Perhaps the funniest sight on the weekend was Tony Abbott delivering a rousing call to the faithful from his YouTube channel.
Having taken to his bunker, and avoided a questioning media, Abbott took to his eagle's nest (no, it would be wrong, as well as a breach of Godwin's Law to characterise YouTube as the rough equivalent of Wolfsschanze or other Führerhauptquartiere or favourite locations such as the Kehlsteinhaus).
But thus far, at time of writing, the missive, dubbed A message from The PM - Our Economic Action Strategy had attracted a mere 2,177 hits (and you can help keep it at that sort of risible, pathetic level by not clicking on the link).
In fact it's so well hidden that if you google Abbott and YouTube, you're reminded at the top of the page of that February 2014 farce, Tony Abbott's YouTube suspended after 'deceptive content' complaint.
It was allegedly a mistake, but the pond is willing to bet that anyone who could be bothered would in fact be overwhelmed by messages from the fearless leader that are full of misleading and deceptive content.
Frankly the pond wasn't up to the job. There's only so much trawling through the mud that any human bean can manage on a daily basis.
Abbott isn't a good presenter in a formal setting. He has a noticeable problem with an attempt at sincerity, and his hands are constantly in motion. This might be good form for an after dinner speech at a Lions or Rotary club do, or in a debate for Young Liberals, but it's a form of death on social media:
All this means that the heavy lifting has to be done by the knob polishers and hagiographers.
And sure enough Paul "the magic water and heavenly sourdough man" Sheehan was out of the blocks early:
There's jolly Joe in deep secret lobbying waters, as you can read in Treasurer for sale: Joe Hockey offers privileged access, and there's the haples,s dingbat Sheehan below trying to pretend it's all the fault of the Ruddster.
As if the spending spree hadn't already started under the Howard government.
If you can be bothered reading What crisis? Government's only crisis is Labor's debt - remember a click only urges them on - you won't find a single mention of the Howard era's family welfare profligacy.
Instead you'll cop a standard bout of knob polishing, along with this sort of graphic, which would be at home in a Murdoch tabloid:
There's also nary a word about the 2008 financial crisis, and instead you cop this sort of specious gibberish as the opener:
Unusually, history offers a precise time and place, right down to the day, to appreciate why Australia has gone, seemingly suddenly, from a land of boom to a nation facing an austerity budget with sacrifices expected of all. The date was February 4, 2009.
Well you might believe in that sort of tosh if you believe in magic water, but life's a little more complicated than that.
You only have to head off to parliament here to cop some reminders of what actually went on:
Debate about access to welfare by the non-poor can be particularly emotive. The term middle class welfare, itself generally used as a pejorative, is often described by critics in terms such as shameless , outrageous and unjust . Defenders of access to welfare programs by the non-poor can be similarly emotive. For example, in criticising the Rudd Government s decision to means test the Baby Bonus (a payment of $5000 to help with the extra costs of a new baby or adopted child), the then Liberal Party leader, Dr Brendan Nelson, made the following comments:
Every mother loves her baby. Every baby is valued and Mr Rudd should value all babies equally. We should not live in an Australia where Mr Rudd thinks that some babies are more valuable than others and it s very important that the Government make sure that families, men and women that are trying to raise children in this country, continue to receive the support that they have over the last decade of the Howard Government. (here)
Oh the glory days of the Howard Government ...
Of course Sheehan these days is little more than a click bait troll, and already his trolling had produced an early morning flood of responses.
But the Murdoch tabloids have sensed a shift in the wind. Here's the top spot on the digital Terror page:
And here's the HUN, mounting a campaign for health benefits:
Yes, even the Murdochians are howling at the moon, and a spot on YouTube and diligent Sheehan knob polishing isn't going to balance the books.
To paraphrase Sheen, as usual, political history offers a precise time and place, right down to the day, when Tony Abbott shifted from being a boom politician to a politician facing a severe credibility gap, and that was the day he tried to pretend a levy wasn't a tax.
Meanwhile, the reptiles at the lizard Oz are going about their hagiographic duties with less zing than they used to have.
Poor old Phillip Hudson felt the need to admonish Abbott in Abbott's job now to sell his brand of best and fairest (behind the paywall because you have to pay for the pleasure of reading an unhappy lizard):
The next two weeks are shaping up as the most important of Tony Abbott’s prime ministership.
Abbott said he would lead a government of “no surprises and no excuses”. He should add to that no hypocrisy and no weasel words.
