Mike Hosking on Cunliffe (the lights are on, but nobody’s home)

Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking is overdoing the face palming too

Is David Cunliffe incompetent or mad?

Hard to tell the difference, but I think his incompetence leads to him appearing mad.

Is he out to lunch or out of touch?

Last Thursday he was definitely out to lunch.

Is David Cunliffe deluded or living in a parallel universe?

Deluded.  No doubt.

I grant you he’s in a precarious position and you have to offer some sort of explanation each time a poll comes out that shows you bad news. But by the time he’s offered the excuses then buggered off skiing, he starts to look like a bloke who either doesn’t care or doesn’t get it or both.

To want to be a leader of a country is an all-consuming passion. You must want it so badly you can taste it. Despite what we so often say about politics and politicians, by and large the ones that get to the top are dedicated, professional, talented and know a long day when they see one.

Cunliffe’s job is not to lose wondering. Cunliffe’s job is to inspire those who support him and give them hope that September 20 won’t be a disaster. Cunliffe’s job is to lead from the front, to be the inspiration, to be the ‘go to’ figure, to give the membership the sense that anything is possible, that the race is winnable, that the path chosen is the right one. Winning breeds winning. Success breeds success. Inspiration is contagious. Cunliffe shows none of these qualities, especially when he’s not even at work.

Could you argue he does long hours and works harder than most? Of course you could and he did yesterday. But politics, especially at this point of the election cycle, is critical – especially when you’re getting done like a dinner. If this sort of thing continues, Labour will look back on this time as catastrophic if not farcical.

Like it or not perception is reality. Just how many own goals do you want to score? From apologising for being a man to skiing when you’re on 23 percent. Just how much attention do you want to draw to yourself looking like a clown or looking incompetent?

Having lunch with a sex pest that you somehow miraculously don’t know is one, in spite of his case having dominated the media, including the parallel historical abuse of a current MP?    Clown or incompetent?

Labour’s troubles can in part be blamed on the fact that the Government is strong and well organized. The economy is on a roll and people by and large feel good and don’t want a lot of change. But increasingly Cunliffe and Labour look like they’ve given up.

No matter what your circumstances, leaders lead. Even if you lose, you never want to be seen as looking like you wanted to or you didn’t give it everything. Losing valiantly is better than losing while you’re perfecting your snow plough.

They have given up.  It is every man and woman for him/herself now.  Electorate MPs are sick with worry about their futures, and list MPs know they have little control over their job security.

And “Weekend at Bernies” Cunliffe is the muppet out front that is meant to take all of the blame after the election, so the cowards behind him can claim a clean start.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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