Another pundit rounds on English as the problem

The statement eventually issued by Barclay said he was resigning in the best interests of the party and leader.

There would have been relief in the caucus, but also anger. Emotions in the caucus are raw over how events played out. The young MP has a tight knit circle of friends in Parliament and he had sympathy on his side over an alleged whispering campaign by a disaffected local faction known as the evil six.

Electorate MPs are supposedly their own masters; it was relayed repeatedly to journalists that Barclay was only recently reselected in Clutha Southland and with the overwhelming backing of his local electorate committee. The timing of allegations by his former electorate agent Glenys Dickson on the eve of National’s annual conference and three months out from an election caused further bitterness.

But the scandal had moved beyond Barclay to English, which was why he had to go.

In the wash-up after Barclay’s resignation, however, there are big questions for National.

It really did end up being the clean excision that they were hoping for.  Instead of talking about Bad Boy Barclay for the anticipated days and weeks ahead, with hit after hit being laundered by the media in a Dirty Politics-like fashion, the sudden end of it is leaving National caught with their pants down.  

English’s initial mishandling of questions about what he knew fanned the flames of the scandal, and that will rattle his caucus.

They are used to feeling bullet proof under John Key, who earned his nickname as Teflon John for his ability to walk away unscathed from controversies that engulfed his caucus.

There are shades of Key in English’s handling of the saga today; the brutal speed with which Barclay was persuaded to step down shows English is prepared to be just as ruthless.

But that was only after his own Teflon suffered a very big knock. He will need to find his feet a lot faster than that on the campaign trail.

The thing is that this would never even have happened under Key.  Key took Sabin all the way to avoid this kind of public spectacle.

Bill English has exposed himself to detailed scrutiny and searing criticism from his potential new playmate, Winston Peters.


– Tracey Watkin, Stuff

Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.