Now that they’ve rid themselves of the threat of David Cunliffe, the Labour caucus has turned their sights on their real enemies: the Labour Party membership and the Greens. John Armstrong, senior Herald amanuensis ran a column yesterday consisting of a warning dictated to the Green Party by Labour’s leadership:
Now that David Shearer no longer has to worry about a knife being plunged into his back – at least not for a while – he needs to tackle another longer-running attempted putsch of a very different but equally serious kind.
Along with other colleagues, the Labour leader is getting increasingly perturbed by the ever more brazen campaign by the Greens to try to displace Labour as the major party on the centre-left.
Shearer, meanwhile, is understood to have given several senior spokespeople greater rein to criticise the Greens if they seem too far out of line with Labour’s thinking.
Essentially the Greens are the tail that is wagging too much on the end of a rather distracted and sometimes slow-moving dog.
In the end it is down to Shearer to give the Greens the occasional flick to remind them who is the senior partner in the relationship. But it is a delicate matter. Still, expect a tougher line from Labour from here on.
I doubt this struck much fear into Russel Norman’s heart. The current trend in the polls – Labour gaining, National declining, Greens holding steady, NZ First above 5% – is the best direction Labour could possibly wish for. Are they going to risk that trend and go to war with the Greens for the left-wing vote? (I guess it’s possible. When Labour sees the Greens steady at around 11% of the vote I don’t think they think ‘that’s money in the bag for a left-wing coalition’, but rather ‘That’s 250,000 votes that belong to us that the Greens have stolen.’ If Labour had that vote share they’d be neck and neck with National. So a war for the left is conceivable, but not very sensible.)
Labour’s other new front are their own members. There have been a few posts on The Standard recently about the Labour leadership trying to censor party members from commenting on blogs. And now a couple of the authors on the Standard have announced they’re retiring from the blog after pressure from the party.
My understanding of what’s happened here is that most authors on The Standard comment under pseudonyms. And they’ve commented on the Labour blog Red Alert using those same pseudonyms. Now, when you comment on Red Alert you have to provide your real email address. So these have been matched to Labour’s membership and the dissenting members have been contacted by party officials. All pretty creepy.