Triumph of the codgerati

TRACY WATKINS - COMMENT
Last updated 08:30 29/04/2011

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OPINION: Don Brash has just pulled off an extraordinary political feat - rolling the leader of a political party he was yet to join.

And he did it in the same unconventional way he rolled Bill English as leader of the National Party, by announcing his leadership bid before doing the numbers and waiting for the inexorable logic behind his argument to do the rest.

Between them Dr Brash and his running mate, John Banks - already nicknamed the codgerati - clearly have unfinished business, and that includes putting some "steel reinforcing" (as Mr Banks puts it) around the policies of the John Key National Government.

But it is also clear that Dr Brash and Mr Banks made their move with at least the tacit support of some within National who were growing increasingly gloomy about the prospect of the ACT party disappearing altogether and pulling the rug out from under National's prospects of another term, if not in 2011, then in 2014.

Of course a Brash-led party could be like grasping a tiger by the tail; as several awkward moments during yesterday's press conference showed, his unconventional ways can be a liability as much as they are a strength.

His inspired moments were what got National within a whisker of winning the 2005 election, just as it was his blunders that ultimately cost it victory.

But it is a remarkable comeback all the same.

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- The Dominion Post

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