There have been mixed reactions to Andrew Little’s elevation to Labour leader around the blogs.
On the left there seems to be a stronger reaction than to the election result – that may be because it was a tight race with uncertainty in the result in Labour’s leadership contest, compared to a predictable election result, there were feelings of despair in Labour circles well before the September vote.
The Standard is mostly congratulatory and supportive of Little in And the winner is …
This isn’t a surprise, they have been Cunliffe supporters and promoters and switched to Cunliffe’s choice in this contest. And there are significant union leanings and involvement at The Standard.
In contrast Andrew Geddis at The Pundit is very negative about it.
The only thing worse than electing the wrong person as leader of Labour is electing him by the narrowest of margins, by virtue of the influence of a handful of individuals acting under instructions.
Labour just made the wrong choice, in the worst possible way.
Obviously, I think that the decision to choose Andrew Little over Grant Robertson was the wrong one however it came about … that’s because Grant is a good friend whom I think will one day make a fantastic Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Russell Brown is just about as negative:
I’ll be brief (it’s 5am where I am and have to catch a plane) but the Labour’s leadership result and the means by which it was achieved both seem disastrous for the party and for the prospects of the centre-left.
Little didn’t win the support of the party or the caucus, he loses his electorate more badly every time he contests it, and he’s vowing to dump all the intellectual capital built up by David Parker. I can’t see any good thing about this.
Am I missing something?
Martyn Bradbury laments the languishing of his revolutionary dreams:
The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew, he was the leader of the EPMU, one of the most conservative Unions in NZ, so don’t expect revolution, expect tepid evolution. With MANA killed off, Labour can now try and out-gallop the Greens to the centre because activists and members can’t politically go anywhere else so expect National lite for the next 3 years.
Some interesting blog votes though. That post currently scores a low 2.2/5 approval. And in comments:
MIKE THE LEFTY says:
Martyn, why are you writing off Little before he has even had a chance to do anything? This is not helpful. Give him a chance and stop bagging him before he has even started.
Rating: +44 (from 60 votes)
MARTYN BRADBURY says:
I’m not writing Little off – Labour are trying to reach muddle Nu Zilind now, they aren’t waving the flag for the Left – their pitch will be centrist, not progressive.
Rating: -14 (from 62 votes)
John Minto also has a post at The Daily Blog:
The corporate sector will be particularly happy with his appointment because they know that when the tide runs out on John Key and National they can be assured Labour will continue to run the economy on their behalf.
His personal style is thoroughly inoffensive and this is what Labour thinks it needs at the moment.
But how important is this to the progressive movement in New Zealand?
Not much. Little will lead a Labour Party which seeks power not because it has a policy programme to make a big difference for working New Zealanders but because senior Labour MPs hope they will soon get another turn to run the free market economy and receive the baubles of power which go with it.
Little won’t cause waves outside the party either. The mainstream media have endorsed him as Labour’s best choice for leader because he is deeply conservative economically and in particular doesn’t support a capital gains tax. He hasn’t advocated any change to economic policy settings that would make a significant difference either to corporate profits or the plight of hundreds of thousands of families struggling on low incomes.
The ability to drive an ambitious policy programme to back up a big vision for working New Zealanders is simply not in Andrew Little’s genes.
Not surprising that Little is not revolutionary left enough for Minto.
And Chris Trotter’s post is more of a Grant Robertson lament:
THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond the confines of the Caucus Room to become a genuine party-wide movement.
It’s all there in the numbers. From being the strong partisans of David Cunliffe, the allegiance of a clear majority of ordinary, rank-and-file members has shifted to Grant Robertson. It is a measure of just how hard Robertson’s people worked for their man’s victory that another 100 votes would have clinched it for him.
He went on (and on) about Robertson and his campaign, and barely touched on Little until the final paragraph – with the only positive comment being directed at Robertson.
Little’s victory is, therefore, a win for those Labour members who still believe in the party’s emancipatory vision and in its antagonistic stance towards the demands of Capital. That it was so narrow is not simply a testimony to Robertson’s political skill and determination, but a worrying indication of just how strong the temptation has become among Labour members to stop struggling against the treacherous currents of capitalism – and turn the boat around.
The left remains strongly divided, with both the hard left (Bradbury and Minto) and the centre left (Brown and Geddis) bitterly lamenting Little’s elevation.
Andrew Little has a massive challenge – and so does the Labour caucus and Labour Party.