Cunliffe/Robertson or Robertson/Cunliffe: I just don’t get it

There’s a lot of buzz around the Labour leadership contest ending in either a deliberate “stitch-up” by Cunliffe and Robertson, or each of them endorsing the other as Deputy, or the relative merits of a Cunliffe/Robertson or Robertson/Cunliffe leadership team.

And maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t see it.

There seems to be some kind of logic being applied which goes: there are two factions in the Labour Party who viciously hate each other.  If we get the preferred candidates of each faction and mash them together into a leadership ticket, voila!  Unity!

But doesn’t Cunliffe/Robertson just open the door to the Hootons and Garners and Gowers of the world making constant insinuations about Robertson’s treachery?  Ooh, he was deputy to one leader and that didn’t end well, so can Cunliffe really trust his deputy?  And the last guy Robertson stabbed in the back was called David, too!

And doesn’t Robertson/Cunliffe just open the door to constant insinuations about Cunliffe’s deep dark leadership aspirations being once again stifled by an ABC faction throwing him a figurehead role to appease his fans in the membership, and can Robertson really trust his deputy given his history of undermining those who stand in the way of his goal of world domination?  David Cunliffe, I’m asking you to rule out a leadership challenge.  Just rule it out, show your loyalty to your leader, rule out a challenge then!

This isn’t me saying that Robertson is a backstabber, or that Cunliffe is a treacherous worm.  You can probably guess my actual opinions on either assertion.  But that’s not the point of this post.  If we can learn anything from the media’s behaviour since last year’s party conference, can we at least learn that they don’t really give a fuck and won’t focus on policy at all as long as there’s a quick and dirty LABOUR LEADERSHIP IN CHAOS AGAIN headline to sell?

That’s what a Cunliffe/Robertson or Robertson/Cunliffe leadership arrangement creates.  Especially if there’s any hint of a backroom deal.

Also, you know, if we could avoid a two-white-dudes line-up that would be nice too …


  1. Ron

    That’s all very well except deputy leaders in Labor Party are not chosen by the leader but by the Party as a whole. So a stitch up is not really possible in that way. If tyre party backs a candidate they are hardly likely to force a deputy leader that was diametrically opposed to leader.

    • QoT

      Thanks Ron, I am aware of this fact. And “hardly likely” would not seem to be borne out by the number of people I’ve seen explicitly endorsing this as a strategy to unify the party.

  2. Clement Pinto

    I think it is a mistake to let the caucus decide who the deputy should be. In my opinion once the leader is elected, he/she should be given the full freedom and prerogative to select the deputy and his ministers.

    • QoT

      It’ll have its pros and cons, but at the end of the day I understand that’s the decision that was made at the last Party conference, possibly to ensure a leader’s ego wouldn’t lead them to just appoint their mates.