While the pond was away, the mice did play.
Once again Tony Abbott showed, in full statesman mode, the same clunker, dunderhead, hob-nailed, steel-toed boot style everyone has come to love in Australia.
It started well enough:
Good, nothing to see here. Move along, nothing to see from the usually bumptious, presumptuous Abbott. He wouldn't presume, and so the pond wouldn't presume about his presumption.
Ah the fatal, fateful billy goat butt.
But okay, there's any number of ways to add a gentle rider without getting up craws or nostrils.
You know, act as little Sir Echo - if it ain't broke, why fix it, or "but I'd hope that Scottish voters would consider the many economic benefits from the current union when voting" would be a handy one, seeing as how the main concerns surrounding the issue are inclined to be economic. You know, be polite, urge them to consider the upside, dress them how you will, economic, cultural, social, political yadda yadda ...
Everyone knows Abbott would want to join in jerking David Cameron's chain and maintaining the union, and a civil, civic-minded flourish might have helped the cause.
So here's how to promote the vote for Scottish independence:
"But as a friend of Britain, as an observer from afar, it’s hard to see how the world would be helped by an independent Scotland.
“I think that the people who would like to see the break-up of the United Kingdom are not the friends of justice, not the friends of freedom, and that the countries that would cheer at the prospect of the break-up with the United Kingdom are not the countries whose company one would like to keep.”
Say what? Blather about foes of justice and foes of freedom? Dark thoughts of treason and treachery and repression? The forces of evil and darkness on the march? Satanism in Scotland, and justice and freedom done down?
And talk of countries whose company you wouldn't want the Scots to keep?
What, Australia, because it has a dickhead for a PM? Or are we talking North Korea? Or Vlad the impaler?
What a singularly inept man.
It could have been so simple. Murmur a few discreet, helpful words, Obama style, please Cameron and the Scots for the union, and not get too far up the nose of the independents.
It turned out that Abbott's casually silly intervention didn't rate that highly in the debate, though it did provoke a flurry of outraged comments from Scottish folk. There he is, in his brief cameo role:
But then as a reader kindly noted, attempts to defend his inept intervention became wonderfully silly, sillier than Abbott, if that is possible or imaginable.
Cue the Bolter.
Oh, he was tempted to think that Abbott had gone too far, here in Abbott is right on Scotland actually, but when you're a suck and a forelock tugger, you can never think your demi-god goes too far:
Like I said, I was first tempted to think he’d gone too far:
But then I thought of the governments which would have loved pesky Britain to be weaker:
The Kaiser’s Germany
The Soviet Union
Mao’s China, particularly over Korea
The junta’s Argentina
The Taliban’s Afghanistan
There there’s Britain’s steadying role on the UN Security Council and its resistance to the creeping European Union bureaucratic autocracy. Add, moreover, the encouragement its dissolution on ethnic grounds would add to the destructive New Racism movement.
Is everything now being linked to New Racism? Did Emerson explaining to the Bolter on his show that he was a racist just compound the racism that lurks in the Bolter's brain?
How on earth is Scottish independence linked to the New Racism movement, whatever the hell that is? In the real world at least, not in the Bolter's fevered brain ...
As for the rest, it's astonishingly quaint. How on earth could anyone drag in Saddam's Iraq as an example of British triumphalism?
And naturally the Bolter was quiet on a few epic British fuck-ups, like India, Pakistan, the Middle East, and South Africa, where the Dutch and the British feuded and screwed over the indigenous population. Probably where the New Racist Movement first took wing ...
But above all the Bolter left out the government which most would have loved pesky Britain to be weaker.
The Dutch government.
Who could forget the Anglo-Dutch wars of the 17th and 18th centuries, in which the Dutch copped a pounding (you can do a Greg Hunt on them here).
Oh yes, there's always irony afoot when you're in the circus and the clowns are going hard at it.
And then what do you know, but the pond was belatedly told that Jolly Joe was caught with his ministerial car parked in a handicapped spot.
That led to all sorts of postings, not least It's not about Joe, it's about the attitude, inter alia including this joke:
So the post of Joe Hockey’s ministerial car parked in a disability space went viral on Facebook faster than herpes on the Fairstar.
Hmm, there goes the Fairstar's image.
But the thing was, it was Jolly Joe doing a Seinfeld.
You remember that sitcom about prattish, self-obsessed, self-indulgent, New Yorkers? Always with an excuse when a parking spot was to hand, always concerned with themselves over anybody else ...
That episode even featured the Jolly Joe excuse:
George: Look at this. There's no spaces here. (to another car) Excuse me, are you gettin' out?
Man in car: No!
Kramer: Why don't you take a handicap spot...
George: You think?
Elaine: No, no! We'll find a space. There's spaces in the other lot.
George: I don't want to walk that far.
Elaine: What if a handicapped person needs it?
Kramer: Oh, come on, they don't drive!
Jerry: Yes, they do!
Kramer: Have you ever seen a handicapped person pull into a space and park?
Jerry: Well there's spaces there, they must drive!
Kramer: Well they don't. If they could drive, they wouldn't be handicapped.
Elaine: So if you can drive, you're not handicapped?
George: Look, we're not gonna be that long anyway... we have to get to the "party"!
Kramer: I got news for you: handicapped people, they don't even want to park there! They wanna be treated just like anybody else! That's why, those spaces are always empty.
George: He's right! It's the same thing with the femenists. You know, they want everything to be equal, everything! But when the check comes, where are they?
Elaine: What does that mean?
George: Yeah! Alright, I'm pulling in.
Kramer: Yeah, go ahead.
George: Oh, come on, it's five minutes. (pulls into handicap spot) (the rest of the script is here)
The pond can't get enough of this government, whether it's Abbott in the land of the Celts or Jolly Joe doing stand-up Seinfeld-style.
And the thing is, Jolly Joe doesn't even have the first clue that he's just another up-himself indulged New Yorker... yet even news.com.au is compiling top nine lists of his most cringeworthy gaffes here (but mind the forced advertisement at end of link)
While in Melbourne, the pond found the perfect gifts for Jolly Joe:
Talk about urban gorilla chic! (You can find them in a tobacconist under the Melbourne Grand Hyatt if you have that special urban gorilla radical Treasurer terrorist in your life).
And come to think of it, the car in Seinfeld doesn't do a bad impersonation of the federal government: