Really, really low.
Call it what you like: demonisation, fear mongering, divisive class warfare, cultivation of the hatred of others, the abuse of jingoism and patriotism, the first refuge of the scoundrel ...
Most would call it vicious, contemptible and demeaning ... and desperate.
But the pond will settle for low and caddish. It is, however, a reflection of how the current ruling elite will do anything to stay in power, no matter how sordid the propaganda they feel the need to generate to keep them in power.
Oh the pond loves the sound of "ruling elite" and "elitist supporters of the ruling elite" in the morning, as they go about the business of persecuting the old, the young and the disadvantaged ...
All this talk of saving the future for the young ... by saddling the best and the brightest with a mountain of debt which will keep them servile and with noses to the grindstone.
It's a reminder that all that blather about inner city liberal leftie elites is so much hogwash, when you see the genuine elites out and about, strutting around, abusing their power while abusing others ...
So what of the hagiographers and the knob polishers? Seeing as how it's been a malum autem sabbati for the government, part of a mense malum, part of an annus horribilis ...
Well Niki Savva does her best in News for wrong-footed PM all bad (inside the paywall because the bad news should be quarantined by a demand for cash in the paw):
As for yesterday’s on-camera wink about a 67-year-old sex worker called Gloria, it was unnecessary, but it’s cold-shower time, folks.
In the circumstances, Abbott showed considerable restraint.
A sleazy, creepy wink is showing considerable restraint? A wink allegedly done to indicate to Jon Faine that Abbott was comfortable in his ability to take Gloria down? And since when does working the telephone get you qualified as a sex worker?
But that was just a throwaway thought at the end of the hapless Savva's piece, which otherwise found little to cheer about:
The government failed to properly set the scene, the presentation was underwhelming and the sales job misguided, haphazard or woefully inadequate.
By allowing speculation to run about a double-dissolution election, Abbott revealed a troubling mindset inside the government geared to campaigning rather than governing.
He refused to admit he broke promises, failed to turn the debate back on the premiers after needlessly laying out the extent of projected funding cuts over a 10-year period, seemed incapable of shutting down debate about the GST, and provided a factually inaccurate comparison to excuse his poor showing in the polls.
Oh dear ... and that's a friend scribbling.
But back to the wink. Growing up in the bush, the pond quickly came to understand that there were certain kinds and types of men. Some practised whistling - usually delivery men - and the more flat and toneless they were, the more authentically digger they were perceived to be. They often winked.
Some practised blowing smoke rings, and you didn't have to be a Freudian to work out the symbolism. They also spent years practising a wink. Some wore tattoos, a sure sign they were bad boys - though professional gladiators of late have tried to eradicate the distinction. You could rely on a likely lad to have cultivated a wink along with the tatt.
And some told feeble sexist jokes while trying to feel up any woman to hand. And the majority - at least within the pond's working class circle - practiced an ingratiating wink as part of their amiable sexist persona. Butchers also cultivated the skill - it was part of their brief to seem adept at handling women while selling them third rate cuts - but there wasn't a woman of the pond's acquaintance that didn't flinch at a winking man.
Meanwhile, the opera loving, red wine slurping Bolter was outraged, outraged I tells ya, while lolling in his comfortable surroundings. How to deal with it? The wink?
First came the dissembling:
I don’t think he should have winked, true. it looked too blokey, and
And then the Bolter went the blokey tacky line himself:
But if Abbott did indeed tend to show disrespect to the woman’s choice of work he is perfectly entitled to do so. Indeed, I’d be embarrassed if any grandmother of mine had lowered herself like that. If Spicer thinks it wrong to judge like that, let her declare that working on a sex line is just the kind of work she’d have chosen, too, for herself or for her grandmother.
But Gloria didn't seem too keen on the work. She seemed to think she was struggling to get a few Xmas presents for the kids? What then? Well you keep on being being blokey and tacky:
As for claims the woman had no choice but to do this work, I’d like to know a lot, lot more before I took that claim on trust. There are plenty of women on the pension who wouldn’t sell their pride like that, and I note this woman had children. Could they have helped to save their mum from this?
