Wednesday, February 01, 2012

So never mind the mould, the smirk returns ...

(Above: Peter Costello and strength through joy).

With even the mould growing mould, so that it looks extra mouldy, life in Sydney is only for cockroaches and the toughest of humans.

And it reminded the pond that Tim Flannery was the gift that kept on giving to climate sceptics, who love to conflate mould, rain, the weather and the climate - and curiously enough infest the pages of the Bolter, who always seizes on wet weeks in Sydney to link to Flannery moments like these in Lateline back in 2005:

We'll know probably within two or three years, I suppose, how this is going to play out, particularly for Sydney, because its water supply is limited to that sort of scale, but it is my fear that the new weather regime is going to be a much drier one, and while we may get the odd good rainfall event, they're going to be much less frequent than in the past, and we'll just be in a different climatic regime.

Somehow the current wet is presumed to be a refutation of climate science, rather than poor weather forecasting, but at least it's more fun than Tory Maguire trying to stir up trouble with Sydney people are such sooks about the weather.

Sooks? Try scraping mould off your bread and eating it straight, without jam chaser, then brushing the mould off your shoes, before scraping a dry patch in the mould on your car seat and see who's a sook ...

Yes, it's been raining in Sydney, and don't give any chit chat about century heat or the Texas drought in your neck of the woods.

But speaking of sooks, of the sulking, simpering, smirking kind, what a fine flurry of anger, resentment, snidery, and speculation Peter "the smirk" Costello provides in In politics as in life, fruit doesn't fall far from the ministerial tree.

Costello is of course relying on folk lore and parental determinism of a pathetic kind when he deploys the apples phrase, which apparently is of eastern origin, via Germany:

Apparently of Eastern origin, it is frequently used to assert the continuity of family characteristics. Quot. 1839 implies return to one's original home. Cf. 16th century Ger. 'der Apfel fellt nicht gerne weit vom Baume,' the apple does not usually fall far from the tree." From "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs" by John Simpson and Jennifer Speake (Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, Third Edition, 1998).

Now a cynic would say that the most wretched fruit - like Peter Costello - never strayed far from the tree of all the most wretched failings of the Howard government, but that would be completely unfair. After all, he did walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge to show his support for indigenous people.

Job done, and what a fine job it was. Time to invade the Northern Territory ...

Meanwhile, Costello shows his usual sly, supercilious smirking style in his opening par:

Leave aside who told who what. The fact is the Prime Minister's office thought it was legitimate politics to organise an Aboriginal protest against her political rival.

Yes, let's leave aside who told what, and instead make an assertion that it was the Prime Minister's office - a vast organic hive, acting with one mind and voice - who thought it was legitimate politics to get the Prime Minister caught up in some agitation by the tent embassy mob.

That's a political smear tactic at its finest. Never mind the facts, let's do the smear.

Why it'd be like asserting that Peter Costello never fell far from the Peter Reith 'send in the hounds and send in the thugs' ministerial tree.

But Costello gets even smarmier and smirkier in his next par:

As a taxpayer-funded ''media adviser'', Tony Hodges sent a tip-off to the Aboriginal tent embassy that Tony Abbott was nearby so they could do what? So they could go and protest against him.

And get Gillard caught up in mayhem, a plan no doubt enthusiastically endorsed, if not conceived by Gillard. But here's the catch. Why mention 'taxpayer-funded'? Did Costello never employ a taxpayer-funded media or other adviser in all his time in politics?

There's something profoundly offensive about a man who sucked on the teat of the taxpayer for decades using 'taxpayer-funded' as a smirking term of abuse. If you wanted a nonpareil example of abuse of taxpayer funds, what better tosser to hand than Peter Costello?

From there Costello drifts off into a reverie, somehow imagining that the Labor party is the only party that has used indigenous people for political advantage, as if the invasion of the Northern Territory, sprung as a half-baked idea before an election, had not a jot or whiff of political cunning and exploitation about it.

