Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gerard Henderson, and the year in which the smug inner city elites almost ruined the world ...

(Above: Gerard Henderson prattling at the Sydney Institute, and boy do they need to fix up the podcast section of their site. No link, it'll send your browser into the spinning wheel of death, or at least despair).

It was only last January that Gerard Henderson was explaining why John Howard was in select company when it came to the matter of royalty and republics, as he brooded about:

... the luvvies' (then) hero, Justice Michael Kirby. When it comes to the royals and all that, Kirby is every bit as much a monarchist as John Howard.

Yes, it was the days of the luvvies. It was also the month that Henderson outed Obama:

The President was unequivocal in declaring last week: "We are at war. We are at war against al-Qaeda … and we will do whatever it takes to defeat them." He also spoke about al-Qaeda's "murder of fellow Muslims". Sounds a bit like George Bush, or perhaps even Dick Cheney.

Except of course he's a Kenyan Muslim.

But that didn't stop our prattling Polonius from finding former chairman Rudd just like John Howard in the matter of terrorism ... only to steer a wrong course in relation to India, where Henderson used street violence in Melbourne to berate Rudd for not selling uranium to India. What's the link, you ask? Well none really, except it allowed Henderson to promote the notion that Australia was practising a kind of apartheid:

Some prominent Indians have vented their displeasure in public. Shashi Tharoor, the minister of state in the external affairs department, knows Australia well. During a visit to Australia in 2008, before he took up his present position, he accused Rudd Labor of practising a type of apartheid. He complained "there isn't a rational reason for the Australian position because Australia does sell uranium to nuclear-weapon-producing states, including China".

Still uncertain of the link between a non-racist Australia, in Henderson's mind, given to street violence against Indians, and international apartheid practiser? Never mind ...

February: Gerard Henderson discovers a favourite theme for the year:

The interests of the left are easily identifiable. They invariably involve anything but what were once referred to as "bread and butter" issues. The inner-city radical middle class has moved beyond bread and butter - and even focaccia and caviar - to such issues as international and national security, nuclear power and the environment.

Oh how he and The Australian could rant and rail at the well-off professionals who live and work in the inner city and enjoy tenured employment, most notably at the Sydney Institute. At the same time, Henderson feared for small business:

The Prime Minister and his colleagues are busy bagging the opposition finance spokesman, Barnaby Joyce. They should listen to Peter Walsh, the successful finance minister in the Hawke government, who warned last week the MUA's recent industrial victory could lead to a wages breakout of a kind that devastated Gough Whitlam's Labor government in 1974.

Still wondering when the wages breakout will devastate the Gillard government? What's the chance it'll be Peter Walsh, Gary Punch, Michael Costa, Mark Latham and Graham Richardson that will the ones to devastate it?

March: In March Henderson was devastated to be overlooked by the ABC:

After almost four years as managing director, Scott has still not found one conservative or right-of-centre personality to present any of the ABC's most influential programs.

If only they'd given him a gig, so he could have announced to the world the truth about Tony Abbott:

It's unclear how the year will work out. But Rudd's decision to cancel an important trip to the US indicates he acknowledges Abbott really does have some people skills.

Also in March Henderson discovered a threat that was almost a match for dangerous inner suburban radicals:

No community is responsible for individuals within it. But it is disturbing that the response from Muslim spokesmen in the Elomar case has been to deny or play down the matter.

Making, of course the Muslim community responsible for the terrorist individuals within it.

April: This was the month when Henderson discovered that kicking the Bill Henson can was appropriate, and Malcolm Turnbull revealed himself as a political hero ... to David Marr:

In a sense, Turnbull emerged as the political hero of Marr's book. That might have won him support in Wentworth. But Rudd's condemnation would have had majority support in suburban and regional Australia where most marginal seats are. There is no reason to question Rudd's sincerity on this issue. It's just that his stand also made political sense.