In short, the ruling elites won't be satisfied until grandmothers move back in with their kids and sponge off them, like they did in the old days, so we can have a welfare system based on Chinese family systems of the nineteenth century.
Just as they won't be happy until unemployed kids up to the age of 30 are forced to bludge on their parents. That'll teach the idlers for having dissolute spawn ...
As for the rest of the Bolter's piece, Abbott winks: Left shrieks, it's a mix of deflection and outrage ... directed at women, with Tracey Spicer copping the brunt of it. As if she made Abbott wink.
Is the Bolter a closet winker? The seeds from the Abbott apple rarely fall far from the tree...
Meanwhile, as the Daily Terror goes about the business of demonising the disabled, came this heartfelt plea from its state political editor, Andrew Clennell:
If you think Sydney house and unit prices are out of control, you’re right. That is why the revised new threshold for Family Tax Benefit part B is so hard to stomach.
It’s the same wherever in Australia you live — at $100,000 per household (down from $150,000). I’m no great supporter of middle class welfare, despite having been the recipient of it a couple of times with a baby bonus and first homeowners grant. But if you are going to have it, can we have an acknowledgement from Canberra that Sydney mortgages and rents are way bigger?
The median house price in Sydney late last year was $753,168. Compare this to Melbourne’s median price of $569,112; Brisbane’s of $449,644 and Adelaide’s of $446,511. Even relatively expensive Canberra and Perth are $150,000-$200,000 behind Sydney.
So, on what basis can a threshold for Family Tax Benefit part B be the same in Sydney as in Adelaide? The median house price 90 minutes from the city in Penrith is $406,000. Try 90 minutes out of Adelaide or Brisbane and you will be in the $200s.
If you accept that houses in Sydney are $300,000 more than in Adelaide or Brisbane, that means a mortgage here is about $500 a week more than other parts of the country.
Shouldn’t then the threshold on such benefits be $20,000 to $30,000 a year more in Sydney? (A case of bricks and mortar bastardry)
And there, in a nutshell, buried inside the paper, you have the real situation of the pleading, grasping Sydney-centric reptiles ...
Who knows why they let Clennell off the leash in such a revealing way?
Especially at a time when you can read the anon editorialist at the lizard Oz getting agitated:
While John Howard and Peter Costello followed a largely reformist path, they erred by returning too much revenue to taxpayers via payments rather than tax cuts, thereby capturing increasing numbers of families in the welfare net. To call such largesse a “tax benefit” verges on doublespeak. It is only a tax benefit in that the recipient benefits from a payment funded by somebody else’s tax. The so-called equity argument about the first Hockey budget gets hung up on this paradox in misguided demands to “share the burden” that the government’s own budget repair levy has encouraged.
Uh huh. Tell that to Andrew Clennell.
A welfare net should protect the vulnerable but expectations must tend to self-reliance and user pays. When we expect the state to provide private benefits such as a law degree at no cost, we demand too much.
Indeed. So can we now retrospectively bill jolly Joe Hockey for the cost of his degree (and please don't forget the interest at going rates that would have accrued over the years).
As for the rest?
Ugly student attacks on Coalition politicians, formulaic marching in the streets, leftist media hysteria and inane Twitter outrage, sadly, are all just part of the exchange we needed to have. We need to talk about aspiration. (and the rest of the twaddle here)
No we don't. We know the aspirations of the ruling elite. It's to re-distribute wealth away from the poor, the old, and the disadvantaged to those who deserve it ... the ruling elite. It's a virtuous circle ...
What else? Well the reptiles naturally leapt at the pandering, eager to devour the carrot dangling from the stick:
Did it occur to the reptiles that the PM might vow - or even wink - all he liked, and no one would believe him?
He's a proven liar, and his vows are worthless.
And in any case what's he doing offering tax cuts after the next election? Will the dire budget emergency have withered on the vine, in a quite miraculous way?
How will the reptiles write their withering denunciations of tax cut largesse?
