Sunday, August 22, 2010

Keeping the bastards honest

The three Independents who won seats in Saturday's Australian election quickly received phone calls of congratulation from the leaders of the two main parties.

Strange that leaders of the two dominant parties, with everything that's on their plates on election night, would give priority to congratulating irrelevant winning opponents.

Not strange this time. They're suddenly very relevant. The election was a draw.

A party needs a minimum of 76 seats to take power. It looks like the final score will be 73 - 73, the balance of power lying with one Green and three Independents.

Whichever side can convince the Gang of Four to back them will be the new government.

It's going to be unsavoury. The clich├ęd smoke-filled back rooms with the faceless behind-the-scenes party power brokers trying to outdo the other side with bribes millions of dollars of our taxes to be poured into the four constituences.

The founder of the Australian Democrats, Don Chipp, comes to mind. Speaking of the two major parties, he said that the Democrat role would be to 'keep the bastards honest'.

It was the slogan, the rallying call, of the party.

That phrase was in mind when I visited my blogroll friends and landed in Houston Texas at Thomas' blog Mean Green Cougar Red.

His post was a teaser to have a look at Tom Scott's blog posting 'Journalism Warning Labels'.

Tom's come up with a great idea to help to keep those bastards honest.

Or at least to add some honesty to what's appearing in print. Tom's created a range of 'Warning' stickers which readers can fix to stories.

Here's an example:

Sound familiar? Here are some more, very relevant...and not just in this region:

I bet, like me, you could have used some of them on your morning newspaper.

I have to agree with Thomas' comment: "I found these labels to be humorous and depressing at the same time, because they're so true."

Tom has a whole range of them which you can print out. They come in various languages too, so they have world-wide possibilities.

What a good idea to do that and stick them to the papers in the coffee shop or in your company reception area.

You'll discover which coffee shops I use because I'm going to print out a few sheets...

You'll find Tom's post here where you can enjoy many more examples and print out your own sheets.

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