Bland and Blander
But that’s the awful trick. As John Oliver explained in Last Week Tonight, ‘If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring.’ Not that our Premier aspirants have anything wicked on their minds — in this case one is assured that any future evil will arise from the banality of vested interests, broken promises and short sightedness.
Just that, if we don’t find any inspiring vision, democracy seems a drag. Because just who can we choose to represent us? In yesterday’s Age, state political editor Josh Gordon suggested that the two parties should take a good look in the mirror, because “blaming the media is … all too easy.”In his article, the only honest engaged party is the media — cos the public don’t cut it either!
What D1 and D2 deserve: Us
He writes: ‘Both sides, in the focus-group-tested scramble … have been making promises which are strikingly similar, partly to neutralise opponents’ promises and partly because it is a reflection of what voters want.’ And he writes: ‘Finally, some of the blame must surely rest with the public, which seems apathetic when it comes to demanding genuine answers and vision from political leaders … perhaps people really are more interested in Kim Kardashian than Denis or Dan.’
So there. Wretched leadership choices, and apathetic public with celebrity fixation (fed to us by the media). In Josh Gordon’s view, D1 or D2 deserve the public he is about to get: us.
Russell Brand’s line
Russell Brand, mad, bad and stimulating to listen to, has famous notions about (non)representation (he’s on this recent episode of the Beeb’s Start the Week, which is usually good value despite the extremely annoying, superior Britishness of its presenters). Brand says it’s not that he is not making a mantra of: Don’t vote, opt out — but that it’s the media which is always picking on that line. (It’s like criticising the text of the Ten Commandments by saying to Moses: Why do you keep carrying on about Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife?)
Brand says, ‘They always forget that what I actually said is, The reason I haven’t voted is I don’t see who I’m supposed to vote for — Ed Milliband? Clegg? the racist geezer? [Nigel Farrage, UKIP], Cameron? who is like marginally less racist — they all come from the same school, the same background. Now what I want is if these people are our leaders, if Parliamentary democracy is going to engage us, ordinary people, then it has to represent us.’
‘You vote for the least worst. That’s the mature approach.’
Does Dan or Dennis represent you? Josh Gordon seems to think they must, as we the public haven’t bothered to ‘demand genuine answers and visions from political leaders.’
Or, as the Start the Week host, in his best BBC accent said, ‘You vote for the least worst. That’s the mature approach.’ He, Tom Sutcliffe, deserved all the sarcastic scorn that Brand then heaped on him. But well, what do we do? D1, D2 or D3 for Donkey. Politicians know, If you want to do something wicked, wrap it in something boring. And wickedly boring is the only choice. (Unless … we go Green, or the Naked Bike Riders Party, you think?)
One Lib too many?
Finally: I tried this theory out on a politics writer who said she hadn’t considered it before. I suggested: Maybe Victorians feel they have the unusual licence to toss out this lot after one term because, (1) it’s been very s-l-o-w, they haven’t done much in four years, (2) Ted and (3) Dennis. That is, it FEELS like we’ve had two terms of Liberal government, with two leaders, over four long years which seemed as interminable as watching Interstellar.