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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Shearer's last stand

Labour Party factional infighting is like 'Game of Thrones' but with far more incest.

And so it begins, while the mainstream media pundits are now all singing in harmony over Shearer's imminent decline, Tumeke was one of the first to point out these Labour Party leadership tensions within weeks of Shearer winning and Tumeke will be live blogging from the conference with the first word on if and when a leadership challenge will occur.

Interestingly Bryce Edwards manages to ignore Tumeke's contribution to this debate, which is hilarious, especially as the post where I pointed out what would happen with the trigger thresholds when Pagani was forced out was originally linked in an Edwards post but was then removed.

If Edwards had kept the link in September he could have pointed to it and noted his column got it right first. He didn't, which is almost as disappointing as Bryce's constant reference to Scott York as satire.

Imperator Fish is to satire what drinking is to driving.

I digress - here is what to expect at the conference. 297a with its subsections b,c & e will determine if there is a challenge by February next year.

297a sets the thresholds for challenges. Subsection b will be the 'general' threshold, mooted at 67% but likely to be 51%. It refers to the general threshold any Caucus needs to reach for a leadership challenge.

Subsection c will deal with the period 3 months around an election, probably set at 51% again, but it is subsection e that matters.

Subsection e will set the threshold at a new level next February to recognize the changed voting margins. The principled argument is that once caucus have only a 40% say in who the leader is, then those rules should be applied from February.

This is about the modernization of the Labour Party and once those modernized features of allowing 40% members, 20% Union and 40% caucus to have their say on who is leader, the chase is really on.

If the new thresholds are set for February, there will be BBQs all summer long as the challengers start their number crunching. The Anyone But Cunliffe faction within caucus will start freaking out once they appreciate how angry the membership have become with their choice for leader.

The Unions need to ask themselves which candidate will do more than lip service to their cause when deciding on who to support, and to date, only Cunliffe has voiced a real alternative to the neoliberal, anti-Union agenda.

The Unions must remind themselves that they went backwards after 9 years of Labour, so having their people selected isn't enough. Whoever is leader has to hold the Unions interests at heart for the sake of the nation. A weak union movement = high inequality.

So what has gone so wrong with the Shearer leadership that talk of a coup is at an all time high? I was always surprised by the Labour Party coven selecting Shearer over Cunliffe, but was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, until I started watching in horror the train-wrecks he called TV interviews.

His ability to miscommunicate and look uncertain is about as comforting as a brain hungry zombie on meth as a flatmate.

Is David Shearer the only person in the Labour caucus who can't see the looming leadership challenge? The Captain of the Titanic was in less denial. David Shearer might be confident the knives won't come out, but the pitchforks are another issue altogether.

Where it has gone so badly wrong for Shearer was his reliance on the Pagani's as his strategists who led him into the 'bennie on the roof' speech. The Pagani's self belief that their own pretentious Wellington tough on welfare view point was the new vision for Labour shows their complete miscalculation of what the 2007 global financial crash was all about.

While the Pagani's wanted to project the petty middle class bitching of people not working hard enough in a socially mobile society, the entire philosophical superstructure of neoliberalism, that a free market self-regulates, came crashing in upon itself.

The left have never had so much ammunition to challenge the free market assumptions our economy has been built upon, instead of taking aim at the superstructure the Pagani's wanted to play 3rd way Tony Blair welfare bashing.

The Pagani's advised Shearer to zig when he should have zagged.

Shearer boldly proclaims he doesn't read the blogs, which is an indictment in itself isn't it? The Standard is the largest left wing, most pro-Laboiur site online, if Shearer isn't reading them and having his Chief of Staff contacting them weekly, then it shows how utterly disconnected the leadership is with the grass root activists he'll need come election day.

Shearer is going to have to heal sick children live on stage at the conference while turning all the heart safe vegetarian food into deep fried sausage rolls to win over Labour Party members this weekend.

A proper leadership battle allowing 40% members, 40% caucus and 20% union faction votes would regenerate the Party and could lead to the kind of energy Labour needs to defeat National in 2014.

If the ABC manage to quash a low February trigger and keep Shearer in power, not only is a defeat of National by 2014 in doubt, but the actual type of Labour Party that would get elected could be a National lite flavor. Hardly the sort of outcome that would motivate activists to participate.

To be 1000% honest, I never comprehended how the candidate David Farrar and Fran O'Sullivan cheer-leaded for was ever going to benefit the left in this country.



At 13/11/12 3:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’d say Shearer is a decent guy more down to earth than this current shocker of a PM, whether he’s strumming his guitar or tries his hand at shearing. But being a contender for PM is way out of his league.

At 13/11/12 5:08 pm, Blogger Tiger Mountain said...

Heh, “No body knows where love goes, but when it’s gone, it’s gone gone gone” sang the boss a ways back.

And the love is clearly gone for Labour from the kiwi Joe’s and Jo’s. A massive shift to a member at large and conference power model is all that is left for this once mighty party. Begone suits and knowledge wavers, piss off to new consultancies.

At 13/11/12 5:29 pm, Blogger QP said...

Shame he never kicked in to gear - dunno much about him but he seems like a DECENT guy . He seems to have been sleepwalking though . I wish there was a Norm Kirk in amongst the rest of them, sadly I think they're just a pack of Tory Lites

At 14/11/12 8:00 am, Blogger Phil said...

Fran and Farrar cannot be expected to be clear eyed on such issues as the Labour leadership. Keep up the fight BB! It looks like its just you and me, and a few others.


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