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Young on Little

Written By: - Date published: 11:14 am, September 14th, 2015 - 48 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour, leadership - Tags: ,

While Labour leaders are in the spotlight, a good piece by Audrey Young in the weekend:

No bubbly but Little is lifting Labour’s game

Given the party’s record, Andrew Little has already been a successful leader. The party is functioning more like a competent Opposition than it has for some time. Little has a strong sense of himself and his party and his own leadership. He takes on John Key with confidence.

He does long-form television interviews on any subject with no notes. He has no fear of his own performance. When asked by a disapproving TV3 reporter whether he thought having a glass of beer at 5am while watching the All Blacks was a good example, he said he would have two glasses if they lost.

He is authentic, and that is harder than it looks when you have a team of advisers telling you what they think you should do. Little has made the odd slip-up but most people – party members, the media, the public – are in a forgiving frame of mind.

Most importantly for Labour’s stability is the fact it is having some political successes and that is down to simplification of their role. Instead of trying to do everything at once, putting pressure on the Government and coming up with new policies, the caucus has adopted a cricketing approach. National is batting and Labour is concentrating on bowling, namely putting pressure on the Government to make mistakes, to over-reach, to divert its attentions, to weaken its top order.

Labour’s poll results do not reflect the effort going on under Little to lift its game. They are creeping up slowly or are standing still. It may not be worth celebrating but, compared to a year ago, that is success.

Some Standardistas aren’t going to agree with everything in Young’s piece, but on the whole I (r0b) think it’s a pretty fair account of Little’s progress.

48 comments on “Young on Little ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Some Standardistas aren’t going to agree with everything in Young’s piece …

    Yep her comment that the left in the party undermined Shearer’s leadership jarred and her comments about Cunliffe were the continuation of the media’s white anteing of him.

    • Ovid 1.1

      I don’t think those on the left thrust those snapper into Shearer’s hands as he entered the House one day. Nor were they responsible for his failure to clearly articulate any position. There was a great deal of ire around the beneficiary on the roof, but the truth is Shearer didn’t have the qualities needed.

      I hate to say it, but a lot of the reasons for Labour’s leadership problem lay with Clark. She failed to groom leadership potential, so it’s taken Labour a long time to find its feet. In fact, even if Labour fails to take the treasury benches in 2017, I’d be happy for Little to stay on as leader if he substantially increases the vote on 2014.

      As for deputy, I like King. She’s been a real performer over the past year. But she’s had her time in the sun. Ardern or Robertson would be my pick.

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        Agreed about King’s performance. She has performed really well as deputy. I actually think there is a debate to be had about whether she should stand down in November though as is currently planned.

        How about that for an indication of party unity 😀

      • McFlock 1.1.2

        I think they had a plan – Goff as transitional leader followed by Shearer – but no plan B when that fizzled.

        • b waghorn 1.1.2.1

          I always felt Goff got the Job because every one knew the shadow of Clarke was that big labour had no chance of winning in 2011 ,so he was always just a caretaker leader..

    • McFlock 1.2

      While I agree that her comment abour Cunliffe was unfair, I found the deranged bleating of some self-loathing labourites every time Shearer opened his mouth to be quite tiresome.

      • BM 1.2.1

        I thought Shearer would have made a good PM.

        Just the timing was wrong, if it was Shearer now instead of Little you’d probably see Labour neck and neck with National.

        • Atiawa 1.2.1.1

          Bullshit. Shearer couldn’t string a sentence together without fucking it up.
          I don’t think the man had a good enough understanding of the changes that had occurred in NZ during his absence.

          • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1

            Shearer couldn’t string a sentence together without fucking it up.

            And yet key has a similar issue, and is in his third term as pm.

            But BM’s just stirring shit. Little’s managed to keep the caucus in line as well as minimise the public whinging from the flanks of the membership, something neither Shearer nor Cunliffe managed. Unless little has a brain fade and tries to change his style in the face of focus groups and party infighting (like particularly Shearer did – that snapper gimmick was uncomfortable on all fronts, and I suspect was some PR advisor’s brilliant idea. It just wasn’t his style, and it showed), Labour will be looking at its best since 2011 or even 2005 (for a caretaker, Goff was surprisingly close to succeeding in getting rid of National).

            • marty mars 1.2.1.1.1.1

              yep – little just has to remain authentic.

