I’m comfortably numb ... but I’ll soon move on
After the divisiveness of the election campaign, writes Oscar Kightley, there’s a certain poetic justice in dealing with success or failure.
‘‘MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense as, though of hemlock I had drunk.’’
It’s times like this that only the words of John Keats can adequately express how I’m feeling.
The English poet was 23 years old when he wrote this epic line in his classic, Ode To A Nightingale. The poem was in praise of birdsong but also about mortality and the longing for death and escape.
I don’t long for death and escape. I’m not that depressed about the result of this election.
The result isn’t final. There are still the permutations that will come from the urgent conversations that will take place today as leaders scramble for power. It will be like a morning tea on Game of Thrones, but without the sandals, swords and – perhaps – only figurative stabbing.
At this time it seems Bill English has the running to lead his National Party into a rare fourth term in government.
It will be a sweet feeling for English and, on a personal note for him, a triumphant turnaround from the disastrous result the last time he led his teal-blue army of healthy joggers into an election.
All things going to plan over the next few days he will get the job as prime minister properly and he can breathe a sigh of relief that his political legacy won’t include crashing the car that former leader Sir John Key had spent eight years steering while barely breaking a sweat.
National Party ministers must be relieved that, this time around, they’ve seemingly dodged the bullet fired by the rise of Jacinda Ardern once she became the Labour leader.
A sizeable chunk of fellow New Zealanders who voted will be delighted with how the result is panning out and I amhappy for them… just not happy in a really
One of the things about living in the imagined reality that is democracy, is being grown up about the result.’
overt way at the moment.
But one of the things about living in the imagined reality that is democracy, is being grown up about the result and all that.
Labour is stronger than it has been in ages, but it now looks like they face another three years of having to put up with the smug countenances beaming at them across the floor of the Beehive as National sets about running the country again.
General elections always bring up bipartisanship and for a few weeks there’s been a series of invisible divisions that have sprung up among us, as voters turned to considering the things that are actually important to them.
There’s a natural period of grieving that follows an election when your side has lost. As Pai on Whalerider said, ‘‘it’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just what happens’’.
In a few days, those feelings will go away, and we’ll all just be Kiwis again and can sing Tutira mai together as one nation.
Sadly, at the age of 25, and only two years after writing Ode To A Nightingale, the poet Keats died of tuberculosis. It’s a good lesson in perspective ... after all, there are way worse things in this world than your choice of party losing an election.
But, for now, I’m going to let myself feel a bit bummed out for a few days.
I’ll need a bit more than the words of Keats to cope with feeling a little numb at the grand opportunity for change that New Zealand has just passed up.
It looks like Bill English can rest easy at having successfully taken the steering wheel of a car that Sir John Key drove for eight years.