the grass is greener on the internet

A direct mail I wouldn’t vote for
March 19, 2010, 9:07 am
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As you may know, South Australia is in the grips of an election. The choices are the super-slick media-savvy Premier of 8 years (aka Mike Rann) and new kid on the block Isabelle Redmond.

Both are struggling with trust issues; one an alleged sex scandal and the other hardly in the public consciousness until last year.

Enough background; in a nutshell, it will be a close contest.

It’s in this situation that I opened my mailbox a couple of days to find several plain envelopes, one for everyone in the family. And who is it from but…Mike Rann!

What have I done to deserve such an honour? Been ethnic, apparently…

Mike askes that I endorse his friend for the Legislative Council, a Vietnamese immigrant who ‘does know what it is like to hop into a rickety boat […] master a new language and relearn all those things you need to survive in the modern world’. (There is a handwritten postscript saying Mike’s friend is both hardworking and courageous in case you weren’t sure.) Mike is delighted that his friend wants to run for Parliament, to be a key member of the team and represent all people from non-English backgrounds…

…serving a secondary purpose of trying to convince a migrant population that all you have to do is tick the ‘ALP’ box at the top of the voting form.

I don’t know whether to be impressed or sick.

I assume that this DM was sent out to everyone with particular surnames. You need to suck up to everyone in politics, but it seems to me that there are a lot of migrants who will be less educated about Australian politics and more open to manipulation. (His wordy 1 page letter would be challenging for those of us with poorer language skills, but luckily there is a Chinese version on the back.) For Asians relationships are important – we like friends in important places.  It may well gain him some of the votes.

The final straw for me is the encouragement to use this one guy as a reason to vote the entire party in. I’m half of the mind that even if I wanted to vote for him, I would feel too manipulated to be able to do it.

Am I the only person who thinks that if you need this much spin to distract from your policies it’s not a good sign?

But let us be fair, it happens on both sides. I for one am still suffering mental recoil from the rather arresting interview headline “Redmond bares all”.

Less PR, more policies, please!


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