Category Archives: Media

Election Reflections – Now What?

'Victory secured', The Age, 28 Nov 2022

‘Victory secured’, The Age, 28 Nov 2022

So now we look forward to another four years of Labor government. Covid was hugely divisive – Dan Andrews attracting a lot of support for what many saw as his decisive if unpopular leadership in an effort to keep us safe whilst the opposition and the usual media suspects were doing their best to undermine him and the measures he implemented. His strategy has been vindicated. As a regular correspondent put it in a letter to The Age:

Daniel Andrews won because he builds things you can see: roads, railways, hospitals. When COVID-19 arrived he ignored the complaining and did that “making the hard decisions” thing people talk about. He got on my nerves but he got on with the job.  PJ Bear, Mitcham

On the other side – from the Herald Sun and Sky News journos – there was lots of noise. But arguably all they were doing was talking to the converted whilst repelling those they should have been converting to their cause. When yet another letter gets printed in the HS saying “I don’t know anyone who would vote for Dan Andrews“, all the writer is doing is displaying the limited circles in which they move.

As the Age observes, “Victory secured, now the hard part“. We are currently facing major issues arising from Covid, the Ukraine war, a possible slump in the housing market and/or recession. The only certainty is that in four years’ time things will be very different. Although Dan Andrews says that he will serve a full term (which would be unwise IMO: too many politicians fall into the trap of failing to quit whilst they’re ahead) I suspect that he will step down once the metro tunnel opens in 2025, rightly seeing this as his legacy and the culmination of his government’s massive investment in infrastructure.

Should Dan stand down, his likely replacement, Jacinta Allen, would then be up against the Libs newly-elected leader, John Pesutto who, unlike his predecessor, comes across well in the media. In the meantime Labor needs to note the large swings against them in some areas and address well-founded concerns re poor governance. During the election it was reported that the Labor administration employs 250+ special advisors, political appointments. What’s happened to the independent civil servants who gave unbiased advice to ministers, then implementing the agreed policy? If our ministers are open to frank and fearless advice from public servants who have long experience of their subject area we might get better decisions.

Election Reflections – The Media

Election prediction, Herald Sun letters, 19 Feb 2021

Election prediction, Herald Sun letters, 19 Feb 2021

Compulsory voting arguably makes for a more democratic result. In the 2018 Victoria state election just over 90% of those on the roll voted (it would never be 100% since people die, move away etc as well as failing to vote), compared with 67.3% in the UK’s 2019 General Election. The downside of compulsory voting is that as everyone has (in theory) to vote, if you can get mud to stick on your opponent you may reap the benefit.

Plenty of mud was thrown in our recent election; thankfully it didn’t stick. Sky News and the Murdoch press carried on a relentless vendetta against Premier Dan Andrews, the Herald Sun reportedly carrying 150+ anti-Dan stories during the campaign. Will they ever learn that such mudslinging achieves nothing? I doubt it.

Back in February 2021, in the middle of Covid lockdowns and other restrictions, Herald Sun reader John Moore of Wangaratta forecast that “in the 2022 state election, I believe that the ALP [Labor] will be lucky to win one lower house seat”. He’d better stick to his day job: in Dan Andrews’ 2018 ‘unrepeatable’ landslide victory, Labor won 55 of the 88 lower house seats. In 2022, 56!

The Daniel Andrews paradox: the enduring appeal of Australia’s most divisive premier (the Guardian)

'Guy closing gap', The Age, 22 Nov 2022

‘Guy closing gap’, The Age, 22 Nov 2022

In the lead up to 2022’s vote the press was claiming that a minority government was a real possibility. Check out this nonsense published by Sky News:

“… a survey by bi-partisan RedBridge Group earlier this week that suggested Mr Andrews will be forced to form a minority government. The analysis had implied that Labor will fall two seats short of the 45 needed to form a majority government on its own. Labor currently holds 55 seats to the Liberals’ 27 – but aside from the opposition it is also under threat from various Greens, teal and regional independent candidates. There is also a suggestion Mr Andrews could lose his seat of Mulgrave, where he is being challenged by independent Ian Cook.

