So who should lead the Internet Party?

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There seems to be no shortage of speculation about who will be named as leader of the Internet Party. [Update: since I first posted this, it has been widely reported that Laila Harré will be the leader. That doesn’t diminish any of the arguments I make below. Does she have whiskers? Can she purr?]

The party founded by Kim Dotcom has announced a deal with the Mana Party, under which both parties will contest the next election as an alliance. The Internet Party plans to announce who its leader will be this Thursday.

An alliance between the two parties makes a lot of sense, because they have so much in common. The Mana Party has campaigned on bringing power to the poor and advocating for the dispossessed, while the Internet Party is the vanity project of a flamboyant and eccentric German millionaire who likes to flaunt his wealth. But both political parties have the word “Party” in their names, and they also share the letter “n”. Those are some powerful synergies.

Kim Dotcom must now decide who will lead the party he founded, since he cannot himself stand for political office. Will he go for a recognisable name, or will he back someone with a low profile?

It’s a crucial decision, and if he gets it wrong he could sink the chances of this new alliance. On the other hand, if Kim Dotcom really wants to make a difference to politics in this country, he needs to be creative. He needs to be bold.

The ideal candidate will need to have a close association with the internet. They will be likeable, warm and friendly. But they must also be able to inspire. Leadership is all about knowing how to command, but in a way that makes people want to do things for you.

That’s why if Kim Dotcom has any sense he will choose a cat to lead the Internet Party.

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Why a cat? Isn’t it obvious? It’s the Internet Party, and the internet was invented to allow us all to look at pictures of cats. It’s a fact. Just ask Tim Berners-Lee next time you’re talking to him.

And anyone who has a feline friend will know that the cat absolutely always gets its way. Imagine being able to harness that cat power politically.

Gareth Morgan fans (I’m willing to believe that they exist outside the Morgan family) and psychopaths excepted, just about everyone likes cats. That’s more than can be said for the bulk of our minor party leaders, most of whom we would much rather toss a live grenade at than vote for. These parties stay minor for a reason: they do not understand the appeal of the simple domestic cat. Espousing policies that most sane people recoil from, they go from one crisis to the next, little suspecting that their salvation lies in unleashing the power of the pussycat.

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Maybe if Act had chosen a cat as their new leader, instead of that nobody whose name I can’t even remember, they would be faring better, instead of languishing in the polls. Having said that, if Act had chosen a non-human as leader, their uncanny ability to spectacularly misread the will of the populace would most probably have resulted in their electing a spider or paper wasp to the position.

Don’t believe what they say about herding cats; a cat leader would actually be quite easy to manage. You could guarantee that it wouldn’t say anything stupid to the media, and most of its statements would be reported without controversy. I doubt even Cameron Slater could find a way to twist the words “miaow miaow miaow” into anything monstrous or sinister, although I’m willing to bet he would give it a go.

Of course, there would always be the risk of a fur-ball incident occurring at the wrong time. The party hierarchy would also need to find a way to manage the potential for appalling cruelty towards small animals, such as birds, mice and crickets. Voter may be disinclined to vote for a party whose leader likes to torture dying sparrows.

But then no leader is perfect. Could a cat be any worse than Colin Craig or Winston Peters?

Election campaigning can be exhausting and the hours can be long, so a leader able to fall asleep just about anywhere, such as on a windowsill or cushion, would have a massive tactical advantage over their rivals. Campaign staff would never need to fear any sex scandals or personal distractions derailing their leader’s efforts, because the ideal candidate will have been de-sexed.

The party would also be able to take the moral high-ground on important issues, rather than get dragged down into the mud. Cats are notoriously clean campaigners, and the only stink emanating from Internet Party HQ would be the smell of their leader’s litter-tray.

So it must be a cat. If Kim Dotcom wants to be taken seriously in this country, he must appoint a cat to lead the Internet Party. It’s all about cats. Why else do we even have an internet?

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