How manage a crisis in politics

Politicans often make me grumpy – especially when they try to worm their way out of a scandal. This is my advice to them!

The first to remember when you find yourself caught in the headlights of the oncoming train that is the press, is to not panic. You need to forget all I have told you in the chapter about diverting blame because it is very difficult to blame anybody else for your particular skeleton. However, having one of your skeletons escape from its closet is not the end of the world; there is a 5-step method for dealing with embarrassing disclosures.

 

1.   Deny, Deny, Deny

 Deny everything. Whatever has appeared on the television, in the newspapers, on the internet, or has been talked about on the radio, or in all probability, if you have transgressed in a suitably spectacular way, on all types of media at the same time, is totally false, untrue and just somebody’s fevered imaginings. Somebody from your opposing political party is trying to smear your good name and you think it is disgraceful. Alternatively, if the situation permits, ‘they’ are deliberately misinterpreting a perfectly innocent activity. And no, you will certainly not be resigning as Minister. Deny, deny, deny.

 

2.   Implausible Deniability

 This is the second stage of the process and it usually occurs when there have been detailed documents, explicit photos, letters, or other very convincing information published a few days after the breaking of the scandal in the news. This is the time to fly in the face of all the evidence that is piling up against you and continue to deny that it is certainly not your signature on the memo,  a photo of you taking money in a brown paper envelope, your name and not your wife’s on the share certificates, or you there in the hotel room with your pants around your ankles – despite the very clear and distinctive birthmark visible on your bum. This is simply not a plausible denial and nobody will believe you, but this is an integral part of the process because it is what the public expect of politicians. And no, you will certainly not be resigning as Minister.

 

3.   I’m Really, Really Sorry

 It is time to tender your resignation as Minister, which will be accepted with thinly disguised glee by the Prime Minister (who may well have orchestrated the whole thing to prevent you challenging him for his job). All of the denying has come to nothing and about a week or so after the beginning of this chain of events and you now need to say that you are sorry. You are sorry that you have let down your wife / business partner / children / party colleagues / Prime Minister / bank Manager / friends / the general public. What you are really sorry about is that anybody found out, but most politicians have the erroneous belief that secrets can be kept and you are no different. You now need to go and spend time with your family, recharging your batteries, reconnecting with your kids, getting away from the stressful environment of parliament, but above all you are really sorry, and I mean REALLY sorry, and you should suitably embarrassed and chastened when you front the media to read your apology. This is not time for jokes or having a smirk on your face.

 

4.   Disappear from the Spotlight

 Once the apology is out of the way it is time to quietly disappear for a while. The press will be trying to dig more dirt on you so I suggest you take a holiday – your party colleagues will understand, and probably be all too willing to get you away from trouble for a while. A trip to the Bahamas, a skiing holiday in the Alps, or a trip to a small cottage in the Channel Islands is recommends, but I hasten to add that this should be with your family and not your lover (just in case you needed to be reminded). You are going to spend time enjoying having no contact with the media and letting the taxpayers fund this gentle vacation. N reality it doesn’t matter if people find out that you are lazing  on a beach somewhere because by now they will believe that you are a pretty awful person, a disgrace to all politicians, and quite possibly, the worst person in the country.

 

5.   Sneak Back into the Country

 Keep your eye on the papers because it won’t take long for some other poor sod, be they a politician, pop star, sporting personality, or television presenter, to screw up and make the front page through their uncontrolled lust, wilful wrongdoings, or incompetence. This is the time that you can re-enter the country and quietly resume your parliamentary duties. You can spend some time sympathising with the unfortunate person, or simply enjoying the fact that somebody else is getting hauled over the coals and not you – you are probably shallow enough to get that sort of satisfaction. You are now old news, yesterday’s villain, so you can relax in gorgeous anonymity and plan your comeback and start digging dirt on the Pr

The essential government Haiku

There are 5 government haiku’s – all, allegedly, composed by the alleged philosopher Sudo Kamikaze, who was alleged to have existed in the 1700s. This is the first and, allegedly, the best

The system grinds on

Malodorous, relentless

Producing manure

Dark Matter and its Relationship to Bureaucracy – a monologue

The search for dark matter has occupied the minds of many of the brightest scientists in the world. They can’t see it and are continually searching for signs of its existence. It must be there, there is so much mass that is unaccounted for, that without it there is a great big hole in many theories. This is important for our understanding of the universe…it really is.

