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After the firefight

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 pm, November 21st, 2012 - 126 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

To paraphrase a great man of the Labour Party, Shearer won, Cunliffe lost, eat that.

Whatever Cunliffe did or didn’t do, he’s been demoted.  Shearer has arranged a convenient vote of confidence in his leadership which I have to hope even his supporters can see is a complete paper tiger.

There’s still going to be a vote in February.  So there’s still going to be media focus on fun inter-faction crap instead of Actual Issues.

The point I’m stuck on is this:  now there are calls for “unity” – which does kinda bug me because there’s a big difference between genuine unity (punctuated by hopefully constructive arguments) and everyone pretending to get along for the cameras and not calling out bad shit because It Will Look Bad.

And a lot of these calls for unity seem to imply that basically, it’s the anti-Shearer people who need to put up or shut up, who need to stop pointing out his perceived errors.

But even today, while David Cunliffe takes his lumps and doesn’t comment to the media, as instructed, as agreed by caucus … well looky here, someone’s been talking to Claire Trevett about what went down in the caucus room.

I’m all for unity – genuine unity punctuated by constructive arguments, that is – and I’m all for waiting until February, looking at Shearer’s performance, letting the democratic wheels of the Labour Party turn.

But not when “unity” means “Cunliffe fans shut up, Shearer fans do whatever the hell they like”.  Not when “unity” means refraining from pointing out that it’s leaky bullshit like this which makes the Labour Party look unstable.  Not when “unity” means pretending that David Shearer’s faction aren’t acting like insecure Mean Girls who just got told someone else is wearing white gold hoops to prom.

Let’s have proper debate if we need to.  Let’s smack down the media narrative that people disagreeing within a party = SCANDALOUS INFIGHTING.  Let’s all grow the fuck up.  Starting with David Shearer and Trevor Mallard.

126 comments on “After the firefight”

  1. geoff 1

    Paranoid Conspiracy Theory That I Just Thought Of:
    Rightwingers organise to join the Labour Party before Feb so they can vote and influence leadership vote.

    Could this happen?

    • karol 1.1

      Some claim they are already doing that. I guess they have no respect for democracy & will be happy to skew the system in their favour.

      • BM 1.1.1

        Where’s the lack of respect for democracy?
        I’m voting Shearer in an attempt to halt Cunliffe.
        National will eventually lose, so when it does I want the leader of the opposition to be as closely aligned to my type of thinking as possible.

        • felix 1.1.1.1

          Will you be actively working against your new-found party in the hope that they lose the election?

          If so you’re a traitor.

    • geoff 1.2

      why the fuck would anybody even bother

      [lprent: we already have a current geoff, changing your handle. ]

    • Well they are welcome to if they contribute money, all the more to use against Key in 2014.

  2. One of the qualities that Mr Shearer said about himself when or just prior to getting elected leader, is that he had lots of negotiation skills “you are going to see a different type of politics” type thing, it appeared that he knew how to deal with conflict in a positive manner.

    I thought this sounded very good at the time.

    What has occurred recently indicates very clearly that no such skills are evident or exist. A very poor show.

    • Tom Gould 2.1

      Hard to ‘negotiate’ or cut a ‘deal’ with someone who smiles and agrees and lies to your face, then sets about leaking and spinning and back stabbing the second they leave the room.

  3. Dr Terry 3

    Well, once more I find myself looking to quotes in connection with “leadership”. Here goes:

    Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance” (J. Donald Walters)
    Strange, but it is not Cunliffe who comes to mind!

    You don’t lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership (Dwight D. Eisenhower).
    Funny, but again one is not thinking of Cunliffe here! Who else might there be?

    Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together (“unity” from Jesse Jackson).
    Somebody managed not to achieve that yesterday! (And he is author of an article on Conflict Resolution! Have a guess who!)

    Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing (Tom Peters). Well, Tom, you sure can say that again!
    If only!

    Bad leadership during the past years has cast on our Party the shadow of great and grave burdens (Bob Iger). Think about it (if you need to think).

    When a man assumes leadership, he forfeits the right to mercy (G. Angiulo). Again, we just might have somebody in mind! (They are not my words!)

    That will do for tonight’s exercises in meditation.

    • Jenny 3.1

      Churchill: You’ve got enemies. Good. It means you stood for something.

    • Rhinocrates 3.2

      I’m thinking too of Admiral Sir John Jellico (later Governor General of NZ and keen yachtie) who was nicknamed “Silent Jack”. It was said of him that he never raised his voice… because he never needed to.

      Unlike David Cartman… I mean Shearer, who demands that people respect his authortitah.

      • Pascal's bookie 3.2.1

        “the beatings shall continue..”

        • Peter 3.2.1.1

          Ah yes, the flogging will stop when the morale improves.

          As a matter of fact, I got a cease and desist message from an MP in the Shearer faction today too, simply for my comments on this blog.

          • lprent 3.2.1.1.1

            And you have been somewhat moderate.

            But folks, now you know why I insist on making sure that pseudonyms are respected. For that matter why it is part of the RFC for the net (for those that don’t know what these are – they were the tool that built the net). I dug it out for Mike after I referred to ‘net rules’. There are a few more RFC’s around that relate to similar topics.

            http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1855 Netiquette Guidelines

            It is from 1995 and largely about usenet, but the same principles carry through to this type of forum. In fact these were mostly cribbed from earlier documents that were common around BBS’es.

            “If a user is using a nickname alias or pseudonym, respect that user’s desire for anonymity. Even if you and that person are close friends, it is more courteous to use his nickname. Do not use that person’s real name online without permission.”

            and of course

            “Material which is inappropriate when posted under one’s own name is still inappropriate when posted anonymously.”

            But I suspect that I won’t get call from an MP, they probably really aren’t likely to like what I say. If I get a message then they’d better state their authority to make it. It is going to be interesting to see if anyone actually tries the John A Lee approach

            I should write a post so those ill-educate journo’s and politicians learn about net cultures. They have no idea on how deep that the net culture penetrates deep into all of the systems.

      • lurgee 3.2.2

        Is this the same Jellicoe that Churchill described (WW1) as being the only man on either side capable of LOSING the war in an afternoon?

