Abbott and Gillard could learn from Pooh

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like, ‘‘What about lunch?’’Winnie the Pooh said that. This, from a bear who by his own admission, was somewhat lacking in the brains department. But Pooh possessed a remarkable, clear-eyed wisdom that could floor the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood. I think it’s about time both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott took a few notes from Pooh’s honey-drenched pulpit.This election will have to go down as the dullest in history. No grandiose speeches. Nothing memorable, nothing to feel exhilarated about as we cross our boxes on election day. None of the Gillard we saw the day she took over (putting it nicely) from Rudd. We were spellbound as she told us that, some days she’d delight us, some days she’d disappoint us, but every day, she’d be working for us. That made sense. I liked that. I had a warm glow inside after hearing it. Sure, it wasn’t an Obama-speech glow, but it was a glow nonetheless.I, like many others, felt in that moment we had a politician that was going to shoot for the stars for us. Maybe the shock and speed of the spill meant the wheels of spin didn’t turn quickly enough to catch up, because the moment was happily devoid of the cotton wool of risk averse language (‘‘Prime Minister, perhaps the use of the word ‘disappoint’ is unfortunate in your maiden speech . . . let’s go with, ‘fail to deliver on expectations’ ’’). Then along came ‘‘Moving Forward’’ and our hearts sank. VOTE: Should politicians use simpler, every day language?Everyone crowded around the telly to watch Kevin Rudd’s emotional, passionate and articulate speech after he was deposed wished they’d seen this ‘‘real’’ Kevin earlier. Hearing him describe seeing the ‘‘frightened’’ stolen generations approaching Parliament House choked us up — it was real and honest and the first time we heard how much it moved him. He definitely could have learnt a few things from Pooh, who taught us that intelligence and wisdom are not the same thing and you can possess one and not the other. ‘‘Those who are clever, who have a brain, never understand anything.’’As for Abbott, he’s been force-feeding us brussell sprouts every day, even when we’ve barfed them up the night before. Turn around the boats, stop the taxes and end the waste. Abbott has obviously heard the first lesson from Pooh and applied it, but it’s not enough to use short, easy words, you have to make those words count. Compare Pooh’s example: ‘‘What about lunch?’’ with Abbott ‘‘No, stop, turn away, end’’. That’s all negative Tones! Where’s positive, excitable vision? Show us the love!Both Abbott and Gillard appear to have misinterpreted another of Pooh’s infinite wisdoms, ‘‘If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.’’ The person with the fluff in his ear is you, not us. Abbott, banging on about the debate you don’t have to have because she said she only wanted one, not three, is absolutely nauseating. We don’t give a toss. But you’re right on one level. We don’t want another stage-managed debate. We don’t want what you both think are pithy grabs underscoring your key messages. We don’t want risk-adverse or ‘‘real you’’ Julia. We don’t even want ad-hoc bribes targeting the interests of every swinging voter segment in the land. We want vision. We want policy that’s going to shape our nation. We want you to not ‘‘engage’’ with us, but to listen to us. Not in a year-long community summit-type way, but to tune in to what we’re feeling right now. We’re looking at the brushstrokes because we can’t see the whole painting. Draw us a picture. Tell us a story. Inspire us. We want creativity, we want originality and we want passion. We want a PM bursting out of the blocks, speaking in language sends an exhilarating shiver up our spine.We want to feel a bit chuffed and believe it or not, we want to gush, ‘‘That’s our PM!’’ And even if they stuff things up every now and then, we’ll forgive them, because they’re ours. As Pooh would say, ‘‘Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon’’. Give us one.Diana Elliott is freelance writer from Melbourne. Source: National Times
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