NEVILLE THE NOVICE NODDY

By Mike Welsh
Given there are almost two dozen politicians slinking off into what for some will be a super dooper superannuated sunset at the next election, brace yourself for a whole batch of newbies. And with newbies come Noddies.
While relatively new, the noddy has become standard fare on television images regularly fed from political press conferences, featuring the PM/Opposition leader or Minister/Shadow Minister with the current “Neville Nobody” local member/candidate strategically placed behind them, awkwardly awaiting the cue to nod or shake their heads. The noddies also occupy the less important seats in the House of Reps but don’t impact as much as they do on the all important nightly news.
 Noddying is an art form. The professional noddy is a sight to behold. Through  weird omosis their faces exude just the right amount of integrity and authority and when required, disdain. These polished performers appear to have an inexhaustible range of plausible and thoughtful expressions. A pensive pose, a pious pout and a deft display of disgust in equal measure in spite of their opinion of the shifty pollie spinning to the media pack in front of them. But come the election campaign, when the candidate needs some valuable exposure, these professional practitioners are elbowed aside to make way for those of a lesser level of expertise.  When the PM’s people pick a factory floor or the Deli of a local food market to announce a special policy, the whole event is choreographed (including hairnets,hard hats and fluoro vests) to within an inch of its life. Is it then too much to expect the advance crew to go the extra K and ensure some proficient Noddying is available?
Clearly most nodddies just look plain stupid and wooden, but those who orchestrate these stunts see “nodding” behind a pollie before the press as an effective political technique and therefore should take the coaching of said candidates more seriously.
I’ve never met a Noddy coach but I’m sure they exist and I’d love to take a peek at their training manual. And I’d like to know how they’d deal with the poor noddy performance of Liberal Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja.
Canberra pollies are often used at local press conferences staged outside election campaigns, so you’d think they would be better at the caper than most.
The respective members of the two Canberra Federal seats Gai Brodtmann (Canberra) and Andrew Leigh (Fraser) are chalk and cheese with their nodding. Brodtman often looks troubled as though something bad is about to happen. Maybe she’s secretly dreading a Shorten Prime Ministership. Leigh however always appears smug and self satisfied when nodding, suggesting he has a secret which nobody else knows. Maybe they’d do better if they swapped.
Zed Seselja on the other hand should seriously consider his Noddy future. When paired with an important pollie for some noddy action, Zed Seselja’s body language suggests a silent but deadly fart has been dropped in his vicinity and he’s busy trying to identify the offender while at the same time holding his breath.  A massive challenge for a Noddy coach.
And another thing: pollies and Selfies. Can the Noddy tutors sharpen up a few pollies on their Selfie technique? Malcolm Turnbull is as at home with a Selfie as Tony Abbott is all at sea. But he is a rare example.
One final thing. If you can train a photo op addicted pollie to nod on cue and take a “cool” Selfie, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get them to a decent level of proficiency of handballing a footy without looking a complete dill. Because at the end of the day, a lot of money and energy is expended to prevent these remarkable and public minded individuals from looking like complete galahs.

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