Shearer’s concerns are the more immediate. An opinion poll last week delivering a dismal ranking for both the party and Shearer personally was devastating to Labour. With National halfway into a less than easy second term, Labour was hoping that by now it would be shaping up much better. Shearer is not helped by his backers saying that if the poll results were converted to seats the party would be doing a little better than it had at the last election, because, as the critics point out, that election was a catastrophe for Labour.
Inspired by the brutal rolling of Julia Gillard across the Tasman, and keenly aware that the procedure here for Labour to remove its leader is much more drawn out and cumbersome, some in the party are saying that Shearer must start to do better by spring or be replaced.
We know this because one or more Labour MPs has spoken to both the One News and 3 News political editors. In fact it looks like more than one MP according to Q+A:
JESSICA Some of the MPs that we’ve been talking to behind the scenes this week have said two months is-
DAVID Well, nobody’s spoken to me about it, and I can tell you, I’d like to know who the MP is.
Not a good look to have to ask a reporter who is briefing against you!
JESSICA Is it hard not having the support completely of your caucus?
DAVID Look, I have the support of my caucus. I mean, the fact that you’ve spoken to one anonymous person, and I haven’t heard of any-
JESSICA I’ve actually spoken to several people.
That should ring some alarm bells. However I think Shearer will remain safe, so long as the ABC faction thinks there is a chance Cunliffe could win a ballot in case of a vacancy.