You have to wonder how long Don Brash would survive as Prime Minister of New Zealand if by some remote chance the National Party got in this time.
He has to be the Party’s worst feature, in the sense that almost everything he does proclaims him as the most inexperienced MP in the House. The Party keeps trying hard to proclaim him as the right man for the time – but they’d have to, wouldn’t they? It’s like the office junior being given a managerial job in a large firm, and everyone knows that he’s the wrong person for the job, but the deed having been done, they have to make the best of it, since it’s so difficult to fire anyone these days.
My mother, even though she finds politics of no immense interest, keeps pointing out that Brash was only a List MP, which means that he was never voted into the job in the first place by the electors, and it’s extremely weird to find that he’s somehow managed to wind up with the top position. She may not know much about politics but she does know how people ought to mind their ps and qs, and in this instance the ps and qs haven’t been minded very well at all, she feels.
And what skills does Brash bring to the role of Prime Minister anyway? The only reason everyone knew him before his sudden appearance in politics is that he was always being trotted out in his former position as Governor of the Reserve Bank, where he seemed to have a real issue about letting inflation go over a certain point. Whether he ever thought about anything else besides inflation no one would have known. Week after week, Don Brash, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, would be in the news, with a face of glum determination, telling us that inflation was being kept under a certain figure - as though somehow he had achieved this personally.
But keeping inflation down is hardly a skill required in the day to day running of the whole country.
However, there’s a worse thing. We’ve had two or three terms of Helen Clark (yes, it must be three because it seems like forever) and her sour face pronouncing on everything under the sun. She tries to smile, bless her heart, but it comes out looking as though somehow deep inside she thinks better of it just as the smile is about to start and the poor thing gets scrunched into something closer to a grimace.
But Don Brash’s face is worse: he can’t even pretend to smile. Like John Howard in Australia, who seems permanently about to burst into tears, Don Brash looks as though the thought of a smile is something entirely alien to him, at least in public. I suspect in private he’s a really nice bloke, and that his wife would tell you that he smiles a lot when bouncing around the living room with the kiddies, or when he’s out growing kiwifruit. But in public Don takes the view that smiling and politics don’t mix, and New Zealanders out there ought to get the idea of smiling right out of their little heads!
Well, I guess all we can hope for, if the Nats get in, is that someone does what they’ve done before and stabs poor old Donnie in the back, replacing him quickly with someone who really appeals to the public. It happened to Mrs Shipley, it happened to Mike Moore (although he at least didn’t deserve it); maybe it’ll happen (I’m really sorry about this, Don) to the former Governor of the Reserve Bank.