How did we get the Winston Peters ascendancy so unequivocally correct?And so early—at the start of August?
Answer: We saw that Mr Peters was the only one to present a clear slate of villains.
Then to clearly articulate what he intended to do about them.
He gave disenchanted National voters especially a wide open, unobstructed basket into which they could lob their spare vote.
But there was and is of course something else going on in the way of unspoken undercurrents.
To baby boomers Winston Peters is the reincarnation of the school master they best remember.
This is the one of the type who served on the North West Frontier and then went onto fight his way through the Western Desert and Europe.
His classes had a vivid quality about them.
Thwacking his ruler on the desk he would depart from his teacher’s script and make a dramatic segue.
He might declaim for example that this or that sector of society required a good “thrashing.”
That this or that public figure deserved an equally good “horsewhipping.”
That some other otherwise admired figure was in fact a “pompous ass.”
What this category of baby boomer voters want is similarly a clarity of opinion and thus of purpose.
Even if they do not exactly agree with what is being said they want to be left in no doubt about what is being said.
The rest of the National Government teachers common room, as it were, in contrast seemed intent on pursuing the latest fashionable fad.
One which nobody can quite recall.
It is characterised by much backing, filling, hedging, prevarication of the on- one- hand/on the- other- hand variety.
Prime Minister Bill English kept and keeps quoting statistics, synthesising issues.
He comes across as a worthy but boring schoolmaster of the type that leaves the class snoozing as they drearily follow the text book word-for-word.
Or else he delivers stunning insights into the blindingly obvious.
Or else issues generalisations of the we’ve never had it so good variety.
His right hand man, Stephen Joyce MP, all the while comes across as the head prefect of the prissy type on the look out for anything that he can quash that might turn into fun.