The Hollow Persons (With Apologies To T.S. Eliot.)


Let’s do this

Let’s keep moving




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We are the hollow persons

Inflated with hot air

Hanging together

For fear of hanging separately. Cut!

Our empty promises, when

First we make them,

Are far from empty.

We are inflamed by the thrill

Of passionate sounds,

Like Boomers watching porn,

Mistaking the image for the deed.


Policy without intention, sincerity without truth,

Activity without consequence, politics without effect.


Those who have moved on

From office to retirement, that powerless state,

Understand us best – see us clearly – not as lost

Treacherous souls, but only

As the hollow persons

Inflated with hot air.





Eyes I dare not meet in studios

Or the Green Room

Thankfully do not appear:

There, all eyes blaze

Like television lights

There, lips curl cruelly,

And nostrils flare

In eager anticipation of

A broken political career.


I will not go again

To that dream factory

I’ll wear no more

The deliberate disguises of

Commentator, pundit, expert

In my field

Holding up a finger to discover

The prevailing political wind.


No more fulsome greetings

In the shallow money trench.





It is a wavering realm

Guided by autocues

Raising statues of flesh

To receive each morning

The offering of last night’s ratings

Restoring a twinkle to fading stars.

It is not like this

Outside the make-up room

Abiding alone

In those hours when

The camera’s tenderness

Is removed

And all earpieces fall silent.





There are no eyes here

No prying eyes

In this valley of abandoned dreams

This valley of hollow victories

Strewn with the bones of broken promises

In this place of suspended hope

We cling to one another

Avoid commitment

Try to swallow the crumbs of official praise.


Paralysed, unless,

From somewhere,

A choir of cast-off heroes,

Voices from history,

Sing solidarity songs

To gather-in our lost flock

Of hollow persons.





This is the way we wash our hands

Wash our hands, wash our hands,

This is the way we wash our hands

Of everything left in the morning


Between the Caucus

And the Treasury

Between the promise

And the press-release

Falls the shadow


For this is the Empire of Neo-liberalism


Between the Mosque Massacre

And KiwiBuild

Between the stamping out of Covid-19

And the ending of child poverty

Falls the shadow


It’s only a three year term


Between the Politics of Kindness

And the MSD counter

Between the promise of transformation

And maintaining business confidence

Between the loyal working-class

And the borrowed middle-class

Falls the shadow


For this is the Empire of Neo-Liberalism


For this is

Only a three year term



This is the way Jacinda ends

This is the way Jacinda ends

This is the way Jacinda ends

Not with a pang but a simper.



Chris Trotter



  1. Ok CT, you’ve set the tone.

    Smokescreen and Mirrors, a Poem About Deception

    The world is so full of illusions

    That challenge the mind to be free,

    Distort everything we believe to be true,

    it’s smokescreen and mirrors, you see.

    What you observe is not always clear,

    Reflections can often deceive.

    The face in the mirror is not always yours,

    And different to what we perceive.

    Love at first sight is most often a myth,

    First impressions are usually wrong.

    Beauty, remember, is only skin deep,

    Let your intuition hold strong.

    Reflections can often deceive.

    The face in the mirror is not always yours,

    And different to what we perceive.

    Love at first sight is most often a myth,

    First impressions are usually wrong.

    Beauty, remember, is only skin deep,

    Let your intuition hold strong.

    The media outlets aren’t truthful,

    In fact they are pedlars of lies,

    So make sure you look at all viewpoints

    And do all you can to stay wise.

    Magicians are true entertainers

    Who take their craft to extremes.

    Their illusions amaze and confound us,

    In magic they make us believe.

    Politicians are just simple tricksters,

    Who divert our attention with ease.

    Hollow promises fill their election campaigns,

    We can’t see the forest for trees.

    The Internet is so wide and vast,

    Evil scammers lurk in its depths.

    Always be vigilant of their sweet talk,

    And avoid their cat fishing nets.

    The world’s like a “mirror maze” sideshow,

    It’s a challenge to find your own way.

