David Lange has been in the news, and for most of us – except for the weeping John Campbell on the teev last night – it has been a useful reminder.

Here we were, all preparing ourselves for the outpouring of sentimental grief when the bugger finally dies, and then he puts out a book full of spiteful comments about other people and most of us – again, excepting the lachymose Campbells of this world – are thinking ‘Oh that’s right. You’re a ****.’

So if he sucks the big kumara anytime soon the wailing of compulsory national grief might be a bit more muted than it would otherwise have been. For that, anyway, much thanks, David.

Thanks also for reminding us what some of your colleagues were like.

And, BTW, thanks also for heading up one of our best governments – between July 1984 and January 1988. that government represented – I don’t say caused – a colossal change in NZ. Not all of that change was for the better, but most of it was. This was a much more freedom-hating, insular and small-minded place pre-1984. Despite those on both sides of the political spectrum who have tried to move us back to that, the changes your government wrought have been mostly irreversible.

No thanks though for then heading one of our worst governments, from January 1988 until you quit in August 1989. And one of the major reasons it was so bad was because of your failure of leadership. You were prepared to stop Douglas but you had nothing to replace his policies with. You called for a cuppa tea but it was the longest, most acrimonious and most costly tea break in history.

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