        Wouldn’t mind not being compared to him, frankly.

    • Jenny 3.3

      While we’re talking about leadership quotes. Here is one of my favourites:

      There is no such thing as bad soldiers.
      Only bad generals.

      Napoleon

  4. tc 4

    ‘Let’s all grow the fuck up. Starting with David Shearer and Trevor Mallard.’ well the former doesn’t seem to care who leaks what (which will be used against him by the nats) and the latter is incapable of such an act.

    English 02 is being re-run as DS in 14, with the same architects of the Goff era 08-11 running the show, it’s the most inevitable of train crashes so be nice and toe the line all you party faithful or you’ll miss being part of the wreckage.

    • alwyn 4.1

      I read the original post and thought yes, yes,, this can be achieved.
      Then I read the last paragraph and realised that getting Mallard to grow up is impossible.
      He seems to vary between the behaviour of a two year old who has just learnt the word NO and a testosterone charged fifteen year old male teenager. In either case he is never going to grow up.

  5. Jenny 5

    A phony unanimous vote for the leader, followed by rounds of applause for the leader each person afraid to be the first to be seen to stop clapping.

    20th century Soviet Russia? or 21st century Labour Caucus?

    A phony unanimous vote usually means a phony leader.

    • lurgee 5.1

      What’s phoney about it? They endorsed Shearer as leader for now. If there was a genuine desire to get rid of him directly, then it would have happened. There wasn’t, so it didn’t. Applying your favourite words to something doesn’t actually make it true. I can describe myself as handsome, witty, well sexed, successful and happy, but only some of those words genuinely apply.

      And it is pretty repulsive to hear people describing this as akin to Stalinist Russia. A sort of leftwing version of godwin’s Law should be formulated. Perhaps, the first socialist to compare a political opponent to Stalin loses the argument and is a dick?

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        What’s phoney about it?

        its as genuine as returning the North Korean leader with a 99.6% majority.

      • Jenny 5.1.2

        Is the saying, phoney as a two bob watch still used these days?

        It’s phoney because it was only extracted with the use of threats and bribes, the promise of promotion and threatened demotion by the Shearer gang. In a free vote Shearer may still have won it. But no way, not in this universe, or any other, would it be unanimous.

        Kim Il Sung was a leader who regularly received unanimous endorsement of his position as leader at party conferences.

        20th century Soviet congress, or 21st century Labour caucus such unanimous votes by their very nature are phoney.

        Let me ask you this lurgee;

        If you really think this was a free and not a phoney unanimous vote. Do you also think the vote in February will see the caucus members voting unanimously in support of their ‘Dear Leader’?

        If so, you are in cloud cuckoo land

        • lurgee 5.1.2.1

          Awesome. Now we’ve got North Korea in the mix as well. You guys just don’t stop giving! Can we get some African and Arab dictators as well?

          I don’t know if the LP caucus will vote unanimously for DS in Feb. I doubt they will. But that’s not the point, is it? Shearer asked if he had the current and ongoing (in the short term) support of his peers. They said they did. February is another matter.

          • blue leopard 5.1.2.1.1

            @Lurgee,

            There is no debate in the above responses to you over whether a Caucus poll was conducted; the comments were related to the nature of the poll; that it was phony.

            Your response doesn’t address this issue.

          • Jenny 5.1.2.1.2

            Yeh. Maybe Shearer can throw them some mango skins.

          • Bill 5.1.2.1.3

            February is another matter.

            BINGO!

            See, that’s basically what Cunliffe indicated over the weekend, y’know, when he said that Shearer had his confidence/support but that speculating on February had nothing to do with the conference or matters being discussed at the conference.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.2.1.4

            But that’s not the point, is it? Shearer asked if he had the current and ongoing (in the short term) support of his peers. They said they did. February is another matter.

            Cunliffe met all these criteria.

            And yet Shearer and the ABCs took the flamethrower to him anyway.

  6. Well said QoT.
    Can i say that without being accused of hating freedom and loving terrorism?

  7. NZ Femme 7

    “…The point I’m stuck on is this: now there are calls for “unity” – which does kinda bug me because there’s a big difference between genuine unity (punctuated by hopefully constructive arguments) and everyone pretending to get along for the cameras and not calling out bad shit because It Will Look Bad…”

    Bugs me too. The stench from this fire isn’t going to dissipate anytime soon for me. Particularly the stink of wippet boy Chris Hipkin’s commentary to the press. The glee in which he delivered his barrage was embarrassing to watch.

    The likening of David Cunliffe to a huhu grub by Minister of Porn Shane Jones has likewise left a particularly nasty smell in my nostrils.

    These are the most vivid images/odours this average left leaning voter has been left with after the past few days. Funnily enough, neither reflect on David Cunliffe, who now smells strangely like roses to me.

    • weka 7.1

      Weirdly he smells like that to me too (Cunliffe). I don’t even know if I like the guy. It’s very strange to be herded into the Cunliffe camp by a series of bizarre events even though I probably wouldn’t have chosen to be there otherwise (and am only there because I happened to be standing round watching when the shit hit the fan).

  8. Stanley1946 8

    Those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them, said somebody.
    Maybe Hegel said it better when he said, ‘We learn from history that no-one learns from history.’
    Born in 1946, I am old enough to remember the early TV debates between a murderously focused and confident Rob Muldoon, and a ‘nice guy’ called Bill Rowling, who had taken over leadership from the miraculously eloquent Norman Kirk. I noticed that Bill R blinked a lot. Far too much… I used to amuse myself by counting the number of times he would blink per phrase, even if I lost count for the whole interview… Despite the formation of the ‘Citizens for Rowling’ group and other desperate measures taken by the Left’s advocates, I suspected that the public would not warm to blinky Rowling, and much to my disgust, Muldoon won by a landslide.

    • Rhinocrates 8.1

      Except that Shearer has now trashed any hopes of being perceived as a “nice guy”, so he’s now got nothing. “Bumbling and inarticulate but basically a nice guy” (if you’re not a beneficiary) has been replaced by “bumbling, inarticulate and prone to panic and become vindictive and totalitarian when under pressure.”

