The NZ Herald’s Audrey Young has jolted Alf out of his summer torpor with an article that reminded him to pack his bags and get back to Wellington for the resumption of Parliament this week.
This jolt also reminded him of a great line written by the late Molly Ivins, an American columnist, when the politicians returned to duty in the Texas Legislature.
“Whee, here we go, the Lege is back in session! And many a village is missing its idiot.”
She could have written the same thing of New Zealand’s villages tomorrow, although in this case she would need to remind readers she was referring only to MPs from parties other than National.
Audrey Young should have borne this in mind before writing her introductory paragraph.
It has a distinct lean to Labour and to idiocy.
Labour leader Andrew Little says a number of issues have been building up over the summer which Labour will focus on when Parliament resumes this week, including the funding of the SkyCity Convention Centre and a rise in the unemployment rate.
This was a reference to SkyCity chief Nigel Morrison – before Christmas – saying he wanted the taxpayer to bridge any shortfall in construction costs or the company could walk away from the deal.
But there are other matters on Little’s grouch list:
Mr Little also said the rise in unemployment in last week’s statistics from 5.4 per cent to 5.7 per cent was unexpected.
Two other issues he nominated for focus were the proposed deployment of up to 100 New Zealand Defence personnel to Iraq in a non-combat training role, and tertiary education.
Parliament resumes at 2pm tomorrow.
The Boss then will deliver the Prime Minister’s statement, in which he will outline the Government’s plan for the year.
Alf will be there to applaud often and otherwise ingratiate himself to The Boss in the hope he will be noticed should there be any changes in the Cabinet line-up.
Molly Ivins, by the way, was 62 when she died a few years ago.
She was described in one obituary as an unabashedly liberal columnist and best-selling author whose wicked wit and good ol’ girl-style Texas humor regularly skewered conservative politicians and targeted the pomposities of elected officials regardless of political stripe.
Despite her liberalism Alf imagines he would have got on splendidly with her.
Six feet tall, with a mane of red hair when she was younger, Ms. Ivins was large even in a place that has known its share of outsize personalities. With an earthy laugh and the husky, drawling voice of a barroom bawd, she was usually the focal point of any gathering of folks who enjoyed telling tales and trading political gossip.
This could well describe Mrs Grumble.
Come to think of it, it comes close to describing Alf too, although he no longer has a mane of hair of any colour, and especially not red.