Talking about sycophants (as Daffy Darien was doing last week) who is sucking up to whom here?

And who is the mystery man?

No, the unnamed gent pictured with The Mad Butcher in the Herald today is not Alf Grumble.

Yes, there is a resemblance. A slight one.

But Alf is a tad more hirsute – about two follicles more hirsute.

And Alf’s nose is more purplish.

Something to do with his drinking habits, his doctor insists.

Oh, and the clincher is that Alf would never be found with an arm around Phil Goff or Trevor Mallard.

The unnamed bloke in the picture – who shows no shame in his relationship with those two losers – can only be a Labour voter.

Whether the picture has been published on the West Coast, and whether therefore it might help Damien O’Connor’s prospects at the general election, remains to be seen.

Alf refers, of course, to the great gaffe by Darien Fenton last week, which has done Damien’s cause a big mischief.

They are league people, down there, and The Mad Butcher is a league icon.

The mighty Whale Oil blogged on the consequences on Monday.

He referred to the latest iPredict update and its interesting movement in West Coast-Tasman.

There has been a change of forecast winner in West Coast-Tasman. For the first time since March, National’s Chris Auchinvole is expected to retain the rugby league loving West Coast-Tasman (55% probability up from 47% last week). This follows media reports of attacks on prominent rugby league supporter Sir Peter Leitch (“The Mad Butcher​”) by two Labour MPs.

But we can at least credit Goff and Mallard with having the wit to recognise (as the Herald reports) that The Mad Butcher has become the cute baby every politician wants to kiss.

On Sunday night it was Prime Minister John Key who grabbed the opportunity for a snapshot with Sir Peter, jumping into a photo with six Warriors fans who got tickets to the NRL grand final thanks to the Mad Butcher’s efforts.

Not to be outdone, Labour leader Phil Goff tweeted a picture of himself posing with Sir Peter at the Silver Ferns netball match against England on Monday night, adding “see … no hard feelings. Sports beats politics any day.”

The photo followed a week of controversy after Labour MP Darien Fenton said Sir Peter was a “sycophant” who was “sucking up to John Key big time”.

“I’m never going near him again,” she said.

Ms Fenton later apologised after Sir Peter said he was “gutted” by her comments and pointed out he had also supported Helen Clark.

Goff was swift to distance himself from daffy Darien’s comments, saying he greatly admired Sir Peter who was entitled to express any opinion he wished.

Let’s trust the foolish Fenton takes note.

She would steer clear of The Mad Butcher, she said, because –

“I choose not to buy stuff from those who support Tories.”

Since every good retailer will also support the Tories, this will somewhat limit her shopping options.

But the next thing we know, she was apologising on Labour’s Red Alert blog and called Sir Peter “a top bloke”.

Trouble is, Louisa Wall did not get the message and said she shared the disappointment at Sir Peter’s support for Mr Key – despite admiring his work.

“We would have assumed Sir Peter was a working-class champion,” Ms Wall said.

“If you look at what the National Government has done, it has taken workers’ rights backwards.”

Ms Wall, who is contesting the safe Labour seat of Manurewa, said “personal is political”, and Sir Peter could not endorse Mr Key without endorsing his policies.

Why would he want to?

More to the point, who is sucking up to whom in the picture above?

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