Dammit, it also turns out that Joe Hockey is the wrong kind of hero:

Once again, Hockey's position may have appeal on the lower north shore. Yet it is unlikely to engender support in the outer suburbs and regional centres. The same is true of Hockey's criticism of the attempt by the Communication Minister, Stephen Conroy, to stop child pornography on the internet.

Damn those lower north shore types. For a true hero, we need Barnaby Joyce:

The National Party is never likely to again dominate the Coalition. However, there should be room for Joyce's economic and social philosophy and his message is likely to have some appeal to regional and rural Australia. Hence the Nationals' advertising campaign some six months out from the election.

May: In this month, it was the damned inner city types who came back to haunt the world, in the form of Peter Carey, Catherine Deveny, Jill Singer, Judith Brett, and John Faine:

From New York to Sydney and on to Melbourne, many an inner-city intellectual is full of contempt for their fellow men and women. It's just that not many 'fess up to what they really think.

Gerard's solution? Well of course he has a hearty contempt for inner city intellectuals, and is always ready to 'fess up what he really thinks.

Let the young read Dan Brown and discover the Catholic plot to rule the world ... and beware blondes ...

The opinion polls suggest Barry O'Farrell is heading for a comfortable victory. However, the sassy Kristina Keneally is popular.

Sassy! Oh yes, how we chuckled over that sassy sally.

Then Henderson decided to tap former Chairman Rudd on the shoulder:

Rudd is much more responsible than Whitlam.

From that moment former Chairman Rudd was doomed.

It seems Kevin Rudd has become a significant disappointment to many members of the parliamentary press gallery. Quite a few environmentally conscious journalists agreed with the Prime Minister that human-induced climate change was the greatest moral challenge of our time - and they expected him to put Australia in the front line of those nations wanting to take action to save the planet.

Strange. So it was the press gallery that did Rudd down, and not his lack of affinity with the outer suburbs?

If Gillard prevails, this will be the most significant reform of Rudd's inaugural term.

Well you have to hand it to Gerard, he called it in one.

June: A new variant on the evils besetting us:

The Greens are essentially the party of the affluent inner-city professional class, many of whom work in the public sector or who enjoy generous taxpayer-subsidised superannuation.

.... The Greens might win House of Representative seats and just might have a role to play in a hung parliament. But it is unlikely Bob Brown and his colleagues will be anything other than influential senators.

July: dammit, more of the same:

... middle-class radicals who control the inner-city greens ... inner-city left-wing political activists, left-wing socialist-style party ... lifelong members of the pro-Stalinist Socialist party ...ex-communists and socialists trying to take over the inner-city branches of the Greens ... and middle class radicalism

Talk about a one note prattling Polonius.

The well educated and well off will invariably obtain jobs. Which explains why, in parts of inner Sydney and inner Melbourne, there is what used to be called over-employment. But it is different in some outer-suburban and regional areas, where increasingly the rich and tertiary educated get jobs while the poor and less educated line up for Centrelink payments.

Yes, there's over-employment at the Sydney Institute which is why we need to bring back Work Choices so more people can get rich and rewarding jobs preparing hamburgers ...

Also in July Henderson bravely tackled the matter of New Zealand cowardice when it came to Afghanistan:

If the new Netherlands government takes any notice of Key's assessment, it is unlikely to recommit forces to Afghanistan. His comments are at best indiscreet. If New Zealand does not want to pull its weight in NATO and the Western Alliance, that's New Zealand's business. But Key does not need to rationalise his country's isolationist tendency by criticising a commitment in which his country has played only a scant role.

Damn you, fickle cowardly Kiwis, damn you and your white feather inner suburban isolationist ways. Just think of Hamid Karzai as uncle Joe:

Certainly there are concerns about corruption in the government in Kabul led by Hamid Karzai. But the Karzai government is the only viable administration that Afghanistan has right now. There are many instances where the Allies have supported flawed governments during times of conflict - most notably Joseph Stalin's communist dictatorship in Moscow when the priority was to defeat Adolf Hitler and Nazism.

