MPs can speak for those who look like them

MICHELE A'COURT
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014

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Michele A'Court

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OPINION: First up, I should let you know what I'm wearing and how much it cost.

If we've learnt anything from "Jacket Gate" it is that intellectual, moral and political simpatico is based on the people involved wearing the same stuff.

So if you are currently in pyjamas - top from the Warehouse, bottoms from the Sesame Street range at Bras'n'Things - or can imagine yourself similarly resplendent in this level of sartorial elegance, we can talk.

Regular readers will recall that a fortnight ago, I launched the Logical Conclusion Party.

The announcement caused a flurry on Twitter (10 favourites, 9 retweets) and elicited a dozen positive Facebook comments, which means it's already polling higher than UnitedFuture.

I should reiterate that the Logical Conclusion Party is not a self-contained political group. Think of it as the Huffington Post of politics - I will gather up the policy announcements, attitudes and public statements of other parties and take them to their logical conclusion so you don't have to.

Feel free to think for yourself if you would prefer to, but I know you're busy and I'm happy to help.

This week: the logical conclusion of statements by National MPs Judith Collins and Anne Tolley who assert Metiria Turei can't speak for poor people because she doesn't look like one in her designer clothing.

One could argue (in fact, I do) that being a champion of the poor doesn't mean you can't live or eat or dress well. It means you want that for everyone.

But the Collins/Tolley perspective has its supporters. Some of whom are in offices quite nearby.

We can remember that in July 2012, National MP Maggie Barry similarly asserted Jacinda Ardern couldn't be an advocate for paid parental leave because she doesn't have kids.

So let's take this to its logical conclusion. Politicians can only represent people who look and live like them. Paula Bennett can, therefore, speak for solo mums because she used to be one. John Key is equipped to talk about wealth because he's got some.

And Gerry Brownlee is a superb Minister of Transport because he looks like a truck. Also a truck driver, but mostly a truck.

So, if we adhere to the notion that to be in touch with the people you work with, you must be like them, we should rightly extend it to other sectors.

To be a midwife, you need to have given birth. Oncologists should have survived cancer.

Only ladies should be gynaecologists. Psychiatrists need to be a bit mental. And priests who counsel families should be married and have kids.

Sorted.

Now perhaps we can move on from the Fashion Distraction and focus on real issues. Like what we want as our flag.

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I'm suggesting designer jackets. Let's hoist a variety of jackets by New Zealand designers up a few flagpoles and see who salutes.

It would be a superb way of supporting and showcasing a great local industry.

Almost as effective as people in the public eye actually wearing them.

- The Press

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