Monday, June 04, 2012

From celebrating the Queen with Prof Flint to slavishly simpering with Paul Sheehan about shooters ...

(Above: maintain a sense of humour while being shot).

The pond has nothing against the Queen.

After all, she gives meaning and life to many dull and hollow lives with a bit of pageantry and show.

Where would the blogging Prof. David E Flint AM be without her? Sadly the good prof.'s last entry was made on the 11th February 2011, here:

My week began when a dear friend took me to the Berlin Philharmonic concert. The program — Rachmaninov and Mahler — was modern by my standards.

Rachmaninov modern! Aye aye Capt'n Flint.

But don't despair if the flinty blog has fallen into disuse, because Australians for Constitutional Monarchy are in a lather of right royal excitement.

Why there's stirring footage to hand featuring David Flint and Jai Martinkovits explaining how they defeated the dirty rotten socialist leftist pinko pervert scoundrels at the ABC, so that Australians could attend the Diamond Jubilee on their ABC (here).

Now everybody's in on the act and broadcasting from London, reviving fond memories of the war years (here).

You might think it all a little remote and irrelevant - after all it turns out Australia is a constitutional republic or a crowned republic or perhaps a republic full of crackpots who think that a constitutional monarchy and a crowned republic are one and the same - but the pond routinely confesses to liking Stephen Frears' The Queen quite a lot (the same can't be said of his adaptation of the comic strip Tamara Drewe, which had its moments but ran twenty minutes too long. Perhaps it was too modern and literary for the pond).

Anyhoo, you won't find any talk of the British disease on the pond - for that you have to turn to Paul "General Grumpy" Sheehan, who is exceptionally fond of ethnic and national stereotypes, as revealed in Brit trick is an insult to the system.

Oh those tricky Brits, still sending out their black sheep to the colonies to maintain class warfare and personal insults, something completely unknown to dinkum true blue Aussies, and especially to pious Prof. David E Flint AM.

It's only fitting therefore that today Sheehan completely ignores all the pomp and pageantry (and the excitement of the pompous, still struggling to come to terms with the modernity of Rachmaninov and Mahler prof. Flint) that's thrilling rain-drenched Britain and the rest of the great Commonwealth of Nations (and Games, soon to enliven dour, dull Glasgow in 2014).

Instead the master of commentariat arts turns to domestic matters, and turns generally enthusiastic in O'Farrell finally pulls trigger on reform.

It turns out that all those people who snidely pointed out that the great man Barry "Taliban - don't let me catch you sharing a drink with a minor even if they're at an age to fornicate like rabbits" O'Farrell had broken an election promise:

O'Farrell is also being pilloried for doing a Gillard, for breaking a core promise, but he did not take this undertaking to the election. A key difference.

Don't you just love it, the semantics and the distortions, right up there with the notion of a crowned republic. First of all there's the banter about a "core promise", and then the discovery of a "key difference" because O'Farrell made a promise to anyone who'd listen that he wouldn't allow shooting in various national parks, reserves and conservation areas in the week after the election.

But the promise also stood before the election, which is why you have to go back to the "core" v. "non-core" routine. And it led to the usual sorts of jokes expected about NSW politicians:

O'Farrell will wear some bruises for the deal to cash out $3 billion from electricity infrastructure. A letter writer to the Newcastle Herald, Les Baldwin, said: ''Radio announcers from Sydney call Barry O'Farrell's broken election promise with regards to shooting in national parks a backflip. Why is it when a Liberal breaks an election promise it's a backflip and when a Labor prime minister breaks an election promise it's a lie.'' (here, in the very same paper, which Sheehan clearly doesn't read).

Or perhaps Sheehan does read his own rag occasionally and stumbled across political editor Sean Nicholls who seems to live in a parallel universe in O'Farrell has shot himself in the foot:

...O'Farrell, just like Gillard, knows he has broken a promise in doing so. The decision has also trashed the government's environmental credentials but it is the appearance of dishonesty that will worry O'Farrell the most.
Apart from undermining the value of his future promises, the impression that O'Farrell's word cannot be relied upon has given the Labor opposition its most potent weapon yet.

