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David Shearer isn’t Jesus? No sh*t, Sherlock

Written By: - Date published: 6:37 pm, January 9th, 2013 - 100 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour - Tags:

(Author note: I originally wrote and scheduled this post just at my own blog, but given Imperator Fish’s post has been syndicated to The Standard, I figured I’d reply in kind.)

I’m absolutely certain that Scott Yorke was not thinking of me when he wrote The Post I Never Posted.

I don’t believe I’m personally on his radar. I think he’s responding to a wider trend of Shearer-critical posts, predominantly at The Standard.

And I can see how people who are Labour supporters are getting a little annoyed with the constant pointing out of Shearer’s many clear failings. Look, people, we’ve already explained six times that he can’t answer basic questions about his political ideas in clear complete sentences, do we really need to go for round 7?

And I was feeling all warm and charitable about the broad variety of opinions on the New Zealand left, and how wonderful it is that we have so many leftie bloggers who can put their arguments forward for wider discussion.

And then I got to this sentence.

And even if I was wrong on that point, I went on to write, David Shearer was still not the best man for the job, because he had failed to demonstrate an ability to walk on water or bring the dead back to life.

How droll. Scott thinks we Shearer-critics are unrealistic, over-demanding, petulant children who expect the leader of the parliamentary Labour Party to be not just the perfect politician, but messianic.

It would be a super-cutting little barb if it bore any resemblance to reality. If, say, Shearer had blown the political debate wide open with his first big policy speech, taking the fight straight to John Key, if whoever the Labour Education spokesperson is/was had claimed the easily-findable scalp of Hekia Parata. If, say, Labour were still only at 30-odd in the polls, but this was clearly down to a set of un-Shearer-related botches, like Shane Jones getting caught using taxpayer money for porn. Again. And it was Sea Shepherd-themed.

Basically, if Shearer had turned out to be a fantastic, charismatic, visionary, inspiring leader, but Labour was still doing poorly in the polls because a lot of its MPs are complete muppets … then someone like Scott might very well have a good point to make about criticisms of Shearer being based on unrealistic expectations.

Here’s what I hoped – I won’t say “expected”, since he was such an unknown quantity at the time of his election to the parliamentary Labour leader position – of David Shearer.

Look and sound better on the telly than Phil Goff did

Difficulty rating: not found

Phil Goff was actually a damn fine speaker when he was on form, but on TV he just had an unfortunately grumpy-looking face. Then someone worked magic behind the scenes during the 2011 campaign and he figured out how to smile. Apparently this someone is no longer employed by the Labour parliamentary office.

Tell us what Labour is about

Difficulty rating: minimal

I understand that I’m a big scary ranty feminist with big scary feminist political goals (like SHOCK HORROR comprehensive sex education!) I do understand that mainstream party leaders cannot actually go on Campbell Live and say “First thing I’m going to do is make abortion legal, free and available in every town in New Zealand.”

What I feel it was entirely reasonable to expect, though? A big, sexy commitment to a guaranteed living wage. To a 40 hour working week. To expanding Kiwibank, or offering a public option for KiwiSaver, to crack down on Aussie banks who don’t pay tax and millionaires who hide their assets in trusts.

What we got was analogies about lazy roof-painters not pulling their weight.

Lead the Labour caucus

Difficulty rating: pretty low for a dude whose work experience includes literal warzones

Instead, a damn fine spokesperson and one of the most competent (one might almost say one of the only competent) frontbench MPs gets paddled over a non-coup … and Shane Jones shits all over the Green Party while Clare Curran antagonises the biggest online ally the party has.

Take the hammer to National when the opportunity presents itself

Difficulty: kinda your job

Remember how David Shearer completely caned John Key over the Christchurch school closures debacle? That was totally awesome! … Wait, the dude with the big ears who says “marvellous” all the time isn’t David Shearer? He’s a journalist, you say? Well damn.

And yes, I would’ve liked a giant, fluorescent shift to the left, some repudiation of previous shitty Labour policies, even the slightest glimmer of acknowledgement that the Waitakere Myth was a stupid basis for policy, but guess what, people, the fact I say “fuck” a fuck of a lot doesn’t actually mean I’m a totally unreasonable echo-chamber-constructing bitch.

What I really wanted David Shearer to do, was show he understood that in the first year of a big, public, direction-setting role like leading the parliamentary Labour Party, you need to make an impact. You need to put your mark on the situation. You need to show you have a reason to be there which isn’t “keep the member for Hutt South in bike pants” and a passion for the job. Please note: constantly using the phrase “I have a passion for this job” is just breaking the cardinal rule of show, don’t tell.

For any of the above to be the political equivalent of “walking on water” I must actually be situated on another planet, like Mars. Where the water is frozen damn solid for a lot of the time. What I’m saying is, it’s not hard. Unlike the water.

And the only “dead” that Shearer was meant to bring back to life was Labour’s poll ratings. Given the performance of the government in recent times, Labour clawing its way back to its crushing 2008 defeat levels of support is barely a flicker in Lazarus’ eye.

What’s super-ironic is that the most recent example of Shearer-pedestal-setting I’ve seen comes from … still-a-Shearer-fan Mike Smith, quoted by Colonial Viper at The Standard:

Labour’s new leader promised a fresh approach. He’s delivered already in his speech in reply today. Gone is the ritual opening denunciation of the government’s programme – Shearer begins with where a new Labour government would start.

