Roger, free example of a model politician
He was a first-class human being. The kind of man you would love to have as your uncle or father. He was blessed with qualities which endear one stranger to another. He was avuncular, jocular, and gregarious; a man who embodied love.
He evoked the kind of feelings in people that would make a stranger stand in his company for mere minutes, just observing how he interacted with people. And at the end of that brief period of assessment, the report from the stranger would be, "Yes, mi spirit tek him."
He was a man who boasted. But his boasts were not like the kind often set down by lesser men, who through weight of wallet, would hoard material possessions which they would then use to try and establish themselves in the minds of people as persons deserving of love and admiration.
No. He was the real deal. As genuine as the sheen in the skin of the darkest maroon. As genuine as the little boy who told the whole kingdom that the dear old emperor was actually not wearing splendiferous new clothes, but was indeed stark naked.
No sir. There was nothing fake about this man. For he was as natural as that wonderful aroma that rises when the leaves of the peppermint plant or a root of thyme are crushed. He was indeed a jolly good fellow. And despite immersing himself into it so deep that the crown of his big head was invisible, the cesspool of partisan politics did not putrefy him.
an easy man to love
He was an easy man to love. An easy man to respect. His was an understanding of people that only few who enter public life are blessed with. Though many, including me, have jabbed him over his looks, he possessed a killer charm that would be the envy of any of the 13 men who've portrayed James Bond in film and in prose.
So which is better? To be a handsome devil, who without charm has no personality to rely on? Or to be a plain looker, with more charm than there are dollars in Bunting's bank account? He was never a man who seemed to try to make people like him. He was instead a man who spoke as he felt and did as he liked, but only to the extent where his actions would not disrespect people.
For those who are serving in politics or who aspire to so serve, he is a free example of what to be. He was such a good man that you are tempted to believe that he would sometimes look into the mirror and guffaw at his reflection. Then he would place his hands akimbo and say to his image, "You see you, you remind them so much of who they are supposed to be."
But the champion farmer would not do that. Not that he would be vain for doing so. Because for him, vanity was like trying to mark a block of ice with a felt tip marker. It cannot stick. It will not stick.
not a perfect man
He was not a perfect man. After all, his stewardship of matters in his section of the Cabinet invited much debate and criticism. He seemed to lack belief in the need to take his portfolio into the 21st century, choosing instead to do things the way he learnt it, tested it and perfected it.
He would have been a great man in a world which stood still. This as his application of the principles he trusted would've brought nothing but great results given his people skills and the charm with which he could coax maximum effort from those who worked with him.
So the biggest charge that could be laid at his door was that he was a bit antediluvian and betrayed a fear of those things which he hadn't learnt or done in his formative years. But he never caught feelings when criticised and gave none of his critics the crooked satisfaction of making him an enemy. He was a man's man. A politician's MP. He was honest to the core and despite his failures, I wish we had more political leaders of the calibre of Roger Clarke. Walk on Minister. Selah.