Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Lyndon Hood: Don Brash of La Mancha

The History of the Ingenious and Redoubtable Politician, Don Brash of La Mancha

By Lyndon Hood

Click for big version

Chapter One

Which describes the condition and profession of the famous gentleman Don Brash of La Mancha

Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman - what the Spanish call a Don - lived not long ago, who during his leisure hours loved nothing better than to read the works of Friedmanite economists. And with time his passion for these works grew so great that, combined with lack of sleep and a diet of incompetent home cooking, the nature of his reading caused his brain to become dry and, indeed, cracked.

And it was at this time he became convinced that it was his destiny to become a politician-errant, and rid the world of injustice.

As such, he decided he should take a new name suitable to his audacious plan to restore the golden age written of in those books he so loved. So he chose "Don Brash" as the name he would make famous by his daring exploits and his victories.

He chose as his horse an animal which on one occasion, when whipped into a proper frenzy, had performed such feats as inspired to praise of many and reflect great glory on its master. However, as Don Brash was determined to keep working the animal until victory was achieved or he flogged it to death, it had become a skinny and sorry nag. After some days consideration of what a proper name for his noble companion might be, he decided to henceforth call it "Orewa One".

Lastly, that famous gentleman chose as his squire one Gerry Panza. Gerry's nature was such that he determinedly believed everything his master told him unless it was directly contradicted by the evidence of his senses (and sometimes even then). Most of all he believed in the potential rewards for serving a noble politician errant. "No doubt," Don Brash would say to him, "at any moment a adventure will occur in which I will become leader of a small country, and when that happens I shall be sure to give you the Deputy-Prime-Ministership.

And so one day they rode out, Gerry Panza on his donkey and Don Brash trusting himself to the strength of Orewa One.


Chapter Two

Concerning the encounter with the giants

It happened that as Don Brash and his faithful squire rode along, there came into view a number of windmills, their arms spinning. These appeared in Don Brash's mind to be evil giants, with their arms flailing.

"Why," cried our noble hero, "see those terrible giants! There, that one is Outofcontrolcrimeorax! And that other, Failingeducationsystematabus! And Lowerlivingstandardsthantheaussiesod, and Treatygrievanceindustryom, and Welfarismor! Between them, Gerry, these fearsome monsters are the cause of all the evil in the land. They must be destroyed!" And, pausing only to commend himself to his lady, he rode off to do battle.

Gerry was greatly impressed by Don Brash's courage in attacking what seemed, if only in his master's mind, to be five deadly giants, though they were in fact windmills (which can sometimes be quite useful), and even then most sources agree that there were at most three of them.

Within moments, Don Brash was among the windmills he believed to be giants, riding around them, pointing with his lance, calling them names and showing that he was not in any way afraid of them. Then, with a cry of, "I shall deal with you in due course!" he rode away from them and continued down the road with his squire.

"Now master," Gerry then said, "I don't know if your lance will be any better than anyone else's to dispatch those monsters, be they giants or windmills, if you do get to come to blows with them. If they are giants, they might hold you to your promise one day."

"Aah, Gerry," replied Don Brash, "My fearless opposition of these monsters will be told of in ballads throughout the land. And you must have learned by now not to doubt my powers in combatting beasts like these, even though I've never yet had the chance to demonstrate them."


Chapter Three

Which treats on the further adventures of the redoubtable Don Brash

As the companions rode on they had many famous adventures, including one where the good politician commanded the tide not to rise, in order to turn the foreshore into a beach.

At long last, as they breasted a ridge, they saw two large clouds of dust moving towards each other. At this, Don Brash's eyes became bright, for he concluded that here were two armies coming to do battle over the future of the land, and that by lending his powers to the one with the most just cause, he would win himself great glory and do many good deeds.

These clouds of dust were in fact being raised on one side by a flock of sheep and on the other by a flock of goats, which it happened were being driven in opposite directions.

"You see that great army advancing there?" he said, pointing to the sheep, "That magnificent host is the army of the Main Stream"

"That sounds like a just and noble army," Gerry Panza replied, nodding sagely, "Who is in it?"

"Well, it is, aah, it is easier to list who is not in it - for see, on the opposing side," said Don Brash, indicating the goats, "those who are implacably opposed to the Main Stream: homosexuals, Maori, refugees, foreigners, poor people, unionists, women..."

"It seems to me that, if this list goes on much longer, there will be nobody left to fight for the Main Stream..."

"And that, dear Gerry, is why I must, according to my vows, assist them."

"...and if you will permit me to say so this 'Main Stream' is starting to sound quite boring."

Yet the noble Don Brash, to his credit, gave no sign of hearing this. In fact, without more ado, he fixed his lance and rode fearlessly into battle, in his laudable and chivalrous quest to protect the strong.

And it is at this point that the author, whose work I am now translating, abruptly stops the story, claiming that no further information can be found regarding this redoubtable politican errant.

I consider it inconceivable that such a noble beginning could leave so little trace. I can only hope that time will reveal more of the saga of this great man, and the lessons his history may have to teach us are not lost forever.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news