Who could imagine a better geo-political metaphor to explain the quagmire?

August: there was a month, with the headmaster flaying his pupils. Allow me to summarise:

There's a "series of errors", "a number of self-inflicted errors", "the dumbest political strategy ever", "incompetent behaviour", a failure to "act professionally", a wasting of "time and money", "errors on the National Party side", and a need for "both the Liberals and Nationals" to examine "their acts of folly and self-indulgence" which cost a "clear, albeit narrow, victory."

But how could it have happened? Well it wasn't the doing of women. After all, we know that they were rooting for Tony in Rooty Hill when not rooting for conservative views of the world:

Then there was Paul Murphy, a small businessman from Illawong. Responding to claims that Abbott worried feminists, Murphy wrote to the Herald about the young women he has employed for more than two decades. He said they were primarily "concerned with conceiving, managing work and kids and running households". Murphy wrote that most of the women in the outer suburbs of his acquaintance "have strong circles of friends and generally hold 'old-fashioned views' ".

Naturally our prattling Polonius was at one with this:

The left-wing community action group Get Up! ran advertisements against Abbott advising women not to vote for the Coalition. Millions of women rejected this advice. And millions of men and women failed to respond to warnings from the likes of Professor Robert Manne and the author Paul Collins that Abbott did not deserve support because he is a conservative Catholic. This used to be called sectarianism.

Yes, when we all know that Gillard didn't deserve support because she's an atheist with a hairdresser boyfriend ... but this used to be called sensible conservative Catholic thinking ...

Still, the key issue of the decade, of the millenia continued to be clear:

The view that Abbott is unelectable reflects the mindset of the secular inner-city intelligentsia and finds expression among some journalists.

... the evidence suggests Abbott has a certain appeal among lower-socio-economic groups in the outer suburbs and regional centres where life is quite tough and long-term and youth unemployment disturbingly high. Outside the inner city, Abbott's social conservatism is not a reason for sneering - since most Australians are conservatively inclined.

Oh dear. Please forgive them lord, for they know not what they did, and somehow lo and behold a Labor Green alliance came into being ...

September: By now the bee in the bonnet was buzzing with weekly monotony:

Turnbull, on a good day, is a plus for the opposition. Yet his policies on climate change - and his socially progressive beliefs documented in Annabel Crabb's essay Stop At Nothing - are far from popular in the outer suburbs and regional areas where most marginal seats are located.

... Turnbull may become a team player. Or he may become yet another Liberal who spends much time criticising the party he once led - in the tradition of the late John Gorton, Malcolm Fraser and John Hewson. They are the kind of Liberals whom Tim Costello loves.

Oh no, anybody, anything, anyone other than Tim Costello. Why that's as bad as the ABC (and please tell, why isn't Gerard Henderson fronting his own show yet?)

This follows a parliamentary term in which the policies and practices of Labor and the Coalition were held to account, while the Greens leader Bob Brown got by with soft questions from interviewers, especially on the ABC.

Yes Gerard for the tough questions!

October: It was the same mob refusing to ask the hard questions this month too:

During his incarceration, Hicks had many vocal supporters among left-wing professionals. They have been quiet following the publication of his memoirs and his apparent refusal to do as he promised and fully account for his terrorist training and his relationship with al-Qaeda.

Yep, it's once again with the 'left-wing professionals'. Or should that be the professional left wing? Or could that be Henderson confusing the issue of imprisonment with a condoning of Hicks' folly?

But then, in the usual way, it was deja vu all over again:

It was the classic disconnect between the inner-city, well-educated professional with a secure job and guaranteed superannuation and the less-educated small business operator or employee in the regional centres or outer suburbs.

... The growing disparity in Australia is not so much between rich and poor but between the well-educated in secure employment and the less educated in small business and uncertain employment or on pensions. Any change which does not take this division into account is doomed for political failure.

