Saturday, August 27, 2011
In the shock of the sudden announcement by Helen Clarke that she was off, following her defeat at the hands of John Key nearly three years ago, the Labour caucus, still wallowing in the disbelief that it was all a big mistake quickly chose Phil Goff to lead them until that happened.
A big legacy of the leadership style that had kept Helen Clarke safe from any hint of a challenge as the tide went out was that nobody, and I mean nobody in that caucus was thinking what being asked to go and sit on the other side of the house actually entailed.
National were guilty of a similar "denial syndrome" some 9 years earlier.
Because Labour lurched to Goff in a state of shock they ignored the salient fact that 'it was not all a mistake' and failed to make the leadership a strategic decision that in the light of a rejection, required a path to regain some measure of support from those who had abandoned them.
Had Ms Clarke had any concern for the Party over her clear ambition to make a step up to world government, she would have given the caucus that window of opportunity to make a considered strategic series of decisions for a 'best way forward' that in the cold light of day would have in all probability bypassed Goff as leader of the opposition and made the step with a "next Prime Minister", we now know in the wreckage of defeat that didn't happen.
Three years on and we now have five possibles jousting with a small group of wannabes, one of whom is not even in parliament, for that position after the blood letting that will ensue after November 26th 2011.
Is Mr Shane "bluey" Jones timing a run to trump the next hand by making a play at the first caucus when the house resumes in just over a week on the basis of "we must make a change within our campaign to get into broken play away from the rucks that National are holding the ball in as the clock winds down".
He must know that in the factional atmosphere of modern Labour he has little chance after the election so why not a dramatic tubthumping bash at it now.
He seems to be looking for a pathway outside that being slavishly followed by the lemmings as they rush headlong to the cliff.