The Year 9 plan as “story-telling” — a response #vicvotes
My first boss in politics was Neil Stockley, who is now a successful political consultant in the UK (and a senior Liberal Democrat). He was a great boss, and something of a mentor. Neil has great expertise in the area of story telling and its crucial role in constructing effective political narratives. Given this, it is not surprising that he took an interest in my post about John Brumby’s Year 9 policy. He asked the following:
How is The Year 9 Experience story-telling. Who are the characters? What is the dramatic event, where is the happy ending, etc? where’s the morality tale?
I did my best at responding:
I realise this is an area of abiding interest for you. I guess the Tim Holding op-ed goes part way to framing the issue in “story” terms. The characters are disengaged and often troubled youth at a critical time and the parents, teachers and community members tearing their hair out at dealing with them, trying one thing after the next to no avail. The dramatic event is the 2 week away from home experience concept — dragging city kids away from PCs and Playstations into the bush for “boot-camp” for lifeskills training, and country kids into the urban ares to learn to manage with the challenges of the city. The happy ending is both personal — the kids themselves become more resilient and capable of dealing with young adulthood — and societal, in the form of fewer social problems. I also meant story-telling in this sense (and I know this may not fit your definition): it is an idea that gets people talking and sharing stories. When you announce, for example, that “we are going to invest $50 squillion in pre-school education because we know that every dollar invested at that point in a child’s life returns $50 later on in less crime, more educated people, lower health costs, etc.”, it leaves the average voter with nothing to do but nod and be thankful that such brainy government types have worked this out for them. These typical left wing ideas tend to work better as macro concepts not as visceral page-turners. The Year 9 experience — with its very tangible and targeted plans for young people and parents — is prompting a lot of talk from all age groups, invoking their own experiences and stories (and hopes and expectations). Again, Tim Holding’s op-ed (linked in my post) is an example of this. I hope this goes some way to answering your question.