The war against Shearer

November 12th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

has done three posts in two days calling for David Shearer to go, and on who should replace him.

While each is by a different author, I have been around politics far too long to think for a second that this is not part of a co-ordinated strategy to destabilise Shearer in the leadup to the Labour conference.

Otherwise why not wait until after the conference to see how he goes? Their authors know how destabilising their posts will be, and that it will detract from the Labour conference – even if Shearer performs well.

The three posts are:

  • Eddie – On David Shearer’s Leadership - For the Left to win in 2014, David Shearer has to resign as Labour Leader.
  • Irishbill – It’s time to go - David Shearer needs to go if Labour is to stand a chance in 2014 and he needs to go as soon as possible.
  • Queen of Thorns – Who could replace Shearer? - I agree with the other posters on The Standard who think Shearer needs to go as Labour leader.

Again, if you think this is a coincidence, I have a bridge for sale. Someone has decided to push the button. The only rational reason to come out all guns blazing just seven days before the Labour Annual Conference is so that Shearer is undermined at the conference.

UPDATE: The cartoon below is in today’s Dom Post.

UPDATE2: Auckland based Tapu Misa writes in the NZ Herald:

As the Labour Party heads into its annual conference this weekend, it has some big questions to ponder. But first it has to ask itself how long it can afford to persist with David Shearer as leader.

Again the timing is fascinating – writing for him to go the week before the conference, rather than waiting to see how he performs at the conference.

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47 Responses to “The war against Shearer”

  1. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    To be fair there are also two posts supporting Shearer’s leadership:

    Anthony Robbins – Leaders under pressure – Both John Key and David Shearer have had a bit of a pasting in the media lately. Shearer’s problems are solvable – Key’s are not…

    Mike Smith – Don’t panic – Twice this year we have seen Labour leaders turn around perceptions of them and their party with one speech; Ed Miliband at the UK Party conference in November and Julia Gillard in the Australian parliament in October. I think that calling for David Shearer’s head in the week before the Labour party conference is a sign of panic.

    But the comments are overwhelmingly in favour of ending the Shearer experiment. The point is made a number of times that the current wave of wailing is not panic, it’s desperation after a year of disappointments.

    The conference is going to see Shearer under extreme pressure.

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  2. Grant Michael McKenna (1,151 comments) says:

    David Shearer is the best Leader of the Opposition imaginable, and I hope that he has the job for a long time to come.

    Seriously, he can count on Phil Goff’s support- a new leader may well make DS the Foreign Affairs spokesperson, making PG completely redundant.

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  3. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    Another indicator there is a major battle being waged is the iPredict stock for David Shearer to depart as Leader of the Labour Party in 2012.

    You can read what you like into it, but there has been a significant increase in trading over the last two weeks, and what could be seen as a sustained effort to drive the price down, with a number of blocks against rises.

    Of course it is also possible to surmise the in-party campaign is over and won already, traders are quitting their stock, and Shearer is seen as safe until February. But that doesn’t explain the big rise in trading.

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  4. Scott1 (357 comments) says:

    Hard to think of a labour leader who can fix the situation that labour is in, so yeah….

    thlabour is never that far from being a party in a coalition government it just might only be about 50% of that coalition, maybe they just have to get used to that…

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

    “I have been around politics far too long to think for a second that this is not part of a co-ordinated strategy to destabilise Shearer in the leadup to the Labour conference.”

    While this post is an isolated comment, coming out in his support…?

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  6. hj (5,674 comments) says:

    Cunliffe’s crowd

    ““Both in New Zealand and globally, the best of the leftwing tradition has always rejected small-minded nationalism, xenophobia and racism. In fact, leftists of an internationalist tradition have always favoured globalization and getting rid of national borders and barriers to migration. Progressive advocates of globalization of course do not defend a handful of rich imperialist countries, including New Zealand, dominating the world’s economy, but instead advocate an integrated and radically egalitarian world economy where production is based on social need and not on private profit. ”
    http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2012/02/guest-blog-post-john-moore-leftwing-xenophobia-in-new-zealand.html

    Savings Working Group
    January 2011
    “The big adverse gap in productivity between New Zealand and other countries opened up from the 1970s to the early 1990s. The policy choice that increased immigration – given the number of employers increasingly unable to pay First-World wages to the existing population and all the capital requirements that increasing populations involve – looks likely to have worked almost directly against the adjustment New Zealand needed to make and it might have been better off with a lower rate of net immigration. This adjustment would have involved a lower real interest rate (and cost of capital) and a lower real exchange rate, meaning a more favourable environment for raising the low level of productive capital per worker and labour productivity. The low level of capital per worker is a striking symptom of New Zealand’s economic challenge.

