Little is too grumpy, non-prime-ministerial, in charge of a wet fart

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Part of the mission of getting voters to see Labour as an alternative government means getting them to see Little as a potential Prime Minister. The polls show there is some way to go – Little is consistently outstripped by NZ First leader Winston Peters.

Part of that is familiarity. Little is yet to embark on his full charm offensive of the nation, so people are still operating on first impressions based on soundbites on the news.

In that respect, Little has taken to blunt talking. His first encounter against his opposite in Parliament saw him tell Key to “cut the crap” as Key faced an accusation of smearing a civil servant. Since then he has talked about “stiff-arming” the banks into passing on interest cuts, and accused the Prime Minister of lacking a moral compass and “playing silly buggers”. His tough talking has got him into trouble – hoteliers Lani and Earl Hagaman have sued him for defamation for his comments about a donation to the National Party. Little is clearly aiming to be the strong, straight shooter. But opinions are split on how successful he has been.

He’s known as Angry Andy.  It wouldn’t have stuck if he wasn’t providing proof on an almost daily basis. He even owns the title instead of resiling from it. 

“There’s a persona he presents in the media as someone who is quite grumpy. Those things shouldn’t matter, but they do matter to the voting public. Grumpy is good when the Government has done something outrageous, but not everything the Government does is an outrage to decent society.”

Auckland University politics lecturer Jennifer Lees-Marshment says Little comes across as “moaning and whining”.

“It’s like a tantrum child. He just doesn’t seem like a future PM.”

She says when former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was in Opposition, he started acknowledging what the Government got right.

“[Little’s] got to do more of that.”

Former British MP Bryan Gould says Little is a “good, competent, decent sort of leader”.

“But he hasn’t, as I’m sure he would be the first to agree, set the world alight and the sort of groundswell for support for Bernie Sanders, or even Donald Trump for that matter on the other side, that’s almost certainly beyond him.”

Andrew Little has been consistent in being a Negative Nellie, even calling our national anthem a death march. It simply isn’t balanced by anything positive, so all of it reinforces that Labour are the Nasty Party.

And it’s an organisational problem. Behind the scenes, things are severely strained. The tipline is starting to get quite busy again.

For example, when fundraising it is best to get the president to make a follow up call and not the office girl at Fraser House. An unnamed donor gave money to National instead because, although Goodfellow called personally in the first place, Labour then got the office girl to follow up, and the donor thought…yeah, nah.

Strains are also heard from the strategic end of the party. Several tips have come in describing the stresses that the thin veneer of Little’s anger are covering up: Labour caucus members are asking that McCarten not be invited to events, like a recent fundraiser where he turned up looking and smelling like a…homeless person.

Hope Dies

No amount of explaining that he’s walking-the-homeless-talk beats a shower and deodorant.

They have no money, a leader who has stopped the infighting reaching the media, do their own polling so they can lie to party faithful, can’t raise a cent for themselves, their chief strategist is loathed by the party’s MPs, and they have the lowest paid-up membership in party history.

Yeah, that’s going to be some birthday party.

 

Red Claire Trevett, Labour Cheerleader, NZ Herald

Red-Claire


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