Trotter on Cunliffe’s muzzling

May 15th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

, like Brian Edwards, is aghast at the muzzling of David Cunliffe. He writes in the Dom Post:

David Shearer’s decision to muzzle his rival, David Cunliffe, is deeply worrying.

Right now, there’s nothing Labour needs more than an open debate about its future.

That its leader and the coterie of courtiers with which he has surrounded himself were willing to go to the extraordinary lengths of preventing Labour’s spokesperson on economic development from appearing on TV3’s The Nation reveals how ruthlessly Shearer’s faction intends to stifle all dissent.

Shearer’s petty, politically self-destructive decision can only be interpreted as Cunliffe’s punishment for delivering a speech to his New Lynn electorate’s women’s branch highly critical of Labour’s fraught, 25-year association with neo- liberal economics.

Clearly, the disparity between the Labour leader’s three uninspiring “positioning” speeches, and the compellingly radical content of Cunliffe’s April 29 address, had rankled.

The disparity is probably what was worrying his staff. What if Cunliffe went on The Nation and shone?

According to Garner, Cunliffe’s critics described his speech as “stupid and foolish”. Labour’s “Leadership Group”, advised of The Nation’s invitation, then weighed the issue and decided Cunliffe should not appear. The Nation failed to change their minds.

This sort of overt factional squabbling has not been seen in the Labour Party for more than 15 years. Throughout Helen Clark’s record-breaking reign as leader, open dissent was almost always cast as treason. …

Labour’s full recovery as a vibrant, creative and politically relevant organisation cannot be secured except by a radical opening-up of the party. Interestingly, recent reports about Labour’s organisational restructuring exercise suggest this may be happening.

The party’s constitutional review committee is rumoured to have recommended that rank-and-file members be given a deliberative voice in the choice of party leader, as well as an effective veto over sudden, caucus-inspired, leadership spills.

Unsurprisingly, it is also rumoured that Labour’s caucus is doing all it can to prevent such changes coming into immediate effect. The party’s annual conference in November promises to be a bloody affair.

I’m tempted to register as media and attend with popcorn :-)

Courtiers make poor campaigners. As Game of Thrones addicts know, power is not always to be found among the wielders of swords.

As often as not it lies in the hands of eunuchs and whoremasters: the manipulators, tricksters and casters-of-shadows who keep their daggers hidden and seldom venture beyond the palace gates.

Heh, as a former parliamentary staffer I might fall into that description. I’d prefer to be a whoremaster than a eunuch I have to say :-)

If Shearer believes the country will be best served by turning the Ship of State’s tiller hard to starboard, then let him say so, and let him and his faction spell out clearly what the policy implications of such a rightward shift would be.

Cunliffe has made it clear that he believes a sharp leftward turn to be in order. How exhilarating and liberating it would be, not simply for the Labour Party, but for the whole country, to see this debate played out.

How depressing, therefore, to learn that, instead of welcoming Cunliffe’s offering, his jealous courtier colleagues described it as “stupid and foolish”.

I think the time for that debate was when there was a leadership vacancy.

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23 Responses to “Trotter on Cunliffe’s muzzling”

  1. tvb (4,418 comments) says:

    The Labour Party has not got a clear philosophical point to it. Basically they would like to be a meddling socialist party but NZers will not like that, so they are an intellectual muddle. The people that support them tend to be a miscellaneous collection of nanny state meddlers and a dying breed of trade unionists.

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  2. tom hunter (4,826 comments) says:

    Cunliffe has made it clear that he believes a sharp leftward turn to be in order. How exhilarating and liberating it would be …

    Indeed. As a long-time observer of socialism I too would be exhilarated. In the spirit of solidarity I join with Mr Trotter in saying …. please, please do this. Please with cherries on top.

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  3. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    That its leader and the coterie of courtiers with which he has surrounded himself were willing to go to the extraordinary lengths of preventing Labour’s spokesperson on economic development from appearing on TV3′s The Nation reveals how ruthlessly Shearer’s faction intends to stifle all dissent.

    The “dissent” is just the lunatic ravings of the socialist activist base nutters – who the whole electorate can see are WAY undersized to be running the country. Shearer is right to be stifling them.

    Labour’s old guard need a bullet. Labour’s young unwashed lunatic fringe need a smack in the head. The Unionists need a smack in the head AND a bullet. If Labour are really lucky, Shearer & Robertson will hang in there long enough to deliver all this..

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  4. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    But DPF, as a devotee of The Black Adder I remind you that this topic was subject to much great and deep debate by the highest minds in court. And I recall they settled upon the reference as being “an eunuch”…

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  5. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    RRM,

    If Labour are really lucky, Shearer & Robertson will hang in there long enough to deliver all this..

    So you are suggesting that they reduce down to only the two factions then?