I believe that I have discovered where at least some of this dark matter lies. To explain this, I need to show how dark matter relates to gravity, and also, as I will explain, to bureaucracy. I have spent many years trying to track down dark matter and how it might relate to gravitational anomalies. I believe that I have proven that, not only can dark matter be the cause of such anomalies, but that it also drawn to situations where there is already significant gravity.

Through a combination of empirical analysis and experimentation, I have found that the gravity of situations is exponentially increased by the presence of a type of dark matter, which I have called dim matter. When there is too much dim matter present, the gravity of some situations can get to the point of implosion, or explosion, depending on the nature of the matter at hand. When I examined dim matter in detail, I found it to be an isotope of the recently discovered element, yet to be formally named, currently called Futilium. This element has a half-life of approximately 280 milliseconds, almost equal to the life of a good idea in government. However, further has demonstrated that the structure can be changed to make it more stable – in the short term. This isotope has one extra electron, with no apparent function, and has been named bureaucrium.

The normal structure of Futilium is 195 neutrons and 122 each of protons and electrons, giving it an atomic mass of 317. Usually in and out of existence in the blink of an eye, this element’s negatively charged electrons can, in some instances, start attracting a new type of particle – the positively energized moron. These morons, while never being part of bureaucrium, hang around and cause the element to become increasingly reactive until saturation point is reached. Once so overwhelmed, it begins to suck any energy it can out of the surrounding environment. Once this occurs morons are repelled; however, this does not appear to stop increasing numbers of morons wanting to attach themselves. These excess morons then hang in a cloud around any situation of gravity that they can find, awaiting the opportunity to latch on. They then travel around in ever decreasing circles until they crash into the nucleus, at which point they can cause an explosion.

Positively energized morons have been shown to add no weight to any situation and, in fact, consist mainly of a vacuum with very little surrounding substance. The sheer number of morons that are attracted to situations of significant gravity eventually leads to increased mass and instability. However, this was only half of the story. I then needed to find out where the dim matter (and all the additional morons) came from. By studying situations of significant gravity, I soon realised that there were carriers of dim matter which would quietly attach themselves to unstable situations dangerously increasing the gravity. Drama Queens have been identified as the major carriers, but politicians, bureaucrats and fanatics of all sorts are also carriers. I then had to track where this dim matter was picked up by the carriers.

One theory that I am following up is that there is a huge black hole composed of dim matter within each of the parliaments around the world, and that these are major attractors of drama queens, and other carriers, to those institutions. These carriers then go and spread gravity to situations throughout their country, often taking positively energized morons with them. Dim matter also appears to replace grey matter in carriers. Once bureaucrium had been characterized, the search for more of the morons was on. It has since been proven that there are indeed large numbers of positively energized morons in governments and all major bureaucracies throughout the world. They add extended life to bureaucrium through their leaching of energy from the environment, and have been attracting increasing numbers of similar morons to affected institutions. So, the dark matter that resides in bureaucracies is really dim matter that symbiotically reacts with many, many morons that travel around in ever-decreasing circles before reaching critical mass and exploding. Fallout from bureaucratic explosions (and implosions) has a half-life in excess of 20 years.

More gems of unlikely wisdom can be found in the book Grudges, Rumours & Drama Queens – the ultimate guide for navigating government. If you feel so inclined it is available at Amazon and Createspace.

Nightfishing (a random piece of writing)

A dhoni, a young crew, and a gentle swell on the ocean. The sun setting, a reddening sky, and towering cumulus clouds becoming shadows on the horizon. The light fades slowly, letting you appreciate each different colour, and shade, of red, blue, orange, yellow and purple. And then it is dark.

