Steady on. No one was asking John Key whether he wanted to campaign jointly with Colin Craig, were they?
No, I am aware of that thanks. But National doesn't have a large potential coalition partner who just asked them to campaign with them so I used the Conservatives as an analogy.
Mr Cunliffe told the Herald tonight he envisaged that Labour would try to negotiate a formal coalition agreement with the Greens after the election,
“The Labour Party will be the core of the incoming Government working co-operatively with the Green Party who are our longstanding friends.
That’s not the same thing at all. If the press goes to John Key and asks him if he’ll give the Conservative Party a seat this election he won’t say, ‘No. We’ll talk to them after the election. My job is to maximise the National vote.’ He’ll say. ‘We haven’t made any decisions either way yet.’ Maybe it’ll be a smart thing to do six weeks out from the election. But maybe it won’t. He’s keeping his options open because he has no idea what’s going to happen and because he’s smart and likes winning elections.
Labour doesn’t know what the election campaign will look like either! Six weeks out from the election it might be a good idea to campaign in tandem with the Greens - just as it was for them to team up with the Alliance during the 1999 campaign - at which point it would have been helpful to have had three months of preliminary discussions. Sure, it might also look like a terrible idea, but now they don’t get to choose. And they risk losing soft-Labour voters to the Greens.
Good conspiracy theory, but isn’t it vastly more likely that Jones is simply pleasing himself in the knowledge that any public censure would be politically out of bounds for Cunliffe?
That’s possible. But (I think) the sensible thing for Labour to do in this situation would be to say to the Greens ‘We’ll think about it. Maybe closer to the election. Let’s keep talking.’ Because keeping your options open is what politicians do. It’s what National does with its potential coalition partners and I’m pretty sure that’s what the Greens expected Labour to say. Instead Labour gave a flat refusal and went and leaked the talks to the press galley.
I don’t think that’s all a big accident. It’s because they think there are votes to be won by openly distancing themselves from the Greens. Maybe they’re right. I kinda doubt it, but National certainly thinks that linking Labour with the Greens is good politics and those guys know what they’re doing.
But you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think its strategic.
And you don’t see Labour and the Greens attacking each other this year either.
Except you do see a senior Labour MP attacking the Greens on a routine basis.
Did you call for a formal campaign coalition before today?. Given the view that it’s apparently an absolute no-brainer, I’m trying to find someone who has actually been saying so all along.
It felt like there was an INformal coalition for a long time, becoming more formal after the NZ Power launch and Shearer indicating that he’d have a proportional number of Green MPs in his cabinet. It became routine to talk about the Labour/Green position in the polls (‘Neck and neck!’) instead of just Labour vs National ('miles behind). And that was helpful to Labour. It makes them relevant and gets them to say they're in with a chance, that there’s a stable government in waiting, and it meant they didn't have to worry about being attacked from the left.
That falls apart when Shane Jones starts attacking the Greens on such a routine basis that it becomes obvious that its a strategy, with the Greens constrained from critiquing Labour back because that would trigger ‘bitterly divided’ stories. My take on the offer of a formal coalition is that it was a message to Labour that they don’t get to pretend they were both head of a stable left-wing government-in-waiting and attack their primary partner to try and win center votes at the same time.
Just to add to Gio's point: running a quick script on my own blog stats, whenever DPF and WhaleOil both link to one of my posts, DPF routinely sends over 15x as much traffic as Slater.
I get that the evidence as it exists probably wouldn't result in a successful conviction. But if the police thought that these guys were selling and/or distributing drugs they'd put them under surveillance and try and secure convictions. Doesn't the alleged serial gang-rape of minors warrant that kind of investigation?
Also, can I just say that while there’s no enemies on the left etc, there’s something deeply funny about committed Green/Mana supporters darkly muttering about the ulterior motives of Hooten/Farrar/Odgers et al.
I don't know how committed a Green supporter I am, given that I voted for them once - last election - and Labour like, five times. I just think its funny that National's strategists are telling Espiner they're 'afraid' of Jones, when during the last leadership debate one of their strategists claimed they were 'afraid' of Shearer, who turned out to be a disaster.
Incidentally, going back through the pundity around the 2011 Labour leadership contest, Cathy Odgers thought Shearer was rubbish and that Labour should pick Cunliffe who she felt was clearly the superior candidate.
Oh, here's a nice quote:
I think a David Shearer led Labour Party will pose more of a threat to National, than any alternative leader.
David Farrar in the Herald, back in late 2011.
I don’t really get the alcohol thing. When I travel for work, I always charge the entire cost of a meal, including any booze. I try not to go overboard, obviously.
Certain National Ministers were drinking a bottle of whiskey a night and charging it to the taxpayer. Others were treating themselves to $400 bottles of wine. Neither of which would get signed off by many private companies.
Bill Ralston has subsequently expressed the same view: that Jones is the one who’d keep National’s strategists awake nights.
I don’t have access to the same senior MPs as Espiner and Ralston, but I have talked to a couple of National senior staffers who consider the idea of a Jones-led Labour Party completely absurd, for reasons which are obvious to everyone except our senior political journalists. At the moment they’re briefing against Cunliffe, as in: ‘People think Cunliffe will be good but he won’t because he’s too weird,’ or whatever. Which suggests to me that they think the winner will be Cunliffe so they’re pre-emptively undermining him.
I think the Nats are mostly just sad that Shearer's gone.