Something is amiss when you burn off your fanbois

Vernon Small goes through life with red tinted glasses, but he is perplexed over Andrew Little’s bizarre rejection of Helen Clark’s sage advice.

Even if things should fall apart, it seems the centre cannot hold Labour leader Andrew Little’s interest.

In a strangely intense rejection of Helen Clark’s suggestion that parties on the left must “command the centre ground” to win elections, Little dismissed the idea as “meaningless” and “a pretty hollow view”.

Strange, because it is truism. Winning power requires 50 per cent plus one of the voters – and Mr 50 and Mrs 51 are by definition in the centre.

Perhaps Little was trying to say something more subtle – that the centre can be owned by someone else (not John Key surely? Maybe Winston Peters?) without embracing defeat.  

He may even have been worried his own insiders would take “centrism” as an abandonment of his mandate.

As he explains it, he is constructing a “coalition of constituencies” ahead of next year’s election. It is one that transcends simplistic Left and Right, but is focused on some salient issues, such as health, housing, inequality and the needs of small business.

But whatever the explanation, it seems odd that Little would allow himself to be seen as offside, or peeved, with Clark’s view.

She is, after all, Labour’s most recent and consistent winner.

Andrew Little’s position has got me stuffed.

Last week he announced that he had a new Chief of Staff, union bovver boy Neale Jones, and a new Senior Press Secretary by the name of Mike Jaspers. We can ignore any advice Neale “Eddie” Jones has got to say but it beggars belief that Mike Jaspers, who is more used to marshalling 15 meat heads plus reserves before the cameras would have ever let Little loose unattended to spout meaningless gibberish. It would be extremely bad for his career if Little was rushing around loose-lipped without proper advice.

So, one must conclude that Mike Jaspers hasn’t yet started his job, Andrew Little was ignoring advice and running free-range. Surely managing the All Blacks PR would be harder than Andrew Little. I mean you don’t let the front row loose in front of the cameras without some careful management.

I think Little just ignored advice. In which case I feel sorry for Mike Jaspers. I predict he may well become the next casualty in Little’s office in short order.


– Fairfax


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