On Shane Jones – Cock of the Walk

Shane Jones is one of only two people I have ever hung up on. I don't take well to being bullied or abused.

Shane Jones is one of only two people I have ever hung up on. Trevor Mallard is the other. I don’t take well to being bullied or abused.

I do Mallard an injustice by mentioning him in the same context as Jones. I have considerable respect for Trevor and nothing but contempt for Jones.

If I ever had doubts that such contempt was deserved, they would have vanished over the past couple of weeks in the face of his numerous appearances on television. This is not a man the Labour Party can ever afford to have as its Leader. This is not a man the country can ever afford to have as its Prime Minister. He would almost certainly bring shame to both offices.

When the story of Jones using his ministerial credit card to pay to watch porn in his hotel rooms first came to light, my primary reaction was that it was evidence of extremely poor judgement. The morality of watching porn concerned me less. Tens of thousands of New Zealand men watch pornography on the Internet every day. Porn-watchers form the Internet’s largest audience.

But I was impressed by the way Jones fronted up to the unacceptable nature of what he had done and, without overdoing it, apologised to his colleagues and the nation.

Jones is no longer apologetic.  He is in fact now making capital out of his sleazy reputation. 

This was most evident in Guyon Espiner’s 3rd Degree item on Jones, variously described by commentators as an ‘ode to Jones’, a ‘homage to Jones’, and a further example of ‘the political snowjob he is currently orchestrating during his extended bromance with TV3 political editor Patrick Gower and 3rd Degree’s Guyon Espiner and Duncan Garner.’ (Fran O’Sullivan).

Espiner’s piece certainly had little journalistic merit. It was a shameless promotion of a politician currently involved in a contest for the leadership of a political party who, if he wins that contest, will next year be involved in a contest for the leadership of the country. Yet Espiner asks not one remotely probing question. He is too busy tending the barbecue for his host and laughing at the sexual innuendo that peppers Jones’ answers.

It’s been argued that, had they agreed to take part in the programme, David Cunliffe and Grant Robertson would have received similar ‘soft piece’ treatment. Their reasons for not taking part were apparently that they did not want to subject their partners or families to the media spotlight.

Jones had no such reservations. He had himself photographed with his ‘beauty- queen girlfriend’ Dot Pumipi sitting on his knee;  he’d appointed her his campaign manager; and she was centre-stage in the Espiner piece, content to answer the interviewer’s only uncomfortable question: what was her reaction to  the porn-watching story?  (I’m not entirely sure from her answer how she felt. I think it boiled down to ‘Boys will be boys’.)

Dot Pumipi is a very beautiful woman with a charming and engaging personality, a prize, you might say, for any man, incontrovertible evidence of his sexual appeal and prowess.

Cunliffe and Robertson’s refusal to parade their families on television has been seen as an error of judgement on their part. But in leaving the limelight to Jones, they inadvertently did themselves and the nation a favour.

I regularly quote the doyen of British television interviewers, the late Sir Robin Day, on this site. And in particular these lines:

‘In a TV interview…the politician’s own brain is seen to operate. His or her real personality tends to burst out. Truth is liable to raise its lovely head.’

So what did we see of the operations of Shane Jones’ brain in the Espiner piece? What was the real personality that burst out? What was the truth that raised its lovely head about the candidate for the Labour Party Leadership?

Here’s Jones on his Dalmatian forefathers: ‘I tell you what, a lot of them were fairly lusty individuals, because they didn’t always marry those Maori wahines they applied their biological gum-spears to.’ (Penis reference. Espiner laughs.)

Jones again, following his call to David Cunliffe: ‘What the hell is a soft piece. Doing things in a soft fashion has never really been a failing of mine’ (Penis reference presumably boasting his ability to sustain an erection. Espiner finds this very funny.)

And here’s Jones, in a speech referring to what he intended to do to John Key:  ‘I’m going to tie a bungy cord around a sensitive spot and then I’m going to get those callipers and cut them, and then the mercenary of capitalism can suffer what he deserves – a dead cat bounce.” (Reference to castrating John Key)

And Jones on Labour’s proposed ‘man ban’: ‘… the overwhelming response [in his electorate] is the public doesn’t want the country run by geldings.’ (Reference to women as castrated male horses.)

Try putting each of these statements, the very tip of the Jones personality iceberg,  in the context of ‘Shane Jones, Leader of the Opposition’  or ‘Shane Jones, Prime Minister of New Zealand’. It does not compute!

As Fran O’Sullivan so astutely observed in her Weekend Herald column Saturday: ‘Why doesn’t earthy Shane Jones just come out and say, “I’m not just another Labour soft cock?”’

Why indeed? There must be thousands of ‘good Kiwi blokes’, which is what Jones’ mate Guyon tells us Shane is, just hanging out for a warrior hero with a stiffy.

Me, I’m more of the effete intellectual type. Crass, sexist vulgarians like Jones just aren’t my cup of chai latte.

Media trainer and commentator Dr Brian Edwards has retired from posting blogs at Brian Edwards Media

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