Thursday, 2 June 2011

Two faced

It is relatively undisputed that John Key's smiley face is his paramount political weapon. In a largely politically uneducated nation, a smile can, and clearly does, get you a long way with voters.
This common knowledge is not my point. Continuing on the theme of faces, we have Bill English. Sure, the man has a smile, but this his not his forte as it is Mr Key's. Bill has two faces, and I do not believe he wakes up in the morning knowing which one he is going to wear, or at which part of the day.  We have optimistic Bill, and we have pessimistic Bill. One does not need to look past the budget and proposed sale of SOE's to distinguish these faces.

On one hand Bill can be quoted referencing his confidence in 'mum and dad' investors into the soon to be privatised SOE's. This is optimistic Bill, seen to be confident that our house holds have the means to thrust forward the revenue to outbid foreign investors and keep what is ours, ours. This in itself is deceptive as what is your neighbour's is clearly not your own. It is simply convenient for Bill to present this individually owned, nationally held illusion. He has no choice but to make the least damaging (by no means do i believe privatisation of any sort is moving positively) aspects of privatisation seem attractive.

In other situations we find Bill presenting his pessimistic composure, case in point the budget. If he claimed a dollar for every time he mentioned debt as a justification for slashing 'nice to haves' (affordable education for over 55's, working for families for some groups and KiwiSaver to name a pinch at the bucket) he would be a rich man. His focus was on our public debt, without too much attention given to the private debt. Conveniently enough, private debt represents about 90% of our national debt but with his pessimistic face on, of course he could not be seen referencing this staggering wound in our nation's side, it would completely bust optimistic Bill's predictions. It is plain to see that our country has not only overspent in the wrong areas, but done so dramatically.

Bill is banking that people will buy his optimistic outlook and trust his predictions of 'mum and dad investors' to buy, and keep our assets in New Zealand hands. His pessimistic side all the more wiser that with crippling private debt, more investment will only bring our country to its knees and that these 'mums and dads' will more likely spend their coin on sale items at the supermarket to keep the pantry full.

Bill has accepted that foreign investors will not only be in line to claim the privatised companies, but furthermore will essentially be the line. His optimistic face will bring the news that foreign interest will work to minimise our public debt, whilst optimistic Bill will continue to publicly grieve over our dire fiscal standing and use this as leverage to fuel privatisation.


  1. Kia ora Morgan's flattie,

    Nga mihi kia korua

    I completely agree Bill has two faces I emailed my son, a media commentator and political blogger, a few weeks ago: "just watching Bill on Q and A now; whenever he does an expedient telling of the truth - to be adjusted in the near future - his eyes flick screen left. He can't help it - he knows he's fibbing saying what's relevant to the current spin but that there's another more honest answer in keeping with the longer agenda. Brought up a good catholic boy he has never quite managed the cold lie. . . consequently his performance of that weird cold stare and his relieved wee smile also to screen left at the end of an interview: that "what a good boy am I?" feeling when [he thinks] he has 'successfully' traversed the Minotaur's labyrinth of his conscience.

    One of the ways the opposition could rattle him in debates etc is to pick up on those moments, watch his response and what he says or does when he stumbles or how smiley John shifts those reactions around to distract the media discourse."

    It's straight neuro-science.

  2. He tends to come across as a humourless little man trying to be important. Always trying to impart a sense of gravitas to an interview and never answering a question with a simple yes or no (or a “I don’t know”!)

    He often obfuscates answers to a question by defining the question with unnecessarily verbose words to try and sound knowledgeable, and then avoiding an answer. (c.f. Michael Cullen who could be quite decisive and had a rapier sharp wit)

    Mary Wilson from National Radio’s checkpoint and Sean Plunket (when he was on Morning Report) are the few reporters that actually tie him down and demand a proper answer.

    He was touted as being really intelligent and the thinking mans politician when he entered politics as he had a degrees in commerce and English literature. To hear him speak however can be excruciating (with his mumbling vowels and verbose responses) which sort of defies his degree in literature.

    I don’t think we have seen the last of his political moves though; he would still love to be prime minister. Unfortunately we will wake up some day as he departs to find out that he has not only sold the family silver to balance the books but that he has asset stripped the S.O.E.s and govt departments.

    There is also of course that odd (symbiotic?) relationship he has with Federated Farmers. Conner English (Bill’s brother) is CEO of Federated Farmers. Bill looked decidedly uncomfortable when be asked to justify why most dairy famers pay on average an annual tax bill of $1506 (less tax than a couple on the pension) but Finance Minister Bill English says it's because they are unprofitable!!! His brother was quick to back him up.

    English’s off the camera comments in 2009 and his claiming of a $900 a week living allowance have probably shown the man’s true colours.