I blogged on another matter a few months back and mentioned, in passing, that I respected Donald for his willingness to front up.
“One of the things I respect Rod Donald for is that I've seen him, time and time again, front up to finance and investment sector talkfests when he must know almost everyone there is agin him.
But he gets up and puts his party's case. What's more, he doesn't just phone it in: he's usually taken the trouble to do a bit of research about some relevant issue.
It's about respect for your audience. It's about hard work. It's also about having enough of a sense of purpose to believe that if you put your case you might change a few minds, or at least send them away thinking.”
All still that holds, and more.
Rod Donald always used to have me on about being such a Tory. He caught me coming into Parliament a few times not wearing a suit and reckoned I was a greenie at heart. I used to tell him I could never be a greenie because Green economics is basically Marxist. He reckoned it was more than that and we tended to agree to differ at that point.
I don’t normally get sentimental about politicians. It’s not my job. I believe the main qualification of any journalist covering politics is a deep and profound mistrust of the Power Urge – regardless of the ideology of the politician.
But the thing about Rod was that, firstly, he seldom lost his sense of humour; secondly, I can never remember him attacking any opponents personally; thirdly, although he knew where I was coming from he never got defensive or snarky about it, as some MPs have.
In short, he didn't think the strength of his political convictions gave him carte blanche to be an arsehole.
(And yes, I'm sure he pulled a few swifties in his time.)
I’m stunned by today’s news and I find it difficult to believe I’ll never see him sticking his nose around the door of my office in the gallery and having him dump a press release down and say something cheeky about it or about something in the previous Friday’s NBR.
He'll be missed.