Another day, another poor performance from Bridges

I’m not sure that flouncing around the country attending 70 meetings filled with the converted has been a good way to spend his time, but Simon Bridges and his team of strategists think it was. He’s spent months doing 70 meetings, mostly bad-mouthing Winston to people who already bad-mouth Winston.

The real test is in a hostile environment and, in that regard, his performances in the house are to be found wanting. Winston Peters is just toying with him like a cat plays with a mouse. Watch question one from yesterday:

Then there was his general debate performance, which was just dreadful:

It certainly looks like the government MPs have worked out that Bridges is not that good.

Here’s the problem for Simon Bridges: he’s not making any headway. It is fine to use the same playbook as every other failed opposition leader and travel the provinces, but in two years’ time no one is going to remember what he said at those meetings. The second issue is that the meetings are preaching to the converted and not a single vote has changed to assist National. The last problem is that Simon Bridges is carrying on like his previous two leaders, like nothing is wrong, and if they are just patient they will win because people were hoodwinked, or were stupid. That sort of attitude bedevilled Labour after 2008 for at least two terms.

Ranting and raving in a general debate in parliament won’t change anything. It beggars belief that his advisors think it was brilliant. He is seriously annoying his caucus colleagues too with his insistence that he sucks up endless supplementary questions, first against Jacinda Ardern and now against Winston Peters. Both are able to easily bat away his questions. It doesn’t help having the grinning idiot of a deputy sitting next to him sledging away with inanities. The government are rightly laughing at Simon Bridges right now.

I warned before the election, when there were some back benchers who thought a loss would be good, that you should never welcome a loss because the power of incumbency delivers a government huge resources that aren’t available to an opposition. The government don’t fear Simon Bridges. They want him to stay because he’s a convenient and dopey punching bag, with a silly hair cut. Unless Bridges delivers a head he will slowly sink into ignominy.

Meanwhile, watching him attack Winston is like watching Jerry Lewis boxing.