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/reviews-consultation/savingsworkinggroup/pdfs/swg-report-jan11.pdf

    Government policies blamed for house prices
    “Immigration and tax breaks for investment in residential property are being cited as the underlying causes of steep increases in the cost of housing over the past decade.
    New Zealand now boasts one of the highest rates of home unaffordability in the world as a result of prices rising far faster than incomes, and the government’s Savings Working Group blames that squarely on the policies of successive governments.
    Although “the favourable tax treatment of property investment” accounted for about 50% of house price increases between 2001 and 2007, the working group said, there was also strong evidence that rapid swings in immigration brought about price-rise “shocks”.
    There was a sharp spike in immigration in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and, said working group committee member Dr Andrew Coleman, it appeared that property prices did not fall anywhere near as greatly when immigration fell again.
    The report added that there was little evidence that immigration boosted local incomes. In fact, the need to build roads and schools meant that net migration contributed to the national deficit. ”
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/4622459/Government-policies-blamed-for-house-prices

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  7. Matthew Hooton (114 comments) says:

    Leftist activist Tapu Misa has followed it up in this morning’s Herald, calling on Shearer to go. Certainly co-ordinated. Coup is on. As it happens, I have been told all year by people within the Cunliffe camp that it would be November, and so it seems.

    [DPF: Yes, I have added her article on. What makes it so suspicious is they are saying he must go, before he even gets to make his conference speech, It is as if they are worried he will do very well]

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  8. Key is our man (517 comments) says:

    This is ridiculous. Everybody in Labour knows that they are a sure winner in 2014 and a Labour government with Greens, NZ First and Mana party is going to be in power for the next 9 years. Why would they be shooting themselves in the foot? Look at every single poll where NZ First has crossed 5% – this combination has more votes than centre-right block. I think they are wasting time. Instead they should be spending time allocating portfolios and planning tax hikes on rich pricks.

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  9. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    I’m not so sure it’s coordinated. Of the Standard authors a couple (pro Shearer) have close party connections running defence of Shearer, but two of the others (Irish Bill and QoT) are hardly Labour operators.

    I think it’s more of a culmination of frustrations that have been building for months and now a chain reaction of exasperation. It’s hardly out of the blue (red), there has been a lot of similar comments for some time on The Standard, with 95%+ opposing keeping Shearer. It has simply reached a crescendo.

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  10. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    A fairly typical comment from the gutted guts of Labour at The Standard:

    Craig Glen Eden 16
    12 November 2012 at 7:41 am

    Shit Mike is this the best you can do to try and reduce activist concerns to a “panic attack”?

    I have not posted over the weekend but have watched the posts with interest. Shearer was never up to the job a total bunch of looser’s stuck him in charge and they all deserve to go as well.

    The caucus played petty self interest politics they put themselves first and the party members views last. Well all those who voted for Shearer need to go as far as I am concerned the act of installing the bumbling inexperienced Shearer is not forgiveable. Any politician who thought Shearer was fit for the job showed what total bloody idiots they are. For the Parties sake Shearer and a number of others need to resign.

    That sort of sentiment has been extensively expressed there for months now.

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

    Mathew

    Since when did a left-leaning journalist become a ‘leftist activist’?

    Does that make DPF a ‘Rightwing propagandist’?

    duh – what am I saying?

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  12. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Oh come on DPF, Matthew. Surely you can see it is just some amazing coincidence that the Espiner piece on Cunliffe was published recently. And that all The Standard ‘mavens’ love Cunliffe. And that, aside from Misa, two other journalists wrote in the past few days that it is crunch time for Shearer.

