Jim Hopkins on current issues
Jim Hopkins is a Herald columnist

Jim Hopkins: We'll take the medicine, Mr C -- just give it to us now


It's not the change to history that makes us nervous, it's having to wait to see what it is.

In case you haven't heard, Mr David Cunliffe says he's got some wizard wheeze 'that will change New Zealand's history'. Photo /  Janna Dixon
In case you haven't heard, Mr David Cunliffe says he's got some wizard wheeze 'that will change New Zealand's history'. Photo / Janna Dixon

This is unbearable. It's excruciating. It's like being a kid and waiting for your mum to dole out the daily dose of molasses. A whole tablespoon, for Pete's sake, straight after the porridge and just before the cod liver oil, so you knew precisely when it was coming and there was no escape. Like it or not, you always got the molasses. Open wide, close, swallow, shudder; every flippin' day!

Well, better than Kronic, you may say, and you're probably right. If more young people smoked molasses, the world would be a much safer place. ("Oh, wow. The walls aren't moving but they look so healthy!")

Beside, you'd know if they were doing it because they'd have big sticky stains all over their shirts.

"What are those stains on your shirt, Tiffany?

"They're love bites, Mum."

"A likely story. You've been smoking molasses, haven't you? Well, no ball for you, my girl. Surrender your cell phone and go to your room."

And best go quickly, Tiffany, pet, 'cos it's molasses time again. Or so it seems. And just as it was in those faraway days, the anticipation is worse than the experience itself will likely prove to be. Waiting was always the hardest part. At the dentist, before the crisp white nurse called you to the chair and planted her fearsome foot on the treadle that drove the drill, and in the kitchen before you were molasserated.

In each case, your toes would curl, your body stiffen and your heart race. You knew what was coming and you were trapped - like a possum in a 1080 warehouse - with no choice but to wait for the nightmare to arrive.

Which is precisely what's happening now, gentle reader.

It's deja vu on steroids, Nightmare on Mean Street, every dose of face-buckling medicine you ever had to swallow. Because, in case you haven't heard, Mr David bloomin' Cunliffe says he's got some spiffing scheme, a wizard wheeze "that will change New Zealand's history".

But we'll have to wait to find out what it is. Dr Dave's not getting his spoon out till next Thursday. That's Dose Day, folks, and no way will D. C. say what the medicine is before he doles it out.

All we can do is wonder. And guess. And shudder. And wait. This much we know. It's big. It's got to be. Ideas "that will change New Zealand's history" don't turn up very often. At least, not from politicians; they tend to favour ideas "that will change New Zealand's history by getting me elected".

So what's Mr Cunliffe going to do? Abolish taxes? Put Hone Hadfield in space? (Harawira's just his stage name, you understand).

Perhaps he's going to declare war on Zimbabwe - or maybe Gondwanastan - because the SAS always looks cool on the front page whenever it's snapped in action.

Is that the plan? Will our top-dressing planes soon be hurtling to Oblivion (Gondwanastan's capital) to drop their fertiliser on the evil Emperor's balding bonce? What is this fabbo notion Mr Cunliffe has conceived that will change our history for ever and a day?

Sorry, folks. No answer till Thursday. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Just watch the clock and don't hold your breath. As for you, Mr David (Molasses) Cunliffe, you're a meanie mean meanster, sir, keeping us in suspense. It's rotten, Dave, rotten! Even more rotten than putting a dinosaur's egg under your sister's pillow before she goes to bed.

Come on! Tell us, why don't you. Are we getting a Merc? Or a capital gains tax? Or, maybe, a capital gains tax so you can give us a Merc? The Green Leader of the Joint Party, Dr Russel Normal, wants a capital gains tax. He says everyone else has one and it's time we did too.

Fair enough. Except, when we were all of a tizzwozz about emissions trading, Dr Normal said we shouldn't follow the herd. He said - and you did too - that we should break the mould, lead the way, be the first to boldly go where no other twits had gone.

Perhaps that's how it should be with capital gains, Mr Cunliffe. Perhaps we should lead the way in coming last. Because we don't have it, doesn't mean we need it. No one's got scrotal mange, for crying out loud, but you're not going to put that in the water, are you?

Or maybe you are. Maybe that's your wizard wheeze. A scrotal mange in every glass. And a subsidy on molasses paid for through a capital gains tax. Look, if that's the deal, Dave, we can cope. We can handle it. You want to "change New Zealand's history?" Go for it. Stuff it down our throats, sir. Till the spoon melts, if you must. Just don't make us wait, that's all.

- NZ Herald

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