New Zealand’s top talkback host has been listening to the new leader of the Labour Party. She calls herself a progressive. There is evidence of her having said ‘comrade’. And she speaks very quickly.
Leighton Smith has been dispatching stone cold common sense to ZB listeners between breakfast and noon for three decades. Following this morning’s interview with Jacinda Ardern, hosted by Larry Williams in the absence of Mike Hosking – genuine get-well-soon wishes to Mike – Smith delivered an observation, an important and foreboding warning, to the people of New Zealand.
In the interests of democracy, we have transcribed his words below.
Can I give you an observation? She is very verbal. She is very vocal. She doesn’t run out of words. She keeps talking and she talks fast.
Sidebar: I’ve never trusted people who talk too fast. They do it mostly because they want to confuse you. If you don’t pause occasionally then you’re talking nonsense, you don’t know what you’re saying. That doesn’t necessarily apply to her. I didn’t mean it that way. It’s just the way I feel about people that talk like machine guns. Including some rightwing radio hosts from the United States – just so you know that I’m being fair and balanced.
The fact is that she is talking the second the question is finished, if not before. And she’s rattling off an answer, and it’s come straight off the top of her head, and there’s one of two explanations for it.
One is the idea that you just talk, and you confuse people, and if you talk fast enough and quickly enough, etcetera, and no one can keep up and they think they’re the dumb ones, and you’re the bright one, and they don’t know what you’re saying, but you’re saying something and it must be important, because you sound like you know what you’re saying.
The other is that she’s actually pretty smart. And I go for the latter. She is sharp. Now, whether you agree with her political philosophy is where the difference lies. But she is verbally sharp. She is sharp mentally. She knows what she wants, she knows where she’s going, she ’fessed this morning and said she’s a progressive. The word “progressive” is a dirty word, to be blunt, in my philosophy. Progressives are leftists. Progressives are socialists.
The piece that Larry [Williams] referred to this morning, I’ve watched a couple of times, showed it to some other people over the weekend and they were aghast. This is at the Youth Socialist conference, she was the president in 2009, and she used the word “comrade” 15 times in eight minutes. Fifteen times. Twice a minute. Once every 30 seconds. Comrades this, comrades that. Comrades means something. She said this morning it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just – I’m sorry, it does. Comrades means something. It is actually a Marxist term. And you don’t pick that sort of thing up because you’re not a Marxist.
So, I’m just making observations.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.