    Hard to imagine that Cunliffe’s camp could have seen the Espiner piece as a vote winner. Just goes to show how differently the Labour core view the people.

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  13. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    And Dim-Post adds to it with a bit of plaintive hope, maybe:

    How David Shearer can shore up his leadership

    Well, maybe. If there’s a blog-based anti-Shearer putsch then nobody told me. It could just be that loads of people on the left don’t think Shearer is a very good leader, and the week before his conference is a salient time to point that out.

    http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/how-david-shearer-can-shore-up-his-leadership/

    But despite some suggestions…

    If Shearer’s speech does bomb it won’t be the first time his team over-promised and under-delivered on a speech by this leader. But even if he exceeds expectations, all it’ll prove is that as opposition leader he has the luxury to get a week of media coaching and outsource his speech-writing to a professional. Being Prime Minister is a more improvisational and reactive job.

    …it’s hardly a marvellous endorsement.

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  14. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Greens, NZ First and Mana party :lol:
    Whinerium is an extremely active metal, which reacts violently with maori and greens. With Maori, it converts to whinny hate and with greens unpalatable politics. The reaction of whinerium with maori is dangerous because of its violent exothermic character and the production of hydrogen sulfide gas.

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  15. David Garrett (5,120 comments) says:

    I would just like to add my voice to those urging that poor Mr Shearer be given a bit more time to grow into the role…Shit, he’s only had about 18 mths more parliamentary experience than I have! And he’s a unifying figure who everyone likes and respects, apparently.

    I am going to send a message to the labour caucus this morning to that effect. Probably in vain, but what the hell…I am a great believer in not kicking a man when he is down.

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  16. jims_whare (389 comments) says:

    So what happens if Shearer remains leader with mediocre support from his caucus, his polling figures refuse to improve (or decline) and the activists still remain fervently pro Cunliffe?

    There has to be a breaking point somewhere? A new party? In party fighting? An en masse move to the greens?

    Unless Shearer sees all this and falls on his sword?

    Lots of options and none too good for Labour’s long term survival

    I’m trying to care……..really I’m trying but hmmm not working.

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  17. nasska (9,475 comments) says:

    David Garrett

    Tell him we’re all behind him 100%…it’s the least we can do in the circumstances. :)

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  18. David Garrett (5,120 comments) says:

    bhudson: I am not sure whether you are taking the piss or not (I am not very good at “subtle”) but when I read Espiner’s piece I also thought it not exactly a ringing endorsement of Shearer. And since Espiner is a confirmed leftie stooge, and has “form” for determining political careers, I don’t think Cunliffe will be inviting him around for a latte…

    Nasska: I will do that…I am sure the poor beleagured chap will be bucked up no end as a result of our support and encouragement.

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  19. Peter (1,468 comments) says:

    It’s amusing to see the steerage passengers fight over who gets appointed Captain Of The Titanic.

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  20. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    DG,

    I thought it was obvious enough So I left out the [/sarc] tag.

    If Labour think Cunliffe is the answer, it just proves that they still haven’t discovered the real question. Having said that, I agree with DPF and Matthew that it all adds up to some backstabbing action over the next few weeks.

    I wonder if Grant Robertson is going to switch allegiances to Cunliffe to help him to secure the leadership in return for keeping Grant’s faint hopes alive for the future?

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  21. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Peter,

    Very, very good! You should license that to farifax to use

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  22. David Garrett (5,120 comments) says:

    Well, I still think it’s so unfair. The poor chap is trying to unify a caucus running the spectrum from Sua William Sio, a God fearing church going Polynesian, through worn out hangovers from yesteryear, helpful members like Moana Mackey and Phil Twyford, through Nanaia Mahuta (well, you can’t easily get around her) all the way to Grant Robertson and the Rainbow Boys. It can’t be easy!

    At least as ACT was self destructing everyone kept their mouths shut…well, except Mrs Roy, and no-one could understand what she was on about anyway. If they bothered to read her press releases….

