Thursday, January 12, 2012

Drum Piece–Winter is Coming

My first Drum piece for the year has a look at the year ahead… sort of.

God I hate those start of the year predictive pieces that do the rounds. When will Gillard be challenged? Will Abbott survive the year out? Honestly, who gives a damn. It’s all guess work and conjecture and standard pap churned out without any need to actually do any thinking (which is probably why there are so many of them written – churning out an article each day gets a tad difficult when most politicians are on holidays).

The thing about leadership challenges – even those for PM – is how little impact they actually have on the economy or on things going on in our lives. No one guessed Abbott would be leader of the opposition a week prior to it happening – hell no one even predicted Kevin Andrews getting the votes he got in his challenge against Turnbull. Did this matter? Not in the slightest. Abbott won and then things happened, and then our lives continued as they had before. Had anyone written about Abbott a week earlier or two weeks or 6 months (as they are all trying to do with Rudd v Gillard) nothing different in our lives, or even our understanding of issues, would have changed.

A leadership challenge isn’t an event where we all need as much warning as possible to prepare for the change. A week will do – ie “It’s on for this week”, anything too much earlier than that is just conjecture mixed with politics and reporting on it is just the New Idea masquerading as the press gallery.

Will Rudd challenge (update, a bloke from The Age on Twitter is now saying it’s on for Easter!!! – cue headlines about resurrections I guess…), will Morrison or Hockey? I don’t know, and until someone reports to me how their leadership will change the way the economy and aspects in people’s lives will be changed, I not really going to give a stuff. I might as well spend my time reading magazines that tell me Princess Kate is pregnant… or not... or is… or…

Enough rant – go have a read of Matt Cowgill’s blog post on George Calombaris’s latest whine about having to pay his staff a wage. It’s a good ‘un.

Oh and season 2 of Game of Thrones? Can’t wait.

12 comments:

Sonia said...

Yeh bring on march but jeez I'll miss Ned Stark. I'm still in mourning. Oh and I'm still on political holidays. The only politics I'm interested in at the moment is the reuns of the west wing on foxtel

Michael Boswell said...

thanks for the link about wage thing ,,, I lost it and wanted it ,,,

Greg Jericho said...

Sonia, completely agree. Ned Stark being executed was one of the best (worst?) moments in TV last year. Having not read the books I did not see it coming. Completely took me by surprise. I love it when a TV show does that, and that it also makes complete sense within the narrative.

If this had been back in the mid 1990s and it was on free TV in terms of a social moment, it would be considered on a par with Kimberly revealing her scar on Melrose Place.... OK. I've said too much...

David Crowe said...

I can appreciate your frustration at seeing so much written about the Labor leadership. Of course, nobody’s forcing you to read it, view it, listen to it or blog it. The coverage would be completely different if Labor hadn’t dumped its leader back in June 2010. As you say on The Drum, plenty of journalists didn’t predict that – but it turned into a very big deal and it’s inevitable (and right) that journalists watch for a similar move again. The current dynamics are pretty unusual: hung parliament, deposed leader who can’t be sacked, bad polling, questions over new leader. How this plays out shapes the government, shapes the nation, etc. It’s not irrelevant. And it’s a valid ongoing story.

I enjoyed your piece on The Drum and thanks for the charts. Just remember to pace yourself this year! That’s my plan. Tweet the cricket more often and take a breather from politics every now and again, because the leadership issue will drive you nuts.

Greg Jericho said...

David

I agree but there is reporting on leadership that is relevant and interesting, because it does include analysis of what it means in terms of policy changes. But so much, so very much is, "oooh Newspoll is bad, and here are some senior sources I have".

Also tensions on the leadership are important if there are good examples of it affecting how policy is being run - esp Foreign policy.

I have no doubt Rudd is agitating for change - look how he acted in Perth during CHOGM (and I've been told also how his office acted)- but reports saying there could be change in 4-6 months time? Please. Enough with the predictions, which may be written as news, but are really attempts by journalists to be able to say they were first.

They also can take on a bit of the Schrödinger's cat type aspect - does reporting of leadership challenges increase the likelihood of a leadership challenge, and thus in effect the reporters are just being used by challengers to get the outcome they desire?

Carson 63000 said...

The link to Shanahan's June 23rd piece ("the school of thought that it would be suicide to engineer a leadership change has prevailed") was absolute rolled gold. And then the ad? "Dennis knows the the goings-on in politics before many politicians do"? Champagne comedy!

(CAPTCHA for this post: "Shanize". Sounds like a new verb for "to get something completely wrong and then boast about your prescience")

Greg Jericho said...

Yep Carson. Completely bizarre. I have no problems with Shanahan getting it wrong - as I wrote when the challenge happened I too got it completely wrong (massively). But to have the chutzpah to then suggest he was right all along is pretty funny (and sad).

bedraggled said...

I've read the book and I didn't see it coming. Except the back blurb of the book makes Ned Stark to seem the hero. And then he does with a decent chunk of the book left to go. The book breaks many of the common pieces of wisdom writers are told - not least of all the one where readers aren't supposed to be have some ability to predict what is going to happen next. Main characters aren't supposed to be casually bumped off semi-regularly.

bedraggled said...

I've read the book and I didn't see it coming. Except the back blurb of the book makes Ned Stark to seem the hero. And then he goes with a decent chunk of the book left to go. The book breaks many of the common pieces of wisdom writers are told - not least of all the one where readers are supposed to be have some ability to predict what is going to happen next. Main characters aren't supposed to be casually bumped off semi-regularly.

zz said...

David Crowe ...cr-p, the lazy useless majority of writers (they don't qualify as journalists) regurgitate the worn out challenge theme weekly, it is part of the agenda, has nothing to do with scoops or being on the ball and you know it.

730reportland said...

Couldn`t agree more Grog. Over at
blogs.very.limited.news/propaganda
the 2010 election is still being run.
2012 will be filled with white-noise just like 2011.
I`m with you zz, between the spin doctors, lobbyists and the rest of the noise-makers, we won`t be able to hear the real newsmen anyhoo.

Aussiesmurf said...

I'm part-way through Book 4, and the ground constantly shifts under your feet with this series. Many of the genre conventions are ignored or downright subverted.

I still remembe reading the moment involving Bran (which took place at the end of the first episode of the TV show) and sitting on the train with my mouth hanging open like a dolt. Wow.