Friday, May 02, 2014
Why do liars need national hysteria and dire national emergencies? Well you can only blame the dog for eating the homework ten or eleven times a year ...
(Above: phew, we're totally fucked, completely and comprehensively. Why only a story about a vampire gigolo is more important. Thanks Murdochians).
It was while listening to Waleed Aly last night on RN that the pond came up with the perfect efficiency dividend for the network.
Instead of listening to Aly's generally silly "Devil's Advocate" questioning and legalistic posturing - which managed to contradict itself and the positions taken within the space of a couple of interviews with people of differing political persuasions - why not just have a few people play some music, interspersed with the speeches of and insights of dear leader, and a reading of the entire five kilos of the latest governmental report?
It was a nonsense of course, up there with Aly's assorted generalities and stupidities.
Why employ a few people when a computer could do the job admirably?
As for Aly, he could be usefully re-deployed, not into a wasteful area like lawyering or jiving in a band, but into mining or agriculture. Get a little dirt on his hands ...
Now before anyone starts muttering about Pol Pot and the Cultural Revolution and such like, remember this is just a provocative discussion starter, flung out there in much the same spirit as the latest report, and based on the same sort of superstitious nonsense:
REPORTER: That's substantially more than the original proposals that were put forward to you and the Commission of Audit. How did you come up with those figures?
TONY SHEPHERD: We just thought that they were reasonable payments and well within the reach of the people that were asked to pay them. (here)
We just thought. We just hung our fierce private enterprise dicks out into the wind and felt the breeze.
Research? That's for wimps.
As for all those neurotics who head off to the doctor, they only do it because they know it teases. Frankly Dr Tony Shepherd knows these people aren't really sick, and all they're doing when they head off to the doctor ten or eleven times a year is showing off their hypochondria.
Commission of Audit head Tony Shepherd said: “Every man, woman and child in Australia goes to the doctor on average 11 times a year — I just don’t think we’re that crook." (here, paywall affected, which is an entirely different efficiency dividend issue)
Less than once a month, and then only so they can get their sickie note for the week, the shameless, useless bludgers.
What's that you say?
Audit commission chairman Tony Shepherd said people visited doctors on average 11 times a year but GP survey statistics actually put this figure at five to six a year. (here)
Hmmm, which area did you say you'd like to be deployed to?
Mining agriculture, or perhaps doing butler or housemaid duties, or signing cheques for NSW Liberals? Sorry, we've got backpackers to do that last one ...
But at least the chattering classes have their watercooler topic for the week.
What's that? TGIF?
Well at least we're blessed with jokes about "bitter medicine to swallow" and headlines like this:
And on one level, the headline is true. If times are so tough, if we're in the grip of a dire emergency, let Tony Abbott be the first to follow the audit proposal, and throw his PPL baby out with the rest of the bathwater.
But at the same time, the pond is determined to worry, because it's the Australian way, and because all the idle chatter might distract from a more important issue, which is why lies matter ... or why Tony Abbott is the most supreme irritant in politics, a new and possibly lethal form of the cantharidin that can be found in Spanish fly.
You see, if times are so tough, and we're in the grip of a dire emergency, it must be that Abbott knowingly lied when he made all those promises not so long ago about not cutting this and not hurting a hair on the head of that.
In any other arena, false or misleading claims can be accompanied by fines and penalties:
Any statement representing your products or services should be true, accurate and able to be substantiated. There are fines for businesses that mislead consumers. It does not matter whether a false or misleading statement was intentional or not.
Why should politics and politicians be exempt?
It doesn't matter to the pond whether the intention of the Abbott government is to conduct class warfare by taxing the rich; or spread nonsense about everyone needing to share the pain; or do a sleight of hand with a report they've sat on for a month, until the WA Senate election was out of the way, and they needed a fear-mongering distraction in the run up to the budget.
No, that's just the symptoms. The real disease is the dissembling and the hypocrisy, the shameless lying, that saw Abbott attack the Labor party and accuse it of conducting class warfare ... and then do worse than the same.
