clear-cut for Key, says Sandra Lee: victory in Parnell for JK

There’s something to be said for a country of approximately 4 million people who want to hold a national election as if it were a US presidential race – to which at times it actually referred.

Prime Minister Helen Clark in her concession speech played the ‘gracious in defeat’ role which was so recently attributed to John McCain. In addition she announced that she would stand down from leadership of the Labour Party. Possibly because the blame for the defeat in the party vote does not rest with her leadership; possibly to avoid that blame … and accentuate the positive of 9 years of responsible government both in terms of foreign affairs and economically: lower unemployment rates and a higher, and an existing, minimum wage.

… As far as John Key is concerned, he has been schooled, whether by watching TV over the past couple of days, or by an advisor, on how to deliver a speech. Go slow, John, they’ve said to him. It’s a question of phrasing. We won’t be getting over your speech defect in one lesson but it’s less noticeable if you measure your words.

And the question of for whom JK is the acceptable face, in view of the lack of brains or potential for duplicity, and the requisite smarts therefor, among the old boys we know, becomes no clearer: Steven Joyce ?… Tim Groser ? .. or the Honourable Undead Sir Roger Douglas, who has been returned to parliament under the Act list, after all … ?

The alliance even if it be on a confidence and supply basis which most scares me remains that potentially existing between National and the Maori Party. Why? … Because it is a case of sheer opportunism on the latter’s part. And, as Sandra Lee also said, the notion of the Maori Party as National’s “Treaty partner” in parliament would be a constitutional abuse. However, mutual respect, says JK, is sufficient to secure such an expedient dialogue.

Asked to comment on the US election, Noam Chomsky said, ‘We should have no illusions.’ He was remembering Kennedy. His BBC interlocutor wondered whether he would be hanging out the flags. ‘We should not be hanging out flags no matter where we are,’ said Chomsky.

Chomsky’s point was that it would be in such a measure as President Elect Obama would be seen not to deliver on his promises that his legacy could properly be judged, in that measure to which there’d be disillusion. The BBC, determined to reach a positive statement, pursued the line of questioning to ask whether it might not be taken as an advance that there would soon be a black man in office. Chomsky answered that the civilizing forces leading to this resulted from the disillusion and subsequent activism after JFK.

He didn’t remove Kennedy as sign but pointed to a process taking place alongside the election of a president upon whom the population had pinned their hopes. Disillusion, loss of hope, the argument runs, as long, I suppose, as they are explosive in their publication, catalyze popular movements, activism, more effectively than elected leaders with socially progressive agendas.

JK promises to help those who need help; he says that the country has not met its potential; he argues in favour of ambition and the opportunity to improve oneself without excessive government intervention. This agenda, he has said, will not be fulfilled without going into debt … to Australian banks; we will be in fact paying for your election decision by going deeper and deeper into debt.

… Unless, as every poll, apart from saying National would win, has also indicated, we cannot trust him and them.

And so we are nicely delivered back into the precinct of the cynical and the negative.

It seems clear-cut for Key: he will be judged by his failure in the measure to which it inspires us to do better.

Which is no more than judging him by his own stated principles.

In the meantime, Allah be thanked we have Obama for him to cuddle up to in foreign policy and not Bush I or II.