On pinning down Peters


Trans Tasman observes John Campbell’s attempt to pin down Winston Peters:

For those who have been around for a bit, Peters’ mix of belligerence and incoherence is getting more and more like 1970s-80s trade unionist Jim Knox. Certainly Campbell, whose mien is usually bubbly and engaging even with the most difficult subjects, gave an impression of a man in a wrestle with a particularly large and truculent molasses-coated rhinoceros. . .

My memories of Knox are mercifully dim, but I can recall enough to suspect Peters won’t be flattered by the comparison.

Over at Opposable Thumb, Denis Welsh also paints a word picture:

 . . . But the days are long gone when he seized on something really meaningful, and it’s a sign of how impregnable the National government has been to his usual tricks that all the old shark can do now is sink his increasingly blunt teeth into a fellow minor party. Shark bites minnow: this is news? The more Peters attacks Dunne, the more he shows how weakened he has become. And as it also grows clearer with every day that he has no more of substance to throw at his victim (admitting he hasn’t got all the dirt he needs would have been unthinkable once), so we witness the sad spectacle of a veteran showbiz star no longer able to wow the crowds in the same dazzling way. The old soft-shoe shuffle, so slick before, looks worn and creaky now. One is reminded irresistibly of John Osborne’s play/film The Entertainer, in which a faded music-hall performer past his prime keeps wheeling out the same tired old jokes and routines, to increasingly thin applause. Peters has so lost the plot this time, in fact, that he’s in serious danger of rousing public sympathy for Dunne. . .

A truculant molassess-coated rhinoceros; an old shark with increasingly blunt teeth; the old soft shoe-shuffle . . .  looks worn and creaky now.

These aren’t descriptions of a man on the way up and in politics if you’re not going up you’re going down.



It’s not easy to step back from your own polticial views and praise politicians whose policy and philosophy you oppose.

Denis Welsh does it graciously at Opposable Thumb:

I find it hard to see John Key flushed and grinning like a
schoolboy at realizing his boyhood dream and not smile
too. Other people’s happiness can be contagious, and he
is so manifestly happy at getting the job of Prime
Minister. Good luck to him. So far, 10 days on from the
election, he has not put a foot wrong; he seems to be
putting into practice exactly what he planned to do,
namely, govern as inclusively as he can; and he has
clearly learnt a thing or two from Helen Clark, who pretty
much laid down the template for political management
under MMP. I have no illusions about the direction in
which a National-led government will take New Zealand
(see previous blog) but it would be churlish to deny Key
his moment and not to wish him well.

And Chris Trotter becomes in contrast to his Mr Hyde  from last Sunday, as Inquiring Mind  puts it, Dr Jekyl again:

To my eyes, Mr Key and Bill English have allowed the National Party to assume the mantle of sweet moderation, and his Cabinet choices reflect not a betrayal, but a very fair reflection, of the public mood…

. . .  But, for my money, Mr Key’s most adroit move has been the appointment of a feisty, 39-year- old, former solo mum with a whakapapa as his minister of social development.

Ms Bennett and the prime minister both pose a formidable symbolic problem for the Labour Party. They speak to an ideologically unmoored working class about the power of aspiration and the possibility of self- improvement.

I need to take some lessons from these two because I’m still tending more towards Michael Bassett’s opinion of Helen Clark here  and here than a more gracious view modelled on those Welsh and Trotter take of Key’s first few days in office.

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