Thursday, September 04, 2014

In which all roads lead to Orwell and Bill forgets his Bill ...

(Above: an old Rowe capturing the pond's mood nicely today, and more Rowe here). 

If there's a finer portrait of the poodle the pond would like to know about it, because Punch's Charivari must have returned to life.

It seems things only change so they can stay the same.

This is all by a way of a preamble to the pond admitting that there are many things the pond doesn't understand.

The pond is always ready to accept the advice of experts, but it seems half-baked, half-arsed politicians are experts in denialism in many fields of endeavour.

Leaving aside climate denialism - get that Hunt out of the house - there is the current matter of the superannuation crisis and the future budget emergency.

It's clear that the changes proposed by the Abbott government will leave workers worse off, and the workers most likely to suffer are the least able to afford it. And they will in due course turn to the pension for support, yet according to the Abbott government, this structural welfare imbalance is the very thing that is heading towards, and promoting the imminent future budget emergency.

Yet somehow things will magically get better by refusing to plan for the future or to devise sensible policies, rather than do a quick grubby deal behind closed doors.

Yet the grubby fix to an election promise relies on a couple of demonstrable porkies. The first is that employers will rush to give workers cash.

Anyone who's been an employer, outside perhaps St Francis - and even that's in doubt given the way the Catholic church operates - knows this is a nonsense. You pay what you can get away with, either by award or by consent or by pressure or by implicit threat. And the pond regarded itself as a moderate, modest, sometimes generous employer when in the business of doing down the workers.

The second is that the workers are blessed with a prescient regard for their future and will tuck away their savings for a rainy day, like decent strict Lutherans or the fastidious Amish ... when all the studies suggest that they tend to carry on regardless, like the foolish pretty white mare Mollie, with her love of sugar and red ribbons in Animal Farm. (here it is complete).

Oh okay, that sounds dangerously like George Orwell was a sexist, but you can fill in the blanks for men just as easily - grog, gambling, desperate, pathetic attempts to score a fuck, and all the other usual vices.

Which is why the pond found it easy to accept the point made last night on the ABC's 7.30  by one of those irritatingly informed experts on human behaviour"

SABRA LANE: Workers could salary-sacrifice the money and invest it in super: 
JOHN FREEBAIRN, ECONOMICS, UNI. OF MELBOURNE: Or they could pay their mortgages off a little bit quicker, or they could even buy some shares. So that would give them roughly the same mix of spending today and putting money away for retirement in the future. Or they could say, "Whipee, I've got some more money, I'll buy another couple beers or a few more ice-creams for the kids and we'll got for a better holiday." Now what we know in history is about a third of them will probably just change the composition of their saving, but the majority of people will spend it on current consumption. 
SABRA LANE: Economics Professor John Freebairn says both major political parties are guilty of flip-flopping on super. He says current retirement policy, including pensions, is a mess, that a bipartisan approach is needed, with changes locked in for 10 years at a time, and he laments how current policy is being decided. 
JOHN FREEBAIRN: What compromise we get tomorrow depends on who drank which wine or which coffee last night and how they woke up.

Indeed, who can argue with that, with intoxicated denialist loons on the Abbott benches doing deals with a certified party of loons led by a billionaire buffoon.

And while the pond has no interest in beer - another sav blanc if you please - the pond does have a taste for Serendipity ice cream (it's just down the road), and to hell with the kids. First in first served, no fair dibs and losers weep ...

Yet where was Bill Shorten? He was challenged by the strutting, leering, smirking, smarmy Abbott. He was dared to make a stand and actually oppose the move.

So what did he do?

Folded his tent, and walked into the night, muttering how he wouldn't make a stand on policy because he wouldn't kow tow to Abbott.

But as he muttered, he looked a pitiable, pathetic effort, a man with not a clue. If this is the workers' knight in shining armour, they'd better be prepared to drop the bundle like the French did on St. Crispin's Day.

So how did the reptiles reward Shorten? Well you don't need to look beyond the Savva splash:

Cruel but fair, and the image of the amiable doddering Bomber Beazley still haunts the pond on a bad night when the ginger beers can't completely erase the memory cells. Oh sav blanc, where are you in the pond's hour of need?

What was that they used to say?

Lacks the ticker.

John Howard never had many killer lines, but that was a doozy.

Now the pond is aware that the Labor party is muttering behind closed doors about how superannuation will turn into an election winner for them, but yesterday they lost that initiative.

The smirking, strutting Abbott took the field. And Bill? Well Bill forgot his Bill:

This day is called the feast of Crispian: 
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, 
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named, 
And rouse him at the name of Crispian. 
He that shall live this day, and see old age, 
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, 
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:' 
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars. 
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.' 
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, 
But he'll remember with advantages 
What feats he did that day: then shall our names. 
Familiar in his mouth as household words 
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, 
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, 
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd. 
This story shall the good man teach his son; 
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, 
From this day to the ending of the world, 
But we in it shall be remember'd; 
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; 
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me 
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, 
This day shall gentle his condition: 
And gentlemen in England now a-bed 
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, 
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks 
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

By golly, talk of male machismo and okay, Bill should have talked of a band of brothers and sisters, what with Jeanne d'Arc, la Pucelle d'Orléans, showing the later Bill how it could be done, but hey maybe the original Bill Shakspear was just jonesing for a position in the Abbott ministry, where currently women dare not tread ...

