Sunday, July 15, 2012

The pond gets stuck in the middle with Sam Dastyari ...

Speaking of the ratbag right wing commentariat going missing in action, where was the commentariat sending up bhp billiton for its anal retentive office management scheme, as outlined in its bizarre guide to resourcing the future, available here in pdf?

Here's another sample from that immortal document - click to enlarge:

Dude, that screen saver is just so offensive!

If a public service department had issued this kind of memo there'd have been a yowling frenzy and a chortling hysteria that would have lasted for weeks, with idle chatter about liberty and freedom fries.

In fact the pond remembers the days when Australia Post copped flak for its set of desk policies, which could have been summarised as "there is no room for human beans in this organisation, what we need are interchangeable units, like lego pieces. Please think and act like a piece of tidy lego".

Now this is not to argue about the virtues of a clean desk policy, though some might like to read alternative world views like Messy desks in the office can actually lead employees to think more clearly, say researchers (so that's why the pond thinks clearly?)

It was more the prissy tone, which clearly got both the AFR and bhp billiton hopping, since the weekend edition of the AFR felt the need to make up for leaking the document by publishing The obsessions of Marius Kloppers (more than just soup), currently outside the paywall.

It turns out that the anal retentive document was nothing to do with CEO Kloppers, and it's all about a basic charter of respect rather than anal retentiveness, though perhaps it was a tad over-zealous:

Holding up a business card, Brown says “this is what the guidelines will fit on when we move into 171 (Collins Street, BHP’s new group head office in Melbourne).
According to Brown, a simple set of principles becomes an 11-page set of orders thanks to over-zealous interpretation and a decentralised structure where each business and region runs its own affairs.
“It’s not Marius,” he says.

Phew, that's a relief. Marius might be anal retentive, but he's off the hook on this one.

Perhaps the most bizarre excuse led was this one:

... the Spring edition of the journal Meatpaper profiled a man with a taste for fermented meats. He was fond of aged prawns saying “shrimp is very good ‘high’ but it will stink”. But in an office with good ventilation it can permeate the building. “It got to the point where people told me ‘look, you can’t bring that in’ so I ended up eating lunch in my car,” he said. So much for durian.

Oh get off the grass, there's a difference between having a little messy paperwork on the desk and coming the raw, fermented meats, aged prawn as an excuse for anal retentiveness.

Signs of life on a desk is like afflicting the office with stinking aged prawns? What a hoot.

And now for something different, because the pond never thought it would be quoting the somewhat conservative AFR's opinion-maker Tony Walker, scribbling good sense for benefit of the Labor party in Reflect on reality before ditching Greens (also outside the paywall to be part of the conversation).

Walker makes a number of obvious points that seem to have completely escaped Sam Dastyari, who sounded more than a little punch drunk on his own cleverness as he scribbled Labor is getting is mojo back for The Punch.

Sam opened up with this par:

This week the Labor Party did what it does best – reassert itself as the champion of the centre, the custodian of the middle, the minder for the mainstream. It has been a fascinating and exciting week.

Only in the dreams and delusions of a right wing Labor apparatchik. Apropos of gay marriage, Peter Hartcher demolished this preening nonsense in They can't stonewall forever:

Gillard's position has its anchor in Labor's majority Right faction. Its logic is that Labor must compete with the Liberals for votes on its right flank, and so avoid offending the low-to-middle income, outer suburban voters who were assumed to be anti-gay bigots...
...Political scientists distinguish between two types of political parties. One type stakes out strong positions on one end of the spectrum and seeks to win supporters. These are so-called preference-shaping parties. The other type is the centre-seeking party that tries to seek out the middle ground. On gay marriage, as with other issues, Labor is centre-seeking. The Liberals and the Greens are both preference-shaping. If you have deep socially conservative values, you're more likely to be attracted to Abbott's Liberal Party.
If you have strong convictions about equality and gay rights, you're more likely to vote for the Greens, who are strongly in favour of gay marriage and have a bill before the House.
Labor sits in the middle, seeking a centre, but leaving voters wondering what it actually stands for. It is too late for Gillard to change. Changing now, for a leader whose sincerity is in doubt, would only reinforce the impression that she is indeed insincere.

Thanks to the right, and to her own inadequate overly cautious managerial style, Gillard can't even manage an Obama gesture on that, and other issues. Obama says he's in favour, then leaves it to the states. Gillard leaves it to anybody but her and the Labor party ...

Truth is, these days the Labor party sits in a lost middle, standing for bugger all except John Howard-lite, as first designed by former chairman Rudd, until it was revealed he was Rudd-lite.

How did that Stealers Wheel song go?

Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain't right,
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.

You can almost hear poor old John Faulkner, his dream of genuine reform of the Labor party long faded, singing that song as he berated the NSW operatives for blathering on about preferences and Greens, while at the same time wondering why people were abandoning the Labor party.

Instead Faulkner settled for a simpler lyric:

It was the slapdown for Paul Howes the Left had been waiting to deliver since the union leader took Labor to war with the Greens over preferences.
''Why don't you put a sock in it for once?'' asked Senator John Faulkner to the cheers of left-wing conference delegates. (here)

It seems there's no way to put the sock in the pugnacious, mental featherweight Howes or the bantam-weight Dastyari, who followed his opening par with this blistering effort:

Over 200 new people joined the Labor Party and there was a buzz of enthusiasm, even optimism, throughout the membership that frankly has been missing in recent times.

