So, obviously I don’t know what the outcome of the caucus meeting will be. Truth is, I don’t think it matters. Cunliffe has been on TV stating he will endorse Shearer. TV reporters have stated he will be demoted.
Whatever. It’s just not that important in the scheme of things.
On Saturday, members of the Labour Party secured a say in who future Labour Party leaders should be. Now that say, while a welcome step in the direction of greater democracy, doesn’t make the Labour Party as democratic as it should be. But it’s a start.
The crucial change, as far as leadership contests is concerned, is the 60/40 caucus split on confidence.
If you pause to think it through, it means a leader can lose enough confidence in caucus to trigger a party wide vote. But that in itself doesn’t mean the leader is dead in the water. They can still continue in their leadership role if they secure a majority of the wider party vote.
This is obviously different to what happened before when a loss of confidence from within caucus was the end of the road for any leader.
So let’s assume that Shearer fails to secure 60% +1 of caucus come February. That doesn’t automatically consign him to the annals of ex-Labour Party leaders. It’s a two step process. He wouldn’t become an ex-leader until and only if party members and affiliates failed to give him enough votes to continue.
So failing a resignation after the caucus vote of non-confidence, Shearer would be running in order to not lose the leadership position. And he would presumably be running against David Cunliffe who would be running to win the position. Now, if it’s accurate to claim that Cunliffe enjoys the widespread support of the members and affiliates, then Cunliffe becomes the leader of the Labour Party come February.
But, would or could Robertson run in a post February leadership race? Well, probably not successfully because he would simply be splitting the Shearer vote.
And even if Shearer resigned at that point (Why?), Robertson, in spite of any effort he may expend between now and February, is firmly and correctly seen as part and parcel of the whole shambolic Anything But Clever crew (formally known as the Anyone But Cunliffe clique) that has sought to thwart the exercise of greater democracy within the party.
My point is this. No matter which way you want to look at it or spin it, the ABC crew are finished. The membership has won and the bomb they dropped on Saturday is on its way down with an estimated time of arrival some time in February.
So, if you are a member of the Labour Party, do not press that big red button; don’t resign. And if you’re not a member, but reckon the parties that might go to forming a left-ish bloc within parliament ought to be subject to some measure of democratic accountability, then sign up.