Why the February vote could be very bad for Labour

Written By: - Date published: 6:55 pm, January 7th, 2013 - 300 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour - Tags:

[Warning: post may contain “political pessimism” from “the outside left“.]

In February, if my understanding is correct, and gods know I hate this kind of complex constitutional fluff, there will be a vote in the Labour caucus on Shearer’s leadership of the parliamentary Labour Party. If 40% or so don’t support him, it triggers a leadership vote among the party, with various weights of votes assigned to caucus, affiliates and members.

The obvious comparison is the Green Party, which has a – yes, probably pretty ceremonial – vote every year to re-endorse their parliamentary leaders. If you’re not a hardcore Green supporter, you probably don’t know it even happens, because it is a non-event and because the Greens just aren’t a rich target for Patrick Gower to badger a non-story out of.

Oh, fine, and also because there don’t appear to be horrific infighting factions within the Greens who are quite happy to use the media to screw each other over at a moment’s notice.

What you also don’t see, therefore, is a lot of Green Party members running around prior to their vote, insisting that if Metiria and Russel are re-endorsed, everyone who doesn’t like them has to go away and shut up and never say a bad thing about the party ever ever again.

David Shearer in a BBQ apron, captioned "After February, only I may host barbeques"

Which is what’s happening a lot at the moment, most noticeable to me through comments (and the odd post) at The Standard. Sometimes it’s worded a little more gently – “oh, hopefully after the February vote we can act like a unified party and get behind the leader” aka “shut the fuck up”, or “focus on the real issues” aka “shut the fuck up unless you’re bagging John Key.”

Sometimes it’s as blatant as

Unity is strength. Undermining the leadership is fatal.

Now where did I leave my V for Vendetta DVD?

Unfortunately for David Shearer and his fans, I just don’t see it happening, for two simple reasons:

1. If endorsed by caucus, Shearer still won’t magically evolve, Pokemon-like, from Captain Mumblefuck into the reincarnation of Winston Churchill

David Shearer in a BBQ apron, captioned "This isn't even my final form"

2. The membership may have very good reason to be fucked off about how some members of caucus have voted.

James Henderson summed it up nicely:

The problem with Labour’s reforms isn’t that they are too democratic, it’s that they’re not democratic enough. They’ve gone with a model where caucus is a gatekeeper and then over-powered in the actual vote. This will be used by the old guard to shield Shearer and themselves from the views of their own party. The Green co-leaders have no such protection, and it means they can never turn their backs on their members.

So no, actually, there is no moral imperative on Labour people (much less on us scary non-Labour-members with OPINIONS!!!!) to sit down and shut the fuck up between caucus leadership votes. If caucus [some might say, “if caucus once again“] goes against the will of the membership, the membership have every fucking right to “destabilise” the party, to “white-ant” the leader, because they’re the fucking membership.

If caucus [once again] makes a decision which is blatantly not in the best interests of the New Zealand leftwing, [once again] makes a decision which serves the interests of a self-centred faction within the Party, [once again] chooses a leader based on their own career security instead of providing a clear, strong left voice in NZ politics and forming the basis for a strong leftwing government which knows what it’s there to do, and if Shearer’s faction in caucus [once again] bully dissenters into silence with the threat of instant demotion …

Well, you can fuck right off if you think I’m going to shut up about that For The Sake Of The Party.

Labour does not deserve our respectful withdrawal of criticism if it’s going to shit on beneficiaries, if it’s going to refuse again and again to pose a clear alternative opposition to NACT, if it’s going to sacrifice its own heritage principles in order to keep safe-electorate seat-warmers occupied.

David Shearer does not deserve unity-at-gunpoint if he continues to mumblefuck around, continues to let National get away with murder, continues to act like 30% in the polls is something to celebrate, continues to squander one of his most talented MPs while letting Chris fucking Hipkins buy straight into National’s asset sales narrative.

So the February vote? Roll out your numbers again, David, but do not think that a token gesture of support, after you’ve clearly demonstrated how brutally you will treat even imaginary challengers, is going to keep you safe from nasty blog posts. The only fix for that – Clare Curran’s alleged lady-boner for outing critics notwithstanding – is to do your fucking job. With, like, at least a semblance of competence.

Related reading: Chris Trotter’s The Lazarus Option. I’m as surprised as you are, Comrade.

300 comments on “Why the February vote could be very bad for Labour ”

  1. bomber 1

    Brilliant over view of what is happening QOT

    • seeker 1.1

      +1 Completely agree bomber. Thanks QOT.

    • Populuxe1 1.2

      + 1 Exquisite evisceration

      • Tom 1.2.1


        I don’t who you are, QOT, but I share your analysis and love your delivery. It is just that I’m not sure that it will translate into votes on election day. Where I live, the polling booths seemed deathly quiet last time. People need to be given a reason to get out of their houses and vote for change.

        Where have I heard that before ?

        • Rhinoviper

          They need to be confident that their vote counts and that there will be a change.

          There are an awful lot of people who are working but still can’t make ends meet and need benefits to help them and their families get by, and there are people on benefits who can’t get by but work part time when they can to top up their funds.

          I don’t know what the statistics are, but a lot of people are in the grey zone between beneficiary and full-time worker while Labour’s current policy, formulated by the comfortable suburban middle class baby-boomers think that there’s a sharp division between the two and Shearer’s focus groups have told him that he should denigrate beneficiary scum in opposition to noble tradesmen because that’s what they hear on Radio Live while real people in the real world say, “Ah fuck it and fuck you.”

          Here’s a lyric from The Who:

          Meet the new boss
          Same as the old boss

          We know it, we know it too well.

      • David H 1.2.2

        And the pound or two of salt rubbed into the evisceration just to make the eyes water a little.
        Excellent article QOT
        But will they listen?? Will they fuck!

  2. dancerwaitakere 2

    The incredible thing is that people within Labour often reply to any criticism with, ‘well don’t you want Labour to win’, along with ‘the Party is bigger than all of us’…

    The truth is, that there are some of us who are more loyal to our values than to a brand that has deteriorated significantly over a few decades. Instead of just wanting ‘Labour to win’, we actually want progressive values to win, whatever form that takes.

    The Party is never bigger than the values it is supposed to represent. If the party does not represent those values, then it deserves to die.

    Come 2014, I will be seriously looking at which party actually embodies the values I hold, instead of supporting a party out of habit.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1


    • Rhinoviper 2.4

      Exactly. It never fails to amaze me (and provoke facepalms) that because it calls itself “Labour” it must be a workers’ party or a party for the disadvantaged, no matter what it really proclaims and – given the chance – practises. I can, in the style of Arnold Rimmer, declare myself to be Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where’s My Thribble, but would saying “I am Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where’s My Thribble” make me Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where’s My Thribble? No, in case you’re wondering. If I were to say that, and to repeat it, then I would be fitted for a very nice jacket with wraparound sleeves that tie in the back and be invited to inhabit a very nice room with soft padded walls.

      Likewise, if a cabal of amoral narcissistic troughers were to proclaim that they were the “Labour Party”, I’d be rather sceptical and perhaps a wee bit reluctant to give them my vote. I might even be sceptical if they said that they understand my plight because they too once had to deal with a substandard espresso and their son or daughter has complained that they have to get by with a hopelessly unfashionable hairstyle because they aren’t sending enough money.

      Ah, ranting. It’s such fun, and a really effective way of avoiding the work I should be doing.

      • Mary 2.4.1

        When asked on one of the on-line open question sessions about Labour’s position on welfare Shearer replied “Labour’s a party for workers”. While I’d like to believe this still meant looking after those who for what ever reason can’t participate in the wonderful world of work, Shearer deliberately said “Labour’s a party for workers” to mark the difference between workers on the one hand, and the unemployed/beneficiaries/underclass on the other. Not surprising, of course, but is yet another reminder of how Labour has changed and why “it deserves to die”.

        • Rhinoviper

          Labour’s kinda like Hollywood now. “Hey, I’ve got a great story to tell!” says the writer. “Yeah,” says the producer, “but how’s it gonna sell to teenage boys in the midwest? It’s gotta have tits, it’s gotta have car chases, it’s gotta have explosions.”

          So you get Tom Cruise and Jack Reacher, you get Mission Riduculous XIV… with tits, and more tits, and explosions. And car chases. With tits and explosions.

          And lots and lots of people telling you what a hardass the hero is. Vladimir Putin knows that, since he’s always photographed with his shirt off and doing something exciting.

          Because that’s what the market research says you want.

          What you really need? No, you don’t know what you need. We tell you what you want. Wait for Shearer: Mission Mango

          Now doesn’t that have a ring to it? “Mission Mango”? Alliteration you see. We even have an abbreviation that looks good on the posters: S:MM. Looks cool, that sinuous “S” and the stark double-M and that risqué Fifty Shades of Grey hint with the “S” and “M” – wait till the graphic designers get their hands on it, and wait till we photoshop the massive pecs and six-pack on him!

          You’ll love it.

          Or else.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    QoT: OMFG. (G for Goddess btw).

    • QoTViper 3.1

      Merci beaucoup.

      • Rogue Trooper 3.1.1

        Unleash the Hounds…

        It’s astounding, Time is fleeting
        Madness takes it’s toll
        Drink ing those moments when

        It’s just a jump to the left

        You bring your knees in tight
        But it’s the pelvic thrusts
        That really drive you insa a a a ane

        Lets do the time-warp again
        Let’s do the time warp again

        In another dimension
        with Voyeuristic intention
        Well secluded, We see all
        (keep on Trucking)

  4. Jesus Wept 4

    Stunning Qot. Thank you.
    It all sounds like, ‘Unity is strength’ at the behest of an insulated cabal – don’t they need a democratic display of support?
    As Patrick Kavagnah said, ‘true comedy is tragedy’.

  5. Bill 5

    was that the sound of David’s sausage dropping on the deck….?

  6. Andre 6

    Maybe take an aspirin and put several dollars in the swear jar. QOT its a very hot day!

  7. karol 7

    I agree that a caucus vote for Shearer, and not letting it go for a membership vote, will not stop the criticism from the left. There’ll continue to be criticism from LP members and from other lefties. Shearer is just not cutting it.

  8. Neoleftie 8

    I once asked a labour cabinet minister does labour have a long term plan. He laughed for way too long and states that the cant even plan a BBQ, then I asked do we have a p,an to be reflected in 2008.
    Sleep walk my son, we wait for the election cycle and pray.
    The cabal with the current H3 power block are following the dogmatic electioneering methodology of sleep walking into power or not maybe…who know as they have gone quiet.
    What I hope to not see is the forming left coalition lose due to a inward focused labour caucus vs its members.
    I say victory in 2014 at all costs and a the expense of a membership revolt so be it…but bring us poor suffering new zealanders a long awaited saviour from the left.
    Shearer, Robertson or cunliffe I don’t care as long as we win in 2014.

  9. Oscar 9

    When you have double speak like Trevor Mallard said he had no intention of stepping down this term and would decide over the 2012 summer whether to stand again. going on… Well, we’re now well into the 2013 summer…

    So a whole year later and still no murmur on whether the duck is out. I say he should just duck off.

    He’s part of the problem. Him and the rest of the 80s clicks.

    • David H 9.1

      Yeah with Goff and King just want to get their snouts back in the trough. Labour needs NEW blood not these fucking dinosaurs. Maybe a e-mail campaign telling them to Quit, may get through their thick heads they are out of date.

  10. Tim 10

    Admittedly, after I undertook not to make further comment on this site after apparently offending the excellent Karol (who took responsibility for the possible offense to another person), I am now doing so. Was it someone Smith or some other person deemed important – I dunno – I’m useless with names – but I did think if this person was in politics and might so easily be offended, AND if the same comment had be directed at some very ugly Whaleoil – I doubt the concern would have been forthcoming. Anyway – it was forthcoming from someone I respect, but I’m not prepared to apologise to an obvious pratt for some comment I MAY have made that pointed out he/she was and IS a pratt
    I am now commenting because, as I said at the time – I’d read with amusement, edification and otherwise the comments that have come to pass on various issues.
    Apparently though, I offended someone like Mike Smith (not sure that I did – but potentially I did) and my remarks were fairly tame. IT was in a similar vein though to a KhandallahMan and a Te Reo Putake.
    Anyway all that aside….I watched the KhandallahMan . v. the TRP (and wondered whether the TRP had ever worked for TPK).
    More importantly, I watch a party I’ve supported all my life and was once a member of, tear itself apart.
    Most on here know why it seems (except from the once-were-radicals-now-in-comfort-“I paid me dues and done me time in OZ CLAIRS”; to pathetic little insipid Hipkisses; to Mallards that lay down with tormented Catholic Guuuurls attiring themselves in business suits made from couch upholstery; to………apparently the longest of long time friends from academia and a residence known as Cuppa Tea St. (Hilary – wake the fuck up if you’re STILL forever faithful – this is a party that’s seriously dysfunctional: Once hijacked by the neo-libs, and still with an element that can’t seem to rid itself of the now proven failure – WHAT DOES THAT SAY exactly?, and WHY the difficulty in its comptrollers failing to see? ) Looks…….walks…….waddles.

    As a former Systems Programmer, then (after mid-life crisis and neo-liberal interventions of various kinds) a student and tutor in Sociology and Media Studies, I once encountered a Curran
    outside a VicUni Campus – what I realise now is a concern for PSB based on “what’s in it for my futire” rather than from any perspective of traditional Labour Party Values.
    Ditto Dunedin Railway Workshops.
    Ditto pretty much anything else.
    Here is a woman that thinks her beliefs pretty much fit with emerging disatisfaction – and she bloodywell intends playing those cards.
    I support the moves she makes, BUT after her various displays, ONE SERIOUSLY has to question her motives.
    The same goes true of a Hipkins (one I used to think was a possibility RIGHT UP until he outed himself as an egotistical wannabe Labour ‘elite’ living in the shadow of the underpriviledged who he thinks will gain him his legitimacy). Sorry Chris – IF they can be bothered to vote – they’re actually smarter than that – and you’re not ACTUALLY that beautiful.
    Then there’s a bovver boy – actually the cnut is rather insecure – which is why I imagine a Catholic Guurl was attracted.
    Please…….let’s not get into Robertsons or Paul Henry and (whatshername??? ah King yea) protoge’s that turned bad.

    THIS LABOUR PARTY is actually seriously dysfunctional. The Gnats are actually worse – but they seem to be able to keep their dirty linen in house better.

    My recommendation is for any serious Labour supporter who values its traditions:
    ENROL as a member – boost its membership to unknown heights.

    THEN if the hijackers persist (which I’ve no doubt they will), DO NOT VOTE for them. INSTEAD – collectively vote Green (or even Mana). FOrums such as this should decide

    • karol 10.1

      Hi Tim. Good to see you commenting again. It was a small offense. Yes, I think the Labour caucus has become dysfunctional, but the LP membership seems to have their shit together more. And I think the Nats probably are worse.

      Anyway, I think the LP membership will be the ones to take the party to a better place.

