Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Derek Mackie: Labour - the song remains the same

 Today’s castaway on Desert Island Discs is NZ Labour Party leader, Chris Hipkins. 
He's on a flying visit to the UK to pick up some tips from his British counterpart, Keir Starmer, on how to make Labour great again. 

Welcome Chris. Thanks for joining us. 
That must have been a very short meeting with Keir. I hope you got some shopping in to make up for coming all this way. 
Actually, we had a very fruitful discussion and shared some ideas that both of us found enlightening. 

In light of your recent experience, did you tell him all the things not to do to avoid being severely punished by the electorate? Although, I suppose Keir could’ve just asked Jeremy Corbyn for that sort of advice. 
No. Amongst other things, we talked… climate change, capital gains tax, minority rights, hate speech, conspiracy theorists, misinformation and transitioning to 100% renewables. 
Right….so all the things that just lost you the election back home. 
What is it with you Labour boys, eh? Gluttons for punishment or what. 
Anyway, enough about politics. 

 Over the next hour, Chris will be sharing his three favourite songs and why they would be amongst his treasured possessions if he was ever cast adrift on a tiny island with just his Labour membership card for company. 
And politically, that may happen sooner than he thinks. 

 So Chris, what’s your first song choice? 
I’ve chosen “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon. 
Oooh! Something you want to get off your chest on national radio, Chris? 
No, nothing like that. I’m still very much in love with Labour. 
But are they still smitten with you? 
I just think it’s a great song and the lyrics show that if something doesn’t work out then there’s always alternatives which, as a politician, you should be completely open-minded to. 
As long as they meet with the strictly defined and uncompromising neo-Marxist principles and ideology of progressive socialism, obviously. 

 Whoa! I thought I said enough about politics. 
Hold on, though....  slipping out the back…getting yourself free….dropping off the key….hopping on the bus
Sounds like running away to me....or in political-speak, changing departments, which I believe you did a fair bit of before becoming PM. 
I think my meaning may have been lost or misconstrued. I don’t want to tell you what to think… and it’s not my habit to intrude… but I believe your interpretation of the song is far too literal and is missing the wider nuance.
Sorry, are you drawing a parallel with your 2020 election manifesto here?  There was  nothing literal in that.  In fact, you had to be a mind-reader to figure out the "wider nuance".  
Or maybe the problem’s all inside my head, she said
The song simply shows that you can always… make a new plan, Stan.... if you take things logically

 And do you have something particular in mind? 
Ultimately, it’s formulating a strategy which will take Labour back to power in 2026 and, if the party wishes it, reinstate me as PM of New Zealand again. 
Judging by your recent popularity polls, maybe a more appropriate song choice for your party membership would have been “50 Ways to Leave Your Leader”. 
I’m confident I can turn things around, despite all the negativity. No one likes to be rejected though, especially when you still have so much to offer. 
I guess the voters didn’t like what you’d already been giving them, Chris. The election result made that perfectly clear. 
Anyway, a very thought-provoking first pick; I think you’ll agree, listeners. 

 Now, what’s the second song you’d take with you and why? 
Something light, cheery and uplifting, perhaps. 
This song really resonated with me on election night and captured my deep disappointment, hurt and dismay at the poor choices made by a majority of the electorate. 
In fact my staff had to talk me out of playing it at the election after-”party”, when I conceded defeat to National, and their rag-tag coalition of hangers-on. 
Another One Bites the Dust” was it? 
Very funny, but no.
It's “So Lonely” by The Police. 
Remember Chris, this is a light entertainment programme and I’m a little concerned this interview is going to descend into a bottomless well of self-pity. Let’s not go there. 
So lonely, so lonely, so lonely, so lonely…..” 
Gets me every time. 
Yes, we all know how it goes. I’m starting to crave some solitude, myself. 

 I just couldn’t believe that we’d lost. Sure, the polls were bad, but the extent of the defeat was, well, totally unexpected. 
Humiliating, even. 
Look, I’m not sure this is the best song to take to a desert island, Chris. It’ll hardly lift your spirits, or ours, and only reinforces the fact that you’re stuck on your lonesome. Maybe we should skip this and move on to your final choice?
But I just can’t convince myself…. that I wasn’t in some small way to blame. And losing my dream job of PM after only nine months in office, well…. I couldn’t live with no one else. 
You see…. in this theatre that I call my soul… politics that is…. I always play the starring role.
Very eloquent; like a line from a song, almost. 
It‘s my destiny to lead. Now, for the next three years in opposition…. I can only play that part, and sit and nurse my broken heart. 
If someone had told me yesterday how this interview would turn out I’d have called in sick.

Come on, Chris. Just for the next 30 minutes can you put a brave face on it. 
Act as if you just don't care and look as if you're going somewhere. I know it’s hard when you’re a member of the Labour Party but just for me and our audience, make an effort, eh.
You’re right. I apologise. I can fix this. 
Though, since losing, it feels like… no one’s knocked upon my door,  for a thousand years or more. You’re the exception. 
Well, that’s the media for you. Today…. you’re all made up, nowhere to go…except here. Welcome to this one-man show

 Right, just one more song. Let’s finish on a high note, Chris. Please... for everyone’s sake. 
This one’s a huge Kiwi favourite of mine and a song that’s become very special to me over the past 6 months. 
Don’t tell me, I know the one. “Six months in a leaky boat”? 
A fantastic song but, no. 
My choice is “Don’t Dream It's Over” by Crowded House. 
 These days I often find myself singing it just before a caucus meeting or parliamentary question time. 
Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over….” 
Sorry, it makes me quite emotional. 
Oh God, not again. 

Why’s that, Chris? Can you see…. a battle ahead…or… a hole in the roof
I guess it perfectly embodies my future vision for Aotearoa-New Zealand. 
There is freedom within…the strict central control of socialist government, unless you express an opinion we disagree with. 
And there is freedom without…democracy and equal rights for all, but only if you belong to the right ethnicity. 
I just want people to realise that there is a better way and that they’ll… never see the end of the road while they’re travelling with me
Is that because you’ve put all the road tax into cycleways and haven’t built the road, or that there are so many road cones they’ll just give up and go home? 

 I won’t let this current government fool the great Kiwi public into… getting to know the feeling of liberation and release… that swept the country after Labour’s election defeat. 
I won’t let them…. build a wall between us. Although, I’m fully in favour of walling up any future ultra-right, white-supremacist parliamentary protestors. 
That’s the fighting spirit. Delusional certainly, but determined all the same. 
I’m walking again to the beat of a drum and I’m counting the steps to the door of… the PM’s office. 
Come next election, the “far” Right… you know they won’t win
Hey now, hey, now. Don’t let them win

 To all those expat Kiwi special voters living here in 2026 - Vote Labour, vote Hipkins! 
Thank you, you’ve been a great audience. 

 Well, that’s the strangest show that I’ve presented in my tenure on Desert Island Discs. 
A little lesson there for our research team to ensure prospective guests are fully vetted before issuing off-the-cuff invitations. Even if they are ex-PM’s! 

 It just remains for me to thank Chris Hipkins for taking us, whether we wanted to go or not, on his highly personal, self-obsessed, emotional journey to his fictional desert island. 
 And if you want to be certain not to be marooned with Chris in real life, in the event his plane goes down, I believe he’s flying from Heathrow tomorrow morning, about 10.35 on Emirates to Dubai. 

Derek Mackie is a former geologist with a keen interest in current affairs and a penchant for satire.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hipkins: a very dangerous, unscrupulous - and incompetent - politician