Brian’s suspension from Caucus is indeed not just because of what happend in Caucus two weeks ago (as serious as that was), but really does relate to a series of events over the years, which have all been damaging to National.
All MPs make mistakes from time to time which may damage them or the party. But these are measured up against all the good stuff they do. To take a comparison, Simon Power over-reached in a defence speech a couple of years ago and seemed to commit National to following our allies without question. That was untidy and Simon got pinged for it publicly and privately.
Simon didn’t sulk though as he was moved into the Chief Whip’s role and by all accounts worked incredibly diligently and sucessfully at that (and it is a crucial role) and then since the election as law & order spokesperson has been highly effective at exposing the problems in Corrections and other areas. Hence the defence speech is now history and Simon is again seen as a top contributor to National as he is scoring blows against Labour on almost a daily basis.
This is the contrast to Brian. Most MPs would struggle to name any runs he has scored for the team. And when you not only are not scoring any runs, but getting your team mates run out all the time, it is inevitable they move to drop you from the team.
The run-outs, so to speak include:
* Controversy over candidate selection CV
* Declaring he was Prime Ministerial material before he even was an MP
* Joking he hated cats so much he threw one into a fireplace
* Criticising publicly then Deputy Leader Nick Smith
* Use of extravagent language in opposing Civil Unions Bill, which caused even fellow opponents to cringe
* Publicly calling the Leader stupid over the Katherince Rich sacking
* Contradicting the Leader over the forestry policy during the election campaign
* Publicly attacking Murray McCully
* Calling Dr Brash unfit to lead if he had had an affair
* Suggesting his party membership was of little value to him
It’s the combination of the above which made yesterday almost inevitable. It’s quite sad because on a personal level I’ve always found Brian Connell to be very pleasant, and I have a great fondness for the Rakaia electorate having worked for its former MP. But at the end of the day when you are causing more harm to your own team than the opposite team, a halt has to be called to it – and it has been.