Hey, wanna do a back room deal that cuts the members and affiliates out?
Cunliffe must be reeling. He has lost failed Ilam candidate James Dann. It must cut as deep as the loss of Steve Gibson. Apart from providing Claire Trevett ammunition, the only thing James does well with his angry letter to Cunliffe, is exemplify the deep divides within Labour now. The dislike between the Auckland Left and the Wellington Left is best expressed by a failed candidate from Christchurch.
In the last primary, Cunliffe had the support of 3243 members, compared to 1440 who selected Robertson, that is one hell of an Auckland support base who see Cunliffe as the solution and not Robertson. No wonder Grant’s first instinct was to try and cut a back room deal that didn’t involve the affiliates or the members.
Personally. I’m agnostic about who leads Labour because there are no winners here. If Cunliffe wins, he has a Caucus in open revolt, if Robertson wins, it will be about 18 months before Stuart Nash launches another leadership challenge as Robertson’s beltway limitations kick in.
What is ‘beltway’? Let me be blunt, ‘beltway’ is a term used to describe a person who is a political apparatchik within the Wellington clique who manages to only express the most negative stereotypes of that political process. A person born and bred within the Party who has mastered the ability to climb the slippery poll of politics with no external life experience. Those championing Robertson can’t seriously claim he as the beltway king is the leader to reconnect with the middle NZ everyone says cost Labour the election. How on earth can a Labour leader not be an Aucklander? How can any Party hope to lead if their leader isn’t based in the largest city in the nation?
The real losers in this blood bath are the members and affiliates. No one seems to have noted the irony of demanding a new leader based on the democratisation process to modernise the Labour Party which was sparked off by reviews of the last two election losses. The combined wisdom of the last two reviews was that the Party had to give affiliates and members a say so that they would feel connected to Labour and such interaction would boost membership. So how do those affiliates and members now feel after the Leader they selected had a Caucus sit on its hands and sulk? Trevor Mallard went on a moa hunting expedition and Cameron Slater’s mate, Kelvin Davis went rogue while ‘someone’ kept leaking dirt against Cunliffe throughout the election. Some in the Caucus don’t want a participating membership, they want slavish devotion to whatever the Caucus wants.
So much for a modern democratic party.
If Grant is serious about winning, he needs to move to Auckland and carpet bag an electorate because there’s no way a Wellington Central MP can win the country if the leader isn’t based in Auckland. If Cunliffe loses, he must consider resigning from politics altogether.
If Cunliffe is serious about winning, he would wake up to the fact the Caucus hate him (offering Robertson the Deputy just seems delusional), and would offer Nash the co-deputy position alongside Louisa Wall. That team would have the thing Labour need most, the symbol of unity – even if that symbol isn’t particularly real.
The Nashy represents the bloke vote Labour critics claims they lost while showing respect for Labour stakeholder factions by appointing Wall.
The Cunliffe-Nash-Wall team is the symbolism Labour needs right now, I can’t see how any other combination doesn’t simply retread previous leaders or appoint MPs who only reinforce the disconnect perception Labour has with mythical middle NZ.
Meanwhile the bloody NZ Herald is pimping for war with a Prime Minister who is indistinguishable from a Washington remote controlled drone.
Ill times for our democracy.