PM caught in an insidious vortex of spinning clowns | Daily Telegraph Piers Akerman Blog
THE Canberra circus will move from the so-called tent embassy to Parliament House next week, with those clowns who remain in the Prime Minister’s office still writing the script.
Chief among these is the blow-in from Britain, John McTernan, who was appointed to head Julia Gillard’s media team last September. McTernan previously worked as former British prime minister Tony Blair’s director of political operations.
Colleagues in London say he enjoyed his reputation as a head-kicker and was a model for a number of tough go-for-the-jugular characters written into a string of popular television series about UK politics.
He was also one of a number of Blair staffers interviewed by British police over the cash-for-peerages scandal in 2006, but was not charged. Last April, McTernan spelt out his philosophy on spin in an interview titled “Playing nasty card might get results”.
“There are a lot of myths about political campaigning. Top of these is the idea that negative campaigning never works,” he said.
“A lot of people believe that, because whenever they are asked, the public declare that they hate negative campaigns and swear that they are never moved by them. As is often the case, voters are saying what they’d like to believe about themselves rather than describing how they act. Around the world, campaign after campaign shows that fear beats hope. And why wouldn’t it? After all, politics is a contact sport.”
That would be the sickening contact sport we saw on television on Australia Day as a plot to manipulate an abusive mob of self-proclaimed Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal protesters that was hatched in the Prime Minister’s office unfolded at Canberra’s Lobby restaurant.
McTernan is now credited with the furious “Dr No” campaign Labor is running against Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
Chris Bowen, the minister in charge of Labor’s broken border protection policy, was singing from the “Dr No” song sheet in The Daily Telegraph yesterday.
Unfortunately, the “Dr No” campaign does not work with border protection.
It was Labor who said “no” to the successful border policy which put people smugglers out of business under the Howard government. It was East Timor who said “no” to Gillard’s ridiculous attempt to shift offshore processing to our impoverished near neighbour and it was Gillard herself who initially ruled out sending asylum seekers to nations (notably Malaysia) that were not signatory to the UN convention on refugees.
That was when she was hoping East Timor would be foolish enough to agree to a deal.
When even that new nation’s fledgling leadership saw through Gillard’s deal, Gillard announced that she had negotiated her catch-and-release plan with the Malaysians, even though Malaysia said it had “no” intention of signing the UN convention. Bowen then produced a report which indicated that Abbott’s plan to reopen Nauru would be prohibitively expensive.
His costings were shot down by The Australian which demonstrated that on the figures he was using it would be cheaper to hold the so-called asylum seekers in a top Fijian resort built at a 10th of the estimated cost of renovating the Nauru centre.
Bowen says Abbott will not compromise but it is Labor which has no intention of accepting a workable plan to restore the border protection policy it wilfully and deliberately destroyed to curry favour with its left-wing and its fickle Green partners. Gillard’s talk of denying the people smugglers a product to sell is sheer hogwash.
Despite her Malaysian Solution being sunk by the High Court, the deal Gillard negotiated still means that Australian taxpayers will be stung with a minimum $360 million bill and 4000 so-called asylum seekers from Malaysia.
Bowen is saying “no” to the reality that Labor governs with the support of the Greens and independents.
They are saying “no” to the government’s addled border asylum policy and it is they who Labor has to negotiate with, not the opposition.