Hi folks.

Just a note to say  that this issue  has been beset by - of all things - a cuppa. (Teach  us not to mix a laptop with sugared tea! ) It's  now on its last legs  in a sweetened  end ,  so  RIP  ThinkPad.  Back to normal  next month  - we hope!)

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Who would be National’s leader when an election is scheduled for next month? Who would be that leader for the years ahead? National has chosen Judith Collins, and let’s just for a moment dismiss the Trumpian nickname ‘Crusher’ Collins. Nicknames like that tend to backfire when your opponent is PM Jacinda Ardern.

Just this month, adding to Arden’s already formidable reputation, the latest accolade came from Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stigler, who rated New Zealand’s response to the pandemic as the world’s best. And in the same month, the UK Prospect magazine listed her as second in a list of world thinkers. Collins is a battler. National needs that. Ardern doesn’t.

Popcorn

My daughter named him Popcorn, a cockatiel that came into my possession as a present some years ago. There are many things that come into the unwise-present category, and animals come near the top of the list.

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Memorial

Last November I went to a memorial service for those whose relations or friends had died during the previous 12 months. It was organised by the funeral directors with whom my mother had arranged her prepaid funeral and who had efficiently, calmly and professionally helped us organise her obsequies in early December, 2018.

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Miscellany – February

Bushfires still burn in Oz; Brexit vexited the Brits, and in America a new King was  crowned   by Republican Senators.  You could sense an uprising to  the elevation of  President Donald to King Donald. Tears flowed and jeers echoed on both sides of  the Atlantic, courtesy of  television. These were passionate  issues and sometimes you had to pause to  wonder who, or what, lay behind them.

But no worries,  because Down Under the Aussies showed that their sense of humour couldn’t be extinguished….

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High noon

High Noon, informally, is the when time the sun reaches its highest point in the sky.  It is traditionally regarded as a time for high drama, as in the 1952 movie High Noon.  At High Noon in New Zealand on Saturday, 1st February 2020, it will be 23:00 GMT.  It will be the moment the UK inflicts upon itself, perhaps the greatest self-harm in its long history.  It will break its 46 year membership of the EU.

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Indian Cinderellas

Understanding India from a distance, or even close-up, is not easy. The variety of warring ethnic groups, tribes, languages, religions, casts, class and political grouping complications is bewildering. Just one of those factors, social class, makes 1920’s England look like a classless society.

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The future is now

It took the devastating Australian bushfires to bring home to the country’s politicians that perhaps, maybe, they had to update their thinking on climate change. Perhaps, because that thinking remains dominated by an ideology which increasingly looks untethered to present day realities. Below are some of those realities:

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