Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In which Fairfax discovers policies, and prattling Polonius returns to his watermelon diet ...

(Above: the Courier Mail wins today's front page competition).

Now really, the pond has made it perfectly clear that the percentage will be roughly 50 to 60 per cent, or perhaps it's 60 to 70 per cent, or who knows, with a decent wind behind it, it might even be 100 per cent.

Yes it's moments like these that you realise whoever you vote for, it's going to be an absolutely useless politician, and is there anyone more useless than jolly Joe Hockey?

You can read it all here at Fairfax in Coalition's lack of detail on cost is damning if you like, but it merely reminded the pond what a fine time there will be had by all, if Abbott and Co. get to run the Starship Enterprise ...

What's even more astonishing, however, is that the blinkered wombats in the Fairfax cave seem to have suddenly stumbled out of their hole in the ground, and discovered climate science.

This s the second day in a row the tree-killing wombats have plastered their front page with shock horror discoveries:

It's true that the top of the page is dominated by the bizarre, meaningless existentially alienating encounter of a human being in America with the undertoad, but there below it is Revealed: 80cm sea rise warning.

It didn't make the cover of L'Age in the same way, but is it a sign that Fairfax will get around to a robust examination of assorted climate change policies?

Well they made a start with their Politifact assessment, There's a hole in the Coalition's climate-change policy:

We rate Butler's claim that “new independent modelling has shown the Coalition's alternative climate change policy will cost billions of dollars more than Tony Abbott claims and has no chance of meeting Australia's emissions reduction target” mostly true.

But the pond doesn't think much of Politifact, or its methodology, or the way it's been imported from the United States, where it has proven to be spectacularly uselesss.

Take these qualifications before you get to that verdict:

It is very difficult to ascribe absolute truth to a prediction. 
At this point, Butler has much more data on his side than Hunt. A Politifact rating of "mostly true" applies where a statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.

With those equivocations, dodges and wheezes, you may as well be talking to a politician, and in this particular case, Politifact relied exactly on the same sources as Butler.

Rigorous methodology? Well sure, that's fifty to sixty, or perhaps sixty to seventy per cent likely but it's terribly difficult to ascribe absolute truth to a prediction or to such rigorous methodology ...

Oh okay, it's really all designed so that the pond can avoid the truly burdensome task of the day, which is to drop in on the prattling Polonius, and see how he's lurking behind the arras.

Polonius hides behind the arras...
Queen Gertrude: What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me?
Lord Polonius (behind): What, ho! help help, help!
Hamlet (drawing): How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!
(Makes a pass through the arras)
Lord Polonius: (behind O, I am slain! ...
Queen Gertrude: O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!

Sorry, the pond got carried away with the shoot the chef competition positioned next to Polonius.

The chef comp probably  does a helluva lot more to boost Fairfax's sales than the chance to spend a Fairfax hit reading the dull, leaden prose of Gerard Henderson, on view as usual in ALP's preference strategy unwise and unnecessary.

Now let's not have a serious discussion of preference deals. It's the season for such deals, the joy and the pain and the contrivances and the excuses and the unholy fellow travellers, and it used to be called democracy, unless you happened to be Mussolini and wanted an iron fist and a robust jackbooted heel and the trains running on time (not in Bazza O'Farrell's state, oh no, oh no).

As usual, the main point of the exercise is to burrow down into the bizarre noggin of Henderson and his collection of buzzing bees:

The Greens have a substantial following among the professional classes, including journalists. Yet a sense of perspective is required. According to the most recent ACNielsen poll, the Greens have the support of 10 per cent of the electorate. Which means 90 per cent of Australian voters support other parties or independents.

A sense of perspective? Hendo is rabid about the greenies, to the point where it evokes memories of the  pond's dear departed mother, who would routinely chop down any tree, all trees within reach, just to teach the trees and the greenies a lesson.

What's most interesting in this is what the pond fancies is a tendency towards the autocratic and the reductionist.

The theory is, there should only be two parties, who divide up the spoils, perhaps on an alternate basis every term or so, and there should be no minority interests, or enthusiasms allowed into the political system or the political debate.

Which is how you come to 'exterminate the greenies' as a philosophy ...

Hendo's logic is particularly revealing:

It was reported on Monday Jane Garrett, the ALP national vice-president, has declared the Labor/Greens preference is being ''very damaging'' to the ALP in particular and Australia in general. Garrett is a state MP for Brunswick in inner-city Melbourne where the Greens are strong. She understands the long-term threat to the ALP from Australia's only leftist party.

Roll that one around on the tongue while thinking about the ALP.

The ALP isn't, according to Hendo, a leftist party, not leftist at all. The Greens are Australia's only leftist party.

Does the ALP, and Jane Garrett accept this as a defamation, or is it indeed true?

