It would have been nice if the Labour Party caucus had just been able to get together and pick a new leader, following the departure of David Cunliffe. That would have been the tidy way of doing things – a secret ballot, no dirty laundry washed in public, no protracted taking of soundings from all and sundry, no overt competition between the aspirants.
Let’s not do that then! Too sensible. Too easy. Too quick. Too like the way the National Party does things. And look where that got them.
So when the unions and the membership and the caucus have been consulted and weighed up the respective merits of the four contenders, there’ll be a new leader ready to take on John Key and the Nats.
Not an easy job when three out of four New Zealand voters just made it crystal clear that they didn’t want a bar of you. And even less easy when you’ve just made it plain as a pikestaff to the electorate that no-one in your caucus stands out as the obvious, unchallengeable, next leader of the party. And certainly not Nania Mahuta, Andrew Little, Grant Robertson or David Parker.
It’s not that they’re unintelligent or palpably untrustworthy or – as far as we know – have deep dark secrets waiting to emerge from the abyss like Kafka’s beetle. No, it’s just that three of them are dull and the fourth is interesting for the wrong reason.
No X-factor, no pizzazz, no charisma, no capacity to generate excitement. Oh for a Kirk, a Lange, a Clark. Good lord, even Geoffrey Palmer could play the trumpet!
And here’s the rub. For the first time, Key really looks vulnerable. ‘Prime Minister admits to speaking with forked tongue’ might have been the most apt headline this week. There are hints that the honeymoon is over, that the media are falling out of love with the Leader of the Government. Or is it the Leader of the National Party?
But never mind, Labour is providing just the distraction that National needs.
It’s actually bloody hard to be a Labour Party supporter, let alone a Labour Party advocate, when your team behaves like a flock of drunken sheep.
Ladies and gentlemen, do me a favour – get your act together. It’s just not dignified to have your potential leaders cavorting round the country like teenage girls having a pillow fight at a sleepover.
Get a grip! Please!