Helens voice

​I miss Helen Clarke’s voice. Phil could do with it right now. It was a voice honed over years of being a chick trying to get heard in a big boy’s game and had the low steady grind of a two-stroke lawn mower perfect for riding over bullies. Bullies hated it precisely because it usually beat them at their own game. It was calm. It was rational. It took no prisoners and did not stop until the point had been driven home. It was not conversational and it did not often stretch to compromise or concession – it was, in short, the kind of voice that one would need for an election campaign. This was the voice or at least the style that was needed in the Leaders televised debate because the actual arguments seemed to be entirely irrelevant.

Reviving the spectre of Jerry McGuire by a constant lectern thumping ‘Show me the Money’ on the part of John Key might have scored points with the old boy financiers but was an unfortunate link given the state of the world economy and the reasons for it being that way. It seemed like an ‘80’s throw back and given that National seems set to send the cash cow to the meat works in terms of selling power companies – it all seemed ill advised. Still it made Phil look like a dork for a few seconds so I guess it was successful and John looked like he was having fun saying it so that’s good. I think.

Having sat through the debates I’ve started shouting back at both the radio and the television. The eight year old – with a nonchalant raised eyebrow – says “Mum – you do know they can’t hear you – right?” Embarrassing but I wish they could. What I’ve been shouting is “Show me the Numbers!!!” Because the numbers – and I have to confess numbers are not my forte – but these numbers that the political Pooh-Bahs are chucking about are doing my head in. Seriously – does anyone really understand them and if they do can somebody please explain it to me?

Can you really predict much when we’re not even sure if the Euro is going to exist next week? Do you know anything if Italy’s situation makes Greece look like someone overspent the petty cash from the local kindy? How can you not guarantee early childhood education but can guarantee the banks and finance companies? Is it really a good idea to sell a family business with a good cash-flow in order to pay down the mortgage or is selling state assets more like selling the family home and then having to rent? Amongst the revenue rhetoric are there any real numbers that make sense to financially illiterate people like myself?

At this point I’m thinking of voting based on the time honoured ‘eeny meeny miny mo’ technique. As suggested by the eight year old who was extremely unimpressed with my need to view the leaders debate when we were squandering precious Sponge Bob time. Her conclusion and insightful summary of the issues? “This sucks. No offense.” None taken, especially when said with a lisp and as valid a response as either of the leaders were giving to each other’s policies.

The only thing I really do know is how to finally catch ourselves up to Australian wages – and I’ll let Phil and John know for free. No consultant fees. First you balls up your job back here in New Zealand by being a racist dickhead. Then you write a book that makes it to the bargain bin by day two of sales entitled “ What was I thinking?” Not a lot. Obviously. Then the Murdochs offer you to the Australian public as the next best thing. Worked for Paul Henry.

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