Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Check out the eyebrow movement

Do you ever watch the US television series, Lie to me? Most of the storylines are basic, the interest being created by the weekly clues to body language and facial twitches that give you away if you're lying. We suspect our politicians tell us fibs occasionally. This is why we're all closely examining the eyebrow movements and searching for other indicators of self-incrimination that we have learned as students of Lie to me, as we listen to South Australian Premier, Mike Rann, deny allegations of sexual liaisons with parliamentary waitress, Michelle Chantelois.

We're different than our American cousins in our reaction to sex and politics. We're equally fascinated but, frankly, are pretty blase about whether or not our pollies are sexually outperforming in the bedroom, or any other venue - more akin to the French or Italian perspective than the American. But what public reactions are clearly indicating is that if something has gone on, as alleged, between the SA Premier and Ms Chantelois, we don't want Mr Rann lying about it.

Mike Rann is a very popular Premier and, according to opinion polls, will win the SA state election in a few months at a canter if there is no adverse fallout from this affair. Public reaction is telling us that the issue that would lose the election would be if he has told lies about sexual liaisons with Ms Chantelois, not the fact that the events had taken place as alleged.

So the successful handling of the issue relates solely to the integrity of 'brand Rann'. After all, the guy wasn't even married when the liaisons were alleged to have taken place, so there's no suggestion that he was cheating on his wife. The problem now of course is that, if he has been lying, it's too late to change his public position. If there is substance to Ms Chantelois's allegations and they can be proven, Mike Rann's in big trouble and his personal brand is trashed. On the other hand his stocks - and votes - may rise substantially if his highly regarded personal brand has been wrongfully attacked.

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