If I see the mindless expression 'spin over substance' trotted out one more time with reference to SA Premier Mike Rann and his government, I'm going to have what my grandmother used to call A Turn.
But alas, there's only one thing journos (and apparently their readers) love more than alliteration, and that's a nice simple false dichotomy. Those who keep saying 'spin over substance' believe, or would have us believe, or both, that the relation of spin to substance is the same as the relation of black to white, good to evil, night to day, you get the picture. I don't know which is the more annoying, the woolly-mindedness or the sibilance and sussuration.
Because as any South Australian with eyes in his or her head is perfectly well aware, Rann has both spin and substance in abundance. You may not like his substance, but you cannot deny that he has it. He may have less of it in some areas (like water), but he certainly has more of it in others, like the healthy state economy, the low unemployment rate and the massive improvements in Adelaide's roads and traffic flow in half a dozen different places over the last eight years. Everything except the really intractable problems (like water) appears to have gone pretty smoothly throughout his two terms thus far, in spite of his, erm, strange team and his apparent ongoing, erm, disagreements with the legal profession.
But the brutal populist Laura Norder policies, even in their weird ideological disconnect from the Social Inclusion Unit headed by a priest appointed by fiat, are a different thing from a lack of substance. So, even, is this silly business with the former waitress, she of the 'funny, flirty friendship' (and if you believe that, then I've got a nice bridge you might like to buy -- though 'funny' is appropriate, if not in the way Rann meant it). Take down their pants and their brains fall out, as my baby sister is wont, tersely, to observe, but that doesn't indicate 'lack of substance' either, whatever else it might be a symptom of.
Unfortunately, shapely blondes are right up there with alliteration and false dichotomy when it comes to what the meeja likes most, so the non-story about the alleged long-gone affair with the waitress is the one we keep hearing over and over again, not least because said waitress keeps popping up behind microphones and in front of cameras -- not unlike that other shapely blonde whose non-story is taking up so much space not only in the sports pages but also in the news pages at the moment. The SA election is only eight sleeps away, but who knows how much longer we're all going to be subjected daily to more breathless, sleazy fluff about the hapless Lara Bingle?
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