The congenital lawyer… and the builder who demolished him.
I like Bob Clarkson. He gets things done.
Like the clubhouse that he thought he’d build for his drag racing mates in Mt Maunganui.
Only he got a bit carried away and it ended up as a stadium – built in a matter of months.
“How did you put it up so quickly, Bob?” I once asked him.
“People,” he shot back.
“I’d just say to my guys, ‘You build me X number of rows this week, and I’ll put on the beers for a big party Friday night’.”
Winston Peters got done by Bob too. Twice. (If you count the electoral petition.)
How did he do it when so many more articulate Nats had failed?
Another one-word answer:
Only he said it without the g. “It’s all about reconization.”
That’s Bob-speak for branding.
He really should stick to the short Anglo-Saxon words. Long ones like testicles and foreign ones like burqa can be problematic.
I once gave a speech to the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce. I wanted to call it Plain English – from Anglo-Saxon to Bob Clarkson.
I thought that was quite cute.
But the chamber didn’t. They made me change the title. Thought I was taking the mickey. But I meant it as a compliment.
Bob’s acutely aware of his linguistic shortcomings.
He could never call a spade a manually-leveraged soil displacement utensil. He wouldn’t know what any of those words meant except soil.
Yet he drives a Merc, makes millions, and did his town two huge favours by building it a stadium and ridding it of a cockroach-like MP.
I once met Bob in a Parliamentary corridor. He was looking a bit flustered.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Aw, they want me to speak in the House. They don’t care about what, long as I keep talking.
“Well John, that’s just not me. I only want to speak when I’ve got something to say.”
If only more of us thought that way.
Stuff reports on Bob’s Parliamentary parting shot. One line confirms his flair for plain English:
Later, Mr Clarkson wondered if he’d been too wordy – perhaps a simple “bye” would have done.