When David Shearer announced he wanted to be Labour leader I didn’t know what to think. Then, when it appeared he was favoured by the party’s “old guard” and by right-wing bloggers alike, I began to move more towards the Cunliffe camp.
But then I realised it’s hardly Shearer’s fault if a bunch of people he has nothing to do with decide they prefer him over Cunliffe.
Also, while Shearer may be the man many of the “old guard” want to see lead the party, he also seems to have the support of many newer MPs.
Is he a reform candidate? Who knows?
So I just can’t decide who my non-vote should go to. Cunliffe has experience in politics and is a more media-savvy communicator. On the other hand, Shearer has a background in aid and humanitarian work and seems to be a genuinely nice guy. Is he too nice for politics? Shearer hasn’t been around long enough for us to know, and he hasn’t made much of an impact in the House yet, but he has successfully led teams in third-world hell-holes, so the Labour job ought to be a cakewalk.
The party shouldn’t take too seriously Brian Edwards’ opinion that Shearer is a terrible communicator and would therefore be a disaster as Labour leader. I’ve listened for the last five years as various people on the left have panned John Key for murdering the English language and having an awkward and clumsy speech delivery style. If anything these things have made Key more endearing to middle New Zealand. We do not do soaring oratory in this country.
As a fully paid-up member of the Labour cabal I will go along to the public meeting on Sunday in Auckland to listen to the candidates. Perhaps then I will have a strong view on which of the two men would be the better leader.
But it would be even better if I got to cast a vote on the matter. The Labour Party needs to consider as part of its proposed review a process where party members can actually vote on things like the leadership and, God forbid, even the party list. The party list Labour put up this year was about as attractive to voters as a cup of cold vomit, so the current selection process clearly doesn’t work.
If that is too radical a solution then I have a more simple one. Just give me a right of veto over all Labour Party decisions. My status as a blogger means I have all the answers, so what could go wrong?