Former Finance Minister and Labor veteran Lindsay Tanner, who left politics at the last election, has written a scathing critique of modern political journalism and political practice Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy.

It takes aim at the Press Gallery, media companies, politicians and even voters themselves in a discussion of why the media and politicians seem caught up in a cycle of trivialisation and spin. Bernard Keane recently caught up with Mr Tanner to discuss his argument.