I wrote a post recently, that broke all previous (albeit modest) traffic records by the way, that refuted the tired old Labour talking point that I'm somehow "bitter" over factional in-fighting that took place four million years ago. As well as pooh-poohing this absurd claim, I made clear that I am not incapable, per se, of feelings of bitterness — and I provided a list of things that provoke exactly such a reaction. It did not, I hasten to add, include WORKING IN PERPETUITY FOR THE LABOUR BLOODY RESEARCH UNIT. 

The astringent tenor of the post may have led readers to believe that I am contorted with resentments and brimming with bile. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Since Christmas has no religious meaning for me, as an atheist, and since NZ has no equivalent of the American Thanksgiving, I choose to use this time of year to dwell on those many things for which I feel immense gratitude. 

Here is a non-exhaustive list, in no particular order:  

  • My gorgeous nieces, Lily and Macy, and awesome nephews, Oscar and James. 
  • My extraordinary parents, Betsyn and Peter: patient — endlessly so — empathic, clever, funny and superhumanly kind. As I get older, the more stunned I am at the luck I struck with Mum and Dad.  
  • My two clever, hilarious, compassionate brothers, Richard and Nick, both amazing dads and great, long-suffering, friends to me. 
  • Their even more spectacular wives, Fiona and Evelyn, who are a joy to be around.  
  • The friends who look out for me, and never tire of doing so — even on those unfortunately common occasions where I have surrendered all hope. You know who you are. 
  • Ten years' sobriety.  
  • Amy Schumer  
  • Tina Fey  
  • Meryl Streep  
  • The LBW rule  
  • The writings of Nick Cohen, Michael Cohen, Jonathan Chait, John McTernan, Rafael Behr, Frank Rich, Hassan Hassan and Michael Weiss. 
  • Every sentence Ian McEwan has written.  
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda for conceiving Hamilton  
  • The Hungarian Pastry Shop in New York  
  • Coconut bread in Hong Kong
  • The Turkish Airlines lounge at Istanbul airport
  • Barack and Michele Obama
  • Malia and Sasha Obama  
  • Michele Obama's Mum  
  • That my friends and former co-workers in Rwanda are living in peace, good health and growing prosperity 
  • Angela Merkel  
  • The Internet
  • John McCain, although only on the subject of Russia
  • Vegemite and Vogel toast  
  • The sincere politeness of my fellow Kiwis. 
  • Kane Williamson.  
  • Beauden Barrett