He puts Labour firmly on the path to winning in 2014 – the intention is clearly stated and the programme for the clean, green and clever New Zealand is exactly the right one. He understands what New Zealanders expect of their MPs. It’s a very good start.

I never expected Shearer to be the messiah of the Labour Party. Other people told us he would be, but I am nothing if not a cynic.

I just wanted a leader.

Apparently this was far too much of me to ask.

~

(Here’s the hilarious thing: before I saw Scott’s post I’d already drafted tomorrow’s post, an apology to David Shearer. Because it is actually possible to seriously dislike a guy and have not a shred of faith he’ll lead Labour to victory and simultaneously not think he’s the Antichrist.)

100 comments on “David Shearer isn’t Jesus? No sh*t, Sherlock”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    well, David Cunliffe is a friend of mine, Jeremiah was…a…bullfrog…

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    QoT, you had me at

    the fact I say “fuck” a fuck of a lot doesn’t actually mean I’m a totally unreasonable echo-chamber-constructing bitch.

  3. Morrissey 3

    Little question for you, QOT…
    http://static.fjcdn.com/pictures/Whores.+No+doubt+about+it_f15a7e_3930437.jpg

    [QoT: Per Colonial Weka’s description below, Morrissey, cut the bullshit. We clearly do not have the kind of past history or relationship wherein you making sex-shaming “jokes” towards me gets a pass. Future baseless, derailing crap of this kind and you’re simply banned from commenting on my posts.]

    • karol 3.1

      Say what? What’s the question? Where?

    • Colonial Weka 3.2

      Morrissey, it’s so helpful when you post showing how truly misogynistic you are. Sometimes you post things on ts that are very interesting, but let’s not forget exactly where you stand with regards to the politics of women and women’s sexuality in particular.

      Also of note is that you’ve forgotten that it’s against ts rules to attack authors esp in their own threads.

      • karol 3.2.1

        I have no idea what Morrissey’s link is about. It just takes me to a page full of thumbnails. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with Shearer, a fresh Labour Party start, or a left wing Messiah.

        And, in response to QOT’s post: has there been a post lately of any substance that supports Shearer, other than he’s the lesser of evils and we should all show solidarity? Any rebuttals of the criticisms that QOT reprises in her post?

        The Shearer support seems to focus on things marginal to these criticisms, or general expressions of optimism for the future of the party.

        • Murray Olsen 3.2.1.1

          Morrisey’s link seems to have taken him straight to WhaleSpew, where he’s now settling in with the good ol’ boys. It took me to a page of thumbnails which I can’t make any sense of whatsoever.

          • karol 3.2.1.1.1

            That happened when I was using Chrome. When I copied and pasted to a firefox browser, the link opened fine to the dreaded piece of drearily unfunny, unwitty piece of misogyny.

      • Morrissey 3.2.2

        [Morrissey’s comment translated from the original Troll: I don’t have to read the rules of forums I comment on! LOL!]

    • QoT 3.3

      Maybe it would help if you typed things out, Morrissey, instead of posting broken links to Funnyjunk. Or would that just prove Colonial Weka’s warning about attacking authors correct?

      • Colonial Weka 3.3.1

        The link works for me. It’s a jpeg of an online postcard (someecards.com). It has a picture of two women from the 1800s. One is in bed, looking chastised and afraid. The other is a nurse I guess, and is sitting on the bed admonishing the first woman. The nurse is saying:

        “Did it hurt you when you fell off the whore tree and banged every guy on the way down?”

        I’m in two minds. On the one hand, this is such a misogynistic piece of shit post from Morrissey, that denigrates women in so many tired old ways, and is aimed at QoT in particular. It also looks like an out and out attempt at flaming. On the other hand, it’s a very useful post that we can refer back to every time Morrissey engages in his dubious sexual politics and hatred of women.

        • QoT 3.3.1.1

          It’s definitely a dilemma. Tell you what, I’ll give Morrissey a little warning, but leave this one up there. And bookmark it for future reference.

        • Colonial Weka 3.3.1.2

          Try this link, and feel free to remove this post as appropriate.

          http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/MjAxMi02NDgxNWI2OWE1NTIzZGQ1

          • QoT 3.3.1.2.1

            Ah, yes. The bonus lulz of Morrissey’s post: linking to Funnyjunk, a site containing no original content, instead of the actual source material.

          • andy (the other one) 3.3.1.2.2

            @Morrissey

            11 out of 10 for being a dick.

            stay classy.

            P.S please stop spamming the open mike threads and crawl back under a rock.

        • karol 3.3.1.3

          Oh, the link works if I copy & paste to firefox, but on chrome it doesn’t.

          Unbelievable. I’m just staggered at the total lack of relevance for this post, compounding the misogyny.

          The questions are all for Morrissey to answer.

          • Morrissey 3.3.1.3.1

            I’m just staggered at the total lack of relevance for this post,

            The relevance, slight as it is, Karol, is that QoT has called me a “rape apologist” because I refuse to join the British Government-led lynch-mob baying after Julian Assange. I took the opportunity to have a dig at her. Yes, you’re right, it is offensive, and I’ll apologize to QoT just as soon as she apologizes to me for her far disgusting accusation.

            compounding the misogyny.

            It is misogynistic, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it—as opposed to the faux-outrage concocted by our foul-mouthed friend.

            The questions are all for Morrissey to answer.

            Hardly substantial questions, Karol; I put up a nasty little graphic link to take the wind out of the sails of a pirate ship, and I apologize to anyone, including yourself obviously, who was offended.

            [QoT: Morrissey, your hurt feelings because I don’t like your hero’s contemptible actions do not make your comments relevant to this thread. This thread is not going to devolve into another circlejerk about Julian fucking Assange. Stick to the topic or fuck off. Final warning.]

            [lprent: too slight – as in I can’t see ANY relevance. Looks like a deliberate hijack to me targeted off topic to attack one of my authors. Whilst QoT is having fun, I’m not. 4 week ban to discourage any repitition of this behaviour. ]

            • Colonial Weka 3.3.1.3.1.1

              Problem is, you ARE a rape apologist, whereas QoT isn’t a Bad Woman if she sleeps with lots of people or not, so whatever you were attempting (and god knows it’s a convoluted and probably disturbed mind that might begin to understand that), your explanation doesn’t stack up.

              I’m of one mind now. This thread is now about to be derailed. Which I assume is/was your intent. People have been banned for lesser attacks on authors than this. It’s tempting to go with the whole let’s prove that Morrissey is a rape apologist, again, but today’s thread by QoT is so excellent it really doesn’t deserve that.

              edit: ah, I see QoT has made it clear which way to go…

              • Morrissey

                [Morrissey’s comment run through the Earth logic filter: I don’t have to follow the rules in other people’s houses! I can keep derailing things as long as I want ’cause I’m awesome!!!!!]

                [QoT: I invite others to refrain from responding to Morrissey on this thread henceforth.]

            • rosy 3.3.1.3.1.2

              ‘anyone who is offended’ is a faux apology. I hate that. At least have the guts to say ‘all who were offended’ because it’s clear people actually were offended.

              • Morrissey

                [Morrissey’s comment run through the Earth Logic filter: me me me me me, it’s all about me, let’s talk about me because I’m awesome and I don’t have to listen to you ’cause you’re not my mum!!!!!!]

    • Populuxe1 3.4

      Antisemitic, misogynistic, what next?

      • felixviper 3.4.1

        I’d wager he’s not all that keen on gay dudes either, but it’s just a hunch.

        • Populuxe1 3.4.1.1

          I sensed as much – see you all in the death camp, guys.

          • Morrissey 3.4.1.1.1

            Another swing and a miss. You’re not clever enough to do this, my friend. You just look desperate.

            I admit my nasty little message to QOT was unacceptable, but you are going way out on a limb. You know, I’m sure, that there’s a special place in Hell for Malicious Liars.

            • felixviper 3.4.1.1.1.1

              Nah, I don’t think I’m far off the mark. The various strains of bigotry tend to be found in close proximity to one another.

      • Morrissey 3.4.2

        Antisemitic,

        Wrong.

        … misogynistic,

        True, it was a nasty little link. I’ve just apologized to people of good faith who were offended by it. That obviously excludes you.

        what next?

        When your fertile brain starts fertilising, who knows what nonsense it will come up with?

        • Populuxe1 3.4.2.1

          I’m sorry, but when I see a writhing pile of maggots, I feel an irresistible compulsion to poke the festering mess with a stick. To that end, these lyrics by your namesake:

          We hate it when our friends become successful
          We hate it when our friends become successful
          Oh, look at those clothes
          Now look at that face, it’s so old
          And such a video !
          Well, it’s really laughable
          Ha, ha, ha …

          We hate it when our friends become successful
          And if they’re Northern, that makes it even worse
          And if we can destroy them
          You bet your life we will
          Destroy them
          If we can hurt them
          Well, we may as well …
          It’s really laughable
          Ha, ha, ha …

          You see, it should’ve been me
          It could’ve been me
          Everybody knows
          Everybody says so

          [QoT: I know the feeling, Pop, but that’s enough for tonight.]

    • felixviper 3.5

      I don’t get the joke, Morrissey. I mean I understand that it’s a variation on an older witticism, cleverly playing on double meaning of “bang”, but I don’t get why it fits this situation.

      Is it because QoT is a woman?

      • Morrissey 3.5.1

        Is it because QoT is a woman?

        What? You think that is the reason why she is baying for Assange’s blood? I think a more convincing explanation lies in the fact that she hasn’t done any serious reading on the case, and hasn’t a clue what she’s talking about.

        [QoT: As this comment was already posted at the time of your previous warning, I’m letting it stay. No more.]

        • Morrissey 3.5.1.1

          [QoT: Morrissey’s comment run through the Earth Logic filter: waaaa waaa waaa how dare you set rules for your own post, I insist on derailing your comments because I can’t let go of a months-old grudge, you called me names first, waaaaaaa.]

        • felixviper 3.5.1.2

          Eh? Are you criticising me for not picking up that you were banging on about Assange? Even though there was literally nothing in the post or in your “joke” that had anything to do with Assange?

          Starting to get a picture of how your mind works though. You’re quite the creepy little stalker, Mozzy.

