Damn you preening, condescending English journalist git, for labelling the contest in Australia as one between an unlikeable narcissist and an unpopular misogynist.
Damn you to hell, and damn you even more for being right, but no link for you - if the pond is going to link to paywalled content then it's going to link to Crikey reporting on British media on Australian federal election.
Naturally the pond found it completely impossible to watch the Ruddster on Q and A, but it's always glass half full day on the pond, especially when the glass almost shattered from the high C sounds of a chattering parrot on Media Watch.
Now mention the parrot outside the snug world of Sydney's rum, buggery and the lash culture (not that there's anything wrong with any of that), and people will either stare at you in disbelief or their eyes will glaze over.
Oh sure, they know what it's like to have a mad uncle stashed in the attic, but put him on commercial radio where all the conspiracy theories come tumbling out like rabid confetti ...?
Anyhoo, the pond is warming to the new regime on Media Watch, and especially to its report on Alan Jones, long a familiar standby for hosts wanting to stir the pot, and stir the parrot they did, as you can read and watch here under the header Non Facts and Figures.
Will anything be done about Jones? Not while 2GB is owned by Macquarie Radio Network, majority owned by John Singleton...
What is it about Jones and Singleton and the barking mad who echo this sort of conspiracy nonsense - yes, it's surfaced at Catallxy with jibber jabber about 16,000 people who voted more than once and idle chatter about the substantial risk of electoral fraud in Australia. (Australian Electoral Commissioner)
Why do they want to ape the worst aspects of the United States' paranoid conspiracy spotters? Why can't Jones get on to aliens or perhaps Area 51?
Meanwhile, the rabid reptiles at the lizard Oz continue to froth and foam about Media Watch, but never a word about the likes of Jones (if you have through an act of folly caught an old school Sydney taxi, you can and should demand that the parrot be silenced so you can concentrate on the way you're being taken the longest way home imaginable).
If you want a taste of how Jones' paranoia circulates amongst the lizard Oz reptiles, cop a dose of The politics of Media Watch, because the show dared to ping the Murdochian hacks for the bleeding obvious, which is to say the way they scribble like fawning lackeys listening to Their Master's Voice ...
It's no better amongst the Fairfaxian commentariat, of course, what with prattling Polonius Gerard Henderson routinely berating the ABC and intellectual elites and academics and inner west dwellers and such like and so forth, and with never an unkind word about the parrot and his shock jock kith and kin.
But that brings us to Hendo, the man who gives Hamlet a bad name, and a trick question.
What would you feature as the highlight of the likely Abbott ascendancy?
Good policies? Good team?
No, Hendo plays the old-fashioned sectarian card, which is to say, of or relating to a sect, adhering or confining to the dogmatic limits of a sect or denomination, partisan, or if you will narrow-minded and parochial (consult the dictionary here).
Yes, Hendo is always prattling on about how wrong it is to bring the sectarian into politics, yet here he goes again by boasting how Tony will be the second tyke to make it to the Lodge:
Bad faith? Catholic? Is this how to talk about politics?
Well yes in Hendo's world of cant and bias it is ...
Sad to say, there's absolutely nothing of interest or even novelty value in Assault on Abbott over Catholicism made in bad faith, as Hendo faithfully provides his usual distorted history lesson and rounds up his usual suspects - Robert Manne, David Marr, and anybody else who dares mention Abbott's infatuation with the follies of B. A. Santamaria.
It's all standard issue Hendo - dull, pedantic, biased and in places wrong, and it only came alive with this little outburst:
In a recent statement to the John Button Foundation, author David Marr sided with Jackson and Manne. According to Marr, Abbott cannot do what appears to matter most to him since ''the electorate won't let him pursue his religious convictions''.
There are two problems with this. First, Abbott's religious convictions are nowhere near as strong or conservative as Marr believes. Second, Abbott has never exhibited any desire to pursue his religious convictions in politics. As health minister in the Howard government, he did not attempt to dismantle Australia's abortion laws.
You will note that there is no mention of Abbott and RU486 in the little outburst.
Hendo is always economical with the truth, and careful when it comes to inconvenient facts.
Back in the day, Abbott, in consort with fundamentalist Brian Harradine, managed to prevent the registration of the medical abortion drug, as you can read in Crikey's Abortion pill RU486 likley listed on PBS in Australia - for now.
It was a folly, and it can only be described as a religious folly ... especially if you go to Tony Abbott's own site, and read his painful (woefully unformatted) 2006 attempt to justify his actions on the basis of a scientific and medical regard for women ... (Parliament best forum for RU486 Decision)
Lurking behind the rhetoric is the standard Catholic attitude to women, girls, abortion rights and all the other things Hendo wants to deny.
