For reasons of their own, on the back of her underwhelming rejection by 79% of the Mt Albert electorate on Saturday, the commentariat have chosen all week to talk up Jacinda Ardern to be deputy Labour leader,
Since Chris Trotter’s motives are generally among the most transparent of the commentariat, I’ve scoured his latest Ardern hagiography to discover reasons why the young woman who’s achieved nothing in her short existence so far but a mouthful of teeth and a handful of magazine covers should be bumped up on the basis only of a lacklustre by-election. What have I been missing. What signal achievements have I overlooked that make her the obvious Next Big Thing. Because according to Chris (and for many of his colleagues), Labour's Future Has A Single Name – and that name is Ardern.
But why Chris, why? These are his reasons, such as they are
- Because her 21% result represents an “emphatic by-election victory”
- Because the name “Jacinda” has already acquired a winning ring. (Yes, he seriously said that.)
- Because if Andrew Little doesn’t promote her to deputy-leader, “then he’s a fool.” (Yes, he also said that. Seriously.)
- Because if he doesn’t, he “will only fuel suspicions that he lacks the fortitude to shake-up the delicate factional balance of Labour’s caucus.” (Yes, I know, but he’s writing this shit not I.)
- Because he quotes Oliver Cromwell. Twice. (Yes, really. It’s that important, apparently.)
- Because “Little now needs to reassure Auckland’s young urban professionals … that there is plenty of space on Labour’s pews for them.” (I should remind you that Mr Trotter gets paid to write columns like this.)
- Because “keeping Annette King where she is for fear of reactivating the ‘Anyone But Cunliffe’ brigade would not only flatter that waning faction’s significance, but also signal a serious loss of political momentum.”
- Because “she has now moved past [Grant] Robertson.” (In what respect, one wonders.)
- Because (in some dim way he never bothers to define) Ardern represents “the future,” and in choosing her Little “would also be moving decisively beyond Labour’s past.”
Seriously, this bathetic exercise in begging the question is Chris Trotter’s column for the week, distributed nationwide courtesy of the dying media that few people any more bother to read. (And they wonder why.)
I’m going back through Trotter’s list to discover anywhere, anywhere at all, where there is any reason to pick her for anything she has actually achieved or shown that she is capable of – apart from a lazy by-election victory in the country’s second-safest seat.
Because in the end his ‘reasons’ for promoting the young woman to Labour deputy amounts either to nothing more than “because I say so,” or the good old tried-and-true “bet the electorate would like a nice bit of skirt.”
The former is pretty much the only argument the rest of the media have raised to promote her; and the latter is probably what they’d like to say if their overwhelming political correctness hadn’t stopped them.
But is the electorate really that shallow? (Shall we stop here to debate how nice a piece of skirt we really think she is?)
Still, since the arguments in her favour are so slim, the Labour Party are bound to listen…