(Above: ah memories, like the corners of the pond's mind, misty water coloured memories of the way we were).
What strikes the pond each time it visits the reptiles at the lizard Oz these days is the uniform tone of the commentariat, which might be characterised as hysteria with additional notes of shrill ...
It's astonishing that each day the diligent bouffant one can get out of bed and indulge in yet another bout of knob-polishing, with hagiographic excess:
Wait, what's this?
You'd never guess from the splash that the bouffant one had attempted a minimalist notion of balance, as evoked the actual header to the piece, Sound policy, but Abbott makes hard work of it. (behind the paywall so you don't go into a funk of existential tedium).
As Dr. Johnson once remarked, it's not so much that it's done well, as that it's attempted at all.
Dammit, those subbies - oh okay - subs must have a tough time extracting the purest of coalition juices to feature in the splash.
It turns out the bouffant one offers up some mild criticism of Tony Abbott on the matter of SPC, even though Abbott's behaviour was perfectly justifiable and totally correct and the policy settings spot on, and so on and so forth.
The bouffant one boldly ventures to suggest that there was a certain clunkiness:
The cause of these problems goes beyond a lack of attention to detail. It involves genuine concerns the government is being too ideologically pure; that it is exhibiting a political tin ear; appears to be hard-hearted but inconsistent.
Too ideologically pure? Pure comedy gold from a reptile at the Oz, home of the ideologically pure, free and brave, and on the bouffant one went, worrying about Bill Shorten and South Australia and Griffith and free market purists and Abbott's assault on Gonski:
Abbott's repeated nomination of David Gonski, chairman of the parent company, as being responsible and his personalising the message with declarations that "David Gonski's not going to let the workers of SPC Ardmona down", ensured the message on wages and conditions was driven home while leaving a lingering resentment among some chief executives that it was being made too personal.
And then the bouffant one began to indulge in leadership speculation! It seems what we need is a new John Howard, except not quite like John Howard:
Notwithstanding his extraordinary success as a Liberal leader, Abbott has around him people who are mostly younger than him and think that he will not be "like John Howard" and hang around for as long as he can. Instead, he will be content with some personal achievements and want to ensure a smooth succession.
Cue a horde of eager contenders. And for a capper came this:
After all, for the policy purists and Liberal hardliners there are always these words to remember: "We, of course, must avoid becoming involved in a false dichotomy, the all-black or all-white of the one-eyed propagandist. We recognise that the state has great functions to perform which are far beyond the scope of private enterprise. The ancient idea that government's only function was to 'keep the ring' while the private enterprise contestants slogged it out has no place in our Liberal philosophy." - Robert Menzies, May 1970.
The great statist and socialist, Ming the Merciless! And Abbott a failure on the SPC matter!
And there the pond was thinking it would be just another tedious bout of knob and apple polishing and rose sniffing. Instead it was almost poetical:
O Abbott thou art sick.
The visible worm Shanahan,
That flies in the Oz
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy leadership destroy
Yep, the knives might be in their sheaves but they're being sharpened (and please don't ask how that's done, just look for the gleam in the night).
As for that wonderful line We, of course, must avoid becoming involved in a false dichotomy, the all-black or all-white of the one-eyed propagandist has somebody at the lizard Oz begun to note the bleeding obvious?
If so, the news hasn't caught up with Chris Kenny.
He's still fighting the last election in Left ready to repeat its mistakes by marching to the same old drum (behind the paywall because you've read it all before, it's that broken clock Chris Kenny who can't even get the time right twice a day. Talk about incessantly banging the same old drum).
Kenny is alarmed that in March the wretchedly protesting Left, and their filthy ugly deviant greenie allies, are going to bung on a protest do in a march on Canberra in March.
It's just not fair, and it's unwise, and ... well, it's just wrong, and don't you go looking for parallels or precedents elsewhere:
When the Labor-Greens alliance was in government, protests were frowned upon.
For all the fuss, the infamous "ditch the witch" and "convoy of no consequence" protests against the carbon tax in 2011 were, well, inconsequential.
Sure, they were howled down by politicians and the love media but, really, they were relatively small gatherings in peaceful, if angry, protest against the broken promise - they gained notoriety because of placards with nasty and sexist denunciations of Julia Gillard.
Uh huh. Actually they gained notoriety because the Gollum, in his shameless lust for the preciousss and power, stood right under the signs, and then later pretended he didn't see them, affected by some kind of specific blindness (please check the photos above again and remember how silly this sounded at the time).