      • asd 10.1.1

        How can democracy within the Labour Party be extended? Do the Greens just do 1 vote per member/MP/caucus membe,r with no prefigured percentages accorded to the category they are voting from?
        If that’s the case, then we should vote to get the system changed, and then ‘we’ as ‘members’ can control policy totally and not get high-jacked by the neo-liberals in disguise ie Shearer et al.

      • Tim 10.1.2

        Thanks Karol. Still not voting for Labour though – and nor is an extended whanau of up to 25. NOT until they COMPLETELY and UTTERLY disavow? themselves of any sort of neo-liberal agenda – be it free-markets that aren’t, 3rd Ways, 4th Reichs, MP’s (like Hipkins) that think they’re SO frikken beautiful and are in with an in-crowd – paid their dues….ALL that crap.
        They insult the intelligence of their voters.
        As I said previously, IF Labour Party supporters want to send a message, they’ll sign up as members……….THEN vote GREEN or MANA.
        This is especially true in certain electorates – the likes of Hipkins and Currans. Give GREENS both electorate and party.
        Politics and democracy is a project after all. IF it means suffering another 3 years led by total pillocks – so be it.
        Elsewhere, others have suffered worse and continue to do so.

        NO WAY though that I can vote for a Labour Party in it’s current form – a decision not taken lightly…..especially after decades of doing so AND mindfull of certain predecessors that would now be rolling in their graves.

        Me me me I I I I I me me me me me me I I I I I !!!!!!!!!!

    • The Al1en 10.2

      Hello Tim.
      If you’re the Tim from the now dead red alert site, thanks for the pointer to post here.

      “My recommendation is for any serious Labour supporter who values its traditions:
      ENROL as a member – boost its membership to unknown heights.

      THEN if the hijackers persist (which I’ve no doubt they will), DO NOT VOTE for them. INSTEAD – collectively vote Green (or even Mana). FOrums such as this should decide”

      I say, save the minimum membership fee and just decide to vote Green/Mana
      Buy $15 of tinned goods at slack ‘n slave, take it to the sally army, and do two good deeds for the price of none.

      Peace, Bruv.

      • Olwyn 10.2.1

        I agree with Tim. Back in the Douglas days, people left the party in outrage and in droves. This time around people should join up in droves and exert pressure on them. Think of Roosevelt at the time of the New Deal saying “You make me do it.” It is much easier for MPs to hold fast to Labour values when a large number of committed members insist that they do. You can trade off a few people who can’t force the issue, but you cannot trade off a lot of people who can.

      • Populuxe1 10.2.2

        So basically your advice is, if you have an annoying head cold the best solution is to drink a gallon of Paraquat.

        • Olwyn

          Not at all. What I mean is that if the left and centre left of the Labour Party numbered enough to make a force to be reckoned with, then this would have to be taken into account in any wheeling and dealing done by the caucus. Back in the day, Labour was backed by strong unions, and hence had something to take to the bargaining table. Not any more, but maybe this deficit can be made up by large numbers of engaged people. Look at how they are now; they have actual conversations with Hooton, and patronise us. They would not do so if we were numerous enough to give them pause.

  11. AmaKiwi 11

    To David Shearer:

    In Dec. 2011 you and David Cunliffe publicly debated to demonstrate which of you had the best chance of beating National. You came in second.

    In one month you can take on all challengers in a primary contest to prove you are now the best MP to beat National. If you win the primary, I will support you.

    If you avoid the primary, the country will know you are a coward.

  12. Welcome back CV, happy new year to all.
    QoT: a great read, it fired up the passion within and i have this to say.
    The time is now,the need is great,the Labour Party is worth fighting for.
    Curen’s pugnacious actions towards those who want to speak up illustrates just how
    far into the gutter ‘our’ Labour Party has gone, i will not be silenced, i will not
    be afraid to have my thoughts aired and if need be i will out myself and i will stand
    alongside those who can see the destruction that is happening to ‘our’ party, bought
    on by a dictatorial few inside caucus.
    Threatening is never becomming and is even less so when it is comming from those in positions
    of political power who see a need to dictate to the masses.
    800.000 did not bother to vote in the last election,that speaks volumes about the people who
    feel disengaged and have become apathetic with NZ politics.
    A new year, a new beginning, a great time for Shearer and caucus to play the game and
    drop the dictatorship ball and announce a leadership vote in the interest of the Labour
    Party as a whole.
    Dreams are free,aren’t they ?

  13. pollywog 13

    Shot Queeny !!!

    • Olwyn 13.1

      Woohoo! Colonial Viper has emerged from purgatory, and now Pollywog is back as well.

      A great, straight-shooting post QOT – right on target.

    • Ennui in Requiem 13.2

      Hi Polly, nice to see you here. Have not yet been your way to check out the tales of voyaging the great ocean…read the blogs and was awe struck. Being in Purgatory has slowed Mr B down slightly. Happy New Year etc.

  14. “Unity is strength. Undermining the leadership is fatal.”
    “Now where did I leave my V for Vendetta DVD?”

    Underneath my anti poverty double album Human (R)evolution?

    ‘Captain Mumblefuck”

    I’m liking where you’re going with this.

    “Labour does not deserve our respectful withdrawal of criticism if it’s going to shit on beneficiaries, if it’s going to refuse again and again to pose a clear alternative opposition to NACT, if it’s going to sacrifice its own heritage principles in order to keep safe-electorate seat-warmers occupied.”

    I could have only written that with spelling mistakes and more swear words.

    “do your fucking job. With, like, at least a semblance of competence.”

    Or just piss off and let the left win the most important general election in NZ history.

    • Rhinoviper 14.1

      do your fucking job. With, like, at least a semblance of competence.

      Exactafuckingmundo. There’s hope for some of them, except for Chippy, Ducky, Gaffe et al. I don’t expect them to do their jobs at all – I’ve given up hope long ago. If I was Goldfinger, I’d say that I expected them to die, but what’s dead already can’t die (and Game of Thrones references don’t apply in this case)… so what’s to be done?

      Well, here’s a phrase that will serve them well: “Do you want fries with that?” They should repeat it until they have it fixed permanently in their memories.

      I would really, really love to walk into a McShit to see Ducky ask me if I want my order supersized. That would teach him a valuable lesson about “Labour’s” REAL constituents and what they have to face day by day.

  15. Saarbo 15

    100% agree QoT.

    The “elite” little group that control the Labour Party need to take note: If they dont then I can see Labour losing more support. The problem is that this “elite” group are obsessed with walking into power in 2014 instead of thinking about what the Labour party stands for and where Labour and New Zealand need to be in 20 years time.

    The “elite” little group are looking after THEMSELVES, the antithesis of the Labour Party.

    If this “elite” group continue to control the Labour Party then in 20 years Labour is gone.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      20 years? That’s very generous. In 8 years Labour could be smaller than the Greens in parliament.

      • The Al1en 15.1.1

        Much smaller if the Greens play their cards right.

      • Saarbo 15.1.2

        Yep CV, you are probably right. 20 years before Labour is gone completely. The Labour Party has the brand to hold on for 20 odd years…but if significant changes are not made in February I would suggest that the Labour/Greens ratio is going to change significantly in the 2014 election also.

  16. Rhinoviper 16


    In synopsis: “What, you expect us to STFU? Why, exactly?”

    (Also, suggestion for alternative title and content: “Why no vote in February could be disastrous for Labour”… but that’s another story)

  17. McFlock 17

    Perfect example of how the debate has become polarised to the extremes. “Mumblefuck” on one side vs Cunliffe as Richard III.

    If the term “Captain Mumblefuck” doesn’t (in it’s own sweet if little way) help nact get term three, nothing will. Constructive criticism, on the other hand, gets tarred with the same brush.

    Knock 50% off the adrenaline for each side, and we probably have what’s closer to the truth.

    Yes, Curran should be kicked from the list (seat candidacy is up to LEC) for her actions claimed here re:CV. But Shearer’s not as bad as all that, either.

    • karol 17.1

      I don’t think Team Shearer and supporters get just how deep the dissatisfaction with Shearer’s leadership goes. I see it surfacing on Open Mike regularly, and on comments elsewhere. It’s based in a dissatisfaction that’s been growing for a couple of decades at least. So it’s pretty deep. The way the world is now, a choice between National version of “neoliberal” and Labour’s “neoliberal” appeasement, is not much of a choice.

      The idea of working hard to get rid of the Shonkey one, only to have it replaced by Shearer, is … well, not much of an incentive to participate politically. Even though I will be supporting Greens/Mana rather than a Shearer led Labour, if the NAct government goes down, we still end up with Shearer as PM. It’s a pretty depressing scenario.

      • McFlock 17.1.1

        Two points:

        A) I don’t think Open Mike works as a proportionate reflection of how Labour members (or non) care deeply (or not) about the different labour leadership candidates;

        B) I see Cunliffe and Shearer being light years closer together than Labour under Shearer is with Key. But then I also see how polarising the debate into a battle between socialism and (to quote chuck norris supporting Romney) “a thousand years of darkness” helps Cunliffe’s supporters.

      • tc 17.1.2

        ‘I don’t think Team Shearer and supporters get just how deep the dissatisfaction with them goes.’

        I think they know and don’t care as they’re convinced they know best, after all Karol it’s all about them

      • Wayne 17.1.3

        This is a pretty stance post. Most commenters here say they vote Green or Mana but spend all their time attacking Labour’s leadership. Not suprisingly the Labour caucus will ignore the agitation, along with Chris Trotter, who after all was active in establishing New Labour. But it is rather odd for the rest of us. Why not just build the Party you actually support instead of undermining your potential partners.

        • Colonial Weka

          “Most commenters here say they vote Green or Mana but spend all their time attacking Labour’s leadership.”

          Except all the commenters who vote Labour and are considering shifting their vote to Green or Mana 🙄

        • lprent

          Actually I suspect that many are like me. I really don’t care much about the leadership except as a symptom. The Labour caucus and it’s opaque decision making processes (the leadership was just another one of those) is the real problem. The Labour caucus in my view has been steadily getting unresponsive, beltway obsessed, and as piss poor as the National one has been for decades, and probably for much the same reasons.

          Part of that can be laid at the feet of the post-Douglas cold-war inside caucus that went to making the party a rubber stamp. But in the last decade or so most of it in my view seems to be directly as a result of the caucus getting more and more beltway orientated. This orientation especially shows up in the list selection process, leadership, and ground level campaigning systems. Consequently the ability of Labour to actually do well in elections has been steadily diminishing because many people find the ivory tower politicians less and less relevant to what they’re facing every day.

          There has been a clear trend of members spalling and fragmenting off the party as it becomes more a place inhabited by wannabe politicians than members. There is really nothing for members to do that is relevant if they don’t want to be a politician.

          Why not just build the Party you actually support instead of undermining your potential partners.

          In my view and that of many other active members, the caucus have been actively preventing members from getting the required reforms to make a party relevant to members. They seem to find an active membership rather unsettling. It is a lot easier to change the organisation of an existing party than it is to build a brand new one.

          If that doesn’t work, then I’d probably take my efforts and expertise to follow my party vote to a different party that is more responsive – probably the Greens.

          And you have to remember that I’m usually considered to be well to the right of most inside the party. It isn’t even a question of the left-right spectrum. It is simply that I’m getting steadily less trusting of the competence of the systematically dysfunctional Labour caucus.

          • Anne

            …in the last decade or so most of it in my view seems to be directly as a result of the caucus getting more and more beltway orientated. This orientation especially shows up in the list selection process, leadership, and ground level campaigning systems.

            And what better example of the disconnected beltway mentality do we have than the bill-boards at the last election when the experts left the leader’s face off said boards and also forgot to remind voters to party vote Labour. I’ll never forget staring at the first bill-board I saw (there were some golden eggs in a nest and that was about all) and thinking… I must be witnessing a clever campaign strategy that would eventually crystallise into a masterstroke performance which would grab the attention of the voters like never before. It eventually dawned on me it was nothing more than… some golden eggs in a nest.

            And a Conference observation:

            Once upon a time MPs used to spend a Labour Conference hanging out with their electorate delegates. Tables in rows were set up with each electorate’s name clearly visible so that delegates at least knew which electorate people were representing. In most cases the MP would remain sitting with their delegates unless required on stage. (I realise under MMP that it’s a little different, but list MPS have ‘buddy’ electorates so there is no reason why they couldn’t spend the time with them.)

            So, what was the advantage of such a system? The MPs understood where their delegates were coming from and vice-versa. Developments as they happened were discussed and decisions were made together. There was no disconnect… indeed the opposite. What happens now? Well there are, in the main, two distinct groups:

            a) The MPs who – with a few exceptions – seem to stick together like glue.

            b) The rest of us who wander around or sit around between work sessions waiting for something to happen. If you even manage to find your MP or buddy MP there’s not much chance of a nice cuppa and a good chat.

            There wasn’t a better example of this scenario than when the leadership remits were being debated and voted on. Delegates sat on chairs in the body of the venue while the MPs (with a few notable exceptions) stood grouped together at the back of the venue.

            Is it any wonder there was/is a disconnect between so many members and the Parliamentary team.

      • Dr Terry 17.1.4

        A chronically depressing scenario, even more so if we do not see Cunliffe’s great talents put to best possible use (otherwise, surely, he will leave for where he is wanted).

    • Rhinoviper 17.2

      Constructive criticism, on the other hand, gets tarred with the same brush.

      Said of Arthur “Bomber” Harris in WWII, “He confuses advice for interference, criticism for sabotage and evidence for propaganda.” Harris you can blame for the war crime of the Dresden Firestorm and other atrocities (FYI, see Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five )

      Shearer’s a lesser criminal by far of course, but he as big an idiot. I sometimes run counterfactuals in my mind about the most idiotic statements by various politicos, the usual being “Well, would you expect them to say the opposite?” That’s all well and dandy, until I realise that when the obvious answer is “No”, that’s still no justification for what is actually done. Sure, in his own interest, Captain Mumblefuck “should” assert his dominance over potential rivals… but if “asserting dominance” means suppressing everyone who could do anything at all well (“everyone” includes – per a previous thread – sacks of potatoes, sacks of horseshit or a trio of chickens), then, no, pretending that there are only two alternatives is just fucking dumb. Mumblefucks just ensured that the usual troughers are as secure in their seats at Bellamy’s as ever.

      Congratulations Captain Mumblefuck. You’ve won the battle – your focus groups and advisors and consultants will be so proud of you and will be drinking pints of testosterone in celebration… but you could lose the war because of that – and in any case, you’ve sold what semblance of a soul you kept in a box in the attic anyway.

      So FUCK YOU and FUCK OFF.

      • Rhinoviper 17.2.1

        Italics fail…

        • McFlock

          Actually, I thought the comparison with Harris was a bit off, too.

          • Rhinoviper

            All comparisons are odious. The problem I have with invoking Godwin (He’s just like Hitler!) for example, is that it really serves to shut down debate, so yes, I will agree that Shearer is not as awful as Harris, but then, he does show the same idiocy as Harris, but thankfully without the same opportunity to wreak harm. I could compare him with Reginald Scribbs, junior assistant undersecretary in the British Department of Ministerial Affairs who once said something mean-spirited and stupid, but where would the rhetorical effect be then?