          • Morrissey 3.5.1.2.1

            Yeah, you’re right, Felix, it did come out of left field a bit.

            I guess I just wanted to have a shot at QOT. I was out of line.

            [QoT: Good to know you can figure this stuff out when a commenter with a male-identified name spells out the obvious to you, Morrissey. Next time stick to the topic, show basic self-restraint, read the fucking rules, because where my posts are concerned you’re on permanent final warning.]

  4. gobsmacked 4

    Shearer has many critics because he isn’t the best of the 34 available candidates for the job. Simple as that, always has been. He’s probably not even in the top 10. There are lots of ways of not saying that (appeals for unity, accusations of closet-rightery or extreme-leftery, trotting out the absurd straw men like Scott has done, etc, etc … we’ve seen them all in the past few weeks). But none of these responses solve the problem.

    Some think Shearer will solve the Shearer problem (I don’t think anybody really thinks there isn’t a problem, whatever they may be prepared to say in public). He just needs time.

    I disagree, but I’ll be happy for Shearer to prove me wrong. He doesn’t have to walk on water. If he could say “walk on water” that would be a start.

    • Jim Nald 4.1

      Quite seriously, I thought what you said previously bears repeating once more:

      “The three stages of silence …

      1) Too early … give them a chance.
      2) Still time … don’t panic.
      3) Too late … the election’s coming! Don’t rock the boat!

      It’s an established political ploy, to serve the incumbent leadership in a party. It’s very old.”

      http://thestandard.org.nz/29/comment-page-1/#comment-539150

  5. Populuxe1 5

    Despite being resolutely a Knight of the Brotherhood of the Limp Wrist, I think I love you Queen of Thorns….

  6. Blue 6

    I can skip the walking on water. But I do have some non-negotiable requirements that Shearer is currently not meeting.

    1. I expect the Labour leader to be in control of their caucus.

    I don’t expect MPs to think they can get away with backstabbing colleagues in the media, leaking information that the leader has said only they are allowed to comment on, commenting on whatever they like regardless of whether it’s their portfolio or not (and dumping all over potential coalition partners while they’re at it), or attacking their own allies and members.

    If MPs do engage in this behaviour, I expect them to be publicly disciplined. And if they are not, it shows that the ‘leader’ is not actually in charge and is happy to be undermined by their own caucus.

    2. I expect the Labour leader to be able to communicate their ideas.

    Enough said.

    3. I expect the Labour leader to hold Labour values.

    Bashing beneficiaries may be trendy, but it’s just not cool.

    4. I expect the Labour leader to lead the opposition.

    Instead of leaving it to Russel Norman and Winston Peters. Every article you read these days has these two front and centre for comment from the opposition, rather than Shearer. Except for the articles focusing on Labour’s infighting, of course.

    5. I expect the Labour leader to know what they are doing.

    Instead of, say, claiming knowledge of a certain tape which they do not have and have never seen.

    ****
    Shearer is in a weak position, where his continued leadership relies on keeping the support of the people who have been his biggest headaches.

    It’s not a great place for the party to be in, but until someone else can build a more stable support base, I guess we’re stuck polishing a turd.

    • QoT 6.1

      You can’t polish turds. But you can roll them in glitter.

      • David H 6.1.1

        HAHAH thanks Queen Now I have to clean out another keyboard, And coffee coming out thru the nose fucking smarts when it’s hot.

        Great article as usual. Keep up the good work, and yes I do occasionally visit your site for a read, I find it enlightening.

    • Olwyn 6.2

      I would emphasise point 3. And I expect Labour values to be the motivating values of the caucus, not merely the brand.

      I am also concerned with where authority lies, and by authority I do not mean tough guy antics, I mean the centre of decision making. Half of the cabinet appear to have rank but little authority. Modest left-leaning expressions, such as Cunliffe’s suggestion to his own electorate that Labour will not amputate your leg, are greeted with alarm, while Shane Jones bags the Greens and Hipkins says what he bloody likes. It would be all too easy to think, under the present circumstances, that Matthew Hooton has the final word on things, as some sort of advisor. A man whose stocks would rise sky high if he was able to deliver unto his friends a second right wing for when the other right wing goes to shit.

      So my concern is not with Shearer’s vocals, but with what is happening to the party under his watch.

    • felixviper 6.3

      “If MPs do engage in this behaviour, I expect them to be publicly disciplined. And if they are not, it shows that the ‘leader’ is not actually in charge and is happy to be undermined by their own caucus.”

      Yep, or it shows that they approve. Either way it’s not good.

    • Ennui in Requiem 6.4

      Blue, in response to point 3 I thought it might just pay to refresh commentators on this post with exactly what Labours principles are (taken from their website).

      All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot.

      • The natural resources of New Zealand belong to all the people and these resources, and in particular non-renewable resources, should be managed for the benefit of all, including future generations.

      • All people should have equal access to all social, economic, cultural, political and legal spheres, regardless of wealth or social position, and continuing participation in the democratic process.

      • Co-operation, rather than competition, should be the main governing factor in economic relations, in order that a greater amount and a just distribution of wealth can be ensured.

      • All people are entitled to dignity, self-respect and the opportunity to work.

      • All people, either individually or in groups, may own wealth or property for their own use, but in any conflict of interest people are always more important than property and the state must ensure a just distribution of wealth.