      In my mind, he’s not Satan or Stalin, but rather a multiple-choice question.

      David Shearer is:

      (A) A genuinely nice guy with a lot of potential that will become apparent any day now , perhaps even as soon as 1993, but cruelly undermined by Darth Cunliffe.

      (B) Dilbert’s Pointy-Haired Boss.

      (C) The Second Coming of Leonid Brezhnev.

      (D) Eric Cartman suddenly given authoritah.

      (E) A fundamentally weak man out of his depth who thinks that authoritarianism is strength, like all bullies. As such, he is easily manipulated by underlings who can’t take responsibility themselves.

      (F) All of the above, excepting A.

      A sign, I think, of the Labour caucus’ decadence is their belief that first, they are destined for power, no matter what and that therefore they simply should wait to have it delivered to them; and that second, when this doesn’t happen, it is because all of their real enemies are internal.

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        You’re getting better and better Rhino….

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.2

        A sign, I think, of the Labour caucus’ decadence is their belief that first, they are destined for power, no matter what and that therefore they simply should wait to have it delivered to them

        The peoples’ party has become a born to rule aristocracy consisting of establishment Old Guard MPs supplemented by newer MPs who are actually all their own Former Staffers.

    • lurgee 8.2

      Santayana for the first one. Hegel said something similar (but said it first) and Marx played with it a little bit: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” Question is, are we in the tragedy or farce phase?

  9. Herodotus 9

    So where is the comment from Shearer of disappointment that someone has leaked caucus business, and what is being done to ascertain the source of Trevett’s article. To some the actions of this individual have been condoned by Shearer and co.
    Cunliffe already appears as a martyr ” He later said he was not able to comment because caucus had decided that only Mr Shearer would speak on the matter.” whilst another faction has been re reading Machiavelli.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Required fucken reading.

    Party fratricide does not necessarily spell the death of the Party but is a sign not only of deep division within it, but of fundamental weakness. After all, if a Party cannot unite around a common set of objectives, leaders or beliefs in the face of a coherent and well-organized opposition, then it is less a political Party than an amalgam of sectoral interests forced together by political circumstance and shallow ideological affinity.

    IMO, The Labour Party as it once was is toast.

    • karol 10.1

      Ah, yes. I quoted from that somewhere today … here. I thought the bit about “absence of core values” seems apt for the NZ LP today. Even though they have a long list of principles etc on their website, Somehow the practice and the words and the spirit don’t match up.

       

    • Rhinocrates 10.2

      Actually, while I find cynicism and sarcasm oh so easy, I really do take heart from the conference. The membership asserted itself brilliantly. The people who constitute the actual party are committed and energised. They know what they want and they’ve got it. The party is not a lost cause, not by any means, and they might yet turn the caucus in the medium term.

  11. [RL: Deleted. You are on a one week ban. See here]

  12. AmaKiwi 12

    John Armstrong told us this morning the Labour Party doesn’t need an open election in February 2013 because it’s already been decided.

    I’ll go with Armstrong because he’s always right . . . very right.

    • Craig Glen Eden 12.1

      Thankfully John Armstrong does not run the Labour Party as of last Saturday the members do heres to February. I bet their will a BBQ or two at Phils place between now and February. Shearer should cancel all overseas holidays.

  13. QoT like lots of people on TS are confused by the call for unity. Yet that is exactly what the right must appeal to in order to blame those on the left for challenging their power. They will get away with it if people fall for this call for unity, masking as it does the real stakes in play.

    In effect that appeal to unity is to ask those on the left who stand for the traditional constituency of LP, the working class, especially the poorest, to remain passive and follow orders from the right cabal of reconstructed neo-liberals to make the poor pay for the global crisis, by balancing budgets, allowing regressive taxes to rule, only tinkering with the market in housing, interest rates etc. What the Shearer right offers international finance capital is a soft cop government to follow the hard cop NACTs when they have finished their rip, shit, bust rule. That is why the Shearer right is not opposing the NACTs. It is waiting for its turn in office with its nicer, kinder brand of neo-liberalism.

    Now the right cabal has exposed its role as the power base of Blairite neo-liberalism, unity with these traitors to the working class amounts to treason. It is to give up the fight and resign to the global capitalist program to strip NZ of its assets and drive NZ workers further into cheap, deregulated slave labour for international finance capital.

    Seen in this light, unity on these terms is betrayal, while disunity around the growing open split between the interests of capital and labour reflects the reality, that the fight for control of the Labour Party is a symptom of the class war. To win a war you have to understand you are in one, and prepare to fight it, or go down in defeat. If you don’t fight, you don’t win.

  14. Grassroots 14

    There will be no unity until the membership have a chance to exercise their democratic rights which they have just gained from the conference. It’s time to get the Party back!

  15. Chrissy 15

    Given all the grief and rage, it’s worth reviewing a few things as they happened again: the role of the media beatup for one, trying to prise a provocation out of Cunliffe, then running off to tell Shearer Cunliffe is going after him, on the strength of this story.

    It’s not pretty, but here it is, from Saturday at conference. Remember this is TV3 rolling out their best material from a fair bit of filming to try to prop up their leadership challenge story.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Shearer-denies-Labour-leadership-shakeup/tabid/370/articleID/277072/Default.aspx

    • Judge Holden 15.1

      Yes, there was no attempt by Cunliffe or any of his supporters to undermine the leadership. None at all. Why are you all acting as the Nats’ proxies? They’re laughing at you, guys. At you.

      • lprent 15.1.1

        I know of nothing overt that Cunliffe did that undermined the leadership. So far the best anyone has come up with is that he smiled and was known to have stood against Shearer.

        And supporters? Really? Give me a break. Again no evidence, no smoking gun, and presumably you’d waffle off into a morass of meaningless supposition and innuendo when challenged.

        Cunliffe has about as much chance of controlling supporters as whale has of controlling his urges to being tacky and kind of disgusting. This is a country where we don’t permit pathetic thought police to gain a toehold. So people cannot be persecuted for the thoughts of others. And idiots like yourself can say those types of dumbarse things without it reflecting back on to Shearer.

