Rudd speak

Don Watson on Rudd Speak

There’s a great interview transcript on the ABC website featuring author and speechwriter Don Watson.

Here’s his plea to the PM…

I think he really ought to see it as one of his responsibilities to use the language as it’s meant to be used. I mean he does understand language very well, he knows when and how to use it well, which makes it all the less forgivable that he uses it so tiresomely so often.

Here’s his take on spin.

They just send us messages, and they call it spin, you know, which look if it was spin it would be fantastic, I wouldn’t mind it. Spin sort of suggests something mesmerising. This isn’t spin it’s anaesthetic. It’s like a big cloud of gas that comes over and makes cutting your toenails look interesting.

Spin gets a bit of a bad wrap. Everybody spins. Some people just declare it more than others. Here’s an example of how spin can be helpful, not dishonest.

Fact: Townsville is not widely known as a holiday destination.
Bad Spin: Nobody goes to Townsville for a holiday.
Good Spin: Townsville is an undiscovered and emerging holiday destination.

Both statements say essentially the same thing. One is more likely to get people to consider a holiday in Townsville.

K-Ruddy Year

A year on, K-Rudd hasn’t grown on me. He’s still a triumph of symbolism over substance. What has he done? Not much. Annabel Crabb, still my favourite political commentator, obtusely reviewed his year in office… complete with Shakespeare reference. I’m still in awe of her. She is brilliant.

And then, in a story on his dropping the d word – “defecit” in parliament yesterday – highlighted this little gem from the PM’s first post trip question time…

As he arrived for question Time, at 2pm, the Prime Minister scanned the Opposition front bench and performed a double-take when he espied the employment spokesman, Andrew Southcott, whose Movember moustache has survived a sickly infancy to become a luxuriant ornament to his upper lip. Noticing the PM’s surprise, Mr Southcott told him: “I grew it – while you were away.”

The comment was a palpable hit; even the row of disciplined countenances along the Government’s front bench betrayed the odd appreciative smirk.

Anyway, a year of Labor in power. Interest rates have plunged – which would be a good thing, if they hadn’t been raised first. But in isolation it’s quite a positive – shame about the rest of the economy – and the deficit… politically a bad move, given a budget surplus is generally understood by the population as being a marker of successful fiscal managment. I think a deficit is not necessarily a bad thing – provided it’s contained to spending on infrastructure. What’s the repo man going to do? Take away our roads and ports? The rest of the population is happy to borrow beyond its means to finance a lifestyle and to invest – why isn’t that thinking extended to the government? Anyway, Rudd will have to be prepared to die by a sword of his own making – given that he promised a surplus budget. The Coalition will no doubt continue hammering the fact that they paid off Labor’s debts and they do still have a reputation of economic management – conveniently the Global Economic Crisis really began to be noticed under Rudd’s watch, and there blame will be apportioned. The global economy is largely out of governmental control. I’m more interested in Rudd’s bad policy moves in emissions trading and other decisions that will ultimately cost jobs and make us less competitive – and the fact that he’s the most boring Prime Minister in the world with a massive reliance on cliche and cheap buzz phrases like “a bridge too far.”

I heart Annabel Crabb

I know I shouldn’t be saying that sort of thing on the first day of my second year of marriage – but I mean it in a platonic sense. Annabel Crabb is my favourite Parliamentary Press Gallery Journo – she provides obtuse analysis – with a beautiful turn of phrase – see her comments on Bronwyn Bishop at the end of this story.

clipped from

IT’S worse than we thought, this global financial crisis. At
2.14pm yesterday, Kevin Rudd ran out of euphemisms for “money”.

The PM blathered skilfully and at length about “loose change”,
“fiscal buffers”, “mortgage-related assets”, “increased liquidity”,
“collateral”, “stocks”, “aggregate exchange settlement balances”
and assorted other expressions that mean, loosely, moolah.

And then – clunk – there it was. Speaking about the United
States Federal Reserve bail-out, he talked about the Fed’s decision
to rescue US institutions with “$700 billion worth of … um
… US … errrrr … money.”

Bronwyn Bishop, for instance, has been relegated to the back
bench, and she did not look at all pleased as she stared down at
Turnbull from her new, non-prestige seat. Dressed in a jacket with
a jungly teal and brown design, she looked like a small but
malevolent armchair.

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