Labour’s problem and what Goff can do to fix it

by Jake Quinn

Your party are languishing in the polls, your leader has been given the unfortunate nickname of ‘phil-in’ by the nasty bloggers and even the sympathetic media have written off your chances of re-election till atleast 2014.  So it is fair to say that you have a little while yet warming the timber on the shadow benches.  So what do you do?

You’ve got a decent long-serving man at the front of the pack, and he’s got an equally decent and long-serving women as his deputy.  You’ve got some good recruits coming through the ranks and a few of the newbies in particular are really making their mark (especially with new media and savvy campaign stuff). You could almost say that things were looking up.

You were in government for near-a-bloody-decade and about the worst thing their saying about your new leader is that he’s got a bit too much experience under his belt. That he hasn’t made his mark yet. “But he’s a career politician!” they scream. But what do they want? A bee-keeper? A subway sandwich artist? It really could be much worse. Really it could.

They could be saying that he’s tired, corrupt or incompetent. Each of these accusations far more damaging than what the Labour senior lot are currently facing and none of which you could tag on Phil-the honest, competent, energizer bunny-Goff.

So your annual conference is on the weekend. This is Goff’s chance. If he hum-drums this one the media ridicule will continue for another year and the un-engaged electorate will continuing twiddle their thumbs. All the while lending their phone-poll support to the smiley fella in the shiny suit. Why? Because people like to back a winner.

So he and his colleagues have got to do something and it has got to be bold. It is not a leadership coup though – that would do more harm than good right now. The BBQ’s at Trevs are most definitely off (you do not even want to see anyone filling up gas bottles).

But he has to do something that differentiates him and his party from the last lot. He has got to give Audrey, Verny, Guyon et al something to work with. Give them something bold on Saturday or they’ll crucify you come Sunday.

So what will it be? Because it’s fair to say that a photo-op beating children is probably not advised (if one wanted to distance Labour from the Bradford law change) nor is a policy to introduce super-wasteful shower heads going to be a winner.

So we wait and see. Be watching out for any ‘Trevor strategy’. With his populist blog posts on redalert of late he’s been generating a lot of interest (criticising the court decision to not send the Wellington makatu man-slaughterers to prison and now saying school kids should back their school mates in fights with other schools).

Whatever you do this weekend Phil, please ensure that it does not include too much ‘going forward’ or ‘touching base’.

[UPDATE: He’s on the right track today! Reaction here and here.]