Yesterday I mentioned, in passing, the recent questionable behaviour of three current ministers; Paula Bennett, John Banks and John Key. In a spare moment I took the opportunity to compare their actions:
John Banks had a fit of pique over the recommendations of the Electoral Commission, which include some minor changes to the MMP system.
I have a little empathy for John Banks. He senses a threat to his seat on the gravy train (though it seems obvious that he will be off the gravy train at the next election, I reckon I can count the number of people who think otherwise with a few fingers and thumbs to spare), the increasingly bizarre ideals he stands for are at risk, and he is doing his best to defend them. No problem with that.
His inability to comprehend that his actions, and those of his ACT predecessors in the last parliament are the best and most recent example of what is wrong with MMP. Their behaviour has been a model for many of submissions to the Electoral Commission's review and as such this is like a case of contributory negligence. The bronze for bad politics goes to John Banks
I'd like to try to defend what Paula Bennett did, even as an intellectual exercise. Play the devil's advocate. But I can't. There are only a limited range of circumstances where the government should use information it holds on a person against that person, and this is not one of those circumstances. Otherwise the information must be held securely. End of story.
The only bright light I can see is the suspicion I have that some form of confidential settlement was made. It's not much of a bright light, then, especially when you consider that the issue involved the government intimidating people who criticise government policy. At least it stayed out of court. With that bit of grasping at straws done, the silver for bad politics to Paula Bennett
Which means the winner of the gold is John Key, for going to the game, and not going to the funeral.
Ultimately it is the Prime Minister who decides to deploy troops to combat zones. It is therefore beholden upon the Prime Minister to do the right thing by these troops. When they are killed in action the PM must attend the funeral. It's that simple.
I do understand that politics is hard on families, especially children. But like the duty to the troops, it's part of the job. Anyone who thinks politics is easy has not had much to do with it. And it's been that way for ages, anyone who is not up for putting their duties to the country ahead of their family should not run for public office. It's that simple.
I have a guiding principle - you should always attend funerals. Because the dead only die once; it's not like you can attend their next funeral. Whereas the living will, in all likelihood, be here tomorrow.
Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out, 1959