Sunday, November 23, 2008

What Bronagh Key wears is none of our business

The Herald today has a piece criticising Bronagh Key's fashion sense and the clothes she wore to her partner's installation. Like DPF and The Hand Mirror, I'm fairly annoyed by this. In case the shallow fashionistas at the Herald hadn't noticed, the people of New Zealand elected John Key, not his partner. And while Key now has a bigger job in which he will be subjected to much greater public scrutiny, that scrutiny does not and should not extend to his family or private life.

In New Zealand we have so far maintained an admirable consensus that the private lives of politicians are exactly that: private. This applies to their affairs and divorces, and it applies even more to their families. People's partners and kids aren't elected, don't draw a public salary, and aren't accountable to Parliament. And so what they do is simply none of our business. That applies to the big stuff like careers and business troubles and personal issues; and it applies even more strongly to the trivia like what they choose to wear. The fact that someone was elected does not make their partner public property, let alone the Herald's clotheshorse. If the Herald wants to dictate what people wear, they should either move to Saudi Arabia and take up Wahabism - or go back to high school.