The King is Dead, Long Live the Queen

Labour Party Congress 2014

Tracy Watkins is working very hard to get everyone used to the idea that the Labour Party leadership will go to a gay man and a young woman who isn’t up to the job.

The media are working very hard on a coronation for Grant Robertson.

Soundings between the Cunliffe and Robertson camps have continued for days over reaching an accommodation that would see Robertson stand for the leadership uncontested. But it does not appear that the deputy leadership is on the table.

Cunliffe faces a hard road back after Tuesday’s revolt by Labour MPs. Even Cunliffe loyalists now admit his lack of support in caucus makes a return impossible.

“There is a growing view that he cannot lead the caucus,” one former Cunliffe backer said. “That appears to be taking some time to sink in.”

Cunliffe may be banking that the wider party membership and union affiliates will continue to back him, as they did overwhelmingly during the last leadership contest a year ago.

Leaked figures detailing the level of Cunliffe’s support among union affiliates were yesterday seen as a shot across the bows of Robertson’s backers.

But a former Cunliffe backer said the unions appeared to be wavering in their support of the leader, and the loyalty of party members may also have been shaken.

“There is a fairly well-shared view amongst his supporters that he shouldn’t put his name forward.

“He’s a helluva nice guy . . . but he’s just not the person to lead that group of people [the caucus].”

David Cunliffe is a helluva nice guy?   In politics, that’s a bloody insult.  Nice guys finish last.  Oh, wait…

Robertson is trying to avoid a leadership primary, something that the party deliberately put in place so the caucus wouldn’t be running the party. They specifically want it the other way ’round.

He wants a coronation.

It’s one of Labour’s many dilemmas:  do they want to be a party that is mostly absorbed with things like gender balance, gays and unionist interests, or do they want to be part of a political vehicle that is going to be able to actually deliver meaningful change?

Instead of trying to create the perfect party and that that to the election, they should take an imperfect party and be in government.

I doubt they are capable of such pragmatic rat swallowing though.


– Stuff

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