Matt McCarten: Aunty Helen's exit shows party needs to get act together

Matt McCarten: Aunty Helen’s exit shows party needs to get act togetherWe always knew Helen Clark was highly competent, politically astute and had a sharp mind. It’s true she was more respected than adored by the masses, as had been some of her Labour predecessors. She has always been somewhat awkward,… [NZ Herald Politics]

Matt McCarten has a very good column in the HoS this morning. He does get some things wrong however. Clark has not been our best Prime Minister, he forgets Holyoake, she isn’t uncorrupted, and I seriously doubt she would be pleasantly personable to anyone.

Nevertheless the main thrust of his column is highly accurate.

When she took the helm of the Labour Party it was in a state of civil war in the aftermath of the Rogernomics experiment. She saved the Labour Party and moulded it to her liking.

Labour’s MPs are used to being told what to do. That was fine for Clark but the problem for new leader Phil Goff is he has a party full of supposed talent, but they all look and act like mid-level managers. Frankly they’re a bunch of middle class wusses and they need an urgent makeover.

They exhibit all this wuss like behaviour in the house and they are getting slaughtered. Labour MP’s have become the proverbial Pavlov’s Dogs of politics.

McCarten talks about the Tizard Time-Bomb and how it is an evil right-wing blogger plot. Good god, even he is blaming us for so much. First it was Cunliffe blaming right-wing bloggers about his Twitter balls-up and now we are to blame for spiking Twyford’s claim on Mt Albert. Oh I wish it were that we were so powerful.

The National and Act inner circle know Twyford will be impossible to defeat in a byelection and have been covertly organising to take Twyford out of contention.

They have had their right-wing bloggers and spinners up to mischief, putting it about to anyone who will listen that if Twyford is the candidate then it will be a disaster for Labour.

They claim he is a strong candidate and normally would win. But, unfortunately for Labour, Twyford is already a list MP. This means that if he wins the byelection Labour gets the next candidate on their party list into Parliament.

The next person is former West Coast MP Damien O’Connor who isn’t great shakes but he’s not a problem. The Nats’ cunning trap is based on the premise that Michael Cullen has announced he, too, will resign shortly.

Presuming O’Connor returns to Parliament if Twyford wins, when Cullen retires it will be next list candidate who fills that slot. That person is Judith Tizard, the defeated Auckland Central MP. According to National strategists she is their silver bullet to wreck Labour.

They are convinced Tizard is a deeply unpopular figure. If Labour selects Twyford for the byelection, the Nats will spin to the Mt Albert voters that it will allow Tizard back into Parliament. A vote for Phil Twyford is a vote for Judith Tizard.

I was amused that some of the media and political commentators bought into this, but I couldn’t believe it when some in the Labour Party took it seriously and are considering dumping Twyford and bringing in a non-MP to run for the seat.

Alternatively, they are considering asking Tizard to remove herself from the list. My right-wing mates are incredulous that Labour has fallen into their trap.

Heh, a great big trap.

Clark hasn’t even left yet and the Labour Party people are running around like chooks. They’d better get their act together quickly or they will lose Mt Albert.

At present there’s a vacuum and the Nats are filling it. Phil Goff and new president Andrew Little should meet Clark urgently and sort out a strategy.

Yep, that’s right, we are going to take Mt Albert and rip it from the heart of Labour.