Brian Edwards Media

Some Man to Man Advice for Bill English

Bill English

I’m conflicted. There’s a war going on in my brain. It’s a war between the media trainer and the champagne socialist, a title given me by my so-called friends.

The champagne socialist wants and expects Jacinda Ardern to win the election.

The media trainer prides himself on his ability to turn sows’ ears into silk purses. He has a rescuer mentality. He backs losers, and himself, to win.

The current and probable loser is Bill English. A nice enough chap I would say, but no-one who makes it to the top job in politics is ever entirely nice.A

Paradoxically it’s his niceness that’s buggering his chances of keeping his current job. He needs to harden up, to stop playing the gentleman farmer.

I have a deep suspicion that lurking in his deep subconscious is an early message from his mum and dad, an injunction against ever being mean or nasty to females. Laudable advice for every young boy – who has no ambition to pursue a career in politics. And, paradoxically, demeaning to those women.

Man up, Bill! Stop being a wimp. Stop thinking of your opponent as some nice young Kiwi lady. Start thinking Merkel, Thatcher, Golda Meir, Shipley, Clark … strong, confident, determined women who took no prisoners.

So here’s your choice at the next debate: Get stuck in OR get ready to go back to farming

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  1. This election is going to be a classic borefest with two very fair, nice mannered opponents trying to outdo each other with kindness and understanding. We want better than this. We want threats, exaggerated over the top statements, fake news, embarrassing revelations, shouting matches. This looks like the Sunday school Christmas party. Where’s Rob Muldoon, Bob Tizard. Come on give us a bit of mongrel before we all fall asleep.

    • Bullshit. We want polite rational debate. Anyone who wants some sort of boorish slanging match is probably not mature enough to vote.

      • Don’t recall suggesting that. But being extra nice to Jacinda or pulling one’s punches because she’s a woman would be equally derisory and insulting.

    • “threats, exaggerated over the top statements, fake news, embarrassing revelations, shouting matches” . . .
      . . . and no idea what the policies are.

      We saw all that in the States and look what happened. It wasn’t boring. It’s not boring now, it’s frightening.

  2. The sight of stale, pale and male talking down to and bullying Jacinda in a debate would be instant electoral suicide.

    • Mostly in the minds of people who pigeonhole other humans as ‘stale pale males.’

    • I suppose if we elect Adhern simply because it’s a woman’s turn for the job, which seems to be the nub of the hype, we deserve the toilet we’ll all end up being flushed down.

  3. it never ceases to amaze me how people misread or see only what they want to see as in the above comments…i don’t see where Brian is advocating Bill English being rude , crude and unattractive to his opposing debater…When I was watching the debate the other night the same thought occurred to me about Bill’s gentlemanlyness and I flashed back to Don Brash saying he thought it rude to talk aggressively to a woman when he was debating Helen Clark who would only see that attitude as a weakness and eat him even quicker..which she did.
    Big points to Adern for being gracious and thanking Bill for the economy etc during the debate….people are sick of gotcha politics and her attitude whether she rehearsed it or not, it was genuine and would’ve humanised her to a marked degree and scored her big points…i’ve always said the opposition needs to a compliment the Nats where it’s due but then go on to show they could do even better in the same situation..

  4. Parliament is based on law and just like the way our legal system functions it is naturally adversarial. The media extrapolates this and presents political debate as a modern version of gladiator combat and by in large that’s what the public have been conditioned to expect.

    Commentators are at this very moment discussing the failure of either leader to land a significant “blow” on the other. Therefore the “debate” was a failure.

    When I heard James Shaw say recently that he saw parliamentary reform as being necessary for any real progression he suddenly had my attention. His vision of the inclusion of all ideas to create a better big picture has to be a positive progression. Likewise with Jacinda Ardern.

    Its a step change and unfortunately for Bill English he is already at the top of his ladder.

  5. “…it never ceases to amaze me how people misread or see only what they want to see as in the above comments…i don’t see where Brian is advocating Bill English being rude , crude and unattractive to his opposing debater……”

    TV is a visual medium.

  6. Thats it then, Bill the farmer better bring his shotgun to the next TV debate point it at Jacinda and pull both triggers. What else can he do, what can he say, how can he get “stuck in”. How does he in the middle of the day argue that it is not high noon, and apart from the tribal blue who is going to believe him.

  7. “…. What else can he do, what can he say, how can he get “stuck in”….”

    On TV, Kennedy always beats Nixon.

  8. No need to be mean or Nasty.Bills problem is the nine previous years where the chickens are coming home to roost.Brownlee ,Coleman,and Collins havent endeared themselves to the public.
    When the Captain abandons ship first theres not much hope for the crew .Appointing a new Captain really doesnt cut it.

    • Sadly, that’s pretty much true. I’ve got John Key going through my torso like Brighton goes through rock candy, but the bastard’s gone and thrown the whole country under a bloody truck.

      • 8.1.1

        A couple of years ago, I remarked that the National Party WAS John Key and it would go down the gurgler without him. The idea was rubbished at the time by Nat supporters.

        You have just proved me right, however I would liken it to a case of intestinal parasites rather than rock candy.

  9. Belated apologies, Brian, some 4 years after the event:

    You argued then that the ability to project charisma is the game-changer in politics. I was skeptical. You may not have been right about David Cunliffe being that person, but Jacinda Ardern confirms the truth of your observation. Sir, I defer to your wisdom.

    • Kimbo, BE was pretty much on the money with his observation on David Cunliffe ability to communicate on the box. As it turned out it was the fractured nature of the left at that time (maori party/dotcom/mana party/internet party) and the shoring up of Act/United Future on the right that allowed Key to just sneak through. We can only speculate how David Cunliffe would have fared as PM, in hindsight I suspect he and Labour may have lasted only one term.

  10. 10

    Yep, got what he wanted by reinstating the Honours roll call: a gong for himself. State House Boy rising to Knight of an Irrelevant Realm.
    The smile-and-wave flake accomplished very little. And, just like Alice’s Cheshire cat, he’s vanished into the ether leaving behind his moronic cheesy grin. That’s his legacy.

  11. Is faith misplaced? …that NZ’ers voting, will reflect the fact that they have a clear choice to make … irrespective of other diversions (man v woman, looks v tweed jacket).

    And the choice basically is !!…

    change for changes sake …

    comparative experience and track records …

    veiled threats of new taxes …

    borrow and spend V steady as she goes.

    Forget the personality … “politics?”

    Do your worst? … best?

  12. Looks like Bill failed to “nail” it again to night. Too bad it wasn’t the self jettisoned con man himself having to defend the indefensible. And just for a bit of spite, oops spice, we had some Hooty chap claiming that Jacinda Ardern was not telling the truth.

    • Never mind your spite….does she have the leadership, the nous or the team support to run a country? Helen Clarke she ain’t, so let’s all hope that if Bill can’t make something of the wreckage of his once-glourious cruise liner, someone with some experience can be called upon for mature guidance. Arderne as PM makes as much sense to me as Diana as Queen did.

      • 12.1.1

        There is no one of any suitable experience in the National Party: John Key’s sycophants are not leadership material.

        Paula Bennett for PM?