I said in my post about the Act party list that Boscawen alone was the only one worthy of being returned because he was a free-thinker and a nice guy. Today I woke up and the news was he - at No.2 - had taken himself off. Well, that leaves no-one worthy of being elected from Act: they are down to the ideological pricks whose ideology seems as opportunistic as they are prickly. And if John Banks - arch conservative - now has to sell Don Brash's policy of decriminalisation of marijuana (as outlined this morning on the Q+A show) then it becomes a possibility that no-one at all will be elected from Act.
The contortions needed for Banks to sell a soft-on-stoners policy is a limbo bar set at the height of a matchstick head. Electoral survival revolves around the gravitational mass of the Epsom electorate and I'm not sure that a party with its parliamentary leader abandoning ship at the eleventh hour and running a conservative on a liberal-radical platform is going to be a coherent and credible enough prospect for any set of voters - let alone those of Epsom. There's swallowing dead rats and then there's attempting to eat live capybara...
The party is falling to bits. Unless Superman and Wonder Women are going to pop up at number 2 and 3 on the list they looked doomed. How many shenanigans will the true blue Tory voters - upon which Act is wholly dependent - put up with?
I was putting Act at about 3% before, but it's realistic that it may be only half that after the latest phase of their meltdown. Remember how the party did after Rodney Hide rolled Prebs? - that's what they are looking like now - and yes, I believe that they could also lose Epsom and that would be the end. What will Rodney Hide do?
The cynic would see that the only way Act could be viable is if the Nats stood down their electorate candidates in key seats to give Act a clear run. North Shore (Maggy Barrie) in favour of say Don Brash, in Tamaki withdraw Alan Peachy and pull out Goldsmith in Epsom. Indeed it already makes sense since Boscawen says he will continue to stand in the Tamaki Electorate. It would be gaming MMP, but in these circumstances what else can they do? The Nats would otherwise have to pull about 47-48% to get a majority with Peter Dunne and perhaps Turia and Sharples if they survive. I can't see the Nats getting more than 46% max. Desperate times, desperate measures, no?