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2c on the leadership

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 am, December 12th, 2011 - 116 comments
Categories: labour, leadership - Tags: , , ,

Here’s my 2c on the Labour leadership, for what it’s worth.

Robertson, Mahuta, Shearer and Cunliffe are all, for different reasons, strong candidates. It’s reassuring to see the depth of skill, talent, and passion in the party. I thank them all for putting themselves forward, and I wish them all well. Whichever combination ends up with the difficult job of leadership, they will have my full support.

Shearer’s strength is clearly his compelling back story. He’s a good bloke. But he isn’t debate / media ready. His slight awkwardness (reminiscent in some ways of early Brash) could be a killer to his leadership. Or (and recall Brash’s near success in 2005) it could be seen by the public as evidence that he is genuine, honest, not “just another politician”. Shearer is a risk, and I honestly don’t know which way his leadership would go.

Cunliffe’s strength is clearly his polish and his command of detail. He’s very very sharp (reminiscent in some ways of Cullen), he could go toe to toe in debate with any Nat and win. But rumours of his unpopularity in caucus are a worry. Could he unite and motivate them? His obvious skills will be wasted if he can’t bring everyone in behind him. Cunliffe is a risk, and I honestly don’t know which way his leadership would go.

In the end it comes down to two questions. Are the public looking for a good bloke, or are they looking for a compelling politician? Which of the two can unite, motivate, and lead, the caucus and the wider party?

For the deputy role again both candidates have real strengths.

So I, as usual, have confused myself into indecision. But from keeping an eye on comments here on The Standard I note a clear and strong preference for Cunliffe / Mahuta. They seem to be the choice of activists and members, which I think caucus ignores at its peril.

116 comments on “2c on the leadership ”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    Can Labour have both ?
    What worked was Clark -Cullen, and for National Key- English.

    • higherstandard 1.1

      What worked was Clark + Heather Simpson + Cullen.

      What was abundantly clear during the election campaign and before was the lack of an H2 type axe murderer to keep the troops under control, not sure who plays this role for the Nats ?

    • Mr Magoo 1.2

      You are right. They could have both but I think Cunliffe is too much into burning the bridge.

      And to answer your loaded question: They want a nice guy who they can identify with.

      How do I know? The last two elections…

      But feel free to not pay any attention to that and stuff this all up again labour…

  2. Anthony 2

    Maybe it depends on the type of person you are but I find once David Cunliffe gets on a roll he is inspiring because the ideas he is communicating and his passion for them are inspiring, once someone does that I couldn’t give a shit about backstory.

    Win back voters based on the strength of Labour’s principles and how these apply to their lives, it may be harder than just appealing to superficial instincts for short term gains, but the results will be more long lived.

  3. King Kong 3

    One question I haven’t seen answered about Cunliffe is if the people who know you best (your Caucus colleagues) have problems liking you, what happens when the voting public of NZ get to know you?

    Being able to make a statement on tele with saying um or errh too much might not be that much of an advantage if it turns out that you just happen to have a face that most people would like to punch (figuratively).

    • IrishBill 3.1

      I’m interested in this idea that the caucus doesn’t like Cunliffe. As far as I can tell it’s a small number of them who are very vocal about it and led by one particular MP with an axe to grind.

      The other thing I’m not sure about is why being likeable is supposed to be such a good attribute. The last really personable leader Labour had was David Lange and he reigned over the very worst years the Labour party has ever seen.

      • King Kong 3.1.1

        If that is the case then the lone MP who has been keeping this story alive needs to be put in charge of Labours comms (if they aren’t already).

        Being able to single handedly keep a rumour going that strong for a good few years without the rest of caucus, (who know it to be untrue) shutting it down is a feat of machiavellian genius.

        Either that or it is true that Cunliffe is an unlikeable know it all.

        • IrishBill

          What do you mean by lone MP? I don’t see that I’ve written that anywhere. Tell you what – you can explain to me where I’ve said this is the work of a lone mp or you can take a week off for misrepresenting what I said.

          • King Kong

            I was referring to “led by one particular MP with an axe to grind”. Though to be fair you did mention a small team so ‘lone mp’ is not right.

            Kudos is still due to this vexed ringmaster for how well he got the message out there.

          • Anthony

            Concern troll is concerned.

            Great follow up to the classic “how much being gay affects Grants decision making” one.

      • The Voice of Reason 3.1.2

        Exactly right, IB. I’m told that the so called ‘ABC’ group are no more than half a dozen MP’s, at best. Their votes are already committed to Shearer, so their only use now is to try and influence the few MP’s still wavering. And the number of uncommitted MP’s seems to have dropped from the 8 quoted last Friday.

        My guess is that Cunliffe will win and he will offer a prominent role to Shearer as compensation. But, frankly, either would be good. The real standout for me in this contest is just how deep the talent pool now looks in Labour, despite losing some good MP’s two weeks ago. If this was National replacing Key, they’d struggle to find anyone to stand, let alone two excellent candidates.

        And that is certainly a live issue for the Tories; when Key does a runner in 18 months or so, which muppet will be put up for the PM’s job? Joyce? Bennett? Tolly? All completely unelectable, as I see it. And, just as an aside, in Key’s first term as leader he had to sack two MP’s because of personal corruption. On the current numbers, he can’t even afford to lose one. So who is going to be the Nat MP that gets caught with their hand in the till or up a skirt this time? And what if they are in a marginal seat and the Nats lose the subsequent by-election?

      • mickysavage 3.1.3

        I’m interested in this idea that the caucus doesn’t like Cunliffe. As far as I can tell it’s a small number of them who are very vocal about it and led by one particular MP with an axe to grind.
        Yep Irish.  One in particular who has assiduously cultivated this theme through leaks to the media for the past three years.
        Shame on him.

  4. Brokenback 4

    Labour just got dicked in a general election and its “brand” & position in the political spectrum are in serious trouble
    The parallel’s with 1981 and the failure of Bill Rowling vs Phil Goff  are worth considering.

    Rowling was replaced with Lange , contentious, controversial , debater extrordinaire , son of a Minister and the electorate was mesmerised.

    To me there is no need to debate .

    Shearer is & will be a great asset on the front bench but there is no contest for leader .
    He is a technocrat & manager , whose integrity & competence is beyond reproach.
    Cunnliffe will keep Labour in the news , he will build support & challenge people to consider their views.
    He will win the next election against a Keyless [ John will have to depart to oversee his newly filched assets] National and history will remember him as labour’s great savior .

