Word that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been borrowing campaign slogans from the TV series Veep is very worrying — not, mind you, because “Continuity and Change” is meaningless waffle, as the American show’s tickled-pink producers noted yesterday, but for reasons that should be of far greater concern to us all. Here I think of his mental state.
First, though, let us grant the poor man some slack, which is the charitable thing to do when someone is being hoist by their own petard. Turnbull knocked off Tony Abbott for many reasons and if we skip the most obvious, an egomaniac’s belief in his own inevitability, then he is still in a bit of a pickle, rather like the dog that chased the car and caught it. How do you knife your predecessor for using “three-word slogans” when your own three-word slogan is a country mile’s more vacuous? Beyond that, how does one keep a straight face while attempting to persuade Leigh Sales that you are simultaneously sticking with Abbott policies and not sticking with Abbott’s policies, running on Abbott’s achievements and not running on Abbott’s achievements? The ABC did much to install its favourite Liberal in The Lodge, but the Prime Minister’s riddling was too much even for Sales. Turnbull is fortunate that other media outlets remain inclined not to speculate about the Wonder of Wentworth’s state of evident confusion. He should enjoy that benign neglect while it lasts. It won’t continue when the election is formally declared.
What concerns me more, far more, is the Prime Minister’s evident response to the stresses of his new job. In some this might mean taking to drink, in others nervous tics and twitches, perhaps stammering and lashing out at associates. Turnbull’s plagiarism of Veep strongly suggests that, just as our PM is one of a kind, so are his symptoms. Apparently the empty portfolio of his achievements has created a void that hoovers up random turns of phrase, a vacuum so strong and indiscriminate it seizes on the pickings to be extracted from Veep, blind to the borrowed line’s deliberate inanity.
Lucy Turnbull had best be wary and ready with the channel-changer when hubby settles down to relax with a little TV. What faith might international markets preserve in Australia if our PM were to be influenced by the Lone Ranger and announce hi-ho-Silver as his innovative approach to economics? Would tax reforms survive, should they actually happen, were he to pitch them as Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?
And please, Lucy, whatever else you let him watch when a mirror will not suffice, under no circumstances permit unsupervised enjoyment of the ABC’s ultra-gay sit-com Please Like Me. The mind boggles at what he might say when next asked about his relationship with the Treasurer.
One thing the PM will not enjoy watching is the video clip available via the link below.
— tati sofaris