The Act Party conference at KY City last week provided enough drama and conflict for Jonathan Milne to sum it up succintly in a Dear John missive in the Herald. It's a bloody pearler.
I hope Act do let John Banks slip the noose. My gut says that Act will be in Parliament after the election, with or without Banks. This could be either to Rodney Hide securing Epsom or, more likely, Act gets over the 5% threshold.
Please do not quote polls at me saying Act is lower than the margin of error. I'd rather trust tealeaves. I am a strong supporter of chaos theory, which bases itself on the premise of "system dependent on initial conditions." Rounding, assumptions and biases inevitably leak into the poll equation consciously or sub-consciously. Even small errors in measurement can leave answers as nothing more than gibberish. Therefore, statistics can be used to prove whatever you want. Bell curves be damned. When the election's done and the ballots are counted, that's when the wave function collapses. Until then, anything can happen.
Something always happens. I have high hopes for John Campbell's show starting tomorrow. He displays the anger of idealism combined with the loquacity of an articulate stoner. As a former supporter of Alliance (RIP), he has enough philosophical differences to chew out all election hopefuls with gonzo objectivity. Aging chihuahua Paul Holmes and Women's Daily frontperson Susan Wood should be justifiably worried.
The current affairs war is certainly rattling Bill Ralston over at TVNZ. In a rare display of brutal honesty, he has said that if he were head of Prime he would pour petrol over himself and throw himself off Auckland's tallest building. Thing is, he's right. I rarely watched the Holmes Show on TV One without cringing. I'd rather stick my face in a warm bowl of kava than watch Holmes on Prime. It's that bad.
Not that the Women's Daily, better known as Close Up at 7, is much better. If TVNZ want a realistic fight against Campbell Live, they need a decent interviewer. The best interviewers in TVNZ have been kicked upstairs, namely Ian Fraser and Bill Ralston. Where is the new talent? Where is the next generation of Kim Hills? They can't scare the pre-Coro crowd too much, so that rules out Jeremy Wells.
But back to my second tangent about something always happening, the media are but one part of the equation. The electorates are volatile in a way not seen since 1996. Around the country, a large segment of registered voters are window-shopping for something to believe in.
Labour can't take anything for granted with some serious holes in their armour. National are still searching for a firm policy foothold, but "John Boy" Bill English is inexorably carving something interesting on his desk. Ken Shirley has likewise been kicking the triumvirate of Education Ministers (Maharey, Mallard, Benson-Pope) in the wanangas.
The police are suffering a haemorrage of public support not seen since the Red Squad days of the early-80s. The cops are in the docks or out ticketing minor speeders while waiting for lahars. And did anyone order a taxi?
John Tamihere wants rapprochement, but how soon does he want and/or deserve it? Frankly, he deserves to be in Cabinet more a than a few that come to mind. The PM must be weighing that card's chances carefully. If I played with a Tarot deck, John Tamihere would be the Knave of Pentacles.
The King of Pentacles, Don Brash, has been troubled by the public getting to read about the man behind the vacuum-cleaned garage. I would be very concerned for their mental health if any child said they want to grow up to be just like Don Brash. For some reason, Six Feet Under's George comes to mind.
The tealeaves show that Peter "Captain Sensible" Dunne is distancing from some of his more unPleasant pre-ex-MPs. He is determined to walk the grey path of neutrality, lest he rule out a potential Host to latch onto. He can afford to look after "Captain Percy" Paul Adams and Larry "Baldrick" Baldock, while distancing himself from hard policy statements from Marc "The Narc" Alexander and seek the "Don't Know" vote.
The bottle is still spinning on Winston P. Last week's puke in the House has kept his mouth shut in Question Time for a week. But how long will it last? How long before he gets away from visiting his party's youth wing down at the bingo halls and opens his mouth in public again? Too damned soon.
At least Winston P gave us Rodney's Angry Face. We need to see more of it. The Herald has also been most forthcoming in Act needs to get back to its roots. Spot on.
Any pact Act makes with Banks will make them look like pussies. Rodney Hide should tell John Banks to take a flying jump at a full-length mirror. They don't need him. Perhaps he can shack up with Winston P. Go home, John. Stop trying to control everything.
There are also distinct rumblings from unforeseen quarters. It doesn't have a name. It is a feeling that can't be touched. It is a dream.
And so it begins...