An intriguing radio interview with Shane Jones in which he announces a policy to round up unemployed people in Auckland and ‘forcibly remove them’ to Christchurch, after banning immigrants – especially Filipinos – from working on the rebuild. Be nice to get comment from Robertson and Cunliffe on whether this is likely to become official Labour policy; also whether they’ll rule out Jones from a senior position in their caucus because he’s a horrible lunatic?
Brian Edwards ponders Labour’s post-election environment. Will there be unity or just more civil war? I ran into a Labour activist yesterday (anecdote alert) who assured me that even if Cunliffe wins he’d ‘only be the leader for six months’. The public will hate him, the theory goes, and so early next year there will be another leadership change with Robertson taking over.
And, y’know, if that happens organically then that’s fine. Even the Labour caucus needs to be right about something, sooner or later, and maybe they’re right about David Cunliffe. But if Labour is polling poorly after six months of the caucus undermining the leader and secretly briefing against him . . . At some point you’d have to wonder if the party itself had any long term future, or if the internal culture is too toxic to survive. Worst scenario: it doesn’t actually die, just hangs around for another twenty years of perpetual National government.
I know, I know. Political cycles. National got a really low result in 2002 and came back to victory. But that’s because National freaked out, realised they faced an existential threat to their existence and rebuilt their party from the ground up, not because there’s some mystical law of the universe that lets you drive a political party to the brink of oblivion and then somehow puts you back into government again.