Dear Ben

Thanks for your note yesterday. It’s a pleasure as a former spin
doctor to stay in touch with a young spinner like you – such a good
propagandist. Because that’s what spinners are, aren’t they?

You know that quote from the anonymous White House aide about “the
reality-based community” picked up by Ron Susskind in the New York Times that sent a billion blogs into paroxysms. And you know he was right. Spinners
“create our own reality”, just like the Bush aide said.

You are so good that virtually no-one questions what your masters
say. You are so good that a whole sector of the population – even, going by the
letters, sceptical types like Crikey readers who aren’t normally susceptible to
spin – will come out and say commentators are being biased just when they apply the
same degree of scrutiny to you as they’d apply to any other party.

I know someone like you has done some usual spin doctor tricks –
liked reversing the x and y axes on graphs to come up with a more visually
appealing product for your press releases.

Let’s try that trick on you – spin your spin and invert your comments on
the Greens’ Tasmanian performance from yesterday. Running off Antony’s snapshot,
more than 83% of the Tasmanian population didn’t back your party. In
other words, fewer than one in five Tasmanians voted Green. (93% of South Australians didn’t
support you
, either.)

It doesn’t matter how you present the figures. Your party lost ground –
and probably lost seats – in Tassie on Saturday.

If you want yardsticks of minor party success, you know you have to look
at the Queensland
election before last, where One Nation captured 22.7% of the vote and
11 seats – or the performance of the No Pokies ticket in the South Australian
Legislative Council last weekend. That puts your success into perspective.

All the national navel gazing that’s gone on over the last few weeks as
we’ve marked John Howard’s tenth anniversary in power shows that Australians
lean less to the radical left than ever before. I’m sure you’d admit that. Why
won’t you admit that a key part of the small vote the Greens are actually
able to win comes from Labor left voters disaffected by its successful centrist
stances in state government?

Peg Putt’s petulance on Tassie TV on the big night is another issue, too.
Not a good look. She may have “got 3,000 more votes than any other individual
candidate” this time round, but turn that into an ad and she’ll lose 3,000 next
time round. And, no, that won’t be part of a “saturation scare campaign”. It
will be part of what spin doctors are paid to do.

You know all that. I said you’re good. I mean it. After all, your old
boss, Bob Brown, has hardly had a word to say since Saturday – and look how loquacious
you are. It’s pretty clear where he got all his lines from!

Anyway, I’d better sign off. I don’t want to write a spinners Screwtape
Letters

– although that could be a pretty good read. Hey mate?

Christian

Peter Fray

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