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  23. Fisiani (849 comments) says:

    Labour have to find a reason for their low polling. They blame the Shearer and ignore the Sheep. Their nihilistic approach to reform and their willingness to borrow and spend is ignored.

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  24. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    While I think there is a fair amount of spontaneous combustion there has been for some time a concerted Cunliffe campaign who think he can pull Labour further left.

    The current commotion is deep seated and widely spread. But there is also a fundamental fight going on, between the Labour leadership (and the part of caucus that supports that) and union interests.

    The voices on The Standard are diverse, but there is a core of Labour activists with union connections. Cunliffe may be an unnatural fit with unions and workers but he has aligned with them, presumably because he sees them as a means to gain the power he wants.

    It’s a general disillusionment (or never illusioned) with the Shearer experiment, but underpinned by ABC versus unions.

    It will be interesting to see if Zetetic posts this week, been quiet lately. Maybe that moniker has just seen fit to keep a low profile, like mickysavage. Or just too busy in union with the plotters?

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  25. Keeping Stock (9,787 comments) says:

    @ Pete George – Irish Bill is definitely union aligned. I’m not so sure about “Eddie” these days though. There was a time when Conor Roberts and Jenny Michie used the Eddie ID, but that’s going back a bit. There has also been speculation that a Labour MP with a fondness for bicycles, social media and arguing with the Speaker may have posted as Eddie at times, but I can neither confirm nor deny if that is the case :P

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  26. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    KS – ‘Eddie’ has had a different personality for a while, definitely now with union inclinations. I actually agreed with most of his dump Shearer post, but arriving there from a different perspective.

    I was for a while one of the only promoters of Shearer at The Standard, I wanted to give him a chance to step up to leadership. But like many I now see Shearer as having failed too many chances – I hoped he would measure up to his promise of being something different and largely above the same old dirty politics but he was quickly owned by the same old repeat failure strategists.

    He is now little more than a puppet of the slogan droners.

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  27. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    When they are talking about booting out a fairly sensible (if lacklustre) leader and the only realistic contenders are lunatic extremists, the future looks pretty bleak for the Labour party.

    What RRM would like to see:

    1) Shearer gets the boot. I like him, but by now it’s pretty clear he is not the man who’s going to turn the tide of union stupidity (not to mention student union stupidity) in that party;

    2) Labour installs some sort of hard socialist Union bloc in the leadership spots, comprising the likes of Darien “The Mad Butcher is a traitor!” Fenton & Co;

    3) Labour 2014 campaign on unions this, unions that; crazy rhetoric around asset sales, yoof rates, 90 days, more benefits, new Ministries for everything under the sun, fuck the man he’s keeping you down, you can’t trust John Key, etc etc;

    4) Utter dismal annihilation in the 2014 polls as its 2014, not 1914;

    5) Blood letting and a CHANCE for an all-new sensible labour party to form in time for 2017…?

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  28. Harriet (4,002 comments) says:

    To be a NZ Labour leader, you must first submit to a lobotomy.

    This will ensure you have no capacity for free thought, and will do exactly what the faceless bosses at the top tell you to do. That way, when you find yourself being a member of the NZL Party with an eye on the leadership , you can safely sit there and drone on about nothing, and everyone in the party can be assured that you will toe the party line and not rock the boat.

    Shearer, Cunliff, Robertson?…….the choice doesn’t really matter, for the doctors anyway, the hardest part is first finding the brain in order to carry out the lobotomy. :cool:

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  29. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    If only they were smart enough to work out their real problem is that they follow a failed ideology. Socialism… That’s their real problem – their leader is only a figure head but hey… lets enjoy the show while they throw him under the bus in denial that their party is actually rotten to the core.

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  30. Harriet (4,002 comments) says:

    Burt #

    “….lets enjoy the show while they throw him under the bus in denial that their party is actually rotten to the core….”

    Yep, people are over ‘identity’ politics as it does’nt help them but makes them ever more reliant on the state.

    Being yourself is never going to be enough in the new composite NZ under Labour.

    Take a kiwi female, in fact, she can’t be anything without massive assistance from Labour every step of the way, from their WFF program at age 3 through to their Social Security benefits at the age of 67. Everything good in her life she owes to ‘them’.

