Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Bill English'

Is this Democracy?

As I write this Winston Peters may or may not have made up his mind whether to go with Bill or Jacinda. How many brain cells to you have to lose in order to regard MMP as a workable and satisfactory form of democracy. One egotist – I would have used a stronger term but my wife says it would be defamatory – one egotist is offered the keys to the kingdom and gratefully, if not graciously, accepts. And this is the third time it has happened.

This is not democracy; this borders on autocracy. Only the names of the powerbrokers change. When the leaders of the two largest parties in the country have to go cap in hand to the joker in the pack in order to govern, something is very amiss with the system. This might not be the case if the joker in the pack were motivated by altruism on behalf of the citizenry. But that really is stretching credibility.

It’s fun though. No denying Winston really is a hoot. So that’s all right then. Isn’t it?

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Terrible Advice for Bill English that may be Spot On

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Here’s how you look at the moment, Bill:

Tired
Ineffectual
Beaten
Nice
Down
Pleasant
Resigned
Polite
Lost
Moderate
Bewildered
Civil
Unsure
Reasonable
Wet

It’s not working, Sunshine. This girl is having you for breakfast.

What to do? Well, I said it before and I’ll say it again: Man up!

And here’s your new motto, free, gratis and for nothing. (Practice by shouting it from your ninth floor Beehive window.)

I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!

I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!

I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!

It’s not original and it didn’t end too well for the guy who first used it. But he went too far. And Bill mate, it isn’t in your nature to go too far.

What have you got to lose? Being Leader of the Opposition is a shit job. Just ask anyone who’s been there.

OK! “I’M MAD AS HELL…..”

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Thoughts on the Newshub Debate

Jacinda Ardern  Bill English

I was standing in for Kim Hill on National Radio. On that morning’s guest list was the Leader of the Opposition Helen Clark. Her ‘preferred prime minister’ ratings at the time were dire. Towards the end of the interview I said to her, “You don’t look very happy.”

Not long afterwards I had a call from Helen’s office asking if I could come over for a chat. The possibility of Callingham & Edwards giving Helen some media advice was discussed. To my eternal shame my reply was that I was unsure whether she ‘could be fixed’.

My closest friend at the time was Michael Hirschfeld, then President of the Labour Party. We talked. Michael later brokered a one-off training session with Helen. We looked at tapes of several of her previous TV interviews. In most of them she was overly formal, spoke too loudly and barked.

We explained that the television interview is an intimate, close-up affair and suggested that she speak more quietly and in a more personal tone.

We had a second go.

We’ve trained a helluva lot of people. But Helen was/is the fastest learner by a country mile. She would have won the 1996 election were it not for Winston Peters.

I’m telling this story because I was reminded of those events as I watched last night’s debate between English and Ardern. English was his usual amiable self. He spoke quietly and calmly and showed virtually no sign of being fazed.

Jacinda was more abrasive, more combative, generally louder and occasionally shrill. A kinder interpretation would be to say that she was more passionate.

From a quick read of this morning’s papers the majority view appears to be that English won the debate. Ms Ardern doesn’t want my advice but here it is anyway: Even when you are debating in front of a large and sometimes voluble studio audience, the audience that really matters consists of small groups of people sitting at home in their living rooms distractedly watching the box. Television is an intimate medium. Treat it like a town hall meeting at your peril.

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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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She Gave Him His Due

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Who won? Well, I’d give it to Ardern. But not by much. And not really because her arguments were more telling or she scored more points. Sporting analogies aren’t really my thing. I’m my own sports free zone. But for once I can’t find anything more apt to say than that, throughout the debate, Jacinda played the ball and not the man. And more than that, she was generous to her opponent. She gave him his due. SHE GAVE HIM HIS DUE! Wow! That’s not just new, that’s revolutionary. And inspiring. And probably unanswerable. Bring on the next debate!

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Oh What a Tangled Web WeWeave…

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Have you seen this?

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One of the most concerning and extraordinary political scandals I’ve encountered in some time. Go to: www.newsroom.co.nz

 

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Thoughts on Andrew Little

Andrew Little

I’ve previously written a couple of posts about the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little. The first was extremely unflattering and noted that someone had credited Little with having “a dry wit”. I observed that “arid” might have been closer to the mark. To his credit, Little found this amusing.

I was kinder in the second post, observing that the Leader of the Opposition might bring to the Office of Prime Minister a degree of personal integrity all too rarely evident in party politics.

That second post was, I now think, a fairer summation.

But, as a media trainer who has advised several Leaders of the Opposition and a couple of Prime Ministers, I know all too well that integrity is no guarantee of success in politics and that how you ‘come across’, your ‘image’, is a significant factor. Read the rest of this entry »

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Memo to National Party Caucus: Please Pick Bill. Please, Please, Pretty Please!

Bill English

I like Bill. Bill is just great. Really, really great. And – sorry to blow my own trumpet – but if anyone should know, I should. Well, me and Judy really – the team that brought you Helen Clark. Back from the dead, some would say, but I couldn’t possibly comment. Anyway, back to Bill. Did I say Bill was great? What an understatement! Bill is stupendous, charismatic, a master of oratory and, no point in denying it, a real stud. The stats never lie. And here’s the thing: I’m a dyed in the wool Labour man. A socialist, to be strictly accurate. So this is really tough for me to have to say. But hey, truth is more important than politics. And it will out. Bill is supercalifragalistic, expial… Oh never mind. Bloody brilliant on the box too. And if anyone should know, I should. Did I say that already? Never mind, the truth will out. And here’s the acid test: if I had to choose between watching a 45-minute interview with Bill on some TV show on Sunday morning and watching Paula Bennett figure skating naked on ice, I’d pick Bill. And so would Judy. Charisma, mastery of the language, sex appeal. It’d be riveting, wouldn’t  it? Think of Bill as a rivet: solid, reliable, holding things together, grey-coloured. So please, please, please pick Bill to lead you into the next election. If only to please me and Judy and Labour Party voters from the Cape to the Bluff. Bill’s your man. And mine. Thanks. Brian

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The Urewera Six – the new face of terrorism.

Image created by Alison Withers

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