(Arm)Strong advice for David Shearer

Another couple of demoralising pundit opinions on David Shearer’s leadership.

Felix Marwick takes a measured look in Leadership back under the spotlight.

And John Armstrong is more blunt in 90 days to save Shearer’s bacon.

But Armstrong also offers some very good advice to Shearer.

  1. Shearer needs to relax. When he tries to sound forthright, he sounds uptight. He sounds like he does not believe what he is saying. He needs to choose the right words and let them make his point.
  2. Shearer should be delivering speeches which reveal exactly what he stands for. The public does not have the foggiest. The public might not turn up to hear him. But the media will.
  3. Shearer needs to relentlessly target the middle ground. That will at times mean taking conservative stances that annoy the Labour left. Too bad. The centre is where many conservative-minded Labour voters now sit.
  4. He needs to get his caucus talking about the issues which matter to the average person. Shearer’s biggest success has been Labour’s promise to build 100,000 affordable houses over 10 years. He needs to ask himself why that has been popular and replicate that across other portfolios.
  5. He needs to be more strategic when it comes to picking fights with National. But he needs to pick some fights with the Greens to show who is going to be the boss in any governing relationship.
  6. He needs to bang a few party heads together and take control of this year’s Labour conference so it becomes a platform for him rather than an embarrassment for the party.

Can Shearer re-invent himself and show some confidence and ability to repair a severely damaged Labour caucus?

And if not, as Marwick says, “will anyone in his caucus be prepared to take up the poisoned chalice that Labour’s leadership appears to have become”.

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