Phil Says: Standing Tall

The Leader of the Opposition returns to Imperator Fish with another powerful column.

It’s been a positive fortnight for Labour, and we’ve got National on the run.

It was good to land some blows in Parliament this week against the PM’s handling of Rodney Hide. A strong performance in the House is the key to lifting morale and making the other side doubt themselves. But you need to know what you’re doing when you stand up and go on the attack. I always tell new MPs that going into battle in Parliament is like making love to a beautiful woman. You go in hard, you get the job done, and you leave them wanting more. It won’t surprise many of you that I know a lot about women and what they need. Before I settled down with my lovely wife I was well known as a ladies’ man, and there was always some fine woman on the back of my powerful motorbike. Those days of being able to woo a beautiful woman just by stripping off my shirt are behind me, but my wife says I’ve still got what it takes in the area where it matters most. I may have held many different portfolios over my political career, but there’s one department where I’ve always stood strong and tall.

Politics can be dirty and messy, and the political arena can seem like a bear-pit at times. It’s always important to remember, though, that the people on the other side are mostly ordinary folk, which is why I’ll gladly have a few Lion Reds with most of them any day.

It’s also important to get away and find time to do the things you enjoy. Being leader is a demanding job, and I’m always pleased to come home to my farm, where I can get stuck into some hard physical work, get my hands dirty, and give my wife what she needs again and again.

Talking of earthquakes, a few of our supporters have asked why Labour gave its unquestioning support to the emergency legislation last week. Some people are even saying we’ve given dictatorial powers to Gerry Brownlee. But things aren’t quite that simple. Let me tell you why we did it.

The one thing I’ve learned about politics is to never let the other bastards know what you’re up to. John Key was planning to skewer us over our failure to vote for unnecessary, draconian and wide-ranging powers. So imagine how surprised he must have been when we dropped our pants. A well-played misère game always comes as a surprise to your opponent.

We have them in our trap, so now we must wait. The sniff of power we’ve given them is irresistible and they’ll want more and more. Before long they’ll be using this legislation to pass all sorts of silly orders in council, in flagrant defiance of the law’s intent. That’s when we’ll pounce! Well jump all over them, attack them in Parliament and in the media, and claim the moral high-ground. We’ll position Labour as the only party that believes in democracy.

I’ll admit the plan isn’t foolproof. If they do behave tyrannically they may use their new powers to cancel the next election and have us all imprisoned. They may also say “you voted for the law too”. We’re working on a strategy to counter those minor problems, but rest assured that when we do we’ll be down on them like a tonne of bricks.

Our overall strategy is shaping nicely, but we must be patient. It may take some time before we see results, but I’m confident we’re well placed to win in 2017.