Bill Ralston writes in the HoS that Goff must watch his back:
It is occurring in the blogosphere, and not on the traditional centre-right sites that love to lampoon Goff and Labour but on centre-left sites.
Ralston gves four examples:
The Left’s curmudgeonly commentator Chris Trotter fired the first shots on his site, Bowalley Road. Incensed at Goff’s statements regarding socialism as a 19th-century doctrine rejected by modern Labour, Trotter blew a fuse. “If this is your view, Phil, that the quest for democratic socialism should be dismissed as something belonging to ’19th-century history’, then I say ‘The hell with you’.” Trotter tells Labour Party members: “Find yourselves a new leader.”
Russell Brown’s liberal-left Hard News offered Goff the pained advice, that if he “wants to float ideas, could he please ensure they don’t have any holes in them when he pushes them out from the jetty”.
I don’t think any of those left blogs (except Trotter) are saying they want Goff to go. They are saying they want Goff to improve his performance. But there is a sub-text about what could happen if he doesn’t.
The blogosphere means we now hear what party supporters once said in private discussions over a beer. That the whingeing about Goff has started after a couple of small mistakes means there is a deep enmity to him on the left of the party and his opponents are beginning to gather steam.
Blogs have increased transparency.
Goff was an intelligent and able Cabinet minister but now I hear Labour supporters wondering if that is enough to make him an Opposition leader capable of winning an election. Frankly, at this stage, there is no one better to lead the party.
Nevertheless, the knives are being sharpened and over the coming year the destabilisation of Goff is likely to intensify. This may not lead to his overthrow but it will ruin Labour’s chances of presenting itself as a stable alternative government.
The most interesting part will be seeing who on the left will first raise their head to make a push for the leadership. As a great New Zealand thinker once said: “It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.”
The danger periods are at the very end and very beginning of a year. But having said that, I do not believe Goff is (yet) at risk. Of the pre-2008 intake only Cunliffe, Street and Jones are seen as potential leaders and all are seen as risky to some degree.
The 2008 intake has some considerable talent, but there is no way any of them will take up a leadership role in their first term.