Fact is stranger than fiction

A few weeks ago I asked you all for recommendations of reading to accompany me during our Federal election campaign. As always you provided lots of interesting suggestions but as I struggled to track down some of the books you suggested my fancy turned to the movies and TV shows you recommended. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching

  • Wag the Dog (I had actually seen this before but it was worth a repeat as it is my 2nd favourite movie of all time about the art of spin doctoring)
  • In the Loop (This is my new favourite movie of all time about the art of spin doctoring) (though please don’t watch it if the ‘f’ word offends you)
  • Advise and Consent (a 1962 film featuring Henry Fonda in a brilliant performance as a potential US Secretary of State experiencing difficulty for being a man of principles).
  • House of Cards (brilliant UK tv series displaying politics in all its bitterness and deal-making)
  • The Candidate (Robert Redford. Sigh.)

There are a couple of book reviews to come too, and I do thank you all for your suggestions for things to entertain me.

But none of the movies or the books turned out to have quite the drama or bizarre-ness of the real campaign that unfolded over the past 5 weeks.  The combination of backflips, lies, fear-mongering, negativity and treating the electorate like morons has resulted in no government at all (for at least the next few days). I’d go further and suggest that we the people have said rather loudly ‘a pox on both your houses’ as we have voted for minor parties and independents in such unprecedented numbers that neither of the major parties looks like being able to form a majority government in its own right.

Funnily enough I am encouraged by this disarray. Politics has become such a well stage-managed show in recent years that there are few surprises left so I am genuinely delighted to see the commentators and party spin doctors trying to pretend they have a clue what’s going to happen next. And I’m strangely optimistic about what a minority government operating in conjunction with a cobbled together coalition of Greens and independents might achieve. Who knows, it might just turn out to be democracy.

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7 Responses to Fact is stranger than fiction

  1. Bernadette – Thanks for your reflections on the election. Sometimes it’s very hard to get an accurate picture of what’s going on in an election when one doesn’t live in the country. So it’s really helpful to get your perspective. And I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the suggestions you’ve gotten for books and films.

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  2. amy says:

    You sighed after Robert Redford’s name. I get that. Did you ever see Jeremiah Johnson with him in it? Triple-sigh.

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  3. Ooooh thanks Amy I haven’t seen that one. Yet. More sighing to come 🙂

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  4. Marg says:

    I suspect that with a hung parliament we will either get nothing done and we will be at election again, or because of the voting power of the independents lots of things will get pushed through, or stopped, so things will happen.

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  5. kathy durkin says:

    Have been watching what’s happening in Australian politics all week. Hope things improve quickly. So glad you found movies to watch. I also suggest “The Contender,” with Joan Allen, about U.S. political campaigns. There’s also another type of political thriller, a BBC 6-episode production of “State of Play,” made in 2003, I think. It’s very well-done and fast-paced about the murder of someone close to an MP. It has a terrific cast. It was made into a movie by the same name in the U.S. with big star names, but I’m not interested. The BBC version is fine.

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  6. I am a bit worried that nothing good is going to come from a hung parliament. The independent will hold whatever party they join with to ransom, and I dont feel at all comfortable with so few people having total control of what happens to us. Despite my problems with major parties, I can’t help but think we would have been safer picking one.

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  7. Jade says:

    Can’t wait to read your reviews, I am in the market for some interesting political titles – not that we’re lacking intrigue in Aus at the moment, as you said!

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