When even supporters are criticising a leader it ought to be a safe bet that he’s about to be toppled.
But it appears reports of Phil Goff’s political demise were premature.
A well informed source tells me one of those tipped to replace him, David Parker, spent the weekend in the south. It is possible to plot by phone and email and it could be he was standing back to let others do the work.
But it is more likely that the lack of an obvious successor who could unite caucus and the danger of a leadership change this close to the election, are holding the knife-wielders back.
It’s all very well saying the enemy of my enemy is my friend when you’re fighting, but once the common enemy is dispatched the friendship will fail without something, or someone, strong to keep them together.
When Labour’s leader and president don’t appear to be communicating well and caucus is divided into factions it would take a strong and widely popular person to make a positive difference to the party’s electoral appeal.
There doesn’t appear to be anyone who could do that for Labour, yet.
No viable alternative isn’t a vote of confidence in Goff but it will give him a stay of execution for now.