The one overriding theme of his message to voters last September was that, if elected, he would restore the public’s trust in politicians and their promises. No one did more than Abbott to relentlessly attack Julia Gillard for breaking her “no carbon tax” promise.
The Coalition knew before the last election about the state of the nation’s finances because it claimed there was a “budget emergency”. As Abbott, Joe Hockey and senior ministers meet on Wednesday to sign off their first budget and send it to the printers, the juggle for the Prime Minister is that the public are ready for a tough-love budget with painful decisions, but not if they think it is a betrayal of his solemn election vows.
Abbott needs to strike the right political and economic balance. Saying no and hounding Gillard helped him become Prime Minister. Now he must show leadership and people skills to keep the job. Most crucial will be the design and scope of what he calls a “deficit-reduction levy”.
Some ministers and backbenchers are nervous it is too big a surprise and inconsistent with the promises of no taxation without an election. Opinion polls show the public hate it, as it is so far seen as a broken promise.
Abbott has tried arguing that it would not be “permanent” but rather short-term pain for lasting gain, which sounds like a weasel with a self-help book.
And so on. Now he isn't a wabbit, he's a weasel ...
The hapless Hudson seemed to think all would be made right if only Tony Abbott took a firm stand against Ian Sinclair flying on a junket to Lord Howe Island...
If only it were that easy ...
The problem, as always, is that cartoonists have pinged the Gillard-Abbott nexus:
(Indeed, and you can find more cartoons, presented by Cathy Wilcox, rather feebly attempting a mean stare in keeping with a mean government, here at The Insiders, but the pond still loves her and her cartoons).
Meanwhile, the pond was more than a little bemused, because in glancing at Hudson, the pond also caught a glimpse of Mark Day trying to explain the new digital world to angry old white men - the key demographic for the lizard Oz - in Not sure of the why, but here's how to get with the program. (thank the long absent lord you don't have to pay for this tosh).
Day started off this way:
Tech heads of the world be warned. There’s nothing in this column you don’t already know. It is being written for those of a certain age who may be bewildered, perhaps terminally confused, by what’s happening to their television.
If you don’t know what it means to cut the cord or go over the top for your home viewing, read on. By the end, you may be confused by the choices you have, but at least you’ll have an idea what the jargon is about.
Uh huh. Day then proceeded to attempt to explain the new world, without once mentioning VPNs hooked up to Torrents, and file sharing by way of cyber lockers, and all the rest that helps make Australia one of the heavier piratical nations in the world.
You have to head elsewhere to read Piracy: Australians lead the world for illegal downloads of Game of Thrones (oh Melbourne, Melbourne, how could you be so naughty).
Nor, in his blithe new universe of streaming, did Day bother to mention the chief flaw with his vision - the wretched streaming rates offered by current broadband, which could have been rectified by a decent NBN, but which the reptiles campaigned hard against and which is now being ruined by Malcolm Turnbull. The pond now has the HFC broadband on offer until the day we pass on to a wired hell - yes even Satan would offer a better connectivity. But hey, it could be worse - we could be living in Mudgee.
And perversely that's what supports piracy - downloading for later use - rather than the take up of real time paid services.
Here's how funny Day can sound:
This plethora of content accessible at a whim represents a whole new world and raises questions about how you use it. I think that there’s a generational divide here that depends as much on how we conceive our television as it does on age.
Older folk are familiar with TV being an entertainment source in the lounge room. You switch it on and expect to be entertained, essentially by a network programmer who decides what he or she thinks you would like to see. We sit back and choose the most appealing choice offered.
But under the new paradigm you are your own programmer. You make your own choices. That’s fine in principle, but it can be hard work going through thousands of programs trying to decide what might be interesting and what’s not, then recording it for playback later. Who has the time for that? Who knows what you’re missing?
It’s rather like going to a Chinese restaurant and having to wade through a telephone book of dishes when all you really want is a feed.
No it's not.
Older folk take note. Get hold of a young nerd who can explain it to you. Hint: Mr Day is not a young nerd.
You walk into the room
With your keyboard in your hand
You see somebody watching Game of Thrones
And you say, “What is that show?”
Is it like sweet and sour
Or is it more like really violent yum cha?
You try so hard
But you don’t understand
Just what you’ll say
When you get home
And switch on the box
Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Day?
(Below: speaking of others who think that YouTube is the answer. Lordy lordy, David Rowe is getting ever so close to a breach of Godwin's Law, or at least Tolkien's Law, where Tony Abbott is close to Sauron, and of course more David Rowe here)