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August 5, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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David Shearer’s Dream Diary

Political policies are like hats. You don’t know what suits you until you pick it up and put it on. You really have to commit to trying it on in those first few seconds, in the middle of a shop for all the public to see, before you put your money where your mouth is. I’ve tried a lot of political hats recently. I like to imagine myself standing in the middle of Kirks, trying on berets and fascinators, shop staff nodding with approval. I quickly put the man-ban fedora back on the rack after prolonged consideration in front of the mirror, input from people passing by, and hmmms and headshakes from the sales staff.

Last night, I dreamed I was Mel Gibson’s character in What Women Want. In my dream, I would shave my legs in the bathroom sink—a blackhead-clearing strip across my nose, a towel around my waist, a cigarette hanging from my lips and a guitar over my knee—and fall into the bubble-filled bath while blow-drying my hair each night. But instead of tuning into what New Zealanders want and hearing the babble of thoughts of every person and their poodle, I just electrocuted myself. This sequence repeated several times as though I’d scored a few extra lives on Crash Bandicoot. I suppose the repeated electrocutions may explain the harebrained schemes that ensued. What do you think it means, Diary David? Let me tell you what happened:

Monday morning. I got out of bed, moisturised my legs, and checked my hair in the mirror. Not bad, for an old fella. I strummed my guitar in the mirror and winked at myself. Yep, still got it. I was feeling experimental. Time to give Communism a whirl. The People were complaining about asset sales and overseas buyers. It seemed like a pretty good idea just to buy all the electricity and share it all around. Like love. And Skittles. I thought maybe they’d print my face on T-shirts, like Che Guevara. I was wrong. I went back to my apartment to fix my hair.

I woke up the next day, but somehow it was Monday again. No one seemed to remember yesterday. I tried again to reach out to The People. I looked down at my legs. A bit of stubble had grown over night. Just as I was thinking, “Fuck it, let them be hairy!” it came to me: feminism. Of course. What. Women. Want. My subconscious was telling me something. Women want equality. “So let’s make them equal!” I said. Grant hopped out of his side of the bed with his hair in curlers, and told me I can’t just make them equal. Something about needing to be recognised on their own merits, and man-bags. I stopped listening because I was busy trying to squeeze into a pair of stockings. It’s good to experience how the other half live.

Monday morning again. I was feeling frazzled now, after three electrocutions. I was getting frantic. What if I never escaped the dream? While pondering perpetuity, I was reminded of Winston Peters. I paused. No, I was running out of -isms, and heck, it might just work. Racism. Grant brought me the newspaper on a tray with some scrambled egg whites and an orange juice. House prices. Overseas investment. Demand exceeding supply. I knew what Winston would do; he’d target the Chinese. But when you’re leader of the Opposition, you have to go big, or go home. And I wasn’t ready to go home, just yet. My hair still looked good and the pores on my nose were visibly smaller. Smaller. That’s what we had to do. Make the pool of potential buyers smaller. “The rest of the world!” I shouted. What Women Want and the Pineapple Lumps ad blended together in my dream, and suddenly The People were standing around barbecues, playing guitars and telling each other, “and that’s how we beat the rest of the world!” By shutting them out.

“They’ll call us rednecks!” protested Grant. “Now you’re thinking! That’s what we want! Red. Necks. A nation with necks painted red, pledging their allegiance to Labour. Excellent work, Grant. Just excellent.” I thought we’d really nailed it, this time. The only people who could object were those who couldn’t even vote. Grant turned to me and said, “You know what? It’s so crazy, it might just work.” I agreed. M·A·C Rebel is definitely my shade of lipstick.

I woke up. Monday. Dammit. I thought we’d done it. I wondered, “What am I missing?” and decided to experiment with narcissism. I stood in front of the mirror and admired myself. John Key gazed back at me, head cocked to the side, and said, “How you doing?”

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