My 12-year old daughter watched the TV news last night and exclaimed ‘that’s what the Prime Minister did at Te Papa to my two friends”.
She was talking about the NZ Prime Minister John Key pulling the ponytail of a cafe worker, and previous footage of him touching a young girl’s ponytail.
The issue has gone off the water-cooler scale of local and international talkability.
My daughter’s experience, and my own in seeing John Key’s physical stand-offishness prior to becoming PM, indicates a developing pattern in how this super-confident PM has come to interact with his ‘subjects’.
My immediate thoughts on the political strategy components of this are:
1) The extreme response from John Key’s opponents, and those with a sexism agenda, will push the ordinary person toward sympathy for Key. If they really want him to suffer from this, they should tone down the rhetoric.
2) There are many complaints about the dullness of modern politicians. Stage managed public interaction and brain-dead, shallow policy. The response to this incident is why: we are all complicit in strangling the life out of politicians.
I sense that this issue will continue – so there will be more to analyse. It may be the straw that breaks the political back of this Government – and for no sufficiently good reason. But that’s politics.