Thursday, November 22, 2012

Spoiling for a fight

Tuesday afternoon's Labour Party caucus meeting in Wellington may have unanimously supported David Shearer's leadership, but the issue isn't going away any time soon; the Herald reports:

Labour MPs remain gagged from discussing the punishment meted out to their colleague David Cunliffe, but Mr Cunliffe's electorate committee lodged a formal complaint about the treatment of Mr Cunliffe by his own colleagues last night.
Labour leader David Shearer has demoted Mr Cunliffe and stripped his portfolios off him, citing disloyalty for attempting to undermine Mr Shearer's leadership at Labour's annual conference last weekend.
MPs were told at the caucus meeting that only Mr Shearer would speak on the issue and it is understood MPs were sent another memo yesterday to remind them not to talk about the matter publicly.
However, the demotion prompted anger from some Cunliffe supporters on Facebook and the Standard blog as well as calls for MPs who had publicly criticised Mr Cunliffe to also be punished.
One of Mr Cunliffe's New Lynn electorate committee members, Greg Presland, said the committee had concerns about the demotion and the criticisms by other MPs, such as the chief whip Chris Hipkins.
At a special meeting called yesterday, the New Lynn Electorate Committee of the Labour Party voted unanimously to express its full confidence in Mr Cunliffe.
Mr Presland said Mr Shearer had the power to demote Mr Cunliffe so there was little that could be done.
"But there are concerns about the way David has been treated. A lot of the criticism we felt was unjustified."

Quite how whatever the top body of the Labour Party calls itself will find time to rule on both the New Lynn complaint and John Tamihere's application for readmission to the party is anyone's guess. 

But it illustrates just how divided and factional the Labour Party has become. Instead of uniting and attacking the Government (the core purpose of an opposition party), Labour is too busy fighting itself.

And just to rub it in, Listener columnist Jane Cliftoin has come up with possibly the quote of the week. In her piece entitled “Who, me?” On Cunliffe and Coups 101 Clifton wrote:

It’s the “Who, me?” and all the eyelash-batting that always gets me about coup fomenters.
Like a dozen plotters before him, David Cunliffe has today paid the price for believing, against all historical precedent, that he could mime his disloyalty, and not get into trouble because he didn’t actually utter the naughty words out loud.
For all that his supporters, inside and outside the caucus, are insisting that he did nothing wrong, he really and truly did the coupster’s equivalent of waving his knickers at disembarking sailors. He followed several of the bog-standard, by-the-numbers steps taught in Coups 101, to the point that he might have studied at the knee of Maurice Williamson, Brian Connell or Richard Prebble.
1. You make speeches with tacit but heavily coded inferences that if they made you the leader, you would introduce kick-butt policies that the incumbent is too gutless/politically unsound/incompetent to contemplate – carefully omitting specifics.
2. You tickle up edginess among the many anxious party supporters who are panicking at what they perceive is a lack of progress in the party’s profile and poll fortunes.
3. You agree to a live TV interview on the morning of the party’s annual conference debate about the rules for electing the leader at which you conspicuously avoid expressing support for the leader.
4. You do nothing to dispel the inference that dissatisfaction with the leadership, and an appetite for your ascendancy, is a big factor in the conference making sweeping constitutional changes about the leader’s election which appear to put a banana skin under the current leader’s foot.
5. You spend the conference wearing a smile that could power the California grid.

Ah yes; THAT smile...


Pete George said...

"Labour is too bust fighting itself."

That's about right.

A major cause of their problems is an ingrained practice of negative attempted demolition politics. That's usually directed at opposing parties, but when they turn on themselves they can't turn those habits off. And when the target is closr to home it's more exposed.

Ain't pretty and ain't over.

James Stephenson said...

This kind of stuff is just something that every party booted out of government has to go through. Labour's problem is that they thought that they could avoid it and manage their way smoothly through by anointing Goff after Clark resigned.

They really should have got the blood spilt - all the way down their tired and dated list - straight after the 2008 defeat, they'd be in a much better place at this point, if they hadn't tried to deny the inevitable.

King Canute said...

You are clearly obsessed with the Labour Party. It's interesting to watch how little you write about your National Government. Mostly, you are avoiding covering their blunders and backtracks, but also because they are not performing well enough to comment on, in my opinion. It should irk you to have to focus on the negative all the time and write post after post about Labour and have precious little to say about your own team, but there it is, your position as whiner-about-Labour is set and you can't shake it.

Keeping Stock said...

@ King Canute - I don't know if you'd noticed , but Parliament isn't sitting this week, and of course the big story at the moment is Labour's dysfunction.

Ciaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ciaron said...

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

I can just see him reciting that quote to the mirror before he goes to bed :)

Keeping Stock said...

There's also his infamous poem Ciaron:

Halcyon days
Bronze walls strong rising
From lime green glimmer.
White towers and golden domes -
Revelries and reveries
Reflect in sleepy waters.
Forget me not
For I am Harvard
And I am yours.

For one short year or two
I suckled you
With potent milk
Of truth and learning.
You know my strength
You know my weakness.
They are in you
For I am Harvard
And I am yours.

I did not teach you
Your most important lessons,
Of life and love
And learning with your peers.
Go now forever different -
My driven sons and daughters
Relaxed, impassioned, persevered.
Go now and take me with you
For you are Harvard
And you are yours.

G. Petto said...

Great poems. I like this better:

"Pinocchio, Pinocchio,
That little wooden bloke-io,
His nose, it grew an inch or two
With every lie he spoke-io.

Pinocchio, Pinocchio,
Thought life was just a joke-io."

Monique Angel said...

Ha I was going to put up Ozymandias, "King of Kings", but I found the answer in pop culture:

Gee Pet, Ode Time said...

Hey, random poetry time!
Read this somewhere, and thought of the disgruntled throwing their lot in with the extreme left.

Of course we can't forget him
that southern braying ass
who doesn't want us using
lignite oil or gas
he wants all as equals
living hand to mouth
to follow his example
this green man from the south
He wants the farmers off the land
he wants the cows all gone
with their smelly carbon flatulence
and all else that is wrong
fertilizer's gone as well
bring back swamps and bogs
restore the natural habitat
of endangered snails and frogs
people on the other hand
will finally be free
no longer having well paid jobs
they'll all be just like he
the multi-named from Riverton
the leader of the muppets
with his head up their you-know-whats
his Morris Dancing puppets

Keeping Stock said...

Comment of the Year; great stuff!