The unacceptability of David Cunliffe

After David Cunliffe bizarrely compared himself to Helen Clark and Norman Kirk we are going to see a demonisation of David Cunliffe much like the attacks on Kevin Rudd by pro-Gillard forces in Australia like Stephen Conroy, Stephen Smith and Wayne Swan.

We have already seen this with the Ilam candidate, James Dann, damning Cunliffe in an open letter.

It will be systematic, and it will be nasty. His reputation will be trashed by his own team, making him completely unacceptable for the membership to foist him upon the caucus. The caucus knows that they can’t command the membership, but they can make Cunliffe so unpalatable that the unions will act.

The problem is caucus too is highly factionalised. Clayton Cosgrove has been acting the bully-boy strong arming other candidates to stand aside and promote Grant Robertson. The problem is Clayton Cosgrove is so thoroughly discredited after running a candidate campaign in Waimakiriri, one that failed and also delivered up an appalling party vote result. He is despised as a result, even by those on the right of the Labour caucus. But caucus has to block vote now to send a message to the membership that they cannot countenance a dud leader like David Cunliffe. They need to effectively veto Cunliffe but that won’t work.

It won’t work because the membership is feral left. That membership believes that David Cunliffe is a martyr and that he was set up to fail by the caucus…a caucus of centrist traitors to the socialist cause. The only thing that unites caucus right now is their mutual loathing of David Cunliffe.

The hard left of the party, stocked now with old Alliance war-horses, are more interested in being pure rather than being in power. They are septic that their mates like Carol Beaumont got rinsed and are on the outside. Beaumont is so thoroughly disliked that when asked to provide her with a job, Helen Kelly refused out-right. Of course it is the same hard-left that was pulling strings inside Labour for them to tank Kelvin Davis in Te Tai Tokerau. They loathe candidates like him and Stuart Nash. They believe in a puritanical socialism, where people like Nash and Davis are actually closet tories and should actually be run from the party rather than emulated for their electoral success.  

Barry Soper notes:

At this stage the contest is between Cunliffe and the man who ran against him in the primaries last year and lost, Grant Robertson, even if he did have the majority support of his caucus colleagues.

The same result could conceivably happen again which would make Cunliffe an even more unpopular choice with his fellow MPs, given that between the last primary and now, the party’s been given the boot by the electorate. Last time the party believed Cunliffe was their best chance of winning which just goes to show how wrong they were.

They would do well to reflect on that old saying that those who can’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.

The caucus knows that the membership thinks Cunliffe is a martyr so you will see every dirty rumour, innuendo and smear come out for the woodwork, using the media as their mouthpieces in order to make David Cunliffe unpalatable to the union bloc, and therefore whittle down by attrition the membership.

We are going to see a  political murder, and brutality like that which has never been seen before. If you thought dirty politics was bad, that is going to look like high tea in the domain on a Sunday afternoon compared to what Labour will do to their own.

David Cunliffe refuses to go, through his own narcissism and emboldened by former Alliance party activists and a cadre of half a dozen true believers in the caucus.

He is like the proverbial Japanese soldier, left behind defending an island 25 years after the war was lost, still thinking the Emperor will prevail.

David Cunliffe knows how this works, he will be throwing his own maelstrom of murk and dirt, he started that yesterday and watch for the similar demonisation of Grant Robertson, as a gay, overweight, Wellington, technocrat who while ensuring he retained his seat managed to get Labour to drop to third place in the party vote.

You haven’t seen nasty yet, but rest assured it is coming.

Labour is about to demonstrate their capacity for low bastardry and the extent to which they are prepared to lob grenades into their own ranks and force their own team to step on land-mines in order to clear the way for their man.

Make no mistake that whomever wins the leadership is there in a temporary capacity only, and that they have barely 18 months to make a mark, and the whole opera starts again.


– NewstalkZB


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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.  And 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 that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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