      • The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand and that the Treaty should be honoured in government, society and the family.

      • Peace and social justice should be promoted throughout the world by international co-operation and mutual respect.

      • The same basic human rights, protected by the State, apply to all people, regardless or race, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious faith, political belief or disability.

      Might pay to criticise Shearer (and any other recent Labour leaders) on their adherence to the above. Also perhaps any Labour policy directions might be reviewed in light of this.

  7. Tiresias 7

    John 11:35

  8. Pete 8

    I wonder if David Shearer is the kind of guy who can lie in bed at night and think “Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. It’s too much for me”. Is he capable of that kind of self-reflection? I mean, you know if you make a gaffe in conversation. You know if you’re in a job and feel it’s not the right fit for you. You know if your skillset is not a good match. And if he hasn’t realised this. If he hasn’t had a moment of introspection, then I really do fear for the future of our country. Because if that man is the next Prime Minister, and he continues behaving like a petulant child blaming his failings on anyone but himself, then there is no hope. The waka of state is caught between the Scylla of John Key’s malevolence and the Charybdis of David Shearer’s incompetence.

    • QoT 8.1

      I think a major factor standing in the way of such self-reflection could very well be a cadre of sycophants/puppet-masters who keep shutting down any negative self-talk. “No no, David, the speech was great, don’t listen to the haters.” “David, our focus groups really liked these key messages, it must be that the media are conspiring against you. Did you hear Duncan Garner was seen to nod at David C in the corridor?” “David, no one reads blogs!”

      • David H 8.1.1

        And don’t forget to keep some of your invective for that snot nosed schoolboy Gower.

        • QoT 8.1.1.1

          Oh, Paddy Gower. I think I wrote a blistering post about his shitty “journalism” on job numbers in his first month on the job. I’m sure he never saw it, but it makes me feel like we have ~history~ together.

      • just saying 8.1.2

        I don’t think real self-reflection works that way QoT. For a start, with genuine self-reflection you take reassurance from those with a vested interest (even those who want to soothe your dobuts with the most noble intentions) with a big grain of salt. And you seek further information, not mollification. It’s just not that easily fobbed off.

        I must admit to being sick of hearing the failings of those in leadership roles being blamed on their underlings. Not just Shearer either. It seems those with real power get endless excuses made for their fuck-ups while those with none get no passes at all.

        • QoT 8.1.2.1

          Oh, real self-reflection, absolutely. But I’m just thinking about even the most basic flickers of doubt which anyone in an important position feels from time to time. Unless they’re like the protagonist of American Psycho.

          As for underlings … you may find my post tomorrow a little annoying on that front, but (you can probably already see clearly enough!) rest assured I’m not holding Shearer blameless for anything. As a lot of people have pointed out in comments on other posts, the flipside of that is that it can’t all be his fault.

    • Murray Olsen 8.2

      Pete, that sort of self-reflection is very rare in people, and much rarer than those who go into politics to massage their egos. Shearer should be embarassed to be in Parliament, taking a salary for being leader of the opposition. Any opposition to Nact’s neolib policies still alive in the Labour Party survives in spite of Shearer, not because of him. What is it that he opposes?
      At a guess, I’d say Shearer will be much more likely to blame others for any future electoral defeats than examine his own limp role in an unnegotiated surrender. He’s as weak and as useless as wet toilet paper.

  9. QoT 9

    Okay, people, the derailing was fun and all and gods know I love seeing a high comment count, but further litigation of Morrissey’s petty bullshit is off the table.

    • Morrissey 9.1

      I note that you obliterated three of my comments entirely, and replaced them with your own witless comments.

      Your display of anger was impressive, but any sensible person would have simply treated my little diversion with a quick “Fuck off!”

      It’s not as if you are adverse to such language.

      [lprent: Which was pretty much what I did when I noticed it. You have noticed your ban right?

      Don’t leave more comments because I usually just double the ban length on each comment.

      I couldn’t give a damn about the language any more than QoT would. It was running a diversion on a post and directing the diversion at one of my authors that I don’t like. Commentators I can live without. People capable of putting up interesting posts are a damn sight more precious. ]

      • QoT 9.1.2

        A general note to future readers: sometimes moderation happens after the fact (otherwise you’d all get stuck in auto-moderation, such as I run on my own site, but on TS it would be completely impractical.)

        So when you choose to derail someone’s post, it might pay to scroll back up and see if they’ve left you any helpful advice, such as multiple, repeated, clear, bold-typed warnings about your behaviour and its inevitable consequences.

        • lprent 9.1.2.1

          …but on TS it would be completely impractical.

          So it would. I happened to just be looking at the numbers of comments a few hours ago (estimating backup deltas). This years comments to date..

          wk dy num
          1 Friday 261
          1 Saturday 263
          1 Sunday 249
          1 Thursday 210
          1 Tuesday 194
          1 Wednesday 268
          2 Monday 294
          2 Thursday 377
          2 Tuesday 417
          2 Wednesday 566

          3099 comments in less than two weeks? FFS: I read over at The Hand Mirror (good blog) Julie stating their stats for 2012..

          In 2012 The Hand Mirror published 247 posts, received around 1700 comments (I think that excludes spam), and passed the 600,000 page views mark.

