our Prime Minister to apologise to the Indonesian Prime Minister. The media is still printing letters from people who are, sometimes stridently, demanding the Prime Minister apologises.
I wonder how long it will be before all this stops? I am also alarmed at how little most people seem to know about the world of "diplomacy".
Diplomats work under different rules. There are things they can and cannot do. Spies work under different rules too. There are things they can and cannot do. Put the two together and you have a situation which is fraught with difficulties. It is a minefield I would not care to be walking through.
Apologists for our ABC and the left leaning areas of the media would have it that the present Prime Minister is responsible for the situation. No, he isn't. He is responsible for trying to sort the mess out but the mess was not of his making. He cannot be held responsible for that. What he does about it may make or break his Prime Ministership and the government but he did not create the situation and attempts to hold him responsible for that are not reasonable. Nevertheless the latest opinion poll would seem to indicate that people do not understand the difference or the ways in which he is constrained.
That makes no difference to the media of course. They say they are simply doing their job and doing it "in the public interest". I doubt that. They are doing it to sell news and, if you are to sell news, then you sometimes need to make news.
This morning's paper brought the expected letter criticising me as an apologist for a far right columnist. Had the writer read my letter carefully he would have realised that I was not supporting the columnist at all. I suggested he had raised a point worth thinking about but I had also said that I did not agree or disagree with what he had said. It was not the point of the letter I had written. I was in fact making the point about the way the media will make news in order to sell it and that, this time, it had done a great deal of damage. Someone else asked whether the ABC should somehow be accused of and dealt with for treachery. (That might be going too far but I do think that the head of the ABC should be called in to explain and his staff advised that their job is to inform people and provide a balanced commentary. They are, after all, paid for from our taxes...and some of them are very well paid indeed. )
So many people seem to thrive on negative news, the misfortunes and wrongdoings of other people. Good news gets overlooked, unless it is a win in sport for "our" team. I believe an attempt to once produce a good news newspaper failed. People simply did not want to read it. That does not surprise me.
But, sometimes we need good news. Coming home on the train yesterday I sat opposite a mother and a small girl.
It was the small girl's birthday,
"I'm four today so we are going on a train ride and we are going to have a picnic with my grandma."
There is absolutely nothing earth shattering about that but, for her family, it must be news they want to share with everyone they meet because her mother smiled and said quietly, "She had open heart surgery in June. We weren't sure she was going to be here and she is."
Now, that is good news. I had to share it.