Friday, November 28, 2014

In which the pond enjoys a game of self-wrestling ...

What's surprised the pond in recent days is the gales of laughter and the comedy references that infest mainstream coverage of politics.

Like this little bit in The Graudian:

Yep, it was the immortal Monty Python self-wrestling sketch.

And then came this coverage in Fairfax:

Watching Joe Hockey is like watching grass grow? Scratch your noggin?

The trouble is, as soon as Abbott attempts serious rhetoric, everyone immediately takes it as a comedy outing. Barnacles?

(And more Rowe here).

This doesn't have anything to do with the way Bronwyn Bishop has reduced parliament to a circus of clowns. Bishop is beyond satire, beyond caricature, and with her faithful poodle flapping around, she has brought parliamentary proceedings to the level of a common farce of record-breaking proportions.

Of course it's cruel. It makes her look hard of hearing, a silly old petulant biddy, so nakedly biased that only a Tony Abbott could fail to see the damage she's doing.

Which brings us back to the real problem, in a more sombre way, Mark Kenny continues the sorry tale here (with forced video):

This week, Abbott took the first tentative steps towards recognition of a problem, announcing to his increasingly tetchy colleagues that he would remove a couple of "barnacles" from the ship of state before Christmas. It was a typically qualified and deliberately vague concession from a prime minister who has shown a surprising reluctance to shift gears lest he be seen as weak, beholden to his political foes, or just plain wrong. 
Abbott's insistence on holding the line is admirable in the right circumstances but it is fast becoming his defining weakness. His performance on Monday in question time was ill-judged; a fact written on the faces of his dejected backbench. Repeatedly confronted with his own words as volunteered clearly on television on the night before the election – no cuts to the ABC or SBS and so on – Abbott refused to acknowledge the bleeding obvious.

Just as he announced that he had full confidence in David Johnston. And yet:

Johnston's outburst outraged his colleagues, particularly in South Australia, where the federal government's sensitivity to the local economy has been absent. Resentment was already high over Abbott's blithe acceptance of the demise of Holden, and the closure of the ABC's television production unit. The canoe comment seemed to prove what many feared: that the one big hope on the jobs front, the future submarine contract, will not be going to the Adelaide-based ASC.

And then came the capper:

The week ended with more confusion. A decision to scrap the GP tax "barnacle" was communicated clearly enough on Wednesday but by Thursday, government ministers were dissembling as the government sought to nuance its retreat by remaining committed to the principle and perhaps even the policy; if it could be progressed through regulation rather than legislation. Such muddle-headed ambiguity works against a poll recovery and suggests Abbott is yet to fully get the point: voters hated the co-payment idea and resented that it was never mentioned before the election. As one wag quipped on Thursday, they can't even kill off a bad policy properly.

So somebody at the highest level leaks and briefs, and jolly Joe feels the need to do a little push back (not the pond's words, the pond is channeling Tingle on RN this very moment, and the real concern about the way the PM's office has been working).

So it loses both ways, to the voters and the bottom line?

Yep indoody ... not a clue what it's doing, an incredibly damaging issue ... and then the Tingle dropped out ...

But still, the pond caught the drift.

Now if you head off to saunter amongst the reptiles, there's the faithful kool aid drinkers thinking it's all a deviant media conspiracy of the usual kind:

If you get your news through the Fairfax press, Guardian Australia, the ABC or the leftist online services, you would believe the election of the Abbott government was a terrible mistake.

Yes, it's the world's third greatest climate scientist (please, how could you ignore the claims of the Bolter and Pell for 1 and 2), as Maurice Newman embarks on another ramble through paranoid valley.

And as usual, the poor thing doesn't realise how much he sounds like a character in a Monty Python sketch:

The mass-produced ignorance drummed up by “progressive” elites has encouraged a dangerous voter mindset. 

Yep, there's your ruling class mindset at work. The meejuh have whipped up the dumb fucks, and if we don't watch out, the drums will be sounding and the guillotine set to work.

Now never mind that you won't find much by way of elites in commercial television or the print media dominated by the Murdochians or in the monopoly know as Murdoch pay TV, which makes it bizarre and astonishing that said 'leets manage to exert such astonishing control and produce such a dangerous voter mindset.

To understand how that works, you need a hearty dose of Newman brand kool aid ...

Truth to tell, there's an astonishing amount of contempt and resentment at work in Newman, strange for a man who's had a silver spoon shoved in to his mouth at regular intervals, a chairmanship here, a business advisor gig there, and oodles of space in reptile la la denialist land.

But even the spoon doesn't stop the squawking:

...thanks to the “unfair budget” campaign, the 60 per cent of families who pay no net tax will strenuously resist any further attempt to extract concessions from them. Flushed with their recent success, why wouldn’t they?

Because being poor in Australia is so easy, and being Maurice Newman and Tony Abbott is so hard ... (and sssh, don't mention the GST).

And so to the final paranoid outburst:

By playing to welfare dependence, class envy and the notion that there is nothing ser­ious to worry about, the illusion has been created that there is a painless growth option. Forget the Labor legacy and our deteriorating terms of trade, negative real wage growth and their collective impact on national income and tax revenue. Better to blame Abbott. And conveniently overlook the fragile state of the world economy where China is slowing and Britain, Eur­ope (including Germany) and Japan are flirting with or in recession. When we should be taking united action to rein in our deteriorating financial situation and restoring our international competitiveness, we are distracted by shirt-fronts and bickering about ABC promises. Perhaps for the opposition this is good politics. For the rest of us it is gambling recklessly with our future. For the moment, like it or not, the Coalition is the only side with a comprehensive plan for fiscal repair. No credible alternatives are on the table. Opposition rhetoric masquerades as serious policy, receiving uncritical analysis. Ignorance is bliss. Meanwhile, each day this cynical game continues, we inch closer to that fateful political tipping point. 
Those who depend on the electorate’s ignorance should heed John F. Kennedy’s warning: “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.”

