Thursday, December 11, 2008
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Just a comic tramp Charles Chaplin warmed the hearts of the world during the Great Depression, so in our hard economic times New Zealand is enjoying the farcical comedy of its own favourite clown.
Before he was elected Prime Minister the nation had already recognised his considerable charm, but now John Key and his varied crew of sidekicks have revealed another much-needed talent: the gift of laughter.
It seems hardly a day goes by but there is some droll new adventure, with Our John declaring a position with a perfect parody of confidence and determination, then suddenly launching into a backflip or an ideological contortion that seems to take even him by surprise.
Perhaps it's because he's got such an endearing rag-tag crew to keep in line.
There's Billie English, with his giant novelty tax cuts, cunningly rigged to explode in the face of anyone earning the median wage or below. Or Gerry Brownlee, who began by getting lost among unfamiliar procedures and ended upsetting a pile of Parliamentary conventions - some of the few left undisturbed by the previous tenant. And who will forget the look on Phil Heatley's face after he announced a cap on the number of state houses - and then found out we didn't have enough of them!
The king of this merry band has commenced his reign with one of the most hilarious weeks of Parliament ever.
"Rushed legislation is bad. We'll need to fix it urgenty. And while we're in urgency, I've got some entire bills I want to pass. Better go write them. But we won't put the 90-days bill in urgency - Oh! There it is!".
The whole nation is watching, entranced. Why, at any second someone will throw a custard pie!
And he's not just entertaining New Zealand. Even for those gathered in Posnan for grave and difficult discussions on the global response to climate change, New Zealand has provided some light relief. How they are laughing at our increasingly chaotic, slapstick response to Kyoto and our select committee's hilarious parody of scientific investigation.
Here's Mr Key, gravely saying the science was not in question - and behind his back up pops Rodney Hide dressed up in a white lab coat. He's behind you!
After such a stressful few months, we're proudly giving the whole world just the Christmas gift it needs - the chance for a good chuckle.
So, laugh, world! Point and laugh at New Zealand, and its charming and feckless new leader.