    If you don’t believe me , just listen to the drivel emanating from the fascist spin machine dissing him & supporting Shearer.

    The old adage ” Your enemy’s  enemies are your friends” holds true and I urge all the Labour caucus to consider well their choice tomorrow. 

    • queenstfarmer 4.1

      If you don’t believe me , just listen to the drivel emanating from the fascist spin machine dissing him & supporting Shearer.

      “Fascist spin machine” – that’s a rather harsh way to describe Phill Goff, Annette King, Jacinda Adern, Grant Robertson, et at.

    • Hami Shearlie 4.2

      Me too BB!

  5. Blue 5

    One of Key’s main strengths is to appear as if he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the economy. Voters like that – they want someone who knows their shit on such an important issue. Quite a few people said to me after the election that they were glad John Key was back ‘because he’s good with numbers’.

    The only candidate who can foot it with Key on the numbers game is David Cunliffe. Shearer would be just another Goff, looking hapless as Key yells ‘show me the money!’

    Whoever wins has to take the economic fight to Key, and DC is the only man for the job.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      Good with numbers ???-
      Its laughable. Its just his back story mixed with optimism that verges on delusional.

      If you ask them what numbers ,they dont have a clue

  6. Enough is Enough 6

    I am on record as advancing Shearer, for the reason that the activists don’t need to be convinced that Labour is right for the country. They are (to use a Cunliffe phrase) tribal Labour and will get in behind whoever is the leader.

    To win the non tribal Labour voters you need someone who appeals. I feel Shearer is more likely to appeal to the 300,00o voters that have left Labour since 2005.

    Cunliffe, like Cullen before him can achieve everything he needs to from a senior caucus role. But I don’t think he can persuade the public to return a left government. The media already dislike him so he has a huge uphill battle already.

    Shearer is a gamble but he has the advantage of everyone liking him. He doesn’t have to smooth over the idiotic media because they have already softened to him. He is a capable leader and organiser and in my view is more likely to win back voters for the Labour party.

    • The media already dislike him so he has a huge uphill battle already.
      Have you seen any of the countless interviews where David locks in with the interviewer and they start knodding and smiling because he is engaging with him and and discussing their question with them rather than reverting to the regurgitation of slogans.  As an example here is a recent tv3 interview.  It was poetry in motion.
      And add to this his economic smarts.  The next three years will be about taking the economic debate to Key.  Not hopefully smiling and waving better than him.

      • Anthony 6.1.1

        Labour should leave the gambling to John Key and NACT and focus on substance and evidence.

        • Enough is Enough

          Labour has won the last two elections on substance yet have lost on something else.

          The left will always win on substance, it is how we deliver that message which is the problem. Getting on side with the messanger (the media) is what we need to do in the next three years.

          Clark and Goff were both infinitley more intelligent than Key in almost every respect and had a better grasp of the substance of their policy.

          Substance is not the problem facing us and not something we need to get worried about. It is a messanger that non Labour/political people will warm to which is what we need.

      • Enough is Enough 6.1.2

        Most interviewers agreed with Goff as well. There wasn’t really an issue that he talked about where he got shot down. When he answered a question I can’t recall an interviewer ever disagreeing with him for the simple fact his answers were always correct.

        But there was always this underlying theme that Goff was unpopular and unelectable. And if anything that theme is almost stronger with Cunliffe. Very few people know what goes on in the Labour causus but we keep hearing about how unpopular Cunliffe is. The story is live and Cunliffe will have to battle to kill it going forward.

        Cunliffe will be a senior minister with a hell of a lot of influence in the next government regardless of where he sits. But these bullshit stories about his popularity will act a distraction to getting the message out. It is a distraction we can’t afford and one which I don’t think will exist with Shearer.

        In saying that (from a Green members perspective) I am 100% behind whoever is elected. And I hope on Tuesday afternoon the left, including the Greens, gets in behind the new leader.

        • Anthony

          Bollocks, Goff was undermined as “phil in” and a seat warmer fighting an unwinnable election since day one, nothing like that exists for Cunliffe.

          Saying that theme is stronger for Cunliffe is pure bullshit plain and simple.

        • Colonial Viper

          You’ve spent most of the words you’ve typed suggesting Cunliffe’s weaknesses as leader, fair enough, but what are Shearer’s strengths? It’s in personal affability, the public domain and in the media most seem to believe. Yet a bunch of headlines like this

          Desperate Labour Caucus chances inexperienced Shearer

          will be all that it takes to send that under the water permanently. And then what?

      • King Kong 6.1.3

        You better hope Cunliffe wins Mickey.

        Nailing your colours this hard to the pole will not do your aspirations in the party any good if the other bloke wins it.

        • mickysavage

          I am but one loyal footsoldier activist amongst many in the party.  I actually think the parliamentarians have more to fear over this decision than I do as I have no expectations whatsoever.

          • lprent

            Pretty much the way I am thinking as well.

            I had very low expectations of the Labour caucus, because as a group they seem to be rather blind to the state of the party, its members, and its activists. In other words the things that are required to win elections and to survive being in the wilderness. I just see a lot of largely meaningless words, just as I’ve seen over many years, but little tangible change. Quite simply they appear to spend most of their time peering up each others arses (and those of their staffers) in search of electoral wisdom rather than understanding some of the basics.

            While I’m kind of enthused with the ideas behind the candidates roadshow, it really didn’t answer a lot of my original questions when this debate started (my post when David Parker dropped out). It feels more someone thought it would be a good PR exercise in anointing a predefined leader. In practice it is has mostly highlighted the width of the unbridged gap between caucus and party. I kind of feel that the caucus are still looking for easy solutions and magic bullets that they don’t have to do some frigging hard work on. Another butterfly plaster where they need stitches.

            I’m far less interested in the politics (which is why I can’t be bothered to do any) than in helping make the work happen. But I’m getting seriously bored with helping to prop egos (I don’t have that high an opinion of politicians as a breed) when I see them making basic operational screwups. For instance the quite apparent emphasis on electorate votes rather than party vote at ground level across many electorates in the last election. If a idiot can see it (Whale has written several posts on that), then why can’t the MP’s see why that is a negative sum game?.

            As I’m writing this, I’m remembering back to a big get together after the last election here in Auckland. The types of things that many of the hardcore ground level activists were saying then, we’re still saying them now – nothing much seemed to have happened.

