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The Standard

Pontius John

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, June 12th, 2009 - 48 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

How extraordinary of John Key to align himself with western history’s most notorious coward in his statement that he had “washed his hands” of Richard Worth.

He’s a poor judge of people in his personal choice, that is clear – after all, he appointed Richard Worth as a National Party Minister, and he anointed Melissa Lee as a National Party candidate, but this statement takes abdication of responsibility to a new level.

It’s now hung round his neck for ever, and will undoubtedly come back to haunt him.

48 comments on “Pontius John”

  1. IrishBill 1

    Yeah, I thought that too but I suspect that the reference is lost on the majority of the population.

  2. Jasper 2

    IB – the majority of the population that have never seen JCS, nor seen a high school production of it?

    It’s only one of the most famous utterances of Pilate, and is referenced in the bible.

    Methinks you aren’t giving our wholesome christian citizens ’nuff credit.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      How many of the 50% of the population who call themselves Xian on the census form do you think have actually read the bible?

      • Spectator 2.1.1

        Probably a lot fewer than have seen a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

  3. lprent 3

    Be interesting to see if Richard Worth is also able to rise from the dead. I suspect not.

  4. Ianmac 4

    “Washing his hands” is hardly a definitive action for a strong leader. Wishy-washy? What happened to the “Smiling Assassin” image? Ruthless. Efficient. Confident.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      The “Smiling Assassin” image was always overrated anyway. As JK said himself concerning the redundancies he managed – he was only doing as he was told. Now that he actually has to think and act for himself he’s out of his depth.

  5. IrishBill 5

    Jasper, I think they probably would be able to tell you where the phrase came from if they were pushed on it but I think it’s undergone sufficient semantic drift as a phrase that most people wouldn’t see it as loaded with the moral baggage it might once have been loaded with.

  6. You guys love being in opposition don’t you.

    Key isn’t a strong or decisive leader – where’s the action?

    He takes action and washed his hands – couldn’t be more definitive in his actions or communicates that.

    So now you criticise Key for doing what you criticised him for NOT doing?

    Agreed that being in opposition can be a lot of fun but it’s a weak post if you’re trying to be credible as a political commentator.

    • MikeG 6.1

      You seem to forget Dave that he is still a member of the National caucus.

      After their Tuesday meeting, will JK have to wash his hands again?

      • Daveski 6.1.1

        No I haven’t. That’s a caucus decision although one that I think Key has made quite clear what the outcome should be. Note the comments re Taito fields.

        Keep in mind that these are allegations and if both sides hadn’t played games, it could have been resolved earlier.

        My substantive point is that there is a massive inconsistency here – you can’t criticise Key on the one hand for not doing enough and/or doing it too slowly then criticise him for telling Worth in no uncertain terms that as far as he’s concerned, he may as well get a DCM. (It’s not a knighthood either)

        • Maynard J 6.1.1.1

          All he has done is made a grandiose statement, coupled with no action and, as well stated above, no abdication of responsibility.

          How is this doing something? It is a silly show, and pretending that he is being decisive.

          Akin to a ‘bollocking’ one could presume.

        • gobsmacked 6.1.1.2

          Daveski

          If we agree that “washing hands” = “expelling from caucus”, what are the grounds for Key/National to do that?

          Remember Worth has not been charged with anything.

          • Daveski 6.1.1.2.1

            Agreed – good question! I suspect that Worth was sacked for losing his boss’s confidence which with respect I suspect is all that matters in politics and certainly how HC would have seen it too.

            If the party also loses confidence (even without being charged, it’s clear to me he is a political liability) that should be grounds. I’m not a NP member nor a member of any political party so I don’t have knowledge of the operations.

            I’m now in the same space as Key – hoping that either Worth falls on his sword (which seems unlikely giving the size of his ego) or the caucus kicks him out.

            Sadly, that means this sorry tale still has legs!

          • gobsmacked 6.1.1.2.2

            Key’s problem now is precedent.