            Rhetorical effects aside, I can’t believe that certain people are evil in a way that means that they will commit atrocities that no-one else will commit, ever. Rather, I believe that everyone could, if manipulated in a certain way – see Stanley Milgram’s (in)famous experiments on obedience.

            However, that’s another story. The short version is that yes, the magnitude of someone’s evil may not be the same, but the essence might well be. Pray that certain individuals never get the opportunity, incentive and license.

            I don’t believe that Shearer’s a potential mass murderer any more than anyone else is… but then I’ve seen that in his creepily enthusiastic endorsement of mercenaries and his decision that it’s politically expedient to demonise the most vulnerable of society that he is a man prone to find slippery slopes.

            • McFlock

              “demonise the most vulnerable”? Tell me you aren’t referring to the roof painter.

              One good line that he didn’t completely think through, and he never hears the end of it. Sounds like the “you screw ONE goat…” joke.

              And the only alternatives to mercenaries that anyone has come up here, as far as I’ve seen, is to either have a magical change in international politics, or just let the genocide happen. The first isn’t likely, and imo mercenaries are preferable to the second.

              And if Shearer’s Harris, who is Key?

              • Rhinoviper

                “demonise the most vulnerable”? Tell me you aren’t referring to the roof painter.

                Actually I am, and why not?

                One good line that he didn’t completely think through

                Don’t be naive. That was a scripted speech. Not one single comma wasn’t scripted, reviewed and rehearsed. Shearer as we well know is as capable of off-the-cuff witticisms as snails are capable of formulating theories in quantum physics.

                “Let them eat brioche” was also a seemingly light comment, but it was tellingly symptomatic of Marie Antoinette’s callousness… but in Shearer’s case it was scripted and rehearsed – it was calculated, so I will take it very seriously.

                I’ve been a sickness beneficiary and people I know and respect are now. I know their circumstances and Shearer’s craven demagoguery disgusts me at a personal level – because it was deliberate misrepresentation of the plight of real people in real difficulty.

                If Shearer were to have the guts to speak to me personally, the first thing I would ask him is “So, you accused me of rorting and bludging and you want my vote. Why – and why?” I’d love to hear his answer.

                And the only alternatives to mercenaries…

                And what paves the road to Hell?

                And if Shearer’s Harris, who is Key?

                OK, so he’s not Key. Is that a reason to support him, simply because he is not Key?

                • McFlock

                  lol, now shearer’s Marie Antoinette.
                  Demagoguery? It’s the lack of perspective that cheapens your criticisms.

                  Good intentions allegedly pave the road to hell, but I think that one might provide some base compaction by watching a genocide and deciding to do nothing.

                  And yes. Is he better than key? Lesser of two evils, and all that.

                  • Rhinoviper

                    Ah, the mighty cudgel of “lol”!

                    You’re – again – using “not as bad as” to imply “not bad”. That’s disingenuous.

                    So Shearer is not as bad as Arthur Harris, not as bad as Marie Antoinette, not as bad as Hitler, Stalin or Justin Bieber. However, that does not make him good or any criticism of him invalid, so your “lol” is pointless.

                    Good intentions allegedly pave the road to hell

                    Read a bit of history and you might want to drop the “allegedly”.

                    provide some base compaction

                    Sorry, I am monolingual and can only understand English.

                    And yes. Is he better than key? Lesser of two evils, and all that.

                    Bah. Lesser is for wimps. I’m voting for the greater evil: Cthulhu 2014!

                    Seriously, “lesser evil” is again an example of the slippery slope – “Well, he’s not as bad as X… OK, that was bad, but it was not as bad as Y… yeah, that was pretty vile, but If the other lot had been in power, they would have done Z.” And so on, inventing new letters of the alphabet, new compromises as you go. Bugger that.

                    • McFlock

                      Comparisons with the above do not count as “criticisms”. They are simply irrelevant appeals to emotion. Hence my response being an expression of emotion.

                      I’m not a road engineer, but wanted something better than “dirt and pebbly shit that you jump up and down on before bunging on the top layer of tar or flagstones and stuff”. Forgive me.

                      Basically, after feb, there are two alternatives if you don’t like the labour leader: keep comparing the labour with whomever the fuck and help national, or provide non-monomaniacal, rational and fair criticism (which won’t help national, but might even help you get the sort of Labour party you want).

                      God forbid you wait a freaking month before making absurd comparisons, but do whatever the fuck you want.

                    • Rhinoviper


                      I was told that by some party hack a couple of years ago on Red Alert when I pointed out that they weren’t doing well at gaining votes. “Maybe you’re not the kind of person we’re aiming at.” Then they lost the election.

                      Apparently hundreds of thousands of people deemed Labour “irrelevant” and stayed at home, so I think that being being one of those high-class boutique parties that appeals to the discerning minority of voters isn’t exactly clever. The fact is that there are hundreds of thousands of voters who think that Labour is irrelevant to them because it’s decided that they are irrelevant.

                      Perhaps the MPs, candidates and their apologists should get off their high horses, hold their noses to ward of the stench of the unwashed and start finding out what would make them relevant?

                      Hence my response being an expression of emotion.

                      Now why don’t I find that plausible? If that was sincere, then you’ve let me define the terms of the argument. Thank you.

                      I’m not a road engineer, but

                      Well that was… obscure. Advice: when using a metaphor or simile, use one that someone other than the voice in your head will understand.

                      Basically, after feb, there are two alternatives if you don’t like the labour leader

                      Nonsense, unless you mean Green or Mana.

                      “You’re with us or you’re with the terrorists” is not going to work as rhetoric. Labour in general and Shearer in particular do not “own” my vote and the rhetoric of emotional blackmail along the lines of “Vote Labour – we’re not as bad as Cthulhu.” isn’t exactly appealing and “Vote Labour – or Key will eat this kitten and you’ll be helping him!” is simply laughable.

                      Shearer may say “L’Etat, c’est moi”, but he is not Labour and Labour is not ABC. Labour is a set of values and I’ll vote for those values if I choose to do so, not an empty logo and bullying rhetoric.

                      God forbid you wait a freaking month…

                      Yeah, I know: STFU. I’ve heard it before. Sorry, I’m not that amenable to instruction. You know, that last fucking sentence is not exactly fucking fuckety rational, fuck it. In fact, it’s rather petulant.

                    • Matthew Hooton

                      We learn from this exchange that Rhinoviper would prefer to stand by and watch a Rwandan-style massacre than hire private security firms on the grounds that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Wow. That is an evil thing to say. In other words, allow hell on earth to actually occur to maintain an ideological position, no doubt for the greater good. Is it any wonder that the Labour hierarchy is unimpressed with some of the commentators here. Why not just sign up for Mana or the Greens, rhino mate, and stop the pretence there is a place for you in a mainstream party?

                    • Rhinoviper

                      In other words

                      And we learn from the paid spin doctor and renowned gynaecologist Hooton that again he likes distorting and misrepresenting other’s views. There’s a surprise. I didn’t say that I’d prefer a massacre, so don’t put words in my mouth you lying shit.

                      Perhaps you have an absolutely hilarious dead baby joke to strengthen your argument? That would be as honest and as pertinent.

                      Ah, “private security firms” sounds so much better than “mercenaries” doesn’t it? What does concern me is Shearer’s blithe disregard for what these “private security firms” like Blackwater have done away from his spreadsheets in the real world while governments – one of which he wants to lead – washed their hands.

                      Why not just sign up for Mana or the Greens, rhino mate, and stop the pretence there is a place for you in a mainstream party?

                      Oh, a critic of Labour is marginal, not mainstream, not allowed in the treehouse. Well well, what a surprise.

                      Now excuse me, there’s a kitten that I want to eat.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      Here’s a gem from Hooton on Labour and democracy:

                      “After two years in opposition, Labour and its friends appear to remain ignorant of basic democratic principles. For that reason they deserve to be crushed by Mr Key and his allies in November.”


                      Then there’s his regular attendance at the Marlborough Sounds Symposiums that turned into platforms for racism and Anders Brevik fan-fests.


                      Now of course Hooton will downplay that, try to establish some distance, call it unfair and so forth, but then he calls me “evil” on even thinner connections.


                    • McFlock

                      “You’re with us or you’re with the terrorists” is not going to work as rhetoric. Labour in general and Shearer in particular do not “own” my vote and the rhetoric of emotional blackmail along the lines of “Vote Labour – we’re not as bad as Cthulhu.” isn’t exactly appealing and “Vote Labour – or Key will eat this kitten and you’ll be helping him!” is simply laughable.

                      Didn’t say “vote labour”.
                      But if the govt in 2014 is going to be less evil than nact, it needs labour to make the bulk of the coalition. So attacking labour with the diligence and zeal you have been applying, and the nice comparisons you’ve been making about Shearer, will only help nact.

                      As I keep saying, some criticism is reasonable. Misreading statements to say a call for moderation equals “you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists” is, imo, unreasonable and foolhardy.
                      But then if you’re principled enough to let a genocide happen rather than try to stop it with mercenaries, keeping nact in power for three more years is mild in comparison.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      attacking labour with the diligence and zeal you have been applying, and the nice comparisons you’ve been making about Shearer, will only help nact.,/i>

                      Shearer alone is not Labour, Labour is not Shearer alone. You confuse an ephemeral figurehead with the party itself that has activists, members, history, tradition and ideals.

                      As I keep saying, some criticism is reasonable. Misreading statements to say a call for moderation equals “you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists” is, imo, unreasonable and foolhardy.

                      That is exactly what you have been doing by treating Shearer as the personification of the party.

                      But then if you’re principled enough to let a genocide happen rather than try to stop it with mercenaries, keeping nact in power for three more years is mild in comparison.

                      Did I say that a genocide was preferable? No, I did not. That is a slanderous misrepresentation that you are repeating from Matthew Hooton. I said that favouring mercenaries as a way of balancing budgets was pretty despicable – with the implication that we know from Iraq how jolly that turned out.

                      “you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists” is, imo, unreasonable

                      Then stop, in effect, saying it.

                      You keep saying there are two voices in each case, and it’s usually a straw man argument designed to slander your opponent. The choice is not only Shearer or Nact, it’s not only genocide or mercenaries (at least you have the decency to call them mercenaries).

                    • Rhinoviper

                      But then if you’re principled enough to let a genocide happen rather than try to stop it with mercenaries, keeping nact in power for three more years is mild in comparison.

                      By the way how does that statement square with your sanctimonious claim to be “moderate”?

                    • McFlock

                      Actually, the scenario on the ground really was “we need to find a way to stop this shit, and the countries with the trained soldiers have demonstrated several times that they aren’t going to help”. Not a book-balancing issue. It really was that “one or the other” scenario, because the international community failed.

                      And again, in the real world mana and the greens aren’t going to get on average 26% each in 2014. So you might think it’s a straw man, but unless greens and mana put forward Jesus and Richie McCaw as candidates any change from nact needs, imo, labour with 35-40% of the vote.

                      I’m not the one who focussed on shearer as symptomatic of what’s wrong with the party.

                      A more accurate misrepresentation of my position might be “if you attack the same targets the terrorists would attack, as effectively as the terrorists would like to attack them, and spread the same terror as the terrorists, then yeah, you’re probably with the terrorists”. If you really want to use the terrorist analogy.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      Ooh look, Matthew Hooton has had nothing to say. The man who fishes for clients amongst racists and neonazis at the Malborough Sounds Symposia has scuttled away like a cockroach when the kitchen light is turned on once again.

                      Liar, hypocrite – and coward as well.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      Where to begin?

                      Actually, the scenario on the ground

                      That’s an oxymoron. A scenario is an abstraction that may be a comprehensive overview. Perhaps you mean “situation”?

                      Not a book-balancing issue.

                      Shearer presented it as such. Take it up with him.

                      because the international community failed

                      Indeed, but “mercenaries!” is not the inevitable answer any more than “arm the teachers!” is.

                      I’m not the one who focussed on shearer as symptomatic of what’s wrong with the party.

                      So what? You’re a quack and I won’t take your medical advice.

                      any change from nact needs

                      Ah, you see, that’s the problem. Is Labour’s caucus as it stands any change other than a cosmetic change from Nact?

                      A more accurate misrepresentation

                      May I say “lol” at this particular paradox?

                    • McFlock

                      scenario/situation/who gives a fuck.

                      Not from what I’ve read, he didn’t. So I won’t.

                      Mercenaries know how to use guns. Teachers, not so much.

                      You’re a kook. See: I can do it, too.

                      Yes. Just like they were in for nine years. Not perfect, most of their good policy was the result of their coalition partners, but even the little changes Lab5 made off their own bat were a shitload better for many people (including beneficiaries) than national. I was one at the time. It didn’t get to the level of “comfortable”, but it at least became “bearable”. That’s why I am prepared to accept any small improvement over nact.

                      “May I say “lol” at this particular paradox?”
                      Feel free. But if you are going to use irrational analogies, at least make them a little bit relevant to what I said.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      Mercenaries know how to use guns. Teachers, not so much.

                      Indeed. On civilians.

                      You’re a kook. See: I can do it, too.

                      Good, I’m glad that you’re finally being honest.

                      stuff about the past and wishful thinking for the future

                      Nice, but fantasy. Reality always falls below promise… so if the promises now are so meagre, what do you think the reality will be. Sorry, I’m not going to live on what I imagine the promise is, especially when the promise itself is no longer being offered!

                      Just how small an improvement do you expect or will you tolerate by the way?

                      I have enormous respect for Helen Clark as an astute politician. She may not have been the messiah, but she was damned good at her job and she knew how to keep her partners on side. I have no such confidence in Shearer, especially considering his utter failure to control Jones and the other bozos, so induction from an historical precedent is wishful thinking at best.

                      at least make them a little bit relevant to what I said.

                      Well considering your misrepresentations and outright lies about my views, I feel justified. Will you say it again? Do I support genocide? Did I say so? Yes or no?

                    • McFlock

                      In answer to your question, no.
                      You just prefer genocide over even thinking about paying people to stop it.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      I am not saying and have never said that nobody is allowed to criticise shearer. All I’m saying is that much or most of the criticism e.g. from you in this discussion goes beyond fair or even rational.

                      OK, so again, do I support genocide? That would be a prime example of irrational criticism and you’ve – following Matthew Hooton – insinuated what where he made it explicit. Now did I say that?

                      Yes or no.

                      Show me that you’re “rational” and “moderate”.

                      Say it.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      Come on Hooton… hello… hello…?

                      I’m still waiting.

                      Got something to say, cockroach?

                      No, thought not.

                    • McFlock

                      missed that comment.

                      You’re just prepared to let one happen rather than pay someone to stop it. It would be too much to call that “support”. Just an absence of “oppose”.

                  • felixviper

                    “lol, now shearer’s Marie Antoinette.”

                    McF, you’re one of the smartest people who contribute to this forum. I find it entirely unbelievable that you think drawing a parallel is the same as equating.

