ABCwatch

Tim Blair

Ombudsgod

New Criterion

 

 

Tuesday, August 10, 2004
 
AT LAST, I KNOW WHAT "VALUES" POLITICS IS

Thanks to Mr Graham Morris [I meant Dick Morris, of course], Bill Clinton's former political guru and Mark Latham's latest, all has been revealed.

If you thought 'values' were something to do with ethics and morality, think again. It's all about marketing.

In fact, it means selling the sizzle not the steak.

So, if you're going to raise age pensions, you talk not about raising the pension but about respect for our elders.

Hardly novel marketing tactics.

It's also been part of the art of rhetoric for two and a half thousand millenia.

But Mark Latham has tried to add his own touch to the advice he's got from Morris. He's trying to sell you the sizzle while keeping the steak in his pocket.

For this enlightenment we are indebted to Michael Duffy's Counterpoint program. Duffy is under attack from Gerard Henderson for giving too much air time to people from the left.

Perhaps the criticism should be that there are too many under-talented leftists, of the kind who would be acceptable to your standard communard in Radio National.

A good example is Duffy's earlier guest, Peter Botsman.

Push the boundaries, Michael. Your time is short.