            • lprent 1.2.1.1.1.2

              I’d agree. The NZLP caucus is the most disciplined and focused that I have seen it in a while. The Greens are doing their competent job. NZ First look pretty good as well and I can’t see them supporting National with Key there or without.

              From what I can see of the party memberships (especially Labour), they are working through the party processes, and providing the required impetus for change that is required of any political party.

              And we don’t have any damn fool parties of left for those noisy but incompetent to be in a party to focus on. So the competent ones who can stand it are holding their noses and diving into helping reform the major party of the left and centre of their choice.

              The micro parties supporting National look like they’re on the way out because they can’t do much in their strait jacket. National’s long term average polling which is always inflated compared to reality (remember those polls showing National at 56%) and slowly decreasing.

              It is looking good, especially since the people in the NZLP caucus whose egos vastly exceeded their abilities have mostly left. I wonder where the NZLP is going to find their next ritualistic screwup from in the decreased pool of candidates. 😈

              • “And we don’t have any damn fool parties of left for those noisy but incompetent to be in a party to focus on.”

                lol lucky you won’t need those votes eh

                • lprent

                  What was it? 1.42% of the electorate voted for IMP. That raised from the previous elections vote of 1.08%.

                  They failed to win a sitting member’s seat by about 750 votes, with a nett swing of about 1700 votes away from the previous majority.

                  I am afraid that I tend to be a bit old-fashioned about these things. I think that influence in parliament is related to the number of seats that a party wins there. The parties making up IMP did not get any after losing the seat that they already had.

                  I consider that was politically incompetent. Especially after such a noisy and expensive campaign that in many ways overshadowed the campaigns by parties of the left and center. In my view that result was largely caused by their supporters seemingly spending far more time attacking other parties on the left than they did in trying to convince people to vote for them.

                  That was why I voted Green rather than Internet Mana

        • Tracey 1.2.1.2

          So WHO would have voted for LP that didn’t, not you, right? So who?

        • infused 1.2.1.3

          Same here. Shearer is the only good one of the lot.

          • lprent 1.2.1.3.1

            Probably because you are right wingers?

            • BM 1.2.1.3.1.1

              I thought he had the broadest appeal and would do his best for every one, not just the people who voted for him.

              Goff was ok but had too much baggage and seemed untrustworthy.

              Cunliffe thought he was some Roman Caesar and everyone should be in complete awe of his natural god-like awesomeness.

              Little will always be seen as a union puppet.

              Shearer had no baggage, was a fresh face, had a good back story, what he desperately needed was a trustworthy mentor to get him over the initial wobbles.

              • Craig Glen Eden

                Shearer was every right wing nut jobs choice, I wonder why? At times the man was incoherent and if you need any more evidence of a person with a total lack of Labour Values you could look at his latest facebook post about UK Labors new leader.

              • millsy

                Do you want to see unions outlawed BM?

              • lprent

                From what I saw of David Shearer, he made little or no attempt to work with the party or the party members that he was the parliamentary leader for.

                He appeared to not understand even why that was an issue. Which is a fatal error when you are asking volunteers to give up their time, energy, and money for.

                Instead he and his advisers seemed to think that you could run everything out of Parliament House without dealing with the political party at all. It was the actions of a political neophyte unused to gaining support from their most engaged supporters.

                That was why I dropped out of doing any work for his electorate of Mount Albert. It was also why there was such a campaign from the members to change the system that so disastrously put him in that position. The stupid political shenanigans in the 2012 Labour conference certainly didn’t dispel that impression.

                I think it would have been pretty hard to have won a election when the diehard Labour supporters (like I used to be) were looking askance at that kind of political ineptness.

  2. Michael 2

    Very good article by Young. Little is a strong leader and I think he can lead Labour to government.

  3. Atiawa 3

    The next 12 – 13 months will determine whether the electorate is prepared to accept Andrew as a Prime Minister in waiting. A weakened union movement will not be helpful for Labour or Andrew, although his union background will prove a major benefit if the economy continues to lose (reasonably) well paid full-time job’s, as it is currently.
    The next election could well be fought on the issue of (good) job’s & incomes. Fertile ground for Little, but requiring a good dose of lime to sweeten the soil to enable the best result.

  4. The Chairman 4

    Any upward move in the polls is a success when compared with the devastating election result.

    However, I wouldn’t consider it a success in indicating an election win.

