It’s been a big day for Labour, so I can’t help but reach for the big book. I’m not a religious person, but The Bile has some wisdom for Labour (trigger warning: sacrilege, blasphemy, completely inappropriate comparisons).
“Ye shall know them by their fruits.” –Matthew 7:16
Andrew Little was the least popular candidate with caucus, according to first preferences. As he said in his interview with Duncan Garner, he was expecting more than five votes from caucus. That means some MPs lied to him and, if Little is able to have his way, they will be the first heads on the block. No wonder there were grim faces at the press conference.
The second preferences were equally interesting. All of Nanaia Mahuta’s second preferences in caucus went to Little, as did almost all of her member votes and union support. In a sense, Nanaia and her supporters were the kingmakers.
Once again, Labour’s Māori MPs showed they are a force to be reckoned with. They can win votes against the tide, effectively represent and articulate Labour values, and are a significant power bloc in caucus. The party will have to give their views, values and voters the respect and priority they deserve.
“I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” -Matthew 10:34.
Grant Robertson was the peace candidate and Andrew Little is the sword. Robertson stood a better chance of bringing peace to the party’s factions, but probably couldn’t grow the party vote as much. Andrew Little stands a better shot of carving out some party votes, but will struggle with party unity and loyalty. Admittedly, it’s better to fight National with a sword than with bird shit from a flock of doves, but Little has to survive that long first.
Before taking the sword to National, Little will probably want to cut out some rot. Robertson thought it would be a good idea to ‘refresh’ the caucus and Andrew Little probably agrees. And I suspect his message to Labour’s far left twitterati will fit nicely in a tweet: ‘#STFU or #GTFO #LittleComfort’.
“’I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,’ the devil said, ‘because they are mine to give to anyone I please’.” -Luke 4:6
Paddy Gower will tempt Grant Robertson repeatedly between now and the election. Every time Little slips up (and he will slip up), Paddy will ask “would you have said that, Grant? Don’t you feel robbed, Grant? Doesn’t the power and the glory rightfully belong to you, Grant?”
The challenge for Grant will be to ignore his gut, his clique, and the TV3 news team. Andrew Little is the second coming of David Shearer, but without the backstory; he is another unpolished, stumbling bloke ripe for white-anting.
Grant has ruled out running again, but I think we can take that with a grain of salt. He is careerist to the bone. I doubt he can walk away from a shot at becoming PM so easily. It’s a simple matter of “the situation has changed/I have been approached by people across the country/some men have greatness forced upon them”. It’s very easy to imagine caucus rolling Little a year from now, while there is still time to change leaders before the election.
The Portrait of Christopher Hipkins
But regardless of what happens, I can be sure of one thing: It doesn’t matter who leads the party, Chris Hipkins will be by their side. Although he is looking less chipper by the year.
PS- Yes, I know that first picture is Darren Hughes. I just couldn’t resist the dark power of the Ginger Faction