In politics, rat cunning can go an awfully long way

Intelligence is a great thing, but rat cunning should never be underestimated.

QUESTION AND ANSWER: The audience at a Devonport City Council election forum in 2011. Council elections are coming around again for Tasmania’s 29 municipalities and candidates (with rat cunning or not) are gearing up for their campaigns.

Not quite sure whether to encourage candidates for the upcoming council elections to read on, or to discourage them.

Actually, thinking about it, don’t read on, all you candidates.

Nothing to see here.

Now they’re gone, the rest of us can continue.

It works like a charm in politics.

There used to be an elected member at one of the Coast’s councils who would just keep on getting elected.

He was a nice enough bloke and seemed to genuinely care about people, but he was no great policy generator and the reasons he had such a loyal following were not always obvious.

One reason was this.

He got on with the council works crew.

He would take the crew a carton of beer now and again, so the story goes.

He would casually learn which jobs they had coming up.

Which potholes would be fixed, which areas would get footpaths and so on.

Then, our man would doorknock those areas and introduce himself to the residents.

He would ask the residents about how satisfied they were with the council and/or what they would like the council to do.

If they didn’t raise the dastardly pothole or the glaring lack of footpath, he would steer the conversation in that direction.

“Don’t worry,” he would tell them.

“I’ll look after it.”

In the days or weeks following, along would come the works crew and fix the pothole, lay the footpath and so on.

In other words,…

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