There appears to be consensus within the media and amongst political commentators that there are many ‘armchair experts’, who through their personal comment, are spreading misinformation about the virus. This is generally followed up by some rationale to get in behind the Government, to support their decisions and to treat all other commentary as uninformed and scaremongering. The PM went to great pains to tell us if the information wasn’t coming through her, it couldn’t be trusted. So are we expected to believe that, within our population of five million, only the Government and its advisors have the monopoly on intellectual reasoning?
Sometimes the PM’s determination to appear as a strong leader actually demonstrates the exact opposite. Throughout this phenomenon there has been a resolve by her to promote her authority and wisdom. The increasing usage of “I” has been observed. There is a vulnerability being experienced by all of us, except her. Yet she is probably the most vulnerable. Her political life depends on her handling of this crisis and, to date, she and her advisers have been exposed far too often. As Mike Hosking stated, “it’s not a contest”, as the Prime Minister continued her obsession of “being first in the world”, which is clearly not true. It is a sound bite designed to misinform the gullible, but it also exposes her insecurity by over-hyping her pretence. She is obsessed with being a ‘world leader’.
I’m under no illusion that the management of this crisis is a weighty responsibility. It would be impossible to get everything right and only in retrospect can we fine-tune our responses. If only the PM would acknowledge that, with hindsight, some of their decisions were not in the best interest of containment. Only then could one be more forgiving. The fact that she refuses to acknowledge any vulnerability is in itself a glaring example of denial. Leadership is not about being right every time when all the evidence suggests otherwise. It requires honesty, self-reflection and having the courage to admit mistakes and then righting the wrong. She still has a lot to learn.
Over recent times we have all been guilty of giving the PM a hard time as she struggles ever so hard to give the impression of being a forceful powerful leader. And with some justification. But just sometimes, her effort reaches ludicrous proportions. Thursday night on a news special on TV One, she gave an address to the nation at 7.00 involving updates relating to the virus. Did we witness another “first in the world” moment as she gave her delivery? There in the background was not one, nor two, nor three, but four NZ flags framing her.
Even when the President of the US delivers an address from the Oval Office there is usually only one Stars and Stripes flag visible as a concession to patriotism. Even North Korea’s beloved leader Kim Jong-un shows some restraint with only two flags on show but he does have a tendency to have portraits of himself, the beloved leader, in the background.
I just had to cringe with embarrassment as the setting by our Prime Minister reeked of ‘over the top’ self-promotion designed to advise us all that we too have a beloved leader of the nation. But like any performance, no matter how elaborate the set, if the performance from the leading lady is amateur hour then very few tickets will be sold. But she was ‘first in the world’ to have four national flags on set. We’re just so lucky.
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