Brian Rudman usually saves his columns in the Herald to call for subsidies for the arts or the building and/or restoration of his favourite theatre.
A dyed int he wool cloth cap socialist spending his last days in print typing away interviewing his keyboard he sometimes comes up with a ripper.
Yesterday he excoriated David Cunliffe and Labour:
Late Saturday night, while Labour Party workers were still cleaning up the blood from the worst electoral thrashing the party had received since 1922, leader David Cunliffe was busy on his computer trying to save his skin. In a mass mailing to members and supporters he said, “Let’s congratulate ourselves” on “a campaign well-fought” and declared his intention to stay on as leader.
Just how he can declare himself “immensely proud” of a campaign that resulted in Labour receiving 22,353 fewer election night votes than in 2011 against a two-term National Government is a mystery. Only measured against the 2011 election night calamity when Labour lost 165,000 votes on its 2008 result, does Saturday’s result start to look less than a total disaster.
After the 2008 debacle, leader Phil Goff immediately fell on his sword, to be replaced first by David Shearer, and then when he was judged to be under-performing, by Cunliffe. Now it’s Cunliffe’s turn. His departure seems inevitable.
It was a disaster. Nowhere int eh world, generally, does a government win a third term on an increased vote, and certainly not ever before under the mMP system, let alone majority. The scale of the disaster for the left has yet to be realised.
It took National two election to recover from Bill English’s disastrous 2002 election campaign. I suspect it will take Labour much longer. Especially as their fool leader won’t quit.
Whether kicking and screaming or gracefully is over to him. The problem for Labour is, who next? The retread, David Shearer; the steady back room policy wonk, David Parker; or the new generation team of Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern?
Labour’s challenge is not just solving its leadership problems. It also has to decide whether it wants, in two years’ time, to celebrate its 100th birthday celebrations as the generally accepted, centre-left “broad church” alternative to the National Party. Under MMP, this is no longer a given. Since the election, both Green co-leader Russel Norman and New Zealand First’s Winston Peters have made claims to the leadership of the Opposition. A try-on for sure, but with Labour stuck in its present doldrums, is it any wonder the mice are playing?
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