Monday 31 July 2017

Before The Flood: Political Ruminations On Labour’s Fate While Waiting For Tonight’s TV3-Reid Research Poll.

Taken At The Flood? The rumour-mongers are already whispering that, if tonight’s (31/7/17) poll actually is as shocking as everyone is says it is, then Andrew Little will resign tomorrow. If they’re right, Jacinda Ardern will be faced with the daunting prospect of either leading Labour on to fortune – or seeing her party swept away on the flood tide of history.
TONIGHT’S REID RESEARCH POLL promises to be a shocker. Such a shocker that, like Santa Claus in the Christmas song, the journalists at TV3 are making a list of the awful numbers – and checking them twice. If the results of last night’s One News Colmar Brunton (ONCB) poll are confirmed, then Andrew Little’s future can only be described as bleak.
Viewers didn’t need to hear Corin Dann’s interview with Little on last night’s edition of One News to understand what was going on – the Labour Leader’s face said it all. People don’t vote for people who look like Little did last night. He must know that – and so must his colleagues.
It gets worse. If tonight’s Reid Research poll results really are shocking, then that will make it three from three. Because the ONCB poll wasn’t the first, but the second, instalment of bad news for the Labour Party. Its own pollster, UMR Research, is telling Labour that its support has fallen to 23 percent. So, another sub-25 percent poll result will practically rule out the possibility that Labour are looking at rogue results.
What should Little do? Well he could try toughing it out. Talking up the party’s fighting spirit. Telling his supporters that it ain’t over till it’s over. Except that’s what he should have said to Dann last night. Instead he told him that he has canvassed stepping down with his senior advisors and they had told him to hang on in there.
Which tells us two things: 1. That Little knows in his heart that he has no chance of leading Labour to the Treasury benches. 2. That his “comrades” are only too happy to let him take the rap.
It also tells us how far from their party’s core values Labour’s parliamentary caucus has deviated. Instead of accepting Little’s principled offer to stand aside, and dispassionately nominating the most effective successor available, the Labour caucus has decided that their career prospects will be better served by allowing their leader to crash and burn.
Little’s deputy, Jacinda Ardern, needs to think very carefully before committing herself irrevocably to this course. The precedent of Mike Moore stepping-up to rescue Labour’s fortune’s in 1990 is there to guide her. The man must have known he was being invited to drink from a poisoned chalice, but Moore belonged to a generation of Labour leaders for whom “the cause” and “the party” still possessed the power to inspire heroic acts of self-sacrifice.
He also knew his Shakespeare:
“There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
There is still time for her to step up, but she had better hurry – lest she fall foul of another Shakespeare quote:
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.”
The rumour-mongers are already whispering that, if tonight’s poll actually is as shocking as everyone is says it is, then Andrew Little will resign tomorrow.
If they’re right, Jacinda, then you will be faced with the daunting prospect of either leading Labour on to fortune – or watching your party swept away on the flood tide of history.

UPDATE: 6:15pm - The TV3-Reid Research poll confirms Labour's parlous position below 25 percent in a third consecutive survey. Reid Research has the four main parties at: National 45 percent; Labour 24 percent; NZ First 13 percent; Greens 13 percent. Andrew Little - and Jacinda Ardern - look set for a long and sleepless night.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Monday, 31 July 2017.


Anonymous said...

Changing the leader won't achieve anything and changing policies now would make them look like hypocrites. What has to happen is they bring in new inspirational people right at the very top. Even assuming you can find them (none spring to mind) that means getting rid of the time servers and dead wood. Can you see that happening? Me neither.

Jim Kirker said...

"People don’t vote for people who look like Little did last night". I would because he answered honestly and I see his determination and straightforward acceptance of his situation. I believe he would be a good prime minister and the best candidate on offer for leader of a true MMP government.

Patricia said...

Labour, for all its posturing, is seen as National lite by the electorate. Where is a Corbyn when you need him/her?

Simon Cohen said...

