Let's start with a joke:
Yes, Pope is back, and just in the knick of time, and more Pope here. The pond forgives him for taking a break, but it better not happen again.
Oh heck, let's have another one, just to kick start the morning:
By golly that David Rowe can do an accurate likeness, and as usual more Rowe here.
Now it's on to the rest of the eternal comedy. Take a squiz at this header at the bottom of the Currish Snail:
That reminds the pond of the old philosophical conundrum. If God's all seeing, all knowing and all intervening, why did She set Judas up for the fall?
Never mind, let's hear it for the Judas MPs.
The pond has always had a sneaking regard for Judas, shopping that pompous righteous blatherer, so the pond is determined to honour this day Andrew Laming and Warren Entsch.
Step up gentlemen. If this is being Judas, then that's the new way to describe people determined to implement decent policies in a decent way, and the proposal of a private members' bill to reverse the issuing of knights and dames is the first act of decency in a long time to emerge from within the Abbott government.
Just in case you missed it:
That story, with links and audio is at the ABC here.
And yes Mr Laming, though it counts for nothing in this meaningless, alienated electronic graffiti age, you have the enormous support of the pond.
It was the thing that Abbott could have done in his already notorious speech - well we could hardly expect the Gettysburg address could we Barners? - but he fudged it.
Instead he blathered on about having listened and heard and acted, but all he did was flick pass the pain of monarchism off to a committee, instead of showing genuine remorse by abolishing the bizarre, antiquated notion.
But then genuine remorse and insight was singularly lacking throughout Abbott's alleged mea culpa. Even the most spectacular back flip and broken promise relating to PPL was replaced by a shadowy, amorphous notion that - months down the track - the Liberal party might now deign to come up with a replacement family package. Long on fuzzy rhetoric, short on detail.
All that was left was a flurry of slogans in the usual style, a style honed over the years into the usual nattering negativity. (If you missed it, you can give Abbott's site a hit here, or find it on Crikey here if you'd rather not).
The format itself is hopeless, and provides any number of opportunities for an expert political eel to wriggle away from any question.
For example, when Abbott blathered on about the burdening of future generations with enormous debt, the pond wanted to shout "so how does that square with burdening future generations of students with enormous debt?", but by that time, there was another journalist standing to ask another question.
For the rest, as Bernard Keane noted in Crikey, Abbott offered yet more in the way of xenophobia and entitlement.
Yes, it was that desperate - Islamic bashing in exchange for Abbott's continuing employment - along with some blatant misinterpretations, such as proposing that it was the people that gave Abbott the job, when in fact it was the party room.
And there was the usual arrogance. Like the joke about Queenslanders voting in the recent election in a state of absent-mindedness ...
That's schizophrenia for you. Celebrating the voters and then berating them as absent-minded donkeys ...
But enough already about the speech. Everyone will have their own opinion of the display, the question is, what did the krazed kommentariat make of it? And there we're in for the long haul, because the paid chattering class were in full on chatter mode.
First of all, is the leadership still in play? Somehow the pond, surveying the electronic graffiti, suspects it is:
A big shout out to those absent-minded Townsville folk, celebrated in the pond for the first time, and isn't that illustration the SMH used in its front page splash to something grand to see again?
But let's burrow down, because that assembly of shrieking headlines omitted the most important set of krazed kommentariat chateau cardboard columnists, the reptiles of the lizard Oz. And what a fine flurry of floozies was let loose in the rag today:
Yes, in most of the headlines, there's the distinct impression of a caged, boxed in PM battling on like a boofhead in the ring at Oxford ...
And there was much consequent hand-wringing:
Out of that motley group, the pond most loved this illustration:
Oh the Caterists undercut with a single cartoon as a kamikaze member of the Right devours his own ...
As for our man who should have been in Singapore, for those wondering what the answer to Greg "bromance" Sheridan's key question is, everyone relax, because there's no surprises today.
The bromancer is back in the tent, praising his proud and courageous friend, and offering hope to all:
The best option for the Liberals remains the hard one. But there are no easy options. It is to rally around Abbott and emulate the give ’em hell Harry Truman campaign in 1948 and win an election no one thought was winnable.
Yes, get into that kitchen and drop the bomb Tony ... do a Campbell Newman.
But wait, there's more, much more, because in its usual way, the lizard Oz's editorial also held out signs of hope and yearning:
Is that the new way to say totally stupid?
How about this overnight?
Golly, how did they get the people of the NT involved in that one?