    One wrong turn after another

    Can leave you confused, lost, and dazed.

    So, don’t take a detour away from your path,

    Smoke and mirrors are only a ruse

    That try to disguise what’s wrong in the world,

    And blindfold your eyes from the truth.

    Keep your eyes open and use common sense,

    Don’t believe all the falsehoods you’re told.

    The path to enlightenment’s not far ahead,

    Be discerning, unflinching and bold.

    You can tell a politician is lying when they claim they want fairness for all. They’re part of and represent an unfair elite who will never share their wealth, power or opportunities with the underclass.
    Stewart Stafford

    • “ Beauty, remember, is only skin deep” …but not when it is the beauty of Bach, or Beethoven, or Wagner or Tchaikovsky, or Verdi, or Gounod or Puccini or Michelangelo or Van Gogh or Vermeer, or the finger painting of a small child… all of which may reveal eternal truths well beyond the realm of all but the rare politician…and lift up our lives in a manner of no interest to power mongers.

  2. You can fool all of the people some of the time, and can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    Fool me once -shame on you.
    Fool me twice -shame on me.

    Jacinda’s fatal mistake, both politically and literally, was to mention climate change, and then implement polices that make it worse faster.

    Jacinda’s fatal mistake was to side with the banks and corporations instead of the people.

    Jacinda’s fatal mistake was to go into politics instead of advertising.

    No she is fated to reap the rewards of mendacity.

    • She said ‘ climate change’ and we sat up and listened, but somebody turned the sound off. She knew what she was doing. Still does. It was never about the people, and it is chilling,

      If it were just you and I to worry about, it may not be so bad, but it’s thousands of others, and the future of millions, and that old lady selling plants at her front gate who somebody will inevitably dob in to the IRD, because that’s the way we are here now, and mean as hell.

      • ‘She knew what she was doing. Still does. It was never about the people, and it is chilling,’

        I guess that is what a degree in communication does: teaches you to lie effectively to the masses.

        The part of it all that I still don’t understand is Jacinda’s willingness to sacrifice her own progeny to the machine. Or does she think money buys a livable environment?

        I guess we’ll never know because such matters are ALWAYS off the agenda, and the wants of banks and corporations and opportunists are ALWAYS on eh agenda.

        • I talked about this with one of my adult offspring, who said that the rich with their buffers and bolt holes, only buy themselves a bit of extra time, that’s all.

          Some still don’t accept the reality of climate change, or are in psychological denial. I would imagine that controllers and manipulators may be incapable of accepting that there are things beyond their control – and it can drive them mad.

          Nurses in the USA report patients dying of coronavirus, insisting up until their very last breath, that it is something else killing them. NZ Govt climate change myopia is inexplicable – but even Prince Harry apparently did a zoom call saying cv was a media beat-up, and things were not as bad in the UK as the media portrayed – while people died in their hundreds and thousands.

          We can’t really trust the msm, but we can’t trust the politicians either -and that’s a universal.

  3. Chris, I don’t share your political leanings but I so want to congratulate you on this wonderful parody. Quite brilliant!

  4. Ah – Truth from the poets. Ardern may have mistaken herself for the transformation. John Key left me repulsed by the word, cusp. This government’s word aversion listing is growing longer.

    Let’s get moving – rallying call for the growing numbers of homeless and no-fixed-aboders. The politics of kindness – doing what has always been done, with a broader smile and bigger earrings. Povidy, the word used to avoid using the word.


    “ Words divided from things, money divided from things,
    Have made a gap between us and the world
    And in that gap our intellects are crucified.

    …. But the crucifixion of flies makes all the angels shudder…”

    It will not be with a simper though, Clark’s protege is no blancmange-y sort of person.

    • Yes “let’s keep moving” almost certainly refers to getting more homeless in to cars.
      Certainly some transformational house prices occurring.

    • Alternatively that vague slogan reveals their intentions: let’s (Labour) keep moving (from meaningful change).