                    Especially when the example is being used to highlight the difference rather than the similarity, as in Rhino’s reference to Marie Antoinette.

                    It’s a bit rich to call for a more measured tone if you’re going to pretend you don’t understand the criticisms of others rather than disagreeing with their conclusions.

                    • McFlock

                      whose, according to RV, was the most serious and telling comment?

                    • felixviper

                      Way to pretend to miss the point.


                    • McFlock

                      “Let them eat brioche” was also a seemingly light comment, but it was tellingly symptomatic of Marie Antoinette’s callousness… but in Shearer’s case it was scripted and rehearsed – it was calculated, so I will take it very seriously.

                      The “difference” being highlighted seems to be that MA was unthinkingly callous, yet DS was calculated callousness.

                      If you have a better interpretation, let’s hear it.

                    • felixviper

                      It wasn’t a comparison to see who was the worst person in the world – that’s entirely your spin on it.

                    • McFlock

                      it was about the comments.

                      But the choice of comparator was a touch biased.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      The “difference” being highlighted seems to be that MA was unthinkingly callous, yet DS was calculated callousness.

                      I’ll agree with that. And yes, I am biased. I am biased against dictatorship. I am biased against people who try to blackmail and intimidate their opponents. I am biased against people who demand loyalty oaths. I am biased against people who demand assurances of future voting intentions in what is supposed to be a secret democratic ballot. I am biased against incompetents and slanderers.

                      So call me biased. I’m happy with that label.

                      However, I propose a corollary to Godwin’s Rule:

                      “To propose that someone is not as bad as Hitler/Stalin/Cthulhu/Torquemada/Lavrenti Beria/Dr Strangelove/that bastard who invented Muzak/Bill Gates does not mean that all criticism of them should be dismissed for that reason.”

                      Here’s another: Criticism is not treason.

                      It should be bleeding obvious, but McFlock seems to be a bit slow on the uptake.

                    • McFlock

                      Once a-fucking-gain:
                      I am not saying and have never said that nobody is allowed to criticise shearer. All I’m saying is that much or most of the criticism e.g. from you in this discussion goes beyond fair or even rational.

                    • Mary

                      ” I am not saying and have never said that nobody is allowed to criticise shearer. All I’m saying is that much or most of the criticism e.g. from you in this discussion goes beyond fair or even rational.”

                      McFlock, are you saying it’s okay to criticise Shearer, but wrong to go so far as to say he’s not the right person for the job and that he should step down so that someone who can lead Labour back to its left-wing roots can take over? Or is it just calling him names like Mumblefuck that you object to?

                    • felixviper

                      Well you keep saying that McF, but I’ve been consistently criticising Shearer for:

                      a) his totally uncontroversial shitness at talking
                      b) his failure to make his principles clearly understood
                      c) his bullying (and tacit support for bullying) of dissenters

                      But apparently that’s just hyperbolic bullshit and venom and tantamount to calling him a war criminal.

                    • McFlock

                      A) is legitimate, but I thing overstated
                      B) fuck that – I don’t do presidential politics, I look at party policy;
                      C) not sure about bullying or tacit support for that. To what do you refer?

                    • McFlock


                      I think it’s the massive overstatement of his shortcomings, plus the names, plus the general bullshit that fucks me off.

                  • Rhinoviper

                    You just prefer genocide over even thinking about paying people to stop it.

                    Ah, so you did say it. Well that just shows how “rational” and “moderate” you are.

                    However, again, I ask, where did I say “I prefer genocide over… whatever.”?

                    Say it.

                    If you can’t, then you are a liar and slanderer.

                    Again: Say it and prove it.

                    Where did I say, “It is better that a genocide was committed”?

                    Say it, prove it. Quote me, exactly, word-for-word.

                    If you can’t then this is what you are: a liar and a sanctimonious hypocrite.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      Come on McFlock.

                      You’ve replied to other posts but skirted this one, so you can’t pretend that you haven’t seen it. You slandered me, now justify that slander.

                      Again, where did I say “I prefer a genocide”?

                      Prove it; quote me word for word and don’t invent anything, because if you do that, you will prove that you are a liar.

                      With luck, you might even support Matthew Hooton, which I’m sure you will feel proud to do (that’s sarcasm, BTW).

                    • McFlock

                      “skirting”??? I’m trying to keep up with sleep dep and a fucked internet connection! But then it’s not like anyone here would infer malice where exists another explanation.

                      “And the only alternatives to mercenaries…

                      And what paves the road to Hell?”

                      So are you saying that you would consider mercenaries to prevent a genocide, if other options had turned their backs?

                    • Rhinoviper

                      Stop using sophistry to avoid the question. Answer it. Now!

                      Do I support genocide? Where did I say that? Quote me, word-for-word and stop making excuses for yourself, liar!

                    • Rhinoviper

                      “skirting”??? I’m trying to keep up with sleep dep and a fucked internet connection!

                      Oh please, that’s pathetic. Sleep deprivation? Allow me to play the world’s smallest violin. Whoops, lost it down the back of the sofa, sorry.

                      Again. Quote me. Where did I say “I support genocide”?

                      Try it, liar.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      Come on liar. Answer. Don’t give me bullshit about a bad internet connection and sleep deprivation – you’ve had the time,energy and access to reply to other posts.

                      You claim that I support genocide and that’s a serious slander. I expect you to justify it.

                      Do so now, liar.

                      No fantasy, no supposition, none of what the voices in your head tell you – purely my own words, where I explicitly state that I would have preferred that a genocide had taken place.

                      It would be very easy and simple if it were true, somewhat harder if you are a lying sack of shit.

                      Go ahead.

                    • McFlock

                      oh I’m sorry, forgot the world revolves around you.

                      I did quote exactly what you said.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      I did quote exactly what you said.

                      And you didn’t prove your claim, so you are a lying sack of shit. Thank you for confirming that.

                      oh I’m sorry, forgot the world revolves around you.

                      So I’m an egotist. Your point is… what, exactly? You have admitted that you are a liar and a slanderer.

                    • geoff

                      Very entertaining exchamge, Rhino, +1. Also, more Hooton bashing please.

                    • McFlock

                      so “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” is an endorsement of considering mercenaries to prevent a genocide?

                      Good to know.

                    • McFlock

                      “You have admitted that you are a liar and a slanderer.”

                      Where, you idiot?

                      That’s a scurrilous calumny, defamation, defamation!

                      You just made a far more tenuous statement than adding:
                      “mercenary=bad”+”road to hell”+(“lesser evil”=”slippery slope”)
                      =”do nothing while genocide occurs”.

                      Not that I expect it to get past your blinkers.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      so “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” is an endorsement of considering mercenaries to prevent a genocide?

                      Good to know.

                      Frankly, your posts make no sense whatsoever now. They are devoid of logic or connection to context. You make a fantastic assumption, based entirely on what the voices in your head tell you, add “So” as a prefix and imagine that that somehow constitutes “moderate” and “reasonable” argument.

                      If there’s a guide to indicate that a letter to the editor has been written by an idiot, then if it hasn’t been handwritten in green ink, then the sure sign is that it begins with “So”.

                      Yet again you are fantasising about what I said, yet again you are making shit up and yet again you fail to provide a direct and accurate quote.

                      So, I mean that Richard Nixon’s missing tapes are lost in the Bermuda Triangle. So, I suppose that the Windsors are in fact alien reptiles. So, I mean that Smurfs are responsible for all the world’s evil.

                      Again, I say this:


                      Spare me your paranoid interpretations of what you think I meant. Instead, quote me word for word. Where did I say “I prefer that a genocide had happened.”?

                      Why can’t you do that?

                    • Rhinoviper

                      Where, you idiot?

                      By your failure to provide the quote. It should be easy, but you won’t because you can’t – and you know it.

                      Give me the words… or as John Key said, quoting some dumb movie, “Show me the money!”

                      You won’t, because you can’t and in displaying that, you’re admitting it.

                      Yet again: You are a liar.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      You just made a far more tenuous statement than adding:
                      “mercenary=bad”+”road to hell”+(“lesser evil”=”slippery slope”)
                      =”do nothing while genocide occurs”.

                      That’s gibberish. Try constructing a coherent statement in a clear paragraph with conventional grammar. Novelty is good.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      And once the private mercernaries have done their job, you can send in Bechtel and Halliburton to run the country’s government (and it’s resources) on behalf of the people, as they clearly will be in no shape to do it themselves.

              • Mary

                “One good line that he didn’t completely think through, and he never hears the end of it. Sounds like the “you screw ONE goat…” joke.”

                Shearer’s never stepped away from those comments one jot, let alone apologise for them. Is just one indicator among many of the direction Shearer and Labour want to move in.

                • McFlock

                  I prefer to let policy indicate a party’s direction.

                  • Rhinoviper

                    “Policy” is bullshit. I prefer to see practice – in government or opposition. Thus far we see Chippy quibbling about the timing of asset sales FFS and the headless chooks running around not knowing what the Hell they want to say if they’re not snoozing.

                    Anyway, relating to the initial comment, what is Shearer’s policy on beneficiaries now? What will he do for them once he’s PM? Do tell, since that matters so much.

                    • McFlock

                      What’s labour’s policy on benefits and beneficiaries?
                      There’s your answer.

                    • Mary

                      I agree, McFlock. Labour has shown no change from its stance on beneficiaries since its Social Security Amendment Act 2007 which screwed beneficiaries over in ways one could be forgiven for thinking even Nact couldn’t contemplate doing. Shearer’s roof painting comments are consistent with that stance. There’s been nothing from Labour suggesting it may have changed its position on welfare, and a ton of evidence indicating its going to continue with that “policy”.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Labour has repeatedly stated that $13.50/hr is not a wage that you can live on, and that an 11% rise to $15/hr is crucial in terms of fairness and alleviating poverty.

                      The beneficiaries who are expected to live on 1/3 that amount don’t seem to have received any similar consideration from Labour however.

                    • felixviper

                      “What’s labour’s policy on benefits and beneficiaries?”

                      Same as National’s more or less.

                  • felixviper

                    “I prefer to let policy indicate a party’s direction.”

                    Of course. Does that mean nothing the leader says or does is up for criticism unless the party has specifically endorsed it?

                    John Key’s throat-slitting gesture drew a lot of criticism not because National has a policy on throat-slitting, but because it showed us something about the man, his values, his character and his attitudes.

                    • McFlock


                      But I don’t think that the shearer story was quite so outrageously revealing. I think it’s broadly consistent with Labour over the last ten years or more, I don’t think it implies malice so much as mental blinkers about “work” being a person’s value, and while it was clumsy I don’t think that the message they were trying to communicate was particularly bad or surprising.

                      There’s a whole bunch of politically active people here who seem surprised and outraged that Labour and its leadership aren’t particularly left wing. I really don’t know why they suddenly give a shit. I don’t recall this level of venom directed at goff, for example.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      But I don’t think that the shearer story was quite so outrageously revealing. I think it’s broadly consistent with Labour over the last ten years or more,

                      Completely consistent with Labour over the last thirty years, in fact.

                    • McFlock

                      I don’t think it’s as far as douglas.

                      But if labour are elected in 2014, it’s mana and the greens who will provide the bulk of policy traction – although labour might take the foot off the throats of many nzers, the hand up will come from their coalition partners.

                    • felixviper

                      “I don’t recall this level of venom directed at goff, for example.”

                      Where’s the venom? Shearer is being criticised for his faults and failings, just as Goff was.

                    • felixviper

                      “while it was clumsy I don’t think that the message they were trying to communicate was particularly bad or surprising”

                      Yeah, he’s really not very good at communication.

                    • McFlock

                      You have read some of the spin about mercenaries, or arthur harris, or some people calling him an out&out neoliberal?

                    • felixviper

                      Yep. Where’s the venom?

                      Is it venomous to disagree on politics now? Is it venomous to want to know where someone stands on a particular issue?

                    • McFlock

                      Oh, right. No venom. Fair enough then. Shearer’s a “lesser criminal” than Arthur Harris. Perfectly reasonable comparison. “Unity at gunpoint”: perfectly reasonable. Shearer, when faced with how to prevent genocide, performs a book-balancing act. Shearer’s akin to actively preventing treatment of a disease. Not an exaggeration at all. He’s an incompetent career-padder who stole an election and turns everything to shit. Riiiiight. /sarc

                    • Rhinoviper

                      Shearer’s a “lesser criminal”

                      I’ll try to pretend that this is an aside, but considering the heated context, I’d be fooling myself if I believed that it was going to be interpreted as such, but nonetheless I feel that it needs to be said.

                      Hitler was evil, Stalin was evil, Torquemada was evil, Matthew Hopkins was evil, Lavrenti Beria was evil.

                      We can add to the list easily.

                      There are a lot of other evil people too. There’s Arthur J. Scribbs of Basingtoke-On-Sea who believes all sorts of shit and wants to murder millions to make the world a better place. Never heard of him? Right, you haven’t because I made him up, but there are plenty of real people who believe awful things and who think that genocide is the best way to make it real. Thankfully, nobody takes them seriously.

                      Then there is is Adolf Schicklegruber, aka Hitler who gets into office and there are people who say, “Well, some of what he says is pretty extreme, but he also speaks the truth about the Jews.” There are people who say that Mussolini is a dictator, but he does make the trains run on time and God knows, the bad train service really was the bane of my life…

                      There’s Adolf Eichman who was a very efficient bureaucrat who may not have hated Jews personally, but saw a logistics problem that needed solving and he made sure that the trains to Auschwitz ran on time. He even cared about the inmates of the extermination camps and ensured that music was played because he wanted to “eliminate fear”.

                      There was Albert Speer, who only wanted to be an successful architect and so he found himself employing slave labour.

                      Near Auschwitz there were many small towns and villages and after 1945, nobody who lived there admitted that they knew what happened.

                      They’re all normal people. People who knew them liked them as people. Why not? They were nice, they were courteous, they meant well.

                      Now I bring up Nazi war criminals because that’s shocking. I did it deliberately to make the point that “good” people can do evil things.

                      Here’s how evil works: it takes people who would be good and tells them that something awful would in the long run be a good thing, and so telling themselves that it will work out for the best in the long run is right.

                      My point with the above is this: people who are fundamentally good could still be seduced into doing something evil.

                      There is no clear line that separates good people from people who have done evil. Please not my choice of words: “good people” who have “done evil” because they have been “seduced”.

                      There is a spectrum, a line from white to black that proceeds through grey.

                      Any claim, falsely invoking Godin assumes that there is some line separating decent people from bad people as if there was some qualitative difference between them when in fact we are all potential sinners and the difference is in fact quantitive .

                      Now here’s another thing that I have to say that I feel is of vital importance. David Shearer is not Adolf Eichman or Albert Speer. He’s not Marie Antoinette. I do believe that he has absolute moral principles that will prevent him from their weaknesses in practice.

                      Or I hope he does.

                      He is however a fool.

