David Cunliffe will look back on Labour's Conference with a deal of satisfaction. He has successfully managed to destabilise and neuter David Shearer's leadership to the point where the current leaders longevity can be measured in weeks if not days (or even hours).
I am reminded of the similarities in the situation faced by Jack Marshall and
David Shearer. They were/are inherently decent men whose time was not right. They were/are faced by nakedly ambitious and impatient challengers for whom winning was/is everything and bugger the consequences
Both Muldoon and Cunliffe are smart. Both could/can talk in sound bites. Muldoon had few friends in the National Party caucus which he ruled with a rod of iron, brooking no dissent and raising personality politics to a new level (until matched by Helen Clark) ... in the end his legacy cupboard was bare (except perhaps for one Winston Raymond Peters).
Cunliffe has apparently already managed to knock off the 'no friends in caucus bit' before becoming leader. It will be fascinating to see how he manages the challenge that poses.
But one does have to feel sorry for David Shearer. He might have been the best Prime Minister that Labour never had ... given half the chance.