Island Life by David Slack

You wouldn't read about it

So who won last week's predict-the-Sunday-Star-Times-headline contest?

If you shared the point of view that Matthew Hooton offered last Tuesday morning on Nine to Noon, you'd have offered something that suggested the paper would fulfil its responsibilities as a patsy of the Labour party and offer up something scurrilous, sensational, and possibly even true, to discredit the National Party.

Bzzzt. Wrong answer.

The headline, "Brash survives Brethren fiasco" was not, you would have to say, the most vicious smear you've ever seen of the leader of the Opposition, and all the less so, given that the story was supported - as Russell notes - by polling data that possibly had the benefit of the butcher's thumb on the scales.

In short, no-one guessed correctly, so I have decided to choose the winner on the basis of the contributions that made me laugh the most. The runners up, firstly, are Mr G Reid, writer, of Auckland, who offered:

Public Address blogger flees in fear of swing to Nats

I also enjoyed:

Early edition: "Key denies rift, offers Brash 'full support'."
Late edition: "Brash offers Key 'full support' after midnight coup."

Thank you Simon Garner, for those, and thank you to Hamish Mack for offering the headline that almost was, with:

Brash Admits: "An Evil twin has run my election campaign"

But as much as I enjoyed those ones, the award for capturing the mood of the week goes to Jason Dykes. A copy of Civil War and Other Optimistic Predictions (Slack, Penguin, all good bookstores etc) to you, Jason, for:

Irate Brownlee eats Brethren seven

Truly, this has been an election like no other. Only in this election could a National Enquirer headline sound like one that might actually come to pass. Keep an eye on this space; and if you're prudent, don't take your eyes off Gerry. Except, perhaps, on Sundays at about 10.30 pm to watch The Pretender on TV3.

I imagined this thing would have had much more media coverage than it has, and so it turns out, did its producer, Phil Smith, who I rang today to ask if he'd mind if I put up a few short clips from last night's episode.

He very kindly said he'd be happy for us to do that, so here with pleasure are three clips of New Zealand politics' very own David Brent, the National Party candidate for "Wakatipu South", Dennis Plant. Dennis has big plans for himself and so it would seem, does Phil. Give this thing the ratings push it deserves, and you might just get to see Dennis in Wellington.

Each of these clips is about 10 megs, and you'll probably find it best to right-click and save 'em. If broadband's a problem, don't fret. We'll leave them up there until well after the election, when, if Labour are as good as their word, there'll be broadband in every household and a chicken in every pot. Not that I'm saying they'll win. Predicting headlines is a tricky business.

The Pretender - Clip 1

The Pretender - Clip 2

The Pretender - Clip 3

Coming Tomorrow: The best of the haiku contest entries. You people have outdone yourselves! It's not too late to enter - just scroll down one post for all the details.