Dammit, the secure employment of the Sydney Institute strikes again. Or is fund raising this year a little tougher?

The disconnection between those who backed the guide's thesis and those who might experience its recommendations was dramatic. The supporters were public servants along with the likes of Professor Richard Kingsford - academics who work at publicly funded universities. Support was also evident among journalists who have rarely worked outside the public broadcasters or big media companies.

Unlike Henderson of course who has worked in a wide range of fields, from the public service through to working for Liberal politicians to scribbling for that very small media company Fairfax, when not ensconced in the belly of a private institute situated in the heart of Sydney.

Did we mention that one trick pony routine?

If the divide prevails, the next election will probably be decided in the suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, in the seats now held by Oakeshott and Windsor in northern NSW, on the NSW central coast and in northern Tasmania. This is where there is likely to be a greater concern about rising power bills than the Greens' climate change agenda, which is popular among the party's radical middle-class base of inner-city professionals, academics, public servants and superannuants.

Uh huh, that was the prattling Polonius getting agitated about the ALP Green alliance, haunted as usual in a mind numbing, repetition by rote way, by the endless rattling chains of the radical inner city elite.

November: Happily the month saw a change of tack - a chance to prove that World War 1 was a just war, and a tremendous romp, and a chance for Australians to move away from fiendish left wing historians and into the welcoming arms of Gerard Henderson, so that they might clasp a manly bosom. It was also the time to reflect and think back on what might have happened if ASIO hadn't caught the Petrovs:

And it (ASIO) kept a watch on communists, who, as Eric Aarons acknowledged in his 1993 book What's Left?, would have "executed people" if they had come to power.

So that's what happens when a paranoid accepts the thoughts of the delusional ....

December: and so we come to the finest month of all, and a set of stunning predictions:

It is too early to make even a vague prediction. But Abbott has a reasonable chance of winning the next election. He needs to improve the Coalition's vote in suburban Melbourne, western Sydney and on the NSW central coast. The Coalition has a chance of winning the seats held by Oakeshott and Windsor. And it may be able to do even better in Queensland and make inroads in northern Tasmania.

As the Victorian election demonstrated, the Greens are not as influential as many of their supporters imply.

What news from the front Master Polonius?

Well it seems that the devilish inner suburban elites are actually a mirage, an illusion, a delusion, and they have no support at all, and victory will be there for the taking ...

But meanwhile, how about a little paranoia on behalf of the Catholic church? Sure thing:

As Francis Fukuyama pointed out in a lecture in Sydney in 2008, the huge increases in world population are taking place in sub-Saharan Africa where the Pope has little influence. If Adams was truly concerned about the need for condom advocacy as a form of birth control, he would take his cause to the Islamic nations - or, indeed, to Islamic settlements within Western societies. It's just that it is easier to ridicule Christians in the West than Muslims anywhere.

Actually it's easier to ridicule Gerard Henderson, the prattling Polonius who gives desiccated coconut a good name. Just add water, and you end up with a kind of creamy predictability, but whatever you do, don't put the cream in coffee, or you might end up part of an inner suburban elite ... like Henderson ...

But that you have it. Just a short skim milk survey of the thoughts of Comrade Gerard.

Oh and the reason for this little trip down Gerard Henderson memory lane? Well this week in Year's dish was hyperbole, with a dash of exaggeration, Henderson berates 2010 and asks whether this is the year in which exaggeration and false prophecy reached a nadir ...

He suggests you be the judge. And I think we can say that the ayes have it, which is to say, the inner suburban elitist conspiracy to defeat all good thinking well meaning outer suburban and country folk, including of course the upstanding members of the Sydney Institute who march shoulder to shoulder with them.

After all, no harm done celebrating World War One (so long ago), savaging the kiwis (so preening as they pose with their haka) or saving Afghanistan in much the same way as we helped out Joe Stalin ...

(Below: instead of the light on the hill, could we settle for the light on the desk?)

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