Sunday, February 9, 2014

Winston Peters and the contemporary Casablanca inside Vichy New Zealand...

Personnal flag of Philippe Pétain, Chief of St...
Personnal flag of Philippe Pétain, Chief of State of Vichy France (Chef de l'État Français). Македонски: Бајрак на претседателот на Вишистичка Франција Русский: Личный флаг Анри Филиппа Петена, главы Франции в период режима Виши (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It came as no surprise when I discovered in 2005 that Mr Peters’ favourite movie is Casablanca. That he sees the New Zealand Parliament as something akin to that contested wartime city cannot be doubted. Nor that he sees himself ducking and weaving between National and Labour in much the same way as Casablanca’s hero, Rick, steers his jagged course between the forces of Vichy France and Nazi Germany.
Casablanca’s theme, that in a dangerous and deeply flawed universe our hearts will almost always prove a better guide than our heads, and that sometimes (as both Rick and Mr Peters learned the hard way) playing by the rules is exactly the wrong thing to do. Especially if your enemies are writing them.

But who will Winston put on board the plane?
If New Zealand’s political journalists could only learn to see past their kneejerk tabloid moralising they would recognise in Mr Peters a politician of extraordinary complexity and powerful conviction. They would also understand that in resolving which political leader to put on board the plane to electoral victory, his heart will play no lesser role than his head.

Acknowledgements:   Chris Trotter
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