The actual result: Labor increased its lower house representation to 56. As for Mr Cook, he got a respectable 18%, but Dan Andrews’ 51% saw him re-elected on an absolute majority.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy was well and truly humiliated, his concession speech claim that “What we can see is that with a swing of around four per cent to us and many pre-poll votes to come, we will finish … with more seats in the parliament in both the lower house and the upper house,” proving to be untrue. The next day he resigned, having led his party to two disastrous defeats.

What next?

On falls

At the start of last week the headline news here in Victoria was that our Premier, Dan Andrews, had taken a tumble on some slippery steps and was in intensive care with broken ribs and a fractured vertebra. Most people were full of sympathy, myself because of my own experience in 2018 – unlike Dan I sustained a knock to the head which could have been very serious, and unlike him was free from pain and discomfort within a few days.

Sky News: Daniel Andrews is in intensive care

Daniel Andrews is in intensive care

Sky News managed a non-partisan headline on Facebook, but then opened their reports to comments. I think they knew (and looked forward to?) what would follow.

Some said what you might expect decent people to say, expressing sympathy and wishing him a quick recovery. Most comments – reflecting those who watch Sky? – were of another mind. I could have found hundreds more expressing sentiments like the ones quoted here.

Sky News comment: I hope Dan Andrews never walks agains

I hope Dan Andrews never walks agains

Demis Papillon: “I hope he never walks again”. Really?

Sky News comment: Shame there wasn't a noose around Dan Andrew's neck when he fell

Shame there wasn’t a noose around his neck

John Pikos: “Shame there wasn’t a noose round his neck at the time”. Not a Labor voter perhaps?

Sky News comment: Pity Dan Andrews isn't in the morgue

Pity it isn’t the morgue

Di Ward: “Pity it isn’t the morgue”. I hope she’s not first on the scene should I ever have an accident.

The real mystery to me is why people post such comments. Do they think we’ll be impressed? Does doing so make them feel good? Don’t they realise that every such comment reinforces the impression of Vic Liberals as the Nasty Party (TM Teresa May)? As I noted last October “You’re either with Dan (Daniel Andrews, our state Premier) or, spurred on by the LNP (conservative) opposition and the Murdoch press, have what might described as a vicious hatred of him”. As per the comments above the latter is certainly true. Sad, isn’t it. And if last weekend’s Western Australia election is any guide, the Victorian Liberals will be punished yet again at our next state election.

 

Where do the Spice Girls, Evelyn Waugh and Bart Simpson hang out?

One answer might be Madame Tussauds (London waxworks) – I haven’t checked. Another is in my DVD drawer – I’ve remarked on multiple occasions that a look at my DVD collection will tell anyone that I’m a crazy mixed-up person! To help pass the Covid-19 lockdown I set myself the target of watching (for the first time in a few cases) every single one of my 100+ DVD collection, including Spiceworld and several Simpsons series. It’s a project that’s yet to be completed – I’m about two-thirds through.

But what if I could only take a few DVDs to the BBC Radio 4 desert island? Five of my boxed sets – some of the finest British TV drama ever IMO – would be at the top of the list. They’re all of a similar genre – loosely being classable as coming of age series. In broadcast order, with the original author and publication date(s) in brackets, the five are

