Talk about burying the lead! Or as the younger members of the fourth estate now call it – the lede.
This old Bugger will stick with lead, even if it might be spelt the same way as lead, pronounced as in bed. It’s served me well for five decades.
The lead is the first par or couple of pars that sums up the story. Example: A really naughty and rather large shark bit a surfer in two off Manly Beach at 7.30 last night.
Now take a gander at the main image above and the front-page pointer (right) to a comment piece by George Megalomanaic – sorry, cheap shot; won’t happen again – George Megalogenius – sorry, cheap shot; won’t happen again – George Megalogenis in this weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald.
Labor, like the shark, has obviously done something naughty – or at the very least has got something quite wrong.
George – I’ll call him just that from now on, just to be safe – takes about 24 paragraphs – some very, very long – to spell out, with convincing professionalism, that Australia’s looming depression will be like no other before it in that it will affect more women and more young people than ever before. All good stuff.
But guess where the punchline about Labor getting the call wrong about this “pink-collar” recession comes? The last three pars, all among the shortest of the lot.
Phew, isn’t George lucky that another really old-fashioned practice in journalism – the well-trained sub-editor of old who normally felt safe to cut from the bottom because that’s where good reporters were taught to put the shit – such as the dead surfer loved to fish – wasn’t applied here. George clearly wrote to length.
But here’s my main gripe with supposedly one of this nation’s finest political scribes and deep thinkers.
His tilt at Labor is largely mindless, meaningless twaddle.
He appears willing to infer right at the end that comments by Kristina Keneally about a possible review of the temporary migration program is all that Labor will be bringing to the fight to bring a post-COVID-19 Australia back to economic health.
With so many experts predicting that a hell of a lot of Aussie jobs (especially a lot of the low-paid and casual ones) may never return, Keneally’s call to make sure Aussies get first dibs at the jobs that are available seems perfectly reasonable and if Pauline Hanson wants to score a cheap political point as the story’s graphics suggest, I care not a jot.
I don’t buy his argument anyway that changes to temporary visas would largely affect older people who aren’t doing too badly anyway, another plank in his “Labor’s got it wrong” construction.
No. George seems happy to infer that Keneally’s quick left jab is not only wrong but is the the extent of Labor’s plans. There will be no follow-up right hook or a thunderous uppercut to help those in hospitality, accommodation, food services etc etc, etc, etc. Fancy Labor ever doing that for the workers, eh?
I’ll keep faith that a future Labor government will be able to chew gum, walk and do the occasional heel click all at the same time.
Also right at the end, George does opine that the Morrison Government is unlikely to test any theory of economic rationalism any time before the next poll.
What I have heard a lot of, lately, is that Morrison and Co. plan more discredited trickle- down economics and more workplace “reforms” to help bosses make that extra bob so crucial to our post-virus recovery. Newstart will go back to starvation levels; wages will be restrained as part of deliberate government policy and unions will continue to be vilified. It could very well be Work Choices with a new, softer, more acceptable name.
Until I see a two-page analysis from George Megalomanaic – sorry, cheap shot; won’t happen again – George Megalogenius – sorry, cheap shot; won’t happen again – George Megalogenis about the absolute folly of that approach to our post-virus recovery – one that his headline writers will adopt with glee – I’ll be holding to two rather sad views.
That the Heralds are continuing to shift to the right under Nine Entertainment ownership; and
That Australia’s current batch of political scribes and columnists are, by and large, a very average batch indeed.