But it gets even better when the smirk goes into a fully fledged bout of historical revisionism, as he sheds crocodile tears for the sorry reaction to Brendan Nelson's sorry day speech. It seems that Nelson did wondrously well saying he was sorry:

Howard loyalists were not happy about Nelson's turnaround and Nelson went out on a limb. If he had not given it bipartisan support that day, it would not have been the triumph that it was for Rudd. Rudd owed him a lot for that.

Uh huh. And yet Nelson was booed by the crowd, large numbers turning their backs on him, and so in a metaphorical way turning their backs on fellow travellers like Costello, who walked the walk, but never managed to do much more than that as they stayed close to their chosen ministerial tree.

So who to blame?

But the crowd did not warm to Nelson's speech. Some even stood up and turned their backs to the screen as his speech was broadcast. It was assumed that he had antagonised indigenous Australians. Later it was discovered that prominent among those turning their backs and demonstrating against Nelson were Lachlan Harris and Tim Gleason from the Prime Minister's staff.
Isn't that a coincidence? Different prime minister, different staff, but both engaging in attempts to fan indigenous protest against a Liberal leader.

Uh huh. So two people swung an entire crowd, and it had nothing to do with Nelson in that very same speech rejecting calls for compensation for indigenous children taken from their families, or that the current generation shouldn't feel guilty for what was done "with the best of intentions", or how it was all the fault of indigenous communities:

... he appeared to blame indigenous communities for their plight.

"As we meet and speak in this parliament, Aboriginal Australians continue to die long before the rest of us," Dr Nelson told parliament.

"Alcohol, welfare without responsibilities, isolation from the economic mainstream, corrupt management of resources, nepotism, political buck-passing between governments with divided responsibilities, lack of home ownership, under-policing and tolerance by authorities of neglect and abuse of children that violates all we stand for, all combine to still see too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living lives of existential aimlessness." (Nelson's sorry speech sparks anger).

Yes that's the way to get onside with a crowd. Talk about their lack of responsibility, their neglect and abuse of children, and their living lives of existential aimlessness.

Costello's attempt to pin the blame on a couple of staffers, who joined in the general discontent, is simply pathetic. All the more so because the protests that took place in the federal parliament's great hall also occurred around the country:

Some shouted "shame" and "shut up" as Dr Nelson invoked the memory of fallen Australian soldiers to argue that past generations were acting in the nation's interest.

In Perth, organisers pulled the plug on the broadcast as booing drowned out the Liberal leader

No doubt a couple of staffers were also on hand in Perth to promote the dissent. And as for the pesky blacks who got upset with Nelson?

"He still doesn't get it," Sylvia Campbell said.

"Today is about the stolen generation, it's about acknowledging the past, the present and the future for stolen generation members, and it's not about other issues, or histories of other issues, within the country.

"It felt like our moment was taken away from us."

Aboriginal leader Lowitja O'Donoghue said she was disappointed at Dr Nelson's remarks, which she said were unnecessary.

"I think that Brendan Nelson actually spoilt it today ... when he raised those very negative issues," she told Sky News.

"I think a lot of our men were unhappy about the matter raised there that were making them all out to be paedophiles and women bashers, that was the reason that he got the reaction he did."

No it wasn't Ms O'Donoghue, not according to the smirk. It was all the fault of a couple of staffers.

And so once again, by distorting and soiling the memory, Costello shows he just doesn't get it, that he's willing to use aboriginal dissent to try to score a cheap political point, by distortion and by innuendo, and by blatant misrepresentation.

Probably applied most often now to someone with obvious failings, the saying asserts the problem was simply passed along from parent to child. The notion is similar to the older 'Like father, like son,' and 'Like mother, like daughter,' and seems to have appeared first in German.

Yep like John Howard, so Peter Costello ... no sense of shame, none whatsoever, as they settle into their clubs and their red wine ...

(Below: though perhaps the tagline for Costello should be "I have a Ph.D in hypocrisy and political cant'.)

1 comment:

  1. Political cant?


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