There are more ways of choking a cat than stuffing its arse with butter

My Dad is a wise man, and the above crass headline is one of his many wise sayings. Political commentator Matthew Hooton is saying that the coalition government is in trouble; but he is only considering one possible outcome, when it is not at all clear cut how this particular marriage of convenience is going to end.

He and many other political commentators for some strange reason are refusing to consider the solution that will not require a second election for it to occur.

Winston Peters made his political bed but he does not have to lie in it forever. He does not have to wait until the next election to change the government.

Those with a rabid dislike of Winston and NZ First still think that National can govern without friends like it used to under the first past the post system. It can’t. Even under John Key it was unable to achieve that so we know it cannot be done.

ACT was a failure, yet again getting only one MP into parliament and it will take a major overhaul to get them within cooee of 10% let alone 7%. New Conservatives are still in nappies with a long way to go before they can offer themselves as a serious potential coalition partner. The Greens are a bag of nutbars that no sane National government should ever touch with a barge pole; so that just leaves NZ First.

Hooton seems to think that the decision about a relationship between National and NZ First is Simon Bridges’ to make, but it isn’t.

Hooton has ignored the real possibility of a change of government without an election. Under MMP that can happen in an instant, but it is unlikely to happen while Bridges is still the leader. However, if Simon Bridges is replaced with someone who is able to work with Winston he will then have a hundred and one reasons for a quickie coalition divorce.

It would give him time to rehabilitate his party’s image before the next election and it would bring National back into government. It would be a bloodless coup and we would once more have a National prime minister. Just think of the possibilities.

If you were a National MP in opposition and you knew that a change of leader would get you back into government without an election would you still support Simon Bridges? If Simon Bridges puts the good of the party ahead of his own ambition, wouldn’t he stand aside if that was the offer on the table? Or would he be as arrogant as Bill English was during coalition negotiations and condemn National to opposition instead?

National would be exceedingly stupid to rule out working with NZ First. It would show that like Bill English they are arrogant and not prepared to work within the restrictions of the MMP environment.

Too many commentators assume that National can win alone. They can?t. If John Key and Bill English couldn?t do it, then there is no way on earth that Bridges will.

Chris Trotter writing this week on The Daily Blog is a canary in the coal mine warning that this coalition government is in serious trouble. Now is the time for National and NZ First to form a new government. The only question left is what is it going to take to make this new coalition government a possibility?

They do not need to wait for an election. They can change the government right now! That is how MMP works.