Saturday, 13 October 2007

Methinks they doth protest too much….

It’s passing strange to me, dear fellow blogger, that the Australian has published a daily report on the so-called Heiner affair for about a week now.

The strange part is that their editorial line clearly maintains that the whole thing is a beat-up, designed to discredit Kevin Rudd, and driven substantially by the obsessions of Kevin Lindeberg, a former union official.

Notables such as Alan Jones, Barnaby Joyce, Piers Akerman and Bronwyn Bishop have risen to the fray, and many column inches have been devoted to the well-worn narrative about evidence being shredded (it’s still on file), to keep the issue bubbling along.

Writing a non-story on a daily basis is very strange journalism.

I know I’m na├»ve and gullible, but I do detect a rat-like odour.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Johnny’s Voyage of Discovery

It’s amazing what bad polls will do. John Howard has embarked on an incredible voyage of discovery in the last few months of his current term.

In short order, he’s discovered climate change, updated broadband, autistic children and now indigenous reconciliation.

Are voters expected to totally ignore the fact that all these issues have been around the whole time he’s been in office?

This man has never been a leader’s bootlace. He’s always followed the line fed to him by his spinmeisters, and combined that with base cunning and good timing.

The irony in all this lies in the fact that his opponent operates in much the same manner.

It’s a pretty sad indictment of Australian politics.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Dog Whistle Politics

Because I’ve been around for a while, I’ve built up a few simple ideas about how politicians operate in this country. Right about now, on the eve of a federal election campaign, is a good time to observe and reflect.

I remember recently, in reverse sequence, the “Children overboard” affair, and the Tampa Incident. Prior to that, there was the rise and fall of One Nation, and before that, the Red Menace that was initially used as the justification for our presence in Vietnam.

Last week, we had Kevin Andrews whistling up the race issue.

These incidents or situations all had something very important in common – the use of fear and loathing by conservative politicians to garner support for their re-election. It’s a very sad and ugly feature of Australian politics, and is used because it’s been successful.

To me, there is something weak and cowardly about using people’s base instincts to control them. It is the antithesis of leadership and a sign of intellectual failure and cynicism.

It’s called “dog whistle” politics, I guess because the metaphor is about whistling up the dog of fear. Another metaphor I’ve used, the origin of which I’ve lost, also uses a dog metaphor –

“The bitch of fear is on heat again”.

Both these ugly metaphors describe the phenomenon pretty well. The fact that it’s still feature of politics in Australia is shameful.

A Pinch of Common Sense

Courtesy I found this posted in Facebook a few weeks ago, when the faux outrage about mandated vaccination first began to ...