Helen Clark

Bews-Hair vs Lewis – trouble in the Town Hall

As Labour’s next train wreck draws ever closer, here’s an angle that is worth keeping an eye on – a simmering, but growing feud between Auckland-based veteran political operatives, David Lewis and James Bews-Hair.

These two go back to the early-90s. They were on different sides of the broad church back then – Lewis a Clark loyalist and Bews-Hair donkey-deep with the likes of Phil Quin in the dirty tricks of the Moore/Goff camp. Despite this, they have always been as thick as thieves – until now that is.

I’m told things started to turn sour during the fallout from the Brown affair.

While Bews-Hair was quietly knifing people in the shadows, Lewis was strutting his prowess anywhere that would print it. To make it worse, Lewis promptly cut Brown adrift, whereas Bews-Hair continues to do his dirty work for him. Now things are about to get really nasty.

Labour will soon need a new leader, and just like the old days Lewis and Bews-Hair are going to be on different sides.   Read more »

Armstrong on Joyce and Cunliffe

John Armstrong critiques Steven Joyce’s virtuoso performance in the house where he rinsed Cunliffe.

Joyce took the first call in Wednesday afternoon’s general debate — long a platform for Parliament’s better orators — to parody Labour’s under-the-weather David Cunliffe in a fashion that was as clever as it was cruel as it was funny.

Within the space of a five-minute speech, Joyce had revealed another weapon in his armoury — the ability to cut an opponent down by sheer wit — and thereby further enhanced his credentials as the frontrunner for National’s leadership when Key finally moves on.

There was, however, another interesting outcome from his contribution — its impact on those sitting opposite him.

Cunliffe was not in the chamber. But those Labour MPs who were initially tried to ignore what was a virtuoso performance. But their barely suppressed smiles gave the game away.

If any group of people could do with a bit of a laugh it is Cunliffe’s colleagues.They have watched in increasing despair as their leader of just 10 months has virtually self-destructed and taken the party’s support down with him from the mid-30s to the mid-20s in percentage terms. Cunliffe is now very much marooned in a malaise from which it is almost impossible for a Leader of the Opposition to drag himself or herself out.

You can do nothing right. Every opinion poll just brings even more bad news. No one takes you seriously. You become the target of every cheap joke and jibe. The media spit on what remains of your dignity. The public write you off. In short, you are deemed to be terminal. You then wait for the firing squad — the knock on the door from a delegation of your MPs who have determined your use-by date has long passed and your ability to resuscitate your party’s flagging support is seen as likely as a squadron of pigs gliding past the Beehive.

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Labour MPs “not fit for purpose” – Trotter

Chris Trotter laments the situation the Labour party finds itself in.

He has decided that the current Labour MPs are “not fit for purpose”.

Which is a fine sentiment, but misses the point that if he finds them unfit for purpose then there is little reason at all to vote for them, or for the Labour party.

Has Labour ever been so hopelessly lost? Has the path to electoral victory ever been so obscured? Starting from where they are now, how can they possibly get to where they need to be on 20 September?

What is it? What is making it so hard for David Cunliffe and his party to get any sort of political traction?

The answer lies in Labour’s caucus. Not only is a majority of the caucus profoundly unhappy with Cunliffe as their leader, it is also profoundly at odds with the Labour Party members who elected him. Labour’s MPs are torn between their desire to occupy the Treasury benches – and thus be free of the Party’s influence – and the realisation that even becoming the government would only postpone the confrontation with the party that Cunliffe’s election made inevitable.

Expressing the problem with maximum brutality: most of Labour’s present crop of MPs are not fit for purpose. A handful are holdovers from the Rogernomics Era – and thus reminders of the very worst period in Labour’s history. More are the products of Helen Clark’s personal intervention in the candidate selection process; followers of a career-path that began in the student unions (or MFAT) and ended on the Prime Minister’s floor of the Beehive. The remainder are what emerges from the deeply compromised horse-trading that assembles Labour’s Party List – burnt out trade unionists and identity politicians.

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Pray…it’s the only thing he’s got…and hope

David Cunliffe is being told to pray…it’s the only hope he’s got.

David Cunliffe just can’t catch a break. Even his oldest childhood friend doesn’t fancy his chances in September’s general election.

”The local candidate [Steve Gibson] for the Labour party is a complete and utter idiot,” Pleasant Point sheep farmer Andrew Steven tells the Labour leader. ”And I had to throw him out of the house and demand the cheque back … I’d like to support David but I can’t support the local candidate,” he says.

