John Key clearly enjoys being in the limelight. He's like a goofy kid that suddenly got noticed by the important people. He fawned over Barack Obama, and allowed himself to look like a grinning fool when delivering the "Top Ten" on the Letterman show yesterday. And what an unfunny batch of jokes they were. Key should have flat refused to deliver them. My respect for Key would have been enhanced if he'd walked over to Paul Shaffer and given him a slap. I don't normally advocate violence as a solution to problems, but when it comes to Shaffer's incessant and annoying commentary I think we could make an exception.
Key has enjoyed this limelight so much he now wants New Zealand to seek a seat at the Security Council. Having a seat at the big table sounds fine, so long as there's no international crisis at the time putting pressure on us to lean one way or the other. It will also give Key (or his successor) the opportunity to strut about the world meeting more important people. Something Key clearly enjoys.
The contrasts between Key and Helen Clark are striking. Clark was always something of a dour figure, at least publicly. She would attend All Black games and sit in the stand looking bored, whereas Key clearly enjoys such occasions. But on the international stage she had a real presence and command. Key still looks like he's dazzled by the bright lights. For example, when Key met Obama I thought our PM was going to wet himself or have an attack of the vapours.
I don't intend this to be an outright attack on John Key: he seems personable and approachable, and that's a useful political asset. But I like my leaders to have a bit more substance when they're on the international stage. Key needs to work on fixing this image if he wants world leaders to take New Zealand to seriously.