Now we're treated to a resolute dunderhead without a bone of irony in his body, because here he is frowning on and howling down a protest which hasn't even happened yet, which might - who knows -be peaceful, if angry, protests against the many broken promises already to hand, and the many breaking of promises that have been promised to come.
Naturally Kenny contrasts these nasty sexist protests with nasty union demonstrations, and did we mention how Tony Abbott is right on all things, and everyone else just wrong, wrong, wrong?
Kenny is mystified, possibly distraught, and already frowning on March:
...apparently many Australians are "deeply concerned with the way our country is being governed". The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is on that weekend; serious progressives might be better off taking a soothing flight over Capital Hill and contemplating their own policy prescriptions.
Can anyone remember Kenny offering similar advice to the boofheads, and later Alan Jones and team, when they marched to Canberra and Abbott and Bronwyn Bishop and others stood alongside their boofhead signs?
Probably not, but that's what you routinely expect when you step into the world of the false dichotomy, the all-black or all-white of the one-eyed propagandist ...
But the coup de grace for the pond actually came last night, late on a Friday, when it was taking a break and doing the digital rounds.
What should pop up?
Please allow the pond to date it, as kidnappers are inclined to do, by showing the context - no not the Cartier ad - what an aspirational demographic the reptiles have - but the bit about Schapelle Corby.
No, not the bit about Schapelle Corby, not the ranting and raving David Johnston, who provoked this meditation, David Johnston goes overboard with ABC criticism.
That's just for dating purposes, see, like the kidnapper with the gat, holding the newspaper up to the camera alongside the captive.
No, look, there, there on the right:
Eek, it's Hendo, the prattling Polonius, still alive and not writhing behind the arras, but as bold as brass in the digital splash.
Unwisely, the pond bit and what do you know, it was a link to week old, re-heated Hendo sludge, probably given a warm-up in the fucking science oven (you know, I've heard it takes all the nutrition out of Hendo's work).
Never mind, they were giving even Hendo away for free, in Media Watch Dog - Nancy's back, but what a tragic and temporary re-surfacing it was.
There's something seriously weird on going on with Hendo - no, not the usual conflation of homosexuality with paedophilia as a way of defending Cardinal Pell, and the church, and reviling David Marr. That's just average bee in bonnet Hendo.
No, it's the masochistic delight that Hendo takes in publishing all the abuse he receives (at the bottom of his piece), which is way more funny than anything Hendo himself manages by way of wit or wisdom or insight.
The conventional term is masochist, but given Hendo's addiction to the Catholic church, perhaps flagellant is more appropriate.
Are things so desperate at the Oz now that they think they can freshen up with week old Hendo sludge?
Anyway, after a good cleansing shower and a stiff shot, the pond went in search of more elevated reading:
Oops, how did we land on the most barbaric columnist in the least trusted tabloid newspaper in Australia?
Is it possible to imagine a right wing neocon hawk demanding service from a Sydney taxi driver? What, it's proper and correct to expect any sort of service from an indulged private sector?
Could Akker Dakker be calling for the nationalising of Sydney taxi drivers? Or take a leaf out of London's book?
Of course not. It was just another whinge and a moan in the neocon way. Always whining, always moaning, and always telling the world we need more deregulation and let the devil take the slacker hindmost, and then at the first sign of the consequences, turning cry baby and moaning at the arrival of the Huns, the Visigoths and the Barbarians. Harden the fuck up man, it's deregulated Sydney, just what you wanted.
Moving right along, the pond finally alighted on a sensible columnist discussing issues in a rational sensible way, as you can read in Asylum seeker burns: claims and counterclaims cry out to be tested.
After all the warm spittle and over-heated frothing and foaming, it was like taking a bracing cold shower:
It says we should accept that we will never know exactly what happened because for the navy to give out further information would “help people smugglers”.
That argument makes no sense. Releasing video or detailed accounts could only help people smugglers if it somehow impeded or eroded the government’s hardline policy of turning around boats. Clear evidence to corroborate Australians’ instincts that the navy is probably doing the right thing would only enhance public support for Operation Sovereign Borders and remove any doubts that might have been raised by the claims – in other words, it would help the government’s cause.
And it would also protect the good reputation of the navy.
Okay, that's enough of that. How alarming, possibly terrifying.
If even a smidgin of sanity became the norm for the pond, where would we be, and what would happen to the black and white world of the one-eyed propagandists?
And how could we run David Pope cartoons and assure people that there is more Popery here?