Maybe the answer is a candibot, what you might call a robot candidate from the future. Labour could deploy the candibot to represent the party in electorates where it wants Labour supporters to vote for another candidate, such as Epsom. The candibot would do all the work of a real candidate - campaigning, speaking, performing stunts and so on - but would expire on the night before election day. Its final words would be "Party Vote Labour." The next morning, voting papers would need to be amended and the supporters would be forced to vote for another candidate. The Greens could do likewise, although their candibot would be made of hemp.
We would at least be saved the mutterings of party activists who are now complaining that their supporters voted for their candidates. All those Labour votes in Epsom, we are told, could have gone to Goldsmith and kept ACT out of Parliament. All those Greens on Waiheke Island should have voted for Jacinda Ardern and thus dethroned Nikki K. So, Labour, riddle me this: why did you put up candidates in those electorates? If you didn't want Labour voters to vote for Labour candidates, why did you provide one?
No, don't tell me, I know this one: because you wanted more party votes, that's why. You know that people won't give their party votes to Labour if the Party has no presence in the electorate, so you put up a dummy candidate and then hint (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more squire) that the faithful should betray him. This time, you exceeded all known standards of idiocy by giving the dummy job to David Parker, the man who might be King, the potential future leader, the man many of you want to be Prime Minister next time. And then you tell the supporters in Epsom to vote for someone else, a Tory. And when that doesn't work, you call the party faithful stupid.
The candibot would lighten the progressive load, providing expendable candidates to bring in party votes, before becoming unserviceable and thus unelectable. Of course, this plan would only work if there is nothing in the Electoral Act which says that candidates must be human beings. Surely [obvious joke ahead] there can be no such clause, given the state of some of the candidates elected [it's all in the timing].
Take, for example, Maggie Barry. She was the obvious choice to represent the National Party on the North Shore. since she is famous and most people there have gardens. Since Mr Key's purpose in becoming Prime Minister seems to have been to know as many famous people as he can, Barry, who presented a gardening programme on the telly, was a shoe-in. The Shore being the Shore, there was no chance that she would not win the seat. Nevertheless, despite these advantages Barry managed to get in some self-pity and whining about people being mean to her. Nek minuit, she is sneering at former North Shore mayor Andrew Williams, for some reason or other. Why do they all have this thing about Williams?
Just for the record, although the Herald's headline for this article at 5pm was:
He 'only got 828 votes' - Maggie Barry takes swipe at ex-mayorHowever, all day it had been
Garden supremo-cum-MP takes sly dig at Williams with lemon tree jibewhich surely must be one of the clumsiest headlines in the history of subbing. "Garden supremo-cum-MP" sounds like an unlikely porn movie, while "lemon tree jibe" sounds like a misheard Suzy Quattro song. And what was so sly about the dig? It was a bad joke and a sour one. But such bitterness [boom boom - bitterness, lemons, geddit?] in the bloom of victory is what we can expect from this lot. Entitlement heaped upon arrogance on a bed of stupidity makes for an astringent meal, one we shall be served often in the next three years.
Eventually, we can only hop e, the electorate will tire of these ghastlies and realise what horrible people they chose as their elected leaders. On the other hand, even more of the electorate might drift off into ennui and vapidity, preferring indifference to engagement - an option adopted by nearly thirty percent of the electors this time round.
The reduction, over the last three years, of political debate into a series of media opportunities for the Prime Minister can only continue, given Mr Key's attention deficit disorder and the inability of the media even to question his actions. That, and the culture of stupidity which dominates our age - one in which men are proud to be slightly thick and women to be terribly ditzy - can only produce less interest and thus less participation.
After all, doing something like voting requires an ability to take life seriously for at least some of the time, as well as the knack of thinking ahead, of considering actions and their consequences. Seen much of that lately? No, nor me.
Still, at least we have the girl in the photograph, the true unsung heroine of this election.