          My italics… That is why this blog has it’s ratehr harsh moderating style. we simply don’t have time to be anything but harsh

          If anyone needs it the SQL for that table is

          select weekofyear(comment_date) as wk, dayname(comment_date) as dy, count(*) as num from wp_comments
          where comment_type = '' and comment_approved=1
          and year(now()) = year(comment_date)
          group by wk, dy

  10. Excellent post, QoT.

    I wish I had both your clarity and force of expression.

    There’s another aspect to the attempts to get people into line behind Shearer that I can’t understand.

    We’re told that there is still ‘time’ for Shearer and Labour to make headway, politically, before 2014 yet there are not even suggestions, let alone promises, that this will be done or what form it will take. It’s all ‘steady as she goes’ as if how ‘she’ is going is particularly steady. This is a good way to make doubters even more nervous.

    Governments generally have to be winkled out, issue by issue, mistake by mistake so that the narrative becomes irresistible till it takes on its own momentum. Labour under Shearer don’t seem to understand this role the opposition has in establishing a discourse of failure around a government. I guess they occasionally try but none of them seem capable of constructing that discourse in a way that strikes a chord and rallies the disaffected to them.

    I said when Shearer was selected as caucus leader that if he didn’t make a pretty rapid ‘Orewa-like’ spike in the polls based on his ‘back story’ and ‘not a politician’ persona – I think Lanthanide pointed out that it wouldn’t need to be that dramatic, and I agreed – then Shearer would be painted, and tainted, as nothing but a place-holder and all of his weaknesses would be forever available to cane him with whenever necessary.

    Shearer didn’t produce any discernible improvement in Labour’s polling, apart from resurrecting the polling figures Labour had in the early part of the election campaign in 2011. The polling remains the same a year on, with a bit of poll-by-poll shifting of votes between Labour, the Greens and NZF. National are still polling very close to their election night level (yet wasn’t it National Party voters that the choice of Shearer was meant to appeal to?).

    It seems that the recipe for success from here on in is the belief (faith?) that Shearer will, eventually, grow on the public – and no change in his approach is therefore needed.

    Further, the same appears to be the case with the overall caucus performance – it too will somehow grow on the public as being competent, substantive and the performance of a ‘government in waiting’. Little needs to change.

    That may happen – but it’s an exceptionally risky strategy to assume that nothing needs to be done.

    The problem for Shearer supporters, I suppose, is that to suggest that something does need to be done is to concede the very criticisms that are being called disloyal or undermining of ‘the left’s’ chances at the next election. But that’s the corner you paint yourself into when you adopt a paranoid stance to criticism.

    Then, of course, there’s the worry that the next Labour-led Government, if under Shearer, will itself be simply a ‘placeholder’ filling the gap between right-wing ‘reformist’ governments.

    Why doesn’t the Shearer camp throw the doubters some scraps of hope – a few rhetorical mango skins, as it were? Why the reluctance?

    If I were Shearer I would address (already would have addressed) the party members publicly – in a significant speech – and basically admit a ‘mea culpa’.

    I’d say that, ‘yes’, I wanted to make a much bigger impact than I have, that I wanted to communicate my passion for a just and egalitarian society far better than I have. I’d say that I not only understand the frustration but I also take my share of the responsibility for it – but, from here on in, no party member, no New Zealander, need be in any doubt that I stand for working people and for those who struggle week-by-week to stay afloat or have been totally cast adrift by our society and economy and that I am not ashamed to say so very loudly. If there has been confusion over that in the past there should be none now. I will not support policies that allow people to be sacrificed for the supposed sake of the economy. And I will act decisively if caucus members forget that I owe loyalty to all our party’s members and to Labour’s longstanding purpose – and not just to them.

    etc., etc..

    Said with conviction and with the confidence that you could meet the expectations you had set for yourself, I think it would come across very well even to the apolitical members of the New Zealand public. It would also fit with the ‘he’s just an ordinary guy’ meme, if done well – proper apologies generate respect.

    As they say, it’s not rocket science.

    • QoT 10.1

      It seems that the recipe for success from here on in is the belief (faith?) that Shearer will, eventually, grow on the public – and no change in his approach is therefore needed.

      Absolutely pinpointed one of the problems there, Puddleglum. There’s the occasional “he may surprise you yet” comment but it’s not come to anything so far in his leadership.

    • One Tāne Huna 10.2

      +1 Puddleglum

      Thanks to QoT.

    • Rogue Trooper 10.3

      :)

  11. xtasy 11

    As much as I dislike Shearer, and I made it very public, I feel it is time for some here to get clearer on policy and challenge the man on this, than to continue the rants about his mumbling and so on. I want the man gone, but it will not happen with just ratting on him like this. Qualified criticism is needed, he must be exposed and challenged more.

    As a migrant from Europe for over 20 years now, I still do not quite get the Kiwi psyche here.

    Why is it so hard, to speak your bloody mind, not just rubbishing, to some degree insulting, but to say straight out, you are talking fucking bullshit, man or woman?

    I get this all the time, this endless attempt to make it right for everyone else. Now QOT certainly does not fit that agenda and is very outspoken, and I hear her voice, but I expect also from her a bit more qualification of arguments.

