John Key – he can, for now, look forward to facing a Labour leader who corrects himself when he accidentally says he’ll be leader in 2015, doesn’t know anything about the economy, and can’t articulate himself
Russel Norman – Ditto. Norman is now the strongest leftwing economic communicator standing. Shearer’s people are so afraid of Norman they refused an invitation to put Shearer up alongside him on The Nation to discuss the joint manufacturing inquiry.
Andrew Little – he would have been economic development spokesperson under either Cunliffe or Shearer but now the promotion’s a definite. He’ll do a good job … but he’ll have to be careful not to repeat the past and have his good work overshadow the Leader or Mallard will move to stop him getting questions and media support.
The Left and New Zealand – we now face the spectre of Shearer letting Key have three more years
Robertson – the weekend’s rules changes mean that Robertson can only longer roll Shearer without sparking a leadership contest that Cunliffe and Little, at least, could also be part of. And I can’t see the membership backing the strategy man of the disastrous 2011 campaign, who has succeeding in turning Labour into a third party in Wellington Central.
Shearer – anointed as a joke by the Right at a post-election BBQ at Matthew Hooton’s (Hooton and Slater started clapping him and announced him as Labour’s new leader) and taken on as the old guard’s frontman when it was clear Parker would lose to Cunliffe, Shearer is now brandless and his only supporters are the rightwing commentariat who still know an easy beat when they see one
Winners in the long-run:
The Labour membership – the old guard is so terrified of what the membership will do to them given half a chance that they’ll do anything to prevent Shearer’s leadership going to a democratic vote. But, never fear, the next round of Labour constitutional reforms gives members more power over the list and electorate candidate selection. There will be a number of soft Shearer backers getting the word in the next few months that if they block a democratic leadership vote in February, their LECs will punish them.
Cunliffe – at least ten other Labour MPs have refused to confirm they’ll back Shearer in February but, for some reason, it’s only a sacking offence for Cunliffe. He might have been smarter just to lie on Saturday. The irony of the old guard and Labour’s media staffers going around saying he’s an egotist is he’s the one who has played clean throughout and wants to do what’s best for the party. (just note how Cunliffe obeyed the rules and didn’t say what happened in caucus but load up the Herald today, and there’s the old guard’s account)