Monday, November 12, 2012

The "Dump Shearer" campaign intensifies

Is there a concerted campaign underway to change the leadership of the Labour Party? Or are all the anti-Shearer stories doing the rounds today simply coincidental and unrelated?

We blogged earlier about the three Standard posts over the weekend. Three has become four this morning, with Lprent agreeing with Eddie and Irish Bill. In a post entitled Shuffle the Caucus Deck, Lprent blogs:

With all due respect to the views of my fellow authors Mike Smith and r0b who are inclined to give David Shearer more time to develop, I tend to agree with Eddie and IrishBill. I don’t think that there appears to be enough sign of any attempted improvement. And the time for activists to decide how much commitment they are prepared to push into a victory in 2014 or earlier (a one seat majority in the house isn’t exactly stable) is around about now. Many of the activists will be heading to the conference now with exactly that question on their mind. Which is why the question arises now*
I know that I am. I was somewhat limited in how much effort I could have done last year because of a heart attack earlier in the year so I did a lot less than I have in any election for the last 20 years. I wound up doing very little apart from voter targeting for a number of electorates. But I have plenty of time over what should be a healthy next few years. I’ve even got the bulk of my current projects for work shipping.
Now I’m contemplating how much commitment I want to give to the party compared to the other things I do. The answer is coming up as being “not much”. In fact I’m finding that of all of the activities I might want to do in NZ politics, the most productive is probably spending more time working on this site. Which is why I’ll be attending the conference next week (if at all) as part of the media rather than my usual delegate role.
The reason is that I have lost confidence in the parliamentary caucus being capable of even trying to head towards a electoral victory. As a group they seem to spend more time posturing to each other and to the media in the beltway than doing the job they need to do across NZ.

Next on the list in Herald columnist Tapu Musa who comes straight to the point in her column this morning:

As the Labour Party heads into its annual conference this weekend, it has some big questions to ponder. But first it has to ask itself how long it can afford to persist with David Shearer as leader.
Some people grow into the role of party leader; others seem somehow diminished by it.
Phil Goff was an effective senior minister in the Clark Government - hard-working, smart, respected. But he was never entirely believable as Labour leader. He over-thought it, tried too hard, and seemed to lose sight of himself.
Freed from needing to be liked by everyone, he has since regained his mana.
Bill English was something of a wunderkind before he was thrust too soon into National's hot seat. His apprenticeship was short and brutal. Don Brash, who ousted him, earned respect as the brainy, gentlemanly, former Reserve Bank Governor before his tenure as National's leader. By the end of it, he was widely denigrated as racially divisive and out of touch.
And now there's David Shearer.
Shearer seems a decent man. Unwilling to engage in the unwholesome side of politics, he projected himself as the anti-politician politician - reasonable, pleasant, honourable. His made-for-television back story (brave, selfless aid worker saving the world's starving millions) looked like the perfect foil to John Key's.
But it's a punishing gig being Opposition leader, and Shearer is, sadly, out of his depth.
A year after taking over as leader, he's missing some essentials: experience, sound political instincts, the ability to persuade and inspire. Even more basic than having the gift of the gab is the critical ability to clearly articulate his party's thinking.
On that count, Shearer has been wholly unconvincing - seeming at times not only to lack a real understanding of the issues, but, more worryingly, the conviction of his words.

And then there's Brian Edwards; Labour Party candidate many years ago, Labour Party media trainer with his wife Judy Callingham and Helen Clark's biographer. Edwards blogs:

A quite remarkable thing happened this morning. Herald columnist Tapu Misa gave it as her view that David Shearer should stand down as leader of the Labour Party.
Misa is the finest columnist in the country – intelligent, informed, rational, considered in her judgements. More importantly, she is never cruel or unkind. Unlike most other columnists, including myself from time to time, she never sets out to wound. In keeping perhaps with her strong religious beliefs, she is ever a charitable critic.
Her politics are to the liberal left.
For these reasons I believe she will have thought long and hard before sending this morning’s column to the Herald for publication. It will not have been an easy decision. I can only assume that, after long deliberation, she concluded that this was something that, in the interests of the Labour Party and the country, just had to be said.
Misa’s message is by no means new. The opinion that Shearer, however decent, however nice, is the wrong man for the job, is now regularly expressed by both right and left-wing commentators. Shearer claims not to be bothered by this groundswell of disfavour, but he is either in denial or putting on a brave front. It must be a dismal experience to be subjected day in, day out, to such relentless public humiliation.
What is both new and remarkable is that Misa, albeit reluctantly, has joined the chorus of opinion that Shearer is harming rather than helping Labour’s cause and that he cannot continue to lead the party. The writing on the wall could not now be clearer.   
It has been my view, expressed in numerous posts on this site, that the Labour caucus made a serious mistake in selecting Shearer as leader in preference to David Cunliffe. They are now paying the price for the infantile thinking of the ‘Anyone but Cunliffe’ brigade.
It has also been my expressed view that Shearer’s image as a nice but bumbling and inarticulate political leader, could not be repaired. That would require a rewiring of his brain, in effect a personality transplant, a feat beyond the most skilled media trainer. Even the redoubtable Ian Fraser could apparently not pull it off.
As it approaches its annual conference, the Labour caucus will be comforting itself with the thought that they don’t need to concern themselves with Shearer’s deficiencies as leader; National will lose the 2014 election to a left-wing coalition. They can sleep-walk their way to victory.
That strikes me as a very dangerous non-strategy. It fails to take into account that Shearer’s leadership is losing the party support now, that it will continue to lose the party support and, most importantly, that Shearer has no chance of besting Key either on the hustings or in the live television debates that play an important role in influencing (in particular) undecided and swinging voters in an election.  Key will crucify Shearer in those debates.

Now doubtless, the usual suspects will soon be along to accuse us of David Shearer Derangement Syndrome. How foolish they are. The words we are recounting here are not our words; they are what Labour Party people are saying about the party and its leadership.

Political tides are all but unstoppable. The tide went out on Helen Clark in 2008. At some time in the future, the tide will also go out on John Key, and there will be very little that he can do about it; it's just the nature of the body politic. 

In David Shearer's case however, the tide has never even come in, and one has to wonder whether sandbags were employed to ever stop that happening. Brian Edwards hints not too subtly about a deeply divided Labour Party, describing the ABC (Anyone But Cunliffe) revelations as "infantile thinking".

Labour has real problems, many of which can be traced back to the Clark era. Helen Clark prided herself on being a micro-manager and a control freak, and there was clearly no succession planning for the day when the tide would inevitably go out on Clark and on Labour. The Labour caucus v2011 is now having to deal with that, and it's a messy old business.

With all the questions being posed over his leadership from those within or close to the Labour Party, it seems barely comprehensible that David Shearer can continue in Labour's top job. But it needn't have ever been like this; the chickens have well and truly come home to roost.


Craig Ofennbach said...

Tapu Misa says: "Shearer seems a decent man."

You, KS, appear determined to denigrate and undermine Mr Shearer.
I wonder how Misa would describe you?

Brian Edwards says of her,
"Misa is the finest columnist in the country – intelligent, informed, rational, considered in her judgements. More importantly, she is never cruel or unkind. Unlike most other columnists, including myself from time to time, she never sets out to wound. In keeping perhaps with her strong religious beliefs, she is ever a charitable critic." (emphasis mine)

I wonder too, how Brian Edwards would describe you?

Something to think about, eh!

Keeping Stock said...

What have I said here that denigrates David Shearer Craig? I'm merely reporting what others far closer to him than I am have said.

And Misa is right; Shearer is a decent man, albeit totally unsuited to leading the Labour Party. He ought never have been placed in that situation.

Craig Ofennbach said...

"What have I said here that denigrates David Shearer"

How guiless of you to ask the question in that way, Keeping Stock, and how dishonest too.

You have devoted yourself to attacking David Shearer, day in and day out, yet you ask 'what did I do wrong?'
Tapu Misa would, in my opinion, hold you and your sneaky ways in very low regard indeed.

Keeping Stock said...

Instead of attacking the messenger in such a speculative way, why don't you take a moment to actually address the message Craig?

Lofty said...

Craig Ofennbach my left nut. Hi Robert how's it hanging tonight you sly old thing you.

