Trotter on the Garner source

July 17th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

writes at Stuff:

Labour MPs have accused Garner of “making up” his story about a coup being under way against Shearer. But only a moment’s thought is required to expose this accusation for the nonsense it is.

Garner has confirmed that his informant was a member of the Labour Party caucus. Presumably, he or she was someone who had vouchsafed information to Garner in the past – information which had proved to be reliable.

The maelstrom of criticism into which Garner has been unceremoniously pitched, since his predictions of last Thursday night were proved wrong, provides the strongest argument as to why he would not have tweeted without feeling extremely confident about the rumour’s veracity.

(Just to make sure, however, he sought and received confirmation from a second Labour Party source.)

That Garner was given what the Americans would call “a bum steer” should tell him (and us) that the atmosphere in Labour’s caucus is becoming increasingly toxic.

Is the source the same one who told One News and Three News staff Shearer had two months to improve?

So, why did Garner’s coup rumour fail to stack up? Let’s go through the explanatory options.

1) Some sort of leadership coup was on, but Garner’s tweet alerted Shearer’s supporters and the organisers were forced to abort. (Despairing Labour MPs may simply have been gathering sufficient signatures to persuade their leader to go gracefully and preserve the party from a debilitating civil war.)

2) No coup was imminent, but Garner’s source considered it vital that Shearer be forced to endure yet another destabilising round of media speculation concerning the viability of his leadership. (So vital that they were willing to abuse and lose Garner’s trust.)

3) For reasons of their own, Shearer’s backers decided to undermine Garner’s journalistic credibility by deliberately misinforming him that a coup was under way.

My pick is No 2.

15 Responses to “Trotter on the Garner source”

  1. Colville (3,122 comments) says:

    Its not as tho Garner would refuse a call in future from the “source”, he will just check the info a bit better next time. So the LP caucus member still has a voice in the media, nothing lost and yet another nail in Shearers coffin.

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  2. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    My guess is run 2 and watch what happens to assess whether the time and opportunity are right to try 1.

    It’s worth noting there was a bit of followup activity from at least one new pseudonym at The Standard. I don’t think it was an isolated dabble.

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  3. Auberon (810 comments) says:

    Option 1 – the first coup to be scuppered by the immediacy of Twitter.

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  4. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    Quite possible Auberon. It was interesting to see how quickly and aggressively Robertson, King and Hipkins came onto Twitter to discredit the leak and Garner.

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  5. greenjacket (1,125 comments) says:

    There is a fourth option (and I think more probable).
    There was an attempt to oust Shearer. But the plotters were so utterly inept they couldn’t get their act together and the coup fell over by itself before Shearer or his few supporters knew about it.

    This is consistent with what we know about the Labour caucus:
    1. They all know that Shearer is politically drowning, and
    2. the Labour caucus consists of people who couldn’t organise a piss up at a brewery.

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  6. Cunningham (957 comments) says:

    Speaking of Shearer, he seems to be getting less and less coverage on TV as time passes. There are some extremely bad signs for him. I just cannot see him lasting to the next election. With all the leadership speculation, bad publicity about his performance on TV etc how can the party let it continue on? We haven’t even got to the election campaign and head to head debates yet!

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  7. RF (2,330 comments) says:

    Have you noticed lately that King gets very flustered when defending her leader and her speech is “gabbled”. She knows that when he goes – she will be joining him with Goff, Mallard etc.

    The only stumbling block is the fact there is no one to take over. Labour accepts that it has lost next years election and is in damage control for the next few years until a fresh face appears. The lovely smiling lady is a dark horse if you pardon the pun and they are picking her as a future leader after she hardens up.

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  8. Monty (941 comments) says:

    Maybe the phone records and the emails of all Labour Socialist Party should be published for the greater good of the country and then we would know who the leaker is? Wasn’t that what Labour and the Taliban were asking for a couple of weeks ago?

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  9. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Shearer is doing just fine. His job is to prevent Labour doing anything too left wing, possibly by preventing it from getting elected. This means that Labour MPs can rest east knowing that their future cushy corporate jobs will not be imperilled by sharp moves leftward.

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  10. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (1,301 comments) says:

    Whatever is the crap, I am so happy that the left leaning Garner ended up with a bloody nose. Priceless….

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  11. doggone7 (1,655 comments) says:

    To (sort of) repeat; When people like Garner get into some sort of frenzy with an angle, the whole world knows. What would Marshall McLuhan would say? The message isn’t the message. The medium isn’t the message. The messenger becomes the message?

    The Garners of the world try to make the game all about them. Like a referee intruding, kicking the ball and trying to score a goal. Or worse, someone there to report on the game intruding to kick the ball. At least a ref is actually in the game.

    Oh, yes, not to forget, and then scoring an own goal.

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  12. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    There’s another option:

    4. He made it up, or bluffed it.

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  13. kiwi in america (2,687 comments) says:

    I think its a combination of 1 and 2. Trotter claims Garner double checked with another caucus source. What likely happened was source no 2 merely confirmed a possible rumble was on but didn’t confirm the letter. Garner was specific in not just predicting a coup but that a letter to affect said coup was circulating. The source would likely be a Cunliffe supporter but in the end didn’t have the numbers. I’m sure the ABC faction and Shearer’s supporters moved swiftly to shore up numbers. The venom in Clayton Cosgrove’s interview with Garner on Radio Live was revealing in just how angry Shearer’s backers were that Garner went with this rumour.

    The cleanest execution is a Shearer resignation with only one name to replace him. There just is no consensus in Labour around that one name and so if its a contest then the new constitutional 40/40/20 rules apply. This is mega messy as none of the contenders seem able to win two of the three blocks needed to become leader. Cunliffe may be the single contender with the most committed votes in caucus but even he cannot get to the number needed in caucus to trigger an off Convention year tilt at the leadership. The coup floundered on the rocks of this reality.

    Its a marvelously messy conundrum that must have National’s strategists laughing in their beer. Almost all but the diehard Shearer supporters realize Shearer is not up to the job but there is no consensus candidate at this time to execute a clean single option replacement. Most sane heads in the caucus know a full party leadership contest is a recipe for months of poll sapping destabilization at the end of the last year before an election year. Unless Labour’s polling in the two TV network polls in August is truly dire, Shearer is probably safe because of the complexity of the leader replacement mechanism. A Labour drop to the high 20’s will make it hard for a consensus candidate like Little to convince the Cunliffe and ABC factions to back him. I’m sure Cunliffe still thinks he’s in with a chance so he’s biding his time knowing he’s got the party in his pocket hoping that a sub 25% poll rating will trigger the Rudd option – where naked political self interest with major caucus members staring down the barrel of defeat trumps the internal hatred of Cunliffe as a person and sees him emerge as the one candidate. He’d hold his likely wider party backing as his negotiating card against the head of any holdouts in the ABC faction to sway them to back him in the caucus vote and to persuade the ABC crowd to not back Robertson or Little.

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  14. expat (4,087 comments) says:

    4. Labour are so fragmented and fucked up they couldn’t organize a knifing if the leadership was rooted and the polls were dire…

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  15. Paulus (3,567 comments) says:

    Helen is here in Town – she will seek out Robertson and sort this Labour shit out.

    I see that in today’s Herald supplement they are saying that the best TV programme to watch next week is a two part story of Helen Clark.

    Am I a cynic, or what’s with the irony ?

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