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Lindsay Perigo Confesses: "I Cheered the PM!"

Lindsay Perigo's Politically Incorrect Show Editorials can be heard weekdays on Radio Pacific at noon, or read at http://www.freeradical.co.nz

Lindsay Perigo Confesses: "I Cheered the PM!"

I watched the Holmes show last night & caught myself cheering the Prime Minister. After flagellating myself, I sat down to wonder why I had committed such an unseemly lapse? There she was - the Prime Minister - defending the awarding of a $750,000 research grant to her husband so that he could examine the effects of health reforms between 1988 & 1999 on the hospital system. For two of those years, Helen Clark had been Minister of Health. There was National's Wyatt Creech raising the obvious concerns - conflict of interest & the appearance of jobs for the boys. Mr Creech would surely be failing in his duty if he did NOT raise these concerns - so why did I find myself taking the Prime Minister's side?

Before their joint appearance on the Holmes Show, Ms Clark had called Mr Creech "Mr Screech," & a "scumbag" & a "sleazebucket." Now I used to call Wyatt "Mr Screech" myself back in the days when he was Minister of Education, allowing the dumbing down of our schools to proceed apace; his over-pitched nasality & incoherent delivery made "Mr Screech" the obvious epithet for someone spearheading a national lobotomy experiment. In any event I was bemused rather than appalled to hear that the Prime Minister had just resurrected the label. "Sleazebucket" & "scumbag"? Not the Prime Minister's usual style, to be sure, & I fully expected her to apologise to Mr Creech in front of the nation for getting a bit carried away in the heat of the moment - surely that's what her damage-control spin doctors would have been advising her, after all?

But the Prime Minister did not apologise for anything. The Prime Minister - unless she's the best actor ever to grace the ninth floor - was genuinely angry. She really believed that her husband's professional credentials & integrity had been impugned for cheap political purposes & she was mad as hell about it. She was going to defend his honour come hell or high water. Then I realised: I was not cheering the Prime Minister because I thought she was right - she was very probably wrong. I was cheering the spectacle of a politician behaving like a human being with a sense of moral decency & urgency instead of a sanitised, plastic replica of a human being from whom all vestiges of moral sensibility & passion had been purged by her spin-doctors.

Studied plasticity is a vile quality in a human being, all too common in our politicians. For ten amazing minutes I watched the country's Number One politician leave any advice she might have been given to be studiously plastic outside the studio door, & I applauded the spectacle, if not the content of what she was saying.

It's a pity Ms Clark does not believe in the freedom of the individual. She would be a formidable ally.

- For Lindsay Perigo's daily "Politically Incorrect Show" editorials, visit: http://www.freeradical.co.nz or listen to Radio Pacific from noon to 2pm weekdays.


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