Sunday, January 15, 2017 - 12:05

One of the most successful ploys for politicians is to throw a dead cat on the table.

The dead cat means nothing, suggests anything and is a perfect diversion.

Harvard MBA 101 advises that if you or your company ever get attacked for any perceived misdemeanor, never respond. If you do, even with a valid defense, this can start a discussion or an argument. This is just what journalists want. Otherwise grin and bear it and wait it out for the next news item to come out and over shadow your concerns. Now there are few bone in teeth investigative journalists so it usually goes away quickly.

Otherwise throw a dead cat on the table. Trump is a master of the technique. Not only can he throw in diversions by the cart load, but there are always so many outrageous statements that as a journalist you feel there has to be a response but with so many, you never know where to start. Someone pinpoints for example a ridiculous approach to comment on China and he comes back with some comment about how he fancies his daughter.

The dead cat has to be totally unrelated to the issue in point and just as in “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” answer yes or NO, there can be no answer.

Ex Australian prime Minister Bob Hawke used the technique in a slightly different way by immediately filing suit against anyone who offended him which froze any criticism for a while until it all went away. In Tasmania the enquiry into the 21 men who died on the Nissan Maru No 8 at a time when all the responsible people including the Chief of Police were too busy at Hobart’s race day was put on hold and all participants told it was now sub judice with a blanket put over it for months until it just fizzled away. These dead cats are very useful animals.

With Trump about to take over and convert the White House the public can look forward to many more dead cats and a litter of dead kittens over the next four years if it lasts that long.

Entertaining yet but a bit light on answers.