Every so often, a golden ray of hope breaks through the dark blue skies that overhang and overshadow our politics like a colossus.
It's taken six years, several scandals, and some seriously suspicious stuff from Sabin ... but we've finally managed the seemingly impossible, and gotten National running scared.
Well, I say "we". It's mostly down to the heroic efforts of one man - Winston Peters.
Right now, my news-feed on social media is alive with panic-stricken National party propaganda.
They've issued attack-images which attempt to turn Winston's extensive Parliamentary experience into a negative. (Because apparently they can't work out Northlanders might prefer to be represented by one of the most inveterate politicians around instead of a man whose greatest political experience thus far has been power-lifting Sabin into a seat.)
They've photoshopped pictures of Winston to try and make him look older rather than "elder statesman".
And the specter of three men on a bus rampaging around the electorate's obviously got them so incredibly spooked, they've started shipping up Young Nats from at least as far afield as Wellington to go and join the ground campaign.
That acrid scent you can smell hanging in the air isn't Northland's cannabis crop ... it's raw fear emanating from National.
And oh, how it reeks gloriously!
Not least because literally every dirty trick, underhanded play, or 11th hour effort at bridgebuilding with the electorate ... has backfired on them almost as horribly as National's decision to run Sabin again in 2014. (Leaving Osbourne flailing to explain "what didn't he know and when didn't he know it" about why he still backed Sabin despite the allegations circulating)
Key attempts to play Pontifex Maximus (that's "chief bridge-builder", for those of you playing at home). His candidate stuffs up on national television trying to name all the bridges; and almost every commentator in the country starts fulminating about "pork-barrel politics".
Key announces an unprecedented number of visits to the electorate, and cuts short his official state business in Japan to hit the campaign trail. Commentators note this indicates serious worries, and people start tut-tutting about how National neglects the serious business of government to concentrate on winning elections.
They deploy managerial magician Steven Joyce to personally handle the campaign and the candidate ... he winds up so patently stage-managing and directing Osbourne on Q&A that we're left with the inescapable impression that Osbourne's incapable of handling media without a minder.
The Young Nats release an idiotic attack image chronicling Winston's Parliamentary career thus far. Everybody who sees it gets the message that even his enemies must concede he's the most experienced candidate, and was able to hold an electorate seat for five terms straight (presumably by doing a quality job of serving said electorate as their local MP). Patrick Gower highlights its stupidity on The Nation. (Seriously, were the Young Nats tiki-touring Northland in Sean Topham's Toyota Camry when they came up with that one?)
And speaking of Young Nat blowback ... I can hardly think of a WORSE campaign outreach arm for Northland. When you're electioneering in one of the most economically deprived electorates in the country, the very last thing the average denizen of rural Northland presumably wants to see is some fresh-faced law/politics student formerly of Auckland Grammar.* Hopefully the combination of #TeamKey t-shirts on upper-middle-class-future-Yuppies reinforces to Northland voters exactly whose interests National presently exists to serve.
Most importantly of all, the obvious fear in National's collective five eyes at the prospect of Northland's Prodigious Son making yet another triumphant comeback marks, to my mind, the Turning of the Tide in our seven year struggle to overturn this rotten government.
At this moment, National are presently engaged in that well-known campaign strategy of "FIRE EVERYTHING" in the vain hopes that through sheer weight of numbers (or, possibly, dead-lifting), they'll be able to stop the Winston juggernaut.
Young Nats, Old Nats, Cabinet Ministers, The Deputy Prime Minister, Jami-Lee Ross, taxpayer-funded Crown Limousines to ferry them all in, and even repeated deployments of their deadliest weapon - the Prime Minister himself. It's truly an awesome gathering of political muscle and might for the explicit purpose of taking on three men on a bus. In fact, to reference The Other Winston ... I'm even tempted to suggest that never in the field of political conflict has so much been thrown by so many at so few.
When Winston wins on Saturday ... we shall truly be able to say "This Was His Finest Hour".
*Yes, technically speaking, I'm a BA/LLB student who went to Grammar ... but apart from noting my recent flirtation with facial hair renders me anything but "fresh-faced" - I'm *also* the guy who wound up waging a one-man guerilla war against the neoliberals in the Grammar economics department. It's different, OK?!
(In arguably the same way that comparing John Key to a present-day state-house-dweller would be).
Work for it: On Rohan Lord & the L'Oreal candidates - My, how politics has changed. As with so much of the New Zealand lifestyle it has been streamlined, professionalised and become a much more risk-adverse ...
5 hours ago