Sunday, 5 February 2012

Leadership speculation gives back benchers a taste of importance

The devil finds mischief for idle hands and for most of their parliamentary life backbench politicians are essentially idle. Their only real role of importance comes when they are called on in the party room to vote on a new leader.
The rest of the time they are treated with disdain by other participants in the political system. They are but little children given their lines to recite when allowed to enter Parliament House through the door where journalists congregate. Juvenile staffers fresh from university debating societies masquerading as political tacticians write out the questions for them to humiliate themselves by asking.in the chamber.
And then comes the great day when a journalist treats them as important and asks them for a view on the party leadership. Flatteringly they are even promised that these views will be "in confidence" with their name not published if that's how they want it.
Eureka! I am relevant after-all!
Once they start this process it quickly becomes like a drug. The more interesting the tit-bit of "information", the more constant the phone-calls, the greater the sense of self-importance, the more interesting ...
And so the news cycle feeds on itself.
Until one day, perhaps, we end up with a self fulfilling prophesy that was all built on virtually nothing.

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