The front page of the Otago Daily Times has an internal ad for an inside column with the title “Clark’s leadership will sink Labour”. I turned to page 15 to find out which right ring commentator had done the opinion piece, and found it was Chris Trotter – the same Chris Trotter singing the Labour Party song on stage at their recent conference.
The column is not online yet, but here are some quotes:
But what the gods can give, they can also take away. And it is very difficult to read the events of 2007 as anything other than proof of Euripedes’ observation ‘Those who the gods seek to destroy, they first make mad”.
Trotter then covers the PM’s “sheer political madness” over the anti-smacking legislation. He then moves onto the Electoral Finance Bill:
Instead Miss Clark allowed Mark Burton to introduce the Electoral Finance Bill, a grotesque political cudgel with which Labour will be mercilessly beaten right up until election day in November, probably to death.
Did Chris just call the EFB grotesque?
A worrying large chunk of Labour’s core constituency has become alienated from the Clark-led Government and it is to be seriously doubted whether it can be persuaded to return to the fold while she remains leader.
And finally he concludes:
If the Labour Government is to ave a serious crack at winning a fourth term, it has got to get those voters back. It won’t while Miss Clark is prime minister.
Put Phil Goff in charge and it just might.
I doubt Trotter is personally a Goff fan. He is politically to the left of Labour and far closer to Clark. No one could accuse him of being in the right wing faction of Labour. He is of course not even in Labour.
One can only presume he has written this column because of his genuine belief that Labour under Phil Goff would poll higher, and have a better chance of re-election, than under Helen Clark.
Of course Clark is under no threat at all from her Caucus. But nevertheless Trotter’s column will set some tongues wagging and possibly start some conversations which a year ago would never have happened.