How guiless of you to post under so many nom de plumes Robert.
Tapu Misa would in my opinion, hold you and your sneaky ways in very low regard indeed.

I too wonder how Brian Edwards would view you Robert, Moron class do you think?

November 12, 2012 4:22 PM

Chocky Baar said...

Why should using various nom de plumes be an issue? It's the ideas that matter, not the identity of the person providing them. If you don't agree with the ideas presented, attack those. Your and Keeping Stock love for ad hom is legendary. You are forever attacking the person, no matter what name they choose to use. There are many people here, including the blogger, who comment under a pseudonym and I suspect that if challenged they would reel of excuse after excuse for not being confident enough to use their real name, so Lofty (that's the name on your driver's license, is it?), leave it out. My challenge to Keeping Stock, a self-proclaimed Christian with strong religious beliefs is, are you a charitable critic like Tapu Misa?
Or are you something else?

Lofty said...

I don't have a particular problem with multiple nom de plumes other than to say the practice of deceit in regard to trying to paint a picture of a large number of individuals taking your stance is disingenuous and dishonest.

At least I only use 1 nom de plume, always have, I do not comment here under any other identifier (not that i can remember anyway)

So dear Chocky Baar do not presume to feign innocence in your tactics re commenting. Some of us are wise to you & yours.

Keeping Stock said...

You're quite right Lofty; it's an attempt to pretend that multiple people share one person's jaundiced view.

And as for the irony of a commenter criticising anonymity from behind a made-up name; let's not even go there. I have made my views perfectly clear about respecting anonymity in the five-plus years that I have been blogging. But I would far prefer it if people stuck to the one identity, because my thought processes aren't as quick as they used to be, and all these one-person-with-many-names types do my nut in!

Lofty said...

Yes KS the many headed hydra, must be watched, I take pleasure in the observation of the fibbers.

It is a crafty beast but not particularly clever.

Crafty Beast said...

I'm barely trying, Lofty.
It's amusing that you endorse anonymous commenting, but not the use of multiple identities. KS would prefer anonymous commenters use a single identity, but hasn't (yet) set a rule or banned the practice, so I say, stop your whining. Play the idea not the man (or woman). You are claiming fibs are being told? Which fibs, and by whom?
It's poor behaviour from you to be casting aspersions without evidence or examples to back up your accusations.

Keeping Stock said...

I'm happy to set a new rule if you want me to Crafty Beast, but I'd rather that commenters self-police, and at least show a modicum of integrity in their intentions.

Secret Squirrel said...

"I'm happy to set a new rule"
Of course you are, KS. You love rules and you love to ban. It's what Tories do.
How about some free and unhindered opinions - wouldn't that be novel!

Keeping Stock said...

@ Secret Squirrel:

You love to ban

Three people have been banned by me in five years of blogging. Sheesh; Lprent at The Standard bans more than that by lunchtime on a good day.

As for "free and unhindered opinions"; go over to No Right Turn and try leaving a comment; oh, wait.

Secret Squirrel said...

Why can't we have free and unhindered opinions here?
Why cite a blog that doesn't allow comments? I don't get it!

Lofty said...

Correct SS you don't get it!
Let me spell it out for you in simple terms that you may "get" but I doubt it.

It is not your blog, for crying out loud.

It is about "ownership, property rights" etc, those things that are so obviously foreign to you communal thinkers.

Owners of property including blogs, can set whatever rules they want to.

That is the joy of personal responsibility, and freedom to shape ones own destiny, rather than fall into the party line of thinking... I.e the party says all mining is evil, all oil exploration will kill the country, all widdle snails will be driven to extinction if those naughty free thinkers and responsible business overlords get their way etc
Do you "get" it?

Gigantor said...

The blog owner here says we can't have free and unhindered opinions, Lofty.
Why would he say that?
Why can't we all just get along???
Is this some sort of exclusive club????

Fibrator said...

Crafty Beast said...
"You are claiming fibs are being told? Which fibs, and by whom?"

Fib 1. Secret Squirrel said about KS
"You love rules and you love to ban."

Fib 2. Gigantor said...
"The blog owner here says we can't have free and unhindered opinions, Lofty."

