Sure, any attempt to encourage kids to read is most welcome. Sure, the Premier’s Reading Challenege is a great way to do this.
Heck, The Muddle Headed Wombat is one of my cherished memories of childhood.
But to present this as news, even in the Sunday papers?
When I hit the link to “The Book That Did It For Barry” I was expecting either Atlas Shrugged or Das Kapital. (Opposing factions in the Liberal Party will have you believe it’s one or the other.)
But no, it was The Premier, talking about his favourite books to a handpicked group of 10 kids from Kindergarten to Year 6 (Hush! No, that is not the board of NSW Infrastructure!)
But it was lovely to see Barry taking time out of his schedule to spread the good word about reading.
What schedule, you ask? Well, it would be the week just gone, seeing it’s a news (even if light news) story in the paper.
Surely he’s a busy man, you ask? Well let’s check the schedule for the past week. Ok, Friday? Well he was in Hong Kong, announcing a tourism deal with China.
Thursday? Was he in Waitara? No, to the great advantage of the Sydney Festival, he was in Guangzhou.
Keen reader, you will appreciate the pattern. The Premier’s well touted six day tour to the Orient has been ..well ..well touted.
It’s where The Premier has been when Fred Nile had people thinking that scripture classes were better than ethics classes at teaching the fundamentals of blackmail.
It’s where The Premier has been when the Shooters and Fishers Party publicly touted their wish to have the Reading Challenge’s lovers of literature and their likes learn to lock and load.
Unfortunately, without amazing powers of physical transference (powers which even Greg Pearce does not possess; at least not according to this week’s “Allocation of the Administration of Acts” anyway), The Premier was not in Waitara this week. Not even NSW.
Unless. Maybe. The Premier was staying at a hotel that offered The Lion, The Gideon’s, The Witch, The Instant Coffee and The Wardrobe. Now that’d be a hotel I’d pay to stay at!
But I suspect not.
Of course, The Premier, my china, the benefit of the doubt falls your way. Less so, a newspaper who keeps the story in the bain-marie of soft journalism.