          • Craig Glen Eden

            You obviously don’t know Mickey KK he is not in the Labour Party for what he can get. He wants nothing and owes no one anything. As he has said its the caucus who has much to loose should they not elect Cunliffe and Mahuta. To all those Labour MPs voting tomorrow just remember this, when you vote you will answer to us all rank and file come Wednesday morning and so you should, no bullshit or deflection will save you from that accountability.

            Any one but Cunliffe does not cut it.If you want any chance of winning in 2014 the choice is clear and so have the rank and file been about who they want to take the party into 2014.

            You are all in a very privileged position with privilege comes accountability.

            • lprent

              You obviously don’t know Mickey KK he is not in the Labour Party for what he can get. He wants nothing and owes no one anything.

              Yep. Same with many of the others that I ‘recognize’ around these pages. They are also the ones that don’t sound like bloody PR flacks and raise the questions that need to answered rather than papered over with spurious claims to ‘loyalties’.

              It has certainly been my philosophy inside the party over the years that I’m interested in the overall direction for our society. The party is just the best way to make what I consider the best approaches to happen. And the individual politicians as being the required tools. As far as I’m concerned the party needs to be driven from its activists like mickey or it loses its sense of direction.

    • lprent 6.2

      … for the reason that the activists don’t need to be convinced that Labour is right for the country

      Nope. We might be convinced of the need. The question is on how much we are willing to actively work as the caucus consistently appears to ignore the party.

      I’m pretty much considering that I should stop wasting my time and leave the work to the work-shy wafflers acting as flappers to the politicians egos. 

      Many of the unsung tribal activists are feeling the same. It is this feeling of having been here several times before with the same bull floating around as last time, and no substantive change.

      Quite simply the aura of cynicism among the effective activists is getting intense. I think I have heard far more criticism of the MP’s in caucus in the last few weeks during this debate than I have heard in anytime since the start of the 90’s.

      I think that most of your pretty speech is quite simply incorrect and sounds more like syrupy PR. 

      • the sprout 6.2.1

        i predict that if the wrong leadership choice is made, you’re going to see another split between the parliamentary and party wings of the NZLP like you haven’t seen since the Lange years.

        if shearer wins, he and his old guard backers may just find they’ve inherited a pile of ashes.

        • lprent

          There isn’t much left in the party side as it is. There really isn’t a lot of point trying to do much in that sclerotic structure. Mostly what is left is people working in siloed electorates for particular MP’s (which is really too much like a fan club to be particularly meaningful) or through inertia

          Shearer or Cunliffe – I’m not really happy with either of them for different reasons. But that isn’t unusual. I’m largely immune to the charm of politicians and I tend to concentrate on their flaws.

          I’m inclined to view Shearer as being a far greater risk for the party because of his lack of skills in the role he is seeking. That could be mitigated with a good mostly loyal team behind him propping with good advice while he gets to grip with the skills required for the role. Problem is that I don’t see that loyal team with good advice. It feels like there is an awful lot of unintelligent short-term self interest going on in caucus and in the beltway generally. The problem is that I see that continuing past the leadership change to Shearer and lame-ducking the next three years.

          The Cunliffe flaws don’t lie in his individual skills. They are more in how to get a disparate group of people working together inside caucus rather than pulling apart in largely incoherent directions. That appeared to the main issue in the Goff caucus prior to the election campaign and it puts off voters a lot. What is a charming incoherence between authors in a blog like this, looks outright dangerous to the public when they see it in a caucus. I think that Cunliffe is more aware of the issue these days than in the past based on some of his actions, and that helps reduce the risks.

          I don’t think that either of them are still fully aware of how much the sinews of the party to help deliver party vote have deteriorated. But perhaps they should consider that we have way more people reading (and maybe even commenting) here in a month than turn up to LEC’s, branch or public meetings each month throughout the whole country.

          • RedLogix

            Your insights are fascinating Lynn. As you know I too am a very, very lowly footsoldier in poltical terms. Mainly because like you part of me is repelled by the sheer dysfunctional process evident within most party organisations… I love the politics, but I can’t tolerate the process.

            Part of me hugely respects those hardy souls who can.

            In truth I’ve long believed that while Labour is the proud heritage of the left; the Greens are it’s future. Within a generation, maybe even sooner, it could be Labour who is the minor party… unless it is willing to completely reform it’s internal processes.

            The reason for the Green’s success this election? In two parts; many thought is safe to ‘give the Greens a go’ because this election was a foregone conclusion. But more importantly… look at the quality of the people they have; fresh new generational faces like Holly Walker, Gareth Hughes… inspiring choices like Mojo Mathers. And all of the Green MP’s … when they speak they all make sense… taking as their role model Jeanette Fitzsimmons.

            Now while the Green party may well have some considerable maturing to do; that’s a process underway nicely thank you. The same cannot be said of Labour; internally it’s struggling with renewal, not so much in a policy sense, but in a people sense. For decades Labour could count on a solid backing of funds, people and moral support from the Unions. The right wing has very successfully diminished that base, and for the same reason they have destroyed the Student Unions as well. (Next stop the Teachers Union as well…)

            The challenge here is Labour’s. Personally I’ve put my 2c on Camp Cunliffe; because as you say he has the track record, the experience and the communication skills to be a Leader now… not in two elections time. If the caucas cannot see that … then it will be an important failure and one that most certainly hand the initiative firmly to the Greens.

            But given I happily back both horses I guess I’m not too fussed in the long-term.

            • lprent

              My problem with the Greens (back to the Values days) has always been their lack of coherence in everything from the enthusiasm of the MP’s for particular causes through to their effective lack of (or even awareness of the need for) ground level organisation to turn out votes (which is large part of why they poll high and vote low). It tends to offend my sense of how to organize for effect.

              There were Green electorate level organisations in high party vote areas who were running with political newbies running the campaigns, who were not local, and who would not be there in subsequent elections. That follows the same pattern they have had for a long time of highly variable levels of expertise displayed in campaigns in the same area in different elections. They don’t compensate for that individual inexperience with any significant nation wide system. Greenpeace has a far better system than they do for following people over time, as anyone who has managed to get on their lists knows all too well.

              Their nation-wide campaigns are getting distinctly better. But I suspect that they have hit their peak with working on that alone without strong local organisations pushing them up. At present they are quite vulnerable to local level campaigns. I know how I’d target taking potential vote off them over the next 3 year campaign period. It is now getting worthwhile to do it as well.

              • RedLogix

                Again I agree completely with your comments about the Greens relative lack of local organisation. In fact one of their national level organisers whom I know personally told me pretty much the same thing just weeks ago.

                The point is Lynn, the Greens are aware of this and are willing and capable of addressing it. Their internal organisation, while tending to show the incoherence of youth (and has likely matured much since your experience with them 20 years ago) … is capable of change for exactly this reason. While you yourself know that it is Labour’s ‘sclerotic’ internal structures that makes it so hard for them to change.

                I like Labour. I admire many of their people and deeply respect the victories of it’s past. If someone put a gun to my head and said “Pick one and one only” I’d likely go with Labour … but I’d find myself on the outer, like you willing to do the work because you believe in it, but constantly frustrated by ” an awful lot of unintelligent short-term self interest going on in caucus and in the beltway generally.”

                • lprent

                  The problem is that Labour is rapidly heading to the same places as the Greens because of that inattention to what is their current major advantage – their national local organisations.

                  Rather than enhancing those by adding on a electronic social layer (the first should be kind of like The Standard but for members) for the different generations, they seem to be caught ineffectually trying to appeal past the organisation direct to the public with something like Red Alert. That has inherent limitations for free and frank discussions and is largely ineffective for most purposes. It is treated as being a kremlin watching exercise by media and the right, with a strong fanzine component from the left, and to have become a focus for a amusing type of trolling – the trip up style – by the right.

                  The failure of Labour to start the shift from in real life local meetings to electronic makes the advantage to the Greens of building something that does the same job as a local/national electronic system feeding into on the ground so much higher. Inevitably they will eventually do it if Labour keeps discarding their existing natural advantage.

                  When I think of the advantages of just getting local campaign organizers past and present from different electorates to have a persistent private area to talk to each other with ideas… Urrghh.. Half of the electorates are busy rediscovering stuff that was done a decade ago, while others are forgetting what worked two elections ago in their own electorate.

      • Peter 6.2.2

        If that is your feeling in Auckland, then its shared amongst the hard-core activists here in Dunedin as well. I found the task of motivating others (and myself…) on this campaign to be the hardest yet, after four previous campaigns.

        This issue has been communicated back through MPs, but nothing seems to happen, and I wonder if this stasis can even be overcome. I know that Cunliffe has both the ability and ideas to at least try. For Shearer, I seriously doubt that he even gets it.

        My measure of an effective MP remains first how they handle and motivate volunteers in the party.

        • lprent

          As importantly how they motivate them over multiple elections. It is relatively easy to pick up people wanting to do a single campaign. A bit of a rite of passage like doing an OE, getting seriously wasted, or other forms of youthful experimentation.

          It is a hell of a lot harder to motivate them over the several campaigns that is required to get them experienced enough to run the campaigns effectively without help and able to innovate new solutions. 

          I have seen a lot of electorates over the years. While I’m impressed by the widespread tradition of running campaigns like we’re still in the 1960’s, 70’s, or 80’s. I am less impressed at its effectiveness in getting out party vote in a MMP environment or getting volunteers to want to get involved in subsequent campaigns. 

          There is only so much placard waving you can do before you realise how ineffective it is

    • seeker 6.3

      @Enough is enough 10.08am comment

      re: bringing 300,000 voters back

      Shearer may bring a lot back , but he’s going to lose a lot too – me for a start, to the Greens. And I have never voted for anyone other than Labour in 40 years. Congrats David Shearer, you knew you were not ready to stand and yet you did, and now bad division is happening- in my world anyway.

  7. randal 7

    king kong yyou must realise that no one likes you nor your creepy trolling.
    how much is whaleshit paying you or do you do it for nothing.

  8. Rodel 8

    Cunliffe with his political nous and easy manner will show Key up as not so smart or ethical as some people thought and would impress the swinging voters but I don’t think Shearer will do that.

    • smokeskreen 8.1


      • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1.1

        Done that – didnt work out so well did it.

        The problem with that is a sort of reverse leadership curse. Opposition leaders cant make a stumble without it becoming a ‘defining moment’ so they play it safe and are seen as’ uninspiring’.
        While Key especially is an anointed one who can do no wrong, yet is a clown. This should be seen as a honeymoon which should last only 18 months but the small size of the commentariat means they are carried along by his personal affability

    • Hami Shearlie 8.2

      Exactly, Rodel!

  9. tc 9

    You only have to look at who’s backing DS over DC….the slithery one, the prozac afflicted one, John “take me now JK” armstrong etc etc and that tells you all you need to know.

    DC will crush the smile and wave offensive with a smile and a wave of those facty things …they fear him, nuff said.

    • seeker 9.1

      “Facty things” (love it)- heat seeking missiles which will penetrate national’s key protective shield of spinning hot air and empty rhetoric. Cunliffe is certainly the one to fire them, hit after hit after hit….

  10. randal 10

    rodel. kweewee has no ethics whatsoever.
    he is about to sign over the public school system to a gang of nutters.
    whats ethical about that?

    • Rodel 10.1

      randal..Not sure what you mean.I agree with you on Key’s lack of ethics and if you re-read my comment I think I said that Cunliffe could show that lack of ethics up more so than Shearer could..?

  11. just saying 11

    One thing that interests me is whether Cunliffe had the numbers to roll Goff well before the election, but didn’t because he thought his career would be better advanced by taking the leadership afterwards. The ‘letting Goff take the fall’ meme.

    If he did, I consider it a serious blight on his integrity, because it would seem to be a case of putting personal ambition before the good of the country. It was a disgrace, Labour refusing to be any kind of opposition at all, until just before the final curtain, and if he was a part of that, he’s part of Labour’s shame.

    The other thing Trotter’s banged on about was Cunliffe (and other front benchers) not standing with Goff during, and just after he conceded. If Trotter hadn’t raved about it on the tele, I wouldn’t have noticed. It would have been odder to me if they’d lined up shoulder to shoulder like a rugby team, (as nice as that might have been). A breach of the rules of mateship doesn’t bother me. I’ve worked effectively with loads of people who weren’t my friend. Most people do.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      One thing that interests me is whether Cunliffe had the numbers to roll Goff well before the election, but didn’t because he thought his career would be better advanced by taking the leadership afterwards. The ‘letting Goff take the fall’ meme.

      I think you’ll find that Parker and Robertson would have had several votes in their quarter, so with even a strong minority of votes for Goff in the ‘old guard’ block, Cunliffe would have stood no chance.

      It was a disgrace, Labour refusing to be any kind of opposition at all, until just before the final curtain, and if he was a part of that, he’s part of Labour’s shame.

      Campaign manager and campaign spokesperson for election year was Mallard and Robertson, respectively. Overall however, the short campaign was far slicker and more sharply and tightly run than in previous years so credit should go there as well.