The point is, it was that old Labor warrior, Paul Keating, who had to take to the battlements once more, and the poor old codger has been out of the saddle for years:

At least you'll never die wondering what Keating might have thought, simply by reading Paul Keating labels government, Palmer deal to freeze super 'appalling' and 'cheap ideology':

"The Prime Minister and Mr Palmer trotted out the tawdry argument that working people are better off with more cash in their hand today than savings for tomorrow ... yesterday's decision is an appalling one by a government lacking any genuine or conscientious concern for the nation's workforce." 

Indeed. Spend up big today, for tomorrow you'll be fucked.

And what did the mealy mouthed Abbott offer as a salve to the future reliance on the pension and the budget emergency that would produce and once argued as most pressing and urgent?

"We support a decent retirement policy. We support security for older Australians. We do support moving the superannuation contribution to 12 per cent, but in the right time, consistent with returning this budget to long-term sustainability."

Yes and you'll get your pie in the sky bye and bye.

As usual, the reptiles couldn't help giving away the real game, and as usual, the headlines will suffice:

Uh huh. But if superannuation is a profound failure,  then what to say about policy making and deal making with a certified buffoon, done on the run, all because of a simple knee-jerk ideological intention to get rid of the mining tax?

Do the reptiles want to shift away from superannuation, back to everybody on a government pension? Have they turned socialist overnight?

Well you won't find any meaningful discussion of superannuation v pension and the way to best secure the retirement plans of the vast bulk of Australians, currently out doing the hard yards.

Instead you'll cop this splash:

That's a nonsense of course.

Coalition MPs love their superannuation, it just happens to be the very generous superannuation scheme available to them for their retirement. I'm All Right Jack isn't just a comedy starring Peter Sellers.

They're so okay Jack (and Jill), the generous settlement - partly so because of the perilous nature of the career path - allows them to have a second life rambling around in the community like that blowhard Jeff Kennett,  immune from pension life and able to shout about his generous efforts in the community ... when he's not doing his mea culpas, as in Former Premier Jeff Kennett admits privatising the TAB was a mistake.

As for the rest of the mug punters?

Well it will only dawn on them, and catch up with them in due course, and by then it will be too late, and at that point, there will be a few politicians doing the rounds with their mea culpas, and 'fessing up that failing to sort out pensions and superannuation for an ageing population was a fuck up of the most gigantic proportions ... but don't expect Tony Abbott, comfortable in his retirement superannuation, to give a flying fuck about his policy making on the run ...

And now as an aside, the pond was reminded yesterday of the peculiar Victorian circus surrounding Geoff Shaw (that other Western Australian circus surrounding Troy Buswell having ended with Buswell heading off to enjoy his superannuation and retirement benefits).

Neither side emerges with any glory from this sordid affair - Napthine for being too craven when he should have been righteous, and Andrews being too clever when he should have been righteous.

No doubt Josh Gordon is correct in his analysis in Labor on Geoff Shaw: right call, wrong reasons:

The political equation that convinced Labor to oppose a government motion to expel Geoff Shaw – despite demanding expulsion in June "because Victoria deserves better" – is probably as simple as this: Geoff Shaw = chaos. As long as there is chaos in the parliament, it damages the government more than the opposition. 
Labor is clearly prepared to cop a short-term hit for, in effect, ensuring Shaw's survival, despite demanding his head just three months ago. The opposition may be vulnerable to claims of hypocrisy, it may be accused of a backflip and it may be accused of running a protection racket for Geoff Shaw. Premier Denis Napthine. Premier Denis Napthine. Photo: Andrew Meares.
But politics is an assessment of risk versus reward, cost versus benefit. Over the longer term (three months represents the longer-term at this sharp point in the political cycle), Shaw's survival is bad news for the Coalition

But looked at from the viewpoint of a disinterested observer (let's not have any arguments about this use of the word, head off to the Oxford here if you must),  this running sore is bad news for the Coalition and for Labor. The nakedness of the Labor backflip is just too painful, the contrivance too naked, for it to pass without comment, and the fact that Shaw will have the deciding vote on his expulsion adds to the profound air of a farce cultivated, for mean political objectives, by both sides.

A disinterested observer like the pond emerges with contempt for Geoff Shaw, both sides of the aisle, and Tony Abbott and the rest in the federal parliament who gaily abused their allowances without any consequences whatsoever ...

Which brings us naturally back to George Orwell, who might have given Mollie a hard time, but who also understood that when it came to the farmers and the pigs, it was impossible to pick them apart, but with some certainty the workers could be expected to be shipped off to the glue factory ...

Finally, the pond would like to do a tip of the hat to Jonathan Holmes for No evidence of media prejudice against Catholicism.