  5. Very good @ CT.
    And of course very apt.
    I’m sad to report at this point that I see nothing tranformative about Labour. The homeless are still homeless, the poor are still impoverished, the riche get riche-er, the banksters still use housing as bait and we keep biting and we rare few still stand back in breathless disbelief at the whole spectacle. I sometimes feel as if I’m watching a shit play being performed on the largest stage I’ve ever seen where it costs more to get out than to get in.
    I’ve never been to church to ‘worship’ in my life but I can imagine it’s a bit like AO/NZ life.
    We could change of course but can we also explain to sheep how to unsnib the gate? It’s been my experience with sheep that probably not. I’ve often shouted ” Wipe your bums! ” but no. With sheep, like humans, good advice often falls on deaf ears.

    • Surreal, isn’t it, Countryboy. Someone here referred to a ‘Jacinda Cult’ the other day, but it’s not even that – it’s nothing very much at all.

      After the sociopathy of the Nat years, and the fear of death – it’s coming – it’s coming- it always does- engendered by the virus, there came the smiley clown brandishing brightly coloured balloons, and everybody likes a balloon – but the damn things blow away, or burst, or deflate, slowly.

      After Key, English and co, anything was going to look good, but what losers Labour are if all they did in opposition was waste time and tax payers’ money. Their baulking at facing facts now, is a moral issue, but such have rarely concerned parliamentarians, so the rest of us have to help out as much as we can, while the politicians help themselves and their best friends. Simple really.

      Church? I have a sort of mental list of far-right grubsters like Roger Kerr, Doug Myers et al who got smote in their prime by karma, so there’s more than a virus at play here… Kia kaha.

  6. As the smokescreen before the second term parliamentary mirror cleared…

    Jacinda saw it was not her face, but John Key’s staring back at her.

    Distractions… I need distractions..

    Jacinda to her MP’s: I’m getting so much heat about housing and the Reserve bank I can’t deflect it much longer, what have you got for me?

    Nash: I know the public hate those campervan’s. Hell even Paul Henry can’t stand them. I can say I will look into it.

    Jacinda: Great but I need more distractions. David I saved your butt after you went awol on Covid.

    David Clark: I can drag out a year long inquiry into food prices..

    Jacinda: Ok that’s getting better.. What about you Phil … and no I don’t want another Chinese names fiasco.

    Phil Twyford: Umm.. I could pull a few pony tails, and start a flag competition?

    • Phil Twyford: Umm.. I could pull a few pony tails and start a flag competition. Ha ha. Ha ha ha. Thanks for that Polly Tickle, a wonderful laugh.

      Can I add another one please ? Abolish all street names, they just cause trouble.

      – That could be more of a Greenie sort of thing though – maybe rename Christchurch’s Cathedral Square ‘Unicorn Place’ : that would happify the Greens, preoccupy all the denizens of Canterbury ad infinitum, plus confuse children, the elderly and the ill. Spot on.

      • Thanks Snow White, all distractions are welcome.

        As an after thought, I was thinking I should have had Jacinda saying to the ministers please don’t make me have to bring out the nuclear distraction option just yet, I was saving it for the third term, namely wedding bells..

        • Word on the street was that Helen Clark wept at having a wedding urged upon her in the interest of politics; no- one should have to do that – and I don’t think I could take it- interested to see the earrings- that’s about it really.

          The distractions will come though, and this is why being rigid and doctrinaire is a mistake – politicians should be able to adapt and change when circumstances change, just as we all do. One person declaring eg that a CGT will never occur on her watch, should not have that sort of absolute power on any issue whatsoever.

          And just never forget the public opprobrium Sue Bradford still endures for trying to actually protect our children – not perpetuate the wretchedness of some of their lives as the present lot are doing.

  7. The failure of Jacinda’s ‘kindness’ mantra is best exemplified by the continuation and ramping up of the cruel live export trade. Indeed, it should be seen as a metaphor for the failures of this government.

    The Labour Government has not upheld its temporary ban on live export and made it a permanent ban after the tragedy of the Gulf Livestock 1 sinking in the East China Sea with the loss of 41 human lives and close to 6000 animal lives.

