Media on Shearer

November 15th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Transtasman this week said:

Having demonstrated how not to have a leader of the opposition, the Labour Party is now demonstrating how not to have a coup to get rid of him. Watch and learn.

For the not having a leader of the opposition bit, the party has pretty much covered all the options this year, with only one exception: party leader has never rounded on his party critics and told them to go and do something very difficult to themselves. His response has been more a hurt and injured look. This is novel, but it hasn’t worked. So now Labour, or some elements anyway, are endeavouring to get him to go quietly by using a Labour-aligned, anonymously written blog.

For those who have lives, it’s called The Standard, and it is written by Labour Party members who are also public servants, hence the anonymity. It’s mostly a poisonous waste of time, although if you want an insight into the thought processes of Labour-supporting public servants, it is quite an education.

All this meant was would be challengers David Cunliffe and Grant Robertson had to endorse their leader in public. It was a
highly qualified level of support.

Claiming they have “no immediate plans to challenge the leader” about as lukewarm as you can get.

I think some of the authors also work for unions!

Also worth listening to former Herald Editor Gavin Ellis on Radio NZ Nine to Noon. He says that The Standard authors were obviously used by factions in the Labour Party who want to see a change in the leadership.

And finally The Press editorial:

The loudest muttering against Shearer is being led by bloggers and columnists from the liberal Left. For the moment the caucus appears loyal, all possible contenders insisting they are 100 per cent behind him. That, however, should be regarded with considerable scepticism.

For a start, when Shearer got himself into a horrendous tangle with unsubstantiated allegations against Key over the Government Communications Security Bureau fuss, his colleagues took an awful long time to come to his defence. Further, if any plot to unseat him were going on, the plotters would obviously stay clandestine for as long as they could.

A factor inhibiting a coup is the lack of an alternative with predominating support. Of two possible contenders, David Cunliffe lost against Shearer last time and is widely regarded as too satisfied with himself by half and Grant Robertson is, for now at least, a Shearer loyalist.

It was lack of an obvious successor that kept Phil Goff in the leadership until the last election, but not many in Labour would regard that as an entirely happy precedent.

What surprises me is they gave Goff three years, yet some appear unwilling to give Shearer even 18 months.

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20 Responses to “Media on Shearer”

  1. Pete George (23,425 comments) says:

    It does look like being a coup cockup. It’s not just the Shearer team who are inept.

    I blogged this morning about how anonymity on The Standard made it much easier for Shearer to tell them to get stuffed. It has resulted in an interesting exchange with lprent where an axe isn’t hovering over one of our heads: The Standard’s credibility problem.

    Shearer claimed on Firstline this morning that they were winning.

    The first prize is a coalition with Greens.
    The second prize a coalition with Greens and NZ First.
    The third prize is a coalition with Greens, NZ First and Mana holding deciding vote.

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  2. peterwn (3,238 comments) says:

    Seems Labour needs either to keep David Shearer for another year or have another seat warmer in the meantime. I have always reckoned that Helen Clark would have a tilt at the leadership in the run-up to the 2014 election. A problem with this hypothesis is Brian Edwards supporting an early change of leadership.

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  3. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    Worst set of possible “leaders” to choose from in the known universe? I say yes.

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  4. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    What surprises me is they gave Goff three years, yet some appear unwilling to give Shearer even 18 months.

    Perhaps it’s a sign that some of their old dogs can, in fact, learn new tricks.

    I suspect it is the prospect of the new leadership selection rules, more than Shearer’s recent performance, that has led to the not-so-subtle Clayton’s coup attempt. The unions will have too much power by half in future leadership selections – support in caucus, affiliate votes, and they will encourage members to take up full party membership also.

    It is very possibly “now or never” for both Cunliffe and Robertson

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  5. anonymouse (709 comments) says:

    To be Honest I think Shearer’s biggest problem is his new-ness and I don’t mean this in terms of his performance,

    Labour (for better or worse) is still a tribal party, and Shearer has not had enough time to build up a decent support base amongst the various factions in the Party, Goff Survived because he was the anointed successor of the Aunty Helen, Shearer was selected because they wanted to out-nice John Key, with a hope that he would “grow into the job” –

    I think they will keep him on till at least mid 2013, but if the polls have not turned around by then, they will really stick it to him

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  6. hmmokrightitis (1,580 comments) says:

    “For those who have lives, it’s called The Standard, and it is written by Labour Party members who are also public servants, hence the anonymity. It’s mostly a poisonous waste of time, although if you want an insight into the thought processes of Labour-supporting public servants, it is quite an education.”

    A better summary of that cesspit you could not hope to find. If ever there was a dictionary meaning required for “buggers muddle”, thats your one-stop-shop, right there.

