Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Howard's spin machine looking wobbly - the MacBeth syndrome is in play!

The spectacle of Howard and his attack dogs spinning out of control over the Burke blunder has convinced all but rusted on Howard lovers that its time he and his hubris soaked front bench were sent packing.

If it was'nt such an ugly smear campaign it would be up in lights as one of the more amusing pantomimes in the Aussie political pantheon. Keating's foray on the travails of the desiccated coconut would be worth the price of admission. Sit back and enjoy the discomfort of Howard and the pretender to his job (the oh so bombastic Costello), as they watch their half-smart mud sling fill a pit full of angry crocs waiting to attack the next Coalition politician and/or business supporter that gets caught in the slip. It could'nt happen to a nicer bunch of blokes!

Richard Woolcott has again launched an attack on Howard's poor relationship with the truth. His piece in the Canberra Times (part of a speech), entitled "Truth Spinning Out of Control", is worth a read:

"...a government can deceive some of the people for some of the time but, if it adopts unsound policies and then, when they start to unravel, it attempts to reinforce them with "political spin" and cover-up, no amount of government public diplomacy can turn a disaster into a success. When a knowledgable comment from outside government touches a nerve because it is stating an uncomfortable truth, it can be assumed that it is generally bad public diplomacy to respond with bombastic rhetoric and the denigration of the commentators.

A major threat to effective public diplomacy and indeed to the credibility of the Government itself is any attempt to obscure the truth from the public. There are many recent examples of the dissembling I have in mind, especially related to Iraq. One is when Howard said in July 2005 that the London bombings "had nothing to do with Iraq". As British police inquiries have made clear, they did. These were not random explosions that might have occurred in Oslo or Auckland. They were a specific attack on the Blair Government for its wholehearted support for the Bush Administration policies and especially the decision to join the invasion of Iraq. Howard's spin was intended to obscure for the Australian people the fact that his policies had increased not decreased the risk of a terrorist attack in Australia.

Another example, closer to home, was at the time of the riots in Cronulla when Howard said, there was "no underlying racism in this country".

We all know that there are undercurrents of racism in Australia, which our political leaders should acknowledge, never exploit and take the lead in resisting.

Truth in government has been largely submerged in political spin and cover-up, especially on matters related to Iraq and, as we have seen over the past few days, on domestic politics. Australians may be enjoying the benefits of living in an economically prosperous country.

But, if a government pursues a morally deficient political culture, in which its errors of judgment are never acknowledged, a climate is created in which public diplomacy will find it hard to breathe and in which it will, regrettably, be focused mainly on damage control."

'Out, out damn spot', or words to that effect, seem to apply more and more to Howard and his cohort of 'bovver' boys. As Howard wanders the corridors doing his Lady MacBeth number, the nation will look to a marching forest of voters to bring down the curtain (deepest apologies to the bard).

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