An analysis that’s quite unexceptional

Exceptional is an exceptional word.

And an often misunderstood one.

To explain, picture this parent-teacher meeting one night.

Teacher: Johnny’s progress this year has been exceptional.

Parents: Why thank you. That’s great to hear.

Teacher: That wasn’t meant as a compliment. Your son is a borderline moron.

That’s right. Exceptional means unusual or not typical. Things can be exceptionally good or exceptionally bad although TGH accepts it’s mostly used to describe something well above just good.


And it’s very, very clear that The Sun-Herald columnist Jacqueline Maley used exceptional in the very positive, laudatory, sense in her piece last weekend (at top). Which is not so good. Rather sad, actually.

She clearly does think that Scott Morrison’s handling of COVID-19 has been exceptionally good to the point that, while she doesn’t actually suggest this in her piece, sustained applause and a standing ovation would be totally appropriate.

The journos behind The Bug sometimes wonder whether they and countless other retired hacks they know live in some form of parallel universe to the current batch of mainstream political reporters and columnists. Some sort of Sliding Doors situation.

For, really, Ms Maley? The PM’s performance on the coronvirus pandemic has been exceptionally good?

What Australian prime minister have you been closely watching and monitoring over most of this year? Whoever it is, he’s an entirely different beast to the one who many of us watched being dragged screaming and kicking to do the right thing on combating the pandemic.

Here’s what the Morrison we were watching had to say way back in July: “The best protection against the virus is to live with the virus, to live alongside the virus and to open up your economy”.

Did you not hear that, Ms Maley? Or his call way back when to open up the aged people’s homes? Or the time he declared he was going to watch his beloved Sharkies the following Sunday?

We repeat: what bloke have you been watching? The PM whom The Bug and many retired MSM journos were watching was the one who has always wanted to put the economy – and by that his reelection chances – above the lives of countless Australians.

How many lives would have been lost in private aged care – the one he’s responsible for – if Morrison had had his way?

And the PM you missed seeing had to be dragged screaming and kicking by the federal Opposition and the Australian Council of Trade Unions towards that massive federal government expenditure via Jobkeeper and Jobseeker programs to keep the damage to people’s lives from COVID-19 as limited as possible.

Even Niki Savva on the final Insiders last Sunday spelt it out clearly enough: the states had to be given most of the credit for how the spread of coronavirus was contained through strict lockdowns and border closures. Then again, Savva’s not all that fussed with PMs that don’t look and sound like Malcolm Turnbull.

Finally, let’s turn to the one action by Morrison that Ms Maley and The Glass House might agree on seeing she mentions it – that if the national cabinet was Morrison’s idea, than it was a good one – but only for a little while.

For just a short time, Morrison stayed above the fray and exploited his “Father of the Nation” shtick, grabbing a Bunnings flatpack and his official photographer and leaving it to his ministers and state Liberal governments to politicise the whole concept by getting into the states for their shutdown and border closure decisions.

But a natural born political bully can resist throwing punches only for so long, especially with a Queensland state election to lose, so eventually the PM couldn’t help himself. He threw off his “we’re all in this together” mantle and got down in the gutter with the rest, slamming the Labor states for harming economic recovery.

Is this the PM you’ve been watching closely, Ms Maley? For just one proactive idea – a national cabinet that he’s grandstanded over and exploited – he ought to be exceptionally congratulated?

He’s clearly not the PM we’ve summarised all so briefly above. We’d love to hear your opinion on everything we’ve outlined there. Tell us we’re we’ve got things exceptionally wrong about Morrison.

For to clearly rate Morrison’s performance over COVID-19 as exceptionally good is an exceptionally bad piece of political analysis in The Glass House’s view.