Thursday, April 9, 2009
So, Helen Clark leaves New Zealand politics. The scene is smaller by her departure. Such is the nature of politics. Lange and Muldoon are now seen as titans. Not so, at the moments of their departure. Indeed, at that point they were seen as failures. History adds its own perspective. Clark will be seen as a pragmatic idealist or should that be an idealistic pragmatist. No populist, she worked the levers of power very skilfully. Having seen the disunity of the Lange/Douglas years she and Michael Cullen knew that to be successful cabinet and caucus needed to appear to be speaking with one voice. Her finest hour for me was the Iraq war. New Zealand followed an honourable course. That helped her, I am sure, get the UN job.