Sunday, August 03, 2003


I told the first story yesterday about how civilized politics used to be in the Anglo-Saxon countries. When the rest of the world was having bloody revolutions and the like, we were drifting gently along by comparison.

Today's story concerns that great character of New Zealand politics, Robert Muldoon -- conservative Prime Minister from 1975 to 1984. The story was included in his autobiography, My way:

There was a time during his Prime Ministership when Maori radicals were particularly unhappy with him (though many Maori gang members loved him) and there had been bomb threats made against him. So a police guard was mounted on Vogel House, where N.Z. Prime Ministers live. This being New Zealand, however, the policeman finished work at 7pm and went home! So about 10 pm one night there was a knock on the door at Vogel house and there was nobody there to answer it but Muldoon and his family. So what did our Rob do? He answered the door personally! When he did so he found three big Maoris standing there. Were they there to assault him? What did they say? They said: "Rob, we saw your light on so we just dropped in to wish you goodnight." They then all shook hands amid smiles all round and went off waving goodbye.

That story still makes me weep. It does show something of Muldoon's guts but it mainly makes me regret that such a civil society is now virtually impossible almost anywhere.


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