The internally conducted review of Labour's abysmal performance before and during last year's election campaign is already being widely dismissed as an anaemic and insipid statement of the bleeding obvious.

Even Andrew Little, Labour's leader, went as far as saying the report - part of which was released by his office yesterday - had not told him anything he did not already know.

But that was always going to be the case. The review covered the mechanics of winning elections, not the ideological stance Labour adopted in last September's contest. There are no blinding insights or magic bullet solutions.

There are times, however, when political parties are required to make statements of the obvious. This was one such occasion.


It was essential the review did not paper over what it described as an "inadequate" election campaign which was "undoubtedly hindered" by the party's dire finances, nor ignore the tension around the party's leadership and the related disunity within Labour's parliamentary team.

It does not. And that is important for two reasons. First, the review provides a much-needed catharsis for the party's rank-and-file membership whose morale was crushed following Labour's worst showing since 1922.

Second - as the review notes - it is imperative that Labour acts and is seen to act as a disciplined and coherent team ready for government if it is to win the trust of voters at the 2017 election.

If the review has failed to delve very deeply into the party's recent past there is further very good reason. Labour does not want to fracture the calm Little's leadership has secured.

Likewise, Labour is never going to gift to National copious quantities of embarrassing material.

So the words "David Cunliffe" are notable for their absence. Yet, the review does not gloss over other failings - such as poor messaging, complex and difficult-to-understand policy, and the refusal to be explicit about where it stood on coalitions with aligned parties.

The review effectively sheets responsibility for these blunders back to Cunliffe without actually saying so.

The review has done its job without treading on too many toes. It is now up to the party's hierarchy to decide which of its recommendations the party will adopt.