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Surprise that Chris Bishop not contending

  • February 14th, 2018

I’m surprised that none of the speculation on National Party leadership has extended the field to Chris Bishop. He is the stand-out MP of his intake. PM Ardern, and before that David Lange showed that being far down the seniority list is no bar to early elevation to Deputy Leadership or to electoral appeal

He should muscle into contention even if none of his colleagues step up to draft him and whether or not success is likely this time.

Voters may say they do not like naked ambition, and it is more graceful to look as if one is being dragged unwilling to leadership, but subconsciously we don’t want to be led by someone who does not have enough confidence to tussle for it. Ambition is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

Richard Prebble used to attribute to Napoleon the claim that he did not appoint generals unless they’d been carrying a hidden field marshal’s baton since being young officers.

Chris should be impudent enough to step forward now. He may think there is time to wait, but there is no knowing how soon the need to lead could arise. He should be impatient, and not only because there is no clear inspirational leader in the generation that has their hands up now.

Sure – the attention if he seeks the deputy position will be positive and negative. The non-story will re-emerge from the snowflakes who want teenage females walled off in social media convents. But he does not need to respond to that. His colleagues might slap him down. That’s a risk a confident leader does not worry about. And if he runs now, irrespective of the outcome, he not them will be front of mind if and when the current aspirants lose their gloss and eventually their mandate.


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