It is, it has to be said, a perfect circus, and the reptiles are in one of Dante's outer rings of hell:
Hapless David Crowe was given the job of spinning like a hamster in the wheel, and he started strongly in Grudge, grudge, wink, wink: Left guns for Tony Abbott (behind the paywall because the sight of obsequious fawning and forelock tugging shouldn't come cheap):
The howls at the Prime Minister show the political fringe at work in an attempt to seize the limelight with a rallying cry based on personal hatred.
But then Crowe drops the plot after noting the perfect storm of Abbott winking, ducking students and being forced to defend daughter's scholarship:
Abbott is aware of the hatred directed at him but is in a poor position to complain, given that Julia Gillard was subjected to far worse.
A key difference this time is that Bill Shorten is not egging on the protesters in the way Abbott spoke to crowds in Canberra in 2011 with a “Ditch the Witch” placard behind him.
At a student rally in Melbourne yesterday, which was addressed by Labor education spokeswoman Kate Ellis and the Greens’ Adam Bandt and Sarah Hanson-Young, there was a sprinkling of “Fu. k Tony Abbott” T-shirts.
The protesters’ chants ranged from “Block the budget” to the less respectful “Abbott’s a wanker”, “Tony Abbott, f. k you, we deserve a future too”, and “No cuts, no bosses, no neo-liberal tossers”. Student Shannen Bethune, 19, defended the language yesterday as “necessary”. “Slogans like ‘F. k Tony Abbott’ really underline the sentiment,” Bethune said. “We’re not going to take this sitting down. It’s hard to put a more articulate slogan on a T-shirt.”
Abbott himself made light of the animosities yesterday by telling Neil Mitchell on 3AW of meeting a fellow cyclist who told him: “You know, my girlfriend hates you more than any other person on earth”. Abbott’s response was to have a photo taken with the cyclist so the girlfriend could see the Prime Minister was human.
After the broken promises in last week’s budget, it may take more than that to convince her.
Oh dear. It may, it may ...
And as for that wink?
When Abbott winked at Faine — who is believed to have raised an eyebrow himself — he was quickly accused online of showing disdain for women. Senator Hanson-Young called him “a creep”.
It was an easy opportunity for critics to add a new episode to their favourite narrative of Abbott the misogynist. This forced the Prime Minister’s office into contortions to find unbelievable explanations for what looked obvious: that he found the idea of a pensioner talking dirty to clients on the phone faintly ridiculous.
He’s probably not alone.
Indeed. The Bolter is with him all the way. A kind of nudge nudge, wink wink brotherhood. (And it's all Tracey Spicer's fault).
But here's the thing. There's a sensible way to respond when you're on camera ... and there's a creepy way ... and the creeps always go the creep ...
Crowe does the very best with the rest of the piece.
The unfairness of attacking the daughter, the over-emphasis on the wink, the extreme unfairness of calling the bully Abbott a coward for ducking the students (even if he once indulged in common assault on a football field, thereby undercutting his cry of innocence when it came to him indulging in violent behaviour in his student days), and how there's little danger for Abbott in being vilified on campus (and never mind the merits of the vilification), and how there's a little hypocrisy at the heart of the hysteria, and how suburban families rarely protest with the energy of a university student, and how Labor is now resorting to an unhinging by seizing on political trivia ...
It's quite masterly in its way, but what do you know?
This very day Abbott has issued a mea culpa saying he made a mistake and he hopes not to make another ...
But he will. It's inevitable, it's in his nature, much like any scorpion will be a scorpion when confronted by a frog ...
And so while it's the worst of times, it's also the best of times.
There's the reptiles writhing in anguish, doing their best to help the elite in power, while the commentariat stick their fingers in the dyke as best they can, knowing it's a tricky business - well you'd expect the Bolter to be a fingerer of dykes (and you can read that myth here though you might be shattered by the footnote).
Meanwhile, the cartoonists are having a field day. Neither Pope nor Rowe felt the need to make it personal. Not when there's global warming and a budgie riot to cover:
(Above: more Pope here, and below, more Rowe here. By golly the Rowe is right up there with a demented Albert Tucker painting)
And we're promised years and years more of this golden age of cartooning.
Oh bliss, oh poop: