(Above: no, but they'd attack him if he was a Christian, the fiends).
What the world needs is more Gerard Hendersons, said David Burchell on Counterpoint the other day, and damn right he is, the world - or at least the pond - needs a flood of GHs ...
What with the Australia-wide shortage of squawkers, thanks to the Murdoch paywall, there's a gap in the free market, and Gerard Henderson is an eminently reliable member of the commentariat, with a touch of class you don't find in the tabloids or the sodden - here, write for the smell of this oily rag - Punch.
Mr. Henderson has been noticed in The Hamster Wheel, and surely this amounts to commentariat fame.
Oops, does he write letters of complaint to the ABC (in pdf)?
Not to worry, the pond was most anxious that Mr. Henderson deliver, and stop the pond sliding into a downward spiral of snake charming and Hillsong chanting.
We needed some meaty roast lamby red-blooded commentariat commentary, but oh dear what a massive disappointment, because unfortunately Mr Henderson today feels the need to yammer on about the Qantas dispute in Qantas workers must face global facts of life (warning, forced video at end of link).
Will anybody ever write a story titled Head of Sydney Institute must face global facts of life?
Will we ever be able to outsource Gerard Henderson, and get our thoughts and opinions fresh from the Hong Kong Institute?
Probably not, but will someone at least offer to pay a dollar to every reader who has read this sentence, written in one form or another endlessly over the years by Henderson?
Here the unfair dismissal laws provide a real disincentive for small business operators to give a long-term welfare recipient a job.
Truth to tell, no one could offer a dollar, because it would bankrupt them, such is the self-satisifed, enclosed, endlessly repetitive world view Henderson offers up on a weekly basis from his secure perch in the Sydney Institute (will someone, anyone, ever mount a Phillip street putsch?)
Having just watched my partner, involved in small business, dismiss a distressing number of people, and finding no significant disincentive to the process in the unfair dismissal laws, can someone explain if Henderson has ever actually worked in small business?
There are all the other usual Henderson talking points, including a snipe at the ABC, which apparently offers job security because it's taxpayer funded, never mind that in the real world of programming people come and go, and that in the support areas, the degree of job security is about what you might find in larger companies with relatively ossified work structures (yes Virginia large privately owned enterprises can be a marvel of bureaucratically organised activities, with more meetings than a group therapist).
Of course in his rant, Henderson never attempts to sort through the key question in the world of Qantas, which is whether the Alan Joyce's bid to turn Qantas into a low cost Asian carrier (with New Zealand and Asian lackeys) has the faintest chance of succeeding and turning the 'roo into a Rooryanair ... the reason for all the concern about jobs leaving the country.
What's the bet that having alienated staff, wrecked the brand and ruined the business model that this one amigo, sub-genus Irish, will back his bags and depart these shores, with a payout that will mean he never has to worry about job security again?
Ah Sol, what a role model you were, and what an inspiration for Gerard Henderson ... almost as much as Jonathan Shier and his demonstration of job security at work in the ABC ...
But enough of Hendo - the pond could have written his piece in a deep sleep, perhaps while enduring a nightmare - because everyone in the chattering classes is still chattering on about Qantas today, and there's no one more expert at idle chattering than Sophie Mirabella, in the bizarrely titled Hey sheep, Joyce is just a scapegoat.
Let's hope that a subbie wrote that header, because otherwise the amiable but natural response might be, Hey fuckwit, that's your constituency and the wider voting Australian public you're addressing and calling sheep ...
Second thoughts, even if it was a subbie, they've channelled the insulting arrogance, outrageous condescension and blithe indifference that marks the tone of Mirabella's chatter, starting with this backhander to the sheep, a little lost because the shepherd decided to leave them lost and alone in foreign pens, ripe for shearing by strangers:
The decision was understandably unpopular with those stranded travellers who had their plans thrown into disarray – and we can certainly all understand their anger and sympathise with them.
Oh yes it's empathy time, and much sympathy for the sheep and their pitiful bleats, but then the rest of the piece explains how it's abattoir time for them, and who better placed to organise the butchering than Alan Joyce and the board of Qantas.