        Incidentally if attitudes like your unthinking stupidity ever did become the norm, then you’d find me taking some far different actions than merely running a blog.

        In the meantime you rather look like a fool.

        • Judge Holden 15.1.1.1

          You’re the ones being played. You’re currently spending all your time attacking one another, with quite a degree of viciousness I might add, while the tories are quietly going about enriching themselves at your expense. And I’m the fool? Get real.

          • lprent 15.1.1.1.1

            Sorry, I didn’t realize you were a troll. So you have nothing to say? Nothing to contribute? No intelligence..

            Oh well you will probably get swept away in a moderation sweep.

            • Judge Holden 15.1.1.1.1.1

              A moderation sweep? What are you Big Brother?

              [lprent: Yes but I prefer the computer nomenclature – old school. Around here I’m usually known as sysop, or BOFH. People departing usually just refer to me as bastard. However my mother disagrees…

              Read the about and the policy. While there are a number of moderators, I’m probably the nastiest overall. I find humiliation works best on people who are too stupid to read the site rules. Like you. It encourages them not to make the same foolish error elsewhere on the net. ]

              • Judge Holden

                Don’t be a dick. That sort of crap is expected from the likes of the losers and shills at No Minister and Keeping Stock, but you’re supposedly better than that.

          • the pink postman. 15.1.1.1.2

            It seems to me that some people just like to find fault with Labour. These are the same crowd that talk but never act to help Labour. The same lot who attacked Helen Clark ,attacked Phil Goff and now are having a go at David Shearer . The New Lynn LEC. needs to have a good look at it self . Do they want a Labour Government 2014 or do they want another session with the disaster we have now. or do they just want an excuse to moan and criticize. Direct your stupid anger at Key and the evil P. Bennett or shut up now.

            • Judge Holden 15.1.1.1.2.1

              Agreed. This destructive behaviour will do nothing except ensure that the centre-left stays out of power and Joyce gets to continue looting. It’s naive, immature and really, really dumb.

            • Craig Glen Eden 15.1.1.1.2.2

              really pp what New Lynn LEC want like other Labour Party members as voted by them in the weekend is more say in the party . When have the New Lynn LEC complained about Helen Clarke or David Shearer. So the New Lynn LEC who raise money and give to the Party more than their Levies every year are moaners ? Well fuck me its the first I knew about it and I been involved with them for 10 years and what you are alleging is total bloody bullshit. these would be the same people including my self that spent hours putting up Shearer signs and had family members used for his campaign photos so next time you spout of shit get your bloody facts right.

              • Judge Holden

                No one said they were moaners. They and the others who seem incapable of accepting the party’s decision to make Shearer leader are making a very good fist of helping the Nats to retain power though. I put this down to petulance and naivete rather than anything untoward, but the outcome is the same.

                • Colonial Viper

                  They and the others who seem incapable of accepting the 18 MP’s decision to make Shearer leader

                  fify

                  And Shearer would not be having any problems now if he was making real leadership use of the horrible year that National are having.

                  • Judge Holden

                    That’s the process and if you want to see the centre-left in power any time this decade you should accept it and get on. You’re not helping anyone but Bennett, Brownlee, Joyce, McCully, Ryall and Key. Hope you feel good about that.

                    • felix

                      “That’s the process”

                      Was.

                    • Magnus McManus

                      That’s the point people seem to be missing. With Shearer as leader there will be no Labour-led government in 2014. No matter how much we act nice, ‘get in behind him’, ‘unify’, or ‘lend him our full support’. With Shearer as Leader, National will win 2014. No if’s, but’s or maybe’s.
                      They. Will Win.
                      Anyone who can’t see that needs to leave the party now. You’re nothing but a liability.

            • blue leopard 15.1.1.1.2.3

              @ The Pink Postman,

              I really don’t think the current criticism of Labour is coming from the place you are thinking it is.

              I note that there are many comments on TS in which Labour are praised for the policies that they came out with at the conference and then follow with criticism squarely shafted toward the caucus.

              If David Shearer wants to assert that he is in charge, as is so clearly what he was attempting to do re Cunliffe, he needs to address the media-leak that was done a few months ago resulting in an article severely criticizing Mr Cunliffe. I am truly surprised that he hasn’t already; it is an utterly terrible “look” to have such a snipey article published openly citing sources within the Labour party and the leader not addressing this. That he hasn’t, and yet severely chastised Mr Cunliffe over a lot less, makes it extremely easy to believe the ABC rumours and also makes it look like he (DS) would have actively had something to do with the snipey article himself. Very unbecoming; not asserting savvy leadership, as is apparent he is attempting to do.

              Opposition parties have a duty, and as many comments have said, with a Government this farcical this should be a fairly simple duty to achieve. Labour is somehow equalling the farcical nature of this Government-it is hard to believe that this would be possible, yet is the way I am starting to view these antics from the NZLP caucus. Disgraceful.

        • Jenny 15.1.1.2

          I know of nothing overt that Cunliffe did that undermined the leadership.

          Lynne Prentice

          Cunliffe spoke up on some rather major issues that the current leadership would rather not see raised at all. Caucus were afraid that if Cunliffe kept up this outrageous behaviour that they would be forced to take a stand one way or another.

          This presented a quandary.

          Come down on the conservative side of these issues, would be unpopular with flax roots Labour. Come down on the left side of these issues and hot oil and brimstone would be poured on their heads by the conservative establishment and business and media. Caught in this terrible bind, caucus decided it would be easier to shoot (sideline) the messenger.

      • Bill 15.1.2

        Oh, in case you missed it JH. I’m not a Labour Party member. I’m just a part of the working class. My politics are usually focussed on areas outside of what you might term the parliamentary framework. I also have no great expectations with regards parliamentary politics/politicians delivering anything much worth writing home about.

        But with Shearer, even my very low expectations are going to be confounded.

        Does it not say anything to you when a person who is usually disparaging of the parliamentary set up – who has almost zero expectations with regards that set-up – feels a need to speak out quite stridently on the matter of the leader of an opposition party being utterly inadequate?

