The recent beat-up over an imaginary challenge to Shearer’s leadership is well and truly behind us. Recent coverage has been quite positive, such as this anonymous editorial from a couple of weeks back:
Editorial: Labour leader shaping up as quiet achiever
They say Leader of the Opposition is the worst job in politics. It requires unceasing, carping criticism of everything the Government does and a relentlessly negative outlook on the country’s condition and prospects under current policies. Somehow this hapless individual is supposed to be popular too.
David Shearer, elected leader of the Labour Party after the last election, has clearly decided this job description is not for him. … Mr Shearer is clearly not a tub-thumping politician. He seems a normal, thoughtful, cautious and fair-minded citizen. The public has seen enough of him to come to that assessment. If he adopts a different manner now it will not ring true. People do not follow leaders who lack the confidence to be themselves.
The country is watching Mr Shearer with more interest than he may know. …
Shearer was chosen to lead Labour largely in the expectation that his real-world experience and well rounded character would be appealing to the electorate. That Shearer would be someone we could identify with. Time will tell, but I think it’s working. Over time the contrast with Key, who is now well and truly just “another bloody politician”, will be more and more pronounced.