Our leaders have shown recently that, when they really try hard, they can be quite pleasant. Long may it continue
Politics can be a rancourous business. During Helen Clark’s tenure, her opponents made it especially so. As Colin James noted in a recent Herald column, the venom of the Clark-haters (‘the witch is dead’) was striking in its intensity and viciousness. But as we embark upon a summer break from things political, it is pleasing to note the emergence of some fundamental pleasantness and decency among our senior politicians.
The first sign was that final leaders' debate on TVNZ. Helen was on some fantastic stuff. Whatevever it was, we should all have it at Christmas. She smiled and was polite. She paid Key compliments, which he returned, and he also made some of his own compliments of her. It was a fundamentally decent affair.
It is to John Key’s credit that he’s never had any truck with the nonsense that many on the right of politics feel towards
Credit also goes to
She has willingly assisted Key with hints on how to handle some of the issues and personalities he will encounter outside
Key does well because he is able to marry pleasantness with ability. He scores well on the American is-this-politician-someone-you-could-have-a beer-with? test. While
For a small country, we are fortunate in the quality of our political leaders. Anyone who observed
Phil Goff is another quality leader. He will present a stiff challenge once Key’s honeymoon starts to ebb – as all political honeymoons do – sometime next year. Goff is fundamentally pleasant – he passes the beer-drink test – and has a ready and engaging smile which can soften the rigour with which he can approach his work. National knows that over the past nine years they never bested him on an issue or in debate. He demonstrates a formidable grasp of issues in a manner similar to
All in all, we have a bit to be thankful for. While the economy tanks, at least we’re not goverened by some of the limited individuals who hold power elsewhere. Perhaps over Christmas we can ask for such niceness in our politicians to continue, for test hundreds to become commonplace in the Black Caps top order, and for someone to paint Mike Hosking a picture so he can stop asking for one.