Was it really that bad?
One word? What I can tell you Scott, is that we wouldn't be selling state assets, so we wouldn't even be in this position of needing "one word".
Nice work Stephen.
Tired.(Is it just me or does he look a whole lot older and tireder than he did over summer?)
Ok. He could have told the journo, very early on, that it was ridiculous to ask him how he'd solve a consequence of a problem he'd not have if he was PM.
Spot on. Shearer was too reasonable to slap down a rather stupid question. Scott on Media3 you mentioned how much of the recent Republican and Democrat conventions was about style/presentation rather than policy. Whilst I agree with your point, isn't much of the angst here about Shearer really about his style? Given that the PM pretty much said he was going to ignore any evidence that Banks broke the law isn't that a bigger issue than Shearer's diffidence?
Terry, I'd like to say it was just an issue of style, but a leader who cannot clearly articulate a position on something when asked has a few problems, to put it mildly. I wasn't too concerned about the section of the interview re water rights, because Shearer's response was reasonable. On the education section of the interview, though, he really failed to make much sense. And, yes, the Banks issue is a bigger one, but we've come to expect no less than this sort of behaviour from the PM.
It's precisely because the Banks issue matters, that Shearer is so hopeless.If you're the Labour leader appearing on Q & A just five minutes after Key's absurd defence of Banks, you make damn sure that you follow it up and draw the contrast. You make sure it leads the news. That Shearer didn't know how to do this - that he actually seemed to think he was just having a nice conversation, on the interviewer's terms, like it was Sunday brunch - simply shows how totally out of his depth he is.
Was the segment live? I assumed that it wasn't, partly because of what you are saying.
I watched it "live" on TV and it was presented as such. The running order was Key - Panel - Shearer - Panel. If it wasn't live, I'd be surprised (and misled).
When it comes to David Shearer I can only think of Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. Everytime I've had a little faith in him, I end up falling on my back as the ball gets swiped away. Good grief.
I'm sick to death of the argument about the leader frankly. I worry too many on the 'left' want some hero to ride in and solve their problems. It's not going to happen.
I'm sick to death of hearing about the government's latest offence, and waiting for the leader to respond.It's not an argument, really. Nobody is saying Shearer is doing a good job. Some are saying that we should just wait until he does. Most already see that he can't. It's not about a "hero". It's a very simple question: should Labour have an unnecessary, self-imposed handicap? And the follow-up: do they have other options? No, and yes.
Paul, I'm not sure it's a hero people want. I think most would settle for a leader who can clearly articulate Labour's position on a topic.
In this instance, it is not the leader but the position that's the problem - assuming this is just about the standards. The change in position is significant and not easily explained. But caucus made this decision, not Shearer himself. Any leader would find it hard to front this apparent complete change in position. For this reason, I think, the more important question is; why the change? Grant Robertson has explained it elsewhere as being more of the acceptance that if they're in place and enjoy significant support when/if Labour comes to office, it mightn't be worth it to remove them. That may or may be reasonable, it certainly warrants discussion. So why not have that debate rather than imagining how some other leader might have performed better in an interview (based on the fundamental rule that says "you can't shine a shit" c.f. Robbie Deans).
Last week it took me, from memory, about three tweets to explain the change in position on National Standards - which incidentally I agree with. It's really not that hard. There are two separate issues here: one is how Shearer performs in the media, and it clearly is a problem. After ten months during which he must have got media training in his sleep, he is still woeful. That alone is probably suggesting caucus that he needs replacing, and fair enough. I think Robertson would be far more effective, if you had to choose somebody in that camp - as they probably will. But the other, larger issue is how timid, tentative and confused the party is politically, which means they can't get in front of any issue because it takes them time to figure out first what their position is. The comparison with the Greens is stark. The Greens spokespersons are so effective because they KNOW WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT STUFF. Hence they're able to put out releases and counter proposals immediately. There is coherence across their portfolios. They have an ideological grounding (and you can like it or not, that's not my point), and it informs their opposition and their policies in a uniform way. That's where Labour desperately needs to be as well, but with them it feels like they're still figuring it all out. Now there is this position on education, which I really don't mind (there were rumours swirling a month ago that they'd be going a very different way), but it comes on the back of Chris Hipkins announcing that Labour wanted to not only keep the residential special schools going but in fact open new ones. That was a bizarre proposal and quite at odds with the idea of an inclusive education for all. Was it coordinated? Does it come with financing committments from Parker and co.? Or was it just that this one guy in the party was lobbied by some families and some schools and got fond of the idea? This is really stuff you can't afford to much around with. And it comes back to leadership, but not leadership in the sense of who is the leader - leadership in the sense of how effectively the party is led, and its message coordinated.
