Flags and Drugs

Full marks to John Howard and Brendon Nelson for keeping a straight face during their Canberra presser announcing the new deal for school funding, requiring (among other things) the Australian flag to be waving in the wind, and kids to play British Bulldogs for two hours a week. The announcement was designed to distract from the struggling state of many schools, and so far it seems to have worked. This one is a Daily Double for Howard, with the wedge issue of expressions of patriotism causing some problems for the ALP, as well as a neat distraction from far more urgent issues.

Still, the issue will probably be lost in the response to the more significant story, the ALP backing down on opposing PBS changes. Surely there would have been a better time for a 'bad news dump' like this one. The best time was a week or two ago, just before the Garrett announcement. Would have been a perfect way to kill the story and not look like nongs. As it is, Labor's Shadow Minister for Bad News, Shit Jobs, and Looking a Bit Like John Howard, Bob McMullan had to run with the message. God forbit Shadow Health Minister Julia Gillard should get her hands dirty with this one.


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