            Worth won’t be the last Minister to go. That’s politics. So next time, the media ask: “Why is XYZ not being expelled from caucus too?”, etc.

            I suspect Worth’s silence is partly motivated by not wanting to give Key an excuse (e.g. disloyalty). As of now, there is no reason for Worth to do anything but wait for the police to conclude their investigation, and hope it goes his way.

          • Daveski 6.1.1.2.3

            Agreed gs

            I think he also needs to front up to his commitments/statements when in opposition but perhaps I’m being a little Pollyanna-ish and/or naive

          • Daveski 6.1.1.2.4

            Bingo – Worth falls on his sword :)

  7. hvillvoter 7

    So Key is a poor jusge of character for the National Party local electorate choosing Key, so therefore you will be slamming Labour and Helen Key for running Taito Philip Field or doesnt fraud/exploitation count?

    • Maynard J 7.1

      Yeah I wish Key did not “choose Key” either. But then better than Don “No cash no” Brash.

  8. The Voice of Reason 8

    Any chance John dried his hands on a see through nightie?

    The English magazine Private Eye has used Uganda as a euphemism for illicit sex ever since a minister claimed he and his secretary were only pursuing a mutual interest in East African affairs when they were sprung.

    Given that Worth is clearly a Goa, can I suggest we use ‘pursuing an interest in Indian textiles’ as code for shagging in future? Other suggestions welcome.

  9. Craig Glen Eden 9

    I agree bloody brilliant ,” Pontius John” it suits him to the ground. Pilate was on his last chance when he washed his hands of the Crucifixion of Jesus by the way.

    But hey you couldn’t expect a bloke who cant remember his position with regards to the Spring Bok Tour to realize the subtleness of what he has mimicked.

    The other thing is it shows that he obviously does not learn much when he goes to Church.
    Repeating Pilate’s line what a idiot!

  10. Tigger 10

    Who is Worth answerable to now? No one apparently because the PM can’t be bothered with him any more.

    In fact Mr Key, you can’t ‘wash your hands’ of someone while they’re still under your command. You’re a leader, you don’t get to only lead the ones you want to lead or who haven’t disappointed you. Until Worth is out of Parliament, he’s your responsibility. You’re the PM, start acting like it.

  11. Craig Glen Eden 11

    Daveski for peat sakes if you are going to comment at least have some idea what you are talking about.

    Pilate was not decisive he was weak.He used the people for his own political means to rid himself of Jesus who was a problem for him he didn’t want to be seen as making a decision. He held the destiny of an innocent man in his hands. He handed Jesus’s future back to the religious Jewish leaders. Jesus or Barraba’s the thief and murder which one lives which one dies…..

    Key now repeats Pilate’s famous Line and gesture on TV! Key claims he goes to Church and that he is of Jewish decent. As a politician and of Jewish decent the last person you would want to mimic in the Bible is Pilate.

    That line will be repeated over and over in the next three years with good reason!

    Time will tell who will sit in the seats of power in 2011. After this last month I really like our chances.

  12. If Key is Pilate then doesn’t that make Richard Worth Jesus and Labour the Sanhedrim?

    • IrishBill 12.1

      Do you ever get sick of being smug Danyl?

    • Pascal's bookie 12.2

      You’d have to ask Key I guess.

    • djp 12.3

      heh, rejoinder of the month right here

      Isnt the phrase a pretty common utterance anyhow? This is certainly the last place of would have thought this connection would have been made

    • Merlin 12.4

      Danyl has a quote from Juvenal on his blog “It is difficult not to write satire”

      Has he ever considered that means the satirist is the laziest form of writer?

  13. StephenR 13

    This is certainly the last place of would have thought this connection would have been made

    You mean you this is the last place you expected to see the classical reference to Pontius or that this is the last place you would expect such hysteria from a blog poster?