        I wouldn’t expect much from Cunliffe either by the way. He would (I suspect) merely return my levels of disappointment in parliamentary politics to ‘normal’ levels.

        The policies that parliament enacted these past few terms have made my life a lot more difficult. But I expect that when a National led government drives policy. And I don’t expect too much from Labour. But I do expect something.

        The analogy I keep coming back to is that National governments simply break our legs while Labour governments break our legs and expect thanks when they affor us crutches. With Shearer there isn’t even that front of faux compassion. With Shearer, the impression I get is that there would be no ‘let up’. None at all.

        Further, I suspect NZ is going to tank within the next few years (Chinese and Australian bubbles popping). And the last thing I and thousands of others need is ‘apologetic’ austerity on top of the shit we’ve endured these past few years.

        Is Cunliffe a guarantee against apologetic austerity and people in my position being vilified? No. But apologetic austerity and on going vilification is a sure fire thing with Shearer.

        There is, I believe, the possibility of a ‘step change’ within the Labour Party due to the small injection of democratic procedure that came through at their conference. I believe it could make Labour politicians more responsive to the needs of ‘everyday’ people (insofar as they also members) I believe that if it comes about it will be driven on two fronts. One front would full of cynical old bastards like me who have really had enough after 30 years neo-liberal bullshit. The other is full of optimistic younger types who have no connection to or love for the old ossified heirarchies of control and who may be less inclined to defer to authority. Then again, it could just be the younger types want to ascend to power. Whatever.

        Point is, we can’t carry on along the 1980’s trajectory. We’ve had it with that. And maybe…and I am only saying maybe…the likes of Cunliffe would alter that trajectory somewhat.

        Whether there was a conspiracy or not, the fact is that many people with no connection to the LAbour Party feel an absolute and urgent need for a shift.

        and now i need coffee

  16. Alanz 16

    Hi Everyone

    I have always been supportive of the Labour leadership and their advisers regardless of who they have been. I have tried to withhold judgment in the past few days but increasingly find myself returning to the conclusion that the judgment calls – including particularly the latest one – which Shearer made reflects poorly on his ability as leader; do not put the Labour Party on the course for an inclusive, wise and democratic party; and has revealed he and his advisers are not able to competently balance and include a range of valid and legitimate interests within the Party.

    It pains me to say that history will record the present Labour leadership as losing sight of the way forward and the latest decision taken in caucus as been poor and wrong.

    Regardless of this, I will not walk away from the Party but will stand by to help ensure the Party stays on course.

    • lprent 16.1

      That does seem to be the approach that many people are taking.

      Looking at the way ahead, I doubt that there will wind up being a Feb vote pushed out to the party. There are simply going to be too many ways to exert pressure in the concentration camp that caucus has been made into. Running a Stalin style show trial because someone had leadership ambitions and smiled the wrong way? Without bothering to produce a shred of proof of smoking gun? Give me a break – this is bullshit

      Now into thursday and all we are getting is very poor spin. Hell I half keep expecting that we will start hearing about a tape that can’t be produced as someone suggested last night.

      FFS: how did we wind up with this pack of incompetents in caucus. This what you get by electing youngish staffers without any realworld grounding experience I guess.

      I doubt that we will get much progress in the party’s reforms going forward. Any movement towards greater democracy and transparency inside the party is going to be a threat to people who think like that.

      I was thinking it through this morning, and I can’t bring myself the for the kinds of incompetent politicians who’d run this kind of stalin type show trial. Imagine what would happen if people who think like that got into a position of real power. Urrgh.

      So it looks to me like I will be opting for voting Green in 2014 as being the most effective way to get competent politicians of a sort of left persausion into a position to topple National. The surprising thingto me is that I can think about them as being competent these days based on their performance.

      I guess I just joined the Labour Ulterior damnit.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        There are simply going to be too many ways to exert pressure in the concentration camp that caucus has been made into.

        And this is the classic Douglas/Prebble/Caygill play of the old bad times.

      • ad 16.1.2

        Crikey LPrent that’s a big call to turn Green after decades of service to Labour. Really sad.

        I have been a Labour activist for 13 years. And I feel the same.

        I could not look Shearer in the face and say I will fight for you, with all my money, all my strength, every volunteer hour I have to dispose of, and win an election. He just shames us.

        I have just had to do a 5k run every morning before sunrise just to collect the necessary seratonin for the day.

        I am utterly exhausted and dispirited about the Labour Party.

        • lprent 16.1.2.1

          Not turning Green. In many ways I have been green for a long time. Since reading some of John Brunner’s books back in the 70’s was bit of an eye opener for me and I did a lot of reading afterwards. Most people who do or did science that are based around biology or earth sciences are quite green because it gets pretty damn hard to pretend that the world is boundless when you look closely at how fragile some of the systems are. But the local Green’s have had a tendency of electing many people that I’d have to describe as flakes rather than politicians.

          But I’m going to vote Green because their politicians no longer turn my stomach with their ineptitude, whereas the some of the Labour ones do. Effectively shift the coalition.

          But I’m going to stay in Labour because the Labour party isn’t the same as the Labour caucus and the party is reforming whilst the caucus is getting worse.

          • ad 16.1.2.1.1

            Sorry shouldn’t have capitalised green as Green. What I was agreeing with was the sensibility, and the vote.

            Labour is beginning to remind me of my first marriage. Not that the grass is always Greener …

            Totally agree with your last paragraph.

      • Jackal 16.1.3

        I agree, it is bullshit, bullshit that many authors on The Standard also promoted 1prent. I seem to recall many requests for Labour to take a leadership challenge from Cunliffe seriously. Now you’re saying the only thing that was really wrong was Cunliffe smiling like Cheshire Cat when Shearer wasn’t. These two realities don’t reconcile themselves well.

        You claim that there is a move towards less democracy, while the NBR et al. says Labour has moved further to the left. I think you’ll agree that the left is inherently more democratic than the right 1prent. The left observe a move to the right, the right observe a move to the left… Nothing new there. My observation is that Labour hasn’t really changed all that much at all. They are still a centre left party with policy designed to help the bulk of New Zealanders, not just a select few.