                      His focus groups have told him that it’s OK to attack beneficiaries because it will be good in the long run. OK, that might be right in this one instance, but what if he is a man weak enough to agree every time someone says this too him? His utter failure to discipline Shane Jones or Clare Curran shows that he is a man on a slippery slope and doesn’t know it. I don’t expect him to open extermination camps with gas chambers, but I would not be at all surprised if he said, “Well, I know beneficiaries are having a hard time, bit… well, I don’t really know how hard it is for them, so maybe it isn’t so bad to live on a benefit long-term. Someone told me that they got by for a while… look, my real concern is the aspiring workers, and… we’ll, really, there are these people on talkback radio and we could get them to vote for us, so we shouldn’t antagonise them… I mean it’s for the best – in the long run. We’ll get around to them, I mean the beneficiaries, in the end… I mean, if there are jobs…”

                      He’s also a weasel.

                      His moral principles will prevent him from being a Nazi, but is delusion that he as a “realist” will permit him to commit cruelties that may be not as bad as gassing but bad objectively nonetheless and that should not be excused.

                      So the good news for beneficiaries: No gas chambers. Hooray!

                      The bad news for beneficiaries? “Good job chaps, keep it up. We’ll get around to you when we can, but in the meantime, try to find a job that we promise we will create some time and sorry that we can’t be seen to support you… but our focus groups say that it’s a bad look… but don’t worry, we have your best interests at heart!”

                      They might even mean it.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      PS. Short version: It’s not as bad as Nazism, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t bad. And it should be stopped.

                      “Lesser evil”

                      Fuck that!

                    • felixviper

                      Perhaps that could be Shearer’s campaign slogan McF:

                      ‘Vote Shearer. Not as bad as a war criminal.’

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Perhaps that could be Shearer’s campaign slogan McF:

                      ‘Vote Shearer. Not as bad as a war criminal.’

                      Shit dude, there’s a whole money making line of t-shirts to be made right there.

                    • McFlock

                      fuck sake

                      Have fun with those tshirts.
                      I mean, you could have tshirts that illustrate the people who really die because of National’s actual policies, but Shearer doesn’t communicate well so let’s blow shit out of all proportion. That’ll inspire positive change in the country. /sarc

                    • felixviper

                      So how about you come up with a better slogan that better encapsulates the values, principles and vision of Sh..

                      Oh, I see. Never mind then.

                    • McFlock

                      “spent 15 years trying to help people, not 15 years gambling with other people’s money”

                    • geoff

                      Hitler was evil, Stalin was evil, Torquemada was evil, Matthew Hopkins was evil, Lavrenti Beria was evil.

                      We can add to the list easily.

                      Matthew Hooton?

                    • Rhinoviper

                      Matthew Hooton?

                      Heh. Hooton, despite his pretensions is no satanic majesty. He is, with apologies to Hannah Arendt, not an representation of the banality of evil but, moral and intellectual mediocrity that he is, a demonstration of the evil of banality.

                    • Rogue Trooper

                      the “banality” comment was funny hyperbolic one

                    • felixviper

                      That’s a pretty good line McF. Pity he didn’t manage to deliver it at all convincingly, but it’s a good angle.

                      Is there anything else you can say about him? Serious question. I honestly have no idea what it is you think makes him the right person for the job.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Actually you can’t use that “15 years helping people” line because the follow up question will be: “what else was he doing for the other 40 years?”

                    • felixviper

                      Good point

                    • Hi McFlock,

                      Would this be an accurate characterisation of your thinking and why you’re ok with having Shearer leader of Labour?

                      It’s ok for Labour to be led by an ideologically vague leader and remain centre/centre-right because that would achieve two things (a) attract some centre/centre-right voters to what would be a nominally ‘left’ coalition; (b) repel some left voters/activists away from Labour and towards actual left-wing parties, thus strengthening their hands, electorally and organisationally. This would mean enough votes for a nominally left government under which minor parties could push through actual left policies.

                      If it is, I think it’s mistaken – and too clever by half.

                      A vacuous centrist Labour Party will further lower the overall left turnout, which advantages the right. Given a generally apolitical electorate, a Labour Party that doesn’t look like much simply tarnishes the overall idea that the left has much to offer New Zealand.

                      Similarly, such a Labour Party – if it did manage to lead a government after the 2014 election – would try to distance itself from any overt left-wing actions either by turning to NZF/UF/MP or threatening to pull the pin on any arrangement that it might strike with the Greens should actual left policies be pushed by them (it would be ok with some environmental policies, I suspect, as those wouldn’t impact on its economic centrist image). We won’t be getting the kinds of policy initiatives that the Alliance pushed through between 1999-2002.

                      (It could not possibly go into any arrangement with Mana as it would be afraid of being ‘tainted’, in the centre-right voters’ minds, by association thus destroying the unthreatening, anodyne branding currently being promoted. After all, Goff rejected Harawira as a radical.).

                    • McFlock


              • QoT

                Just for context, here’s the “one good line” you’re talking about, McFlock:

                Last year before the election, I was chatting to a guy in my electorate who had just got home from work. In the middle of the conversation, he stopped and pointed across the road to his neighbour.

                He said: “see that guy over there, he’s on a sickness benefit, yet he’s up there painting the roof of his house. That’s not bloody fair. Do you guys support him?”

                From what he told me, he was right, it wasn’t bloody fair, and I said so. I have little tolerance for people who don’t pull their weight.

                … if that’s off-the-cuff, unrehearsed or “not thought through” then I am Gerry Brownlee.

                • just saying

                  It’s worth mentioning that it was the second time he’d used the “anecdote”. I gave him the benefit of the doubt the first time he said it, some months before.

                  It was probably the most considered` and carefully-worded, three paragraphs in the whole speech.

                  • felixviper

                    Probably in his whole political career.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    It was probably the most considered` and carefully-worded, three paragraphs in the whole speech.

                    In the version I saw it was also placed very close to the start of the speech, where reporters and anyone else skimming the text version would pick it up first.

                    • McFlock


                      I didn’t say it was off the cuff.

                      Just that he/they hadn’t thought it through.

                      Concentrating on message A in the anecdote so much that message B wasn’t noticed.

                      When did he most recently use the anecdote?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Political leaders are supposed to be good at communicating deliberately nuanced messages and intentional dog-whistles to different audiences in the same crowd.

                      Political leaders are also supposed to be competent at reading between the lines to ensure that they are not pissing off their own core constituencies. (This is quite an important skill for politicians who want longevity to have).

                      Admittedly these are all things which take a lot of time to practice, learn and get good at.

                    • McFlock


                      And if that were the extent of the criticisms made here, the hyperbole wouldn’t exist.

                    • felixviper

                      I don’t see how the existence of other criticisms of which you don’t approve could in any way alter the validity of these ones.

                    • McFlock

                      It doesn’t. I agree. Shearer’s not a particularly good communicator. That’s a valid criticism.

                      And I’ll even go further and say that I think if he didn’t learn a lot in 2012 to improve the polls in 2013 (I think I’ve even given a timeframe and KPIs elsewhere), he is not appropriate to be a leader.

                      But then avoiding outlandish comparisons and predictions of calamity make for much less interesting comment threads, it seems.

                    • felixviper

                      “And I’ll even go further and say that I think if he didn’t learn a lot in 2012 to improve the polls in 2013 (I think I’ve even given a timeframe and KPIs elsewhere), he is not appropriate to be a leader.”

                      Are you sure you don’t remember any criticism of Goff? Because that’s pretty much the exact response we all heard for 2 and a half years.

                      Of course by then it was 2 years too late, just like it will be for Mumblefuck.

                    • McFlock

                      Yes, goff was criticised.

                      Not anywhere close to this extent, as I recall though. Your welcome to find links here where goff was compared to war criminals.

                    • QoT


                      I didn’t say it was off the cuff.


                      I didn’t say it was off the cuff either, I said

                      if that’s off-the-cuff, unrehearsed or “not thought through”

                      And I am sorry, McFlock, but I really do not see you arguing sincerely on this thread, given exactly how many times you have chosen to misinterpret (because I give you the credit of not being as stupid as you’re pretending to be) other people’s statements.

                    • felixviper

                      “Yes, goff was criticised.

                      Not anywhere close to this extent, as I recall though. Your welcome to find links here where goff was compared to war criminals.”

                      You don’t remember 3 years of Goff being called a rogernome, a neoliberal, a 4th-Labour-minister, a privatiser, a user-pays-fanboi, a free-marketer, a freidmanite in socialist clothing?

                      You don’t remember 3 years of Goff continually being criticised for being shit on telly? For being wooden? For waffling? For being boring, soporific, uninspiring, a grey man, yesterday’s man, a career drone, a beltway fixture, a ghost from the past?

                      You don’t remember 3 years of Goff being criticised for having a militaristic, authoritarian streak? For being too right-wing? For being a suck-up to the Americans?

                      I’m surprised, McF. It wasn’t that long ago.

                • Rhinoviper

                  I have little tolerance for people who don’t pull their weight.

                  Yeah, so what does he think of his front bench and prospective cabinet?

              • Rhinoviper

                Not a book-balancing issue.

                Then I guess Shearer shouldn’t have used it in his carefully thought-through articles then.

                If you really want to use the terrorist analogy.

                Actually I’m using the George W. Bush analogy.

                • McFlock

                  So only the main benefit should be mentioned when examining policy options? Good to know.

                  • Rhinoviper

                    So only the main benefit should be mentioned when examining policy options?

                    Um, I’m not sure exactly what you mean to say. Are you yet again inventing stuff I didn’t actually say and pretending that I did?

                    I can do that too. For example, are you suggesting that some prioritisation should be used, as in “Yes, mercenaries can save money, but on the other hand, Blackwater has proven in practice to commit atrocities on civilian populations that are ultimately a detriment to the peripheral market’s perception of brand value.”

                    In diplomatese it might come out as “the utilisation of private security firms has been found to have detrimental effect in the long term when it comes to the proposed deployment of irregular commercial entities in peace-enforcement operations”

                    Or in English, or the language of someone who isn’t a sociopath, “It looks easy in the short term, but these shitbags are war criminals who commit atrocities for money and there’s no real way of controlling them. We have to think about real principles, how things work in the real world, how things pan out in the long term and we have to think how sovereignty works – again, in the real world. Could there be a Pan-African solution? Is the problem in the weakness of the UN itself, in which case, how do we rectify this? We have to understand that not everything is a business opportunity. By the way, I’m absolutely fucking useless, the mango skins did no good and I herewith tender my resignation”?

                    • Colonial Viper


                      I can’t write for shit compared to you RV.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      By the way I think McFlock has previously suggested that at least with private sector mercernaries, you have the assurances of the Consumer Guarantees Act. I reckon he was kidding though.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      I can’t write for shit compared to you RV.

                      CV, I admire you for your courage and heart, so you don’t need to be modest.

                      Also, I’m another BSG geek, and I won’t diss a fellow.

                    • McFlock

                      nah, I’m just reading what you fucking wrote.

                      as for the rest of it, are you saying that shearer examined the book-keeping advantages without considering mechanisms for ensuring discipline and/or criminal liability for the contractors? To which article do you refer, specifically?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      “Mechanisms”? You should check out the level of criminal liability that Blackwater had after Iraq, and the number of successful follow up prosecutions: i.e. approx. none.

                      ‘it was a tragedy and innocent civilians were killed, but there was no crime’

                    • McFlock

                      That’s what one would call “an absence of such mechanisms”. As I recall, the imposed governor of Iraq gave all US military and non-military forces immunity – it might therefore count as “mechanisms to do the opposite”.

                      edit: actually, tell a lie: they gave immunity to us forces, but the contractors just shipped the perpetrators out of the country if it looked like something might be done about particularly egregious crimes.

    • Bill 17.3

      😉 You do know that

      during Richard’s reign, the historian John Rous praised him as a “good lord” who punished “oppressors of the commons”, adding that he had “a great heart”. After his death, Richard’s image was tarnished by propaganda fostered by his Tudor successors…


      • McFlock 17.3.1

        Yeah, I was thinking more the Shakespearian one 🙂

        Although even the “good lord” with the “great heart” seems to have accidentally mislaid two young princes he’d kept in the Tower for safekeeping. But who needs to split heirs about it?

    • just saying 17.4

      Thirty two comments McFliper – two have mentioned Cunliffe and none have hailed him as any kind of saviour let alone imbued him with greatness. Personally, I’m not wild about Cunliffe either. It is a reflection of how disastrous and dangerous I see Shearer’s leadership that I prefer him.

      <i…."Shearer's not as bad as all that…

      I beg to differ. In all your contributions to these discussions, I don’t recall you ever describing what it is about Shearer that has won your admiration sufficient to defend him vehemently over an over. Why do you think Shearer would make a good leader of a left coalition? I respect your opinions Mcfliper, so I can’t believe that you think it is good enough for Labour and its leader to be a slightly better option than than Key and National.

      I’ve made my views pretty clear. I think Shearer would probably be in the National caucus if he has offered the kind of deal he was given by the Labour power elite. He’s been pretty cagy about his beliefs, but my impression is that National’s philosophy would be a better fit for him. His career prospects, however were considerably better with Labour, and given the paucity of difference between the two parties, it probably wasn’t too much of a compromise.

      I’m also interested to know what you think of Shearer entering the leadership race with less than a term under his belt and no significant input in that time, having only joined the party when it looked like a promising career move (with the very active support of future leader and infamous rogernome, Phil Goff). Do you see that as a reflection of rightful confidence in his superior ability, dangerous vanity and overconfidence, or what?

      I’m genuinely puzzled, and would like to understand where you are coming from, because throughout these conversations your support for Shearer and the party status quo has never seemed consistent with your other opinions on politics in general.

      • McFlock 17.4.1

        If the comments are negative about shearer and labour, are you telling me that an alternative isn’t the elephant in the room?

        I think Shearer is pretty average, but can do the job.
        But I don’t think Cunliffe is a saviour of Labour, either.

        But why I try to put in a bit of perspective is that I DEFINITELY think that a house this divided will fall. This is not a demand for an absence of criticism, just a belief that shit has been blown way out of proportion. All comparing Shearer to, e.g., Arthur Harris does is divert resources and focus away from Key. And it also makes valid criticisms about specific speeches or poor performance more ignorable by people who want to ignore them.

        And I don’t particularly care about how long S has been a party member or whatever. For me the debate has become about whether Labour will be able to get its shit together before 2014 and win an election. Because as far as I can see, either side if happy to burn the house down around themselves if they lose in february.

        Which would sadden me. Because Labour needs 35-40% for the left to win. Left wing policy will be supplied by mana and the greens.

        I don’t get how Shearer manages to attract such personal vitriol.

        • just saying

          Yes. I don’t think Cunliffe is “the elephant in the room”.
          I think for most commenters who feel strongly about this issue, Cunliffe may be seen as a better alternative, but this is, in essence not about Cunliffe. I was going to do a Venn diagram a while ago to this effect.

          I stand to be corrected. How many commenters feel as strongly positive (or more so) about Cunliffe as they feel strongly negative about Shearer? Put another way, how many see this issue as being as much about Cunliffe as about Shearer?

