It’s time to admit that the Andrew Little experiment has been a failure. A terrible failure.
There was some hope that Little would be the new broom sweeping out the old and bringing change to caucus, but that hope has now gone. Since Little was elected no Labour MPs have announced their retirements. No new MPs have been brought into the party. There have been no by-elections. Where is the renewal?
We all hoped that a new leader would reverse the terrible polling we have seen from Labour since 2011. But the polls have not shown any movement since Little was appointed leader. We may as well have stuck with David Cunliffe!
It’s true that Little has reshuffled his caucus line-up and gained some positive press in the process, but he hasn’t done much else. Little has hardly landed a blow against the Prime Minister, and none of Key’s ministers have been forced to resign.
I know a lot of people will be saying: give the man some time. But how much time does he need? Yes, it’s been only a week, but what a long week it has been. We have all been eagerly awaiting the imminent collapse of John Key’s government, but it seems now that we may have to wait another two or three weeks at the very least before this happens. It may even be a matter of months or a year, God help us all.
He’s had only a week, people will be saying. Only a week? Tell that to a mayfly. Your average mayfly is lucky if he lives for a day. If a mayfly can live an entire lifetime within a single day, then surely it isn’t asking too much to expect Labour’s leader to be polling in the mid to late 40s by the end of his first week in charge.
Or do we just accept that our party leader will never be able to match a dumb insect with a brain the size of a dried peppercorn? If that’s the case, then we may as well all give up on Labour and go home.
Let’s not continue this farce any longer. The Little experiment has been a failure, and he needs to be removed as leader. What the party needs more than anything else is another leadership contest. Another round of talking about Labour values and the need for unity. But this time we need to agree on some specific performance targets to measure our new leader against. Let’s not make the same mistake again. Let’s give his replacement time to settle in and get sorted, which realistically shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Then if they haven’t toppled National within three days, we dump them.
And once everyone in the caucus has had a turn at being leader and has failed miserably, there will be no more big egos, no more “I could do a better job as leader than that clown” mutterings by ambitious MPs. That’s your caucus unity right there. Nobody would want to be leader.