    With Labour languishing at around the 30% rate, it’s clear they will require coalition support to win, which is where the rowing in different directions perception (which National depicted so well) will once again negatively impact on their chances of actually winning.

    Therefore, far more work to be done.

    • rhinocrates 4.1

      rowing in different directions perception (which National depicted so well

      Unfortunately that wasn’t due to National – Labour promoted that perception all by itself with its continual leaks by the ABCs Goff and Robertson and that unbelievable imbecile Hipkins saying on national television that Labour’s real enemies were within.

      What the fuck they were thinking when they did that I can barely imagine. They did Crosby Textor’s work for them.

      • The Chairman 4.1.1

        See comments made at 6.1

        What you are commenting on is their own internal divisions.

        There is also external division with potential coalition partners. See below (6.1).

  5. Michael 5

    Labour must maintain a polling rate above 30% if it has any chance of froming a government, in coalition with the Greens (and perhaps NZF). So far, it hasn’t reached that minimum. More work needed. It would help if its caucus decided whether they support the Party’s traditional principles or not. Then we can decide whether we support them or not.

  6. Michael 6

    Labour must maintain a polling rate above 30% if it has any chance of forming a government, in coalition with the Greens (and perhaps NZF). So far, it hasn’t reached that minimum. More work needed. It would help if its caucus decided whether they support the Party’s traditional principles or not. Then we can decide whether we support them or not.

    • The Chairman 6.1

      With Labour wanting to maintain their own identity, it makes working and forming a consensus with potential coalition partners a difficult challenge.

      Unless they can overcome this hurdle, maintaining their own identity reinforces the rowing in different directions perception. Negatively impacting on their chances of forming a Government voters will vote for.

      In challenging economic times (which will no doubt be the economic climate come election) voters want a clear sense of direction.

      Therefore, they either need to better demonstrate a workable coalition perception or vastly up their support.

      Additionally, with NZ First not being prepared to enter into negations till after the election, coupled with Labour floating around the centre (further distancing themselves from potential partners) makes the coalition challenge far more difficult.

  7. b waghorn 7

    I like Littles approach, he’s giving the senior members of his caucus plenty of opputunity to show there stuff and its making them look like a solid team.

  8. Bill 8

    A cricketing analogy?

    Okay. Isn’t that a game where all of the time is filled in with a lot of nothing happening? (Please, don’t bother regaling me about its finer points – it’s all lost on me 😉 )

    Writing ‘political’ pieces on personalities or individual performance (clapping seals anyone?) is…isn’t political!

    One ‘tacked on’ mention of policy.

    How Andrew Little walks, talks, farts or burps would be utterly irrelevant if politics existed in this country.

    Analogously, Labour should be aiming to be the meat-grinder to National’s recipes for disaster – not posing around a ‘village green’ or whatever in whites.

    • Hanswurst 8.1

      Analogously, Labour should be aiming to be the meat-grinder to National’s recipes for disaster[…].

      You mean they should be supplying National with the main ingredients?

      How Andrew Little walks, talks, farts or burps would be utterly irrelevant if politics existed in this country.

      Perhaps fatuous misreadings of analogies should be added in to that. As per my mangling of your analogy above, almost any analogy will fall down if deliberately screwed to mean something other than what is obviously intended. The analogy was about bowling at the opposition (a bit like putting them through a meat grinder). Standing around in whites doesn’t feature.

  9. rhinocrates 9

    Competence and the perception of competence is vital. Labour has to be both an alternative and competent and it has been neither. New Zealanders are pragmatic and perceptive and could see that. “Just the same but even more of a shambles” was Labour’s perceived brand for a long time. Hopefully Young’s article points to a slow but steadily continuing change.

    Venturing some optimism about the new regime here, I see that while Mumblefuck and Robertson are still the same dicks they’ve always been (to wit their sour grapes comments on Jeremy Corbyn’s victory), at least Mallard, neither Mallard nor his Mini-Me Hipkins have done anything phenomenally stupid and damaging to the party for quite a while now – and that’s a triumph of management.

  10. It would be interesting to see Young’s assessment of the Labour front bench.

  11. keyman 11

    national will fall with the economy but the country will be totally looted and stuffed by then and the culprits will run

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      There are solutions in the Left-wing playbook for that shit, if the NZLP has the confidence to implement them.

  12. Treetop 12

    I found Little to be authentic and pleasant when I asked for 30 seconds of his time to discuss housing recently.

  13. upnorth 13

    where are the policies?

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