    • The Voice of Reason 11.2

      I suspect that just goes to show how far out of touch Trotter is, JS. Not that he was ever in touch, of course.

      When Goff spoke on election night, it was arranged for him to be flanked on stage by family members and party activists. MP’s were nearby, but out of camera shot. Have a look at the video to see what I mean. The intention, I presume, was to have him surrounded by ‘ordinary’ LP members, not the parliamentary caucus.

    • felix 11.3

      “One thing that interests me is whether Cunliffe had the numbers to roll Goff well before the election, but didn’t because he thought his career would be better advanced by taking the leadership afterwards … If he did, I consider it a serious blight on his integrity, because it would seem to be a case of putting personal ambition before the good of the country.”

      And Shearer? Does the same not apply to him?

  12. geo 12

    Phil Goff is a great man and I believe a great leader.
    He was pulled apart by people from within.
    David Shearer is a good man but lacks skill.
    His back up 2IC is looking to be on the rise.
    I posted this on another thread but would restate it here:
    “The dilemma is he was for Parker and bailed.
    Will he bail on Shearer?
    Is it bad to want to be the leader of Labour?
    No ,to attain the office you need to put yourself out there.
    If Robertson needed to replace anyone in the near future Shearer would be the easier option.
    I rank Robertson and think he will one day be a prime minister.
    Just not yet.
    He was articulate today but being the “support at home” does not work.
    Shearer needs to be the front man as well as the leader.
    He is not!
    Cunliffe and Mahuta will make a great team.
    I can only hope our MP’s will think of Labour not just themselves”.

    I have meet with Cunliffe and find him to be a warm ,intelligent ,driven, Labour to the core ,family man.
    I trust him.
    I have also meet with Shearer.He is inteligent and not over stated.He has no axe to grind and comes across as calming.

    As for choosing a leader after such a huge loss at the polls.
    I choose David Cunliffe.
    I believe he and the team can win the 2014 election.
    I do not think Shearer can.

  13. fisiani 13

    No matter who wins they will each have to watch their back for Grant Robertson who believes he is entitled to lead.

  14. Lew 14

    from keeping an eye on comments here on The Standard I note a clear and strong preference for Cunliffe / Mahuta. They seem to be the choice of activists and members, which I think caucus ignores at its peril.

    An alternate read, and I intend this without rancour though it probably won’t be taken as such, is that a leader who inspires very strong support from a small band of activists is generally less useful than one who inspires more diffuse but widespread support.

    If Labour was resigned to the role of a minor or secondary party, the former might suffice and indeed there is a need to rekindle fervent activist support. But the more pressing need is to expand the party’s appeal beyond political tragics and the partisan core. Given how far removed the views of commenters here are from those of the wider polity, I think the vehemence of support for Cunliffe here should give rise to consideration that such an endorsement is a liability, not an asset.


    • Rich 14.1

      An alternative view is that one of Labour’s failings is that most people with a real commitment to progressive politics are now joining the Greens, leaving Labour (aside from a few outliers) with an activist basis of careerists with only an eye for the big white limo.

    • lprent 14.2

      As my partner Lyn would say – you’re talking about the pizzaz! effect. The problem is, as has been seen in the past with numerous politicians is that is a relatively short-term effect that is liable to pop at almost any point in time.

      Think of Lange in 1984, Winston Peters in 1996, Peter Dunne in 2002, Brash in 2004(?), Key in 2008, etc. Each produces a distinct whipping up of interest and support in a party that is based less on fundamental skills and more on the outright luck of being at the right place with the right message at the right time. You can easily think of the numbers of times where that effect was the one that people were trying to get and it fell as flat as a pancake to almost universal derision. The demise of the 4th labour government being a fertile period, but also at almost any period in time in aussie politics where the political classes appear to be addicted to the new broom puppet.

      But those high points are where you get fervent activists. You also when the fall happens get pissed off noisy anti-activists from the same source. I have been calling them the fashion ‘activists’ and supporters for a long time. In fact since the springbok tour in 1981. In recent years the Maori party and probably Mana offer the whole cycle within a few short years.

      It doesn’t last long enough to produce a stable government or political party. Politicians and activists get the most effect out of the boring work of making systems of policy coherence, communications strategies, electorate organisations, party organisations, etc to work properly. Then they can take advantage of a flash effect when they happen, but they can keep building support (or not losing it) all of the time.

      The parties look far more boring and the fashionista’s will keep flooding elsewhere. But you’re far less likely to get the effects that the maori party, united future or nz first have with vote sloshing in or out, and more like the steady changes that the greens get (or Act used to have prior to their meltdown in government).

      But the actual positive effects of a boring Holyoake, later Bolger or Clark government far outweigh the flashy effects of pizzaz. The damaging effects of a incoherent government with no long term focus like the Muldoon or Lange ones far outweigh any usefullness of the excitement of pizzaz effects.

      Given how far removed the views of commenters here are from those of the wider polity…

      What I have been noticing is that the wider polity don’t do the legwork inside political parties doing the mundane work required to get votes long term. Whereas I see a lot of people here that actually do that and have done so for some time.

      It is sort of like the difference between the media wanting excitement and storylines of rather silly polls compared to the actuality of the final vote. Remember those great 55-57% poll to National storylines a month or so out from the election compared to the actuality of about 47% on the final count.

      Fluff vs substance. The same stuff is happening in the media and the “polity” today. How many times have I seen it? Far too many times. How much do I take notice of it? Quite a lot, but I get interested in the questions of meme management and actual effects longer term rather than the immediate story lines. The stories will invariably dissipate but the consequences from taking long-term decisions on a short-term basis don’t.

      • Lew 14.2.1

        What I have been noticing is that the wider polity don’t do the legwork inside political parties doing the mundane work required to get votes long term. Whereas I see a lot of people here that actually do that and have done so for some time.

        I hear this, but a large component of maintaining that activist verve is the ability to believe one’s own hype. This means activists almost always suffer from severe loss of perspective syndrome.

        To corrupt Schneier’s Law, anyone motivated to do so can develop an argument for a particular policy, party or person that is so clever they can’t imagine how it could be broken, or how anyone could reasonably believe anything different. But people do.


        • lprent

          I think that you must mostly deal with the fashionistas. You are describing them to a tee. Especially the (now old style) rotating ACToids, placard waving young Labour generations, paranoid greens with disaster fetishes, and social climbing young nats. All pretty boring and extremely useful for recruiting people who will eventually be disillusuioned.

