The ridiculously named Teapot Tapes saga rang a bell in the back of my mind as it all began to unfold.
Now I’m not suggesting John Key and John Banks were making out behind the bike sheds or smoking a sneaky ciggy with their skirts hitched up out on the back field, but the whole thing is somewhat reminiscent of an episode of Sweet Valley High. Not least of which indicates that they all need a big cup of grow the hell up, or at least an after-school detention to sort them out.
It’s a he-said, she-said, over-dramatised silly soap opera of political proportions. In one corner you’ve got John Key, who’s the sort of Jessica Wakefield of politics – loved and hated at the same time, blonde locks flowing (well, maybe in his youth), wildly and desperately flailing his (her?) arms as the drama unfolds. Women want him and men want to be him. Or her. Or, like, whatever.
In the other corner, John Banks is the Elizabeth Wakefield, playing a supporting role and not as charismatic as Jessi-Key Wakefield, but there as part of the furniture. Unremarkable and unoffensive, Eliza-Banks Wakefield will never provoke the love-hate Jessi-Key does, and is sort of the coconut milk to the other one’s spicy curry paste.
Cameraman Bradley Ambrose, he of the smoky Blue Steel pose, is the Lila Fowler-cum-Bruce Patman of the whole shebang. Plotting, scheming, and willing to connive, all (s)he needs is a new purse and glossy brunette hair to finish it all off. And maybe a new Porsche.
The episode’s saga takes place – unfortunately – in a tea shop in Epsom, a far cry from the gang’s after-school French-fry-and-chocolate-shake binges at the Dairi Burger. Which begs another important question: is Epsom middle class enough for tea shops?
Of course, all of this immature, high-school drama – the sort of stupidity MTV reality shows like Laguna Beach built their foundations on – only serves to detract from the real election issues at hand. The sort of stuff we should actually be debating in the media, rather than the News of the World-style content of whatever inane chit-chat may be in those tapes. Things like why National raised GST even though Key swore they wouldn’t. Accountability, broken promises, mining in National Parks, manicures, selling off assets, that sort of thing. Not the frivolities on the periphery of politics – although, admittedly, that’s what sells papers.
It’s a national embarrassment, especially with international media now observing as the saga unfolds, and assuming that we all hang out in Epsom tea shops.