        It’s amusing that an already Green party supporter is arguing against you becoming Green :) But do it for the right reasons 1prent, not any spur of the moment decision based on Cunliffe’s demotion because of meddling… Meddling that wasn’t just undertaken by the media btw. Unfortunately this meddling is continuing to undermine the left wing, not just Labour. I therefore think it is very foolish!

        I also recall warning people about undermining their own causes. In this I have observed a move by The Standard (The Standard ie it’s authors) towards the centre. A pity because the hard left viewpoint is one of the reasons I started reading The Standard in the first place.

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.3.1

          Labour is a Blairite third way party, if that’s what you’re saying passes for Centre Left these days.

  17. Uturn 17

    Cunliffe hasn’t “lost”, the game is still in play.
    Shearer cannot win, while the members and affiliates demand democracy.
    No single person is the power behind any political party.
    Under these conditions unity for democratic systems could exisit within the membership, but not around a caucus offering a direction members do not want to take.
    The membership can give up their power to whoever or whatever they want, or they can assert their autonomy, which will require on-going effort.
    The game of transition ends when the membership is satisfied of the outcome.

    • Pascal's bookie 17.1

      Well, while I admire the sentiment, I only agree up to point.

      There’s a process. Shearer’s have fucked all over that of course, but still.

      If the trigger doesn’t get pulled in the Feb caucus vote, then Shearer is leader fair and square and the party should fall in.

      So right now, I d suggest making sure memberships are up to date and had by them that want ‘em, and lobbying the fuck out of caucus, and the more privately the better on that last score.

      • Slartibartfast 17.1.1

        Is it only the Caucus which can pull the trigger?

        • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.1

          That’s what the rules say.

          Short of a major extra-constitutional action by a very large number of LECs and members of course… :cool:

          • Slartibartfast 17.1.1.1.1

            So……Caucus chooses Leader, Leader then effectively chooses caucus by removing those he doesn’t like, Leader can only be removed by caucus. Who chose those dumb rules?
            And you wonder why the party members end up with the opposite of what they want (for years and years).

    • ad 17.2

      This was the worst caucus meeting since 1987, according to all reports I have heard. Cunliffe has been firebombed into ash. I don’t like it but he is politically dead. There is no coming back.

      Whether the members have a say or not is only one or two swinging votes away from Shearer’s magic 22 block. My bet is that’s easy to get because Shearer has all the capacity to buy votes with safe seat appointments. Andrew Little replacing Ross Robertson is the easy play. There will be more.

      There needs to be a new hero found for those who don’t want Shearer. And there isn’t one.

      I think Shearer gets a 5% Preferred PM bump, Robertson is content with holding the full deck, and this is precisely where we are in October 2014.

      • Jenny 17.2.1

        Cunliffe has been firebombed into ash. I don’t like it but he is politically dead. There is no coming back.

        ad

        Never say never, ad. Like Lynne I believe that Shearer has the numbers and levers within caucus to avoid the trigger vote. It’s a shame but probably true.

        But a true leader doesn’t need title, or position, to shape events. I believe that if Cunliffe is not intimidated into silence and keeps openly expressing his views on the subjects close to his heart. (which is his right to do as an MP). Then by moral pressure alone he will embarrass the current leadership to adopt policies further to the left than they they would, if left to their own devices.

        To David Cunliffe; stick in there.

        I have been impressed by your discipline and restraint under fire.

        Don’t let this set back stop you speaking the truth about the climate or the economy.

        As Labour Party back bench member and moral leader, The financiers and the polluters won’t like you for it, neither will their parliamentary lickspittles, but the climate the economy and the poor will thank you it.

        As the leader of Pussy Riot told the court when she was sentenced to two years in prison. I feel sorry for all you people because we are free to say what we like.

        David, I believe that you have history, but also the public on your side.

        In the end, the ways of truth always triumph over the ways of wickedness, guile and lies. And with each day that passes, the ways of truth are more and more triumphant even though we are still behind bars and are likely to be here a lot longer yet.

        Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Pussy riot

        Kia kaha. Jenny

  18. Uturn 18

    “…Shearer is leader fair and square and the party should fall in.”

    So you are arguing that people should give up their autonomy to authority for the illusion of consensus. That is the reason this problem is happening now, when it could have been dealt with 30 years ago. If people fall in line now, around a system they know is corrupted, the problem will be pushed out a little further, maybe fifteen years away this time, only it won’t be a party political problem by then, it will be a sphere of importance closer to their personal lives. The anger then will be greater, the noise louder, same problem, all because it was a job defered.

  19. Craig Glen Eden 19

    The message members sent to Labour MPs on Saturday with the 60% -40% leadership vote is we wont be ignored nothing has changed, in fact what we have seen from the old guard over the last few days is exactly why the members have voted like they did, members have voted to have a say.

    The way Shearer was put in charge was the catalyst for this change MPs not following the wishes of their LECs and voting for in their own perceived interest. Shearer does not have what it takes to be a leader of Labour the old guard are continuing to leak to the media and Shearer stands by and watches.

    The party wont be united until we get rid of behaviour from people like Shane Jones running off at the mouth needlessly attacking the greens ( Greens should never ever be attack by Labour and vise -versa in my view) and referring to colleagues as grubs. Chris Hipkins disgusting defamatory remarks along with Parker to name just three. The ongoing leaking to the media from the old guard is a disgrace.Sadly none of this is going to change with the current lot in charge, its time for members and people who really care about Labour and its values to stand up and show this lot what social democracy is all about.Write to your MP, lobby lets continue to take Labour back to and for grass roots.

  20. ianmac 20

    If Mr Cunliffe wins the leadership, does that mean there will be a united focussed way forward?

    • fatty 20.1

      If Mr Cunliffe wins the leadership, does that mean there will be a united focussed way forward?

