Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Speaking of errors of judgment ...

(Above: speaking of errors of judgment, as you do. And the text in that hard to read 1960s Molnar cartoon at the bottom? So we all agree then that the next G.G. shall be a real Australian, if we can find a suitable one among the English aristocracy. Still a fun joke in 1968!)

And while we're at it, the pond has a bone to pick with Crikey and its editorial yesterday, which conformed to the line run by an outraged crony commentariat - when isn't the crony commentariat outraged and shocked and horrified and indignant?

As it happens, Crikey agrees with the views expressed by the Governor-General on the issues of same-sex marriage and the republic in her Boyer Lecture. 
The problem is, as Governor-General she does not have the right to express such views. As Governor-General, Quentin Bryce must be a national figure, one who brings us together rather than divides us. 
As the example of Sir William Deane showed, this need not be at the expense of engaging with the community. Moreover, the Governor-General is an appointed figure, not an elected one. Their views on significant political issues, whether the republic, same-sex marriage, or anything else, should be irrelevant to the performance of their duties. 
In expressing such views, Bryce has taken sides on a political issue in a manner inappropriate for her role. They are divisive and add nothing to those debates. Australians who disagree with her are entitled to wonder why the representative of our head of state is using her position to advance them -- in the same way that progressives would be offended if a conservative Governor-General expressed views with which they disagreed. 
Bryce has been a successful Governor-General. But her decision to air her personal views on controversial issues was an error of judgment.

As it happens, the pond is deeply offended by the sight of anyone who calls themselves, and expects others to call them, Sir.

No doubt Sir William Deane was a kindly chap, but he's not the pond's Sir. Nor Lord ...

Or Consul or Viceroy or Viscount or Grand Pooh-bah or Lord High Archbishop of Titipu and so on and so forth.

As such, the pond found Sir William Deane a deeply divisive, problematic figure.

Much the same could be said for the rest of the half-baked seat warmers that have occupied the GG chair, not limited to the often drunk Johnny Kerr.

Major General Michael Jeffery was always hanging around thrusting his love of the military in the pond's face - well at least whenever he could be found, he was - and the hapless Hollingworth was a representative of established religion before his seat got too hot for comfort.

And if you go further back, what a pack of nonentities sent out to keep the colonies calm - in the usual way, there's now a wiki, most with pictures, of the whole bedraggled pack, here. All gongs and fancy drapes and deeply offensive and a profound error of judgment, usually implying that for all its federation airs, Australia remained a colonial outpost of Empire

Talk about a collection of irritating stuffed dummies.

Now the pond has sometimes found itself in the company of some highly placed Xian who insists on getting the show off with a bang by blathering on to their invisible friend.

The pond doesn't mind this sort of nonsense, though of course if you think for a moment you could find it deeply offensive.

Ditto GG's blathering on in a patriotic way how great it is that Australia is a war mongering nation and has played its part in almost any twentieth century war you could mention ...

But let them have their fun, it's a free country, at least outside the Murdoch press, and it's natural that all the institutions that count are deeply conservative, and reserved usually for pooh bahs who have shown all the signs of having a lobotomy, so that when they stand up and make a speech you could mistake what they say for the 'bah-ing' of sheep.

In this context, the sign that Bryce was actually alive and still had a brain came as a welcome relief, in much the same way as the pond can in fact embrace and accept the notion that conservative Governor-Generals of the Jeffery kind will routinely say something that irritates the pond. Or Prince Chuck will deliver yet another speech on the environment - when he's not bunging on a super dooper 65th birthday bash.

In fact, Bryce's words were discrete and cleverly worded, and you have to think something's up when the pond actually thinks Tony Abbott had the right reaction, which was to note it was a personal opinion and what the heck she'll be gone in a few months and then John Howard can be loved by the people, and that won't be offensive to anyone, not anyone at all ...

You see, she had to say something remotely intelligent, given that was actually a public lecture, but who would have thought she'd get the sort of mamby pamby cluck clucking and tut tutting in Crikey, attempting an unlikely imitation of the Bolter.

Sheesh, wanting people to love each other, and hoping that someday a child might turn into an Australian can be head of state, and we all fall over in a fainting fit?

