The Dim-Post

December 30, 2012

The Love Song of J Key Prime Minister

Filed under: poetry,Politics — danylmc @ 6:12 pm

LET us go then you and me,
While the day is spread out on my BlackBerry
Planner, like a day spread out on a BlackBerry planner;
Let us go to scheduled photo opportunities,
In appropriate communities
Marginal electorates of middle class swing voters
Campaign finance fundraisers at BMW motors:
Guest spots on sports radio talk-back
Friendly breakfast TV chats
Until I’m interrupted by an annoying breaking news story . . .
Oh don’t ask, ‘Why is education such a disaster?’
Let me talk about my mate Dan Carter.

In my office officials come and go
Warning of negative gdp growth.

The tracking poll that wanders slowly down,
The popularity poll that grazes about but over time trends down
Smiles upwards when we get tough on welfare,
But answers sensible wealth creating policies with a puzzled frown,
Shies for our opponents when we try to mine the national parks,
Runs with herd-like terror from Hollywood or Wall Street,
Ducks and nuzzles the ground indifferently at public service reform,
Answers historic infrastructure projects with a sullen bleat.

And hopefully there will be time
For the public surveys and our own in-house poll,
To recover and no longer trend down;
Hopefully time, hopefully time,
For growth to reduce the number of workers on the dole;
There will be time to grow our ailing stock exchange,
We’d be halfway through the power sales already
If the Maori Council weren’t so deranged;
Time to show our economic policies are sound,
And time yet for a hundred and twenty key actions,
The Christchurch rebuild and resource extractions,
To kick in before another election rolls around.

In my office officials come and go
Warning of negative gdp growth.

And hopefully there won’t be time
To wonder ‘Is it working?’ and, ‘Is it working?’
Time to face the opposition, smirking,
And the electorate whose doubts are lurking –
(They all wonder, ‘Why aren’t things better now?’)
As if I could flick a switch, somehow
And float New Zealand on the Dow –
(They all wonder, ‘Will he stay or take his bow?’)
Do I dare
Stand for a third term?
Hopefully I can leave on a high note
And go chair a multinational finance firm.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
I’ve known the advisers, the strategists, the campaign troops,
I’ve run the goddamn country by focus groups;
I know the midnight phone call
Querying comment on tomorrow’s scoops.
So how shall I recoup?

And I have known the lies already, known them all –
The smear that we don’t care about the poor,
And that our economic strategy is a failure,
That our welfare policies are an epic stall,
A distraction from the exodus to Australia,
Our opponents are actually liars, and so much more.
And how should I recoup?

And I have known the officials already, known them all –
Officials who tell me things are slowly going to hell
(But the executives of Fulton Hogan say that things are going pretty well)
They drone about productivity growth stagnation
And the unaffordability of superannuation
Officials with gloomy projections projected on the wall.
And will I then recoup?
And how should I reply?

Shall I say, I have played golf with real wealth creators
Company directors, venture capitalists, equity fund managers
Who think things will pick up, and that I’m roughly on the right track? . . .

External circumstances are what critics should condemn
I’d have been a great PM if nothing went wrong

So the economy still slumbers, fitfully!
Twitching whenever the exchange rate rises,
Stunned after Christchurch and the Global Financial Crisis,
Inflation is low, unemployment still better than half the OECD.
Can the manufacturing industry wake without the state intervening?
Will net foreign debt go down now that the Hobbit’s started screening?
But though I have cut tax for high earners, cut corporate tax,
Streamlined the RMA to make things easier for developers,
The numbers in each fiscal forecast are consistently worse,
And in short, I am not relaxed.

And would it have been worth it, all that work,
All the speeches, the interviews, the debates,
About whether the economy is in dire straits,
Is it worth it? Am I keen,
To return to government in twenty fourteen?
Resume the treasury benches with a winning smirk
Give my speech to the throne with my trademark grin,
Promise that our policies would see some progression;
If my advisors then sit me down, looking sinister
To tell me we’re back in recession,
And Winston Peters is my new Finance Minister.
Then how would I administer?

And would it have been worth it after all,
Would it have been worthwhile,
After the teapot tapes and Kim goddam Dotcom,
After the sackings, the privacy breaches, the interminable Cabinet meetings,
The GCSB brain fades and countless press gallery briefings –
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But it as if a power-point presentation drew my thoughts in diagrams upon the screen:
Would it have been worth while
If Treasury tell me the Auckland property bubble has burst,
The most likely fiscal scenarios are the worst,
And you can’t pass budgets without New Zealand First.

I’m slightly less preferred . . . I’m slightly less preferred . . .
As Prime Minister, and my asset sales are deferred.

