I’ve supported Helen Clark’s candidacy for the UNDP job, and have always acknowledge her considerable political skills. It has been her policies and judgement (in the third term specially) I have had issues with. Her interview with the SST reminds me why:
She was surprised by the standing ovation she got in parliament. There were “a lot of people there obviously that I’d crossed swords with, but I don’t believe I’ve ever been seen as a nasty, mean-spirited person. Sure, I’ve been a tough and strong politician but you know not in a way I think of as being personally vindictive”.
So calling Don Brash cancerous and corrosive is not personally vindictive? Suggesting John Key shouts over his wife at home is not nasty or mean spirited? Let us not totally rewrite history here.
She read later that one person Act MP David Garrett had not joined in the applause, but “to be honest I wouldn’t recognise the person, so it’s not of any great moment. Maybe he will learn after a while in politics that there are some things you do and some things you don’t”.
This is the same Helen who walked out of the House as Don Brash was about to start his valedictory speech?
She won’t discuss her legacy, but she does note that during the election campaign “I talked till I was blue in the face saying, `Look, a change of government isn’t just changing a brand of toothpaste there will be substantial change’. “And I think people didn’t want to hear that. Now we see the things that are happening show that it wasn’t just about changing toothpaste. But you can’t rewind the film.”
She admits she is exasperated that her prophecies were ignored. “Of course, but I can’t do anything about it. I always think of that old homily that used to hang on my grandparents’ wall, which said, `Give me the grace to accept the things that I cannot change’.”
And again we get the sense of total denial that Labour did anything wrong. It is all the fault of the NZ public voting for a change, and not realising what they were doing. It just doesn’t even occur to Helen that peopel did vote for change. That they were sick of no tax cuts until the week before the election. They were sick of nanny state. They were sick of her defence of Winston’s behaviour. They were sick of law & order policies that made parole and bail easier to get, not harder.
And her so called prophecies consisted of hundreds of advertisements that said just one thing – you can not trust John Key. It was the most personal and negative campaign in NZ’s history – they did not run even a single positive television advertisement – they were 100% negative.
To be fair to Clark, her view appears to be shared by most in Labour. They still think the public was conned by John Key, and that all they have to do is wait for the public to come to their senses and beg Labour for forgiveness for not letting them rule for ever.