I find it intriguing that commentators think that by changing leaders a political party's polling will automatically improve.In fact so far as Labour goes recently the opposite has proven true.
Cast your mind back to mid 2013.David Shearer is the Labour leader.Labour is at 35% in the polls.Chris wrote a column titled "The Unfortunate Experiment" and in it he opined "
It’s time for the Labour Caucus to put an end to “the unfortunate experiment and begin a new one. They could call it “democracy” – and stop taking their party for Grant-ed.
Bryan Edwards had written a number of columns saying Shearer should be replaced.When the deed was done he wrote effusively.
"But all that changed today as well. Under Cunliffe’s leadership, his and Labour’s poll rating will begin to rise, slowly but inexorably."
"I hadn’t intended to do anything more on this mini-post than congratulate David and Karen. But I’ve decided to stick my neck out and make a prediction. I predict that a Labour/Greens coalition will win the 2014 election and that David Cunliffe will be New Zealand’s next Prime Minister. Labour might even go it alone."
Well we all know what happened.
And in February of this year Chris wrote.
"If Little doesn’t respond to Jacinda Ardern’s emphatic by-election victory in Mt Albert by promoting her to deputy-leader, then he’s a fool. Success merits promotion. Any failure on Little’s part to acknowledge Arden’s pulling-power in Auckland will only fuel suspicions that he lacks the fortitude to shake-up the delicate factional balance of Labour’s caucus."
The tenor of the column was that King must be replaced by Adern to improve Labour's polling.
Worked well hasn't it.Labour has just had 3 polls which puts the party at it's lowest percentage ever.
And in this column Chris is advocating replacing Little with Adern to improve its chances in 8 weeks.
I believe Chris is secretly on the side of the Greens.

Phil said...

Simon Cohen... "secretly"?

Jack Scrivano said...

The Labour Party’s current situation reminds me of an oft-told tale:

A visitor to Ireland finds himself lost ‘somewhere in the middle’. Eventually, he comes across a farmer. ‘I wonder if you could tell me how to get to Dooradoyle?’ the visitor says.

‘Dooradoyle, you say?’ The farmer looks up the road in one direction and then down the road in the other direction. And then he looks across the field towards the hills. And then he turns around and looks towards where a stream is disappearing into the distance. ‘Well,’ he says, ‘if I was going to Dooradoyle, I wouldn’t be starting from here, that’s for sure.’

greywarbler said...

Jack Scrivano
Thanks for the joke, the most appropriate one that could be found.
Thinking about it, the enquirer probably had the name wrong. Like NZ
he couldn't even identify where he wanted to go, much less reach the fabled place.

If Little stays in, finding his own way with a passion will be his mission, if he can accept it. Some passion, saying ruefully that Labour can't do everything they would like to, but will start immediately on their policies of attention - housing etc. (He has to name Labour's and the citizens' main concerns.)

And make as much progress as possible and he will be reporting each week as to what they have been working on, because people can't expect to see physical evidence overnight. But there will be more and more to report as plans and calculations are finalised.

Finance will be a problem, and work on the taxation system will be a major study with minor changes very soon. GST evasion will be checked, and diversion of regions collections will be made back to them, for infrastructure and jobs training and creation for Taskforce Green and subsidies for employers training new entrants.

Damaged areas from natural disasters will be assisted in their remodelling and preparation for climate change future problems in low-lying areas, flood plains etc.

Get some practical points on the ground. Say we have had enough waffle in this country; "I want Labour to lead the revitalisation of the economy with the real effort and commitment that the Student Volunteer Army have shown in helping Christchurch. That's the NZ I want to be in and the attitude that we need to 'Make us Great Again' (grin).

Go for it Andrew if you can fight your way through the cobwebs of old Labour's traditional middle-of-the-road way, the sitting-on-the-fence team coach way. Helping lack-lustre NZ import everything and do little ourselves. Time for a change. Or not if we can't get our enthusiasm, vision and real grit to work for it.

Pinger said...

Little was a wooden character.

