For the Left to win in 2014, David Shearer has to resign as Labour Leader. This is a big call to make and one that I have agonised over, but the reality has become increasingly clear: under Shearer, Labour is all too likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2014. He isn’t a credible Prime Minister, and the New Zealand public won’t vote to make him one.
National is having a nightmare year. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Their strongest suit, the economy, is rapidly becoming the millstone around their neck as they fail to create and save jobs. John Key seems increasingly disinterested and spends more and more time with his head on Planet Key – where he’s never accountable, he doesn’t have to remember anything, and he can say whatever childish garbage he likes.
And, yet, National alone is neck and neck, or ahead of a Labour-Green coalition in the polls. Labour is still languishing in the range that it languished in for most of Phil Goff’s tenure. Right now, a National-New Zealand First government is likely after 2014, and even if Labour-Green could establish a solid lead over National in the next two years, no-one would bet against Shearer pulling a Brash and blowing it in the campaign.
David Shearer has simply shown time and again that he is not up for the job. He can’t handle the stress, he can’t think on his feet, and he doesn’t have a solid set of beliefs to give him a firm footing when he stands up on issues. His attempts at gotcha politics have been discrediting failures. If at least two thirds of Labour supporters don’t think he’s the best person to be PM, what hope has he got of retaining and attracting swing votes in a contest for the top job?
The hard-working, faithful activists of the Left deserve better; New Zealand deserves better. We need a credible alternative so that we can vote this crappy, failed government out. If we don’t, it will be three more years of the poor and middle class of this country being ground down, and our country falling into foreign ownership, while the rich get rich.
David Shearer got the leadership because enough of the caucus didn’t like the other guy and he was the only alternative choice. He got a fair chance from everyone once he got the job, but it just hasn’t worked out – he has fluffed it. Making him leader was a childish decision at the time and it has proven to be a disastrous one for Labour and the Left. Again, we deserve better and so does the wider country.
In 2014, Labour needs to be led by a Prime Minister in waiting, and they need to put that person in place as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the person for the job is not David Shearer.