Confronted with this kind of political provocation and agitation, the pond can only recommend one solution - Singapore Airlines, a government owned airline ... and dearie me, were they and Etihad sending out emails advising plenty of spare seats, or what ...
Hey sheep, there are alternatives. And once you've tried different brands of hay, you might find it hard to go back to the old hay ...
Oops, that endearing, ingratiating Mirabella style is catching ....
Meanwhile, who can we get to fill out a perfecttrifecta of dumb idle chattering sheeple?
Come on down David Penberthy punching on for the Punch, fitting like a wide comb blade with the sheep-shearing Sophie and Hendo, as he expounds on how The Qantas dispute is not about Alan Joyce's salary.
Now you might think from reading the header that David Penberthy's piece is all about how the Qantas dispute is not about Alan Joyce's salary, except that Penbo then goes on to explain how it is all about Joyce's salary, and his assorted tactical errors:
The first goes to Joyce’s salary. If Alan Joyce knew, as he obviously did, that the spectacular option of a staff lockout and a full grounding was on the cards, he could have managed the question of his own pay much more cleverly. Mr Joyce’s salary might be, as I said, the going rate for CEOs, but it does not alter the undeniable fact that many people regard the going rate as unjustifiable and obscene. His decision to accept a 71 per cent, $2 million payrise just days before escalating this dispute was tactically unintelligent.
Uh huh. Talk about tactically unintelligent ... which is to say putting up a header and then writing stuff that makes the header completely nonsensical.
Never mind, Penbo starts his piece by observing he's not an aviation writer (nor even a rocket scientist), and you can tell he's struggling by invoking the name of the "great" Lee Iacocca, who of course trotted off to Congress for loan guarantees in his Chrysler rescue.
Perhaps a better inspiration for Qantas might be John DeLorean and his gull-winged car, since there are plenty of squawking gulls around today, and it was made in Ireland ...
After cogently explaining all the tactical errors committed by Joyce, Penbo then solemnly goes on to explain:
What Sheldon fails to understand is that this brand has grown and been nurtured over 90 years and will probably survive a couple of days of chaos at the behest of a very combative CEO, who is playing a much longer game here than the unions are.
Yes off in Penbo's la la world, you can make grievous tactical errors which help blur your message and fail to bring the sheep (sorry, the public) with you, and that seems the basis for a much longer game .... of ruining the brand.
Which is part of an even longer game, to turn Qantas into an off-shore low cost Asian based airline run along the lines of the dreadful Aer Lingus ... (oh yes, I still flinch at the memory of flying Aer Lingus). Does any of this trouble Penbo?
Joyce is banking on the fact that, in modern and largely un-unionised Australia, he can ultimately bring the public and his staff with him in his determination to run the airline himself. That is what this dispute is about.
Just roll that one around on your tongue. His determination to run the airline himself ...
A one man band, and a one man wagon, with no need of staff, baggage handlers, pilots, stewards and the rest of the wastrels. He'll do it all by himself ...
Well I suppose it's the ultimate in job outsourcing, and thank the lord Qantas will flourish courtesy of one man running the show ...
Oh wait, they might need a board too, for the most important task at hand:
And in Alan Joyce’s case, that’s why they pay him the big bucks.
Yes indeed, they pay him the bucks in a way that allows Penbo to rabbit on about the payment as a major tactical error.
Come to think of it, that's why the Telstra board paid the three amigos big bucks too.
The end result? The pond with Optus (Singapore government owned) and now, if you'll allow me, rushing off to make a booking on Singapore Airlines (government owned) ...
But it all helps to explain why Australian businesses struggle, because the level of commentary to be found amongst the professional chattering classes is of a lower class than the hay we used to feed the sheeple on the farm ...
Perhaps that's why we also elect serial sheep abusers to parliament ....
At least there's an upside. Here we were worried about a shortage of loons on the pond, and the Qantas dispute has brought them out in full cry ...
(Below: and now, courtesy of Sophie Mirabella and her subbie, a few sheep jokes).