Thursday, November 23, 2006

You're nobody til everybody in this town thinks you're a bastard

"And, lastly, thanks to my old friend and colleague, Trevor de Cleene, with whom I debated the concepts at length but to whom I still have not dared to show the text."
-Roger Douglas, Unfinished Business

It's April 1988, and the old man is giving me a lift into town, where I'm at Vic Uni and failing Legal Systems badly. He has a lot on his mind, and he vents. There has been another Lange Douglas spat and Dad truly doesn't know how much longer it can go on. By year's end, it's all over. After sending Roger a letter of commiseration, I receive an invite to the Backbone Club, which I decline.

Now it's 1998 and, as El Presidente of Prebble's Rebels, I arrange a members' talk with one of the smartest men it has been my honour to know, Dr Roderick Deane. I had fluffed the date, and the good Doctor had rescheduled to fit my aural hallucinatory Filofax. Now that's honour. He went on to tell the tale of how, as Head Honcho of the Public Service, Roger Douglas betrayed him over a union pay negotiation with Ken Douglas. It was a salient point, and a good reason why gentlemen should never go into politics.

Kiwis love a bastard for leader. The most vivid characters in living memory: Norm Kirk (Fair Bastard), Rob Muldoon (Hard Bastard), David Lange (Funny Bastard). To be a leader, one must be prepared to be a bastard. Don Brash was not that man. Don Key, on the other hand, has the potential to be a real bastard.