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  7. Pete George (23,425 comments) says:

    @anonymouse

    To be Honest I think Shearer’s biggest problem is his new-ness and I don’t mean this in terms of his performance,

    Labour (for better or worse) is still a tribal party, and Shearer has not had enough time to build up a decent support base amongst the various factions in the Party…

    I think there’s something to that.

    I’m sure part of the reason I wasn’t accepted by the activist clique at The Standard was that I hadn’t done a hundred years hard slog delivering pamphlets for MPs and unionists etc – hence lprent grizzling about my lack of experience:

    Basically you’re a bit of a newbie. You’re making the same dumbarse mistakes that many do when they first discover the net, spent only a few years learning the basics, but don’t understand etiquettes that have evolved over the decades I have been on it. Which is the point that Irish made to me when we were talking last night.

    Also at the Standard when Shearer won the leadership I got the impression that lprent and other political dinosaurs really resented the fast tracking of Shearer without having to prove himself to the pawns. They never got over that, and probably never will unless Shearer promises compulsory unionism and a 90% top tax rate (unionists exempt).

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  8. RRM (9,769 comments) says:

    That description of The Standard is so good, I’m going to repeat it so I can read it again:

    a Labour-aligned, anonymously written blog.

    For those who have lives, it’s called The Standard, and it is written by Labour Party members who are also public servants, hence the anonymity. It’s mostly a poisonous waste of time, although if you want an insight into the thought processes of Labour-supporting public servants, it is quite an education.

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  9. Pete George (23,425 comments) says:

    The Standard description is not quite accurate.

    They are not all public servants. lprent is, ah, can’t remember, what does he do again? Something to do with data entry, but in private business. Has also had medical attention perhaps it was a double funnybonotomy.

    And some are workers servants. There’s a strong union presence there, hence their support of Cunliffe and resentment of Shearer trying to appeal to anyone or anything not hard left.

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  10. Peter (1,687 comments) says:

    And again:

    It’s mostly a poisonous waste of time

    “Mostly” is probably redundant.

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  11. Rich Prick (1,657 comments) says:

    ““Mostly” is probably redundant.”

    “probably” IS redundant.

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  12. queenstfarmer (769 comments) says:

    Pete, what is your obsession with The Standard? Most people go there, comment a bit until they get banned for daring to disagree with an author, realise it’s not a site for honest discourse, then forget about them. You might want to do the same.

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  13. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    I consider ‘The Standard’ as oxymoronic.

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  14. s.russell (1,589 comments) says:

    I think Goff survived because no-one in the Labour caucus was stupid enough to believe anyone else would be better.
    I think no-one would do better than Shearer, but the polls have convinced Labourites they a win is possible, so now they are seeking a) someone to maximise that possibility, and b) someone who will be ideologically pure and not betray the party by attempting to recognise any aspects of the real world.

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  15. RF (1,364 comments) says:

    Dear God.. Shearer is appealing as a cup of cold vomit. If no one has the balls to step him to one side this weekend, Labour will be history in 2014.

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  16. Bob R (1,358 comments) says:

    @ RF,

    They are on track to win on current polling? Labour should keep him.

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/11/is-shearer-really-that-bad/

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  17. Pete George (23,425 comments) says:

    queenstfarmer – it’s not an obsession (unless I’m also obsessed with KB), I keep an interest in a number of different forums. It’s a good way of getting an overall picture and keeping in touch and seeing what different groups are up to.

    One of the most important rules of politics is to know what the others are doing and thinking, it just happens that for me just about everyone else is ‘the others’.

    I’ve agreed with quite a few posts and comments there lately. There’s actually some very insightful things posted at The Standard, and some good commenters and comments. Like here you have to look past the noise and the dross.

    Ah, and there’s a bit of an ongoing game with HMV, the scratchy old LP.

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  18. RF (1,364 comments) says:

    @ Bob R

    Hell will freeze over if Shearer is PM in 2014

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  19. Yoza (1,771 comments) says:

    Another of Shearer’s problems is the support he keeps receiving from National party hacks. Gavin Ellis, for example, on the same Nine to Noon show today mentioned that Richard Long penned his admiration of Shearer in his final column and that this advocate had more credibility than those calling for Shearer’s head on The Standard – this would be the same Richard Long that figures so prominently in Nicky Hager’s book The Hollow Men as a National party PR shill.

    Given the amount of support Shearer gets from National party cheerleaders I imagine his new nickname will be something like ‘Toast’ in the not too distant future.

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  20. Peter (1,687 comments) says:

    ““probably” IS redundant.”

    Good call.

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