    One major problem is that the larger public is totally BRAIN WASHED! We have shit media here, we have endless commercialism, advertising funding media that is so corrupt and dependent on this, it is not delivering the role of the so-called “4th estate”!

    I see and hear it every bloody day. I turn on the radio in the morning to hear the summary of news. What I get on National Radio is not great, but the only reasonable summary I can obtain. I tune to Radio Live, 1 ZB and others, I get shite, shite, shite and more shite!!!

    So turn on the TV and see the same shite there. Information is not communicated. It is NOT wanted to be communicated, as the media is mostly private, or controlled by persons favouring privatised media, and who are totally biased. Hence we got shit Key in government, for a bloody second term. I know NO country in Europe, where the population (also more ignorant and brainwashed there) would put up with such poor media, lack of information, education and else and vote for such shit government. NZ is run like a damned dictatorship, by a damned elite.

    Yet some here even start debating about supermarket prices and so forth, partly perhaps justified, but where is the big picture? I see NONE.

    A country full of lost, soul-less, increasingly desperate, mercenary competitors, all fighting for the few morsels that drop off the table above, where the key stake-holders sit, eat, make decisions and shit on the ones below the table.

    When are you getting the grips of what all this is about???

    Politics, activism and more is about more than some idiot “Shearer” or fake, corrupt Key. You must get a scheme working to reach the bloody people though. I see none of this happening. So sadly Shearer, the lost idiot, devoid of employment alternatives, will keep his “domineering” reign on Labour.

    Get out of damned Labour and start a bloody NEW PARTY, thanks, you are all wasting your times, as caucus the carcas of values, will see to it.

    • rosy 11.1

      Hi xtasy, I understand your frustration with the way New Zealanders psyche. We are indeed, as a society, the passionless people Gordon McLauchlan wrote about all those years ago. I hadn’t realised he’d written an update until I read your comment btw. It’s probably worth getting a hold of. As is some earlier writing on the New Zealand culture like John Mulgan’s ‘Report on Experience’

      McLauchlan reckons the “Smiling Zombies” have now graduated to “Frowning Zombies” and that New Zealanders are superficially cheerful.

      Don’t let the societal lack of concern feed into an idea that individuals are not concerned. We do have a shit media, as you say, and little idea about how to counteract it. I think that part of the problem for New Zealanders is a cultural heart and identity, which is so readily on show in much older European countries that you might be familiar with. Certainly it’s one of the major differences I see. Even in well-to-do, peaceful countries the visibility and acceptance of public action about political issues has been a major learning experience for me.

      But as for leaving Labour – no, I won’t be. With the changes to membership input I feel the basis is there to take the party to a truly socially democratic one. It probably won’t be in February though, more’s the pity. While we can’t afford another term of National, we also can’t afford a term of ‘not’ National in the form of a centrist Labour. But change will happen.

      • The Al1en 11.1.1

        “But change will happen.”

        If it does, it won’t be until after 2014, and likely to be a messy split rather than a glorious unite.
        No joy in 2017 for the fractured party either.

      • Rogue Trooper 11.1.2

        Red Blooded (Stuart’s popping round for a cup of tea) however, I’m open minded enough to read both sides of the jam sandwich.

      • xtasy 11.1.3

        rosy: Thanks for pointing out Gordon McLaughlan’s new book!

    • Fortran 11.2

      +1

  12. SouthDeezViper 12

    You think David Shearer is competent enough to be on the front benches, let alone lead a political party? Faggedaboutit.

  13. KJT 13

    QOT.

    You have nailed it.

    The strength of the left is it is made up of people who try to be “part of the solution”, who think! Which is why we do not always agree.

    Lock step sycophancy is usually the domain of right wing “authoritarian followers”.

    National do unthinking following of memes and slogans, well!

    When Labour starts doing the same it means they are trying to be National light, and sleepwalk to victory when it becomes, their turn. To do much the same as National, but, “with anesthetic”

    Parachuting in a colourless apparatchik whose only leadership skills seem to be destroying competent rivals, will not win elections.

    David Cunliff spoke to me and my ideals with the anesthetic statement.

    Nothing Shearer has said or done, inspires anyone, from outside, that we have a credible, leader in the making.

    For Labour to get my electorate vote back I want to hear some bold Labour policies and see a leader who actually believes in them.
    They, it used to be we once, until, Labour abandoned their principles in the 80’s, could start with workers rights. It is in the party name after all.
    40 Hour week.
    Protection for so called “independent contractors”.
    Liveable welfare for those dumped by the market.
    Restore the right to strike.
    Recognise that the private sector has failed in what is supposed to be their strength. Take up the economic slack with employing directly to rebuild NZ.

    • QoT 13.1

      Comments like yours are one of the reasons I think IrishBill’s Year of Policy post is going to bring some really good, solid results in terms of what people want to see from a Labour/leftwing election campaign. A lot of us seem to be looking for the same kind of basic, principled policies!

    • just saying 13.2

      Lock step sycophancy is usually the domain of right wing “authoritarian followers”.

      Bryce Edwards summed up the macho, authoritarian nature of the Shearer/ABC Labour leadership in this comment about a possible Labour/NZF dominted coalition:

      ….As with David Shearer, Peters receives much praise for his ‘decisive’ handling of Brendan Horan. It seems ‘strong leadership’ is more important around Parliament than wimpy concerns about natural justice. Look forward to the trains always running on time under a NZ First/Labour government…..