It is shocking and unacceptable that the nation's senior law officer should be accusing two of its main media organisations of conducting a systematic campaign against religious freedom, and that one of its most respected former High Court judges should be hurling around phrases such as "the racism of the intellectuals", both without offering a skerrick of evidence or justification. 
Gentlemen, I challenge you to put up, or back down.

Well yes, there's nothing the media has done that hasn't arisen from the behaviour of the church, its agents and its apologists.

It wasn't the media that set the Royal Commission in progress, and its findings were so potent that even a Catholic Pellist loyalist like Abbott felt the political pressure to extend the Commission's funding, because of the need to examine fully the the damage done.

No one in the media made Pell use the inexcusable metaphor of a trucking company, but that's why Rowe could devise this cartoon, and as noted above,  more Rowe here:

And when it comes to Brandis, and his many follies - now too many for the pond to count or keep track of - that's why this meme is doing the rounds:


  1. The Libs don't like super? pfft right, they're also 'friends of small business' so sshh we won't mention the rest of the 'hoax (Twiggy's word not mine) mining tax' deal, o ok we will

  2. And you now have to pay more to read the crap.

    Is this the beginning of the end for News Corp?

  3. I thought Bill Shorten's speech about super was pretty darn good, actually.

  4. As always DP,a spot on analysis of the chaotic,day after day fiasco of our political masters. Must invest in anti depressants market post haste.
    Re;the the farcical two-bit flea circus,masquerading as responsible Govt. here in Victoria. Brian Dawe,speaking on 774 radio this morning says he believes he has a strong case with the ACCC for infringement of trade on behalf of all comedians and satirists.Too bloody right.

  5. The ice bucket challenge is a 'satanic ritual' according to World Net Daily columnist Selena Owens. Yes, it's a rather silly publicity stunt which is nevertheless raising money for a good cause. But satanic?

    My nominee for Loon of the Week.

    "Satanic ritual? Yes. Rituals abound in “Christian” America. Whenever spectators watch singers like Beyonce, JayZ, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and especially Nicki Minaj, they are indoctrinated and involved with blatantly satanic rituals that stem from the deep abyss of the occult. Some of these very same artists have taken the ALS IBC. Gaga doesn’t utter a word as she baptizes herself, arrayed in a sexy black leotard, sporting black lips, perched in an ornate black chair. Gaga doesn’t use a bucket; she instead uses a large silver bowl associated with pagan worship. Do you think she would take the IBC if it didn’t meet her pagan criteria? Not a chance."

    1. Winner! No one stood a chance against that selection.

  6. So, the PM is off to India
    Good for a wink, if they don't get to change the pic of Tony Blair. Altho, I guess one arse is as good as another.

  7. Dorothy, check out gamergate, fresh generation of loons on inbound trajectory...

  8. Family First's Bob Day opened his maiden speech with a quote from Oscar Wilde.

    Yes, really.

    Then he called for the end of compulsory high school and scrapping the minimum wage

  9. Why did people vot for the likes of Abbott, Hockey, Brandis, Morrison, Pyne etc.?

    I think Fromm nailed it in 1957.

    "What do we mean by “authoritarian personality”? We usually see a clear difference between the individual who wants to rule, control, or restrain others and the individual who tends to submit, obey, or to be humiliated. To use a somewhat friendlier term, we might talk of the leader and his followers. As natural as the difference between the ruling and the ruled might — in many ways — be, we also have to admit that these two types, or as we can also say, these two forms of authoritarian personality are actually tightly bound together.

    What they have in common, what defines the essence of the authoritarian personality is an inability: the inability to rely on one’s self, to be independent, to put it in other words: to endure freedom."

    1. The pond still likes "the fascist mind" since that's where the authoritarians want to end up ... unless they happen to be Pellists and they then run a trucking company ...

  10. Got you on catch up today Dot.
    Just caught up with Saava's ref to the 'Howard aura'.
    Did he have one? Did that trackie throb with a golden glow?
    I missed it entirely.
    All I remember was the voice, that March fly drone.
    Howard had the 'aura' of an antimacassar

    1. My grandmother would be appalled at your denigration of the noble antimacassar which could be starched so stiff it would gleam and cut better than a cut throat, and then you'd find out about auras ... maybe even have a chat with Conan Doyle about whether you should have used that Reckitt's blue bag ...
      But the pond will accept that Howard had the aura of the desiccated coconut on a lamington ...

  11. Continued ....
    .... an antimacassar on a maroon velour armchair, a concrete swan filled with magenta petunias and orange marigolds and displayed in the centre of the lawn, a Banana and coconut custard made with flavored powder from a packet, shirts with logos, halitosis, signed cricket

  12. The powerful have techniques to move people to action, paying them a wage is one way but it tends to be expensive on its own. Appealing to fears, desires, hate and even things like principle ideology and moral superiority are very effective ways to bring the cost of action down.

    On one hand I agree that criminals should be stopped, I don't have love for ISIS, but I also acknowledge that the circumstances that spawn crime culture in the first place need to be addressed, and generally I find the ruthless ambitions of a few create the circumstances of many; economic Dictators are not completely innocent of directly or indirectly furnishing conditions around the world, including hotbeds for extremism like the Middle East.


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