Reading the tea leaves

I?have?been getting quite a number of calls from Labour MPs. They are from different factions and all tell of similar stories about the inner machinations of the Labour caucus.

The one over-arching theme is fear and chaos.

One thing is clear though, there are a majority of caucus who want nothing more to do with Phil Goff. The problem though they have is the warring factions and the rear-guard who are defending a position but certainly not defending Phil Goff.

There are three camps inside Labour. There is no longer a Phil Goff camp. There is?definitely?Camp Cunliffe, despite the protestations of innocence. Then there is Camp Jones, small in number but big enough to stop the other camps from moving. Camp Parker is also small and largely come from nowhere with Parker believing the various kites that have been flying about him for several months.

No one is defending Goff anymore, even his hatchet man Trevor Mallard isn’t defending him. Instead Mallard is marshalling the forces of the rear guard, along with Annette King. Tthe rear-guard is mostly those two and the union core that is hiding behind the pretense that they are the women’s caucus.

The rear-guard isn’t defending Goff, quite the contrary they want him gone too but they are working very hard to prevent Cunliffe and Jones taking over before they can get Andrew Little or another viable candidate to stand up to the onslaught.

The only thing they haven’t yet worked out is that Cunliffe and Jones are yet to work out that if they work together for a common goal they can roll over Mallard and the rear-guard. They have the numbers. Mallard and King do not.

Trevor Mallard is trying very desperately to halt the impending coup and even went so far as to point out who was leaking the front bench details by fingering Jones. Like everything Mallard does and says it was a deliberate lie. He merely did this to white-ant Jones.

The rear-guard is backing Parker, even though Parker doesn’t have the courage to front. They are doing this as a last ditch effort to fend off Cunliffe. The battles are starting to become public.

Bizarrely Phil Goff is powerless to do anything except make wild accusations and blame Chris Carter for leaking about his front bench?capitulation. His position in sustaining that he never mentioned quitting is untenable. I have now heard from 5 different MPs who are all adamant that the capitulation took place. The only reason there wasn’t an immediate?replacement?was the shared?cowardice?and lack of bottle amongst the pretenders.

Right now though, should a contender find some courage, they would be made leader just to end the bloodbath that is starting to show.

Basically though Phil Goff is alone in campaigning. His leadership have abandoned ship. Trevor Mallard and Annette King are more concerned with backing Parker to fend off Cunliffe than running the campaign, they have abandoned Goff.

Mallard of course is more interested in distractions than real work. He?abandoned?his portfolios to train for a cycle race, now he is abandoning his campaign responsibilities to spike Cunliffe and Jones. Trevor Mallard likes to think he is the Murray McCully of Labour but lacks the wit, charm with the ladies, intelligence and rat cunning of McCully.

Make no mistake, there is a bloodbath building?and?as poll after poll rams home to Labour that they are dead ducks then the fighting will become more and more public.