A tale of two Labour leaders

July 11th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

at Ninth&10 reports:

today achieved what might previously have seemed impossible. His Labour Party/union reform speech had Tony Blair gushing before it was even delivered – and it had the approval of Unite Union leader Len McCluskey immediately afterwards. …

But whatever the long-term impact of Miliband’s ideas, he achieved a tidy political set-piece today. This mattered for Ed because he is often written up as a man not ready for the job. In the middle of last week, some of his front-bench was briefing that he needed to “get a grip” on the union influence stories spilling forth from the initial problem in Falkirk. In a few days of practiced political management, Miliband does seem to have tightened – if not quite sewn up – this troublesome narrative, for the time being, at least.

You can look back on the past week and see a plan that was quickly put together and decisively executed. There was a resignation, suspensions and police referrals last week. A grim-faced Angela Eagle was deployed to tell a “get tough” story on Falkirk. This week, the lobby was briefed in advance of Miliband’s speech on some meaty reform details. Blair obliged with his warm endorsement on Sky News right ahead of the speech and Miliband sprung a genuine surprise with a voter-friendly proposal to restrict the amount MPs can earn outside of their day jobs. The analysts were so impressed by this last point that they said Miliband had hurled the ball cleverly in to the Tory half of the court for a response.

And this is how competent political management should look.

The contrast with ’s Labour leadership in New Zealand is incredibly stark. MPs in NZ are again whispering to journalists about Shearer’s leadership and playing dumb with their bosses when asked for an explanation (this is what I took to have happened with the Duncan Garner tweet drama last night, NZ time, for those who were following it). Whatever his colleagues say, it’s clear that Shearer does not have enough of the confidence of his own caucus. …

He seems too far gone as leader now.

The diverging prospects of the two Labour leaders over the past week are instructive. Neither man is as politically gifted as his centre-right adversary, but at least one of them is making some of his own luck.

To be fair to Shearer, he is not solely responsible. The Deputy Leader is meant to play a key role in party management, as are the staff.

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11 Responses to “A tale of two Labour leaders”

  1. wreck1080 (3,787 comments) says:

    The only leader for labour is andrew little, who seems to have an air of authority about him.

    Couldn’t take goff or shearer seriously. Cunliffe is probably a bit better but comes off as too smarmy.

    Haven’t seen too much of Little, but, don’t you make impressions of people in the first 60 seconds of hearing them talk?

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  2. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    The Deputy Leader is meant to play a key role in party management..

    But, but, but, the Deputy Leader is your mate Robertson. :D

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  3. Harriet (4,614 comments) says:

    “…..MPs in NZ are again whispering to journalists about Shearer’s leadership and playing dumb with their bosses when asked for an explanation….”

    And that is why the West is fucked…..people don’t complain that they live under a Mediaocracy!

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  4. SHG (367 comments) says:

    Make that THREE Leaders – PM Kevin Rudd has just brought the hammer down on union influence in the Australian Labor Party:

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/its-rudds-party-now-unions-just-live-in-it-20130710-2pqbz.html

    The other leg to Rudd’s approach has been the attack on union domination of Labor, its so-called faceless men. That started with the spectacular assault on the notoriously fetid culture of the NSW branch via a lightning 30-day federal intervention.

    And it was followed this week by an extraordinary revamp of Labor’s parliamentary machinery to make it impossible for leaders to be knifed as he was in 2010 (and as he just did to Gillard a fortnight ago).

    This was Rudd the Labor movement outsider, taking on a century of vested interests that, his instincts tell him, voters loathe and, his memory tells him, cannot be trusted to stick with him.

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  5. shoreboy57 (134 comments) says:

    If Sheeps screwed the Unions here too, there would be votes in it

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  6. hj (6,618 comments) says:

    Labour is full of impotent eunuchs who can’t really do much given the unresolved threads amongst the factions. In the past labour didn’t have the issues presented by globalisation, now they have to choose between local workers and foreigners.

    Chris Trotter:
    What the audience gathered at the Hornby Working Men’s Club deserved to hear from Shearer was an acknowledgement that Labour’s challenges are specific and immediate. To raise incomes by re-empowering working people and redistributing wealth.

    To make New Zealand a place where the diversity of its population is a source of strength and pride, not an opportunity for mistrust and division. To create a community of values, where loyalty is owed not to flags – but to principles.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/columnists/chris-trotter/7849085/Without-immigrants-economy-would-stall

    so you see in Bali (for example) all they need to do is empower workers and all those people offering services at the hotel gates will be rich

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  7. hj (6,618 comments) says:

    You can see why progressives (and business dominated parties-National/Act/United Tobacco) instinctively hate NZ First. Most of us know when our belief system takes us into flakedom.

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  8. hj (6,618 comments) says:

    We ought to appoint Chris Trotter as Governor of Indonesia to demonstrate his wealth creating magic.

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  9. hj (6,618 comments) says:

    I heard Little banging the Labour drum about boat people how NZ has always provided “succour” . So to people like that NZ is a great big comfortable couch for the rest of the world?

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  10. greenjacket (429 comments) says:

    wreck1080 wrote: “The only leader for labour is andrew little, who seems to have an air of authority about him. Haven’t seen too much of Little, but, don’t you make impressions of people in the first 60 seconds of hearing them talk?”

    So you think Little is leadership quality, while admitting that you haven’t actually met the guy.

    Given that Andrew Little was demoted for his lack of performance in what is a very lightweight opposition number 19 in the caucus shows that his colleagues don’t think he much of an air of authority about him! The Nats actually look forwards to his questions in the House which shows how embarrassingly inept he is in the parliamentary ‘bear pit’.

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  11. SHG (367 comments) says:

    If you can’t win an electorate you don’t get a seat at the big table. End of story.

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