You can spot that in the sleight of hand - the notion that Abbott didn't attempt to dismantle Australia's abortion laws, while ignoring the way Abbott successfully fought, for a considerable amount of time, a rear guard action against RU486.
The truth is, per Marr, that the electorate helped bash that bit of fundamentalism out of Abbott, as he came to realise that following the Pellist line wouldn't get him across the line, and give him the precioussss he so desires ...
Last night on the ABC he folded like a lamb, saying the fact that RU486 was now on the PBS was a done and dusted issue ...
Can he maintain his born-again secular attitude to his Pellist past if he's in power?
Who knows, but the paid paternity leave scheme strikes the pond as the perfect sort of Catholic program, encouraging women to have babies, and encouraging elites by giving them their due and just reward, being so much more deserving than the lumpenproletariat ... and sssh, no questions about pretty North shore lawyers from people living out west please ...
Though that makes it all the more comical when we return to Hendo to read his concluding remarks:
Last weekend, The Sunday Age ran an exclusive by Royce Millar on the Coalition's intention, if elected, to abolish the recently established charities commission. According to Millar, Abbott and his Catholic colleagues are responding to the wishes of ''church conservatives'', led by Pell. The suggestion is Pell does not want Catholic charities properly regulated by government.
The article was replete with mocking references to ''spiritual guidance'' and a cartoon of Pell implying that he only wants to respond to God, not government. This is complete nonsense. Large parts of the not-for-profit sector are upset by the additional regulation imposed by Labor's charities commission. This is not of exclusive concern to conservative Catholics.
Uh huh. So Abbott is helping out all sorts of conservative religious types worried that someone might want proper regulation of charities.
Well for what it's worth Millar makes the point that his story is about the lobbying power of all kinds of church conservatives, but with the Pellists to the fore, as you can read in Church lobby in win over charities watchdog. It's obviously a helping hand, and no doubt chairman Rupert will also be looking for a little largesse in due course ...
And since Matt Golding's cartoon seemed to irritate Hendo, here it is again:
Back to Hendo:
The current issue of the The Economist contains a poorly argued article that condemns Abbott's ''social conservatism'' and maintains he has a ''defective personality''. Yet Abbott's social conservatism appears to be popular in suburban and regional Australia, where most voters junked anti-Catholic sectarianism decades ago and few read The Economist.
Uh huh. The elitist Economist ...
What's the odds that anyone out in the suburbs and in regional Australia gives a flying fuck about the thoughts of Hendo, scribbled as they are from a loft in the heart of Sydney at an elitist Institute?
Truth to tell, if you mention Hendo in Tamworth, centre of the known universe, you'll get a blank stare.
The real reason Hendo is snotty with The Economist is that it dared, tentatively, to throw in its lot with the Ruddster, describing the choice as being between rude Rudd and daggy Abbott, between a man with a defective manifesto and one with a defective personality.
Damn you preening condescending Pommie bastard Economist, and damn you even more for getting it right (though to be fair, it has to be said both leaders have defective manifestos to go with the defective personalities).
You see The Economist dares to propose that Abbott's past still haunts him, as you can read in Lucky no more:
Of the country’s two main parties, the Liberal Party, now in opposition in a Liberal-National coalition, is the natural home of The Economist’s vote: a centre-right party with a tradition of being pro-business and against big government. But the coalition’s leader, Tony Abbott, does not seem an instinctive fan of markets, and one of the few key policies he has let on to possessing is a hugely expensive federal scheme for parental leave. That may help him persuade women voters that charges of misogyny are unfair, but he has not properly explained how he intends to pay for it (see article). His social conservatism does not appeal to us: he opposes gay marriage and supports populist measures against Afghans, Sri Lankans, Vietnamese and others who have attempted to get from Indonesia into Australia in rickety craft that have drowned thousands in recent years. Indeed his promise to “turn back the boats” seems to be his only foreign policy.
Well it's never no mind to the pond. All the signs are that the Ruddster will continue to be, or Abbott will become an inept PM, so every day will be a half glass full day for the pond, but as everyone knows that's the luck of the Irish who made it to Australia, especially the ones who were then blessed with an Irish Catholic education and Pellism and prattling Polonius 'Hendoism" held up as role models...
(Below: one for the history buffs. Hendo's hero Ming the merciless playing the sectarian card, prompting this cartoon in The Anglican 15 May 1953. You can find the explanation on page 99 of this PhD thesis on sectarianism in this pdf by googling Proddy-Dogs, Cattleticks and Ecumaniacs).