Friday, June 13, 2014

Beware the Ides of June

Claire Trevett had an interesting column in the Herald yesterday. She made lots of comparisons to the TV programme Game of Thrones. Not having watched the programme, most of her references were over our head.

But then DPF drew our attention to the closing paragraphs of Ms Trevett's piece, namely this bit:

There is some suspicion about the influence of Cunliffe's chief of staff, Matt McCarten, who has past allegiances to the Alliance Party, now reborn through Laila Harre under the Internet Party banner, and Hone Harawira's Mana Party. He could well believe a deal in Te Tai Tokerau was a good idea. The MPs in question did get some return fire on David Cunliffe's Facebook page from Labour supporters.
But Cunliffe can't afford to ignore such strongly-held views in his caucus. He is about to head into his own danger zone. From June 20, Labour's caucus has a three-month window to change the leader without having to go through the party's new primary-style process giving its membership a vote.
If Cunliffe was thriving in the polls, he'd be on much safer ground to make such calls about the Te Tai Tokerau seat and the Internet Mana Party. There might be some grumbling but little else because there would be too much to lose by changing the leader. As things stand, it might not take much to spark a revolt whether a rival contender is ready and willing or not.

We weren't aware that Labour's amended leadership rules had a Get Out of Jail Free card. Is it possible that, should the next round of polls be as bad for Labour as the last one was, they might do a Mike Moore and kick David Cunliffe to touch to stem the bleeding?

There is of course one significant difference this time around. In 1990, Labour was in government, but the tide had gone out after David Lange's cup of tea, and Geoffrey Palmer's year of anonymous leadership. The SS Labour was already on course to crash into the Opposition benches, and Mike Moore's job was nothing more than to soften the impact a little.

Is there anyone in today's Labour Party who would be willing to be the sacrificial lamb? Grant Robertson is generally regarded as being next in the pecking order, but he may prefer to bide his time until October, when the dust has settled on the General Election. He would then be well poised to challenge David Cunliffe for the leadership, should Labour not be able to form a government, and should Cunliffe not fall on his sword as Helen Clark and Phil Goff did after their defeats.

We doubt that Labour would change horses so close to an election, but it is fascinating to know that they can, should polling go from bad to worse. That in itself will make any polls after 20th June much more interesting.

David Cunliffe needs to beware the Ides of June! 


pdm said...

Interesting. Given that Cunliffe has most of the unlikeable traits of Clark it is pertinent that she did not resign the first time she lost an election - 1996 I think.

Cunliffe is so arrogant and self opinionated that as far as I can see he will have to be pushed - he will not give up for the good of the party.1

Anonymous said...

I don't think Clark fell on her sword really. She'd messed us around enough that it would catch up with her so, like may CEO's, moved onward and upward before she got caught out and had to account for her actions.


Kane Bunce said...

pdm, the key difference between Cunliffe and Clark is that as much as I hate Clark's policies and the kind of person she is, she was an astute politician and new how to react to the way the political winds blew. Cunliffe seems only to know how to move in the *opposite* direction to the way the political winds blew.