Sunday, September 24, 2023

Benjamin Macintyre: Politics actually

Everyone knows the best rom-coms are built on love triangles. Think of Mark, Juliet and Peter from Love, Actually. Audiences swooned. The premise was that it’s okay to try to get your best friend’s partner to cheat on them as long as you ask using cardboard signs.

Love triangles are a popular trope because they’re dramatic. Who will the protagonist pick? Will it be the sensible man her parents love, or will she go for the bad boy with improbably good hair?

The key to a good love triangle is that all the characters have both flaws but redeeming qualities. Enough to make internet forums explode with arguments about who the main character should choose.

I don’t think anyone will make a rom-com about the love triangle that is about to form the next New Zealand government.

On the one hand, you have dishy David. You know you shouldn’t like him, but he isn’t afraid to say the things you shouldn’t say but that everyone isn’t thinking.

On the other hand, you have whimsical Winston. You know your grandparents would love him, you know he’s the safe option, but you don’t know if you can trust him. He says he’ll love you for real this time, but he said that before running off with your neighbour back in 2017.

And trapped in the middle of it all you have poor old Chris Luxon, who must choose between the younger and more exciting ACT leader or a man with a long career of being the best of a bad set of options.

I do not envy him. It is one thing entering politics in the hope of changing something, even if that something is just the top line on your CV.

It is quite another to be forced into choosing one of two options that the majority of this country is vehemently against.

Whoever he chooses will demand unpopular policies be implemented as a wedding gift. If they can’t agree on them, they might hold the governing National party to ransom. Divorce papers might be filed quicker than anyone can say “I thought the Left was supposed to be the coalition of chaos”.

But that is the choice that Chris must make. The younger, brasher, more radical David Seymour or the run-of-the-mill outrage merchant called Winston Peters.

Is it love?

Well, it’s politics, actually.

Benjamin Macintyre is a Research Assistant at The New Zealand Initiative. This article was first published HERE


Tom said...

The wonderful advantage Christopher Luxon has over all the other main players in this electoral race is that all his life he has been deep in the confrontational bear pit of international commerce . And he has had huge success and won major respect.

It showed clearly in the Leaders debate this week. Mr Hipkins presents himself as a boy from the Hutt and he succeeds at that wonderfully well. Because that's all he is. And like most of the team he leads he has precious little experience , if any at all, of working in private industry, or running his own business. His own and his team's background prior to entering parliament is essentially having been on the Labour Party or the Government payroll.

New Zealand needs government with a stronger background than Labour can provide. We need greater aspirations than a sausage roll and a coke and an enhanced welfare payment.

Both Mr Peters and Mr Seymour need to give their parties 3 years as successful and responsible Government coalition partners, or their parties disappear from the political landscape. And Mr Luxon will demonstrate his ability by quickly enabling such a coalition.

Chistopher Luxon clearly stood head and shoulders above Chris Hipkins after the Leaders debate That the Mainstream Media could portray it otherwise is a damning enditement of both them and the facile and superficial analysis of politics in New Zealand.

And I think Mr Luxon will shortly prove that again after he forms his coalition government.

Anonymous said...

In Muriel's talk on He Pua Pua she mentions Winston had material hidden from him by Labour and theUNDRIP signing hidden from him by National. Sneakiness all round. He is a wily fox and neither of these documents would have got passed him without guile being used.