Pray, is Reverend Sue Dickson’s advice. Cunliffe says he does – daily. ”You are doing the right thing … having your faith connection when everything seems to be kind of lost,” she counsels.

Naturally Cunliffe isn’t ready to accept that’s he lost – but Dickson has a point.

With just two months before voters go to the ballot box, the latest brace of polls have Labour languishing in the mid-20s. Personal support for Cunliffe has dipped below 10 per cent. Party disloyalty once again reared its head at the weekend, with an insider sniping to media about the leader’s week-long skiing holiday.

In fact, the family break was just three days – and on Friday Cunliffe was in the rural South Canterbury town where he spent his teenage years.

It was part of a media drive to boost Cunliffe’s public profile – and an opportunity to catch up with those he grew up with.

”There are huge numbers of people who are only just waking up now to the fact that we’ve got an election this year. They are saying who is this guy, we need to get to know him … and I’m going to let people in,” Cunliffe explains.

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Misleading again, why can’t Cunliffe just tell the truth?

David Cunliife was taking questions yesterday at Stuff.

It was pretty hostile and the rest was filled with weasel words.

Like his addressing of the issue regarding Kiwis in Australia.

cunliffe-ama Read more »

Could convergence become an issue

Labour continues to be mired in the 20s, the Greens are slowly climbing towards the 20s…hoovering up the disaffected hard left of Labour as The Cunliffe continues to disappoint.

Could convergence become an issue, where the Greens supplant Labour as the largest opposition party.

Matthew Hooton discussed that in his column at the NBR:

Don’t rule out convergence.

Labour’s disastrous decision to replace David Shearer with David Cunliffe and spend nearly a year swinging to the far left has inevitably crashed its poll numbers.

The recent ploy to swing back to the centreappears to have come too late. The days are long gone when Mr Shearer had Labour polling around the mid-30s and, with the Greens in the low teens, well on track to become prime minister. In both the major polls released this week, Roy Morgan and Fairfax-Ipsos, Mr Cunliffe’s Labour was languishing under 25%.

Both polls were taken mainly after Mr Cunliffe’s apology for being a man, but also after his major education announcements. Despite Labour strategists privately claiming their internal polling responded favourably, the public polls suggest that the promises of cheap laptops and slightly smaller classes have failed to capture the imagination of middle-class parents.

Worse for Labour, while there may be good evidence the polls tend to overestimate National’s support by around 5% at the expense of smaller parties, the trend line for Labour in at least the last two elections has almost exactly predicted its actual party vote.

In 2011, Phil Goff led Labour to its worst result since 1925. If Mr Cunliffe’s tilt to the centre continues to fail, he risks taking New Zealand’s oldest political party below the 24% it won in the first two elections following the World War I.

Poll numbers also have an element of self-fulfilling prophecy. People don’t like voting for losers. As the election nears, Labour risks losing a crucial few further points to the Greens, Internet-Mana and NZ First.

Bill English currently wears the electoral dunce cap in the New Zealand parliament, having led National to its 21% debacle in 2002. The finance minister may dare to hope he might finally get to pass it on to Mr Cunliffe after September 20.

For all this, the risk of a change of government remains high.   Read more »

Are right wing women sexier?

Cactus Kate posted the link to this on Facebook, where a liberal-lefty-pro-feminist man  (there is some debate over whether or not he is actually a man) explains why he thinks right wing women are sexier.

Not long ago I was out drinking with a group of friends and we started playing the If-You-Had-To game. The idea is to present players with two people they would never want to sleep with — and then make them choose which they’d sleep with. Here are some of the fiendish alternatives I had to face: Imelda Marcos or Wallace Simpson? Ayn Rand or Yoko Ono? Gertrude Stein or Virginia Woolf?

Then one joker said: Theresa May or Jemima Khan? Everyone laughed at this no-contest choice. Everyone except me. How could I tell them the ugly truth: I’d prefer a night of passion with right-wing Theresa over lefty Jemima any day of the week.

But then I belong to that small, deviant group of liberal-lefty-pro-feminist men who find conservative/right-wing women super sexy. In an age when anything goes — at least in terms of sexual pleasure — ours is a lust that dare not speak its name.

I know this because later that evening, I turned to one of the group and confessed my secret longing for the likes of Theresa May, Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin — ideally all at once. I thought my fantasy night of passion would be received with sympathy and understanding. After all, this friend of mine pays a woman in Earls Court to put him on a rack and do things you don’t want to read about. He just looked at me and said: ‘You’re sick!’

