As we say goodbye to 2020 and welcome in 2021, it's a good time to catch up on the very best of the Herald columnists we enjoyed reading over the last 12 months. From politics
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As we say goodbye to 2020 and welcome in 2021, it's a good time to catch up on the very best of the Herald columnists we enjoyed reading over the last 12 months. From politics to sport, from business to entertainment and lifestyle, these are the voices and views our audience loved the most. Today it's the top three from John Roughan.
Jacinda Ardern has received praise from near and far for her leadership in this pandemic and most of it is deserved, wrote Roughan back in April.
Having taken decisions that would crash the economy to save "tens of thousands" of mostly elderly lives, she has taken the country with her quite brilliantly.
Her appeal to "be calm, be kind, we're all in this together" resounded so well with some people that when out walking in the early days of the lockdown I saw her words posted on walls and chalked on footpaths.
She offers inspiring sentiments but I worry that one important section of society might not be feeling the love. People in business on a small scale – a shop, a cafe, a salon and the like – are more exposed to the economy than most people and "we're all in this together" might not be working for them.
One fine day, possibly just seven weeks away, we will wash Winston Peters out of our politics, Roughan wrote back in August pre-election.
Peters entered Parliament more than 40 years ago and has hung around for no discernible purpose beyond his own amusement. Two generations have come into politics, risen to the top, governed conscientiously and left when their time was up, while he has been little more than a pest.
Parliamentarians are given the title "Honorable". I believe Peters doesn't know what that means.
When I watched those policemen holding George Floyd down, one keeping a knee on his neck, I saw scared white men. I don't think Americans realise they are an unusually fearful people, Roughan wrote in June.
As always after these shocking events, America's best media were discussing racism in terms of white guilt rather than white fear. Both may be a legacy of slavery but fear is more difficult to address.
It is easier to ascribe racial prejudice to assumed superiority, an explanation that is horribly comforting for many scared whites. It is harder to discuss fear because it demands a reason and there are no respectable reasons.