I don’t think Goff is going to go just yet but it’s certainly not off the cards. It’s not exactly a secret that nobody wants the job (or perhaps it’s simply that nobody can get the numbers) but one more scandal, or an addition to this one, or a drop in the polls and caucus might be pushed into changing leaders whether they think it is an opportune time to do so or not.
That said, sometimes the right thing to do is the right thing to do whether the political cost/benefit analysis adds up or not. In fact it often turns out that the right thing to do was the smart thing to do despite the perceived political costs or the apparent bad timing.
While I don’t always agree with Chris Trotter he put up a post yesterday that looks at just this matter. As he scathingly puts it:
Nowhere in these calculations does the fate of the people Labour was originally established to defend rate a mention. The fate of solo mums and their kids; the fate of the tens-of-thousands of sickness and invalid beneficiaries; the fate of young Maori and Pasifika school-leavers languishing on the dole; the fate of state house tenants facing eviction: all count for nothing in the cynical algebra of personal ambition. They are a useful source of rhetorical fuel – nothing more.
I hope Chris is wrong about that. I don’t know what will happen with Goff and I don’t think anyone does. And unlike Chris I’m not sure whether keeping him or ditching him will lead to the best outcome for the party and its constituency. I simply don’t know enough about what’s going on.
But I do know that every single person in Labour’s caucus will privately be doing the maths on whether to keep him or not. I can only hope that they factor in what is best for the party and for the people it represents. Because there is nothing else as important in determining The Right Thing To Do.
There is more to the political game than just gaming it.