The Boss has gone too far in rating Catton with McCaw and The Mad Butcher as a political pundit

A luminary whose opinions should be given lots of weight.

A luminary whose opinions should be given lots of weight.

It looks like The Boss has had an unfortunate rush of blood to the head.

He has been advising the public to give Eleanor Catton’s criticisms of his government no more credence than those of The Mad Butcher or Richie McCaw.

Alf regards this as very bad advice.

He happens to have a very high regard for the views of the Mad Butcher and Richie McCaw on any topic you might care to discuss.

The Boss should have said the views of Eleanor Catton should be given no more credence than the views of contributors to The Standard, the Daily Blog, and/or several other left-leaning blogs Alf could nominate.

He can understand why we MPs with a lean to the right have hastened to heap scorn upon the remarks uttered by Catton, author of The Luminaries and winner of the Man Booker Prize, at the Jaipur Literary Festival in India.

These remarks, published on the Live Mint news website, today have been reiterated in a report on the NZ Herald website today.

She said she was angry with the Government’s treatment of the arts and the country’s “neoliberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians”.

“I feel uncomfortable being an ambassador for my country when my country is not doing as much as it could, especially for the intellectual world,” she said.

The Boss was questioned on TVNZ’s Breakfast show this morning and said Catton’s views on politics shouldn’t be taken any differently than those of any other New Zealander.

“She has no particular great insights into politics, she is a fictional writer. I have great respect for her as a fictional writer [sic].”

But giving her opinions no more weight than the opinions of “any other New Zealander” depends, Alf would insist, on who the any other New Zealand happens to be.

Key went on to admire The Luminaries.

“Obviously it’s done phenomenally well and I’m really proud of her, but it would be no different from Richie McCaw or the Mad Butcher or anybody else having a view on politics.

“They’re absolutely entitled to do that, but her views on politics are no more authoritative than anybody else’s.

“I mean, if it’s Corin Dann, and he’s the chief political reporter, then his comments carry more weight because that’s what he does for a job.”

Actually, Alf doesn’t give a toss about the views of Corin Dann, whose most glaring shortcoming has been a chronic failure to interview Alf.

On the other hand, there’s a danger that anyone who does not give lots of weight to the views of The Mad Butcher and Richie McCaw might be tempted to similarly tick down the views of an eminent Wairarapa bloke, Sir Brian Lochore.

Sir Brian was in Eketahuna North at the weekend, when the Tararua town’s population swelled for a Super Rugby pre-season clash between the Hurricanes and Crusaders.

At the same time the Eketahuna-Masterton Pro-am golf tournament was held on the local golf course.

A nice report appeared on the Stuff website (although the tosser who wrote it did not mention Alf).

This report told us an American pro would be playing.

The picturesque Eketahuna golf course is grazed some of the year by sheep but American pro Charlie Bolling, who won the 1983 South African Open and was on the PGA Tour for four years, said that only increased its charm. “That’s the rub of the green – if I bounce it off a sheep, then shame on me.”

New Zealand PGA events manager Geoff Smart arranged Bolling’s participation after the American contacted him looking for some tournament golf.

It was a “coup” for Eketahuna, Smart said. “If you can get a guy who’s played in 11 major championships and won a major open . . . it’s a course that has sheep on it most of the year [but] it’s always presented magnificently.”

Bolling, from New York, was relishing playing a “fantastic” list of courses, from The Hills to Clearwater and Cape Kidnappers, on tour with a golf client, Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll. “But I love every course with 18 tees and 18 greens . . . if I was here on my own I would just grab my bag and play all the golf courses that no-one talks about.”

Sir Brian missed the rugby match because he was playing in the pro-am.

Lochore helped set up the golf event in 2004 and always plays. “This weekend is a big thing for both the [Eketahuna] rugby club and the golf club . . . who would think that one day you’d get all the best pros in New Zealand there?”

Locals who nobnobbed with Sir Brian after the match have assured Alf that the great former All Black has a great political brain, too.  He told them they are well served by the hard-working, long-serving Alf.

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