My very good friend Brian Edwards forlornly tries to fix Angry Andy for the third time

My very good friend Brian Edwards has done a freebie media consultation for Andrew:

…as a media trainer who has advised several Leaders of the Opposition and a couple of Prime Ministers, I know all too well that integrity is no guarantee of success in politics and that how you ‘come across’, your ‘image’, is a significant factor.

There seems to be general agreement among commentators that Little’s image has improved, that he is ‘coming across’ better. But is it better enough?

Little is a rather strange looking bloke. He reminds me somewhat of an Easter Island statue. But it is not a requirement of the job he is seeking to look handsome or pretty. Cast your mind back to some previous aspirants.

‘Coming across’, particularly on television, is a different matter. And Little does not come across either in interviews or straight to camera.

This is not easy to define. The closest I can come is that, however reasonable, articulate or clever Little may be, there seems to be a lack of engagement between him and his interviewer, him and his television audience.

The contact lenses which Little, I assume, acquired on advice, may be a factor but my impression is that he tends to talk at rather than to his interviewers and, through them, to us. This may reflect his trade union background where rah rah declaiming to one’s audience is the expected norm.

It can be argued that John Key did Little and Labour a favour by stepping down. Bill English is no orator. But he has a dry, no-nonsense, Southern man quality about him that is endearing. And a wry sense of humour. More importantly, he looks and sounds honest. It would be very foolish indeed to discount his chances of winning the September election.

If Little is to reduce the chances of that happening he must learn to engage with his interviewers and with the hugely important viewer at home.

In real terms, there is very little difference between a raw, cold fish and sashimi.  It takes real talent and a fair amount of skill to sell something that smells bad, isn’t even cooked and is normally eaten by seagulls and charge good money for it.

In the end, Andrew Little has embraced being “angry”.  He wants to be seen to be tough, calling for the PM to “cut the crap”.  And he’s been successful.  Everyone knows he’s a man with a personality bypass who is suffering a prolapse and has sand in his undies.   With the election looming, this can’t be turned around.  The public know who Andrew is.

As for engaging with the interviewer… we’ve seen what happens when Andrew strays from his talking points.  Disaster after disaster.   He’s on script because he simply doesn’t have the skill to do it free form.


Brian Edwards

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