You notice lights dotted along where the horizon would be if it were still to be daylight. They sparkle like extra stars in the sky; outposts of life in a sea of darkness stretching as far as the eye can see in every direction.

Aside from the glistening lights of Male and a handful of scattered resorts, there are also faint glows on the horizon, indicating islands much further away, too distant to see clearly. But I know that they’re there, hiding. I’ve seen them in daylight, tantalising at the edge of sight; the grey shadowy ghosts of the day becoming the glowing white spirits of the night.

Here is detached from reality, well from my reality at least. Here you can feel totally at peace as the waves gently rock the dhoni and the fishing line is taut, but probably empty; there is nothing to disturb you.

This is the end of the earth, paradise for some, where troubles evaporate on a cocktail of sun, sea, beaches and snorkelling, friendly people always smiling and relaxing to be around, banishing my real and busy and stressful world to a place so far away that it doesn’t exist anymore – except as a distant memory.

 

A Critical Case

A Critical Case

 

Doctor Tony Carter watched as the stretcher crashed through the doors to the Emergency Room. Trailing behind, half running, half sobbing was a young woman. Carter looked down at the patient. ‘How bad is he?’

‘Bad. Really bad. It looks like he might go critical!’

‘Where was he found?’

‘He was just comatose in the street.’

Carter nodded, ‘Ok then. I’ll take it from here. Just move him into Room 7 please.’

‘Can I come in?’ The young woman tugged at Carter’s arm, her voice breaking.

‘Not yet. I’ll need some time alone with him…er…you’re husband?’

‘Yes. Joel. Joel Barham. I’m Cath…oh tell me he’ll be ok…please!’

‘I really can’t say at the moment. I’ll let you know once I’ve had a look at him.’ He watched her crumple onto a bench as he hurried after his patient. Damn! He hated leaving people hanging.

 

Joel Barham sat up as Carter entered the room. ‘I have a vision…and a mission…and I’m committed to value-adding.’

Carter ignored him and sat down to commence his work. He spent a little bit of time jotting a few notes on a pad before he turned to his patient.

‘I believe your name is Joel Barham. Is that correct?’

‘I’ve met my KPIs this month, and that means our deliverables are going to match our targets.’

‘Yes I’m sure they will, but can you…’

‘Moving forward I think we should challenge our ingrained paradigms and possibly rewrite our Mission Statement. What do you think?’

‘Try to concentrate Joel. I just want you to answer my questions. I want to make sure that you’re OK.’

‘I’m fine doc. It’s just a misunderstanding. I have to get back to finish my quarterly reporting and reinvigorate my flexible resource units. We need a rapid prototype strategic plan to avoid the possibility of negative growth, and to also undertake some corporate capacity building in order to provide synergistic programmatic specificities.’ Joel looked at Carter with a sparkle in his eyes. This was fun. Lots of fun.

Carter had a sinking feeling. He’d seen all this before. ‘Ok then let’s see if you can still logically reason. Are you able to do that?’

Poly-dimensional functional competency matrix!’

‘Yes. Well I think I have my answer. Next question. Do you have any difficulty in reading plain English?’

‘Outcomes, outcomes, outcomes.’

‘I think we’ll call that a ‘yes’. Don’t you?’

‘Unintended quantum leakage!’

Carter sighed and bowed his head. ‘There’s no point in taking this interview further. I think I’ve heard enough. You just sit there and relax and I’ll go and a talk with your wife.’

‘Systematic rationalisation of the operational paradigms.’

‘Quite so.’

 

 

Carter sat down with Cath Barham and looked into her pleading eyes. She was desperate for good news, but he had none to give. He really did hate this part of the job.

‘What’s wrong with him? Is it bad?’

‘I’m afraid your husband is suffering from an acute case of compulsive jargon. I’ve seen a lot of this in recent months. It’s a condition that can strike at any time. There isn’t much you can do about it.’

Tears welled up in Cath’s eyes. ‘Is it really that serious? He’s only thirty-two…is there any hope of recovery?’

‘Not really. He’s destined for a career in middle management, or if his symptoms get worse, which they might, he will become a management consultant.’

