National Party pollster David Farrar has obviously seen some pretty bad numbers on the Mana by-election, he’s already in excuse-making mode. Apparently, Hekia Parata is a top candidate but it’s the voters’ fault – they’ll be all confused about having just voted in the local elections and won’t vote in the by-election. It’s Farrar’s comment about Key, though, that is most revealing.
“John Key’s smile only goes so far.” says Farrar.
Here’s an insider confirming (no doubt on the basis of polling/focus groups) what we already know. National’s one asset is John Key, without him they’re toast. And his one asset is his sunny nature. Not his skill as a leader. Not the policies he deliver. But his smile. The top thing that springs to Farrar’s mind when he when wants to describe why Key matters is his grin.
They say that the first thing Jenny Shipley used to do every morning when PM was count the numbers. Key will be counting his teeth.
Such it is, to be led by a clown.
And Farrar is right, John Key’s smile does only go so far.
Key’s smile has failed to deliver better healthcare and education.
Key’s grin has let us down when it comes to higher wages.
No matter how much Key hams it up with spiders, that darn unemployment rate remains at unnecessary and destructive heights.
Despite high-fiving all the schoolkids he could find and giving them the high-beam smirk, the crime rate is still up on when Key came to office.
To economists’ bewilderment, Key’s practice of smiling, nodding, and agreeing with whatever anyone says to him has failed to prevent the economy sliding back into recession.
And, of course, it was the smile that came out when Paul Henry invited Key to indulge in some racism with him. If Key had given Henry a good lesson in what it means to be a New Zealander in the 21st century, rather than grinning like a fool, there would have been praise in the Indian media, rather than a diplomatic incident.
A bright smile, perhaps, but it can only go so far and it hasn’t delivered us the brighter future we were promised.
PS. I see the other day Farrar was crying that the Daily Show and Colbert Report are being canned from Comedy Central NZ. He said this was the one legal way to watch the shows in New Zealand and no wonder people use pirated copies on Bit Torrent. Well, dry thine eyes, noble penguin. There’s this thing called the ‘Internet’ and on it there are things called ‘websites’. The Daily Show has one of these ‘websites’ and on it you can watch any segment from any Daily Show episode that you like, when you like, without ads. It’s not quiet like having to drop everything to be in front of the TV at a time determined by others to watch 20 minutes of programming and 10 minutes of ads. But it’s the next best thing.