Thursday, January 05, 2006

Helen for Secretary-General?

This one will get the sewer screaming: international women's lobby Equality Now is trying to push for a woman to replace Kofi Annan when he retires as UN Secretary-General later this year. To help in this push, they've published a list of eighteen qualified candidates as an example of the talent that has so far been overlooked. Appearing on the list are our very own Helen Clark and Silvia Cartwright...

But before anyone gets the idea that our Prime Minister is planning to leave us in the near future, there's this disclaimer:

The list presented here is just a small sampling of women who are serving or have served in positions that have given them relevant experience for the job of Secretary-General. There are many more women who are equally qualified. Equality Now names these individuals only to illustrate the considerable pool of talented women who could serve. They have not been contacted regarding the mention of their names, nor have they indicated whether or not they wish to be considered for the post.

As for the substantive issue, candidates should of course be assessed on their merits. But there are clearly qualified female candidates available, and you have to wonder why none has been appointed so far...


What? No Margaret Thatcher?

Posted by Anonymous : 1/05/2006 12:33:00 PM

If Helen left in 2006, it would give enough time for someone else to take over the leadership and so forth before the 2008 election. And, she would have a good standing throughout Asia, Europe, the Pacific and parts of Africa. It could be possibly that she would win the race.

Posted by The Doorman : 1/05/2006 12:59:00 PM

I'd have thought she was too old.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/05/2006 01:02:00 PM

(Thatcher, not Helen).

As for Clark, I don't think she'd be bad at the job - but (rantings from the sewer excepted) I haven't seen much sign that she wants it now...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/05/2006 01:04:00 PM

Heh. That hyper-real campaign portrait rather jumps out from the montage, doesn't it? She looks like a 20 year old compared to the others.


Posted by Russell Brown : 1/05/2006 02:20:00 PM

I think the key phrase was that "nor have they indicated whether or not they wish to be considered for the post". I would have though that indicating interest would be at least a pre-requisite for getting the job. And the ex-Polish president has indicated interest, but the chances of him getting it are slim to none due to Russia most likely vetoing him.

Posted by Lucia Maria : 1/05/2006 03:01:00 PM

We should send the all blacks and all our famous peopel round hte UN to campaign for Helen - she did it for the world cup afterall.

I think it would be good for NZ and the world to have helen as secretary general (or global despot) - and shes probably better than kofi anyway.

I suggest she take cullen with her - I'd like to see his tactics (as mentioned by tamahere) being used on the UN.

Posted by Genius : 1/05/2006 04:56:00 PM


The SecGen's job is mostly that of having a quiet word behind the scenes and establishing consensus, and making public statements that everyone has to agree with. Because, like the UN itself, the SecGen has lots of mana but very little real power. They have to use that mana to get convince other people to do stuff.

In NZ the PM's got a lot of real power. Helen's very good at her current job - I'm not keen on some of her political views, but I don't doubt her competence. But she's also a bit dictatorial: I don't know if she'd be a good Secretary General.

Mary Robinson, in Ireland, won the post of President that many thought was a symbolic position with no power, and used the mana of the position to do a vast amount of stuff. I think she'd be a great Secretary General of the UN.

Posted by Icehawk : 1/05/2006 05:09:00 PM

Thatcher? Good joke!

Remember, she's the one who got very upset with Reagan when Reagan took seriously Gorbachev's professed desire to reform. She was sure the Soviets were just unchangably evil.

She thought Reagan (Reagan!) was far too soft on the soviets.

Russia wouldn't just veto Maggie Thatcher, they'd roll around on the floor laughing that anyone was dumb enough to ask them.

Posted by Icehawk : 1/05/2006 05:15:00 PM