          As to your other argument.
          A) I think Shearer is a serious liability to Labour winning the next election,
          B) If Labour does win, (and if it does it will be despite Shearer and not because of him) I think a weak Labour-led government, with no clear direction, would be a one term non-entity, and as such, would further the long-term interests of the far right.

          • McFlock

            A) okay, we disagree. and I think some of the claims in this thread are a bigger threat.

            B) That is a possibility. But I don’t think labour will fundamentally change between now and the next election.

            • quartz

              I don’t get how Shearer manages to attract such personal vitriol.

              Possibly because he allows his caucus to do things like attack our coalition partner and blackmail and threaten our bloggers and blog commenters.

              • McFlock

                Actually, that’s a fair criticism about Shane Jones. The Curran thing I’d expect to be handled in-house, without anyone here finding out.

                • quartz

                  It hasn’t been.

                  • McFlock

                    how do you know?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      it may very well have been handled behind the scenes, in the form of medals, certificates etc.

                    • quartz

                      Because I have asked someone who knows.

                    • Rhinoviper


                      I’d expect to be handled in-house, without anyone here finding out.


                      It hasn’t been.


                      how do you know?

                      WTF? Is this what you earthlings call “humour”? Do you assume that privately and discretely Curran has been slapped across the wrist with a wet bus ticket and that she’s crossed her fingers behind her back and said, “Yeth, I’ve been a very naughty girl and won’t do it again, honest, thir” and that somehow means that it’s been “dealt with” – or do you mean to totally ignore the fact that Curran, a Labour MP, is an idiot and an egregious bully has been widely reported across the blogosphere?

                    • King Kong

                      CV, I notice that you are back and apologise if this has been explained elsewhere but I was curious to know whether the reason for your reappearance is a) you have agreed to blindly follow Currans’s line or b) you have grown a pair.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      KK, your concern is quite moving, and yes it’s good to be back 😉

                    • McFlock


                      so you’d prefer stocks?

                    • McFlock

                      argh shit, delete button isn’t there.

                      Ignore the “stocks” comment, I’m getting shirty. Me numbers ain’t adding up correctly on the computerised countfabulator here at work.

          • felixviper

            “How many commenters feel as strongly positive (or more so) about Cunliffe as they feel strongly negative about Shearer?”

            1. I would’ve preferred to have seen Cunliffe as leader.

            2. I don’t have any confidence in Shearer’s abilities.

            Those statements aren’t directly related and it’s disingenuous of some commenters here to pretend they are.

          • One Tāne Viper

            Just Saying, I think you are absolutely right. The problem with Shearer isn’t that Cunliffe is competent and articulate.

        • weka

          You do realise that Shearer isn’t really the problem, he just symbolises or puts a face on the problem. The problem, as far as I can tell, is that Labour hasn’t recovered from the 80s, and members and GP voters are wanting Labour to be a true left party but it’s not currently. And people have run out of patience. If it wasn’t Shearer, it would be the ABCs or whoever.

          When you or anyone says “stop being so negative about Shearer, we need to be united”, it comes across as “stop trying to get Labour to shift left”. This is why the unity argument doesn’t work. People are willing to let the party fall rather than let it remain in it’s rightward drift.

          • just saying

            That’s true too.
            Okay. Original question with “Shearer and what he represents”…

            • Rhinoviper

              That’s the problem as I see it. I don’t care particularly for Cunliffe – I think that he would be “better”, but not the messiah, but on the other hand he would be the real “lesser evil” whereas Shearer is more symptomatic of the deeper problem of Labour’s ABC caucus faction, which is it’s complacency and solipsism. He is now not merely a symptom; he enables the disease.

              • just saying

                And actively prevents the possibility of treatment, vaccination or cure.

              • Dr Terry

                Who needs “a messiah” for leader? Many people thought Key was messiah (and still do).
                All we want to be sure of is that we do not get Mephistopheles.

          • McFlock

            I have said repeatedly that criticism is fine and even warranted.

            When I say (for want of better phrasing) “stop being so negative about Shearer”, I mean literally that.

            According to descriptions in this thread, Shearer is a bumbling, mumbling, neoliberal demagogue who would happily spend a career killing hundreds of thousands of people (rather than trying to save them). OR the caucus needs media training and the apparent tactic of appealing to the “middle floating voter” is a way for labour to lose both its principles and the election. Which criticisms do you think are more likely to elicit change in Labour for the better?

            • Rhinoviper

              Which criticisms do you think are more likely to elicit change in Labour for the better?

              Aha, a trick question! The latter didn’t work if the response to the conference votes are any guide.

              • McFlock

                Not very reasonable to write off the party before the bulk of policy has been determined.

                • Colonial Viper

                  You say you prefer to assess the direction of the Labour Party based on its policies.

                  You also say that the bulk of Labour Party policies have not yet been determined.

                  Does this imply that the direction of the Labour Party remains unknowable at this time, and will remain unknowable until say 2014, when the bulk of policies have been determined?

                  • McFlock

                    Nope. One would assume that labour would be broadly consistent with the policies it was elected on in 2011.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      was elected on in 2011

                      you may not have noticed, but they weren’t elected on those policies. They lost.

                      Being a pessimist, I can agree with your prognostication, but can you understand the frustration of Labour voters, members, activists and ex-supporters after they kept faith for three years with Gaffe, hoped he’d eventually get to work and then saw the current Politburo so aggressively dismiss their concerns?

                      The vitriol that Shearer attracts may be more than he as a person deserves, but so what? He’s not just a person, he’s Leader of the Labour Party and Pretender to the Throne. He wants to be in the kitchen, he wants to be the master chef, but it’s too hot? Well, Diddums.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I presume you mean elected on in 2005.

                      The problem is that being broadly consistent with the policies of that time is not entirely satisfactory – peak financialisation, peak energy, peak climate are now much more serious, much more recognised and much more immediate problems than they were back then.

                      Further, the policies of the 3rd Labour term helped give National a huge victory in 2008.

                    • McFlock

                      They were elected to parliament as representatives. Their policy platform was their electoral contract, if you will.

                      As for the rest, I am somewhat bemused. Waiting three years? Labour hasn’t been more than fair left for decades.

                      It seems to me that people have forgotten that there’s no quick victory and endgame. The best we can do is improvements where we can, and the way to leverage that is for minor parties to apply the force using Labour as the fulcrum.

                      Lamenting a lack of left wing Labour now is like waiting thirty years before grieving about the death of a loved one.

                      And my concern isn’t for Shearer. My concern is that we cut off our noses to spite our face.

          • AmaKiwi

            “You do realise that Shearer isn’t really the problem”

            He stole an election.

            Then he turned out to be Captain Mumblefuck instead of the brilliant leader he, Robertson, Goff, King, and Parker promised.

            • Colonial Weka

              If Shearer disappeared off the face of the earth, do you think all would suddenly be well with the Labour party?

        • the sprout

          That’s because you obviously haven’t been paying attention.

          • McFlock

            been trying to scry it through the bile and hyperbole, but frankly still haven’t found it yet.

        • fenderviper

          “Because Labour needs 35-40% for the left to win”

          I’d be happy with Lab 25%, Greens 25%

          • McFlock

            Hell, I’d be happy with the Alliance on 60%. 🙂

          • Colonial Weka

            “I’d be happy with Lab 25%, Greens 25%”

            Or Lab 25% and Greens 26% 😉

            I’m not yet convinced that Labour know how to play with the others in the sandbox though.

        • Rhinoviper

          Which would sadden me. Because Labour needs 35-40% for the left to win. Left wing policy will be supplied by mana and the greens.

          Wishful thinking.

          Maybe left-wing policy will be supplied by Mana and the Greens, but what if some focus group says that Mana and Green policy will scare the horses?

          Two things can happen:

          (A) Cabinet collective responsibility is invoked and a Mana/Green bill is throttled at birth.

          (B)There is a press release stating that the parties have a mature understanding where they can agree to differ… but Labour will vote any genuinely left-wing policy down on its second reading.

          I think Mana and the Greens need to go Hell for leather in the pursuit of votes, because otherwise, if they enter a full coalition instead of confidence and supply, a right-wing Labour or a cowardly Labour will simply squash them at every turn. I’m sure they know that.

          • McFlock

            Maybe if lab was at 45 it could play two 7% parties against each other. But not at 35 or 40, where it needs both to get anything done.

    • QoTViper 17.5

      The joy of “Captain Mumblefuck” is that, unlike say Captain Panic Pants, it’s far harder for the media to quote when covering the vile conspiracy to destabilise Shearer’s leadership, if that’s what you’re getting at.

      • McFlock 17.5.1

        because the media is the only way disparaging comments and rumours get distributed, obviously…

        • QoT

          Of course it isn’t, but it’s the medium (lol) that does the most damage in demographics who aren’t already reading political blogs.

          Just say what you mean, McFlock. It’ll be a lot easier to have a decent conversation then, especially when from current appearances you’ve decided to pre-emptively ban one nickname coined by a marginalised ranty blogger for all future Shearer fuckups.

          • McFlock

            Ban? No.
            All I’m saying is that you’ve done some of national’s dirty work for them. You’ve provided a nice little disparaging nickname that can be the replacement for the innuendo about HC’s orientation.

            But apparently you’d prefer national to win rather than have shearer as caucus leader.

            • ianmac

              McFlock: Been Reading your observations and I like the rational commonsense point of view that you write. (I think that some negative commentators must be Whaleoil in disguise, and doing National’s job for them?)
              It would be most unusual for a contending Party to declare specific policy this far out from an election. Therefore the constant cry here, that Labour is failing, seems weird.

              And I think that the old “we are Left” and “they are Right” is well past its use-by date in the 21st Century. I wonder if the “Left” could clearly define itself. Union member? Working class? Poorly educated? Low wage earner? Railway worker?

              • karol

                Left wing is a political position, and not so much related to background or occupation: so saith wikip:

                In politics, left-wing describes an outlook or specific position that accepts or supports social equality, often in opposition to social hierarchy and social inequality.[1][2][3][4] It usually involves a concern for those in society who are disadvantaged relative to others and an assumption that there are unjustified inequalities (which right-wing politics views as natural or traditional) that need to be reduced or abolished.[3]

                There have been plenty of “rational” explanations for opposing Team Shearer and the current state of the Labour caucus. However, looking the comments in this thread n support of Team Shearer just seem to pretty much ignore or distort them.

                For myself, a Labour government that doesn’t do anything much to improve things for the disadvantaged, and focuses more on appeasing the dominant voices in the MSM and elitist/powerful institutions, is not a government I would support.

                Some of us have been watching the fluffing about by the Labour caucus on policies and political position for too long. We face a difficult future. It needs a major change, in favour of democratic participation, income and social justice, etc, etc. A government that is marginally better than NAct is not a solution for the future.

                In the long term, a weak one term Labour-led government could do more harm than good. For those of us who think change is desperately needed, now is the time to ask for it, to ask often, and to campaign for a different direction for the future.

              • Mary

                “It would be most unusual for a contending Party to declare specific policy this far out from an election.”

                Labour muddied its position on social security throughout the 2008 election campaign as well. Couldn’t be honest on how close they are to National on all things relating to benefits no doubt scared they’d cop the sort of flack they’re getting now about what sort of party they are so just clammed up. Ask Ardern now about Labour’s welfare policy and you’ll experience the same deathly silence that came from King whenever she was asked the same question. People say “give Labour a chance, they haven’t even released their policy yet”. I say that’s bullshit. Recent history proves that Labour’s welfare policies are not dissimilar to National’s. The fact that when questioned Labour refuses to say their position has changed, together with all of the other tell-tale signs like the roof-painting remark, shows pretty clearly what sort of party Labour has become. When questioned on whether Labour regretted its attack on the poor between 1999 and 2008 and if it would reverse that damage and change its stance Shearer replied: “Labour’s a party for workers.” It’s pretty clear Labour’s made its bed.

              • geoff

                Spoken like a true chardonnay socialist, Ianmac. Sounds like you’re socialist in principle but not in practice. Perhaps you’ve just a few too many Telecom shares or the family trust is nicely set up, no need to rock the boat with radical politics eh?

                • ianmac

                  Tell me Geoff. What is the unifying characteristic of the “Left”?
                  Are you saying that you cannot be Left if you own shares or own Trusts? That would deny a huge number of potential “Leftists.” (I own shares in nothing but even if I did why would you use that as a dig? As I am someone who is a supporter, but one who is also concerned that the rhetoric of disdain aimed at Labour Leadership is a betrayal in my eyes, of a Party adapting to modern NZ.)
                  Well geoff, what is the unifying characteristic of the Left?
                  (I accept Karol’s wikip definition @4:56, but am surprised that it was not part of easily known clarion call accepted by us all. “This is what we all believe and we have the means at hand to achieve it all.”)

                  • Mary

                    “As I am someone who is a supporter, but one who is also concerned that the rhetoric of disdain aimed at Labour Leadership is a betrayal in my eyes, of a Party adapting to modern NZ.”

                    If a modern NZ means relegating the poorest of our poor to the class of untouchable then it’s a modern NZ I want no part of.

                  • geoff

                    (I don’t get comment response alerts so have only found your comment now)

                    I’m not into reducing a cocept like Left into a single characteristic but… In the most simplistic terms, for me, the left is about equity. Equity for people, equity for the environment.

                    There is very little that is equitable about the behaviour of the Labour leadership, we just keep seeing example after example of them stomping on the throats of anyone who challenges them (eg, ignoring the first leadership challenge, their response to democratisation at the conference, Clair Curran’s stupid attempt to censor people on the net).

                    If there has been any betrayal it has been a betrayal of NZ from Labour leadership, something that has occurred from the Lange government onwards.
                    Perhaps you’re too young to remember, but there was a time in this country when obtaining and holding a job, owning a house that was reasonably priced and receiving a free education was considered normal.

                    All of that has gone in favour of a very unequitable and unsustainable system. A system which has remained unchallenged by the Labour party for 30 years. Now that, on a global scale, that same unequitable system is essentially broken there is a great opportunity from the Labour Party to point this out, to reframe the debate and provide a more equitable alternative. But what have they done? In an era where social media is democratising every facet of life the Labour Party leadership shows what a dinosaur it is and tries to clumsily kill off that democratising force.

                    Entities such as the sharemarket and trusts are instruments of the wealthy to maintain their unequitable advantage over the rest of society, it is obvious that a politically left-wing person should question them.

                    That you have confessed that you don’t know what Left and Right means suggests that you are either ignorant or trying to use sophistry to push your agenda. Having read some more of your comments it seems more likely that it is the former. Perhaps it might be a good time for you to educate yourself about political history so that you can more usefully contribute to the discussion.

            • QoT

              A mistype in the early morning: I intended “blame”, not ban, since of course you have no power to stop me calling Captain Mumblefuck whatever the fuck I choose.

              And comparing a criticism based on actual observation about the actual way he actually speaks to years of sexist, homophobic abuse heaped on Helen Clark just because a lot of douchebags can’t handle the existence of powerful women is fucking pathetic of you.

              • McFlock

                I wasn’t comparing degrees of hardship.

                Nor was I blaming “mumblefuck” for all shearer’s shortcomings.

