A review by Nalini Haynes
In The Scomo Diaries, Scott Morrison is, effectively, Adrian Mole of Secret Diary fame all grown up and become prime minister of Australia. Scotty gave himself – in real life – the nickname “ScoMo” to try to be cool. Which only makes him LESS cool, but don’t tell him that. Political satirist Tosh Greenslade from Mad As Hell fame and political cartoonist Andrew Weldon wrote The Scomo Diaries lampooning Scotty and his endless upward failing.
The diary opens in August 2018 when Scotty has just back-stabbed Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s previous prime minister. Two days after a presser during which he pretended to be loyal. We follow Scotty’s misadventures until February 2020 through fires and floods and fireworks.
And, in his closing remarks, Scotty comments that it’s all bound to be quiet after March 2020. [Screaming]!
Except perhaps it has been quiet for Scotty. You just have to read the twitter hashtag #ScomosGapYear.
I interviewed Tosh Greenslade and Andrew Weldon on this podcast. The podcast is also available on all good podcasting platforms.
Entitled white rich
prick politician Scotty narrates his adventures. As is appropriate, considering it’s his (fictional) diary. Greenslade and Weldon nail Scotty’s bigotry and acceptance of bigotry in the service of his political career. Therefore it can be argued that representation isn’t good.
Except it’s brilliant.
Scotty is an unreliable narrator just like he’s unreliable in pressers. We the readers have to interpret “Jenny and the girls’” reactions. Not to mention that Greenslade paints Scotty, “inadvertently”, as the clueless sycophantic politically ambitious Trump-imitating Trump-“friend” we’ve seen in the news.
After narrating his career, from being in an ad in the 70s to Tourism Australia to the top job, Scotty talks about Australia Day. And Greenslade NAILS IT. Concisely. Elegantly. Hilariously.
Likewise for Scotty’s reneging on the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), appropriating that money for “other purposes”; the lead up to the Disability Royal Commission; bullying of women – “lady ones” – in the Liberal Party; and so on.
The sparse text, the concise summaries, coupled with “Scotty’s” point of view are so sharp there is blood on the page. The entire book burns so hot it competes with the Morrison Fires.
And Andrew Weldon, cartoonist from The Age, The Australian, The Big Issue and his own books, illustrated The Scomo Diaries beautifully. Apparently Greenslade gave Weldon the manuscript. Then Weldon illustrated points of inspiration. Everything from the front cover to Tony Abbott in his trademark budgie smugglers in Parliament House…
Truth or fiction?
Much of the Scomo Diaries is based on historical fact but told with a satirical twist. Greenslade describes his writing as a “roast”. The telling pushes past reality surprisingly. Veep was famously cancelled because the show couldn’t compete with the Trump administration for comedy. And yet, somehow, Greenslade manages to push the boundaries of reality for comedic purposes. I particularly love his caricature of Christopher Pyne. Veep could hardly remain in the same genre, however, and portray Mitch McConnell as a demon. Or could it?
There were times where I wasn’t entirely sure what was fact and what was fiction. Greenslade’s blurring of the two is something to beware: it’d be embarrassing to be caught out asserting one of his satirical anecdotes as reality!
The Scomo Diaries is hilarious with excellent representation of genuine social issues versus obscene political gambits. Greenslade’s skewering and basting Scotty From Marketing ready for an Australian barbecue is delicious. This political satire is in the same category as the best of Max Barry (see Machine Man, Syrup, Jennifer Government, The Company). If you aren’t familiar with Australian politics you could read this and enjoy it. However, if you are familiar with Australian politics, read with caution. Beware nose-blown drinks and sore abdominal muscles.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Published: 17 November 2020
Category: humor, politics