So John Key took to the stage on Saturday night to celebrate his election victory and delivered probably the most unstatesmanlike acceptance speech I have ever heard. He sounded more like he had won the rugby world cup than just taken over the governance of the country. Mind you, perhaps the tricky journey from his car to the stage had rattled him. Whoever was 'in control' of the bouncers that flanked him on his way up to the stage really could learn a lesson or two from the Americans, who at least allow the winner to be seen and not squashed uncomfortably in the middle of some uncomfortable looking big-blokes. The other horribly bit of mismanagement of his 'moment' was the positioning of his podium, which made it look as though he was reading his victory words from an autocue somewhere down on stage left. Unfortunately for our new leader, this made him look completely unprepared, a bit shifty and a sad contrast with Barack Obama's eloquent acceptance earlier in the same week.
National needs to get the hang of microphones, podiums, people and speeches pretty quickly. They have already fallen foul of the hidden microphone pre-election when some unguarded and rather dim remarks by Bill English were recorded. Given that they have vowed to sack many of the communicators and public relations practitioners employed by Government (nobody ever replied to me by the way after Gerry Browlee's dreadful media release) I can't help wondering how they are going to manage to stay in touch with the people they are to govern given their ineptitude when it comes to some of the basics. You never know, perhaps when they review the tapes they'll change their minds. I shall watch with interest. And after Helen Clark's stand-down on Saturday, I do hope David Cunliffe gets the Labour leadership - he is definitely the right man, in the right place, at the right time with the ability to do the right job.