      I’m not sure, could be more united, could be less.
      I think it could be less united because the ABC’s dislike Cunliffe based on his personality, that’s how I see it, some say its more policy related…this could be very difficult to overcome. (its a shame highly educated people who take up a job to serve people can act like selfish spoiled 10 year old brats well into the twilight of their working life.)
      Or, Labour could be more united if Cunliffe shows leadership qualities by bringing the groups together. The other thing that would help is that if Labour went up in the polls – that always helps bring some unity.
      That’s the problem with a Shearer led Labour…stagnated polls, factions not being brought together, no apparent leadership qualities in Shearer. I think the problem of stagnating polls and leadership qualities would improve under Cunliffe, but bringing the factions together could be difficult. Cunliffe has been pulling a few knives from his back lately, I think he has the foresight to know that sticking them straight back in the perpetrators will just cause more problems.

    • Colonial Viper 20.2

      Whoever leads after Feb (and remember, if it goes to a 40/40/20 process Feb will simply be the beginning) will need to bring all sides together as one. Helen did it, and Shearer should have done it. One problem being that the ABCs want ALL the top positions for themselves.

  21. jaymam 21

    Are there any Shearer supporters on The Standard? I want one of them to answer some of the statements above.

    e.g. What is Shearer going to do about the caucus people who have been talking to the media while Cunliffe has been banned from doing that? Are they going to be demoted?

    What’s with the phony unanimous vote for Shearer? Do they think everyone is stupid and can’t see through that?

    Shearer certainly does appear to be “bumbling, inarticulate and prone to panic and become vindictive and totalitarian when under pressure.”

    There appear to be only two ways that the Labour Party can now get back to work and get rid of Key’s government.

    1. Cunliffe could be reinstated and Hipkins demoted.
    2.Shearer could resign.

    Otherwise this will fester for months or years.

    • lprent 21.1

      There are. But most of the ones I have seen recently have merely been trolling and frequently look like they may be from the Nats.

      Member41 was one of the few who tried to put up a case.

    • Jackal 21.2

      I support David Shearer as leader of the opposition, but I’m thoroughly sick and tired of this never ending tirade of baseless speculation.

      e.g. How the fuck would I know what is going to be done about any Labour MPs leaking information to the media? But more importantly is that even true? The media could just be making up stories in order to make Labour appear divided, which seems like a much more probable explanation.

      I note that Brian Edwards hasn’t bothered to even reply to my requests for him to confirm his accusations that over a dozen Labour MPs were bullied to vote for Shearer, and then they all let Edwards know about it (important guy that Edwards). The holes in that article are so large I could drive a double decker bus through it.

      Cunliffe won’t be reinstated just yet and Shearer won’t resign… The topic will only fester if people give it attention. Personally I find it rather boring and overcooked, so until there are some noteworthy developments… adious’ amegous!

  22. bomber 22

    There is a way back from this civil war – and it requires Hipkins to be demoted and Cunliffe back on the Front Bench post the February vote

    Hipkins must be demoted before ceasefire in Labour Party can become established – http://tumeke.blogspot.co.nz/2012/11/hipkins-must-be-demoted-before.html

    • ad 22.1

      Shearer and Robertson will have the 22 bloc within 2 weeks. There will be no 40/40/20 vote in February. Or late January. Or any time. Leadership is going to be defended AT ALL COSTS. And fuck the rules, new or otherwise.

      Perhaps someone else wants to stand up and endure getting an atomic bomb dropped on them before November 2013 Annual Conference in Christchurch. Bomber are you shitting me?

      Shearer and King and Roberston and Mold have the lock on the mainstream media, and all the political gifts in the world at their disposal. And if New Lynn LEC wants to hold on to the rail it will get as electrified as Cunliffe was. Remember there is a full organsiational review on at the moment including funding, so Presland’s Mob are as good as toast for daring to raise their head.

      The operation has no rules – it’s much more like New South Wales Labour politics than we are used to. But it’s here to stay.

      • rosy 22.1.1

        “Leadership is going to be defended AT ALL COSTS. And fuck the rules, new or otherwise.”

        Ironic, really, that DC is the one accused of putting personal ambition ahead of the party.

      • Craig Glen Eden 22.1.2

        “Shearer and Robertson will have the 22 bloc within 2 weeks. There will be no 40/40/20 vote in February. Or late January. Or any time. Leadership is going to be defended AT ALL COSTS. And fuck the rules, new or otherwise.”

        I have been described as a “glass half full” kinda guy by some who know me but I wouldn’t be surprised if some Mps that previously would have supported DS are quite surprised at the deliberate over the top attack on Cunliffe for not being prepared to say he would support Shearer in the February vote or the never never.

        Surely as a Mp with any kind of future you would be looking at whats happened and be going hang on a minute this has all been planned by someone and do I really want to be part of this going forward?

        • Blue 22.1.2.1

          If any person remaining in the Labour caucus had any balls they would have refused to endorse Shearer and walked out.

          The fact that no one did shows that they’re pretty much all just focused on their own careers and won’t stick their necks out.

          • Anne 22.1.2.1.1

            The fact that no one did shows that they’re pretty much all just focused on their own careers and won’t stick their necks out.

            Not entirely Blue. I’ve been in a situation where staff were being threatened and bullied. And when you have been singled out as a special target – in this case because you supported Cunliffe – then ‘the cabal’ will be making life unpleasant and stressful for them. They dare not stick their necks out. Their heads will be chopped off and they will be made to suffer. Don’t blame them.

          • Rhinocrates 22.1.2.1.2

            Give it time to sink in. This has all been in a rush, when emotions were high.

            Cunliffe knows that now is not the time and likely they all do.

            ABC struck quickly, but here are going to be some caucus members who will notice in time that now the constitution has been changed and the party membership has much more of a say. They may be giving their obligatory loyalty oaths to Mallard and Hipkins [hoick…spit] now, but looking at where things are going, even the most self-interested might be, thinking in terms of self-interest, that maybe being associated with ABC if there is a wide vote, they don’t want to be on the losing side.

            Yes, this has been a show trial in true Stalinist fashion, but it’s been a show confession too.

            I think that the major lesson Cunliffe took was “be discrete and bide your time.” Mallard bragged on twitter about his bullying in a way that he thought was sly, but there’s been silence from the opposing camp. If Cunliffe has any nous, then knowing that he couldn’t win this battle, the smart thing he would have said to his supporters is “Keep quiet, agree to everything, smile and nod. Wait… for now.” ABC knows that too, which is why they were demanding loyalty oaths and assurances of support in February. Silence in politics is not nothing.