          Most of the activists I know that have been working in a single party (any of the parties) for a decade or more tend to be deeply cynical people who do it because they think that the hopeless struggle is worth the effort of just doing it. After you’ve been past your 3rd or 4th election campaign through victory and defeat plus putting up with the innumerable uber-enthusiastic activists who are here today and gone next election, there are few illusions left. Including the ones about your own motivations and illusions.

          As I told rocky a long time ago, you have to plan on it taking 20-30 years to manage to change social behaviors to the point that the laws change because you have to convince a vast number of people to at least entertain the idea. You’d better plan on pushing in the same direction for roughly the same amount of time. Persistence and patience are what is required to do the job.

          • Lew

            Mostly I’m talking about the sorts of folks who are shrilly denouncing Shearer because he’s not a slick enough political salesman.

            Not to be overbroad; it doesn’t describe everyone who thinks Cunliffe would be the better leader. But the fallacy that what activists and wonks see in a leader is what the general public seen in a leader is very much in evidence; especially so in the many comment threads on this topic here; and especially so among self-declared party activists. So if those folks are the “fashionistas” you refer to, then I suppose you’re right.


            • RedLogix

              Mostly I’m talking about the sorts of folks who are shrilly denouncing Shearer because he’s not a slick enough political salesman.

              You must be reading a different blog Lew. Most of the contributions here have gone out of their way to explicitly say how both men are very good candidates, both bringing a very good narrative and skills to the table.

              And any of us who do care about the future of the Labour party, as I do… fervently hope that there is a real place in it for both of them.

              I’ve gone with Cunliffe because:

              1. He speaks very well; especially on television. (Which is important… we don’t have three years to get a Leader up to speed on this; as it took for Phil Goff to finally fire.) Shearer by contrast, while thoughtful and interesting to listen to, isn’t there yet. Key would tear him to shreds.

              2. Cunliffe has a solid track record as a Minister. I believe this is important; experience in the actual hard work of running Ministries and making good judgement calls is vital. Shearer will get there; just not yet.

              3. I’ve seen and heard a lot of Cunliffe in the last 18 months, little to nothing from Shearer. I get the real sense that Cunliffe is his own man, with his own principles; by contrast Shearer gives me the sense that if he wasn’t being pushed forward into the job by certain members of the caucas he would likely prefer to hold off for an election or two.

              4. Cunliffe’s choice of Mahuta as Deputy is inspired; perhaps risky but everyone I’ve heard so far says that she’s up for it.

              Now if you see that as a shrill denouncment of Shearer…

              • Lew

                No, RL, that’s precisely the sort of “balance of qualities” rationale I think is perfectly justified. But if you think that’s typical, then perhaps we are reading different sites.


              • agreed RL, the endorsements for Cunliffe are based on pretty basic, sensible, bread and butter reasons.

                perhaps Lew you should experiment with reading with both eyes at once

              • Anthony

                Maybe it’s just that activists or political enthusiasts or whatever you want to call them are just a bit more cynical. So instead of gambling on everything going right, they look past what they see as feel-good-factor, buzz etc and try and look at the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates.

                So DC comes out as the safe, prudent choice.

                • Lew

                  What you call a safe, prudent choice looks to me like it might be a little too safe. As noted, my reasoning for backing Shearer is that I think he will enact much more ruthless reforms.

                  I think some of those who’ve been part of the machine during its decline might have convinced themselves that things aren’t really that bad, and I think there is an element of that sort of reasoning among Cunliffe supporters. Folk who still think Labour is just misunderstood, not really thoroughly broken, as I believe it is.


                  • lprent

                    Ah no. You have it arse about face. The people who seem to be supporting Shearer in caucus seem to be looking at business as usual or leadership reopening soon when I’m more ready.

                    Cunliffe seems to be saying it is cleaning time (he is sometimes a bit more effective on talk than practice).

                    Who have you been listening to – sounds kind of different to reality..

                    Umm actually I seem to know that dulcet PR lines where black is white and white is black. Why do you think that there is a ABC movement?

                  • RedLogix

                    my reasoning for backing Shearer is that I think he will enact much more ruthless reforms.

                    Well that’s more or less the exact opposite of how I’ve read it so far. Maybe I’ve been looking in all the wrong places….how did you come to this conclusion?

                    • Blue

                      Possibly crapola from Keith Ng at Public Address. He’s the other person I’ve seen pushing the idea that Cunliffe is the one who is supporting the old guard and that Shearer is the one who will promote new talent.

                      Which is arse about face. Shearer mutters vaguely about renewal and change, but has not committed to saying what he would actually DO about it. He hasn’t committed to anything at all so far.

                      David C on the other hand has said that he intends to clean house if he becomes leader, and that one of the reasons he is ‘unpopular’ is because the old guard know he’s going to demote them if he wins.

                  • IrishBill

                    As noted, my reasoning for backing Shearer is that I think he will enact much more ruthless reforms.

                    I’m interested to know what you base this on because my impression is quite the reverse.

                    • Lew

                      Yes, I’m aware you folks have this view; this is part of my concern: the disjuncture between the views of insiders (to a greater or lesser degree) and those observing the party only on the basis of its actual real-world performance.

                      My read is that Shearer’s experience is in managing faction-wars; negotiations and organisational reform and so on. More to the point, whatever he “owes”, in terms of political patronage, is to the genuine old guard who (inshallah) will be retired this time in three years. It’s abundantly clear he can’t win by sheer force of rhetoric, so reform is really his only option. I might be wrong — and would be happy to be so if Cunliffe wins. But that’s my read — and it not only my read. But again, though: the point is that it’s a margin call, not an obvious slam-dunk victory.


            • lprent

              Damn I lost the comment I was making in response.

              But it essentially said that if you look at the people who were clearly at the candidates meetings (ie party members) and excluded the obvious partisans from either side you’d see the problem. I’d say that well over 70% had strong concerns about David Shearer being ready for the job after seeing him and the other 3 candidates. None seem to doubt his sincerity, they just doubt his skills. For me I have absolutely no idea what he actually wants. His voice is lost behind the peoples expectations. That is a recipe for as much of a disaster as the 4th Labour government. At least with Helen I knew what I disagreed with when I started supporting her – almost of all of her ideas initially.

              And read what I said a week or so ago. http://thestandard.org.nz/parker-withdrawing/

              As much as I like and respect David Shearer, throwing someone into the leadership role after a such a short time in parliament would be dangerous to his longer term potential. Selecting David Shearer at this point would leave Labour as rudderless at getting effective policy through parliament as John Key has proved to be in the 49th parliament.

