I‚Äôm not sure attempts to spin expectations around tonight‚Äôs leaders‚Äô debate are credible.
Take the people saying ‚Äėall David Cunliffe has to do is draw‚Äô. Unfortunately, last year David Cunliffe‚Äôs supporters in the leadership contest argued he should lead the party because of his superior debating skills.
Here‚Äôs Martyn Bradbury from the Daily Blog in the NZ Herald in June of this year:
‚ÄúCunliffe‚Äôs performance in the debates and on the campaign trail will be one of the most convincing components of a Labour-led win.‚ÄĚ
Martyn Bradbury no less. ¬†Wow.
David Cunliffe was widely praised for his skills as an effective debater and his presence on TV.
A Standard blogger talked him up as ‚ÄėLabour‚Äôs best performer‚Äô
‚Äú‚Ä¶. in the House and on television: just the tough, well-prepared and clear speaker that is needed to front against John Key in the next election.
More recently, when polls started to drop, the spin was, ‚ÄėDon‚Äôt worry, just wait for the debates. That‚Äôs when Labour will turn the polls around.‚Äô
Well, one thing is sure: ¬†It’s all on David Cunliffe tonight. ¬†Because the polls need to stop plummeting before they can be turned around.
Here‚Äôs Brian Edwards, a David Cunliffe supporter, in 2013:
‚ÄúCunliffe may or may not be nice, but he is hugely experienced, has an in-depth understanding of policy, conveys confidence and authority, handles the media superbly and can make mincemeat of anyone on the other side of the House.‚ÄĚ
My good friend Brian has stopped writing of late. ¬†I must dig up one of his last posts again – it was a great piece of comedy, although I’m not sure he meant it that way at the time.
Stop spinning. Just let the debate run. We know John Key is a formidable debater – he performed strongly in 2008 and 2011. There will be two quality and skilled debaters on stage. The job is not to find a ‚Äėwinner.‚Äô Its for voters to learn more about how they want their country governed.