      • Colonial Viper 22.1.3

        And if New Lynn LEC wants to hold on to the rail it will get as electrified as Cunliffe was. Remember there is a full organsiational review on at the moment including funding, so Presland’s Mob are as good as toast for daring to raise their head.

        Small minor (almost insignificant) detail: New Lynn LEC pays a shit load of money to help fund head office, not the other way around.

        Now, Beltway Labour may want to escalate things and keep making personal threats, but they will also realise that a large scale LEC and branch LEVIES STRIKE will make their summer holidays a whole lot less fun.

  23. Anne 23

    Why do I keep chortling at that those two adorable little furry, cuddly kittens.

    We’re talking about the Labour Party. Aren’t we?

  24. Kevin Welsh 24

    So, at the LEC level how do you remove a candidate whether they be sitting or aspiring?

    Or, once in, are they there till until voted out in an election?

    • Colonial Viper 24.1

      usually sitting MPs are not challenged in the party candidate selection process pre Election year. But it can be done.

      You have to find and stand a capable (and willing haha) candidate in the selection process, gather support from within the Labour branches and the LEC of that electorate, get the affiliates on side, and start lobbying the ordinary members in that electorate.

      HOWEVER once head office understands that a serious challenge is being mounted that they don’t like, you can expect all kind of arm twisting to start to first get the unwanted candidate to withdraw, then to ensure that you lose the vote on the day.

      Mind you I only know this shit in theory, a few others here have actually done it.

      NB the sitting MP for an electorate remains MP until the elections, even if another person is chosen as the candidate.

  25. Could be the start of an even more illustrious political career for Cunliffe:

    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2012/11/cunliffe-new-anderton-and-new-left.html

    • xtasy 25.1

      Monique, I do not generally agree with you, but in some way you raise some valid points.

      Labour as a party is becoming a stuffy old redundant crowd controlled by certain caucus menbers and others, who simply want a “Nat Light” version of politics. That is NOT what most prospective Labour and left voters want and need.

      We had this for the last 2 or so decades.

      Even “Aunty Helen” did not go too far off the supposed “centre” to appeal to the “middle class” that to some fair numbers consist of “professionals”, who are also increasingly struggling, but who also have an increasingly “dim” view of those even worse off.

      It is not just a NZ phenomenon, as the division of modern society is taking place in all “western” economies and societies.

      During the first decades after the last great war there was an awareness of having to keep society “cohesive”, fair, inclusive and balanced. That was given up in the late 1980s and during the 1990s.

      Your so much loved “Chicago Boys” took over and set the tone, so even supposedly “left” and “centre” parties gobbled up the propaganda, and they started dividing society in a cunning manner.

      When it started to show that this “rewarding” of the “the performers” and the “stake holders” and “value adders” was leading to social trends of increased division and wealth and income gaps, the answer was, we need to go further, to create yet more “efficiencies”.

      So it went, outsourcing went to send manufacturing and other economic activity to China and various low cost, low regulatory economies.

      All it did was make a few out-sourcers, importers and dealers very wealthy, create some jobs in sales, transport and investing, but most did not gain at all.

      So that is where we are now: Bled out economy, over-valued currency due to speculative monetary policy, exorbitant housing costs due to “investors” (refuge buyers from East Asia and else) coming to drive up prices NO locals can afford, at the same time loss of manufacturing, low paid jobs in remnant manufacturing, catering for tourists and overseas students!

      It is a DUMBED down economy, full of short term planners and thinkers, and while a Mr Cunliffe made the effort to study how smarter Danes and other Europeans learn how to do it better, he gets shafted and thrown onto the back bench. What a DUMB leader and party would do that? It only happens in a post colonial back stop called NZ Aotearoa, that suffers of the biggest brain drain for decades! Come on, you can all do better, just open your mind and switch off the brain washing MSM, who are run by certain selected commercial interests, also to prop up Mr Key and gang!

    • karol 25.2

      Interesting sentence in that blog poast:

      Labour in the ’90’s was like Roald Dahls, “The Witches”. Young, well meaning, middle-class male pollies were being stitched up by the Labour women like Mallard, King, Clark and co in their pursuit for the popular left wing vote. 

       

  26. xtasy 26

    Time for TRUE LABOUR, just one thought and suggestion for the name of a new, true Labour roots focused party!

    It is time to draw a bloody line in the sand and take a resolute stand.

    Where are the union members? Where are those that want a NZ that is united, or at least tries to follow a “united” direction and goal for ALL living in this country?

    We have debates about housing costs exploding, while the law allows any foreign investor or intending buyer to come into the market to buy. As there is wide spread insecurity in many countries, be this Asia, Europe or North America, there are those coming here with filled wallets, to simply get their “wealthy refuge homes”, while dodging taxes in their countries and only looking after number ONE!

    They are lining up at the immigration and bank counters, flashing their cash, while ordinary NZers cannot afford their own homes anymore, not even to rent in many places.

    This is a country now to cater for the rich and wealthy, and it is prostituting itself for this. Key says that is fine, as the “market” rules, and Shearer offers a housing plan, that will favour middle class professionals with a bit of cash, but will NOT stop them to on-sell for a nice gain, to then cash up and move to Australia.

    NZ is run along DUMB economics, ignorant rule, manipulative media pandering to the money interests above true workers, it is being run into the bloody ground, this place.

    Tonight, like on many nights, after 9 pm it is quiet like on a grave yard in the suburb I live in. It is a people under depression, fear and in pure basic survival mode. I just saw a rental list yesterday, where $ 1350 per week were asked for PER WEEK for a 5 brm home in Auckland.

    Where do we bloody live here?

    And Labour is wasting time in-fighting? Shearer get off your weak pride, and build a bloody team. Where are your supposed “Skills” from your UN work?

    I sadly have NO hope in YOU or Labour anymore. Move on, make room for a new party. This is the best time for a new party on the left of centre to be started! Someone get your manpower and team together, we NEED it NOW!

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    6 days ago
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    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
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    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
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    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
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    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago

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