Winston's latest immigration grandstanding gives him headlines, hatred and polling increases, showing you can never underestimate the market for bare-faced, scaremongering xenophobia. But there are good things about Winston Peters
Here's the top ten best things about Winston Peters:
- He's a perfect litmus test. You know immediately that when you meet someone wearing a NZ First rosette that you won't want them as a dinner companion. This immediately rules out 13% of the population, making the organization of dinner engagements so much easier.
- Sartorial elegance. As David Lange famously observed when Winston was late for a meeting, “I expect he’s been detained by a full-length mirror.” His focus on sartorial elegance over political substance at once raises the dress-sense of parliament, and ensures little of substance is discussed there.
- Unemployment. Winston has over the years offered benevolent assistance with unemployment for the otherwise unemployable. Who else for example would offer employment to the dozens of tailors’ dummies that occupy the other seats in the NZ First caucus?
- The Perfect Politician. Winston is incurably lazy, possibly the laziest man in Parliament. In a politician, this is a good thing – a very, very good thing. The lazier they are, the less trouble they pose to us. As Winston showed when he was Treasurer, he doesn't want to work like a cabinet minister; he just wants a big office with his name on the door. This isn't entirely a bad thing: As Mark Twain observed, "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session" -- with more politicians in the legislature with Winston's work ethic, parliamentary activity would soon slow to a satisfactorily safe stupor.
- Shamelessness. Winston offers willing students a master-class in grandstanding, something Rodney for example still needs help with. Winston doesn't care whether the mud he's throwing is based on fact (as it was with Peron) or on fiction (remember the grounding of the
Cook Straitferry?), but just by pure chance some of the mud that needs to be thrown and wouldn't otherwise be chucked gets an airing that it wouldn't otherwise get – such as the disgraceful corruption surrounding the Berryman affair.
- Winston keeps the country safer. The moonbat bigot constituency on which Winston has a stranglehold has been captured in other countries by thugs that are serious about the hatred they’re whipping up. The likes of Ian Paisley, Le Pen and Slobodan Milosevic believe in the hatred themselves; they take the xenophobic bigotry seriously and do serious damage with it. Winston doesn't believe a word of it; he whips it up only so that he can be kept in a nice office and new Italian suits. As long as Winston is there, there’s no future for the National Front, and no likelihood of civil war.
- He’s not a professional Maori. Unlike countless others of rich beige hue who make a career out of that one attribute, Winston has eschewed that easy road to sucking off the state tit … and found another.
- Entertainment value. In a sea of grey, bland parliamentary conformity Winston stands out – and that’s just in the NZ First caucus room. When Winston wakes up every three years, whatever else you might think he does at least makes the news worth watching again.
- He likes a drink. That’s a good thing in and of itself in my book. As long as he’s buying.
- No government. Having Winston as a cabinet minister is certainly like having no government, but there’s even more to excite a libertarian! Remember the extended negotiations of 1996 when for several exciting weeks the country didn’t have a government (prompting The Independent to write: "The Libertarianz were right all along” as people noticed the sky wasn’t falling in.) As long as Winston is still in with a shout, we have the exciting prospect every three years of an extended period in which we actually no government at all. If only that happy state of affairs could be replicated more often.