The Pub With No Jeer

CRITICS will ridicule Paul Murray’s ‘Pub Test’ – a pleasingly Australian term for what Americans have taken to calling ‘town halls’ – but what they hated is what made it refreshing. Yes, the crowd at the Sky-hosted event was friendly, partisan, sane and middle-class. The absence of angry trans-midgets and MeToo man-haters would have disappointed what remains of the old Q+A cohort but – matey backslapping aside – this was how interviews used to be conducted in more civilised days. There are some good examples with John F. Kennedy on YouTube. The reporters were deferential certainly but the subjects were as weighty as life ever gets. Kennedy emerges as a man with a first-rate mind. He could have emerged as an idiot.

Last night, answers and insights were simply elicited, allowing judgements to be made by us about the Prime Minister. No vainglorious ABC traffic cop – ruining with gotcha harassment the quiddity and therefore readability of the principal – was needed. The questions were not aggressive but they were not soft. They required detailed knowledge of specifics on a range of ‘hot button issues’ – any one of which could have stumped or beclowned Scott Morrison. See Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for what happens when politicians know next to nothing about everything.

The PM proved himself – not for the first time – as a master of many briefs; he knows more about levees and weirs than Harris knows about Europe. His joke about still wearing the same specs and the same suits – and the same pounds – was his only rehearsed answer. That tells you it’s a theme. A funny but pointed ribbing of the newly made-over Anthony Albanese, the message is that he, at least, knows who he is and doesn’t have to become somebody else in order to lead. Self-confidence is saleable in hard times but I can’t help thinking Australians crave something more: an existential hope that neither he nor the Opposition Leader can deliver.

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10 Responses to The Pub With No Jeer

  1. I thought the ‘pub test’ was whether an articulated argument or observation received general agreement among one’s social group.

  2. Regardless of the branding, we need more of this style of discussion, from both sides. One side may prefer to stay away from it, though, in favour of the Q&A approach.

  3. bollux says:

    I want a real leader, whatever that is in the eyes of many. Not someone who wakes up in the morning and asks himself: who shall I be today? He is a weakling that stands for nothing. I will never vote LNP again, just because of net zero, but there are now dozens of reasons.

  4. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Unfortunately a sizeable majority of society, and especially the bureaucratic infrastructure, have now bought the lies of the MSM on critical policy areas such as Covid, climate and energy. Consequently there’s nothing that even a well-briefed and able pollie can do. We saw that with Trump.

    Azimov floated the idea of psychohistory to novelize the seemingly inevitable decline and fall of the Roman Empire. More and more do I think he was prophetic, because the gigantic inertia of society seems increasingly impossible to divert back towards reality.

    And when Albo wins we’re going to get the whole shebang of green religious rubbish, Trudeau-style fascism and qwerty politics shoved down our throats. What a joy.

  5. C.L. says:

    Unfortunately a sizeable majority of society, and especially the bureaucratic infrastructure, have now bought the lies of the MSM on critical policy areas such as Covid, climate and energy. Consequently there’s nothing that even a well-briefed and able pollie can do. We saw that with Trump.

    I’m beginning to see the West in just these terms, Bruce.

  6. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “Unfortunately a sizeable majority of society, and especially the bureaucratic infrastructure, have now bought the lies of the MSM on critical policy areas such as Covid, climate and energy. Consequently there’s nothing that even a well-briefed and able pollie can do. We saw that with Trump.”

    BoN, I disagree, example being Ron DeSantis…he’s a well-briefed, able and successful governor precisely because he doesn’t hesitate in smacking down the MSM and I think he does it in a much more polished way than Trump. We witnessed his MSM demolishing only a few days ago when he expertly handled the scum over the “gay” bill…which is no such thing.

  7. Tel says:

    Bruce I think the sizeable majority doesn’t engage and frankly don’t deeply care. Sure they might repeat a few things from what they heard on the news last night, but they don’t think about it, don’t check anything.

    This was proven when the covid “guidelines” which were really arbitrary rules would shift from day to day and people shurgged and complied, often wrongly but the guy with the mask hanging off one ear is showing a symbol that he is “so concerned” and that’s what mattered. Almost no one ever caught covid through their chin, because they wore their trusty mask protecting their chin … deep down they know it’s a dumb game and they will get ripped off eventually, but they don’t push back.

    When Putin cured covid in an afternoon, and the news was about Putin every night, a few of the talking points changed but hardly anyone even reacted to the massive shift. A few of the talkig points changed … they really don’t care they just go through a few of the motions and worry about some movie star, or a video game, or a soap opera, or which car has a slightly bigger engine.

  8. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    When Putin cured covid in an afternoon

    Haha, yes. Watching the MSM in action can be fun, if not especially edifying. I happened to visit the US during the OJ Simpson thing. There was literally nothing on the news except OJ. On all channels. The rest of the world didn’t exist. It was OJ and nothing else. So I’m entirely unsurprised by Vlad’s cleaning of the crud overnight.

    A large number of people take the MSM as gospel. Including several intelligent people I know. It’s weird.

  9. Bluey says:

    Tel says:
    15 March, 2022 at 11:32 am
    Bruce I think the sizeable majority doesn’t engage and frankly don’t deeply care. Sure they might repeat a few things from what they heard on the news last night, but they don’t think about it, don’t check anything.

    This was proven when the covid “guidelines” which were really arbitrary rules would shift from day to day and people shurgged and complied, often wrongly but the guy with the mask hanging off one ear is showing a symbol that he is “so concerned” and that’s what mattered. Almost no one ever caught covid through their chin, because they wore their trusty mask protecting their chin … deep down they know it’s a dumb game and they will get ripped off eventually, but they don’t push back.

    When Putin cured covid in an afternoon, and the news was about Putin every night, a few of the talking points changed but hardly anyone even reacted to the massive shift. A few of the talkig points changed … they really don’t care they just go through a few of the motions and worry about some movie star, or a video game, or a soap opera, or which car has a slightly bigger engine.

    And people give me funny looks when I say I’m not in favor of universal voting franchise. How you’d set it up so a limited one wouldn’t be enlarged or gamed I don’t know though.

  10. Shy Ted says:

    Assess a man not on what he says but what he does. ScuMo? F.

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