Tags: peter garret

15 Dec 2008, Comments (6)

Hollo’s Victory

Author: Helen

Here’s something which has been bothering me for quite a while now, a toxic dynamic between the media and other observers of the political process. I don’t want to seem as though I’m picking on Tim Hollo any more than any other commentator, and I’m definitely with him on this piece on Peter Garret and ANAM. I’d like to explain what does bother me about it, though.
Here’s a letter in the AGE which expressed what I’m talking about:

Please, commentators, don’t disparage this decision with phrases like “a climb-down” or an “about-face”. Rather, it is a triumph for the musical life of Melbourne (and beyond).
Ruth Boschen, Balwyn

Now look at language used on this thread. Just to reiterate, I’m not picking on Tim: everybody does it, both on the left and on the right. He says:

…It’s worth going through this story step by step to highlight the slow-motion backflip for what it is.

…This was the first step in the backflip.

…Step two in the backflip…

That’s not counting comments (“a slow mo backflip…”)

The problem is that if the tradition is to crow over every change of mind on the part of your opponents and compare it to foolish acrobatics, won’t it make them more likely to dig in their heels next time, regardless of the merits of your case? Doesn’t that style of language shame people for changing their mind on good evidence?

I’d suggest that changing policies to suit new and convincing evidence, or changing circumstances, is a smart thing to do.

People on the green spectrum of politics are reading, writing, thinking and presenting all kinds of information to policymakers on transport, energy, environment, education et al in order to try to effect a change to sustainable and fairer policies. If you want people to do something, jeering at them after they do it is giving negative feedback to a desired response. It’s a dumb thing to do.

How do you think you’re going to go next time we approach the same people- or people who might have read or seen you gloating- to try and effect the next bit of necessary change? Let’s chuck out the backdown / backflip / backflip-with-double-pike / climbdown imagery and start to applaud changes of heart and policy – where they deserve it. Or at least, don’t mock them.

In response to Mark’s comment about crossover, here’s a different Tim with some gorgeous Tognetti goodness. (Sigh)