  • The Forsyte Saga, BBC 1967, (John Galsworthy, 1906-21), 26 episodes, 21 hours. “Viewers remember the way the nation shut down each Sunday night for the event. Pubs closed early and the streets were deserted. The Church even rescheduled its evening worship services so that the immense audience could be ready for the start of the show at 7:25pm.” “It was not the first literary adaptation on TV, but it was longer and more ambitious than anything screened before, and it has come to represent every value and standard to which British TV has aspired ever since.” [Sarah Crompton, 2002]. A wonderful cast includes Kenneth More, Eric Porter, Susan Hampshire and Nyree Dawn Porter. Sadly it was made in black and white – the cost of colour was seen as unjustified in an era when few owned colour TVs. Amazon £89.95
  • The Pallisers, BBC 1974, (Anthony Trollope, 1864-79), 26 episodes, 21 hours. Another series set in Victorian England, this time following the aristocratic Plantagenet Palliser and his rise to Duke of Omnium and Prime Minister. The scale of this production is shown by Wikipedia’s ‘partial’ cast list, 81 names! Philip Latham and Susan Hampshire starred as Palliser and his wife. Among other well known names, Anthony Andrews and Jeremy Irons would later star in Brideshead Revisited. Amazon £99.99
  • Clayhanger, ITV 1976, (Arnold Bennett, 1910-18), 26 episodes, 26 hours. A wonderful coming-of-age series tracing the life of would-be architect, Edwin Clayhanger, from school-leaver to pillar of society. Peter McEnery stars, with Janet Suzman as Hilda Lessways, Harry Andrews as the terrifying then pitiable Darius Clayhanger and my favourite, Denholm Elliott as factory inspector, Tertius Ingpen. Amazon £18.48
  • Brideshead Revisited, Granada 1981, (Evelyn Waugh, 1945), 11 episodes, 11 hours. In contrast to the others here, written as multiple novels over and extended period, Brideshead was written in just six months. Brideshead Revisited is television’s greatest literary adaptation, bar none [Daily Telegraph]. Another brilliant cast including Jeremy Irons, Anthony Andrews, Lawrence Olivier, John Gielgud, Claire Bloom, Diana Quick and John Grillo. Amazon £35.37
  • Strangers and Brothers, BBC, 1984 (C.P.Snow, 1940-70), 13 episodes, 12 hours. The series follows Lewis Elliott’s life and career from humble beginnings in an English provincial town, to reasonably successful London lawyer, to Cambridge don, to WW2 service in Whitehall, to senior civil servant and finally retirement. Shaughan Seymour stars as Lewis, Sheila Ruskin as his mentally troubled first wife Sheila and Cherie Lunghi as his second wife Margaret. Other cast members include Anthony Hopkins, Nigel Havers, Peter Sallis and Tom Wilkinson. Amazon £10.50

When thinking about this piece I was tempted to say that nothing on the scale of these series will ever be seen again. But in recent times we’ve seen Downton Abbey, reportedly Amazon’s highest selling DVD boxset of all time. I don’t own it so it didn’t qualify for the list above, but even if I did, it wouldn’t be there. Why not? When I watch it, or any of the Austen Bronte, Dickens , Hardy etc TV adaptations I’m always conscious that I’m watching fiction. With the five series above I’m watching real-life biographies, or so it seems to me. Just me? Comments?


Amazon [UK] links above are given for your convenience only – I don’t get any commission from you following them. Prices are correct at time of writing. Strangers and Brothers at £10.50 and Clayhanger at £18.48 should be no-brainers! Are any of these on Netflix? I’m not a subscriber so don’t know. If you know, please add a comment.

New Idea – No idea?

At the outset I must state that I don’t read women’s magazines but you can’t help seeing their front covers in the supermarket or library. Quite the most outrageous is New Idea. I thought I’d snap a couple of covers to see how accurate their inside knowledge was.

Jan 2018

New Idea Jan 8th 2018

New Idea Jan 8th 2018

It’s identical twin girls’ the front cover tells us, as confirmed by the New Idea website.

‘It’s official! Prince William and Duchess Kate are expecting twins – and it’s a boy and a girl!

It’s been confirmed that Kensington Palace is alive with double joy celebrations, as the UK royal family prepare to welcome their first twins in more than 700 years.

‘The duke and duchess are absolutely having twins,’ says a trusted high-ranking palace aide. ‘The duchess is having regular ultrasounds due to her chronic morning sickness, and it’s been confirmed that they’re set to welcome two babies.

Feb 2018

New Idea Feb 26th 2018

New Idea Feb 26th 2018

One of the twins is no more though no one seems very upset. Thanks again to the website

It’s a girl! That’s the word from Buckingham Palace as Prince William and Duchess Kate prepare for the arrival of their new baby princess ‘any day now.’

Royal sources confirm that Kate is ‘much further along than anyone thought’, with some believing that she could even go into labour this week….

‘Wills and Kate’s little girl could be here any day now, that’s the absolute reality,’ a palace source tells New Idea. …

‘Many believed she was due in April, but it seems Kate and Wills have managed to sneak under the radar a little and, in fact, her due date is a lot sooner – she’s a lot further along than anyone thought.

April 2018

New Idea May 7th 2018

New Idea May 7th 2018

Prince Louis (Louis, not Louise) is born on April 23rd. Looking at the cover, perhaps New Idea had it made up before the birth as they’ve given up reporting on the baby’s sex.


Fake news? Definitely!