I’m coming around to the ‘Team Shearer’ side of the Labour leadership debate, as articulated by Lew here, partly because a couple of people I know who aren’t that interested in politics – but know that I am – have told me they really like David Shearer; given that he’s been invisible for two years and only emerged as a leadership contender two days ago that’s pretty remarkable. But also because one possible outcome is a ‘team of rivals’, in which Shearer leads the party, Cunliffe is Finance spokesperson (which he was born for) and Parker is deputy, managing policy development and strategy. In a Cunliffe-led party we get Nanaia Mahuta as deputy, for reasons that must make sense inside the hermetically sealed environment of the Labour caucus. Parker’s deputy would be Grant Robertson, who may or may not spend all his time consolidating his control over the party and plotting against his leader.
Watching the Close Up debate, I felt uncomfortable when Shearer made the distinction between himself and John Key – ‘he went overseas to make money, I went overseas to save lives.’ It seemed like a clumsy, pre-scripted line from a PR hack; a false moment from a guy who mostly comes across as genuine.