Trotter hankers for a return for Cunliffe

Chris Trotter is disdainful of Andrew Little and his ‘abilities’, but he again jumps the shark, a habit he is developing.

In a post at The Daily Blog he outlines his version of the rise, the fall and possible rise again of David Cunliffe.

It’s increasingly difficult to form a clear impression of Cunliffe the politician. Blackening Cunliffe’s name, and trashing his performance as party leader, have played a crucial role in enhancing the shaky legitimacy of the man who replaced him. It has also allowed the party to avoid examining too closely the contribution of other Labour MPs to the 2014 debacle. The stories of Cunliffe’s indecision; his inability to formulate a strategy and stick to it; his obsessive and exhausting micromanagement; these are all that’s needed, now, to explain away Labour’s worst electoral performance since 1922.

Like Bill English and his dreadful result in 2002 it is something Cunliffe is going to have to live with.

And Andrew Little (the man whose winning margin was less than 1 percent) has been able to emerge from this carefully constructed narrative as Labour’s unlikely saviour. After a long run of incredibly bad luck, Little is portrayed as Labour’s lucky break. A strong and stable contrast to the unaccountably hopeless Cunliffe.

If Andrew Little is Labour’s lucky break I’d hate to see what bad luck looks like.

Because that is the contradiction that so many of Cunliffe’s supporters still cannot reconcile: the before Cunliffe and the after-Cunliffe. The coolly ruthless assassin of David Shearer’s hopes; the man who repeatedly reassured his supporters that he would be leader of the NZLP, and then proved as good as his word. Could he also be the hapless, accident-prone, foot-in-mouth Cunliffe who, as Leader of the Opposition, took Labour from 37 percent in the polls to 25 percent at the ballot-box?

No one made those mistakes and gaffes other than David Cunliffe. Don’t forget too the charade of the happy marriage on Campbell Live…how did that work out in the end? About the same as his prospects for leader. David Cunliffe is a deceiver, he was deceiving Campbell Live and the voters then and he is deceiving us all now.

Listen to Cunliffe’s speech carefully, and an answer, of sorts, emerges. National’s strategy, which turns out to be exactly the same strategy as that of the Crosby-Textor-advised Conservative parties in the UK and Canada, is to use the Right’s allies in the news media (and the blogs) to destroy the reputation of new Opposition leaders before the public has time to form a firm opinion of their own. Foot-tripped from the very beginning, and unable to establish any kind of secure footing, the targeted individual struggles constantly to tear off the labels being fastened to him from every quarter (including, tragically, from within his own caucus).

Cunliffe does not dispute the facts of his less-than-stellar performance as Labour Leader. There are things he knows he should not have done – or, at least, done differently. What he was trying to say in his Wednesday-afternoon speech was, in essence, two things. The first: “You weren’t wrong to make me your leader, because, when I’m good – I’m bloody good!” And the second: “I know I stuffed a lot of things up, but, never forget, I had a lot of help!”

David Cunliffe’s “good” is just a few speeches that excite old cloth cap socialists like Trotter. His bad is really bad…like being sorry for being a man.

But please, oh please could Labour take him back…


– The Daily Blog

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