DANIEL Andrews this week insisted spin doctors had not helped him to craft key phrases that he has used during Victoria’s deadly coronavirus pandemic.
More fool the Premier, since a savvy marketing team would have advised him to stop using many of the repetitious slogans he mistakenly believes are serving him so well.
Having endured more than 100 daily coronavirus briefings, the public long ago deciphered Daniel Andrews’ pet phrases and now understand them to mean something very different to what the Premier intends when he routinely trots them out.
If the embattled Premier won’t take the advice of social researchers who were reportedly paid $2m to come up with talking points for the government, perhaps he will take on board my advice, offered at no cost to the long-suffering taxpayer.
“We are all in this together”
Daniel Andrews loves this phrase and uses it often. It is, of course, meant to bring Victorians comfort. Someone needs to advise the Premier that it has exactly the opposite effect.
When the Premier says “we are all in this together” the message people hear is that that they are unable to escape him. They can barely leave their homes, let alone the state. And the next election is not due until November 2022.
Victorians don’t want to be “in this together” with the Premier and his chief health officer. In fact, many believe it is because they are “together” with Andrews that “we are all in this” mess.
“Let me be clear …”
The public now recognise this phrase as a warning from the Premier that whatever he is about to say will probably make little sense and should be treated with extreme suspicion.
But the phrase is redundant since Victorians are now suspicious of everything the Premier says.
When Victorians hear “Let me be clear”, Victorians think “Oh boy, here we go”.
“We can’t pretend this is over”
Daniel Andrews likes to say this with a grim expression and a solemn tone, but who exactly is he talking to?
Are there unemployed Victorians pretending they are back at work? Are small business owners living in denial about the reality of their situation? Or is the Premier concerned that people separated from family by nonsensical travel restrictions are imagining that they are not?
The public do not worry that Daniel Andrews will “pretend this is over”. On the contrary, they worry that he will pretend the crisis is never over, so as to continue to impose his draconian laws upon them.
They worry his advisors will continue to pretend there are good reasons they cannot travel more than a certain distance from home. Worse, they worry Daniel Andrews will pretend that Covid-19 can be eliminated, consigning Victorians to lockdowns that stretch endlessly into the future.
But there is another trap that the Premier should be alert to when using this overdone phrase.
There is a very real danger that the public will demand to know why he “can’t pretend this is over” but he can pretend he knows nothing about the hotel quarantine fiasco.
Better to avoid any mention of pretending.
“This virus doesn’t discriminate”
This statement seems to confuse voters in Australia’s most socially engineered state who, having been indoctrinated to believe that discrimination at any time and for any reason is always wrong, wonder if the Premier is paying the virus a compliment.
“I am very grateful to Victorians who are doing the right thing”
Victorians don’t want the Premier’s gratitude; they want their freedom. Moreover, Victorians doubt the sincerity of his gratitude.
“I am very grateful to Victorians who are doing the right thing” sounds less like gratitude and more like a condescending pat on the head to reassure doubters that whatever the Premier says is indeed “the right thing”.
“It’s been very challenging”
Helping your teenager study algebra is challenging. Being stripped of your livelihood and your civil liberties at the whim of incoherent public servants is devastating.
And losing loved ones to a virus that was allowed to spread because of government ineptitude is simply diabolical.
Stop telling people that “it’s been very challenging”. It has been worse than that, and many people blame you, Premier.
“You can’t ignore the data and the science”
Daniel Andrews may be surprised to learn that you can no longer bully public opinion with magic words like ‘data’ and ‘science’.
Labor and the Greens have spent 20 years bombarding the public with data that predicts cataclysmic climate events that never eventuate. So the ‘data’ – It comes a “super computer”, right? – has become something of a joke.
And as for science, you can’t insist that biology has nothing to do with gender and then expect people to take you seriously when you say, “You can’t ignore the science”.
We recommend the Chairman stop using this phrase.
It reminds voters that they are trapped in a socialist gulag where they are held fully accountable for petty offences – like the failure to wear a mask – by individuals who blend into a committee so as to never take responsibility for catastrophic decisions like those that led to Victoria’s deadly second wave.
“We must all follow the rules”
When Daniel Andrews says this, the majority of people hear “Black Lives Matter”.
Remember the non-socially distancing, mostly maskless march through Melbourne’s CBD where the Premier and the Police Commissioner decided “the rules” did not apply?
People remember. And they’re still filthy about it.
“I have no recollection of that”
We strongly recommend the Premier stops using this phrase. The more he says he can’t recollect things, the more Sky presenter Peta Credin is encouraged to assist him!
And the Premier don’t need spin doctors to tell him how that ends!
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James Macpherson is a sought after international speaker with a background in journalism at the Courier Mail and Daily Telegraph. He previously pastored a significant church in Australia and South Africa. James' weekly Good Sauce podcast comes out every Tuesday. He also writes regularly for The Spectator.