I think Eddie is right. David Shearer needs to go if Labour is to stand a chance in 2014 and he needs to go as soon as possible.
I was agnostic about the leadership challenge nearly a year ago. I figured that either candidate had what it took or they wouldn’t have had the support of the caucus. After all, the list-heavy caucus relies on the political success of their leader for their own well-being. Which is to say I thought that their self-interest and their desire to make the right decision would be aligned.
When I saw Shearer on the TV I was underwhelmed but I convinced myself he’d get better. I should have listened to Brian Edwards and to that little voice inside that was telling me Shearer was unsalvageable as talent.
I was taken aback by the Pagani-driven third-way triangulation but was assured by Shearer supporters that he was a real left candidate and this was just some bad advice, a speed-bump. They insisted they were getting rid of Pagani and all would be well. They did. It wasn’t. In fact Shearer was quoted in the dom-post just yesterday saying his government would be interventionist “but not big government and spending more”. A typical third-way blairite statement and one that is badly pitched and defensive sounding.
And I think for me it is that hamfistedness that has finally been the deal breaker for me. I just can’t imagine how David Shearer could survive an election campaign with his meagre polling gains intact when, in a honeymoon media environment, he has fallen to pieces repeatedly. Watching him on the Nation a few weeks ago and seeing how he got flummoxed and angry over a patsy question from Alex Tarrant made me realise just how bad he will be when he comes under the pressure of an election campaign.
And that’s something neither Labour or the left can afford right now. There have been minor poll gains (which now look like they’re reversing) but it’s neck and neck stuff. With Shearer at the helm I’m almost certain we’d see a sudden collapse of the vote as we did when National was led by English in 2002. And I don’t want another term of National.
So I’m going to fall in with Eddie on this one. And with Brian Edwards, and Gordon Campbell, andChris Trotter, and Danyl McLachlan, and Martyn Bradbury, and Scott Yorke, and with the countless other commentators, and commenters, and labour supporters, and supporters of the left that realised this before I did.
David Shearer needs to step down.