No doubt politicians would claim exemption on the grounds that no one should believe what any politician says about anything at any time. The ACCC labels this sort of stuff as puffery, wildly exaggerated claims:
‘Puffery’ is a term used to describe wildly exaggerated or vague claims about a product or service that no one could possibly treat seriously.
Could we have a few examples?
For example, Tony Abbott claims he leads the lowest taxing government on earth. A Liberal government claims to produce ‘the best policies in the world’. The Commission of Audit has produced a set of recommendations which will be slavishly followed in the most minute detail by Liberal politicians. Joe Hockey says he will embrace almost all the Commission of Audit proposals, even the courageous ones. Tony Abbott claims ‘all your dreams will come true’ if mug punters vote for him.
These types of statements are not considered misleading.
But the end result is that politics is routinely and cynically treated as a preposterous form of false exaggeration, and broken promises conducted by dissembling, most likely corrupt, hypocrites, with each side as bad as the other. At least until Abbott decided to become the worst of all, the Sauron of middle earth down under ...
It's taken the Abbott government a little over six months to ensure that the honeymoon is well and truly over for him and his government.
Even the Bolter couldn't stand it, and sent his faithful into a frenzy of confusion:
Why is Abbott planning a new tax that will be jeered when he could instead scrap his $5 billion leave scheme — hated even by many Liberals — and be cheered?
Why is Abbott planning a new tax that the Senate would likely block when he could scrap a parental leave scheme the Senate may not pass either? Why create a second Senate headache when he could save himself both? But why is Abbott thinking about breaking any promise at all?
The answer is depressingly simple...
Abbott was so desperate to win the last election — and voters seemed so hooked on Labor’s reckless spending — that he promised more than he should have. (there's more here, but the pond's not having any attempt by the Bolter to excuse Abbott because of what the Labor party did. Abbott did and said what Abbott did and said of his own free will).
Why should the chattering classes allow Abbott off this hook because of a stupendous old-fashioned waste of paper on a report which could have been delivered efficiently and in an easily searchable form digitally.
Why on earth is the chief feature being reported is the news that the damn thing weighed five kilograms?
Shouldn't it have been titled Towards a responsible use of paper and printers in Government?
What stupid inefficient people are thse to gad about preaching efficiency? Do they favour carrier pigeons over the NBN? Second thoughts, don't ask ...
Back to the main topic then.
Abbott lied and dissembled to get to power. He mislead the consumers, and it shouldn't matter whether the false or misleading statements were intentional or not, though everybody knew at the time he was making the pitch not to introduce new taxes and not to cut education, health, the pension, the ABC etc etc that he was knowingly, and consciously aware that he was lying, and as soon as he got into power he would be able to plead exigencies, changed circumstances, cite an audit report, or discover a sudden awareness of contingencies that required him to change his mind and break his promises ...
This sort of nonsense has been going on for longer than federation.
So why does Abbott's betrayal stick in the craw? Because he's so nakedly obvious. He doesn't even have the style to lie well, or lie easily, or seemingly lie straight in a crooked bed, and never mind the crooked legs under the crooked covers ...
He's got no class.
But then when you look at the news arriving from the NSW inquiry into the behaviour of NSW politicians, none of them have got any class.
There were tears - ICAC inquiry: Jodi McKay, Eric Roozendaal and the Nathan Tinkler 'bribe'.
And then there are many other matters which require detailed investigation - Kathy Jackson slush fund supported political allies.
Still the pond is reassured that when the entire political process is tendered out to the private sector, this great land will start to experience the sort of rule it clearly yearns for, and which Tony Abbott only aspires to deliver ...
Which is why you might find, should you attempt to register it, the name Loon Pond's National Private Sector Pol Goverance before the country goes to Pot Ltd (unLtd if you will), already taken, standing by, up and running, and ready for service ...
(Below: and more David Pope here)
Posted by dorothy parker at 5/02/2014 08:19:00 AM