What appears to be inside information on the state of David Shearer’s leadership and what is going on in the Labour caucus – destabilisation in earnest at The Standard:
As we all know, the only person who has the numbers in caucus for a spill is Grant Robertson, and he doesn’t want one until after the election. But something major has changed over the last couple of weeks. The alliances (I wouldn’t call them factions) are starting to break down and people are having the conversations and working out the maths. I’ve had calls from many senior sources at all levels of the party over the last week saying the leadership is terminal. All agree Shearer is finished – he might still be the titular leader but he has no authority and no support.
The mood on the third floor of Parliament is completely different – the place is in lockdown and a sense of panic is starting to take hold. Caucus has accepted that Shearer isn’t up to it and they’re worried if they don’t act now they’ll be forced to later and it’ll be too late to pull it back by 2014.
So, division may be resolved by fear of a collapse and by internal pressure from the party (the number of angry letters from members is starting to rattle even the ABCs). They don’t have to actually agree on a leader, there just need to be enough of them worried enough about the leadership for 50% to trigger an election. That’s what these leaks are all about – the note to Gower, the man ban leak to Slater, the MP who came to Garner with the letter of no confidence story.
Timing is the next question. What I’m hearing is it’ll be in the next couple of months so there’s a new leader for conference and doesn’t interfere with Chch East. If it’s not soon it’ll have to be after the by-election, which means a coup very late in the year.
It’s not an exact science – you couldn’t say ‘there’ll be a coup next tuesday at the recess caucus’. Hell, this lot left Phil Goff in charge even after he covered up the Darren Hughes fiasco. What I can tell you is this – Shearer has no support and he’s reviled across the party, caucus are running numbers and it’s likely to happen before the end of the year. No amount of blog posts whining about the media reporting what they see is going to change this.
Denials continue but this covers what have now become common assumptions both in MSM and in social media, plus some interesting angles.
‘Struth’ is a new name at The Standard, from time to time people come onto blogs like this to promote a particular narrative. When this is happening it suggests an attempt at something is under way.
But here is a long time Standard commenter, Redlogix:
I think Struth is right. And so is Pascal’s Bookie … Shearer survives only as everyone’s second (rapidly becoming third) best choice.
I’ve done my very best to hold off on the overt Shearer bashing. I think he was very ill-served by those who pushed him into a role he was obviously unprepared for and one that ultimately he’s demonstrated a lack of talent for.
He would have made a perfectly good Minister of Something Important. Every govt needs people of that calibre and experience.
The problem for the entire left at the moment is that aside from the somewhat isolated figure of Cunliffe there is no-one in any Party who has the potential to be an inspirational leader.
In the aftermath of Muldoon (and the comparisons with Key are becoming increasingly apt) Lange was able to claim an extraordinary loyalty from the electorate … despite the havoc being wrought by Douglas. Where is the equivalent figure on the left today?
For while personality politics is always self-limiting, it is what we are stuck with.
Not everyone is buying into it. Pascal’s Bookie:
It’s been a ‘fluid situation’ since before Goff lost the last election, and here we are.
The only thing that matters is the actual numbers, and a coup wan’t happen without them.
MPs will leak stories saying it’s on not because it is on, but to try and create the pressure needed to bring it on. The fact those stories are happening, but coups are not happening, shows that Shearer still actually has the numbers.
Labour Party member Colonial Viper:
I don’t think that’s quite the right conclusion, or at least not one which captures the essence of the situation.
Shearer’s total mishandling of the “manban” (where he basically ignored all the advice he was given by both the caucus and the party) has finally focused very many peoples minds.
Tha ‘manban’ certainly seems to have been a trigger point.