Contrast this to the generally right on side, generally supportive, enthusiastic and loyal Sheehan, who somehow sees a bit of routine Machiavellian double-dealing and political betrayal as a class act promising great signs for the future:

More challenging is the productivity of the workers in the government's rail and bus fleets. Extracting higher productivity from the NSW Rail, Bus and Tram Union will likely require the government, and the travelling public, to endure industrial action. If it gets rugged, the time may come to fully privatise the bus system.
All this would require courage, and we may have just seen a careful Premier decide he has the courage to be bold for his legacy and his beliefs.

Yes, Premier, it would require courage, but using the Sheehan formula of core promises and verbal trickery, there's plenty of room to move, and here's how it's done, as noted in NSW govt won't rule out bus services sale:

Responding to Fairfax media reports that the State Transit Authority bus fleet would be taken out of public ownership, a spokesman for Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said privatisation was not current policy.
However, it was not being "ruled in or out", the spokesman told AAP on Sunday.

Ah, so it's a non-core promise, and the rule in and rule out routine, and it was never taken to the election - apparently this is a key difference - so that's why it can be rolled out when it becomes current policy, and Sheehan can scribble furiously how it was a non-core promise.

And then New South Wales can enjoy the same experience as in Victoria, which in December 2002 saw operators of three of five public franchises in transport walk away from the gig, and administrators appointed. Even Jeff "let me run a casino so you can gamble away your depression blues" Kennett admitted it hadn't quite turned out the way the grand Kennett vision proposed (but who knows, getting him to run a casino might just be the cure depressives need).

Meanwhile, for anyone interested in hunting, generally silly Sheehan opens his piece with this insight:

In the language of hunting there are two kinds of shot, the ''sight shot'' and the ''sound shot''. Opportunities are often fleeting, so the sound shot is a reaction to noise only. A shot at an unseen target.

Sad to say, a sound shot shouldn't really be called shooting or hunting, so much as an accident waiting to happen - if you can't see it, you don't shoot - and even Sheehan seems to understand this:

It's a scary thought for people like me, who - like hunters - go into the landscape to listen, wait, and stalk wild creatures.
I wouldn't think of going without my guide, Susie Anderson. She has skills of observation I will never match. But we stalk with binoculars, not guns.

Well at some point now in a national park, there will be people stalking with guns, not binoculars, so anyone thinking of wandering around a state park where hunting is allowed should think of investing in a kit of dress fluorescent orange. Think of it as a private contribution to the cost of privatisation ...

Of course someone might still mistake you for a feral pig. Don't take it personally ...

Dumb hunters manage to shoot themselves regularly in the United States, and at some point a dumb hunter is sure to shoot a civilian wandering around in a park with binoculars and no sense of survival. (There's some 100 fatal and 800 non-fatal hunting accidents a year in the USA, so all you need to do is scale down from the 20 million hunters there to the much fewer doing the rounds here, and calculate the odds for the first kill).

With any luck it would be poetic irony or perhaps poetic justice if it turned out to be Paul Sheehan ...

As Sheehan himself acknowledges, hunting won't sort out the feral animal problem in state parks, it will just allow people with guns to shift off private property on to public land. Not that this is news - the Labor party was doing the same dance back in 2009, as noted in Government deal to open national parks to shooters.

The only people the pond feels sorry for in what will transpire is the poor buggers in the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which will have to supervise and ameliorate the implications of the policy on their turf. There are plenty of sensible shooters out there - the pond fondly imagines it's been one of them - but you can always count on a dickhead or two to ruin the atmosphere ...

The upside? Well the pond might get out the long arms and bag whatever comes into range ...

Please stand clear, slavishly simpering members of the commentariat.

And now, since we're in the middle of a celebration so stoutly ignored by Sheehan, please allow the pond to join in ...

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