If this is a heresy that shouldn't be spoken, what about all the stuffed shirts who've rabbited on endlessly about the wonders of a constitutional monarchy, and simply by their presence, their attitudes, and their symbols been as deeply offensive as David Flint claiming we live in a bloody crowned Republic. Talk about offensive gibberish ...

Meanwhile, it behoves the pond to note sparkling comedy items, and the comedy stylings don't get any better than those on offer from Dennis "the bouffant hair" Shanahan:

An anti-climax? Oh the poor dears. Is that like some kind of brewer's droop, or perhaps the deep stupor that comes with a premature climax?

Who knows and it's certainly premature to speculate.

Oh okay, you can go and read Shanahan if you like, commiserating with the coalition, if you can be bothered getting around the paywall, Government lets itself be set up as sitting duck.

To actually pay for a short piece beating up the polls would seem to the pond to be a scandalous waste of money, but what's beguiling was the way that Shanahan felt the need to indulge in some gloomy hand-wringing:

It's one thing to avoid the vacuous tyranny of 24-hour news cycle but it's another to allow your opponents to frame the impression of what you are doing. 
In the first weeks of parliament, Joe Hockey's attempts to raise the debt ceiling have been portrayed as the Coalition simply raising debt to $500 billion; the refusal to speak about boat arrivals, to deprive the people-smugglers publicity, seen as confirmation they are still coming; and the staunch defence of Australia's interests over spying on Indonesia seen as Abbott damaging the relationship with Jakarta. 
It's all very well to appear as a calm and serene duck on the surface while furiously paddling underneath, but it is another thing altogether to allow yourself to be set up as a sitting duck.

Oh dear, only three months in power, and already there's buyer's remorse and talk of ducks on the pond like a shearer spotting a woman in the sheds.

But apparently there's hope, if they can just snatch the Textor and other twitterers away from tweetishness and focus on the communication:

The polls at this stage of the cycle matter little. What's important is the shaping of how the government conveys what is doing.

What, like Hoe Hockey wanting to raise the debt ceiling, having in opposition portrayed this as a fiendish betrayal, or Scott Morrison acting like a complete loon in the matter of boat people, or butter fingers Abbott dropping an easy catch when he had the chance to nip the controversy in the bud with a little early action, and all that's been left is for the likes of Dame Slap to organise a counter-insurgency strike against the ABC and Mark Scott, because that's part of the Murdochian agenda to de-gut the ABC?

And now poodle Pyne wanting to appear to do something, getting all the state Liberals into a state of liberal agitation?

Well the pond doesn't have any buyer's remorse, and is wildly excited that poodle Pyne has emerged from his cocoon to give Scott Morrison a run for his money as the Minister most likely to be moved on ...

The pond still has a bottle of red riding on Morrison, but once we get past the first re-shuffle, how long before other questions are asked?

Ask away, Mr. Moir and more Moir here.

Ah the hat, the hat. Talk about deeply offensive errors of judgment ...


  1. Dot - again I am laughing and crying after visiting your sprawling des. res. on Loon Pond. I love the wooden shingles on the roof and the Lloyd's loom on the terrace. The minted julep was Deevine. I shall call again soon.

    Meanwhile ....

    How I tittered when I read Shanasham this morn. You have plucked out the choice tidbits but I am offering his little observation that the ALP is responsible for his boy's slide down the greasy poll. Oh, the ALP set up a bad precedent by talking to the media. Imagine that!

    Btw does Dennis blue the bouffant?

    I am less amused by Abbott's decision to send an old general off to Jakarta with The Letter. Isn't that akin to sending your retired walloper uncle off to knock on your neighbour's door over a barking dog dispute? Why is this govt so enamoured of the military?

  2. Hi Dorothy,

    Credlin insisted from day one that all press releases would be vetted through the PM's office. It would appear that they are either too lazy or incompetent to feed the chooks on a regular basis and now the poultry are pecking at any tit bit on offer.
    That they can't control the message with a media dominated by pro-coalition supporters just shows how shambolic they really are.

    all the best Diddy Wrote

  3. On errors, DP, 'Being Wrong' by Kathryn Schulz (NYT writer) looks to be on the money. Just arrived c/o Abebooks. More later, but it looks like we are in for tough times.


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.