A man of Labour’s future?

A newspaper published this article in 2011, but I came across it by chance and thought it was worth revisiting, particularly as he is now in the second most important job in the country. Quote:

Grant Robertson doesn’t think he’s that special. End quote.

That’s because he isn’t. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist. And don’t tell me you didn’t think it.) Quote:

The 39-year-old (now 46) is already being touted as a future party leader and, potentially, the first gay Prime Minister of New Zealand. Is he deserving of such praise? Or is he the best of what National supporters refer to as Labour’s shallow pool of talent in a party trying to look fresh and new? End quote.

Interesting to see that nothing has changed. One of our favourite Whaleoil sayings is that Labour’s talent pool is shallower than a car park puddle in the middle of summer. Obviously, it has been that way for longer than I thought. Quote:

“But while the overall lack of talent in Labour makes him stand out, it doesn’t diminish him at all. Even if the caucus was much more talented, he would still be seen as accomplished and with a big ministerial career ahead of him,” says [Matthew] Hooton. End quote.

I listen to Grant Robertson weekly on the Larry Williams drive. I am surprised to say that I find I don’t dislike him as much as I expected. He is affable and hearty and comes across as everyone’s favourite uncle. I find I don’t view him as incompetent. This is not because he is a brilliant minister of finance, because his performance to date can only be described as average. However compared to the performances of some of his ministerial colleagues, such as Twyford, Curran and Genter, he is a virtuoso. I think it makes him shine out a lot more than he should. Quote:

Labour colleagues describe him as straight up, expressing his view without fear or favour, and someone who doesn’t play political games. He’s likeable and self-deprecating (he calls himself “jolly and fat”.) One senior figure said he would not be surprised if Robertson succeeded Phil Goff as leader, even if that meant a new leader next year following a loss in November [2011]. End quote.

Someone who doesn’t play political games? He should be nicknamed the Jolly Assassin. He wasn’t playing political games when he handed David Shearer a couple of dead fish? Every leadership coup in Labour since 2008 (and there have been quite a few)? had Robertson’s grubby fingerprints all over it. No one could possibly doubt his aspirations for the top job nowadays. Clearly, it wasn’t quite so obvious in 2011. Quote:

[David Farrar said] “Robertson has very good political judgement, can work with opponents, is smart, and makes very few mistakes and certainly doesn’t make the same ones twice. He is very careful with what he says about things that may come back to bite him one day. He’s already developed that instinct that you need to become a leader one day, thinking four or five steps ahead.

“I do certainly see him as a potential Prime Minister.” End quote.

That reality for Robertson is now within his grasp, and he knows it. He can’t knife Jacinda publicly quite yet, because there would be a massive backlash from Woman’s Day. But, each time he is heard giving Winston the answers to his questions in the House, or at press meetings, Robertson undermines the Acting Prime Minister just a little bit more.? He comes across as a nice guy, but what he is doing is anything but nice. Once he has quietly destroyed Winston, he will set his sights on the top job and undermining Jacinda won’t be hard, if he puts his mind to it.

In the meantime, so long as he does a half decent job in the Finance portfolio, he can rest assured that he will be Prime Minister in time. But he does have one other problem.

He is openly gay.

Like a lot of socialists, he has made the mistake of wearing his sexuality as a badge of honour. He thinks it proves that he is a better person. New Zealand is still a conservative country, and although gays are mostly accepted nowadays, it is still a significant issue for some and that is the biggest part of his problem.

Personally, I do not care about his sexual preferences, conducted in the privacy of his own bedroom but I feel very differently about the world discussing the sexual preferences of the prime minister of my country. Which they will. If a big deal was made about Jacinda being the first prime minister to take maternity leave, what will the world make of the world’s first openly gay prime minister? Let’s just say it won’t be the world’s best-kept secret. He will find it is a big issue everywhere he goes.

How will APEC meetings and world summits work out when he is there, shaking hands with Vladimir Putin and leaders of Islamic countries? Let us not pretend that everything will be fine. This could get ugly, and it could be an embarrassment for us all. I don’t want that.

So, here is my prediction. Over the next 2 years, Grant will topple Jacinda and become the prime minister. He will be the jolliest prime minister we have ever seen. When the next election rolls around, while Labour will have its work cut out selling higher taxes to an already overburdened population, voters will also have the sexuality issue to consider and if the tax issue doesn’t finish him off, the gay issue will.

Recycled brilliance from SonovaMin

And maybe there is such a thing as karma after all.

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