Cath Barham began crying uncontrollably. At that moment her husband was wheeled past. ‘Oh Joel,’ was all she could say between her heaving sobs.

‘‘Enhanced synergistic benchmarking!’  he replied.

 

 

My Futile Search

I’m told there is talent in our political system
But I’ve looked pretty hard and it seems that I’ve missed ‘em
I took myself off through the corridors of power
It made me depressed and got worse by the hour
‘Cos all of the members to whom I was presented
Acted like kids or were clearly demented
The place was just full of these crushing old bores
The whining idealists, political whores.
When I finally left I felt soiled and stained
And wondered aloud about what could be gained
If we chucked this lot out and elected some more
But the reality was that I couldn’t be sure
That they wouldn’t just argue like immature gits
And continue to give the taxpayer the shits.

Short Story – Fine and Hot

Yes…time for something different – a short, short story – enjoy!

Fine and Hot

Perth was sweltering through another hot summer. This was no ordinary summer; it was a season with malice that mugged anybody who stepped outside, leaving them as wasted shells of people who each night dreamed of a cool day.

On one February evening Isaac and Dianne sat watching the news. They did this every day between 7 and 7:30pm. Dirk North’s earnest face held their attention. Isaac considered him to be the most reliable and trustworthy weather presenter.

‘Today was fine and hot,’ he told them. ‘Tomorrow will be fine and hot. The outlook for the coming week is fine and hot. Now it’s back to you Jennifer.’

Isaac turned to his wife, ’I reckon that was exactly the same forecast as yesterday, darl.’

‘Well, it is that time of year. I don’t know how the poor man keeps his sanity. His job must get so boring.’

‘No, I mean that it was word-for-word the same.’

‘Oh, I doubt that dear. Do you want a coffee?’

Isaac nodded, then listened as his wife bustled around in the kitchen. There was something wrong with the forecast – he was sure of it. Anyone who might have been watching would have seen him staring into that vacant space that holds intense concentration.

Dianne returned with his coffee and was just settling down to watch some more television when her husband said, ‘I don’t think he’s said the temperature now for a week. He’s just been saying fine and hot with the number changing on the map each day.’

‘Who dear?’

‘Dirk North’

‘Forget about it,’ she insisted. ‘What do you want to watch? There are repeats of sitcoms, repeats of murder mysteries, repeats of old shows that deserve to be buried. Where did they dredge up Magnum from? There are documentaries on SBS or there is the 7:30 Report. Oh yes, there are also some reality shows where sad people make idiots of themselves.’

‘What, no cooking shows?’

‘It doesn’t look like it.’

‘Well that makes a refreshing change. I’m not fussed darl. Whatever you fancy.’

They settled down to watch people making idiots of themselves.

‘I’m really convinced that the weather is a recording you know,’ Isaac mumbled.

‘For goodness sake! If you’re so worried why don’t you record it for the next few days to see, or even write to the ABC.’

‘Hmm. I might just do that.’

‘Whatever. Now can we drop the subject? I don’t want to hear any more about it.’

At the ABC studio, Mary Connelly was talking to her colleague.

‘I think you’ll have to read the weather tomorrow, Jen. There’s a cold front coming up from the south. We won’t get away with another recording of Dirk.’

‘Not a problem. He’s not recovered then?’

‘No. He’s got worse according to the doctors.’

‘Did they say exactly what caused it? I miss him. He has a great sense of humour.’

‘They reckon it was the heat. He just cracked. Sad really.’

‘Yeah’

I’ve told them that they shouldn’t let him watch the recordings each night, but the doctors think it might help him. I’m not convinced.’

Dirk North watched himself give the evening weather forecast yet again. He strained against the straps currently restaining him, giggling hysterically in between mumbling to himself, ‘Fine and hot. Fine and hot. Fine and hot. It’s going to be very fine and really hot. Fine and hot. Fine and hot. It never ends, never ends. Hot enough to fry your brains, hahahaha. It’s never anything but fine and hot, hahahaha. Forever fine and hot, hahahaha…

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