We’re maggots who kick pollies when they’re down
Pollies should whinge. Their work is perhaps not as physically disturbing as a sewerage plant, but surely it is more emotionally and intellectually destructive.
If you make a minuscule mistake at a sewerage plant, the punitive measure that follows would probably be a ‘shit happens’ pun from your boss. Conversely, if you make a similarly low-level mistake in public life, the punitive measure that follows is nationwide scorn and ridicule.
Idealistic and ambitious Parliamentarians find themselves surrounded by malicious forces. The media is trapping them, party foes are competing with them, opposite numbers are attacking them, and their constituents are hassling them.
So once they’ve handed out trophies to the local soccer team and staved off a new threat from a factional warlord, they’ve got the relaxing job of deciding what is right for this country, explaining it to a bloodthirsty media, and making sure it all goes off without a hitch.
When occasionally the collective pressure of the job inevitably produces a ‘gaffe’, there are never any empathetic voices out there to comfort them. Conversely, everyone in Australia turns into maggots, ready to chew on their corpse. Wise academics, astute experts, ordinary ‘Aussies’ all make sure they get their turn to kick the Pollie when they’re down.
One of the most unfortunate cases of this concerns John Brogden, ex- Liberal Opposition Leader in NSW. After drunkenly making regrettable remarks about Bob Carr’s wife and being exposed for unsavory behavior with female journalists, Brogden sat in his office and slit his wrists in a (fortunately unsuccessful) suicide attempt.
The fiercely confronting tone of his story should serve as a testament to the pain reserved for those who enter public life. It’s hardly all commonwealth cars and ribbon cutting.
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