Almost never a good sign:

It can be unsettling when the political chattering classes start asking leading questions.

Anyone familiar with Betteridge’s law of headlines knows how that works …

Click to read Wikipedia entry

But Bill English says calm down, it’s OK. Well, for him, anyway. (That’s too bad about Paula Bennett, then, eh?)

What isn’t he saying?

Personally, I don’t think Bill English did enough ‘wrong’ in the last New Zealand General Election to deserve having the skids put under him by ambitious people in his caucus. I think he absolutely blossomed in the campaign – except for his awful, credibility-eviscerating backing of Steven Joyce’s so-called $11-billion-dollar-hole attack. But what practical choice did he have? He had to fudge it, at least.

Oh, and there was English’s ghastly, nauseating complicity in the slippery Todd Barclay police investigation/non-investigation farce. That was very messy. It took the shine off his ‘Honest Bill’ moniker.

But still, I think English did enough to be allowed to leave the National Party leadership on his own terms and timing. That said, the Labour-led Coalition government arrangement – which sees the somewhat-chastened Green Party ‘in power’ for the first time, as well as the triumphant return of Winston Peters to Cabinet, does feel like a generational change.

And then there’s the Jacinda Ardern effect. National has to respond, somehow.

– P