Opinion: Patient Bill English totally ready to be Prime Minister

Opinion: Patient Bill English totally ready to be Prime Minister

The 'Patient English' is totally ready to be Prime Minister.

That was symbolised at Monday's news conference when Bill English, citing of a line from Pasifika poet Selina Tusitala Marsh, read out: "Lead and dig up the diamonds around you."

It showed there was much more than "boring Bill", that he has his own edge - and is willing to bring it.

John Key would never have pulled off a poetry recital - not even one line.

The other big symbol was on gay marriage - English has done a U-turn on his Catholic opposition after simply observing it hadn't caused any problems.

The news conference showed English's depth, his dodging and his ability to surprise.   

In other big moves, the pledge not to move the superannuation age up from 65 is dead and gone. 

And on Pike River he is open to meeting the families - although he used every bit of his political skill to avoid giving any commitment.

The simple fact is that English has been there, done that. He knows his stuff. He's got a big heart and a big brain. He found that little bit extra today in an accomplished news conference.

English clearly showed he wants to be his own Prime Minister. He will not be John Key II - more like Bill English 2.0.

Whether 'Bill 2.0' works with the voters is the big question obviously. Keeping an edge will be the difference between him becoming a diamond - or getting sent back to the rough.