Have your say on politicians and sport.
Steve Hitstirrer is a well-travelled, sports-hardened, armchair expert, prepared to tear the scab off a whole range of sporting wounds. Love him or hate him, you’ll find indifference is not an option.
I felt uncomfortable watching Australia's first female Prime Minister embedded in the Western Bulldogs inner circle, deep in the bowels of Etihad Stadium on the weekend, as the club celebrated a huge victory by belting out their club song. Julia Gillard is the Bulldogs' No1 ticket holder and if she kept her word she'd be playing full forward for them, but I had reason to feel uneasy about the whole situation.
My question is; which came first, Julia's love of the Bulldogs or her western suburbs electorate? And if not for the latter would there be the former?
Not that I am suggesting that Ms Gillard would be the first and only politician to adopt a sporting passion purely because it suited their political ambitions. You only have to go back as far as the recently deposed Kevin Rudd to find a man who discovered a love of sport when it best suited his agenda. K-Rudd claimed to be a diehard Broncos/Lions/Reds/Maroons fan who loved his cricket in the summer when in reality he had never heard of any of those things until his spin machine suggested it might win him a few votes.
Before any of us knew what was going on, we had K-Rudd rugged up in maroon scarves at everything from Lions matches to State of Origin clashes. He nervously giggled his way through matches until his charade was finally torn down when he was seen applauding the excellent flagmenship of goal umpires at the Gabba. I'm willing to bet that you wont see K-Rudd at another footy match this season.
Little Johnny Howard was a well-known sports tragic. One look at his authentic Wallabies tracksuit told you he was 100 per cent legitimate in his love of sport. Johnny was a diehard St George Illawarra Dragons fan even though his electorate was in the heart of Tigers country.
Johnny's downfall was that he believed he could still play sport. The nation has never been as embarrassed on the world stage as the day Johnny lined up on a dusty park somewhere in Pakistan and proceeded to bowl a cricket ball directly into his left sock.
Paul Keating was clearly the greatest treasurer and Prime Minister this country has ever seen. You need only ask him to have that claim confirmed. A lanky, bookish man, Keating looked more like an undertaker's accountant than the average bloke at a football match. When pushed he once claimed a firm love of all things Collingwood, obviously hoping to look more like a man of the people by aligning himself with the AFL's most supported club. Any thought of Keating sitting at the MCG in a black and white scarf with a pie in his hand was blown away when he said that he hoped to see Collingwood "kick a try".
Politicians trying to gain an advantage by putting on a face they believe to be more attractive to voters. It has been happening since Laurie Oakes was a boy and it won't stop any time soon.
I just hope that our first female Prime Minister has a real love of the Western Bulldogs that goes deeper than a spin doctor's recommendation. I'd like to think she at least fell in love with them after seeing a scarf, beanie and moccasin wearing constituent who promised her his vote in exchange for a hearty "carn 'Dogs!!"
Now you can follow the Hitstirrer on Twitter - http://twitter.com/SteveHitstirrer
Take a stroll back through Hitstirrer's greatest hits
Is Julia Gillard's passion for the Western Bulldogs a marriage of convenience?
Is it just good to see her sharing the common man's passion?
Can you really believe anything a politician does?