Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Park

A minor fracas has broken out between RWB (Right Wing Bloggers) over John Key's first speech as Nat leader to a soft audience of friendlies at North Harbour stadium. DPF reckons it's goodstuff, while David Slack remains cynical. Both are right, of course.

It is a good speech, as far as overtures go. John Key loves everybody. He offers an olive branch to the Maori Party and the Greens, the two parties that will matter when it comes to coalition forming in 2008. Multiculturalism is great. While not hugging and kissing the gay vote, he at least acknowledges them with a nod. He empathises with the welfare crowd, stating how John Key was once one of them. The role of education in changing his plight is also mentioned. He dips his toe in geopolitical realities, demonstrating he has a better understanding of context than, say, George W Bush did when running for president in 2000.

But it does have a ring of Generic Maiden Speech #17 about it. 'Aspirational' is clearly the buzzword of the week. One subject clearly comes to mind for its absence from the speech. Health, that minefield of irreducible complexity, is neatly avoided. It is entirely reasonable to look at this speech and think it a smorgasbord of platitudes.

Perhaps we should make speech-writing illegal, and leave the pollies to choose their own words.