Giovanni, although I don't doubt your considerable, and bilingual, powers of persuasion, an live TV interview is a more challenging format than twitter. That said, I'm not overwhelmed by Shearer's media performances generally. I do agree the fundamental difficulty is about policy coherence. On many issues, I believe Labour's consistent and clear - asset sales, superannuation being good examples (and I don't know about the special education matter you've mentioned). Can I also offer this observation: Key's very very good in the media and yet, IMHO, he's a shockingly bad PM. It's odd that his performance in the media satisfies the public although this appears to be changing. Shearer does need to improve his media performance, however his capacity to improve is strongly correlated with having a solid and sensible policy platform. I simply can't see the benefit of just parachuting in another leader (though I share your view that Grant Robertson is a genuine and very talented politician).
I didn't say Robertson was genuine, nor do I believe it. I do however think that he could sell the current Labour product far better than Shearer. And that would be bad news for me, since I think it's a product that would set the progressive movement back significantly.
Sorry for mischaracterising you Giovanni. I do, sincerely, think Robertson's a genuine and progressive politician and believe he may, one day, successfully lead Labour. Disclaimer, Grant's a good friend from university.
I think that how Shearer performs in the media and the Labour Party's political timidity are deeply related issues, though people can focus on one or the other in the supposition that if that one was fixed, all would be well. In actual fact Labour needs both a coherent leader and a decent platform, and has neither.It is very hard for anyone to be a centrist leader when a society has a deep divide between the haves and have-nots, with a crevice between them. To be centrist under these conditions is to be a Janus, straddling the crevice, looking two ways with two different faces. Unable to offer a coherent message that would delight both sides,Shearer tries to convince both sides that he's likeable, while fluffing over the issues. If Robertson were to replace him, he would try to convince both sides that he's even more likeable, and perhaps fluff over the issues more deftly. Except people don't care whether you are likeable or not when they are desperate for representation. Likeable is for good times. These are hard times, set to get harder.
In actual fact Labour needs both a coherent leader and a decent platform, and has neither.What, specifically, is the deficiency in policy? Can I also suggest that you read Rob Salmond's piece for Pundit on the spread of votes in NZ. You mightn't like the fact that they're won in the centre, but the data is clear that they are.
That Labour is not hammering National's for its quasi-fascist welfare reforms is utterly shameful. I don't care if elections are won in the centre - it is not worth winning an election by being slightly less ghoulish than the other guys. And besides, what if you lose? What will it be of all the beneficiaries you've helped bash, when there isn't even opposition pressure on the Tories to protect them?
(Although I could answer my own question by saying: whatever it is that is happening to them now.)
Giovanni, I've seen or heard Ardern, Robertson, Shearer and Parker ask primary or secondary questions of Bennett and the PM on welfare almost every Question Time. Check for yourself at www.inthehouse.co.nz. Also, I read many speeches and media releases from Labour on these same appalling policies. I think Labour is, consistently and vigourously, challenging the Government.
It really is not. Parliament - and I wish political tragics would get this into their heads - DOESN'T COUNT. Not when you don't follow it up with public statements or, worse, you contradict what you say in the House in your public statements. Not when you defame one of your own constituents for being on a benefit, as Shearer did. Not when Ardern goes on the radio (this happened last week) to say that the problem with cutting benefits to families that don't enroll children in preschool or with their GP is that it doesn't work. THAT IS NOT THE PROBLEM WITH THE POLICY. The problem with the policy is that it suspends the civil liberties of a group our citizens. National's own attorney general has said so. And the Labour party can't even do something with that? It's nothing short of an outrage. Labour runs on its opposition to asset sales all the time because it is the one issue where it feels the electorate agrees with them. Well, how about they start fighting some actual battles? After all, isnt the definition of a battle that you migth not win?
I have read Rob Salmond's piece, but I have some reservations about what he says. First and foremost, the centre keeps shifting inexorably to the right. Second, for many who would normally vote Labour, there is no point in voting for them if they are too much like National, as a result of the centre moving to the right. Most importantly, if Labour is not going to effectively challenge the current rather nasty status quo, who is? There are times when a left wing party's move to the centre means the end of its relevance (see Queensland, see PASOK) and I think that this is such a time.
I don't care if Shearer is media savvy or not. I think the message needs to be told more and more that this doesn't count for a lot when you are looking at how good a leader Shearer will be. We used to believe that what you did, your actions counted for a lot more than anything you said. I don't think Shearer was that bad. Shane was pathetic. The only thing that I would have done differently is make the point clear at the beginning of the education part that National Standards aren't important to the party. We're not overly concerned how you measure the kids (as long as it's easily understood and a true reflection of the child's ability) we're concerned about how well they measure. Probably didn't make that distinction early enough or forceful enough but he did get to it in the end.I like Shearer.......partly because he isn't the polished, shiny, gleaming politician.
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