Can Andrew Little win next year’s election for Labour? A reluctant assessment
If you type ‘Andrew Little’ into the Search box on this site you’ll find several posts in which the current Leader of the Opposition’s name appears. If you take the trouble to read them all – personally I don’t recommend it – you’ll discover that Brian Edwards thinks that Andrew Little doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever becoming Prime Minister of Godzone and that,”maybe, just maybe, Andrew Little is a man for the time.”
Hold on, both of those statements can’t be true, can they? Oh yes they can! And if you’re sitting comfortably, I’ll try to explain.
See, I think this Andrew Little is a pretty good guy. Here’s what I said about him just after I’d come to that conclusion: “Whether being good and looking good, whether being yourself and acting yourself are entirely compatible is not something I want to canvass here.
But I do know that if you don’t ‘come across’ on television and radio your chances of political success are greatly and quite possibly fatally reduced. Which brings us to Andrew Little.
I thought his reply when questioned about why he had won the Labour leadership that ‘it must have been my bubbly personality’ was great.
But the irony behind that answer was also a clear indication of his awareness that he doesn’t meet the ‘performance requirements’ that commentators like myself regard as essential in the aspiring political leader. Indeed, in a previous post, I wrote him off as ‘a grim-faced, former union leader with little chance of ever becoming prime minister’. When his supporters subsequently spoke of his having ‘a dry wit’, I said I was more inclined to regard it as ‘arid’. So his ‘bubbly personality’ response was encouraging.”
I’m no longer encouraged. After 18 months in the job, the Leader of the Opposition still looks dreadful on television and sounds dreadful on radio. His ‘bubbly personality’ joke has descended from irony to farce. In a recent interview – I think it was on Q+A – he said y’know so many times that I eventually gave up counting. He talks to his interviewers but doesn’t engage with them on a personal plane. He looks and sounds like the caricature of an old-style British trade unionist. His personal ratings reflect all of this. That, sadly, is a losing formula for any aspiring prime minister. Pity!
Media trainer and commentator Dr Edwards posts at Brian Edwards Media.