Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Yesterday the Liberal-Democrats elected Jo Swinson as their leader.   Today Boris Johnson is expected to be announced as the new leader of the Conservative Party. In both those contests the grass-roots membership had a direct voice.   The UK Labour Party follows a similar procedure.

Back here the opposite (almost).    The National, Labour and NZF caucuses make the choice. Only the Greens involve their grass-roots membership.   

The arguments for and against are simple.    Do you give everyone who is prepared to put their money where their mouth is in supporting a particular party a say vs entrusting the party caucus to make the right decision knowing that they, on a day to day basis, see and work with those putting their names forward and can observe at close hand their respective strengths and weaknesses.

For me my heart sez the former; my head the latter.    Interesting debate.   What do you think?



Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Definitely the latter. Thank God the Liberal Party in Australia doesn't use the former, otherwise Shorten might be Prime Minister.

James said...

I agree with Adolf, particularly when you compare NZ Labour with other parties - the members went for Cunliffe and Little, the caucus knew that wouldn’t work but had no option but to suffer under these poor and ineffective leaders.

Party members can still have an indirect influence by selecting electoral candidates, but it is quite a diluted influence by the time the caucus decides who to be the leader.

Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

Disagree with the internal election of a PM while a party is in power...that calls for a general election....on the death or resignation of a Prime Minister the Deputy PM should take over and see out the Govt. term.

If you had told the UK voters that they would later get Johnson or Hunt as a PM the Monster Raving Loony party would have won the last election..... :-)

Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

James....you are presumimg that Little would have been an ineffective leader....that is just an opinion. Just like Johnson may turn out to be a cracking PM for the UK.

You do not know the mettle of a man until he is on the hot seat....the Trump faction talked a good game but he is an unmitigated disaster. I actually thought Little would have made a good PM under different circumstances but that is only an opinion,

Johno said...

I think Little would be an effective enough leader - after all he has been leader of various entities including the Labour Party.

But it's moot as he was very obviously unelectable.

pdm said...

James - until the advent of Ardern who circumvented the process due to the proximity of the election the Union movement were major powers in the election of Labour leaders- in particular Cunliffe and Little. As I recall the rules were changed to ensure `right leaning' people like Goff and Shearer were eased out even if the caucus wanted them.

James said...

I could have been clearer on my opinion of Mr Little as a party leader - by ineffective I am only using his polling results, which I think are the ones that matter (so too did he and the PM, hence the rolling of him). I actually quite like him and think he would have been a strong and effective PM, but judging by the results he achieved, that is a minority opinion.

PDM - yes, you are right the unions installed them. But I believe that is because they are given votes in the Labour Party based on how many members they have, the theory being if you are a union member you are therefore a Labour Party leader, or something like that. Either way, unions are given membership status if Labour, and to come back to the point of the Vet’s post, I think it generally shows that the caucus will have a better idea than the party members of who would succeed as party leader.