• A Luxon Fluff

    My heart went out to Christopher Luxon yesterday when he had to put his first question to the Prime Minister.

    I had faced a similar challenge on many occasions during my own time in parliament, though in my case I put my questions from the back benches and the Prime Minister to be questioned was Margaret Thatcher.

    My recollection of those occasions is that they did not cause me any particular difficulty – indeed, on one occasion (one that lives on in my own memory, though perhaps not in others’) I caused her some difficulty by asking about the outcome of a meeting she had just had with other EU leaders and she somewhat fluffed her reply – the meeting had not gone well. The fluff was greeted with jeers and cheers from our side.

    Christopher Luxon, of course, had all the added pressure of asking his first question as the new Leader of the Opposition. He had had plenty of time to prepare for it, but he doesn’t seem to have used it to any effect.

    He had presumably thought about the question he might ask, but when it came to the moment, he seems not to have known what it was and couldn’t remember it either – nor could he read it when he looked for the piece of paper on which he had written it down.

    All in all, then, not his finest moment, and a harsh reminder of how much pressure there can be in politics, and in parliament in particular – especially for someone with so little experience of the place.

    Such moments can kick-start a perception that then develops a momentum of its own. After so many failed experiments with their leadership, National must hope that they have not picked another disappointment.