Ho, hum. I was contemplating a longish piece - a sort of essay - on the leadership travails of Ed Milliband and David Shearer. My starting point was likely to be the experiences of Clem Attlee, who was so scorned by his own party that he faced (and ignored) continual demands to quit for someone more acute, more charismatic, more dynamic, more leftwing, more anything.
Attlee, of course, went on to win a massive majority immediately after the end of World War 2, and instituted a programme of reforms that haven't been matched by any British prime minister since; and is now regarded as the perhaps the best PM of the century, almost certainly the best of the post war bunch.
But I didn't quite get around to it and just as well, as David Shearer decided to quit, without checking with me if that would be okay.
So, with the phoney war over, what now for Labour?
Obviously the three most mooted names are Cunliffe, Robertson and Little. Romantics nervously suggest Jacinda Ardern. I think none of the above are likely, for the simple reason they are career politicians with time (but not much else) on their side.
They aren’t thinking about what is good for the Labour party, but for their own prospects. Cunliffe, Robertson, Little probably don’t relish the idea of taking on Key, even now. I think the ‘Big Beasts’ will be thinking about the 2014 leadership election, rather than the 2014 general election.
I think Annette King might emerge as a stop gap contender.
King is familiar and have a bit of ‘elder statesperson’ gravitas. King / Cunliffe or King / Little might be viable tickets, with the deputy keeping a canny eye on his prospects for 2014.
So it would be very funny if King managed to scrape some sort of a victory in 2014, and so delayed the succession to 2016-7, by which time Jacinda might be a more realistic prospect.