              John Key simply didn’t have the experience at pushing his parliamentary cabinet and the various institutions of government and that showed in the 49th parliament as the country drifted while the National government tinkered. So far the 50th doesn’t look much better.

              It isn’t just about if he could win – what in the hell is he going to guide us to do? Blather sweet talk and unimplementable expectations? Party members generally aren’t into that we get that from every second speech (and it is as boring as crap). That is what I saw on Sunday. A nice guy who wasn’t clear enough for me to disagree with. I know where i disagree with Cunliffe and Mahuta, and I’m even pretty sure where I disagree with for Robertson. Shearer is still a lot of a cipher with a interesting backstory that is essentially meaningless for actual politics. Not something I want to throw a lot of effort behind (and in the past I have thrown skilled efforts into supporting Labour that makes the effort on this site look like a pittance).

              Party members are essential to running a campaign. You have to carry them behind you for a party campaign otherwise you get an electorate campaign (as Goff can testify). At present that isn’t happening with Shearer. Cunliffe has a similar problem, but he is a lot less of a unknown for party members. It makes it easier to decide if you want to throw real effort into the party.

              The Cunliffe partisanship here has been pretty well behaved. In fact the whole thing has been rather civilized compared to the leadership fights I used to see.

              • IrishBill


                Yes, I’m aware you folks have this view; this is part of my concern: the disjuncture between the views of insiders (to a greater or lesser degree) and those observing the party only on the basis of its actual real-world performance.

                Firstly “you folks”? WTF? I know you think of the Standard as “dittoheads” but really mate. Get over yourself. You sound like Chris Trotter.

                Now, I’ve a fair bit of distance from the leadership challenge and from the party (I’ve said a lot of things about what they’re doing wrong) but I also know a lot of people in both camps and my call is that you are wrong.

                • Lew

                  Hey, hey, the “you folks” was in response to you, Lynn and RL all saying the same thing within five minutes. I don’t believe in the hivemind — and “dittoheads” referred to certain of the commenters, present company not included.

                  I’m happy to be wrong. I’m not happy for the whole premise to be ridiculed and discarded out of hand. Clearly differences of opinion exist, and we’ll see.


                  • RedLogix

                    I can assure you that on my part at least there was absolutely no communication with any of the others.

                    Yet the fact that we all said pretty much the same thing within minutes was both a genuine expression of what we all understand… and a genuine, good faith question about how you came to form your opinion.

                    As for the ‘hivemind’… well whereas Irish clearly can’t stand Chris Trotter, I still have a distinct respect for the bugger. So right there the swarm gets busted….

                  • IrishBill

                    Fair enough – I might have been being a bit sensitive about the “folks” thing. I was of the opinion that Shearer might move on some of his older supporters and enact more reform but having talked to people in his team and listened to him talk at a member meeting I’m not at all convinced he’s that kind of a player. Unless he’s playing a very very deep game. This doesn’t mean I’m pro-cunliffe.

                    • Lew

                      Yes, understood.

                      Inasmuch as the lack of membership backing is a disadvantage for Shearer, I’m also not so sure. At present the only people who are still members of the Labour party are the tragics; the rusted-on loyalists, and I think that’s part of the problem also. While experience is important I think the fact that two lost elections and coming up five years of being on the wrong side of public opinion is a strong indication that some new approaches are needed. This isn’t to point any fingers or denigrate years of service; but the results aren’t there. A new leader must rebuild the party at rank-and-file level, and if Shearer holds greater appeal to those who aren’t already confirmed Labour partisans, that’ll go a long way. An influx of fresh membership with a bit of outside perspective should serve to separate the deadwood and time-servers from those of genuine authority and experience.


    • seeker 14.3

      Well you are one to argue white is black aren’t you Lew@2.34pm

      You support Shearer to the detriment of us ‘activists.’ I am no activist -just a Labour supporter as an opposition to the reactionatry right . I have supported Labour for 40 years and hoped to see a better world for my son and the children I have taught. No activist here.

      And yet I know you are wrong about Shearer and can only wonder at your vehemence in supporting him as a media analyst, (which I believe you are) and I wonder if you are a closet right winger trying to shut down Labour. If you’re not, then apologies, but you are behaving as if you are.

      If your arguments are listened to and Shearer is put in as leader then labour will not have my support. I will go green. I believe many others will leave too and NZ Labour will be no more, or sadly depleted. You and your spurious arguments Lew will have finished off Labour far more effectively than National could have ever hoped. Congrats -Shearer will have a minor party to lead and I hope you will all be very happy. Meanwhile the rest of us will have to get on under the Green umbrella and carry on EFFECTIVELY fighting for justice in the world.

      PS Another draw back to Shearer is his contention that he can do the job of leader. This shows his incompetent reasoning ability.

      It is not enough to “want to be PM” ,as he said of his aim for entering politics- you have to have the know how, the knowledge, the political experience and the ability. Shearer may want to be PM, but he does not really know how, having no real political background or knowledge. (fair enough if he wanted to lead Amnesty International)

      This was the same for Key, and look where New Zealand is now. To have a lesser idiot (all be it a better character) trying to take over from a 100% pure idiot is ridiculous. Two idiots do not a country make.

      • King Kong 14.3.1

        I don’t think the Labour party would be any weaker for losing brats who storm off with their ball when they don’t get their own way.

      • Lew 14.3.2

        This response is a great proof of my argument.

        You know, and what’s more, you know better than at least half the Labour caucus, a whole lot of people who do this sort of thing for a living, and according to some of the polling, a bunch of the general public as well.

        It’s not the difference of opinion that’s cause for alarm — it’s the utter balls-out certainty with which some folks are prepared to cleave to what is in fact a pretty finely-balanced and tightly-contested decision.


        • newsense

          Congrats Lew.

          Good with the stats- you’ve found out of 7 people who argued with you one backed up your theory.

          Seems a tad selective. But then having been impressed by Cunliffe’s strong case for himself you have chosen Shearer, but are dismissive of those, having read and heard both candidates , who think Cunliffe will do a better job.

        • just saying

          Apart from the purported majority being right, How do you know Lew?
          You say with Cunliffe Labour will be ‘business as usual’, most talking here say with Shearer sfa will change. Never in a debate (within the left) have I heard two factions claiming the exact opposite of each other, with such absolute authority. There seems to be plenty of pot and kettle stuff from you in this debate.

