Much wailing and gnashing of teeth has followed the release of the latest Roy Morgan poll that places National at 54 percent and Labour at a woeful 25.5. Noting that the poll was in the field before the well-received budget, and prior to Labor leader Andrew Little's unforced superannuation gaffe, pundits are aghast. I am not.
Anyone who thought Andrew Little was the answer to Labour's problems had rocks in their head to start with. He has had every job there is in the labour movement, from Union boss to party president. Andrew Little is a well known figure in Labour circles and, even if the press gallery found him fresh and interesting for about ten minutes, he has always been a plodding performer of modest political skills. In order to believe Little is a breakthrough political talent, you would also have to believe he has spent the past two decades hiding his light under a bushel. No bushel, no light. It's why I didn't vote for him.
But should Little be rolled if Labour's stocks remain this low? Well, yes, probably. For whom? Robertson? He's a smoother operator, but he's hardly made much of finance thus far, and he has this infuriating propensity for speaking in empty, inoffensive jargon. That said, almost every Labour MP who understands anything about politics supports him — although I worry this has more to do with his ability to rev up the troops at Question Time than win over actual voters in actual electorates. Robertson's caucus popularity shouldn't be discounted.
Anyway, leader schmeader. The Labour party is broken. It needs a root and branch reinvention. Tim Barnett must go. Caucus non performers should be shown the door and replaced with authentic talent from outside the increasingly shallow pool. The ridiculous, arse covering Gould review should be scrapped and Michael Cullen should be asked to conduct a serious examination. Internal democratic reforms should be implemented so as to open the organisation up to become bigger, more inclusive, dynamic and relevant. Something purpose built for the 21st century.
Getting that done is more important — infinitely more important — than Little v Robertson, or Parker v Shearer. Hell, I would vote for Sue Moroney if I felt for a second she had what it took to set the village ablaze in order to save it.