As you all know I haven’t been the biggest cheerleader for Labour in recent times. And let’s not beat around the bush. I still have my concerns. But there’s a real opportunity on the near horizon. There’s hope for Labour yet. While the plan for the reshuffle before the vote was clearly punitive things may have changed. Indeed they should have.
To win the party needs to unify. We all need to bury the hatchet and get on with bringing down this awful awful National government.
That unification starts with the leadership. Yes, they’ve ignored us. No, we didn’t elect them. And yes, the main guy can’t string a sentence together (Jesus tap-dancing Christ). But there’s still time for the leadership to prove to us they’re adult enough, and care enough about the Labour Party, to ignore the Goffs and Mallards and bring the caucus together.
It’s well known that 10 or 11 members of caucus did not give confidence to David Shearer as leader. He might be tempted to punish them in the upcoming reshuffle.
Shearer should go with his instinct and do the opposite.
Helen Clark put her main contender, Dr Michael Cullen, at number 2. And it worked. Superbly. Other leaders of the right, Phil Goff and Annette King were 3 and 4 once Steve Maharey retired. That was a bloody strong front row. They may have not been the best of friends but they knuckled down and did the job the party needed them to do.
To win, Labour must unify. To win Labour must use the best talent caucus has. Shearer should promote some of those capable members even if they have been part of the group pushing for change. Even if that means dislodging some of his own lieutenants. Because that is real leadership. And that is playing to Shearer’s strengths as a negotiator and deal breaker.
If he does the right job now, he may yet be remembered well. And Labour might finally be in a position to take the fight to National.
Update: Oh dear. Chauvel is a big loss to Labour. He’s resigned rather than accept demotion. It should be the old guard moving out of Parliament, not young talented MPs with a future like Chauvel. This reinforces need to unify rather than punish and demote out of insecurity. It’s also a real shame because Dunne’s now a dead cert for another term. And it leaves Labour very under-powered on the legal front – as far as I know, only Parker, Dalziel, Huo and Little have law degrees and none of them are constitutional lawyers dying to be Shadow Attorney-General.