Sunday, February 08, 2015

In which the pond turns Murdoch reptile ... and says 'Arise Sir Duke!'

(Above: see how the starlings whirl and fart in unison in EXCLUSIVE flight).

Great news, as the pond EXCLUSIVELY announces that an EXCLUSIVE now EXCLUSIVELY available in the EXCLUSIVE Murdoch empire, EXCLUSIVE to at least three states, explains how a dropkick useless liberal Sydney eastern suburbs twit, by becoming Treasurer, will aright the ship of state, save the deck chairs on the Titanic and otherwise make everything sea worthy ... and Sir Duke can stay in charge ...

And as a bonus, sensitive readers are entitled, FOR FREE, or at least FREE, to throw up once in their own kitchen sink, if the sight of a Disney product induces instant nausea ...

You don't get offers like this every day of the week, and now for a confession.

The pond, always in touch with the zeitgeist, has been for days in a profound agony.

What would happen if Tony Abbott went away? Right now the pond is booming, hits are up, comments are witty and insightful, links are always useful and fun.

The comedy component is high. And then there's the joy of repetitive repetitions of simple-minded repetitive slogans ...

Think of the fun that was had with that bear of little brain Campbell Newman blathering on about "strong", celebrated in a Graudian video available on YouTube here. That sort of treasure can never be repeated, and so the joy of repetition is slowly being whittled away.

That leaves Tony Abbott standing, but only just. Where will John Birmingham get his fun and his kicks? Not on route Sixty Six but in Prime Minister Tony Abbott ready to knock out all-comers in title fight with liberal amounts of repetition:

"I am very confident, I am very confident," he repeated for reporters at the leadership weigh-in, before adding that he was very confident. "I know my colleagues, I trust my colleagues, I know and trust my colleagues. I know my colleagues got elected to end the chaos and that's exactly what we'll do," he said, swinging a chaotic, looping roundhouse punch at a picture of Malcolm Turnbull taped to a heavy bag. The blow landed, with a sickening wet crunch, on the jaw of a would-be medical student whose guard was down while she contemplated the crippling university fees with which the PM had cunningly distracted her.

Oh sure, you can feel the IQ dribbling out of your brain as you listen to the Abbott dribble, as it dribbles down the drain in a dribbly way, but it has to be said that the comedy quotient is currently at an all time high.

Take a look at the blathering, blustering bully boy antics of Barners, at home in Tamworth, once the known centre of the entire universe, now fallen to comedy central status,  albeit without Stewart or Colbert:

Pure comedy gold. Fiery? That country bumpkin?

The Australian people deserve respect by having people act in a diligent and dignified way?

Oh go tell that to the $100 lamb roast, you stupid man.

You're going to tear up the treaty and walk away from government? With lamb at a $100 a roast?

That's why, after deep and due consideration, and it has to be said the pond has been extremely diligent in its considerations, in a deep and due way, the pond has joined the movement to keep Tony Abbott, as celebrated by the wags on twitter:

Now you can read the story at Fairfax here, and you head off to the hashtag sticking with Tony here.

What fun it is. Here, cop these before they drop down the page:

Now think about it. All this could be lost, all this could be swept away if things go wrong on Tuesday - sorry scrub that, 9am Monday, one more sleep to go ...

No wonder Birmingham's behind Strop, acknowledging he doesn't have to think for a nanosecond while scribbling his columns with the nattering Abbott in the chair ...

Even better, no matter what happens, if the twittering twits on twitter work their magic, the eminent stupidity of Abbott will keep ringing down the corridor for the rest of the year.

With the mainstream media besotted and agitated, and the headlines daily highlighting Liberal tensions, it takes pure gumption and a Forrest Gump level of chocolates to come out with lines like this:

 “It’s not about me, it’s never been about me, it’s about delivering good government. 
 “This Game of Thrones circus which the Labor Party gave us is never going to be reproduced by the Coalition.”

Alas, Sir Duke, it is all about you and your stupid captain's picks, and already, for a week, no scrub that, for a year, you've given us a game of thrones circus, with everyone paying scalpers a fortune to pick up a ring side seat on Tuesday, sorry scrub that, 9am Monday, one more sleep to go and is that napalm, paranoia, desperation and hysteria filtering into the air ...

