Chris Trotter writes:
Is it possible that Chris Carter is right? Would Labour have a better chance of winning the next election under a new leader?
Is Phil Goff really the best, or even, as most political commentators emphatically insist, the only option available? And if, as those same commentators contend, Labour cannot win under Goff’s leadership, does that mean Labour cannot win, full stop?
A few days ago I would have conceded (albeit reluctantly) that those commentators were more likely to be proved right than wrong. And I use the word “reluctant” advisedly, because I count myself among Goff’s long-time supporters. As long ago as February 2008 I was urging the Labour caucus to persuade Helen Clark to step aside in favour of her defence minister.
But now Chris says:
Everything we have seen since the 2008 election points to a deadlocked Labour caucus in which no one faction possesses the numbers – or leadership – to give either the party, or the country, the clear new direction it so desperately needs.
There’s only two ways that Labour’s factions can resolve this impasse: the first is to wage a long and bitter war of attrition and agree to follow the last politician left standing; or to swallow their pride and, ignoring the factions, elect as leader the person best equipped both intellectually and presentationally to lead them to victory in 2008.
Last Saturday morning, on TV3’s The Nation, David Cunliffe demonstrated conclusively that he is that person. Articulate, good- humoured, open to new ideas and smart enough to turn them into credible policy, Cunliffe looked every inch the leader Labour needs to win.
The conventionally wise insist that he lacks sufficient allies to mount a successful challenge. But, from the perspective of Labour’s deadlocked caucus, Cunliffe’s absence of factional baggage may yet prove to be his most telling political advantage.
I blogged a month or two ago that I believe David Cunliffe will be the next leader, because he s acceptable to all factions. One Labour person somewhat unkindly (but perhaps accurately) said he is no one’s first choice, but everyone’s second choice.
However I still stand by my prediction, that Goff will remain leader until after the 2011 election.