Chris Trotter is once again banging the drum for the man with a face like a cat’s arse to be Labour leader. “The Happy Warrior” he calls David Cunliffe—the man his own caucus colleagues call, but not to his cat’s arse, “Silent T.”
Why Trotter would want to saddle Silent T with a nickname previously associated with Democratic time-servers Al Smith, Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden is a question you would have to ask him yourself (perhaps because it’s better than ‘Silent T’?), but he is so all-fired out for Cunliffe you wonder what he’s been taking.
This is a man, says a Trotter on his knees in homage, who “has never shied away from the challenge laid down in John Bunyan’s classic protestant hymn “To Be A Pilgrim.” The sort of politician who “does not hesitate to do battle with the allegorical ‘lions,’ ‘giants’,’ “Hobgoblins” and ‘foul fiends’ that regularly assail his party on the road to the Holy City.” A man who “offers Labour’s core vote a voice” –and not just a voice but “the only voice that can rouse the Labour vote from its disillusionment and despair.”A voice whose “words marked him out as a politician with something different to offer.” A voice “to begin again the task of building Jerusalem in New Zealand’s green and pleasant land…”
Leaving aside the hyperbolic Jerusalemism if we can (and did those feet in ancient times really walk upon New Zealand’s mountains green?) just what words have so distinctively marked out this man of such rabid and “swashbuckling eloquence”? What Jerusalemic vision does he harbour that might rouse the Labour vote from its disillusionment and despair?
The best chance to experience the visions of Silent T came in his tub-thumping road trip last year that Trotter et al also talked up (“intellectually brilliant” Brian Edwards called his performance before rolling over and asking for his tummy to be rubbed) in which in his first speech Cunliffe outlined a plan for the economy in which the only thing missing was the plan, in his second he recited history that wasn’t so and economics that never could be, and in his third he suggested nothing so much as a bidding war being under way for Russel Norman’s fact-challenged speech writers.
So not so hotso after all.
I still maintain his future lies in poetry.
Here is a photo of someone else admiring a cat’s arse (Chris Trotter on his knees not in frame).
CORRECTION: Links fixed.
UPDATE: A truly bizarre press conference announcing his