Sorry, the pond left out the mindless repetitions, the mantras and the assurances:

I want to make this very simple point: we are not the Labor Party, we are not the Labor Party and we are not going to repeat the chaos and the instability of the Labor years.

Now the pond wants to make the very simple point that all this is in peril, that it could all be swept away in an instant.

The nation values its comedians. That's why Pauline Hanson stood for the umpteenth time in Queensland.

That's why the Victorians, strongly appreciative of a strong man, with strong policies and a strong vision for a strong Victoria, have done precisely the right thing:

(the original with links working here).

It took every ounce of the pond's strength - grams, if you will, you cheese-eating surrender monkey lovers, you - not to rush out and acclaim Lloyd Deane as comedian of the year. Russell Brand, eat your puny addicted heart out ...

Now serious folk like Laura Tingle might brood and meditate in a deep and meaningful way about all this - yes the AFR let Tingle's Tony Abbott spins out of control out from behind the paywall, so we could think deeply and in a meaningful way:

Outright lies might be the thing that makes voters outright angry. But the thing that often gets politicians into the most trouble are the statements they make that aren't lies as such but are such extreme assertions of political spin that you dismiss them with a presumption that "he/she can't actually believe that". 
Because it turns out that, every so often, you discover that politicians actually do believe their own spin and have been lulled into a state of delusion about the power of politics and government. Examples are statements that suggest everything that is going wrong in the economy is entirely due to the former government, that suggest the simple act of changing the government will unleash the economic animal spirits and activity will take off. Or that Australians are comfortable with the return of knighthoods. 
For anyone watching the unravelling of the Abbott prime ministership and wondering how things have got to this point so quickly, and how the Liberal Party could once again be contemplating the return of Malcolm Turnbull as leader, both lies and the unbelievable statements have played a central role. 
Amid all the public protestations of loyalty to the Prime Minister, the public pronouncements of "not unconditional" support, the punditry about what to make of state election results and scenarios for a leadership spill, some of the most telling comments coming out of the government this week have not been about the leadership as such, but about what has gone wrong.

Well d'oh and 'duh Laura, but where's your sensa huma?

For voters, it turned out that they really, really didn't know what he stood for – whether that was budget measures that they weren't expecting, or just how out of touch Abbott turned out to be on issues like knighthoods, changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, or funding for marriage counselling. 
Voters had heard the slogans repeatedly endlessly: stop the debt, stop the taxes, stop the boats. But whether there was any underlying philosophy in among the slogans was unclear. 
And, of course, Abbott's greatest pledge was that he would restore the "trust deficit" in politics in his first term in government, before – he told business – engaging on a more radical reform agenda in his second term. 
Here is one of the first great mysteries of the Abbott prime ministership. He correctly identified the trust deficit and would tell anyone who listened that rebuilding that trust meant not going beyond what you have said you would do before the election, and not pulling any nasty surprises either. Trade Minister Andrew Robb said this week the Cabinet “feel we’ve fingered the things that have unsettled people”. 
Instead, the government unleashed a series of tough measures in the budget for which the public had not been prepared. 
Sure the government had said tough decisions would be made. But it hadn't said anything about hitting health and education and pensions. 
And this was where the perfect storm of political "lies" and statements that politicians make that you can't really believe you are hearing came into its own. 
The spectacularly tin ear that Abbott and his ministers had to criticisms of the budget meant voters were left with the image not just of a government that had lied to them, but one that was incapable of understanding their circumstances, or engaging with them. 
There was something formulaic about how the government was proceeding, following models set down in the Howard years that were not being adjusted for a very different set of economic circumstances. 
Those economic circumstances – which cabinet just didn't seem to grasp – were a deterioration in the budget position which was not just about Labor spending but a structural deterioration in the revenue base (only exacerbated by massive personal income tax cuts in the Howard years) which meant that the budget was just never going to snap back into the black with a lift in activity.

And so on, but while it all seemed true and just enough - enough of it sounded just and true enough - the pond was left distraught.

Whither comedians, satirists and cartoonists? What about the reptiles of Oz, devastated and tearful, mourning their lost hero?