Now that's the sort of man you want when dangling on a cliff, clutching on to an unstable bush, a lion above, and a lip-smacking tiger expectantly waiting below.

Dastyari shows he's a dab hand at the sort of class warfare rhetoric that went out of fashion long before George Orwell got around to sending it up silly:

Last weekend I sparked off an internal (but carbon neutral) firestorm by saying Labor should reconsider its preference relationship with the Greens. My reasoning was simple - don’t for one minute believe that the Greens are Labor’s friend. They are like the Tories, they serve themselves first.

Ye ancient cats and dogs, like the Tories! Serving themselves in the cafeteria of life!

It almost goes without saying that Sam never serves himself first. Except when Federal Labor shares a meal and a vote and a government with greenies ...

Yes, you can imagine Dastyari and a few other live wires sitting around in the bunker brainstorming, and coming up with the idea of bashing the Greens as a way of doing product differentiation. It's a pity the idea and the rhetoric quickly goes haywire, as Dastyari descends into gibberish:

Other parties serve their masters, whether on the Left or the Right. We serve those for whom their masters are themselves, their families and their suburbs.

What on earth does that mean?

There's a lot more meaningless rhetoric and tosh in Dastayri's piece, made all the more ironic and comical by the way the Federal Labor Government is in government courtesy of an alliance with the Greens.

When the Greens say we have no vision, what they really mean, is that we don't have their vision. Too right we don't. And as our 2700 new members have showed, the community wants more of our vision than theirs.

If the Greens are so reprehensible, so different from Labor, then surely the only polite thing to do, the average punter might think, is end the alliance right now, and call a general election.

Then let's see how the community embraces the vision of those 2,700 new members.

In your dreams. The rhetoric is of course a gimmick, a bunker brainstorm, as useful as a thunderstorm and hail in mid-winter, because that's all the Labor party's got at the moment. Boofheads and head kickers like Howes and Dastyari can't think any further than their own ambitions.

It was Tony Walker that pointed out the similarity between Paul Howes and Michael Kroger and their greenie-hating ways, and the consequences for voters interested in ideas:

These sorts of well-informed voters are more disillusioned with a decaying Labor Party devoid of principles beyond the imperative of gaining and holding power than any lingering distaste about the conservatives.
Kroger’s motives may – or may not – be honourable, depending on your point of view, but it does no harm to the conservative cause to drive a wedge between Labor and the Greens.
If Kroger on a unity ticket with his twittering mate Howes can somehow inveigle Labor into putting the Greens last on how-to-vote cards – below parties such as Family First – thus fracturing a centre-left alliance, his purpose will be served.

NSW Labor right? Dumb as a stick ...

Calling Steve Fielding, your mates want you back.

But do go on Mr. Walker:

Green parties, for example, have participated in government in 17 European countries, including Finland, Ireland and France, during the past 20 years. Indeed, Greens hold two portfolios in the administration of Francois Hollande in France.
This is a movement that is clearly not going away, and with power in many cases – not all – has come responsibility. Howes and others of his ilk might reflect on these realities before pushing their party into yet another cul-de-sac on the dubious premise that ditching the left is the best way to shore up a crumbling working-class vote.
Might we suggest that when Howes next dines with Kroger he take with him a very long spoon.

Even conservative Tony Walker gets it better than the NSW Labor right?

Truly NSW Labor is doomed to at least another electoral cycle out of power, no matter how much Barry O'Farrell's government makes things easier for developers to run riot, in a way the once developer-laden NSW Labor can now only envy ...

As in O'Farrell attacks planning rights ... or as in the O'Farrell team indulging in a rorts - NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell's MPs run up $1m party bill ... or as in the O'Farrell team producing more than a few gaffes ... like forcibly moving people - Joe Stalin style - to replace people sacked in good old Liberal style (Grafton protestors lose fight to keep jail).

Never mind Bazza, safe as houses needing demolition thanks to Sam.

That's right Sam, keep yammering on about the Greens, and up your rectum arguments about abstruse matters regarding preference voting way down the track. You know how to get to the punters' hearts and their deepest concerns. Keep explaining how different Labor is to the Greens, while conducting a federal government with the greenies ...

Oh sorry, what's that hole in your foot, and the blood gushing from it ...

Take it away Stealers Wheel:

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all,
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor,
'Cause I don't think that I can take anymore
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

(Below: clean up those messy work spaces Albert and Roald or there'll be no work for you at bhp billiton. Or Australia Post).


  1. I hate myself for this, DP. Please delete it if it offends. :S
    Mr Bean!
    By way of compensation, here's Juan Cole's dream ticket, a Politico cover that's soooo offensive, and a line from Borowitz that Tory Tony could use for his ruse as the (Chinese) workers' bestest friend ever.

  2. Mr. Bean only offends when stuffing a giant Xmas turkey ... as for the compensation, tastier than a stuffed turkey.


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