Democratic process overrated - Dave Caygill, imagined

Oh gidday, Dave Caygill, your ECan Commissioner and man of the people here. You've caught me about to have a singalong to that Andrew Lloyd- Webber classic Don't Cry For Me Argentina. Lately I've found it's been reaching the places other songs don't. Just listen to this opening:

"It won't be easy,

You'll think it strange,

When I try to explain how I feel,

That I still need your love,

After all that I've done"

For some reason that really grabs me by the medals. I feel misunderstood sometimes, but I certainly still need your love, after all that I've done. Here, help me into this jacket. Yes, it does have a certain paramilitary chic to it. It's from the Junta winter collection. Hey, hands off the gold braid! And that's "sir" to you. Now get this bit:

"You won't believe me,

All you will see is a girl you once knew,

Although she's dressed up to the nines,

At sixes and sevens with you"

I do feel a bit at sixes and sevens with you Canterbury folk, to be honest. We ECan commissioners have been getting a bit of stick from some of you about being undemocratic. Speaking of sticks, pass me that riding crop while I pull on these jackboots.

The thing is, here at ECan we realise that the democratic process is over-rated. It's the refuge of the weak and the feckless and the decadent. You start letting people decide things for themselves democratically and where does it end - Greece? And we all know how that finished up.

It's an unpopular opinion, I know, but leadership isn't a popularity contest. Well, not at ECan, anyway. At any rate I find that people respect strong leaders. That's why from now on I'd prefer that you call me "His Excellency Commander Caygill", or on less formal occasions "Generalissimo."

What my critics don't get is that sometimes important decisions have to be made without the tiresome burden of public accountability. Democracy works fine in moderately complicated places like India, where there's over a billion voters and seething tensions between religious and ethnic groupings across a whole subcontinent. But that hardly compares to the really complex things that come across our desk, like the management of resource consents.

You don't understand? Well I guess that just proves I'm right, doesn't it. Ooh, here comes the big swelling bit - come on, belt it out with me!

"Don't cry for me ECan voters, the truth is I never left you

All through my wild days, my mad existence

I kept my promise, don't keep your distance"

Yes, please don't keep your distance. On the other hand we've got some behind-closed-doors business to attend to, so kiss my ring and hurry away. Now: cap, epaulettes, dark sunglasses - I'm good to go.

And by the way you can tell anyone who's interested, if it's a commuter rail corridor you're after I've got some great ideas for making the trains run on time.

The Press