Saturday, August 27, 2005

On the Campaign Trail

Last Thursday I happened across Jim Anderton on the campaign trail in Christchurch. They were doing one of those typical electioneering gigs visiting the Hamilton Jet factory in Christchurch. Incidentally it also happened to be in Jim Anderton's electorate of Wigram.

Obviously the joint campaigning is Labour's way of endorsing the Progressives for their support. Anderton gets some much needed exposure and Clark gets to push the party vote message in Wigram. Everyone's a winner. Well maybe not Labour candidate Mike Mora. One can only surmise how he must feel seeing his party leader endorse the very guy he's trying to topple. I guess that's one of the more brutal aspects of MMP politics. A potential coalition deal can outweigh party loyalties. The question was put to Helen Clark about where loyalties lie in such situations and it seemed, from her answer, that a deal with the Progressives was of more value than going into bat for the Labour candidate. Though given the Progressives are only likely to get Anderton in alone at this election I don't fully understand why Labour wouldn't field a strong candidate in Wigram, force Anderton out, and have a more pliable Labour MP in caucus. (admittedly Anderton does seem to be Labour all but in name these days so maybe it's a moot point).

Coalition arrangements seemed to be all the rage for the media and a few questions were asked about who could deal with who, and who might not be acceptable. The crux of it seems to be this; Labour and the Progressives can definitely work with the Greens, are reasonably comfortable with United Future, NZ First at a pinch, but as far as the Maori party are concerned it'll be a cold day in hell. Both Clark and Anderton were very emphatic on that point. The "last cab off the rank" comment came out again and Anderton even referred to a coalition involving the Maori Party as the coalition from hell. Though to be fair I think one of the reporters had put the Maori Party in a coalition combination with NZ First as well when the question was asked).

What was interesting though, was to observe the relationship between Clark and Anderton. It's not going too far to say they acted a bit like a married couple. Towards the end of the tour when Anderton was holding forth (at length) about the Addington railway yards in the 1980's it was quite clear that Clark wanted to move on as time was running short. I swear to God she exhibited exactly the same mannerisms a wife or girlfriend would in a situation where they need to be somewhere else but first, they need to get their man to stop gossiping with his mates. You know what I mean ... the furrowed brow, frustrated expression, the "hurry up will you" tap of the toe. I was fully expecting her to grab him by the ear and haul him the hell out of there.

1 comment:

dc_red said...

Classic imagery there ... and boy can Anderton hold forth.

The difference is, I guess, that most wives/girlfriends will let you hear all about it when you get home, and presumably Jimbo escapes that indignity.

Boy if I had a dollar for every time I'd been reprimanded for "carrying on and having another beer when I wanted to go home, and thinking only about yourself, as usual" (or words to that effect).