Chris Trotter fired a broadside at Labour MPs today over their behaviour at the Labour conference in November in a column Dishing out rewards to hungry enforcers.
I’m told there were six of them, and that they hunted as a pack. Their prey?
Delegates who had voted the wrong way.
Moving through the excited crowds at the Ellerslie Conference Centre last November, an angry group of Labour MPs was seen taking dissidents aside and telling them, in no uncertain terms, which way was up.
Leading the pack was Labour’s employment relations spokeswoman, Darien Fenton, and her grim lieutenant, Dunedin South MP Clare Curran.
No surprises there. Ms Fenton and Ms Curran were among the caucus members most alarmed by the Labour Party rank-and-files’ sudden outbreak of democratic distemper. The other members of the pack, however, came as a surprise.
On February 25, Mr Shearer’s new lineup is announced. The Pack are well rewarded. Ms Fenton and Ms Curran both rise two places in the pecking order, while Mr Twyford goes up three to take a seat on the front bench.
There were accusations against other Labour MPs as well, but that’s a bigger story.
Channel 9 in Dunedin asked Clare Curran about her role in this in Nightly interview: Clare Curran(video) - transcript.
Chris Trotter published a scathing attack against a group of Labour MPs in the ODT today, calling them a group of angry attack dogs. He implied a group of Labour MPs were berating members of the party who were not being faithful to the current leader David Shearer.
To fill in the gaps and explain what’s been going on is Labour’s MP for Dunedin South Clare Curran.
Now you’ve been referred to as a grim lieutenant in today’s ODT, and part of a group of angry attack dogs, what’s your response to that?
Well, I’ve known Chris Trotter for quite a long time, and I think he’s a great writer, ah, I think he might be, um, better at writing fiction these days, ah, and, but I think he’s also a bit like a dog with a bone, and he tends to live in the past a bit in his writing, and, ah he also has hasn’t been a member of the Labour Party for a very long time, but he likes to give us the benefit of his very strong views, so I guess that’s what I’ve got to say I mean, um, you know I that’s not the way I um saw it, and ah you know we had a great conference, and we’ve we’re a united party moving forward.
After spending most of a ramble trying to discredit Trotter she makes a non specific denial “I mean, um, you know I that’s not the way I um saw it” and then either paints a rather creative picture of “a great conference” and then is in total denial or total PR mode claiming “we’ve we’re a united party moving forward“. Charles Chauvel, Chris Trotter and many others have very contrasting views of a party that is divided and toxic.
And I’ve heard from different sources (other than Trotter) that Clare Curran has been intimidating party members – I blogged about some in Curran needs to answer gagging accusations:
My friends were heavied in an attempt to intimidate me to stop posting during the leadership contest between Shearer and Cunliffe. Clearly someone in Wellington didn’t like me saying their pony was a rightwing puppet who couldn’t lead a party to save himself. Despite me only stating the obvious, it spurred a pretty awful and nasty intimidation campaign. They knew the people being threatened weren’t me, but they knew too that doing that to my friends would quieten me. How shitty North-Korean is that?
So far it’s been CV, millsy, Peter Wilson, and me – that I know of – but who knows who else has been leaned on to shut up?
We’re not like the disgrace of an MP who has hounded CV into silence because she can’t handle honest criticis…
I have the evidence, as do others. It exists, and if the behaviour doesn’t stop, it may just come out.
The MP in question also hails from Dunedin. In my view she has simply lost the plot.
This is an actual problem. There was a threat of “outing” by a MP that came up during the lobbying at conference.
The lobbying at the conference which is where this round of it seemed to have started was pretty intense and I’ve had quite a four people independently describing it to me.
I now know the facts, via a private source, but I still don’t know why the Standard won’t publish the full story, because it really is appalling behaviour by a half witted bully of an MP.
But you should know that this incident leaves me very angry indeed and I firmly believe the MP concerned should be de-selected and expelled from the party.
There have been more descriptions and accusations since. Some of these comments are from unknown identities, some are from identified party members.
And to shut down dissent in the party seems to be continuing. IrishBill commented on Monday:
I should probably mention that she’s still trying to get the National council to put rules in place for members who blog and censures for those who are deemed to have blogged inappropriately.
Curran has certainly not answered criticism with “I mean, um, you know I that’s not the way I um saw it“.
UPDATE: a relevant comment from Trotter’s Bowalley blog:
Chris Trotter said…
You have to remember I was a Labour Party man long before I was a political columnist – and although I haven’t been a member for more than 20 years, I was still disgusted at the way the caucus responded to the rank-and-file’s assertion of their rights.