          I assume some people know things that haven’t been made public, maybe behind the scenes stuff from the Labour caucus etc. Do you have some facts to back up your authoritative rhetoric?

          Me, I don’t like either of them. Shearer calls himself a hero who is responsible for saving 50 million lives, because he was a bureaucrat at the UN, (at least Key actually has $50 mill +). Apparently Cunliffe is such a wally he takes a rah rah crowd to mob his car at public meetings.

          • Lew

            I don’t know. That’s the point: I have done my research and made a judgement. I declared for Team Shearer early on and my reasoning at that time was heavily caveated. I’ve since had cause to reconsider; elsewhere I’ve said it’s a 60/40 or 55/45 decision. That sort of thing I can abide, on both sides, and I don’t mind people who don’t like either of them. What I can’t abide are people who think it’s the most obvious thing in the world, and the reflexive tendency to write of the other candidate as a phoney hack or a faceless technocrat. It’s a strong suggestion they’re drinking kool-aid of one colour or another.


            • mickysavage

              Lew you are starting to sound like Pete George!

              Are you thinking of joining UF?

              • Lew

                Hah, there’s no need to *join* a political party in order to demonstrate a preference for nothing much meaningful.


                • IrishBill

                  I think you need to go to a Labour party conference. You’ve got a notion of the membership that is at odds with the reality. I can only assume you’ve gathered that idea from the media and the blogosphere.

                  • Lew

                    Hah, the comment above was about the futility of joining United Future — if I wanted to believe in bugger-all, as UF evidently do, why would I need to join a party to do so?


  15. seeker 15

    Anthony you write that our choice is between a good bloke or a compelling politician. I believe from what I have read and seen over the years that the compelling politician is a very good bloke with a good back story. Thus by choosing David Cunliffe I have the best of both the worlds you find it hard to choose between.
    Shearer is a no go-in the political world any way, he has not been in it long enough and has no real back ground history in it yet. If he gets in I’m out. I refuse to watch another embarassing three years as Labour gets trampled. I shall leave that to the likes of Jacinda and her Shearer fan buddies. I shall turn Green.

    One last note. Because David C. and Nanaia are of a different generation to the baby booming David Shearer and many of the last two governments, this fact should also be taken into account when voting for a present day leader. Different generations think in subtly different ways and it is time the old guard realised that David C and Nanaia are the next generation, hung up their Hansards, took a step back and let the new generation get on with it.
    I bet they communicate ( debate) with the ‘new generation’ nats far more effectively than the old guard Labour will ever do anymore.

  16. AnnaLiviaPlurabella 16

    A SNAP ELECTION will be called in 18 months if Shearer falls flat on his face.
    Key no longer has the majority to get his “tougher” policies through. He only got Supply and Confidence from the two Maori PArty MPs. If he sees Labour is disarray he will go for the jugular. Labour will have no funds to fight, MPs who ignored their activists will have no foot-soldiers and Jacinda Ardern will not win Auckland Central.

    • The Voice of Reason 16.1

      Not a chance in hell of a snappie being called in those circumstances, ALP. I do see it as possible if National lose their overall majority through death or disgrace, but not because of the perceived state of the Labour party. No party is ever likely to get an outright majority, this election proved that, so there is no upside in a snap election for the Nats, only the spectre of an ’84 style disaster.

    • Colonial Viper 16.2

      A SNAP ELECTION will be called in 18 months if Shearer falls flat on his face.

      As TVOR points out a snap election may not be the most likely outcome if this occurs. But I will tell you what is much more likely in that scenario: a new leadership fight within Labour, another change of faces and instability coming into an election year, taking us all the way to 2014 and a deserved defeat at the hands of the NATs.

  17. AnnaLiviaPlurabella 17

    The EXCUSE will be the state of Government Finances and the mess in the World Economy.

    • joe90 17.1

      The opinion of an acquaintance is that the economy went over the cliff earlier this year due to insurance companies tactics in Canterbury, a government finance crisis and the GFC will come to a head resulting in huge cuts in state spending with Key throwing his hands in the air saying TINA.
      Early election or not the acquaintance reckons Key will finish the looting, resign and piss off to Maui to weather the storm.

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        You the scene in the road runner cartoon? Wily-E coyote sprints straight off the end of a cliff at full tilt while chasing the road runner. But he doesn’t notice for a moment, his legs are still spinning away. It’s only when he looks down and realises that he is fucked, that he plummets to the ground.

        We’re about to look down.

        More seriously, my pick is <1% growth per capita annually, averaged over the next 10 years.

  18. feijoa 18

    If I could vote, I think I’d go for DC, he has actually spoken out over the last 3 years. I have heard very little from most other Labour MPs over the last 3 years and from DS, nothing

  19. newsense 19

    I remember thinking when I saw the combined left front benches after ’99 how strong they were: Labour, Alliance, Green.

    I think Shearer should be somewhere on the front bench this election and would be good there. A week and a bit ago this was what all the commentators were saying, his leadership bid was to get his name remembered for next time. Still I guess time will tell.

    I’m not convinced that the front bench talent at the moment is that strong and it would be nice to look at the combined left wing alternative government and think, wow, those guys haven’t got a weak link.

  20. red blooded 20

    Well, folks, I guess we’ll all know tomorrow. Who’s with me in thinking that the caucus-only voting system needs to be revisited? I hope that this is fair and square in line for reconsideration as part of the review of structures and practices that I’m told is happening next year. It might be difficult to find another system that is more democratic, without being open to influence by non-members (or those who just join up to swing the vote) and which still gives more weight the input of the people who are closest to the action and have to work as a parliamentary team more than those who turn up to an occasional meeting or deliver a few pamphlets, but it’s not impossible. For starters, individual electorates could vote on a ‘first past the post’ system, and their votes could be counted separately from the MPs. They would need to be given lessor weight, to make up for the fact that there are fewer MPs than electorates, but this would at least give members some level of input.

    Who’s got a better idea?

  21. ak 21

    All right that’s enough. I realise it’s a heated debate but the next person who says folks gets it….

  22. OK so John Campbell reckons that Shearer has 20 votes out of the 36.  Let me say this.  Absolute bull shirt.  Mallard is up to his old tricks.

    • Hami Shearlie 22.1

      There seems to have been an inordinate amount of duck guano raining down lately. Why do the media succumb?

  23. eatyourgreens 23

    Well I think that you should look at where the Greens are heading when choosing a new leader.
    With the new intake there is a decided hard leftish feel to the Greens this time around.
    If i was Labour I would make for the centre as quick as possible

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