He didn't have the wit and quickness of Lange or the heart of Big Norm.

So there's a lack of appeal.

I suspect this is also about the (higly paid) lunatics that surround and 'advise' Little.

Which any way you dress this up, you only arrive at one word: failure.

greywarbler said...

Uh oh Little's down, but not out. A solid guy, needed a few quips.

I hope Andrew that you take a couple of days off, sleep, relax, look at the roses. Write down some stuff, burn that. Write down some thoughts to take forward, briefly. Have a break, add to them. Lie back and have a beer. Repeat. And back into it.

There is an election to win, and don't let anyone start putting down the Greens. They have kept the ideas of the left alive. Try and stop your erstwhile colleagues from adopting the position of well-paid op-position as a worthwhile career. We want a thinking, feisty real left of doers not just talkers and tappers (on keyboards.) Like me just now. (But I do things to try to enable a strong community though.)

Guerilla Surgeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian O'Brien said...

Now that they've changed the leadership they'll need to redesign the campaign. I suggest a new slogan: Another Fresh Start

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well, it looks like they have decided to "make them look like hypocrites". Bit of a poisoned chalice for Jacinda Ardern but.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Polly said...

Well well we have exchanged one lite neo-liberal leader to another lite neo-liberal leader who wears a skirt.
Will that be enough?.
I am open minded, but have serious doubts.
Methinks that Jacinda is tied to Grant Robertson who's mentorship is pure beltway.
Beltway and clichés will not be enough.
Though we will all have to wait and see.
The clock is ticking.
Best of everything Jacinda.

Unknown said...

Jacinda Adern
"I want to make New Zealand even better than it is"

Just before that a family of five children whose mother had died were given notice they had to get out of their state house.

Jens Meder said...

Universal, compulsory (retirement) wealth ownership creation by and for all is not "neo-liberalism" - or is it ?

Nick J said...

Polly, is she a neo-lib in a skirt? I'm coming round to the idea that there is a whole cohort of people out there who have no political ideology as I would understand it, they know process and procedure but not principles / policy. That does not mean they are unprincipled, it means that they have not been exposed to principles and developed them as the core of their moral and ideological framework / world view. It is a scary development of the neo-lib era, the divorce of people minds from ideology, religion, conviction and belief, whilst paradoxically infecting them with warped perspectives on reality. We are now faced with the extreme libertarian disease that is Randism as expressed by Paul Bennett towards welfare recipients, and the equally virulent and nasty replacement for Marxism that is postmodernism as demonstrated by the latest version of feminism. Where Jacinda resides and what she is infected by is unclear, watch for her to declare people / groups to be sacred victims,or watch for her to apportion blame. Than we can decide.

Victor said...

Perhaps uncharacteristically, I must demur from the largely negative tone on this thread.

I actually think Labour's found its game-changer, partly because I agree with Chris's praise for Jacinda's recent handling of herself on "The Nation" and because of the immediate reaction to her elevation.

Youth, energy, intelligence, determination, humour, adroitness and a friendly, toothy grin will, I suspect, count for a great deal with a public increasingly keen on change but not quite sure what form that change should take.

Of course, I could be wrong. Moreover, some will say that a game-changer that doesn't deliver office (which it might not) isn't worth having.

But, as with UK Labour before the June election, a leader who can carry the party from the fringes of extinction to the status of government-in-waiting won't be something to sneeze at.

And, there again, the change might actually deliver office, but only if both Labour and the Greens can both extend their reach beyond the swapping of each others' votes. And, of course, much will also depend on what Winston gets up to and how the public responds thereto.

The mood for change is pervasive throughout the developed world but it doesn't have a universally prescribed ideological hue. It's given us Sanders (almost), Trump (alas), Macron, Trudeau and Corbyn (almost). Let's see how things works out here.

David Stone said...

The main effect could be that between them Jacinda and Metiria get a big proportion of the missing million out.

pat said...

@ Victor..i concur with that sound assessment...or perhaps I'm just hoping against hope