whose side we are on: Miliband? Or the plotters? Some of us may be tempted to shrug, like Henry Kissinger when asked about the Iran-Iraq war, and say that it is a shame they canât both lose. Others will be worried that the rumours are true, and that we may indeed be about to lose Ed Miliband â who is proving to be such a wonderful advertisement for the merits of voting Tory.
What an awesome sledge.
According to yesterdayâs polls, he attracts the approval of less than half the Labour voters. He is less popular than Nick Clegg. People look at him eating a bacon sandwich; they listen to his sociology lecturer claptrap about âpredistributionâ; they mentally compare him to David Cameron as a prime minister â and they say: âNah, sorry.â That is what Labour MPs are now getting on doorsteps across the country; that is why Labour has now fallen to 29 per cent in a recent poll.
It has reached the point where they may actually do something about it. They may summon the nerve to switch leaders with six months to go, in the hope that a new Labour leader would be swept in on a wave of ignorance and over-optimism and honeymoon-style enthusiasm.
If that were so, then the logical thing would be for the Tories to start a campaign to save the Panda. It would be in our interests to protect the poor beleaguered Lefty, leave him there masticating his bamboo shoots â in case he is replaced by someone more threatening. If all this stuff about an anti-Miliband plot is true, then it is time for Tories to save Miliband for the nation. We should all chip in to fund his much-ballyhooed American strategists, who seem to be giving the Labour leader such excellent â from the Tory point of view â advice.
I am offering myself as the founding president of the save the Panda campaign; or at least I would, if I thought he was really at risk. As it happens, I donât think for one minute that Labour is going to junk its leader, inadequate though he is. They know that their rules donât make it easy, and in their hearts they must know that Miliband is by no means their only problem. Â Read more »