Ok, let’s get the cricket analogy out of the way… You’ve undoubtedly seen the video of Howard bowling the short-pitched ball that was a little less threatening than you’d expect from an Australian bowler, but I’m more concerned with the nature of spin than fast bowling.
While one can admire spin on a cricket pitch where the aim is to deceive the batsman, one hopes that politics should be about honestly putting forward a point of view and trying to convince voters that what you say is the best way forward.
And yes, I concede that there is something admirable – in a sort of debating society sort of way – watching a politician defend his party when it’s clear that nobody could possibly believe that he or she seriously believes what he or she is saying. However, that’s only true when one is actually removed from the situation. Nobody appreciates the smartarse that confuses people so that they think that their going through a red light is all part of the government revenue-raising and you deliberately crashed into them so that they could be fined, so you’re the one at fault.
When ScoMomo talks about the Canberra bubble, it’s like he’s trying to suggest that he’s not part of it.
Canberra bubble, my arse. If it wasn’t for the journalists who seem to admire politicians for not being accountable, politicians of all persuasions would be toast. I mean, if one of them would even ask why it’s expected that they have to swear allegiance to Coal, when other industries are just expected to get on with it, then we might have some semblance of sanity returning to the discussion. Nobody goes around saying that they support our wine industry and we need to ensure that we keep it going at all costs, so we need to pass laws against Alcoholics Anonymous. Imagine the Arts industry if it got the subsidies of fossil fuel. Gees, why don’t the major parties amalgamate and call themselves: “The Fossil Party”… That works on a number of levels.
On the other hand, it’s easy to understand the media’s position. I mean, if a batsman were to argue that they only went out because of Shane Warne’s spin we’d think that he was a bad sport. It’s easy to forgive journalists for admiring the spin of politician and for forgetting that these things have real-world consequences and aren’t simply a game.
It’s when the journalists actually start confusing spin for lying. To go back to my cricket analogy, it’s like a bowler appointing his friends and family as the umpires and appealing before a ball has been bowled. “Wow,” say the Murdoch journalists, “these are the best figures from any bowler in history. One for none of no deliveries.” (No, in case he’s thinking of suing, I’m not referring to that judge who considered the facts and decided that he wasn’t biased even if he was intending to speak at a Liberal fundraiser. After all, if anyone was in a position to decide whether biased or not, surely he was.)
So it’s quite simple: Outside the Canberra bubble, nobody would be impressed with an exchange like this:
Interviewer – How are you going to manage the low economic growth?
Politician – Sorry, but I don’t accept the premise of your question.
Interviewer – Surely you have to concede that growth is low.
Politician – On the contrary, it’s higher than we expected and Labor caused the GFC and lit all the bushfires, so you can see why people voted us back in, and thanks to us you’re all getting a massive tax cut and everyone has a job and the borders are safe.
Interviewer – Are you blaming Labor for the bushfires?
Politicians – There are no bushfires. It’s actually the largest fuel reduction burn in history and all those lefties want it stopped.
Next day, rather than opinion pieces criticising the hypothetical politician for outrageous lies, we’d have glowing tributes about his ability to handle a difficult interview.
Oh, here’s Howard’s bowl… In today’s world, he’d be praised for giving the batsman no chance to hit it.
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