Sunday, June 23, 2013

Following up

I'm still coming to terms with the feedback and number of reads the letter I wrote to Leigh Sales generated. I'd never really taken much notice of the 'page reads' in blogger. I didn't really care. Sure, I hoped someone might read my words, but I never had huge expectations. It was nice when one piece had 100 reads. That felt quite satisfying. But as I sit here now, my 'Dear Leigh Sales' post is sitting on 7250 reads and 105 comments. I'd kind of hoped that Leigh herself might read it and also Craig Emerson. Heavens, they've had it tweeted into their time line often enough, I hope they did. 

To know that the sentiment I expressed was being agreed with so categorically was quite overwhelming.  I originally kept the comments moderated. I know how nasty #auspol can get on twitter and the last thing I wanted was a comment storm erupting after I posted the link on twitter. But after a little while I noticed a trend. The comments were all consistently supportive and self moderated. Kind of like my post.  I'd deliberately tried to stay calm as I wrote it, because I am sure a ranty, sweary post can turn the recipient off faster than anything else. So, I took the moderation off. The comments kept coming and the theme was consistent. 

Amen. Well said David and Linda

Thank you for articulating my thoughts exactly. I, too, almost wept when Leigh wrapped the interview - it saddened me that she did so so smugly. Debra

Thank you Michelle I think you have summed up many peoples frustration over this ongoing non-challenge Leadership challenge. Like you I too am sick to death of it,a point I reached about 18 months to 2 yrs ago,so every hypothetical spoonful we've been force fed since then has had the most disgusting tainted taste to it that I am overcome with nausea every time I hear the subject raised..which as you know is every single day.
Lee Skelton.

24 hours after I first published the post it had about 2000 reads. At about the same time twitter was erupting over the Age editorial for their Saturday paper advising Julia Gillard to step aside as Prime Minister in favour of Kevin Rudd.  Long time journalist, Mike Carlton had also written a piece suggesting that...and was copping it in return from Gillard supporters.

Like my first post, I'm writing this as an ordinary Australian. Not someone with media experience, nor political savvy, nor knowledge of the inner workings of political parties. It gives me the advantage of being removed from the coal face and the inner workings but also the disadvantage of not being close enough or knowledgeable enough about how things 'really' work. But that is what is wearing thin; the journalists on twitter, and even in their publications who flout this knowledge and inner circle like a badge of honour, dismissing the ordinary citizens who dare to question or challenge their position. 

It seems to be the reason this leadership story has legs. A few rats in the ALP ranks decide to feed their dissent to their media mates...the story grows, gets reported, gets re-reported. We're all sick of it. You can't tell me the Coalition don't have members who disagree. It seems they are on a path to being rewarded for their discipline!

I used to know someone who would ask your opinion on something by prefacing it with her opinion. For example, if she was choosing a paint colour she would say 'I like this cream paint for the walls, which one do you like?' It made it kind of hard to say 'Well actually I like the white paint'. I mention this because it reminds me of the polling situation. Newspapers, news coverage and current affairs programs run constant leadership stories, stories painting Labor as a rabble, stories suggesting the Government hasn't achieved much... and then they send the pollsters out.  Imagine if they had opinion writers lauding the achievements of the Government, the AAA economy ratings, the policy wins, or even just clarifying what some policy decisions meant for us all, by asking questions and reporting details. 

I know the ALP has low polling numbers. I know. I hope like heck they improve. I hope when Parliament rises and the campaign moves into full swing the focus will be on policy, and leadership debates and more scrutiny of the 'alternative Government'. I hope the incredibly insular Canberra based press gallery can take the focus off what people are saying in the hallways and cafeteria of Parliament House and perhaps ask questions so ordinary Australians out in the cities, and suburbs and towns of our great country can understand what we will be voting for in September. I hope some of them read my 'Dear Leigh Sales' post and the comments below it and will take note of the feelings out amongst ordinary Australians.

I will finish this post with this Mike Carlton tweet: 

'Amazed at the number of people who think I should not have an opinion unless it agrees with theirs.' 

and I say in response to that...

I'm amazed at the number of people who think I should not have an opinion unless it agrees with theirs. 

It goes both ways.

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