Apologies for my recent absence from this blog. Just for fun I developed a case of Shingles. I suggest, if you can avoid it, you don’t; and if you have some odd symptoms, ask your doctor “Could this be Shingles?” just in case. Anyway, slowly recovering to the stage where I can write again.
One major political event during my absence has been the announcement by Bob Brown that he was resigning as leader of the Greens and would not contest the next election for the Senate. A great deal has been written about Bob in his role not only in Australia but worldwide in establishing both conservation movements and Greens political parties, but I thought I would add a couple of observations of my own.
I met Bob some years ago, and was immediately struck by the fact that his private persona was exactly like his public one. You will often hear it said about politicians, carefully guarding, on the advice of image makers, their public persona, that either they are much more unpleasant in real life than on tv, or they are much nicer in private than they appear to the public. Bob Brown was a classic case of what you saw was what there was – image and reality were the same.
The second unusual thing about him politically was that he answered questions honestly and thoughtfully and individually. He didn’t go out to the press pack with his prepared slogans and practiced one phrase answers. but dealt with each question on its merits. I was struck this week how rare this was, in listening to the Victorian Attorney General, quizzed on his setting up a parliamentary query on child abuse by the churches, answering every question with the same carefully memorised three sentence “reply”. This essentially said he was setting up a parliamentary enquiry because he was setting up a parliamentary enquiry because … well you get the idea. But they almost all do it these days, to the extent that it comes as a shock to hear a politician answering a question directly.
As I write this I am struck by a thought. Being the same person in public and private, and answering questions in a rational way, are both features of our everyday lives. Do any of you not behave like that to family, friends and colleagues? And yet we have come to accept, to our detriment, that politicians live in some other world in which that behaviour is not normal.
Bob Brown showed that it doesn’t have to be like that, and he will be missed.
Note – It is time to vote for your favourite blog (you will find this one alphabetically under THE Watermelon Blog) at the Sydney Writer’s Centre Awards. I will try to incorporate the voting button on this post so subscribers will get it in their feed, but if I fail, could you visit the blog please, admire the new design if you haven’t yet seen it, and click on the voting button on the right. You can vote for more than one blog (there are 900 nominated) but you can only vote in one session. It would be good to feel I was getting things right for you
Anyway, will try to get back into regular posting (and tweeting), health permitting. See you again soon.