Saturday, 26 June 2010

Next Episode - Jellybeans in the Jungle


Thursday, 24 June 2010

Liveblogging the Labor Leadership

(Image courtesy of the ABC)


There's an opportunity to live blog this, so here goes -

The background reveals the media driven nature of politics these days, both in this country and overseas.

The situation is not unprecedented, but the pace at which it's happening is. When Paul Keating replaced Bob Hawke, it took him six months, and there were two challenges.

It's possible to characterise the media as a Hungry Beast looking for prey. Obviously, this metaphor has occurred to others.

When there is no prey in sight, the media industry creates its own. In this case, it's the incumbent Prime Minister. The print and broadcast media is first and foremost an industry - so it needs to make money. It needs a story - a narrative, the more sensational the better, to provide food for the hungry beast. No story sells more newspapers or boosts ratings as well as a leadership coup, especially if it can be distorted to highlight the human interest aspect.

All over the place this morning, people will be glued to TVs and radios. This is good news for the media conglomerates, and their owners and investors will be pleased. The momentum of the media's take on situations such as these develops a life of its own. Personally, I worry about the toxic instability this causes, and the overwhelming spin that all sides of politics are forced to use to manage it.

Having said that, I wonder whether a pollie who refused to use spin might cut through.

Peter Beattie is being interviewed from the US at the moment. He's a Gillard supporter, but it sounds as if it's because of the capacity this situation has to make history than for any political outcome.

No action yet - Lyndal Curtis is being interviewed - has watched the caucus go in - nothing happening.

Twitter is saying there won't be a ballot - just a  transfer of leadership.

The announcement is made. Rudd elected not to stand. Gillard is leader, Swan is deputy. 

She's gotta be better at this than playing full forward for the Dogs. No wonder the media is called a circus. They're not showing much dignity or decorum. Small asian person with a mini tape recorder almost clouted by a large camera. She ducked just in time. Walking backwards is difficult. They should mount rear view mirrors on the cameras.

ABC TV interviewing a remade Belinda Neill. She describes Rudd as "gracious".  ABC Radio has gone into deep analysis whilst they're waiting for the speeches.

Cheryl Curnow being interviewed on radio. She describes Rudd using media contacts rather than internal ALP support as his Achilles heel. She doesn't predict much in the way of policy change, given than Swan is deputy. She describes Gillard as being her own person, and predicts a "subtle and clever" response on climate change.

Chris Uhlmann looks like he didn't get any sleep last night.

ABC commentator Mark Simpkin describing ALP as "tearing itself apart". Strange comment - Gillard was elected unopposed - he's obviously a believer in the adage "never let a good cliche get in the way of the facts". 

Interviewers interviewing commentators on the ABC waiting for the 11 o'clock press conference. It's becoming a bit incestuous. The Hungry Beast is feeding on itself.

Annabel Crabbe (looking a bit drawn) says that Julia Gillard runs a very backbencher friendly office, and this will reasure them - maybe one lawyer supporting another. Crabbe was a legal eagle in another life...... She predicts a more consultative style.

Rudd's speech - a bit hard to watch. If he had been as sincere as this on other occasions, he may have cut through more effectivelly. He's standing for re-election in Griffith.

Gillard's speech. She lead with an outline of her values and a nod (across party lines) to history. Neat.  Straight from the heart, and without hyperbole. She handled the media circus with aplomb. She's offered to shut down the Government ads re the super profits tax and asks the miners to do the same. It will be interesting to see the miners' response. Their blog seems to be backfiring.

It's been an amazing day. We're in for an interesting few months. Rudd resembled a shooting star, with a bright and rapid ascent, and an equally rapid demise. I think history will treat him well, despite the events of the last few months. History isn't written by media hacks. Rudd was essentially a media product, and when they tired of him he was discarded. 

I remember noting on Kev's blog that the last election was probably not a good one to win. Rudd did not get the credit he deserved for shepherding us through the GFC.

I think Gillard will be a different proposition entirely.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Thargo Red

We were in Thargo last week. For the uninitiated that's Thargomindah - see map. You'll have to click to enlarge it, unless your eyes are better than mine.

After the day's work was over, we looked around for somewhere to have some tucker. Usually, we head for either the pub or the motel, but it was State of Origin night. If I'd been on my own, I probably would have eaten out, but because I was with my bride - and after a warning our hosts that it can get a bit torrid (especially if Queensland are losing) we elected to sup in our cabin.

This of course called for a tipple of some kind, so I wandered off to the pub to see what was available. When I asked for Shiraz, the woman serving me looked doubtful, but said she'd go out the back and have a look.

She was gone a while, and eventually returned with a dusty looking bottle with an indeterminate label, but the words "Shiraz" and numbers "2006" were there somewhere.

Given it was the only Shiraz available, choice was easy. When I asked the price, she said
"You can have it mate - it's a sample".
Anywhere else but Thargo, and I wouldn't have believed it, but that's par for the course out there. As I've said before, the further west you go, the saner the world gets.
It was OK. See before -

And after -

And I needn't have worried about the mood of the footy followers, given the result.

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