November 24, 2018
Brian Talboys, 1921 to 2012. He just popped up in the National Party 1975 election campaign advert I mentioned in my last post. This was during his political heyday.
Earlier Version of Bill English
The simplest description to today’s reader is that Brian Talboys was the Bill English of his day. Brian and Bill both thoughtful, measured, and quietly religious men in their times. Both strongly held the Wallace electorate in Southland. Bill, lately, traded in for a List seat and was succeeded by the now infamous MP Todd Barclay, who blew it. Current chip off the old block is Hamish Walker who I know nothing of but will assume he’s just like these predecessors.
Both Brian and Bill rose to be Deputy Prime Ministers to R. Muldoon and J.Key respectively. They provided the double-act of engaging/energetic PM with a straight man. Brian could have been Prime Minister in 1980 if he’d been willing to seize it openly. Many others have but not Brian and not Bill either.
Others had to instigate his leadership challenge for him in what is called the Colonels’ Coup. But Brian flaked out as Muldoon leaned on the rebels one by one. They were cowed and they withered (contrast this with my earlier post where Grey, unable to do the same, was deserted by the ‘loyal army of rats’ in 1879).
This week in history: 22 November 1980: PM Muldoon posing with his cabinet including right-hand sheep, Minister Brian, shortly before the Coup. (Actually, opening the Rotorua Agrodome and these are stuffed sheep. So it’s quite equivalent!
Deputy Brian stayed on until 1981 when he retired from politics. Another man kept the electorate seat warm for a few terms until Bill English was old enough to shave and take over. At this point the titles and honours start rolling in. Becomes a Knight,…highly paid directorship chairs involving very little work etc etc…just like every other retired old politician then as now.
Died aged 90 in winter 2012, Invercargill.
Image ref. Young Bill; Stuff