Garner on Labour

Well no one say they’ll die wondering what thinks. He blogs:

Labour’s decision to hang on to Leader after his woeful management of the affair shows the caucus is clueless, gutless and talentless. And most of all, they have no collective balls.

You do have to wonder how much worse things would have to be, to have something happen.

The Labour caucus has opted to go down in 2011 without a fight. If this was the Australian Labour Party Goff would have lasted just 6 weeks two years ago. They’d be on their third opposition leader by now.

And someone like Mallard could do to Labour, what Tony Abbott did to the Australian Libs – get them competitive. Might not win, but will provide a positive point of difference.

I have spoken to most of the senior MPs, they say – while disappointed with the management of the Hughes scandal – no one is of a mind to roll Goff. Why not? Not one MP is defending him. Goff is now Labour’s biggest liability.

The only MP insisting that Goff handled it well, is umm Goff.

Goff has so many questions he can’t answer. He looks like he’s stumbling around in a pitch black bedroom trying to put on his pyjamas. He’s got more positions than a King’s Cross hooker.

I like the colourful metaphors. Also wasn’t half this problem the lack of pyjamas 🙂

The Hughes scandal was always going to be a train wreck – 18 year old teenager, senior whip, alleged sexual encounter, Annette King’s house, police investigation, naked man etc.

Come on – what leader in their right and sane mind could think for one second that in Wellington that would stay secret?

I just can’t believe someone didn’t say “You’re mad if you think this will stay secret”. But the problem of course is Goff did not seek advice from anyone.

I know this is written in hindsight, but the obvious thing to do was to front foot it, stand Hughes down, send him away, strip him of his duties and wait for the cops to rule.

That way Hughes may have been able to keep his job in the short term and do some kind of mea culpa around what happened if the police were not to lay charges.

This is the sad thing. If Goff had handled this competently, it is possible Darren Hughes would be able to remain an MP, if no charges were laid. Sure there may be a period of penance, but resignation might have been avoided.

And who let Darren Hughes appear in the Press Gallery debate, ‘politics is a grubby business’? Surely Hughes, Goff and King who appeared in the debate would have thought, ‘hey we better lie low over the next few weeks eh?’

As much as I enjoyed the debate, it was in hindsight a very insensitive decision to allow an MP facing a sexual assault complaint, take part.

So Labour needs to choose a runner to take Goff out. They need to get organised and stop pretending they’re in Government. They’re not. They’re in a parlous and paralysed state in opposition and Phil Goff is now to blame for that. For the sake of all their grassroots members and other Labour voters – they need to go into the election with a new leader.

I’ve come across people who want to vote Labour because they don’t like National – but they say they won’t because of Goff.

Surely they are not isolated comments. If that attitude is widespread, and I believe it is, it is now the moral duty of Labour’s MPs to change the leadership and draw a line under this hopelessly managed scandal.

Duncan is right, but the problem for Labour supporters is it really seems that no one wants the job.

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