Friday, 1 May 2009

I have nothing to declare but my genius

I'm going to miss Michael Cullen.

As numerous commentators have already mentioned, his wit was brutal - something I enjoyed when listening to the wireless or traipsing down to Parliament to watch the fun in the Chamber.

So it's obvious that I strolled up to watch his valedictory on Wednesday eager to watch his final set-piece.

If you've bothered to read any of the columns about his speech, you may have noted that the public gallery was full - unfortunately, it wasn't with the public.

When I arrived at 3.50pm (learning from experience having tried to watch Helen Clark's valedictory), I was kindly informed by security that they'd be closing it off at 4pm so friends and family of the good doctor could watch the event.

That's a lot of family and friends.

I can't begrudge the clearing of the gallery so our outgoing MPs can ensure their nearest and dearest can attend their final moment of glory, but I do take umbrage at the prospect the public can't attend what could potentially be historic moments in our Parliament.

I like the fact that we have such unfettered access to our elected representatives; I like the fact that entry to Parliament is so easy; I don't like the fact that attendance, if not participation, isn't encouraged.

I think events like the valedictory speeches of some of our leading Parliamentarians, the Budget, maiden speeches, and opening addresses should be public occasions - people should gather together in Parliament, in front of big screens, or huddle around the wireless to see our politicians at their best, rather than accept the sound-bites of them at their worst.

Ahh, who am I kidding? I'm just bitter that I was thwarted from observing history twice in a month..... enjoy the Herald's cut....


(Big ups to the Herald for continuing to lead Stuff in the "using cool interweb gadgets" stakes)

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