Tim Blair


New Criterion



Thursday, June 03, 2004
"WAS THAT THE ONE about reading books to kids?" our Prime Minister responded to Laurie Oakes in Washington.

Oakes was asking about the ABC children's program, Playschool, that has decided to try its hand at social engineering by running a story of kids with two mums, and, of course, no dad.

"I'm Brenna. That's me in the blue. My mums are taking me and my friend Meryn to an amusement park," the little girl says over images of her two mothers smiling and waving.

Howard was being witty, in the circumstances. It is unlikely he was briefed on this major national emergency.

Oakes was being diversionary, having been caught flatfooted by the latest Newspoll and the Bulletin's long lead-time. "Cuddling up to George W. Bush is not a good look for John Howard, particularly with his own election battle ahead" Oakes pontificated this week.

Not that Oakes was an orphan. Tony Wright and Paul Daley were all caught in the same time warp. They couldn't see, because the poll hadn't told them, that John Howard was playing to his strength in Washington. Max Walsh would have sounded less panicky about the reactionary economics behind Latham's push for pre-schooler support if he had known that the electorate appears not to be swallowing the pap.