So that's the way you woo the voters. Wring your hands and run around doing a Chicken little impression. Blame the media for getting distracted by shirt-fronts and never mind who made the remark. Talk of bickering about a liar uttering a lie, and never mind that he berated Gillard relentlessly for lying ...

And remember to call the voters a pack of ignorant bastards fucking up democracy ...

Presumably that includes the AMA's Brian Owler asserting that the government's health policy would be disastrous for indigenous health ... (yes, we're still channeling RN).

Meanwhile, the pond got to reading this:

If ministers can’t explain a GP co-payment, how will the government attempt anything more ambitious? ...
The government seems to have lost its nerve this week, as ministers send conflicting signals about what were meant to be fundamental reforms. Ministers who should have fronted up to the changes they were going to make — like a new approach to the GP co-payment — have ducked for cover instead.

Duck and cover.

So pace Mooorice, is it all the fault of the deviant, devious Fairfax press, Guardian Australia, the ABC or the leftist online services?

Explain this then, because that's where the pond found the talk of duck and cover. In reptile la la land:

Et tu Crowe?

Wiping the dribble of kool-aid from the lips and somehow joining the ABC or Fairfax or the Graudian or perhaps now blogging for the reptiles at the lizard Oz?

And most cruel of all, a Gillard comparison?

Okay, for the rest of it, Crowe tries to explain how the government might get back on song and sell its message - the reptiles love to be coaches - but it's a measure of Moorice's delusion that he thinks it's all a fiendish leftist conspiracy to persuade ignorant, muddle-headed dumbos who won't take their prescribed Liberal party medicine ... (does that include the Bolter and his explanation of the many ways the Abbott government had run off the rails?)

Now roll on Saturday and Victoria and let the votes fall as they may, and let's see how abusing the voters as ignorant dumbos works as a strategy ...

But hey, the pond loves its eggs sunny side up, and of late all the comedy stylings have been tremendous fun.

And there's more to come, as the prescient David Pope notes today. What was that the pond transcribed above?

Abbott's insistence on holding the line is admirable in the right circumstances but it is fast becoming his defining weakness. 

Yes, there's still the PPL of chaos and confusion to come (and more Pope here):

And in the meanwhile, the pond is still enjoying the afterglow from the ABC fracas, thanks to FD, and more First Dog here.

Yes, the pond listens to the ABC (and more occasionally watches the ABC, but not Stephen Fry), and it doesn't mean swallowing the kool aid.

For that you need to head off to the gulag in Surry Hills and chow down with Mooorice.


  1. The posters, myself included, at my regular blog, The Pub, have taken to likening our present government situation to that confronting Yossarian in Catch-22. There have been a surprising number of very good fits, with our PM bearing a startling resemblance to Colonel Cathcart.

    Maurice Newman, with his Stock Exchange/ company director type connections, seems rather like Colonel Cargill, the executive with the genius for getting the situation wrong, thus being in major demand by companies seeking tax loss write-offs. We could and often did go on with likenesses to these mad characters. Brandis represents the Military Intelligence attitude very well. As they did with Clevinger, you could almost read Craig Thomson,
    "Oh, that bastard's as guilty as hell. And we'll put him away just as soon as we can find something to charge him with."

    It continues, even with the way news is controlled. A position is announced, while another release contradicts it. So it has been with the Medicare co-payment tax. Having finally twigged that it's a lemon, Abbott lets it be known that he's going to drop the whole thing and cut losses. No sooner is it out there than Hockey releases a statement saying it is still alive and well, while Cormann and Dutton issue other statements that maybe they'll bring it in by stealth, i.e. just regulate without legislation.

    The aim of all this is just eventually to settle on the one most likely to be accepted in the media. It had not yet been thought through what will happen when the public responds as , "none of the above".

    It does signal a fatal flaw in the Abbott-Credlin system of government by media manipulation. It would seem still to need negotiation with legislators into a solution that is publicly acceptable, or in Churchillian language, "the least unacceptable consensus".

    It would appear beyond this present lot.

    1. Too funny GD, and is this your regular blog?

      The pond has been too lazy to provide a blog roll call, but we don't mind a little promotion of other blogs out there undermining the Murdochians ...

    2. That's the one, DP, with quite a few star posters.

  2. Ah DP, Maurice, the Murdochians and Tone and co are not Leets. I do believe they are Lowest Common Denominators!

  3. Ah, so THAT's why Chris Kenny popped up on the Chaser panel. Maybe CK has been searching for his ass, with both hands, and found it, at last.

  4. Ms Pond
    with al the ABC brouhaha, we have been letting the Minister for Communications off the NBN fiasco.

    My dear niece moved house to a premises which had all the accoutrements for NBN connetion left by the previous tenant. I thought her connection to the NBN would be just a call to her fav ISP. But no!. Apparently there is a limit to the number of NBN "ports" in each exchange. Silly me expected that an NBN district had no old copper and that there would be sufficient ports to supply a service to every household, after all there in no-longer a POTS service.
    Maybe Mal is running tin cans and string to those with no telephone and no NBN port to provide a service.
    Or maybe the ISP had learnt from our PM and was just lying.

    1. The pond will never forgive or forget big Mal for his many misdeeds. Any outraged anecdotes are welcome.

      It's all part of the ultimate Murdoch plan. Keep on degutting the NBN, degut the ABC, and eventually we'll return to the early twentieth century when newspapers reigned supreme ...

      A pox on all of them ...


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