I’m happy with this guy, but I think I’ll take a break from animals in fields and try something else next time.
Instead of just putting stylus to iPad and tracing over a photograph, as I’ve done with earlier work shown on this blog, I’ve put paintbrush to paper. Really for the first time since I had art classes at school when I was 14 and I’m very pleased with the results.
This is just a made up scene. I was inspired by videos of Bob Ross online, but this isn’t the wet-on-wet technique he used. Acrylics dry too fast for that, so I mixed colour on the palette.
I’m very pleased with this elephant. Especially his head. He was based on this image. I’m not happy with the sky or the clouds. I really need to work on my clouds. Originally I was just going to paint the elephant without any background, and then after I completed him, I decided to put the background in. In the future, I’ll do that first before I move on to the subject of the picture. That said, I’m thrilled with my progess.
Over the past couple of years I’ve been getting more and more into myth, folklore and fable. Such stories can expose much of the human condition and there are two that I think apply to the present situation in the New Zealand Labour Party. As anticipated, David Shearer received a unanimous endorsement from the Labour caucus and demoted David Cunliffe to the backbench. But the hare and tortoise comes to mind. Shearer is behaving like the race is over, but he hasn’t reached the finish line just yet. A vote in February is what will determine his fate. Most are expecting Cunliffe to mount his challenge then and go to the wider party in a leadership bid.
It’s a shite state of affairs, all this disunity. But Labour suffers from having a Milquetoast leader with a communication problem. And he’s protected by an old-guard of loyalists. It would be best for the party and the country if Cunliffe mounted a successful leadership challenge in 2013.
Oh, the other fable? Here it is:
The Scorpion and the Frog
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”
The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”
I’ll leave you to decide who is the scorpion and who is the frog.
The ructions within the Labour Party caucus are being well reported in the media. In the 2011 leadership contest, David Cunliffe registered much support amongst the Labour Party membership as he and David Shearer conducted town hall style meetings throughout the country before caucus finally voted. The trouble is, caucus failed to heed the wishes of the membership and voted Shearer in, reportedly by a scant majority of two. Apparently an “Anyone But Cunliffe” faction emerged for some reason and anointed David Shearer, someone who had been in Parliament for only two years, to the role of leader.
Normally the vanquished opponent would retreat to lick his wounds and then get on with parliamentary business. Things would settle down. And for a while that’s what happened.The trouble is Shearer turned out to be a poor leader. A weak communicator, he frequently garbles his words. Many party members fear how he will perform in a debate with John Key. Secondly, Shearer takes a very third-way Blairite approach to politics, which upsets party members who are typically a little more to the left. The Shearer camp is trying to skim floating voters back from National in the 2014 election. Party members figure seeking the support of those who stayed at home in 2011 would be a more fruitful path to victory.
What changed over the weekend were the voting rules in selecting the party leader. Now the caucus accounts for only 40% of the vote in a leadership contest. Party members get another 40% of the vote and affiliates, mainly unions, get the final 20%. This on its own wouldn’t have been enough to trigger what we have seen from the parliamentary wing of the New Zealand Labour Party. A further rebuke of the caucus came with the adoption of a rule requiring a leader to secure 60% support of the caucus in the scheduled leadership votes that take place once every parliamentary term. If this is not achieved, the leadership must be voted on by the wider party. One of these scheduled votes comes up in February 2013 and Cunliffe, should Shearer fail to obtain the 60% support he needs, has a chance to appeal to the wider party. Members of the Anyone But Cunliffe faction are scurrying to shore up his support. A leadership vote has been called by Shearer tomorrow. This won’t forestall February’s contest and is simply symbolic. Here’s how I imagine the next month will progress:
1. Caucus meets tomorrow, votes unanimously to support Shearer’s leadership. Cunliffe has sent plenty of signals to his clique that he’s going to vote for Shearer and avoid rocking the boat at this point.
2. Shearer demotes Cunliffe to the backbench
3. Shearer attempts to have Cunliffe expelled from the party, but fails.
4. Cunliffe keeps a high profile, starting a leadership campaign amongst the unions and party members. He delivers more speeches on his vision for Labour. He keeps his name in the press. If he closes in on Shearer in the preferred prime minister stakes it’s game on in February.
5. The Febuary vote takes place.