I shied away from talking to media about my daughter’s experience of the John Key hair thing because she didn’t want me to, and I can’t see any good coming of it.
These political events are moments for people with agendas
to make their points. My fascination is interpreting those agendas and working out how to deal with them in politics. But I also have an agenda; modern politicians’ paternalistic or dismissive attitudes toward voters.
I therefore don’t read sexism or any other -ism into John Key’s touchiness. I share a view which is being expressed outside of the twitterati, that in the cafe he was being dorky. But fortunately, being viewed by someone else as dorky is not a crime. We would have all spent time in jail.
That said, we don’t like our politicians to be dorks. My favourite example is Geoffrey Palmer – Dork#1 in recent political history.
Politicians have got to be one of us, but simultaneously better than us. They have to know what life is like for ordinary people, but also be someone we can trust to make momentous decisions.
That’s a tough gig. Key’s common touch and a level of competence has allowed the public to forgive those moments when he thought too much of himself and crossed the line into embarrassing.
The third term is the downfall of politicians because they lose their way – power fuzzes the lines between the present and the core strengths that got them into power in the first place.
The ponytail incident, and the casualness of the physical closeness with the public, suggests Key has also lost his way.
That’s what my daughter’s experience tells
me, and that’s why I asked her if it was okay that I wrote about it.