But back to the reptiles:
He made a good fist of it? Only in an increasingly desperate Murdoch la la land.
Meanwhile, over at the Terror, the contradictions got poignant.
Oh Akker Dakker, such turmoil. Have another snort:
And such ridicule:
It got so the Terror, tired of trying to get Abbott to sack Credlin, demanded another blood sacrifice:
It seems anyone and everyone's head might roll, except for the anointed one, battling on the ropes in fine rope a dope style.
But here's the thing. Hockey's inextricably linked with Abbott. If Hockey goes, he's more than likely to take Abbott with him. And Hockey knows that if Abbott goes, he's gone too.
Oh it's too delicious. Better get back on to Credlin, Daily Terror ...
Well even the Bolter wasn't convinced by the speech. Oh sure, he put in some good and kind words in his HUN column, but the conclusion was mixed, even as he maintained a state of agitation and alarm about the 'warmist' Turnbull (yes, the world's greatest climate scientist is always alert and on the job):
And he promised less pain in the next Budget: “Because we have done much of the hard work already, we won’t need to protect the Commonwealth Budget at the expense of the household budget.”
Fine words, but dumping the parental leave scheme is another broken promise; Abbott has promised before to consult; the deficit is far from fixed; and the Government still wants to make patients pay more to visit doctors.
That points to the terrible reality still facing Abbott: our finances need fixing, and he still needs to persuade a feral Senate and a hostile public.
Unless Abbott backs his words with deeds, the respite he won yesterday will be brief.
So suddenly there's no budget emergency? Suddenly the next budget can keep on blowing out and no one will mind? The hard work's already done, when everyone knows the hard work stalled and was comprehensively fucked by confused policy signals, such as spending the co-payment on a research junket for big pharma and big medicine ...
And why is the Senate feral? Because Abbott has all the consultative style of a nightclub bully swinging haymakers ...
And now comes this:
Mr Abbott was asked about the Sky News report this morning.
“I think people find all that insider Canberra stuff so boring, so absolutely and utterly boring,” he told the Nine Network. “I have meetings with Julie Bishop all the time.”
Pressed further, Mr Abbott said: “I am not going to play these Canberra insider games.”
The Sky News report, which is unsourced, says Mr Abbott met with Ms Bishop on Sunday afternoon. He sought a commitment that she would not run against him but Ms Bishop “refused to promise the Prime Minister she will not make a challenge for the leadership of the Liberal Party”. (HUN here).
This is the story now, and it's not going to go away.
It might die down a little, but everything in the future is going to be refracted through the leadership issue. If the pond had a dollar for every time a pundit mentioned the genie being out of the bottle, the pond could retire comfortably rich in a pad next to Reg Grundy in the Bahamas ...
How far has it spread?
Why as far as Chairman Rupert's WSJ:
Yep, Abbott is now being ridiculed internationally as a flop and a failure, with the news fed in digestible gobbets to Americans.
And now, exhausted at how tall and wide ranging the tower of babel has grown , and with the surface barely scratched, the pond offers up this additional highlight:
Two points here. When Tony Abbott laughed at electronic graffiti, did he realise he was in reality laughing at the mainstream media, now remorseless in its click baiting routines? You know, have you heard the 21 fatuous things Christopher Pyne said and did this week? You know, 21 things you must do for your poodle Pyne ...
Secondly, the pond will do a spoiler, and say it was just another graceless note struck by the graceless poodle Pyne, as he seized on the occasion of launching Gehry's building to yet again peddle his own agenda, rather than simply celebrate the opening of the building in style (though if you want to reward the Fairfaxians for their click baiting ways, you can head off here, but watch out for the forced video).
What a klutz team, headed by a klutz leader absent mindedly offending voters ...
It will be bloody and it will be damaging, observed Paul Biongorno this morning on RN, and by golly the pond wouldn't have it any other way ...
Let there be blood, and let there be lots of it, the bloodier the better ... yes, the bloodier the better ... and I say a third time, the bloodier the better ...
Sheesh, now the pond's sounding like an Abbott parrot, with those three word slogans repeated three times, like an Ancient Mariner determined to ruin the hearing of anyone within earshot ...
The lottery of life? Someone always gets a dud ticket, but in Abbott's case, it'll be a hearty dose of parliamentary super and a lycra-clad lifestyle ... no wonder he can maintain a state of delusion ...
(Below: and still the jokes keep coming, and more Moir and Petty to be found here).