Clapping The Carpet Bag Shut And Running For The Steamboat

A guide for the unsuccessful candidate in Federal Parliamentary elections.

a. If enough people voted for you, you can have your monetary deposit back. Otherwise the Electoral Commission retains the $ 2000 deposit and buys slabs of beer and Cheezels with it.

b. If you find that you are being bested during the vote counting by such a margin that even your party supporters, second in command, business manager, and the pizza boy are being savage, you would be wise to be prepared to concede defeat.

If your electorate has 29 people standing for that particular seat and 28 of you are still standing when the music stops, you might not even have to go to the trouble of conceding. Someone will be N0. 2 in the poll, and they might need to burst into tears and evoke the spirit of some long-dead leader, but if you are No.26 you can just go home and put the kettle on.

c. If you are so unwise as to make rash statements about the electorate that has rejected you, consider whether it might be wise to leave the district. The speed with which you do this repends upon how rude your remarks are.

People may not have taken the least notice of you as you campaigned, but you can be goddamned certain they’ll remember every last word of bad temper spouted by a bad loser. And the papers will leap on it – that’s what we reptiles do.

d. If you wish to cry, do so. Just be careful about who films you crying and what you are wearing at the time.

e. Vowing vengeance upon the enemy is fine, if you wish to stand for election in the Game Of Thrones. Doing it on the grounds of your local primary school is a mistake. See ( c. ) above.

f. Do not decamp with the spoons. Make sure that when you retire from the arena of public life, that all what you touches is yours. Disappointed supporters have a way of curling round your ankles and biting deep. If there is any farnarkeling to be found, you will pay the complete legal price.

If you are the winner, this does not apply.

What Does The Fourth-Best Runner Collect?

Every major athletic contest ¬†– from the 100-yd Hammer Dive to the Hop-Step-And-Throw Up – is judged pretty carefully. The Olympic Games and the Consolation Games ( Sorry, I meant to write Commonwealth…) all have teams of judges, fabulous digital measuring gear, and the kind of visual recording that used to be reserved for H-Bomb testing. Plus the competitors themselves have their crankcases drained regularly and the contents analysed.

The three fastest, farthest, highest, or strongest eventually get medals and public acclaim. They also get recruited by sportswear, soft drink, and rubber prophylactic makers to promote their wares…at least until the next set of neck muscles win fresh medals and replace them. The very lucky ones get to spruik for all three products at the same time. It’s not the sort of advertisement that runs early in the evening when the kids are up, but it’s worth staying awake for…

But what does N0. 4 or No. 5 get? I suspect they are lucky to get bus fare home. And once there, the glare of publicity is probably replaced by the sight of the backs of a lot of heads. For people who may have devoted a decade to daily idiot pain in preparation for the contest, it seems to be a devil’s reward.

Living up to a promise is hard – living down a defeat is worse. If all this has been your entire life, you have been living it on rough ground. Perhaps the best reward for them would be to just be on the level for a while.

The artist or model builder or knitter or pumpkin grower who competes for some prize can ¬†also feel the sting of victory or the thrill of defeat, but unlike the runner or swimmer, the producer has something to show – or at least to store and dust – for it. The performer who doesn’t get the plaudits has nothing for the effort other than the snide remark that they failed.

If their character is such that they take this quietly and get on with other activities – working, studying, mating, etc – then the time has not been wasted – it shows that they have matured and become good human beings. If they try to trade on their pain and defeat it says something else. Would that defeated politicians and their backers also learn the lesson.