Allan Takes Aim Blog

Politics with humour

Posted on: 1 September 2009


Published The Chronicle, 1 September 2009

I’ve often thought the absence of humour made politics less than appealing. That said, this column is a weak attempt to take what I hope voters think a more humorous approach to the subject.   

Let me start by saying that because Prime Ministers are known for not keeping promises you would be wise not to put a large bet on the Prime Minister keeping his promise not to force a double dissolution and an early election. It might be said also that the rumour being peddled by Government members that, a decade ago, Turnbull had been fishing for a safe Labor seat might lead one to think an election campaign had started already.

A decade ago, as I recall, Turnbull played a major role in the Republic debate. However, conflating his republican leanings into seeking a safe Labor seat looks like the product of an overactive imagination and of the same substance as me being nominated for sainthood. In fact, the latter seems more likely.

No doubt some present Labor Members, already thought unsuitable, will milk the Turnbull rumour for all it’s worth as they try to distract voters attention from their own less than adequate performance. With this in mind I put my mind to solving the problem of ensuring that only suitable people would be chosen as candidates

These days, when people can get a certificate of qualification for just about anything, I suggest that a course in political representation should become part of the education curriculum and that only people who passed the political representation course could be candidates.

The course would be structured to develop a range of skills. For example, Lesson 1 would be how to open brown paper envelopes correctly. Lesson 2 would explain why a grasp of English was important. Lesson 3 would be a lesson on speechmaking with emphasis on making sure the first words of speech needed to capture the attention of the audience/press: “Good to see you ” is not enough.

For example they would be told to say: eg. “I am delighted to be here tonight to welcome youse (sic).”  In later lessons, they would learn how to say sincerely of their care for the aged, especially their rich aunties, and why they are prepared to accept the burden of travelling to New York, Paris, Tokyo, London or even Rio de Janeiro to study the problem of urban decay.

 So that their words will have substance they would be taught how to convince voters they undertook these onerous journeys to ensure that, at the very least, a half dozen promised affordable houses would be built and that urban decay would not grow in their electorate or Aboriginal settlements. (Isn’t it funny, even if unintentional, that Aborigines, Australia’s first nation peoples, now live in settlements, not the settlers?)

They would also be taught to use the fact that their journeys had also helped them gain expertise in foreign currency changing, a skill they could then pass on to the hundreds of thousands of unemployed. They would also be able to use this information to help the thousands of tourists they say will be attracted to Australia because of the tourism policies they intend to put in place when elected.

In the second term, they would get lessons in “Charm” which covers three very important but basic needs of wannabe politicians: Sartorial Style, Tonsorial Style and Deportment. If they want to be elected, skill in these areas is a must if only to avoid being lampooned by the media for lack of skill in these areas.

The fact is, only wannabes who realise the importance of perceptions and do their homework will stand a chance of being elected because they know that perceptions rather than policies are what put people in Parliament.

The last federal election is good example of how perceptions play a part. Had John Howard not been seen as less tolerant, less gracious and more dictatorial than Kevin Rudd, the Coalition might have won. Instead, Rudd won because he was seen as the opposite of all things Howard.

But in any case, why worry about who gets elected when the country is really run by non-elected politicians called bureaucrats.

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