    When she writes her memoir, it will be thanks to a subvention from the Ministry of Women’s Publishing Assistance Program for Chronically Dependent Women but you’ll love it: Sweet Dreams From My Rich Prick Sugar Daddies.

    She’s what the lawyers would call “non composite mentis”: She’s not competent to do a single thing for herself – and, from the Shearer/Cunliff point of view, that’s exactly what ‘they’re’ looking for in a woman, if only for a one-night stand on a November day next year. :cool:

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  31. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    RRM, there’s a major flaw to your plan.

    The only way your strategy will work is if Labour can inject some actual talent in 2014. They had a dismal first term of non-renewal, capped by an appallling lack of regeneration party list.

    And if the union faction dominates up to the next disaster (election) it’s logical to expect they will dominate both electorate candidate selection and the party list. If that happens and the talent pool is further diluted the party is probably stuffed.

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  32. Elaycee (4,058 comments) says:

    The irony should not be lost that National actually needs a strong Labour Party in order to maintain it’s own policy momentum.

    And at the moment, Labour is in tatters – Shearer lacks the ability to unite the various factions within Labour and as a result, he is facing drawn knives coming at him from all quarters. And if the answer to Labour’s woes is Cunliffe, then I agree with other commenters – Labour isn’t asking the right questions. Any elevation of Cunliffe to the leadership role would change little – the only difference would be the factions holding the knives.

    A once credible party, is currently rooted. It’s traditional vote has been cannibalised by other left parties and unless there is an urgent introduction of fresh (non-union / non-tainted) talent, they will remain buggered for some time yet.

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  33. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Pete George –

    yes I realise I’m being highly optimistic in thinking they might be only six years away from being a credible political force.

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  34. Nostalgia-NZ (4,682 comments) says:

    Just when Labour need unity they publicly display their many apparent factions. Hard not to have contempt for the wimps that speak out against him, they could do their dirty business in private – looked at another way if the issue becomes one of public disloyalty from within the party David Shearer may yet prevail. If he doesn’t the electorate will probably remember the gutless blood letters and therefore the party with disdain. David seems to take an age to get his heckles up but maybe when in a corner he will prevail. As many have said a tight ship running into the next election with Shearer at the helm, steady as she goes, has a better chance than having the premature ejaculation-ers beating themselves to death.

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  35. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    I thought I’d be a smart arse in the side bar poll:

    “Who do you think will be Labour Party Leader in 12 months time?”

    But Rajen Prasad has close to the top vote. Funny and sad.

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  36. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    than having the premature ejaculation-ers beating themselves to death

    I think Espiner called Cunliffe the same thing N-NZ. Just with slightly different language…

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  37. coolas (105 comments) says:

    Shearer’s last media performance was the recordings that didn’t exist. He blathered on for days about ‘the tape’ but couldn’t produce it, taking the heat off Key, and boring the Media, and us, and the story disappeared. Pathetic own goal.

    Good and decent man he might be, but he’s branded now, as being a bumbler and weak.

    I support the Labour activists who call for Shearer to go. He’s too big a risk. And if he hasn’t learnt to think on his feet, and communicate clearly by now, he never will.

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  38. Peter (1,468 comments) says:

    premature ejaculation-ers beating themselves to death

    The Standard should have that as a byline.

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  39. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    The Standard machine fires back. (It’s actually like a number of semi independent cogs thinking it’s good to drive just the left side of a machine).

    Thanks DPF for my laugh of the day

    Written By: Anthony R0bins

    DPF is peddling a conspiracy theory that The Standard is acting on instructions for a coordinated attack on Shearer. I can see how he’d make that mistake, being used to a command and control structure for his Nat blog – but here at The Standard we don’t take orders from anyone.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/thanks-dpf-for-my-laugh-of-the-day/

    (blog Emperor lprent may wishfully disagree with “but here at The Standard we don’t take orders from anyone”).

    Anthony is right, not all The Standard authors are on the same campaign. Anthony seems nothing but a loyal promoter of Labour, has supported Shearer and I haven’t seen him promote the ABC line nor the Cunliffe-the-saviour line.