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  6. La Grand Fromage (145 comments) says:

    I would like to see this debate played out as well because at the moment I am not sure what this swing to the left actually means.

    As far as I can work out it is about dolling out fistfulls of cash to the moronic, lazy and criminal members of society.

    If this is what Cunliffe is on about then he is the weapons grade retard I thought he was.

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  7. Manolo (13,755 comments) says:

    I wish every faction all the worst in the upcoming battle for control of the socialist Labour Party.
    Shall they rot in hell.

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  8. Cactus Kate (551 comments) says:

    Personally I’ve been swayed.
    Cunliffe’s beard is dead sexy.

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  9. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    “Personally I’ve been swayed. Cunliffe’s beard is dead sexy.”

    Jesus wept, Cactus. Has someone spiked your coffee?

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  10. La Grand Fromage (145 comments) says:

    The beard may cover his non existent chin but you still can see the deputy dog eyes and the Herman Munster head shape.

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  11. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    Cunliffe’s beard is dead sexy.

    Necrophilia?

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  12. RRM (9,917 comments) says:

    I pity you manolo.

    Such an angry little fella. Sucks to be you.

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  13. DJP6-25 (1,387 comments) says:

    As always, if it’s bad for Labour, it’s good for New-Zealand. Sure, there needs to be an opposition. It doesn’t have to be Labour though.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  14. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    Trotter can’t have it both ways. If Shearer was calling for a hard turn to port Shearer would be Gods gift but if silent T was giving him shit at the same time Trotter would be crying for Shearer to grow a set and rein in this yapping little upstart .

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  15. Keeping Stock (10,337 comments) says:

    Cunliffe’s biggest problem is that he can’t seem to understand why so few of his caucus colleagues have the same high opinion of his many talents, wonderful communication skills and magnetic personality that he himself has.

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  16. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Personally I’ve been swayed.
    Cunliffe’s beard is dead sexy.

    Time are clearly tough Cactus. I’d like to introduce you to my mate dime. Over to you dime.

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  17. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I agree with tom hunter.
    Please, PLEASE let Labour swing their policies to the left!
    Please, Chris Trotter, encourage them to do so!
    We are fortunate that a large percentage of the electorate (still not large enough, but anyway…) are realising that left-wing policies are economic poison.
    **Social** poison too – just look at Greece and Spain. All very well throwing **other countries’** money around, but look what happens when the bill is due.

    New Zealand has a choice, and **either way there will be whining**.
    Whining (now) when the government tries to get into surplus.
    Whining (later) if Labour gets back into power, spends like there’s no tomorrow and we end up like Greece.
    I prefer the “whining now” option.

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  18. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Cactus Kate (438) Says:
    May 15th, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Personally I’ve been swayed.
    Cunliffe’s beard is sexy dead.

    N.B. the subtle difference.

    You have been looking a slanted eyes for too long. Its not his beard that’s got ya, its his eyes.
    Ching chong Chinama velly velly sad.
    Kate gone home to whitey dad.

    :lol:

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  19. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    This is really a debate between those who want Labour to be successful, and those who want to return to a cloth cap style of union dominated Labour.

    Shearer is actually right, the problem is the way he’s going about it. Conversely, if he let’s Cunliffe run around with his hard left ideas, and brand Labour that way, he’s hurting his leadership and the chances of Labour success. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    I certainly hope that Labour a) agree to let members vote on the leader, b) roll Shearer, c) the members (who are left of the general Labour voter) install Cunliffe, d) Labour’s vote plummets and we get 1 more term of National after this one. By that time, it’ll be time for a change, ideally that change will be to a 1 term Labour govt, allow National to refresh.

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  20. BillODrees (94 comments) says:

    The National Party under Key has failed to achieve any Economic successes. They are full of excuses: dispirited youth are voting with their feet and emigrating. The majority of people now see how shallow Key’s proposition is. Shearer might find his stride and lead the next government. If Shearer does not win the support of the Labour base then Cunliffe will be the Prime Minister in 2014.

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  21. Manolo (13,755 comments) says:

    Yes, Key has failed to perform like the vacuous, hollow politician he is, but the thought of socialist Silent T Cunliffe as future PM makes me wanting to emigrate even faster.

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  22. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Brian Edwards gets a puppy dog

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  23. Paulus (2,626 comments) says:

    Cunliffe s dead in the water – he is finished – he is no more left than most National MPs – just a ploy.
    Robertson and Street will not let him get near any power – they have now sewn that up quietly in Wellington.
    The Unions will not back him as he is too posh and not union subservient. Little Andrew cannot stand him. He speaks with a plum in his mouth and he is rich (well his wife is a top lawyer). He lives near Winston’s Auckland rental so that’s him out.
    Can’t afford a razor – typical prick with an identity crisis.

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