Heh..sick for hankering after right wing women?

I can just hear the chorus of left-wing women complaining that, here we go again — judging women in politics by their looks! Well, actually, looks have nothing to do with it. By that criteria, I should be swooning over Jemima instead of drooling over Mrs May. So no, this is not about looks; it’s about the sexiness of a certain mindset and sensibility. What is the appeal of right-wing women to men like me? After all, left-wing men are not supposed to sleep with such women. (We’re meant to find their political convictions too repulsive for that sort of thing.) But politics is rooted in tribalism and dark emotions, as much as reason. To lefty men of my persuasion, right-wing women are the Other; alluring because they are so exotic; exciting because they’re so forbidden.

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Unfortunately Tracy there is nothing to like and even less to trust

Tracy Watkins writes about The Cunliffe and his likeability and trust issues with the electorate.

Labour leadership is a brutal job. If Helen Clark had been made of different stuff she never would have survived Opposition.

Her colleagues tried to roll her just months out from the 1996 election and with good reason.

Labour’s polling under Clark was disastrous. Support for her as preferred prime minister was laughable. Voters thought she was arrogant, aloof and out of touch.

Everything about Clark – her hair, her teeth, her mannish voice – was picked over and dissected as another reason for voters to reject Labour. They were the worst years of Clark’s life. But when a delegation of Clark’s colleagues knocked on her door asking her to resign she stared them down.

There is said to be a desk somewhere around Parliament that still bears the scars from Koro Wetere digging his fingernails into its surface during their faceoff.

The story even had an (almost) happy ending when Clark took Labour close to winning the 1996 election – though perhaps not as close as her supporters believed on the night.

It was largely thanks to Winston Peters and MMP that she was able to keep Labour’s hopes alive before Peters opted to do a deal with National. But it was enough to secure Clark’s leadership. Three years later she led Labour to a sweeping victory and nine years in power.

Is Clark protege David Cunliffe made of the same stuff?

The difference between Helen Clark and David Cunliffe is two-fold. She had balls and a spine, both things that are sadly lacking from The Cunliffe. His self doubt is immense and hasn’t been helped with former leaders knocking on his door at parliament and assuring The Cunliffe that he shouldn’t worry, the polls will come right, chin up.

Labour’s poll ratings have sunk like the Titanic under Cunliffe’s leadership. The latest Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos political pollhas Labour marooned in the mid-20s.

Forget about winning – avoiding an old-fashioned drubbing has become the priority. Only MPs with seats in Labour bastions like Manukau seem safe.

It is not at all far-fetched to imagine Labour sinking to National’s low point in 2002 – 21 per cent.

Under that scenario the damage to Labour could be immense. Unthinkably, even finance spokesman and number two on Labour’s list, David Parker, could be at risk. So too would stars like Jacinda Ardern and Andrew Little.

The only difference between now and 1996 is the election date. When Clark’s colleagues knocked on her door in May 1996 the election was still five months away. Even if Labour wanted to change its leader now, it probably couldn’t. Voters would punish such a visible display of panic and disarray just two months out from an election. Many in Labour’s activist base would revolt.

Cunliffe was their man, their nuclear option against a caucus that did not reflect their world view. A change of leader now would bring to the surface all the things voters reject – panic, a party in disarray and disunity.

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This might rip Helen’s undies

 

Oh no…bad news for Helen Clark, it looks like Angela Merkel is moving on the top job at the UN.

According to a report, Angela Merkel may be considering stepping down from the German chancellorship to pursue the European Council presidency or to helm the United Nations. Both positions will be open in 2017 and Merkel has reportedly signaled that she doesn’t wish to serve out her entire term, which ends in 2017.

From Der Spiegel:

The position as head of the UN in New York will also be open as of January 2017, with Ban Ki-moon’s successor being determined in mid-2016. Just recently, the Luxemburger Wort, Luxembourg’s leading daily paper, wrote extensively about the possibility that Merkel might aspire to the position, though it was quickly denied by the chancellor’s spokesman. The speculation, however, has continued. “It is a European’s turn,” said one senior CDU member at a recent evening event.   Read more »

The Predictable Failure of David Cunliffe, Ctd

Cunliffe - Sh_t

The two most recent polls have shown what all of us known.

David Cunliffe has a poo fingered touch, everything he touches turns to poop.

This was entirely predictable.  Read more »