You always knew when John Key was under pressure, you'd hear a fierce suck in of breath through his teeth which he'd almost use as a mechanism to stall before giving an answer.
With Bill English it's a deep, uneven breath followed by a short cough and he's been doing a lot of that since that pesky Nicky Hager forced his way back on to the election year platform with his Hit & Run expose.
Even though be privately admits to loving the Prime Minister's job, that he's coveted from the time John Key entered Parliament shortly before he lost the leadership, there must be times that Bill English wants to stop and scream out for help.
Much of the job is crisis management and he's had quite a lot of that over the past few weeks, from the growing call to charge for exported water to an inquiry into what when on in Afghanistan when the SAS led an attack on two villages there.
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The argument boils down to this. Hager and his co-author Jon Stephenson say they killed six civilians, including a three year old girl.
The Defence Force says they killed nine insurgents but there were no civilian casualties.
There are growing calls for an inquiry and English has been stalling, using the excuse of having to talk to his Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Defence Force chief Tim Keating who've just got back from Iraq. But neither man had anything to do with the events at the time.
It would seem there were civilian casualties, the coalition forces command said at the time there "may" have been, given the helicopter gunships missed their targets and struck two other buildings, likely to be houses.
However our defence forces, interestingly quoting no-one in particular, said eight months later in a statement, allegations of civilian casualties were unfounded.
Lawyers have now got their sticky beaks in on the act, saying they're representing the families of those killed, and are calling for an inquiry. A source with more experience than most in Afghanistan said they should be treated with caution, given they're dirt poor and they'll have an eye on the money.
So now it's time for Bill English to take a deep breath, clear his throat and make a decision and even though it may be unpalatable to appease Hager, an inquiry would seem to be the only option.