Jim Anderton's decision to run for the Christchurch mayoralty puts the finishing touch to his party's evolution from scourge of Labour to ginger group buried deep within it.
It comes almost 21 years to the day since James Patrick Anderton announced Labour had left him - not the other way round - and he formed with a large group of disaffected Left-wingers the NewLabour Party.
Last year, confirmed as a one- man-band by the 2008 election, he signalled the end was nigh. He struck a deal that allowed members of his latest vehicle, the Progressives, to belong to Labour as well.
At the same time he promised to campaign "party vote Labour" in 2011 and not run a party list under the Progressives banner - though he made it clear he would not join Labour himself. That deal saw his remaining loyalists sign up with the old enemy and right-hand man John Pagani join Labour leader Phil Goff as a key adviser.
But Vernon Small completely misses the point when he says:
The future for the Progressives now is shaky. Its remaining stalwarts say it can survive as a small pressure group within Labour pushing for limited policy wins, in particular around economic development. They point to parallels with the Co-operative Party in Britain that has 28 members (including Prime Minister Gordon Brown) who are also Labour MPs.
In reality, the party will wield far less influence than that.
The point to which we are alluding is, of course, this one; the Progressives are a non-entity. The party has totally sold its soul, and its votes to Labour. Ol' Man River sits on the Labour front bench, and is Labour's spokeman on agriculture. Yet Ol' Man River has the nerve to fleece the taxpayer for funding for a party which is effectively non-existant. He receives a leader's budget for a party of one which does nothing.
Vernon Small should be able to see this, or at least pass comment. Perhaps he worked too long for Michael Cullen to be able to comment objectively on such issues. Whatever, it is little short of scandalous that Anderton continues to receive money for nothing. It will be even worse when he formally announces his candidacy for the Christchurch mayoralty, but continues the sham of representing the good citizens of Wigram.
Jim "Ol' Man River" Anderton may well believe that Labour left him, but that is ancient history; he is now as much a part of the Labour caucus as Phil Goff and Annette King, both of whom entered Parliament in the same decade as he did. He played the integrity card at the time; that his integrity would have been compromised supporting the sale of the BNZ (if we remember correctly). 21 years on, integrity seems to have become an alien concept to Jim Anderton.
We would have expected a seasoned political journalist like Vernon Small to point that out. But no, once again, the blogosphere is having to do the job of the dead tree media.