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10857897

      And the words “strong leadership” certainly deserve the scare quotes. The passion and swaggering aggression shown by Shearer has been exclusively meted out to the people whose interests Labour purports to represent, including its own members. And the fire in his belly and these supposed “leadership” traits arise exclusivly in his own power/career interests. He hasn’t gotten hot under the collar about anything National has done, and in fact shows a disturbing obsequience towards those with any kind of power including his supposed opponents.

  14. marsman 14

    QoT you are as always spot on with your observations, another great post.

  15. King Kong 15

    Those on the left often crow about how they have got this MMP thing cracked but I’m not so sure.

    Alot of people on here (including QoT) are anti Shearer because he will not lead the Labour party in a massive lurch to the left.

    If Labour doesn’t represent your political ideals then support a party that does. Under MMP supporting a minor party is not the complete waste of time it used to be. The problem is that those who should just shut up and support the Greens or Mana also want the popular electoral support (twice that of the Greens) that the Labour party has and the power that comes with that. But of course the only reason that Labour has this popular support is because it is a centrist party not a bunch of dogmatic socialist loons (well not all of them).

    So I guess my point is, find a party that fits your ideology and if you truly believe that they have the answers to the country’s ills then surely the votes will follow. Stop trying to hijack someone elses train.

    • felixviper 15.1

      Yeah Labour is doing very well on the centre-right. That’s why they’re polling so high.

      • King Kong 15.1.1

        Higher than the Greens or Mana.

        Maybe you might just have to get used to the fact that the electorate sees your leftist dumbfuckery for what it is.

        • felixviper 15.1.1.1

          And how is your beloved Church of ACT going, KK?

        • Olwyn 15.1.1.2

          I would guess that the majority of commentators on The Standard who have doubts about Shearer’s leadership would be content with a centre left Labour caucus, as opposed to a centre right caucus sailing under a centre left brand. Most of these people supported Helen, and also Goff, albeit with a few qualms. Those who are further left, or who are Green supporters, are generally more than happy to announce their positions. Scroll up to the list of Labour Party principles, put up by Ennui in Requiem. Anyone who claims to subscribe to these principles has no right to pull Labour so far to the right as these people appear to intend. Anyone who does not subscribe to these principles should not be in the Labour Party.

          Yes, KK, you should vote for a party that represents your values. But you should also only put yourself forward as a representative in a party if you are willing to uphold its values. Can you imagine the Green Party members putting up with it if a Green MP decided to endorse whaling or mining the National Parks? Can you imagine the National party members putting up with it if their MPs decided to nationalise the farms?

    • Rogue Trooper 15.2

      on this comment, Me…?…You…?

      -The Ghost Who Walks. :)

  16. Colonial Viper 16

    Leaders need to be able to tell their own story (RSA)

    Very relevant. From the RSA (the UK one haha).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=CXFDs2w6dkE&NR=1

  17. Fortran 17

    For Labour to move back to the left impinges right over the Greens policies.
    Surely some sort of accommodation of joint compromise should be sought, because without it the Nacts will not lose the election.
    It is still their’s to lose – but should be ours to win in a joint coalition with the Greens.
    Policy to win in 2014 is what should be seen developing during 2013, not continual deconstruction which appears to be continuing for the last 12 months.

  18. karol 18

    Chis Trotter doesn’t expect Shearer to be the messiah either, but he has produced an interesting post on him. Trotter looks at Shearer’s record, his past writings, his supporters, and concludes:

    But the scope for far-reaching change in a government dominated by Shearer and his neoliberal allies will only be extended to the Right. That being the case, the prognosis for those who entered Parliament with honest left-wing intentions is grim. Promotion to Cabinet will depend not only on making ritual obeisance to Shearer and his clique, but also, following the tragic precedent of the Rogernomics Era, on abandoning their former social-democratic ideals. Such self-inflicted injuries to the soul do not heal quickly.

    That so many people who consider themselves left-wingers cannot see where a Shearer-led Labour Party will take New Zealand is baffling. “Outsourcing War”, alone, should warn them just how far to the right Shearer is content to position himself when his behaviour is not constrained by the role of Labour’s leader.

    And, for me, it’s about TRUST. Shearer hasn’t declared where he positions himself these days, but on the available evidence it’s pretty far to the right for a Labour leader.

    • QoT 18.1

      It’s another very interesting post from Trotter, that one. I’m quite taken by his conclusions about the disconnect between Shearer’s previous forceful writing style (though I personally just wonder how many editors/proofers the Institute of such-and-such has) and his current mumblefuckitude.

  19. kiwi_prometheus 19

    QofT is an excellent illustration of how the Left blows itself apart. That’s why the Right can be a team of drop kicks who grab the money and run, and still win most elections.

    I feel sorry for Shearer, it must be like trying to herd cats.

    • TiggerViper 19.1

      QoT’s expectations are reasonable. Unlike cats (of which I have several and thus can attest).

    • QoT 19.2

      k_p, I note your comment doesn’t include any random, pointless attacks on my “radfem ideology” nor the phrase “rape culture” in scare quotes. Are you feeling okay?

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