But John Armstrong has been. And the Greens will be very nervous about this little morsel tucked away in a column Armstrong wrote yesterday in which he opined that Labour has no option but to choose David Cunliffe as its new leader; here's what Armstrong said:
Cunliffe is capable of pitching Labour's message leftwards, at the same time reaching rightwards to centrist voters who are currently happy enough with Key's pragmatic style of governing.
Cunliffe's first priority would be to rebuild Labour's brand and stop the Greens cannibalising its core vote.
Russel Norman has been allowed to become the de-facto leader of the opposition. Cunliffe would seek to reassert Labour's authority and make it clear who calls the shots on the centre-left. If that required giving the Greens a few verbal slaps, so be it.
Alert readers will remember Clare Curran's outrage prior to the 2011 General Election at the Greens "white-anting" Labour. She took an absolute kicking over that, including these comment onthe Red Alert blog-post that she has authored:
- Yes, and its terrible. But if you want to do anything about it, you actually need to persuade people to vote for you. Instead, you’re just arrogantly demanding we do, like some medieval king ordering his peasants. Some people might regard that as counterproductive.
- Unbelievable arrogance from the Labour Party. And given Labour’s history over the last 30 years, the amazing thing is that the unions have allowed such arrogance to develop. Labour should have lost their support long ago.
- I’ve been fence-sitting between Labour and the Greens for a number of years now and recently took the plunge to become a full member of the Green party. Posts like this show this was the right thing to do.
David Cunliffe would certainly lead Labour back towards the Left. And given that National's poll ratings have been relatively constant since 2008, the rise in the Greens' popularity has been at Labour's expense. That was vividly evident at the 2011 election where Labour's vote collapsed and the Greens polled an historic high.
So the Greens might well be worried about the prospect of a David Cunliffe-led Labour Party. Cunliffe is not the sort to play second fiddle to anyone and Russel Norman might have to adjust to being the junior opposition coalition partner rather than the de-facto Leader of the Opposition.
Then again, some of those who defected from Labour may now be happy on Planet Green. Whatever; a fascinating power struggle lies ahead.