That's passing strange.

Why in the lost, unlamented world of Vexnews, her battle for Brunswick was presented as a meeting up of the socialist clans, as you can read in Battle for Brunswick: Jane Garrett emerges as united Left candidate for ALP preselection in marginal seat. 

Here's the splash that accompanied the piece:

Thank heavens for Hendo's insight, to remind us all that if you once were a Slater and Gordon lawyer, you couldn't possibly be a lefty ... and never mind the way they play politics in Melbourne, because that's all they've got to fill in the long and dark hours of winter gloom ...

But we've strayed away from Hendo, and his increasingly bizarre advice:

It would have made sense for Labor to attempt to obtain preference deals in the Senate and House of Representatives with such parties as Family First, Katter's Australian Party (outside Queensland) and the Democratic Labor Party. The evidence suggests Greens voters overwhelmingly will preference Labor ahead of the Coalition. Consequently there is no reason for Labor to deal with the Greens.

Family First? The DLP? How about Satan herself?

As usual, you have to go elsewhere for a bit of sanity:

(Above: the priceless, inestimable Pope. More top notch Popery here).

The inflatable Fielding?

Yes, it's a Pope double play. Who could forget?

But again we've wandered away from the bees buzzing in Hendo's noggin. 

What could be exercising him so?

There will be some political conservatives who may wonder what Abbott is on about in assisting the likes of Albanese, Plibersek and Bowtell. The answer is that it makes much more sense than the Liberal Party leader effectively supporting such Greens as Senator Lee Rhiannon - who refuses to confirm or deny that she graduated from the Lenin School in Moscow in 1977 - or such one-time followers of Leon Trotsky as Bandt and Hall Greenland, the Greens' Grayndler candidate. 

Ah yes, the greenies as watermelons, and by golly does Hendo have a think about Lee Rhiannon.

Thank the long absent lord there are no current or former followers of the revisionist Trotsky in the Labor party, not even Paul Howes, not even if you read Howes' historical revision on life as a 'young teenage Trot' or look at snaps of Howes in his Trot days:

The real point is that Hendo is still locked back in the cold war days, battling the pinko pervert commie Stalinist hordes, and because Lee Rhiannon is the biggest bee in his entire brain (Manning Clark having long gone) he seems to have taken his eye off the Labor party entirely.

Frankly the pond finds it wondrous and dextrous that on any given day, Hendo can be berating the Labor party for being full of lefties, like that deviant red head Gillard, well known for walking on the wrong side of the road in her early Marxist days, only on the next day to proclaim the Labor party free of Trots and lefties, unlike the deviant greenies.

It takes a remarkable skill, and anyone caught up in the game might find themselves in turf eerily reminiscent of the great Monty Python "splitters" sketch.

So let's just wrap it up:

Garrett's warning to Labor stems from first-hand knowledge. In 2010, she held Brunswick for Labor on Liberal Party preferences with the Greens' Cyndi Dawes finishing second. 
Last year, Labor's Sam Dastyari compared the Greens to Pauline Hanson's One Nation. 

One Nation! A first class play, and who would know better than someone affiliated with the NSW Labor party? Good on you Sam, and what a pity you've decided that the Senate is more for you than shovelling out the Augean stables ...

Let's see ... if the greenies are Pauline Hanson's One Nation party, which party did Eddie Obeid join?

Sorry to interrupt, do go on Hendo:

Now, as a Rudd confidant and soon to be senator, Dastyari supports the Labor/Greens preference deal. But some Labor MPs are consistent. ALP parliamentary secretary Michael Danby has remained true to his earlier expressed stance and will preference the Liberal Party candidate ahead of the Greens in Melbourne Ports. 
Rudd seems to be engaging in Julia Gillard's folly of believing Labor should deal with the Greens. It is a strategy that is unnecessary, unwise and counterproductive. 

Well the pond doesn't much care who anyone votes for or preferences in the Senate, but what's interesting about Hendo's position is how one party is determined to be tainted and completely beyond the pale, while fundamentalist religious ratbags are perfectly okay ... with the ultimate ideal to remove all the ratbags from the political process, so that only two parties get a chance at influencing policies, and perhaps in due course, only one party might be needed to run the show.

It's a vision, sure enough, but is this where buzzing bees in the old noggin get you?

Take it away Cleese and co:


  1. Speaking of wombats, the Victorian poms had something of an obsession with the fine creatures, especially that great artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. (The pre-Raphaelites were an interesting bunch)


  2. Nope. Not even thinking it.

  3. Great wombat link Anon, thanks, love it:

    Can peace be gained, until I clasp my wombat!

    That lecture by Angus Trumble has made the pond's week, perhaps the month!

  4. Apparently Rossetti's wombat tragically died after eating a packet of cigars.

    There's a lesson there for all of us.


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