Leadership Coup in New Zealand or Uneasy Lies the Head by Trevor Plumbly

Attempted Leadership Coup

About three weeks ago, we had an attempted leadership coup! To be honest, it wasn’t of middle-eastern proportions; down here they tend to whack each other with public perception rather than actual weapons, but then if you want political excitement don’t come to New Zealand. Perhaps I should point out that this punch-up was in the opposition party (Labour), so it wasn’t a leadership issue in the true sense of the word, more of a spat over who was going to captain the second eleven.

Coups in the Past

This sort of stuff has been going on for years now; history is cluttered with poor sods who have misplayed their hands and ended up with cutlery in the back. But that strikes me as being the cleanest way to deal with this sort of thing, metaphorically speaking of course. The problem is, politicians don’t really like having losers in their ranks, so they tend to shove them sideways, banishing them to the back benches to await forgiveness, or an overseas posting to somewhere obscure where they can’t cause any more damage.

Dealing with an Attempted Coup

My question is this: why don’t they deal with them instantly and harshly? Boot them in the political privates and cast them out with a copy of ‘Pilgrims Progress’ as severance pay? This would serve as a warning to any other upstarts and, more importantly, spare Joe Public the endless coverage of tight lipped politicos striding down corridors towards the TV cameras in an all-out effort to be the first one to say ‘no comment’. Then come days of self-righteous comments, especially from those who jumped off the fence when the stuff looked like hitting the fan; mutterings are made about disloyalty to the leadership and lack of party commitment, pained expressions are the order of the day and absolutely nobody must show any pleasure in seeing the little rat-fink crapped on. The newly invigorated leader speaks sincerely about moving forward with a unified team towards a brighter, more secure future. I wonder if any of them ever thought that it might be better to have a genuine rat-fink leading the team instead of a compromise virtuoso with one eye on the opinion polls.

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