Well, at least one thing has been sorted out. Alf now knows the identity of the Nat (and nit) who sits just along from him on the back benches.
He learned it by checking out the newspapers on line today and encountering this picture alongside a fascinating report at Stuff (here).
Accordingly, if asked, Alf could come up with the right answer, should the aforementioned Nat (and nit) hand over his business card and demand “Don’t you know who I am? I’m an important politician”.
And why might he act in this thoroughly unparliamentary way?
Because of some unseemly goings-on in Hanmer alleged to have happened at the weekend.
The bloke in the picture – according to the allegations, which have been eagerly repeated by our newspapers – behaved badly when a waiter at the Heritage Hanmer Springs refused to serve him more wine.
He bawled the waiter out as a “dickhead”, the newspapers are claiming, then he handed over his business card and made a comment along the lines of, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m an important politician”.
So let’s put a name to him.
The fellow who fancies everybody knows him, it transpires, is Aaron Gilmore, whose membership of our caucus happens to have been among the several unhappy consequences of Lockwood Smith buggering off to become our High Commissioner in London.
Aaron has the unhappy quality – or so it seems – of being in love with himself, and it would not surprise Alf if he were to come up with a private member’s bill to allow people in love with themselves to marry.
Being in love with himself – or so it seems – led Aaron to some crass carry-on in a Hanmer Springs restaurant which The Boss has described as “a bit disappointing”.
Key made the comments under questioning from reporters in Taranaki this afternoon, after allegations emerged that Gilmore called a waiter at the Heritage Hanmer Springs who refused to serve him more wine a “dickhead”, handed over his business card and made a comment along the lines of “don’t you know who I am? I’m an important politician”.
His conduct prompted his embarrassed lawyer friend to leave an apology note the following day.
Gilmore has apologised to Key through his staff this morning and issued a statement saying he would also apologise to staff at the Heritage Hanmer Springs hotel.
This is getting things around the wrong way, of course, because his first apology should have been to the staff he affronted.
It’s a damned good thing The Boss is in a generous mood today and said only that:
”I think it’s a bit disappointing. He [Gilmore] was clearly involved in a group that was involved in some slightly unruly behaviour.
”MPs should be held to a high standard of behaviour when they are out publicly.
”Clearly he has felt the need to apologise which is the right thing to do. He has apologised to me, I’ve accepted that apology and we’ve moved on.”
So will the back-bencher be reprimanded, as Alf suggested in an email to The Boss.
Apparently not. He told Stuff that Gilmore had learned his lesson, was disappointed with himself and similar behaviour was unlikely to happen in future.
Key said he could not recall any other similar incident involving Gilmore.
”My office spoke to him. I haven’t had a chance personally to speak to him. The bottom line is we have a level of expectation how our MPs should behave.
“I think he will take a moment to reflect on recent events and whether he met the standards of an MP. In hindsight he acknowledged he was part of a group that did not meet that standard and has apologised.”
It’s good to see that Gilmore has fessed up in a statement from his office this morning.
“As a group of diners our behaviour was at times boisterous, and I sincerely apologise for any offence this may have caused to staff and/or patrons.
“I intend to convey my apologies on behalf of the group to hotel staff, and understand that Members of Parliament should uphold, and be seen to uphold, the highest of standards at all times.
“On this occasion I believe as a group, our behaviour fell short of this mark, and I should have recognised this at the time.
“I also plan to pass my apologies on to the prime minister for failing to meet the standards I believe National MPs should uphold.”
Gilmore seems to have been struck down by one of those brain fade moments that troubles The Boss now and again.
He is reported to have said yesterday he was “not aware” of making the comments after drinking a bottle and a half of wine on Saturday night, and put it down to “misunderstanding”.
But the note to the hotel from his embarrassed friend, Christchurch lawyer Andrew Riches, tells a different story.
It was a note of apology for Gilmore’s “appalling” behaviour and congratulated the waiter on his professionalism.
In the light of all this, and bearing in mind the way people sometimes wonder who’s who while watching Parliament on the telly, Alf has published the picture above.
It is a picture of Aaron Gilmore, MP.
It in no way resembles Alf Grumble, MP, who makes a practice of being courteous to bar staff on all occasions. He holds such staff in high esteem.