                Just that you helped nact by coming up with a handy little moniker that they can share with each other to try to belittle shearer and labour. Good for you.

                • QoT

                  Because the mainstream, non-blogging voter public are going to totally resonate with that one. 🙄

                  And the National Party has no history of coining far more widely-appealing nicknames for Labour politicians. 🙄

                  How is Phil-in Goff doing, by the way?

                  • McFlock

                    bit more contrived than captain mumblefuck.

                    Will national win solely because of your moniker? Nope. Does it give them a wee bit of help? Yes. Does it do anything to help labour or the left get their shit together and/or introduce farther-left policies? Nope.

              • Populuxe1

                The corollary of that is, of course, that regardless of whether Helen Clark is or is not in the closet (and it’s really none of our business one way or the other – I’m not speculating on that), (and it maters not a jot) it’s a very sad state of affairs that so many people make this assumption that she’s hiding her sexuality so that she could get ahead in politics. It’s sad that we live in a culture where that would even be a consideration.

              • David H

                I call him Captain Stutterbum my self. Both names have the same meaning. Go and learn how to speak off the cuff, without 2 weeks practicing in front of the fucking mirror! Them maybe, and just maybe with a couple of tons of luck, we may take Shearer seriously, that and stepping down and apologising to the wider membership for being a fool.

            • felixviper

              “You’ve provided a nice little disparaging nickname that can be the replacement for the innuendo about HC’s orientation.”

              Wow. That’s just… wow.

              What was it you were saying about hyperbolic bullshit?

              • McFlock

                snickering little comments for toryboys to use rather than looking at reality, is what I mean.

                • felixviper

                  Yeah, except that it’s true.

                  • McFlock

                    aye, true enough for a given margin for error.

                    I still think it’s doing nact’s job for them, though.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I still think it’s doing nact’s job for them, though.

                      Reality check. I really doubt that it’s us commoners outside Parliament who are keeping Labour at around 31%-32% polling.

                    • McFlock

                      That’s one interpretation of the polls. Don’t agree with it myself, though.

                    • Mary

                      “I still think it’s doing nact’s job for them, though.”

                      Accepting Labour’s treatment of beneficiaries is the same as doing Nact’s job for them because Labour’s position on social security is the same as Nact’s. Some even say that what Labour did in 2004 and 2007 was worse because basic cornerstones of the social security system were removed, a view that’s in lots of ways quite true. Do you think in such a scenario we should start supporting Nact because they’ve become “the lesser of two evils”? I’d like to think we wouldn’t be so defeatist.

                    • McFlock


                      I’d expect people to go greens or mana or alliance in droves. But I’d also expect the most effort and passion to be expended on attacking the worse enemy.

    • MrSmith 17.6

      This is starting to feel like a re-run of the last election tho McFlock, maybe the Labour will get over the line this time but the sooner the Greens start to dominate this coalitions the better, then I suggest they sweep up what’s left of the Labour party an into the compost with them.

      In todays world I would have thought you need a few things to lead a government or political party.

      1) Quick-wittiness would be handy.

      2) At-least try to answer just about any question asked of you, clearly and confidently, even if you don’t have the correct answer. (remind you of someone)

      3) Sell a clear vision&message that you can articulate in a language that everyone can understand.

      4) You’d have to know your lines of-course, today more than ever, and should be able to anticipate questions you are likely to be asked, ‘in advance’.

      5) Lastly practice, practice, practice giving answers to those questions that haven’t been asked and may never be, over and over and over again until you get them right.

      Anyone seen this person?

      • Colonial Viper 17.6.1

        You also need strong debate sparring partners to practice against in private, ones who really understand and can use the National/neoliberal perspective against you.

  18. Shona 18

    From now on Shearer will always be referred to as Captain Mumblefuck in our house. Simply brilliant! What an excellent New Year wakethefuckup rant.

    • Rhinoviper 18.1

      I also think that “Outside Left” is also a moniker to be used and thrown back at those who would use it to belittle and marginalise critics.

      Who’s “inside”? Those in a very exclusive New England WASP golf club or those in a bunker? Which is the most attractive? Well, it doesn’t matter, because both are doomed by history one way or another.

  19. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 19

    Post may contain traces of peanuts left over by monkeys in the Cirque du …Merde.

    Why when I click on ‘Why the February vote’.. in the left hand list do I
    get sent to Gimme Sense? No smart answers please.

  20. Tiresias 20

    What I believe – and hope – we’re seeing is the almost inevitable consequence of Proportional Representation.

    The old two-party system which was an almost inevitable consequence of First-Past-the-Post is crumbling. Even in the UK where they don’t have PR yet the last citizenty indicated they wanted it by breaking the mould in the last election with the Tories forced into coalition with the Liberal-Democrats as people switched to the Lib Dems in large numbers from both the Tories and Labour. Unfortunately Clegg has turned out to be another Obama and betrayed those who supported him just as Winston Peters did here in 1996 and will likely suffer as Peters did in 1999 but the result was that having broken the habit of a life time and voting for a third-party, many more voters than has been the case see it as a realistic option. In consequence the Tories in the UK are watching the growth of UKIP to their right while the Greens won their first ever Commons seat in 2011 and are becoming a serious worry to Labour.

    “The Left” has always been a sack of cats with a far wider range of sincerely held views on where we should be going and how to get there, and has committed suicide at the polls far more often than the Right has won power on its merits despite the Right having a much less complex message and hence greater coherence. The hissing and bitching of authors like the one above is merely symptomatic of the sqabbling that has riven the Left from the beginning – get three socialists in a room and you’ll have six opinions.

    David Shearer for all his vaunted qualities as a peace-keeper and aid worker clearly can’t manage the sack of cats that is the Labour Party. I think that’s a pity as to my mind he’s one of the few genuine people in Parliament. He isn’t slick, he isn’t quick with the witty repartee, he doesn’t present himself as Captain Marvell. If he actually won the Prime Ministership I think he’d probably do his best to do the right things for the country in the six-weeks or so that he had before he was stabbed in the back by some charismatic sociopath who secretly believes he was born to be Prime Minister just as the present incumbent does.

    But in the long run it doesn’t matter. Over the next decade Labour and National will both dwindle as new parties come and either find a constituence or go – as Labour has already experienced with the Maori Party and National with Act. Some will be flashes in the pan, others will take seed and mature. Single party government – and statements like “Labour will win the next election” – will be history. Parliament itself will become a sack of cats some poor bugger will have to try to get to yowl in some semblence of coherence, Government will become unstable Italian-style, and we’ll probably be as close to a true democracy as its possible to get.

    Personally I’m looking forward to it, particularly as it means that if I don’t like what the Party I supposed yesterday are doing or who it’s being led by I won’t be limited to bitching about it but voting for it anyway.

  21. the sprout 21

    Great post QoT, hear hear.
    I would shut up if Mumblefuck insists on a party vote to legitimise his leadership, but frankly, I expect him and the ABC flying monkey squad to try everything they possibly can to avoid a democratic vote on his leadership.

    • AmaKiwi 21.1

      If Mumblefuck, Robertson, Goff, King, and Ducky succeed in blocking a primary election, it will be the biggest favor the LP ever did for the Greens and Mana.

      • xtasy 21.1.1

        Sounds like the “Gang of Four” to me, similar to what happened in Mainland China after the death of Mao Dse Dong, where his wife was suspected of conspiracies with a few others!?

        “GANG OF FOUR”, what a good and fitting name for the ones in control there?!

  22. xtasy 22

    After presenting to us his “great” apron before the Christmas barbeque, I have heard rumours that David Shearer has sent one or two of his staffers around Auckland (Ponsonby), to find a neat little skirt and maybe even leotard outfit to wear on the “Big Gay Out Auckland” coming up before the vote in February.

    He has learned from John Key that this is a venue to have some fun and laughs, to get a few votes from a caring and highly entertaining social group, who are all so loving and just enjoy a great fun event, to feel equal to all of us.

    So be ready now, David will come, dress up as Dame Edna Average or similar, doing a twist dance on the stage, lifting the skirt a bit, to show his shaved (sheared) bold and pretty legs, and he is going to be ON the news then also, competing for popular appeal and attention with John, da old boy from Hawaii.

    This will be the “game changer”, will charm David the Cunning Liffe (or lippe), and it will wipe the dance floors, to make David the Charmer (shorn Shearer) now, the winner for 2013, never mind 2014.

  23. xtasy 23

    Come on QoTViper:

    With the Imperial Japanese colours behind him, Shearer is destined to be a “success”, of course, the Empire rules and will rule, and if there is dissent, it gets dealt with resolutely.

    I am waiting for some kamikaze action from the hero up the front (Chris not so “hip” Hipkins), who shat on Cunliffe something big, he is welcomed to ram his little plane right down into the target, but as we know kamikaze pilots hardly ever survived their “hits”.

    Yes, interesting weeks lie ahead, but like many, I am fearing, fearing, dreadful developments and times ahead. Hence I remain robustly adament, a NEW LEFT PARTY without the unhealthy baggage Labour carry is totally overdue and NEEDED!

    Break this sick cycle of little more or less right of centre, prentending to be “left” of nowhere, and get the whole gang in caucus sacked!

  24. shorts 24

    simply put Labour is a total and utter shambles… but I disagree about a new left party

    we’ve got it in the Greens

    Labours task is to either get its house sorted and be that which it pretends to be or contiue to fall

    the rest is merely rearranging chairs and putting up bunting… the public get enough of that from National – and they dominate the media cycle (as they are so good at it), so Labour has to do the unthinkable – move to the left and be unapologetic about that

  25. Te Reo Putake 25

    Interesting, but irrelevant post QOT. The party is actually in great shape, the majority of members are happy with Shearer, particularly after the truly excellent speech at conference. Membership is up, prospects are good and the polls are heading in the right direction. Happily, the wishful thinking of non-Labour voters isn’t going to change that for the worse and the Labour/Green government that we will have in 2 years (or less) may turn out to be a fundamental shift in power in NZ.

    I don’t mind the carping, it’s good to have the party poked with a sharp stick occasionally. But the future is ours to write. It’s going to take good policy and hard work, but the next Government is going to make it all worthwhile.

    The Feb vote will not only confirm the current leadership, it will confirm the strength of the democratisation process that was formalised at conference. The LP and the Greens will be able to go into coalition knowing that they both have genuine support in their parties, expressed democratically. For the future, that means policy that the members want has a greater chance of getting to become legislation. That will be a first in Kiwi politics.

    The reason I say this post is irrelevant is because the voting public don’t read the Standard (more’s the pity). They will elect the next government despite the whingeing. Sorry to have to inject some reality into the proceedings, but that’s life.

    If any readers want to make a difference, instead of sitting on the sidelines whistling in the wind, join the party of your preference. Hint, the bigger the party is in the coalition, the more chance your preferred policy will become law.

    • felixviper 25.1

      I thought fisiani had been banned…

      • David H 25.1.1

        I thought it was Pete George in disguise, has that same stink to it, you know sycophancy.

    • Pascal's bookie 25.2

      TRP. Perhaps you ought to lobby caucus to take a really obvious step that would demonstrate once and for all Shearer’s broad support within the party.

      Not a challenge in Feb, but a vote of confidence from the party in Shearer’s leadership from the whole party. Clear everything up nice and clean and tidy like, with no room for dispute.

    • Colonial Viper 25.3

      Hint, the bigger your preferred party is in the coalition, the more chance your preferred policy will become law.

      Just for clarity’s sake TRP 😉

      • Mary 25.3.1

        Yes, and while a Left coalition without Labour is something we should ultimately be aiming for, the best we can manage for now is likely to be a Left coalition with the minimum amount of support from Labour to enable such a coalition to form. Of course, a Left coalition with Labour is an oxymoron, but I guess that’s life.

      • Te Reo Putake 25.3.2

        Cheers, CV, quite right, that’s what I meant to say.

        • Oscar

          TRP reads like Jordan Carter who after the 2008 and 2011 elections stuck to the same message

          “The Voters Gave LABOUR a big tick of NOT FIT TO LEAD”

          Hmmph. Honestly. Perhaps in 2008 the voters got sick of Labour.
          In 2011, Labour came soooo close. But the mistake of leaving Goff off the billboards gave the voters the impression the party was without a head.

          Now in 2012, who’s the head? It sure as fuck ain’t mumblefuck.

          TRP – if the membership is really that happy with Shearer. Then get Mumblefuck to let us vote. Let us VOTE. The membership count is up you say? OOOH, do you think that could have something to do with people rejoining the party based on the many many inaccurate ejerkulations made by people on the blogs after mumblefuck won “join the party, get a vote in february” misleading people into believing they could vote out the fucker from the leadership???? Nah, probably didn’t cross your twitter message sized thought bank right?

          You do know what a VOTE is right? The principle of One WO/MAN One VOTE. You know, power to the people, democracy of the people, by the people, for the people?

          Mumblefucks been having a bit too much arrack with mogadishan warlords on his summer holidays up norf methinks.

          You do realise of course, if mumblefuck chooses to browbeat pissant labour MPs into following his way or the highway, people will seek to destablise the labour party as a party fit to govern? I don’t think the party would really be happy with people wearing the following tshirts


          Can you just start seeing the bullshit that 2013 and 2014 will give us?

          Of course, the scary thing is, it doesn’t even appear to have jaywalked across anyones minds in LABOUR that KEY could easily pull a snapperlection before 2014. All he needs is some dutch courage and paddy gower and boom, third term natzional.

          So if LABOUR really want to just stop this bullshit, they WILL DEMAND that Shearer let the fucking members VOTE, DAMMIT!

          • Colonial Viper

            Yeah. The Labour membership deserves to be given a democratic chance to confirm David Shearer’s leadership in February. Settle the damn issue then and move on to 2014.

            • Te Reo Putake

              The issue is settled, CV. The conference votes to dramatically change the process, but as caucus is the trigger for a wider vote and caucus is not going to make that happen, Shearer will be leading the party to some sort of a victory in a couple of years. Can we talk about policy yet? That’s the important bit!

              • Mary

                “…Shearer will be leading the party to some sort of a victory in a couple of years… Can we talk about policy yet? That’s the important bit!”

                Not so sure whether there’ll be victory in 2014, but policy’s certainly the important bit. Only problem is getting Labour to discuss its “policy”. Just ask Ardern if Labour stands by the damage it did to social security last time it was let loose, whether they plan to apologise and reverse that damage and start rebuilding a caring social welfare system; or whether they intend to continue with their attacks on the poor in the way that’s no different to what the current government is doing now. Her failure to answer will leave no choice but to continue to shun Labour and its right-wing welfare agenda. If that means going full circle and bagging Shearer then so be it.

              • Colonial Viper

                The issue is settled, CV.

                Can caucus be really happy going forwards into an election cycle with a half-hearted membership and activist base? A base which feels like they were never given a chance to confirm David Shearer democratically?

                Or would caucus like to go into 2014 with a much larger, very highly energised and 110% enthusiastic membership. One which has many new activists.

                Because that kind of positive upswell is what caucus will get if they allow the wider membership to participate in confirming the Labour Leader.

