In his third lockdown piece Ross Sinclair—Wellington, NZ—lays the groundwork for never being invited to another family BBQ while sharing some thoughts about his country’s Prime Minister.

When the kids are busy I catch up on emails and news. I find my way to a ‘human interest’ clip from CNN on YouTube. I cry and so does the interviewer. The news is not supposed to be like this. I stop it before it ends, like I stop bad dreams before they become nightmares, and I sit there remembering why I don’t watch TV. 

I get my news from Radio New Zealand. Smart people asking other smart people insightful questions. Very little ‘human interest’. 

I also listen to the Prime Minister’s daily briefings, marvelling at how lucky we are to have a compassionate leader in such a crisis. If the centre-right National Party had been in power my friend, a monumental mason, would have been busy next year—twelve months after death—when families erect headstones.

My wife wonders if Jacinda is heralding a new era of compassionate female leaders. I hope so. 

I don’t feel compassionate, I feel bored, so I post on the WhatsApp group I share with my 10 first-cousins.

“Two questions for you dickheads” I post.

“I was wondering if the antivaxers among us will be lining up for the Covid-19 vaccinations when they arrive? And to the rest of you, how do you feel now about the years of chronic underfunding of the health system under National?”

I try and offend both ends of the political spectrum. 

I succeed. 

These exchanges always descend, rapidly, into me being abused ; myself insisting that they should really listen to what I say as I am the only cousin with a PhD.

This sends them apoplectic. 

Mission accomplished. I go and make the kids a snack. 

Ross Sinclair