Civil War has broken out in the Labour Party over a piece written by Duncan Garner (Why does Labour hate David Cunliffe so much?).
So powerful is the waving of the Mighty Mystical Recess Wand of Garner that The Standard has jumped all over it ("It looks like someone from within Labour’s top team has decided to have a real nasty go at David Cunliffe via Duncan Garner.") and named those they suspect are behind leaking him details of this new exciting feud.
Some have said Garner is in the pay of National for writing this piece. Hello, remember the tea tapes?
While rather exciting, it is not so new. Nothing in politics happens by coincidence. Cunliffe is out of the country on vacation. He is being spiked on purpose and criticised for being lazy. A common ploy in vicious politics as it is very hard to prove you are hard-working when you are not actually allowed to participate in the Party at a higher level. Is Cunliffe overseas on purpose so his supporters can deal with the crazy situation that could see it impossible Shearer ever gets rolled?
Shearer spoke today on the future of New Zealand to of all people Grey Power. He was mocked on Twitter. Shearer is launching yet another bloody tour.
We all know why you give speeches to Grey Power – to harp on about superannuation. Most only have a few years to live, they are hardly going to be receptive to means testing what they no longer need.
Labour want to move the age from 65 to 67. Most of the audience, however, will be completely disaffected by any of Labour's policy.
I found a copy of Shearer's speech after his brag link on Twitter and gave it a little pool read today and the whole thing was non-original, same-same, nothing new, nothing invigorating and I am actually sure I have heard plenty of the speech before only under the guise of ACT when it started.
Most telling was the opening, just how Roger Douglas or Richard Prebble used to start one, with a narrative about bludgers to grab the attention of the audience.
The basic social contract back then was that everyone would pull their weight, do the right thing, and they expected the government to keep its side of the bargain. Shearer's speech:
Last year before the election, I was chatting to a guy in my electorate who had just got home from work. In the middle of the conversation, he stopped and pointed across the road to his neighbour.
He said: “see that guy over there, he’s on a sickness benefit, yet he’s up there painting the roof of his house. That’s not bloody fair. Do you guys support him?”
From what he told me, he was right, it wasn’t bloody fair, and I said so. I have little tolerance for people who don’t pull their weight.
We don’t like others ripping the system off – and those who get most incensed about it are people like this bloke who works hard, does what he believes is the right thing and earns close to the minimum wage ...
But once you’re back on your own feet, we expect you to pull your weight once again and contribute back to society.
The government’s role is to ensure that this transition happens – through up-skilling, education and a nudge behind those not meeting their side of the contract.
It was a speech that drifted from non-confirmed bludgers, name-dropping the good ole Labour days that Winston's support crew will not have a clue about then from Super to an emotive, silly plea about Skype, cuddles and grandchildren.
The last time a Labour leader or Senior MP called a beneficiary a bludger or that they needed a "nudge" (read – elbow) they were sitting around a table getting bloated eating fish and chips:
That is the astounding part.
I found the speech non-controversial, non-fearsome and nothing in there that makes me think they are any different to National, really.
Little wonder Shearer's supporters don't want Cunliffe back from his overseas jaunt during recess.
If I am not offended by the content then the genuine political Left must be having kittens over Shearer by now. Forget the abysmal polling.
Shearer is proving to be about as Right-wing and waffly with it in his social policy as Roger Douglas.
No wonder his team are going to white-ant the only contender more left wing than Arnold Nordmeyer and capable of large scale tax increases that the left demand.
Of all recent Labour leaders, I bet Shearer doesn't even hold a faded crinkled picture of Michael Joseph Savage on the wall hanging in a rusty nail frame in his home study for friends to admire.
I leave Camp Cunliffe with a reminder of the direction Labour will go in should the axe fall on their main man.
Cannot wait. Cunliffe is a dead duck in Labour, not because he is not as good as Shearer but because he's been outwitted, outlasted and outplayed by those around Shearer protecting the throne for Robertson.
Cathy Odgers is a lawyer based in Hong Kong. She blogs as Cactus Kate.