Saturday, 15 June 2013

For those of you who live in

other parts of the world I may first need to explain that our Prime Minister was subjected to some vile questions by a "shock-jock" - one of those so-called "radio personalities" who make their living by making controversial comments and asking controversial questions. 
I do not know much about that sort of thing. I do not listen to that sort of radio - or indeed listen to radio at all - by choice. I occasionally hear it in the background in the local supermarket or some other shop but usually manage to tune it out.
But, a lot of people do listen to it. The people who make their living out of it are often highly influential - and well paid. And it is their task to be controversial so that people will listen - and thus listen to the advertising which pays for them to be on air.
It should therefore come as little surprise that one of these individuals should question the Prime Minister in a controversial fashion. He asked the Prime Minister whether her partner was "gay". The interview has since been repeated, more than once, by other sections of the media. 
The question was, at best, highly inappropriate. I thought it was vile. I am no fan of the Prime Minister but I do not believe anyone should be subjected to questions about their sexual relationships.
The Prime Minister's reaction was to try and laugh it off. Her embarrassment was clear. 
Her relationship with her partner is rather different. They are not married. A lot of people are not married to their partners. It rarely causes comment now - except for someone in the position of the Prime Minister. 
She is the Prime Minister and trained as a lawyer. He is a hairdresser. Many people see that as a little odd too. Perhaps it is a role reversal they do not feel comfortable with. I don't know. Perhaps the "First Bloke" - as he is sometimes called - is more of an intellectual than people know about.  I don't know about that either.
They don't have children. Some people choose not to have children. My mother's brother married an utterly delightful woman eighteen years younger than himself. They chose not to have children because of his age. It was their business, not ours.
I wonder whether it is a combination of these things plus the undoubted unpopularity of the Prime Minister that has caused people to question the nature of her relationship with her partner? Or was it a deliberate bit of theatre designed to try and boost support for her by getting some of the sympathy vote? (Let's wait and see whether the sacked "shock-jock" is reinstated and what the next opinion poll has to say? Perhaps - or perhaps not.)
I think the Prime Minister could have handled the question quite differently. I wish she had said,
"That question is inappropriate and offensive and I decline to answer it."
If the interviewer had persisted she could then have said, "If you ask any further questions like that this interview will be terminated."
And then terminated the interview if the interviewer did persist. 
Most people, even if they disliked her, would have respected the Prime Minister for doing that. 
I would like to see radically different standards for interviewing all politicians of all persuasions. It might result in fewer and duller headlines but it might give people an opportunity think about policy rather than personalities. People may actually vote according to policy rather than personalities.
Is it too cynical of me to suggest that the Prime Minister is using the media just as much as the media is using her?


Anonymous said...

If you are too cynical then you are not alone in that ... I find myself wondering about everything she does or says, and what those around her say and do too.

Anonymous said...

Not at all Cat! I won't say it was a carefully orchestrated plot but it was not completely unplanned either. It will probably only take a tiny movement in the right direction to save her leadership - and that would suit Rudd as well. Chris

widdershins said...

I'm shocked you would think such a thing!