    The horrors the animals experienced, being confined on a sinking ship, are unimaginable and to condone the risk of this happening again is inexcusable.

    The horrors of live export have been well documented for many years now by Animals Australia;

    Given the already well documented conditions for animals on these ships I believe that the government had no need to embark on any review of live export and such a review was a waste of taxpayers’ money.

    Furthermore, the review by Mike Herron QC has turned out to be nothing more than a ‘slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket’. Mike Herron QC, though highly qualified in his legal field, is nevertheless no advocate for animals. The recommendations of his review are inadequate to address the fundamental cruelty and risks for animals in this outmoded industry.

    I cannot stress enough the huge public outrage that the government persists with this industry. Live export is and will remain a thorn in the side of this government until it is stopped.

    The fact that the live export trade continues undermines the compassion and kindness that the current Jacinda Ardern led government is known for, is respected for and should be so rightly proud of.

    Recently, a legal action in Scotland managed to stop the live export of calves from that country. Please see the following link;

    The Scottish case cited the list of concerns below;

    Long distance live animal transport frequently results in:

    Overcrowding – Animals are crammed into vehicles. Many are injured or trampled to death.
    Exhaustion and dehydration – They can be in transit for days, suffering extremes of temperature and often without sufficient food, water or rest. Many die as a result.
    Pain and stress – Animals are sentient beings and feel pain and stress just like we do.
    Illness and disease – The spread of diseases across the globe – such as bluetongue virus, foot and mouth disease, avian influenza and swine fever – can be directly attributable to the live transportation of farm animals.
    A lack of legal protection – When animals are exported from Europe to countries outside the EU they leave behind them all the legal protection they once received. This means they can face terrible abuse during transport and at the time of slaughter.
    Unexpected issues – in addition to routine suffering, long distance live transport can also result in fires, delays or sinking of livestock ships causing the suffering and death of large numbers of animals.

    I would hope that the Labour Government would end this cruel and vile industry before any such legal action is required in New Zealand. An ongoing legal action against live export will be like a festering sore undermining confidence in this government’s spin.

    Further to the above, the Humane Society International has also called for the end to live export. The HSI has all the above concerns about animal welfare but it also cites the evidence that live export of animals adds to the risk of further pandemics in future.

    For all these reasons the live export of animals must stop. It is a blight on our international reputation for animal welfare, it carries huge risks for disease and to continue the trade is to remain on the wrong side of history.

  8. Nice work Mr Trotter. Good to see you are rediscovering who you are.
    Your understanding of the current situation is average at best but improving.
    Your knowledge of history and imparting that on current situations is not bad

  9. Chris
    I don’t think there is any need to apologise to T S Eliot. There’s just as much in this as that. He would be honoured.
    But I sincerely hope that you are not tossing it in a a commentator . There is no one to replace you. I know if I comment it is nearly always to disagree , but when I agree what is the point of of comment?
    And here I disagree again…
    I get that you are disappointed in Jacinda’s transformative achievements. And that you had advocated for her to become the leader so hopefully and so eloquently . But you were not wrong! . She is a wonderful leader. No country in the world has better, they are all in a state of envy. But she is the leader of a political party that is in government of a country that is part of the Western world. She is not the whole party , not the whole government, and does not have authority over the western world. As such she has to work with the tools she has; with the fools she has. Housing was and is a massive problem , so fixing it was an obvious priority for the last government during election campaign . But what could be done about it , and when was a thing she would obviously have had to get advise on in the campaigning phase, and relegation of duty in the implementation phase. Clearly she did not have adequate support in either . At least she learned not to make promises that she cannot personally be responsible for the delivery of this time.
    I think the neoliberalism is the Hollow Man now. It is in it’s death throws, on life support through QE , even here now. But now hospitalised under intensive care the pretence of anything trickling down or out of the corpse is no longer an illusion that can deceive anyone. ow is not.
    D J S

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