    • IrishBill 13.1

      It’s not a classical reference, it’s a biblical reference. And it’s not hysteria, it’s a vaguely ironic observation. Sharpen up.

    • djp 13.2

      the biblical reference… not sure why, lefties just don’t *seem* to be into religion much

      • Anita 13.2.1

        Some of us are.

        Perhaps the real problem is that right-wing religion is far more visible than left-wing religion, so those of us who are old Christian left get overlooked very easily. I am repeatedly annoyed that every time I write anything about the new Christian right (which I think is a valid bloc, just one I have little in common with) someone shouts at me for being anti-Christian.

      • IrishBill 13.2.2

        djp, a lot of older lefties are lapsed Catholics.

      • djp 13.2.3

        fair points

  14. notreallyalawyer 14

    “How extraordinary of John Key to align himself with western history’s most notorious coward in his statement that he had “washed his hands’ of Richard Worth.”

    no irony there, plenty of hysteria though.

    • poptart 14.1

      Strange, that’s the same line StephenR was running above, which he in turn nicked off that patronising jerk at the Dim Post. Do you have anything original to add or is it all just too much for you?

  15. doc whose asking 15

    Then, of course, washiing one’s hands is very much in the fashion.. in the context of our latest pandemic…

    stay home, take tamiflu and wash your hands frequently…

    anyone for freudian slip by Johnboy.. re a worthless swine.. if one must say say so..

  16. notreallyalawyer 16

    “patronising jerk”

    The Standard of debate continues to decline and contuinues to entertain.

  17. mike 17

    Any wonder why mainstream NZer’s think left wingers are fuckwits – good grief

  18. SHG 18

    “western history’s most notorious coward”

    I’m amazed the author stopped there – he should have revealed that John Key is in fact a baby-eating gay black Nazi biker paedophile terrorist named “Cyril”.

    Just kidding. Because that would have been laughable hyperbole that just made the author look like an ignorant try-hard.

  19. RedLogix 19

    This was an odd choice of language from Key. “Washing your hands of…” is an exceedingly well known Biblical phrase that occured in the context of one of the most highly charged, pivotal moments of the New Testament. When anyone, especially a political leader uses this phrase, and most especially in the context of a sacking/resignation… there is a definite resonance in many minds. And not a positive one.

    While I accept that there is likely a number of people, many under the age of 40 for whom this phrase is not especially meaningful, equally there are many for whom it has a definite and loaded connotation.

    While Key is adequately capable in scripted and prepared situations, his lack of authentic conviction and political instinct has shown up with his repeated blunders and mishandlings right from the very outset of this whole affair from when he appointed Worth a Minister last year. From that moment on there have been missed opportunities, missteps and gaffes all the way through what should have been an open and shut affair.

    • felix 19.1

      Indeed. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to immediately know and understand that phrase. It’s up there with “let there be light” and “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”.

      It’s on “God’s Greatest Hits volume 1″.

      Pretty much anyone but Key would know it and as you say, he prefers to work from a script – which makes me wonder: who scripted that little gem for him and why?

  20. RedLogix 20

    As for the right-wing bloggeratti who have been so exercised over the great injustice done to their man… yet curiously they all utterly fail to recall how with much fervour and glee, they manfully they put their collective backs into destroying Benson-Pope with insubstantial, contended claims, relating to far less serious matters, and dating to a period long before he was in Parliament.

    Nor did the National Party show the slightest hesitation in lynch-mobbing DBP openly in Parliament at every possible opportunity. Contrast this to Goff’s entirely dignified attempt to resolve the much more serious and potentially damaging Worth affair in private. Really the Nats did not deserve it.

    Finally, as much as Worth has been largely the author of his own misfortune, there is rarely any good reason to gloat over a man’s downfall. Time to draw an end to it.

  21. StephenR 21

    Consider me sharpened.

  22. StephenR 22

    And I certainly don’t need the Dim-Post to convince me that something written at The Standard might be a tad hysterical k thx.

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