If you keep playing with yourself you'll go blind, in a Green kind of way.

Lofty said...

Reply to gigantor..your nom de plume does not live up to your intellect does it!
Please read reply to SS.


Newt Jewson said...

You are commenting under various nom de plumes.

Keeping Stock said...

@ Gingantor - One thing I REALLY dislike is having lies told about me.

@ Secret Squirrel - I'm not sure if you were being deliberately obtuse, but you actually illustrated my point. Debate here is infinitely less hindered and more free than at No Right Turn, because Idiot/Savant simply shuts himself off from contrary opinion by refusing to allow comments. Ask around; I think you'll find that Keeping Stock is regarded as one of the more moderate blogs around, and the owner is frequently lauded for his tolerance. In fact he's even been criticised by some for being TOO tolerant of contrary opinion; go figure!

Atom Ant said...

Gigantor was a "Space-Age Robot"
He has no intellect. He was controlled by a boy.
Why do you persist with your personal attacks?

Keeping Stock said...

@ Atom Ant - why don't you make the same suggestion to Gigantor, who is happy to tell lies about me.

Gingantor said...

KS - it's not a lie (that you like to ban and make rules), it's an opinion. I think you do like it. You may disagree, but it doesn't make my opinion a lie.
You're so sensitive
No wonder you are so quick to ban people and delete their comments as quickly as they appear.
BTW - that thing I REALLY dislike is having my name mispelled!

Atom Ant said...

Seems he didn't, KS.

Keeping Stock said...

Gigantor said...

The blog owner here says we can't have free and unhindered opinions, Lofty.

That is the lie Gigantor. I have NEVER said that.

Lofty said...

And here we go again, with absolute inane nonsense, deflection and bull dust, the stock and trade of lying commies.

It is all becoming sooooo predictable.

I know KS. you should .......oh who cares about the one posting hydra.

I admire your patience KS. In the face of absolute disrespect for your hospitality, and freedom to allow these rude and ignorant poster(s)


Keeping Stock said...

I appreciate your support Lofty. There are days where I wish I could just be like Idiot/Savant and have a blog which is an echo chamber. But to do that would means that I had let the haters and wreckers win. Let it be known; I'm made of tougher stuff than that!

Fibrator said...

Fib 3
"Newt Jewson said...
You are commenting under various nom de plumes."

Got the Green blindness right there.

Gigantor said...

"The blog owner here says we can't have free and unhindered opinions, Lofty?"

Missing question-mark, KS. That's all.
You are over-sensitive.

Lofty said...

No Gigantor (and your various guises) you are very rude and disrespectful.
If you we're one of my grandchildren and you carried on like this at the house of memories, it would be very stern scolding and off to bed.
Manners matter in regard to the treatment of a host.
One of the small lessons we right wingers learnt at an early age.
Me..manners are of no consequence, I am fair game as a commenter, but the host should be afforded respect.

I know this is a message lost on you and your selfish personas, but I can only try to point out the fundamental error of your attacks on the owner and host of this blog site.

Bunk said...

Trying to reason with lefties is like trying to sweep leaves in a hurricane

Sandy said...

How many hours, Bunk, did you spend, in that hurricane before it dawned on you that you just don't have the smarts to sweeping leaves or reason with lefties?

Dagwood said...

"Me..manners are of no consequence, I am fair game as a commenter, but the host should be afforded respect."

Therein lies you failing, Lofty.
The host is a commenter here.

People like you who kowtow unthinkingly to the father figure are easy pickings for any dictatorial figure, major or minor, and legitamize their authoritarian behaviour. We lefties provide the tension needed to keep our chosen leaders in line.
I don't believe I abuse our host. I hold him to account for his claims by questioning their veracity.

Lofty said...

Yes Dagwood the host is a commenter here quite right..well spotted. He is also the host....
Carry on old chap, hi ho hi ho it's off to work I go.

Bunk said...

Wow, Sandy, are you yourself so lacking in smarts that you didn't recognise a metaphorical statement? And, sweetie, I think you meant to say SWEEP leaves not 'sweeping'. Kind of detracts from the impact of whatever you were trying to say. Better luck next time.