    • Saarbo 25.4


      Like many over the Christmas period, I have been speaking to people who I don’t normally speak to. I spoke to a number of people who voted for National in 2008 and 2011 but have now become disillusioned, reality has hit them…National are useless. These people are looking for alternatives.

      As a Labour member it was sad to note that all of the people I spoke to, none saw Labour as the alternative party to vote for…the main reason is because people simply don’t trust the group that are leading Labour caucus. When I told people that I have become a member of The LP, I received a myriad of responses. None of the responses were positive. This surprised me as many of the people I spoke to were public servants. The perception of Labour is very negative, some of this is to do with a very slick PR campaign by National but also Shearers 2012 performance, the fact that the Greens continually trump Labour in the MSM on the big issues, and the Greens appear to be well run and with unity (this by comparison shows how badly Labour is being run).

      You are also wrong about what most of the members are thinking, in our branch most of the members are not impressed with Shearer’s performance over 2012 and also unimpressed with the way Shearer has treated Cunliffe after the conference.

      You talk about injecting some reality into the proceedings, quite frankly you have no idea about reality. I suspect TRP that you are operating on hope and optimism rather than reality. In my view as a relatively new member (but a long time Labour Supporter), your attitude is a symptom of what is wrong with Labour. The absolute arrogance by a small clique that Labour are going to walk into power in 2014. Well given my anecdotal evidence you (and the small elite clique leading Labour) are dreaming.

      • Te Reo Putake 25.4.1

        I don’t know of any senior Labour Party people who think we will sleepwalk to victory. What I said was: “It’s going to take good policy and hard work, but the next Government is going to make it all worthwhile. ”

        There is still a big job in front of us, LP, Green or Mana, to make sure we see the back of this most dismal of governments. But I’m always optimistic; perhaps that’s why I’m a socialist.

    • Blue 25.5

      Geez, TRP. My first thought reading this was that someone had hacked your account.

      There’s optimism and then there’s delusion. You’re usually on the right side of that line, but not this time.

      • Tiger Mountain 25.5.1

        Don’t mention the war TRP.

        The LP people have well after time had a stab at giving the ordinary member more democracy but it would still seem well short of absolute say, above caucus and the parliamentary wing. The thing is the leadership is couched by msm as a win/lose and the constant revisiting of this just encourages the sporting metaphor. “Welcome to loserville, population -you!”

        How outrageous, Labour proposes building more houses and creating more jobs and it is portrayed as the end of days by the Natz. So Labour basically needs to urgently acquire some class understanding and oomph or it is hasta la vista baby.

    • QoT 25.6

      There’s only one aspect of your comment I really want to highlight, TRP.

      Membership is up

      You are a regular commenter here. You cannot have missed the huge calls post-conference for people to join Labour specifically so they get a vote in the February leadership contest, if there is one.

      So you’re seriously going to cite increased membership as an endorsement of Shearer’s leadership?

      That pretty much says it all for how you’re approaching the current status of the Labour Party.

      Oh, one other thing: the whole “you’re just a loser with a keyboard hiding in a dark room” line was sad and pathetic when David “I don’t read blogs” Shearer said it … it’s even more so when coming from another online commenter.

      • Te Reo Putake 25.6.1

        Q, if people join under the leadership of Shearer, then you are correct that can be seen as an endorsement of Shearers leadership. But if people joined because of the possibility of a vote on the leadership, then that’s equally valid. Either way, membership goes up which is great news.

        “Oh, one other thing: the whole “you’re just a loser with a keyboard hiding in a dark room” line was sad and pathetic when David “I don’t read blogs” Shearer said it … it’s even more so when coming from another online commenter.”

        Who said that? I must have missed that one, citation please?

  26. Fortran 26

    It would appear that the only winners in 2014 will be the Greens.
    Along with their organised mentors Greenpeace they will have more paid up members than Labour.
    They are greater activists, not afarid to physically to create disunity in the general public’s eyes – any publicity is good – like chopping down other party hoardings the lying about the activists. Blocking ships in harboue – assisting Watson and his whaling policies (I hate whaling too).
    They do not care about anybody – only their political and social outcomes.
    They will quite happily lie and cheat, as their outcome is all that matters.
    In good old days Labour and the Unions were the activists, but now there is so much talk and no action.
    What really did the MUNZ protest actually achieve – very little, and the public generally were not on side with the “inconvenience” it created – not the cause. The media came on board too late.

    • karol 26.1

      Nice try for an anti-Green smear, Fortran, to try to divert attention from the problems with the current LP caucus leadership. So the GP are puppets of Greenpeace?

      Nope, not among their list of networked groups.
      Do you have any evidence of the accusations you make @ 9.49am?

      They do not care about anybody – only their political and social outcomes.
      They will quite happily lie and cheat, as their outcome is all that matters

      The transparent democratic processes of the Green Party give the lie to this smear.

    • Mary 26.2

      Too much shit in what you say to sift through. If I were you I’d save it all up for Cameron Slater’s work of art.

    • QoT 26.3

      Dude, did you miss the memo? Your anti-environment masters finally figured out that hating on Greenpeace is a damn fool idea, since the whole reason they have such a large membership is that they actually have quite broad appeal with the NZ public.

      You’re meant to link the Greens with Sea Shepherd now. There’s a good little parrot.

    • felixviper 26.4

      “They do not care about anybody – only their political and social outcomes.”

      That’s just awesome.

    • bad12 26.5

      Take out the word Green, insert National, and give your comment 1 or 2 very small tweaks and hey you could be talking about the past 4 years of this Slippery lead National Government…

  27. Ennui in Requiem 27

    Shorts, What the hell makes you think the Greens are “socialist” per se? Is this the same as QOTs assumption that Labour should represent the best interests of the New Zealand leftwing?

    • Shorts 27.1

      I don’t and didn’t say they’re socialists. I do think they espouse left leaning policy and action and do so better than labour currently – that could easily change and by my own preference will

    • QoT 27.2

      My actual statement was,

      If caucus [once again] makes a decision which is blatantly not in the best interests of the New Zealand leftwing

      These days we’re seeing a lot of people ignore the raw Labour polling data (and with good reason, for them) and talk about the “combined left vote” or similar terms.

      As much as Labour doesn’t actually want to admit it (see: Shane Jones), they are currently, and for at least the next election, the biggest member of the combined left vote. When Labour voters get disaffected, a few go to the Greens, a few may even go to NZF or UF or Mana, but a fuckload do not show up to vote. Meaning National stomps home to victory once more with ~45% and a few patsy allies.

      If Labour so desperately wants to create an actual left government in this country (yes, even if by centrist standards) it can’t afford to continue sucking the life out of left/centre-left voters. In my opinion, a bullied-into-unity caucus vote for Shearer in February does exactly that.

      • Ennui in Requiem 27.2.1

        Dont disagree with what you say. Its more fundamental: I (from experience and as a past member of Labour) really dont see them as a left wing or socialist party. Should we get a Lab / Green government I dont believe for a second that we will have a government of the “left”. There are too many structures (mainly corporatist) in the whole “system” to allow that to happen, and Labour (plus Green) tacitly accept this. We will be sold short voting for those who pretend to be “our left”.

        • QoT

          Yes, but it’s just clunky to say “a left government within the boundaries of leftwing politics permitted by globalised free market capitalism” every single time.

  28. Rosie 28

    Lol times amongst bad times – thats essential therapy in these dark days. I was drawn in by the most hilarious Shearer meme. It made my morning!

    Oh, and great article too:-) Love ya work QOT!

  29. Jackal 29

    The Green’s have an open system whereby people can say what they want. There’s simply no negative commentary currently coming from Green members because there’s very little if anything to criticize.

    But when you compare that with your perceived problem within Labour to try and justify your headline, and then move into rant mode by saying:

    Clare Curran’s alleged lady-boner for outing critics notwithstanding – is to do your fucking job. With, like, at least a semblance of competence.

    …Things get a little bit fucked!

    I personally have no problem with various criticism of David Shearer when they’re justified. However his critics including yourself have not been able to verify what exactly he’s doing wrong? Oh no! He might mumble some words sometimes, how terrible… That’s hardly a reason to say Shearer is being incompetent as leader of the opposition.

    The problem here is that you seem to be expecting perfection when politics is simply not like that. Having said that, David Shearer will be a better PM than John Key, and the disproportionate amount of criticism many so-called left wing bloggers have shown Labour recently is obviously wrong! My colour is Green, what’s yours?

    Generalized comments about how terrible somebody is without actual specifics just seems like manipulation to me… With only your seat warmers comment having any semblance of truth. Say something often enough and some people will start to believe it I suppose, but it’s a weak and regurgitated argument QOT. Yawn!

  30. Rosie 30

    One more thing. Even IF there is a leadership change in the NZLP in February and we can all shout hurrah!!! and crack open the bubbly, what happens next? How do Parties/Activists/Individuals engage an apathetic/uninformed/disillusioned voter base? We have one problem with an underperforming main opposition party but also a huge problem with the very people that put governments into place.

  31. hush minx 31

    A possible plan-trying to tell Labour mps that voting in February to enable the members to have their say is what the party needs to gain strength and purpose. It’s not about any one individual (although the abc’s would like to portray it as being so), it’s about talking and walking the essence of who and what Labour is trying to represent. Challenging isn’t always about undermining – we set ourselves challenges in life when we strive for more. That’s what we want for Labour (well I do, anyway).
    And I do not believe the party is in great shape. Certainly not from the members and supporters I talk to.To say otherwise seems arrogant to me in light of the strength of feeling shown at conference. But even if they are 110% behind the current leadership give them the opportunity to voice it, and celebrate.

  32. michael 32

    There seems to be a wide gulf between what the Labour caucus want (office, power, perks, jobs after leaving politics etc) and what the Labour party members want (social justice, government machinery that works, curbing of corporate rapacity etc). Perhaps the latter group should leave the former to it and just start a new party/ How about “True Labour”? I think the biggest vote of all in 2014 will be the “no vote” (ie those who don’t bother with the whole sorry farrago), which means the right will win again (even if “Labour lite” does move back into the Beehive).

    • McFlock 32.1

      do you really think that every Labour caucus member is just after power and perks, not social justice?
      Having seen one or two of them in action, I disagree strongly.

      • Michael 32.1.1

        Perhaps some hide their ambitions better than others. I judge people by their actions, too, and I haven’t seen Labour MPs go out on a limb for the people the party was formed to represent for many years – including their time in government and in opposition. IMHO, no Labour party worth the name would have enacted the Working For Families legislation and deliberately starved children in order to force their sick, disabled, unemployed, injured, or simply single, parents into paid employment (Read the CPAG cases in the Human Rights Review Tribunal, High Court and Court of Appeal for a judicially-sanitised but still horrific account of the tale). There are many other examples, too numerous and too depressing to mention. Again IMHO, no Labour party worth the name would condone (by their silence mainly) National’s brutal “medical assessment regime” of the sick and disabled (read all the material on the UK welfare “reforms”, including the dirty tricks played by insurers who make massive profits from shafting the sick and disabled. See ACC’s track record for a view of what happens here and will happen once the Welfare Working Group gets its “reforms” of WINZ up and running. The WWG members, by and large, feed from the public troughs and both ACC and WINZ). Why aren’t Labour leading their people into the streets against these abuses of power instead of pocketing their latest pay rise? J’accuse.

        • Mary

          “There are many other examples, too numerous and too depressing to mention … Why aren’t Labour leading their people into the streets against these abuses of power instead of pocketing their latest pay rise?”

          Yes, there are many, many examples which together show pretty clearly that Labour’s beyond redemption. All the talk of “giving Labour a chance” and that they’re “the lesser of two evils” is gutless stuff. We’ve waited far too long. Labour need to hear a far stronger message that’s backed up by real action, which is rediscover what it’s like being a party of the Left, or you’re toast. It would be great if Labour did get that message but it’s unlikely in the near future because there are too many people, including many in the membership, who don’t understand the seriousness of what they’ve done. I predict they’re going to have to spend some serious time in purgatory for things to sink in, and then some more to give us time to learn how to believe and trust them again, if that’s at all possible. In the meantime we need to be relentless in our criticism of what they’ve become.

  33. Te Reo Putake 33

    And, by way of contrast, here’s a positive leadership change in India:

    Stalin will be my successor, DMK chief says:


  34. Ennui in Requiem 34

    What a column: resonated in Purgatory where there is a special section for faux aristocrats from the “left” (whatever the “left” is going from the above). Have to say Shearer has done really well, he has got the whole “left'” growling at one another whilst he glides smoothly up the “centre” greased with “support” from Matthew Ho-down. Down in Hell they would set fired to Shearers grease, up there, who can and will burn him?

  35. McFlock 35

    Well, I’ve gone through yesterday’s debate and frankly yes, in places I failed to express myself clearly, used inappropriate comparisons, conflated different comment threads, and (what I don’t normally do, and which really didn’t help) got genuinely angry at the sheer stupidity of the entire discussion on all sides. So sorry for my part in that. I didn’t intentionally misinterpret what people said, but I was/am tired at the moment (believe it or not, I don’t give a shit RV), so I apologise for that if people think in places I was particularly unfair, too.

    I still stand by the gist of what I was trying to say, though (even if I fucked up the expression of it).

    But the thought that occurred to me last night is that there’s no “endgame” to this debate. Nobody’s introducing new evidence, so it’s unlikely I (for example) will be persuaded this week that Shearer is completely terrible. Similarly, I don’t think I’ll get anywhere doing the opposite. There don’t seem to be any new arguments, so I’m not learning anything that way, either.

    This entire discussion just seems to be a pointless waste that serves only to aid and comfort the nacts and polarise their opponents against each other. I regret even getting involved..

    It’s just so fucking depressing.

    • Colonial Viper 35.1

      But there is a potential and very beneficial end game. It energises Labour and hugely increases momentum going into 2014. Let the membership democratically confirm the Leadership in Feb. Show those leaning towards the Greens that we are also a very democratic party at heart. And in the process re-engage ordinary members, bring back highly motivated activists and bring onboard the ordinary public.

    • just saying 35.2

      There is no endgame in any political debate.
      Just unfolding events.

      It occurred to me that one of the threads of your argument seemed to be “why now”? “what’s so different about Labour now?”

      It seems to me that more and more members of this forum are drawing, or have drawn a line in the sand. There may have been a particular event, but it is the accumulation that is important.

      I had a similar experience before I joined and was active in the Alliance some years ago. I can’t remember now what particular incident triggered the move, but I well remember the accumulation of outrage finally spilling over into active resistance.

  36. ad 36

    Top work QoT keep the pressure up for a strong Left leadership.

  37. ad 37

    …and with the posts that followed in the next day, it shows why QoT is turning into the hard Left’s Duncan Garner of attack-dogs. And it’s about time they had one.

  38. ad 38

    We will know within 10 days whether there will be any spill or not.

  39. ad 39

    Personalisation from Bowalley Road doesn’t help in any form.

  40. ad 40

    Good to see Labour MPs beginning to wake up in the media now.

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  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

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