David M. Russell

Politics besmirches itself yet again

In Commentary on July 6, 2009 at 3:23 am

We all know that politics is a dirty business. Well, some incredibly naive people still think it’s about looking after the common people but they are so misguided as to warrant a psychological assessment (and probable incarceration in an instution for their own good!). Even so, it’s distressing to learn some of the inner secrets from an apparatchik.

The juicy morsel to land in our laps today is the quaintly-named ‘scab flicking’. This is not a new practice – just new nomenclature for something as distasteful as the name suggests. That it is being practised by both sides of Aussie politics comes as no real surprise but it will no doubt distress the Prime Minister somewhat to learn it is one of his own side who has tossed us this untasty morsel.

Corin McCarthy, a former adviser to a leading Cabinet Minister, is quoted in The Australian newspaper about the practice of ‘scab flicking’ politics. It is described along these lines: an issue is raised, causing some damage to your opponents, and this creates a scab. The issue is politicised, which is apparently known as ‘flicking’. Charming isn’t it? We poor fools – the voters – watch politics for awareness of the big issues of the day and how governments and oppositions are promising to make our lives better. We assume they are taking principled and ethical stands on the things that matter to us but all the while they’re just scab flicking.

Somehow, I feel dirty. Thanks, Corin.


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