Unlike a number of bloggers, I try to avoid delusions of grandeur. I don't pretend to have political influence, deep wisdom, or a crystal ball. And, given the level of undisguised negativity and disunity about the leader of the Labour Party, I thought I'd go and hear Mr Shearer for myself today, rather than rely on the pundits and journalists.
Shearer's speech achieved quite a number of things. He outlined some core personal and political values and priorities, and he connected those firmly with Labour traditions and aspirations. He set out a progressive vision for New Zealand, he distinguished his agenda clearly from his opponents, and he outlined some important new policy.
I am most impressed that he committed himself to eradicating poverty in New Zealand.
As an orator, he was articulate, genuine, and inspiring. The audience cheered him along and were right behind him.
I'll admit to having been initially a sceptic about Mr Shearer when he put himself forward for the leadership of the party. But, having heard him today, and having thought about Labour's alternatives, I'd have to say that the best option for them is to get behind the leader they've got. My gut feeling is that Shearer's track-record and his genuine concern for people's welfare will start to be heard by more and more New Zealanders as time goes by.
If so, then the next election will shape up to be a very interesting race. But, as I said, I don't have a crystal ball, and anyway it's up to the Labour caucus themselves to decide whether to screw things up, or not...