Saturday, August 24, 2013

Regarding Labour's US-style 'primary'

Over the years, more than once, the suggestion has been made that ACT's US-style 'primary' of 2004 destroyed it, albeit the subsequent death was protracted and the party still clings to life by a thread. Even as a mere spectator with a vote I found the process unsettling with torn loyalties and developing rifts. Public Address reported at the time:

 The lid seems finally to be coming off the Act party’s leadership “primary” election, with Stephen Franks use of his Unfranked email newsletter to issue an “urgent appeal for help in defeating the frontrunner, Rodney Hide.

Nobody has ever expressed a positive opinion about the process that I'm aware of. And though I'm only surmising, the ill-feelings and neuroses engendered by the battle festered thereafter. Hide and Franks were both worthy contenders, but my sense is they didn't trust each other and their politics were not necessarily aligned. The vote was probably split along similar lines: the social liberal vs the social conservative - loosely. Members who wanted Franks were bound to be bitterly disappointed and vice versa (though I could have lived with Franks as leader.)

That's all in the past but it's worth remembering as we watch Labour embark on its own primary. Three weeks gives too much time for divisions to form, for expectations to lift, for hopes to rise  and ensuing disappointments to cause lasting fall-out.

The jungle drummers have been trying to beat a tune out this week that Key must be very afraid. That he knew what he had with Shearer as contender next year. Cunliffe or even Robertson could be a whole different kettle of fish.

Personally I doubt he's overly bothered. This match is just another public display of the instability within the Labour ranks which highlights how strong his own team management has been.

In a vague way the celebratory mood and behaviour amongst Labour members currently, as they drop Shearer and look for another messiah,  reminds me of the Egyptians wildly celebrating the overthrow of President Mohhamed Morsi a few weeks back. Look what's happened since.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

with any luck, this will herald the final collapse of Labour. Cunliffe as Leader will rip the caucus apart, while Roberston will finally precipitate South Auckland Christians into forming their own "Pacific Party" (or coalescing behind the CCCP).

Either way, there's no way Labour can win the next election -- or the one after that.

A likely outcome of this mess might be that National wins the next two elections, and is in coalition with a real right-wing party for the next two.