COMMENT:

If politics is about ignoring the mayhem going on around you, taking the three monkeys' approach, then there are two politicians who'd be in the running for the 2018 Politician of the Year.

The first is Iain Lees-Galloway, who was audacious in the defence of himself over the infernal Karel Sroubek affair. The unravelling of his decision was pure theatre.

The articulate and it would seem unflappable Lees-Galloway was adamant he'd made the right decision, make no mistake about it. He'd do the same thing again, he insisted.

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The days dragged on like a wet week, with the decision looking more shaky as one clumsy statement followed another, coming to a crescendo when he almost casually admitted he'd spent less than an hour reading the papers about the drug smuggler before giving him residency.

The storm was erupting all around him with the decision looking more and more unsustainable leaving another of its diehard defenders Jacinda Ardern exposed. The lightning bolt struck when yours truly ran a yarn about Sroubek's ex-wife living in fear of the jailbird. It was the out the Beehive was so desperately searching for, with Lees-Galloway looking like a possum caught in the headlights, grasping on to the information which he used to pick away at his flimsy decision.

Still through it all he steadfastly maintained his original decision was the right one, based on his scan of the information before him, but this new info had emerged and it needed to be revisited. Phew! The outcome was inevitable but the damage was already done.

It was a close call for this year's top award with Simon Bridges very much in the running for the audacity he showed by insisting on the navel gazing inquiry into who dribbled the details of the expenses he racked up on his getting-to-know you exercise around the country. It irritated the hell out of his MPs who had to hand over their phone and email records.

It irritated one in particular, the guardian of the closet Jami-Lee Ross, who went feral when the finger was pointed at him, offloading all sorts of allegations against the National Party in general and Bridges in particular. None of us would like our private phone conversations made public, especially when you're heard calling one of your MPs effing useless.

Throughout this salacious saga there was one phrase never far from the leader's lips: I have absolutely done nothing wrong. Of course he had, he'd done a lot wrong, right from the time he called the unnecessary inquiry which was always going to end badly for the party and for himself in particular.

But after extensive consultation with my keyboard, the award could go to none other than Iain Lees-Galloway.