The finish line approaches

So it’s the last day of campaigning.

Been offline for a while, billable work’s been calling, so it’s good to hit the keys again today. Hey, it’s good to hit the keys every day! Sorry, too easy.

Key is prattling on with the cheerful disposition of a deregulating zealot banker who’s just been told by the country’s largest newspaper that he’s the PM and we needn’t bother with the election.

Here’s what I bothg love and hate about John Key: he has about him the air of a true Nat. What is that?

  1. He has a singular agenda: wealth at the expense of welfare, fuelled by the dismissal of culture
  2. He is constantly looking for ways to disavow this fact
  3. He performs #2 with a complete lack of originality, precisely because he doesn’t mean it
  4. WIthout any of his own original policies, the best he has to draw on are Labour’s.

He’s not the first National MP to do this. The previous National government predicated itself entirely on extending Labour policy, albeit largey abberant Labour policy.

Like the previous National leader, Key is a banker. But let’s look at the previous National prime minister, and see how Key stacks up there.

Insert: OK, previous but one.

Bolger was mighty experienced by the time he got to the 9h floor. He’d already been an elected cabinet MP.

Bolger was a farmer. The National Party exists historically – some would even say primarily – to protect farmers’ interests.

Bolger was Irish. As Chris Trotter has pointed out, it was perhaps this which endowed him with a strong and even a progressive sense of nationalism. Under Bolger’s watch, and against the will of his entire cabinet, New Zealand saw the introduction of two vital and dynamic aspects of New Zealand’s contemporary democracy: the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process and proportional representation.

What else do I like about John Key? He’s intelligent. I don’t trust him. I get the sense that he’s smarter than I am, or less honest, or both.

I really, really don’t like that the first thing he said when he became the leader was that he’d not have done KiwiSaver and that he’d have sent troupes to Iraq, and that he immediately unsaid those things when he realised they were both deeply unpopular.

I really, really, really dislike Roger Douglass. I’ve voted for him before. It hurt, and it caused many people much grief. He said “we’ll get farmers and students first. Nobody cares about either of them.” And if Rodney gets in, Douglass’s man will be in position, and we’ll never hear the bloody end of it, and the end will be bloody indeed.


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