Jul 8, 2008

Colin James On Leadership

Leaving the laptop at home while on the road for the day gave us a chance to think about Colin James column in the NZ Herald for over 12 hours before writing this post. In some ways this is one of the most damning articles written about this Government in its eight and a half years in office. Here we have one of New Zealand's most respected political journalists saying that the Government can no longer provide strong leadership on hard choices, that the Government has lost authority, and that John Key is likely to be PM next year. This is powerful stuff and will really have set the tongues wagging. Many in the Diplomatic corps take their lead from Colin. If he says that the PM has lost authority and that its is looking likely that Key will be PM next year, then you can be sure that many Foreign Ministries around the world have a similar assessment now on their communication systems. This has serious consequences for our foreign policy - why hurry to do deals, or arrange visits if the Government you are meeting has lost authority? Why not save the favours up for the Key administration?

Colin also has some influence over journalistic colleagues. It will be interesting what impact this column has upon sentiment in that quarter. Things were bad for Labour - they just got worse.