Looking at the centre photo above of John Key gave me pause for thought; I realised that much as I dislike his politics, he is a brave man. Brave because he really does appear to be consistently out of his depth, yet despite being half-dead with a cold or exhaustion, he soldiers on.
I somehow doubt Mr Key quite realised just how brave he was going to have to be, but even so, I have sympathy for the worry you often see in his face. The massive economic turmoil would have made things difficult enough for the most competent of leaders, but add in a complicated government coalition, growing serious domestic problems, an increasingly complex geopolitical environment and so few years of political experience and it’s not surprising Key is wearying. He’s also got to be wondering how good he’ll look in the history books as the guy that followed Helen Clark.
Few people know what a Prime Minister has to go through in terms of stress. Few people really understand just how battering, lonely and draining the role is and what burdens a PM alone bears. John’s really feeling that now but he’s strapped on to the rocket and can’t get off for quite a while yet, whether he wants to or not. He’s stuck in what is a very uncomfortable place for him and he won’t be used to being so burdened and constrained. The increasingly frequent, often well earned, ridicule can’t be much fun for a golden boy either.
And then there are the expectations of so many yet so little to meet them with.