A Barbados posting would be a bit rum, but it sounds more attractive than Nigeria or Colombia

October 6, 2013

Mrs Grumble has become disconcertingly fascinated with the Caribbean.

This has happened since The Boss announced the Government’s intention of opening a diplomatic post in Barbados.

She fancies Alf’s chances of being rewarded for his years of service to the National Party by being landed with the job of High Commissioner.

She has phoned Mrs Key – with whom she has more than a nodding acquaintance – to ask for the right words to be whispered into The Boss’s ear.

Alf is not so sure it’s a good idea. He isn’t quite ready to take the next step towards being put out to pasture, as Lockwood Smith was when he landed the London post earlier this year.

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We can rule out Kate delivering royal twins, but the gender of her sprog is a matter for wagering

January 15, 2013

Excitement is mounting in the Grumble household, as news drips through about our yet-to-be-born future monarch.

From London, we learn (here) that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby is due in July.

And from Christchurch (here), we learn that Britain’s Foreign Secretary is not privy to information about whether a future king or a future queen will pop out, when the gestation period has expired.

The Foreign Secretary, of course, is a bloke named Hague, and the headline writers have delighted in saying Hague is vague about the gender of the royal sprog.

But it’s fair to say the Daily Mail is a tad vague, too, about Kate’s condition. It says the Duchess of Cambridge, 31, is believed to be 13 to 14 weeks pregnant, and the confirmation of the birth month means it’s likely she’s had a 12-week scan.

More certainly, it reports there are no twins, tucked inside the royal womb.

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Murray McCully’s “discrepancies” may well be a matter of his being numbed by measurements

July 1, 2012

Alf’s mate Murray McCully is inclined – if you give him an inch – to take a mile.

But he should not be condemned for this.

Nor should he be condemned for confusing $10 with – let’s say – $110 or $1200.

At least, he should not be condemned if Alf is right in identifying a new medical condition.

One of its effects is to dull the senses involved in distinguishing between an inch and whatever number of inches make up a mile, or between a centimetre and 1000 centimetres, or between $1 and $50.

Being numbed or mesmerised by numbers, in other words.

It can be likened to the colour blindness that afflicts some people.

Alf has been observing Murray for some time now and has been keeping notes, which will become the basis for an article he will send to The Lancet.

The medical world will then be alerted to the condition which Alf has labelled mathematical discombobulation syndrome.

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Meurant takes issue with McCully about the muscle we might flex to admonish Syrian thugs

March 25, 2012

So what has happened to a red-blooded ex copper?

The tossers at the Sunday Star-Times today have headlined former MP Ross Meurant’s concerns about some feisty foreign-policy changes now on the drawing board.

Murray McCully is taking credit for these proposed changes, at least for now, although (just quietly) Murray is a dab hand at distancing himself from anything controversial if things go awry.

And he knows how not to be spattered when the shit hits the fan, which might be an appropriate expression in this case, because Meurant imports – or was thinking about importing – fertiliser.

Phosphate, as it happens.

But let’s not let that small detail get in the way of a figure of speech.

The proposal that concerns Meurant is simple and – in Alf’s book – compelling.

It’s the idea of doing whatever we think is right, no matter what the United Nations might think, and slapping sanctions on countries that irritate us.

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Murray McCully’s meddling at MFAT – might it bring about his ministerial demise?

March 22, 2012


It looks like your hard-working MP will have to wait to see if his formidable talents are appropriately recognised by The Boss with a long-overdue promotion.

That howz-yer-father about the ACC and the Pullar woman culminated in Nick Smith’s resignation from his ministerial portfolios.

Great (although Alf is not publicly displaying his approval).

Trouble is, Nick’s ministerial jobs have been given to others, at least for now.

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Don’t worry if McCully has disappeared, Boss – we can suggest an admirable replacement

February 27, 2012

Alf reckons he saw McCully head off in that direction...

Dunno what The Boss thinks about a Minister with an aversion to answering questions.

Or a Minister – more to the point – whose current whereabouts are unknown, except that he is “in the media”.

Alf accordingly senses an opportunity to get himself a Cabinet job at long last, and has let The Boss know of his willingness (a) to take over Foreign Affairs; and (b) front up to the news media to explain MFAT job cuts, our position on Syria and so on.

Immediately, it’s fair to say, The Boss seems disinclined to take advantage of his hard-working Eketahuna North MP’s willingness to do what Murray McCully won’t do, which is explain what’s doing.

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The Embassy Winston set up may be closed – so who will sound a warning against ticks?

January 10, 2012

We should not be surprised hear Winston Peters bleating about the planned Foreign Affairs job losses and the closure of overseas posts.

He’s strong on spending public money but Alf can’t recall him being too strong on finding ways of making savings.

The job cuts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade were portended in a State Services Commission report last year. The ministry was looking at slashing 200 jobs out of almost 1000, it said.

The newspapers today are saying an announcement on the details is expected soon.

That’s given Peters a platform for prattling about the implications, although Peters has a knack for turning anything into a platform for prattling.
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Sports minister gave French their panache – so what would McCully give the All Blacks?

October 15, 2011

When it comes to Ministers of Sport, we are at a disadvantage.

So far as Alf can tell, morale is high in the All Black camp a day ahead of the big match with Australia.

Just as well.

If we needed to bring in a political prop to help our team, we would be at a disadvantage.

According to the Herald, when French morale was low, the country flew in its Sports Minister from Paris to rally the Rugby World Cup squad to a quarter-final victory – and he is back again today.

The French Ambassador to New Zealand, Francis Etienne, said the country had followed “good tradition” to call on its leader in times of trouble.

After France’s shock loss to Tonga in its final pool match, Sports Minister David Douillet – a three-time judo world champion – was called on for support.

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Hands up and give us your money, sucker – you have entered a fan zone and I’m the law here

September 25, 2011

It’s daylight robbery and Alf expects Murray McCully – the bloke who has taken personal responsibility for the running of the Rugby World Cup – to do something about it.

He could resign, for example, and the PM could give the job to a more worthy politician. The long-serving, much-admired and hard-working member for Eketahuna North, for example.

Alf refers to the raft of rip-offs associated with the RWC event, the latest being the selling of soft drinks at Rugby World Cup Fan Zones,

True, we only have the Herald on Sunday’s word for it, and the HoS should not be relied on even for telling us what day it is.

But let’s give the buggers the benefit of the doubt on this one.

It says a set price of $5 a bottle has been forced on vendors.

Forced, it should be noted.

The HoS is outraged.

The focus of its outrage is on the plunderous price.

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Invercargill is declared a non-city – but the Southland Times is more concerned with spotting mice

August 20, 2011

A very puzzling media statement came Alf’s way yesterday.

It was issued by an outfit called Concerned Citizens and it called for Invercargill residents to be banned from Parliament Grounds.

Such a ban would not matter a toss to the good people of Eketahuna North, so Alf did not pursue it.

He thought the Southland Times might delve further, however.

But nah.

The Southland Times has become preoccupied with delapidated houses and – good grief – the menace posed by the mice they attract.

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