I grew up Labour – in the days of Norm Kirk and the more forgettable Bill Rowling. I knew David Lange – having chosen to intern in his Mangere Electorate Office while at Law School.
So I can say that to see the self indulgent warbling of Labour’s Three Amigos as they troop around the country promising anything to anyone (with the exception of Shane who has threatened only bad things to the PM) will be a mildly sad sight to those who still willingly pay their $10 to join the Labour Party.
Political parties should always be about their members but this strange and foolish exhibition of faked friendship and grandiose schemes has been nothing more than embarrassing.
The fact that it has been allowed to happen in the first place is because those that control Labour’s hierarchy didn’t like the caucus decision on Leadership. Everyone liked David Shearer, it’s just that no one particularly wanted to follow him. Labour’s caucus vote was very much anyone other than David Cunliffe. So the Party’s President decided to put Caucus back in its place and to assert the power of the unions.
The result will be that the wider party membership chooses the Parliamentary Leader of the Labour Party and the Parliamentary Caucus chooses the Deputy. The wider membership already chooses the President and all senior members of the Party.
So let’s look at the candidates:
David Cunliffe – no one would argue that Cunners (the more affectionate term for him) is anything but intelligent – least of all himself. His overwhelming self confidence would be admirable if it weren’t for his overwhelming lack of confidence in any of his colleagues. His choice last time of the pleasant Nanaia Mahuta as a Deputy said it all. Ticking boxes is more important in a Deputy to Cunners than either ability or work ethic. He doesn’t want a Deputy who might have an opinion not his own.
Grant Robertson – I really don’t think many people care that Grant is gay. In my opinion, Kiwis care that Grant thinks it’s such a big deal that he denied that his partner, Alf, was in the very same pub as Grant when it suited him for the TV cameras. That was a Judas moment and Grant lost my respect for it. Most people who know Grant would say that he’s a nice guy. He tries hard to be liked. He tries hard to fit in. And therein is part of his problem. Leaders make decisions – tough decisions. Grant’s already shown that he can’t make those decisions. He’s more interested in being liked. Grant thinks that Kiwis care about what Grant cares about. They don’t.
Shane Jones – well, I quite like Shane. He has the gift of oratory like Norman Kirk or David Lange. His natural ability though is used to mask his chronic lack of discipline. Unlike David and Grant, Shane is the person you’d like to have a drink with. He really wasn’t much of a Minister, but he had fun trying. Shane likes to play the larrikin which can be amusing. But he goes too far when he descends into smutty language and he let himself down in Hamilton.
How will this end? Robertson will get the overwhelming support of his caucus who will forgive him for not properly supporting David Shearer – after all – none of them did in the end.
Cunliffe will get the overwhelming support of the wider Party and the unions. Shane will get support from people who like the fact that he has tried to continue the tradition of working class hero not mollycoddled prat.
Cunliffe will be the next Labour Leader. He’ll install a deputy who makes him look good. And then the knives really will come out.
**Disclaimer** we at the Ruminator do not endorse anything Ms Collins says, does or holds in adorable photos. We asked for an apolitical post to feature as part of our “You Don’t Know Me Series” and she very generously agreed to provide one. However being so deep into politics she struggled with writing a comprehensive apolitical piece. So being the kind person I am, I said she could write something political. Less than 72 hours later I received the above.
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