Do I dare to crush a union? Or reappear on the cover of Woman’s Weekly?
Maybe I’ll do Woman’s Day, and undermine collective bargaining discreetly.
I’ve heard my strategists whisper, then sigh bleakly.

I do not think they’re entirely frank with me.

I’ve seen them printing out their CVs on the office printer
Meeting with lobbyists, planning their new careers
Cashing in on their connections for a few lucrative years.

For I have twenty four more months to be comfortable about things
To smile and float cheerfully around
Til our lack of coalition partners sinks us and we drown.


  1. absolutely wonderful. Thank you.

    Comment by R — December 30, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

  2. Brilliant!

    Comment by Deborah — December 30, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

  3. You really are a man of letters. Stunningly good.

    Comment by Stephen Doyle — December 30, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

  4. Thanks.

    Also a quick note that I tried to follow the same rhyming scheme as T S Eliot in Prufrock (although I skipped one verse) but didn’t always succeed, because Eliot was a literary genius and I’m, y’know, a guy on a blog. And if you keep doing google searches for Prufrock because you’re too lazy to bookmark it, google ads starts serving up that John Kirwin ad about depression over and over again.

    Comment by danylmc — December 30, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

  5. Absolutely fabulous

    Comment by MaureenMaura — December 30, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  6. Standing ovation.

    Comment by Mackey — December 30, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

  7. What tune do we sing it to ?

    Comment by You cant be serious. — December 30, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

  8. Halfway through I wished it would never end.

    Comment by Aztec — December 31, 2012 @ 1:55 am

  9. John Key’s office has just released the following statement in response to danyl’s hatchet job …

    “If I believed that my response was heard
    by anyone returning to the world,
    this flame would stand and never stir again.
    But since no man has ever come alive
    out of this gulf of Hell, if I hear true,
    I’ll answer, with no fear of infamy.”

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — December 31, 2012 @ 8:14 am

  10. Congratulatons – bugger of a scansion/rhyme scheme to work with, eh. Yep – devotees of early Eliot must be depressive and in need of TLC from JK, according to Googel. If they’re reading Wasteland, OTOH, they really want a Samsung Galaxy and free Xtian prayers

    Comment by Leopold — December 31, 2012 @ 9:30 am

  11. I meant of course Google

    Comment by Leopold — December 31, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  12. your novel better be this good

    Comment by bradluen — December 31, 2012 @ 10:43 am

  13. Clinching evidence of Key Derangement Syndrome, but also technically excellent and mildly amusing

    Comment by Roger — December 31, 2012 @ 11:04 am

  14. Genius.

    Comment by TerryB — December 31, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  15. Brilliant.

    Comment by LucyJH — December 31, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  16. way too much spare time

    Comment by Tim — December 31, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  17. Ah, c’mon Tim, it _is_ the Christmas break and summer is coming in.

    I have always enjoyed Eliot and this is very nicely done. Cheers, Danyl, and a very Happy New Year!

    Comment by David in Chch — December 31, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

  18. I just realized the verse you missed is my favourite. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

    Comment by LucyJH — December 31, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

  19. Very well done, on many levels. I tips me hat to you.

    Unfortunately to my sceptical mind it also reads like a Shesrer political battle hymn.

    Do, say nothing and victory is ours.


    Comment by peterlepaysan — December 31, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

  20. … and now just The Waste Land to tackle? (Please!)

    Comment by Matt — January 1, 2013 @ 10:01 am

  21. DM’s christmas present to the nation. Rated AAA/Aaa/AAA.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — January 1, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

  22. Hahaha…absolutely brilliant.

    Comment by Sanga — January 1, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

  23. Too kind, feeble, almost affectionate towards a band of thieves and marauders. This situation is much more serious. We are facing the deliberate theft of our sovereignty and way of life, not incompetent mismanagement..

    Comment by Phil Toms — January 2, 2013 @ 11:48 am

  24. LOL, Phil … I think you credit them with far more intelligence and ability to plan amidst the chaos than they have. I suspect incompetent mismanagement is much closer to reality. And I expect it would be thus regardless of who it was that pretended to be ‘in control’,

    Comment by David in Chch — January 3, 2013 @ 9:22 am

  25. It’s so long, obviously he had a ghost writer.

    Comment by Dan — January 5, 2013 @ 11:54 am

  26. Gosh that’s good! (And shows impressive familiarity with the original.)

    Comment by Helen — January 8, 2013 @ 11:15 pm

  27. Bravo! Danyl. Bravo!

    Comment by Chris Trotter — January 10, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

  28. Perfect, Danyl! I’m sure it can be incorporated into John Key’s debut album, “Songs in the Key of F(ailure)”.

    Comment by Dan Burt — January 12, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

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