    But a button has been pushed, in a virtual sense at least. There’s been an avalanche of MSM and blog interest in Shearer’s last chance saloon in this weekend’s conference – many don’t think he should even last that long.

    Blogs often play games and both sides have digs at leadership uncertainty – in his post Anthony tried to divert to Key uncertainty (saying plaintively that at least Shearer’s problems were solvable and Key’s weren’t).

    But in the relatively short time I’ve been watching politics closely I’ve never seen such a flurry of activity on the leadership of a party, except perhaps for when Brash took over Act.

    There may not be a single person pushing a button here, but the floodgate has been opened nevertheless.

    [DPF: I never said The Standard as a whole had taken a line. I know they are independent. I am saying that Eddie and Irish Bill as individuals chose their timing very deliberately to put the pressure on Shearer to quite, so their candidate can take over]

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  40. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    Not to be outdone, lprent joins the fray. This is his closing/summary, it’s a long missive even for him.

    Shuffle the caucus deck

    The reason is that I have lost confidence in the parliamentary caucus being capable of even trying to head towards a electoral victory. As a group they seem to spend more time posturing to each other and to the media in the beltway than doing the job they need to do across NZ.

    Labour isn’t going to grow their actual vote without getting people to go to the polling booths – a lesson driven home over the last week with the techniques used in Obama victory. The ability of the party to do that is diminishing as activists across the country get frustrated with the obstruction of the parliamentary caucus. The caucus appears to be the main impediment to building the type of party organisational activity that would be required to build that victory and sustain it over several elections.

    Labour needs someone who can control the ill-disciplined and incoherent rabble in the parliamentary caucus or at the very least get them moving in the same direction. David Shearer and his support team don’t appear to me to be those people or if they are even trying then they are failing miserably.

    Somehow I don’t think that a single speech is going to fix that. It is a structural problem with the caucus and the elevation of David Shearer to the leadership is more of a incidental symptom than being the problem.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/shuffle-the-caucus-deck/

    What lprent says here is a fair reflection of a significant number of commenters at The Standard, but he goes further than some by spreading the blame (fairly) across the Labour caucus.

    Whatever happens with Shearer, and whatever happens at the conference, Labour have a major problem to deal with. Otherwise even Anthony may speak against them.

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  41. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Pete George –

    I was amused to read the bit in The Standard’s follow-up where they hang on your every word:

    DPF also conveniently ignores the posts that don’t support his theory – and is taken to task for it in the first comment on his post.

    I couldn’t resist mentioning this this in their own comments, will have to wait & see if I make it through moderation…

    RRM:
    And who “Took DPF to task”…?
    None other than Pete George, who is banned from commenting on The Standard…
    It’s funny how the seasons change, isn’t it?

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  42. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    Yes, that’s verry hilarious RRM. The Standard machine would never accept what I said.

    And a funny follow-up comment:

    karol 6.2.1
    12 November 2012 at 12:05 pm

    For me it wasn’t so much the content of PG’s comments, but the amount. He was flooding discussions with comments, making it a little more difficult than necessary to follow the main threads of a discussion.

    The resident trolls (protected by lprent) would flood many of my comments with attacks to make the main threads of the discussion difficult to follow – and then I’d get the blame, and the warnings, and the bans. And the trolls never had any sort of reprimand at all.

    The Standard button pushers trying to control the machine.

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  43. Fisiani (849 comments) says:

    The problem for the Left is that they want a leader of the Faith ie hard Left. Shearer is not hard Left. Cunliffe will say what he thinks the unions want to hear . Robertson(I polished up the handles so carefully) will say what he thinks the rainbow faction wants to hear.

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  44. DJP6-25 (1,228 comments) says:

    Anything that weakens Labour is good for New-Zealand. Long may the saga continue.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  45. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    Remarkable from Whale (that he got a copy): http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/11/a-message-from-bill-ctd-5/

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  46. V (660 comments) says:

    … the Standard… what a joke.

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  47. RightNow (6,336 comments) says:

    lprent ex machina

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