They too are transfixed by the spectacle:

Akker Dakker is baying for jolly Joe's blood as a way of appeasing the gods and Miranda the Devine thinks jolly Joe was unfortunate - how the starlings whirl and fart in unison never ceases to amaze - and yes, she knows the real problem:

Pilloried as a “hard-right” ideologue, he has spent his prime ministership trying to appease the Left, cosying up to the “wets” of his party, and reaching out to cultural enemies, while marginalising and taking for granted the very conservatives who helped oust Turnbull and install him in the leader’s chair five years ago.

Yes, he hasn't been a barking mad ratbag fundamentalist - the sure way to attract the centre and improve the polls - he's been off acting like a wet cosier, cosying up in his cossies to the wimps and the do gooders and the chardonnay sippers and latte and lycra mob ... Sheesh, it's odds on he rides a bicycle for fun.

But is there a cure?

There’s nothing wrong with Abbott that a change of Treasurer, new confidantes, and an extra dose of humility can’t fix.

Yes, big Mal's a total dropkick, a wet, a loser, a liberal, hopeless and useless, an eastern suburbs prat. Make him treasurer and everything will be as right as rain, and we can keep on enjoying Tony Abbott as our fearless leader.

And jolly Joe's going to go quietly and sit politely in some second rate ministry swallowing the humiliation day by day, being demonised and shirtfronted as the man who made it all go wrong?

What say you to this impeccable logic, Ms Tingle? Will it let our Tony fly free and wild again?

When I wrote a profile of Abbott in 2012, the word MPs used most about him was "controlled" and "controlling". He is the most centralised, least consultative leader ever, one said. 
Apart from feeling shut out, what alarmed his internal critics then was that "if he makes a political blunder, he doesn't even clean up afterwards. If he makes a mistake, he just digs in". 
While Howard kept in touch with the backbench, Abbott's office has remained largely aloof. 
The same tight group of people with whom he worked up the three-word slogans each day in opposition remained largely intact into government, led notably bychief of staff Peta Credlin. 
The great irony, of course, is that many of the same criticisms that are now being explosively unleashed on Abbott were once thrown at Turnbull: a failure to consult, bad political judgments (like the whole disastrous Godwin Grech affair). 
As Coalition MPs spend a long weekend of talking among themselves, they will be wanting reassurances that it is not just the personalties that might change next week, but an operational style that may have got them into government but, in pushing the party to the right, and into the realm of voter derision, has proved an epic disaster for conservative politics.

An epic disaster for conservative politics ...

Well alright, if you insist. It's been an epic disaster for stupid Murdochians of the Akker Dakker and Miranda the Devine kind, gone from celebrating jolly Joe to blaming him for Tony Abbott being such a fuck up, but with the greatest respect Ms Tingle, you have almost entirely missed the point, and it's an entirely regrettable missing of the point.

This half-baked humbug third rate Prime Minister is a gift to the country that keeps on giving in Sir Duke style. He makes Billy McMahon of the quavering voice seem like a demagogue, he makes Harold Holt look like a good swimmer. He's the grating Arthur Calwell voice of the government ...

Now it's true that Turnbull is an excellent comedian. There was utegate, and then there's the hidden, unknown NBN-gate which will see the country spending a shitload more over the long haul to get a better broadband system, rather than one built on Queen Victoria copper ...

But it won't be the same having an urbane, filthy rich, eastern suburbs toff in charge.

Conclusion: it is entirely wrong to snatch away this national treasure too soon, this simple-minded boofhead chanting his simple-minded slogans and routinely getting into all sorts of Sir Duke trouble ...

Who knows what fuck ups there might be in the future to enjoy, if this loon remains in charge?

Must we all now live, in the next crisis, wondering WWTD, rather than see it unfold and unravel before our disbelieving eyes?

That's why the pond endorses the Murdoch inspired conspiracy to dump jolly Joe and bring in big Mal, and save the man so we need never wonder WWTD.

Sure the only answer to WWTD is 'fuck the country while delivering comedy gold' but we all have to make sacrifices, tighten the belt, and do the hard yards and take the ball up the middle and make that final sprint to the line. Springs of steel in the legs, and a bearish sort of brain and a repetitive tongue of lead ...

Remember, the current fuss has already broken Fairfax once:

Doesn't that prove the intense public demand?

Which is why the pond remembers fondly that everything can be attributed to the reptiles of Murdoch la la land:

Oh we owe the reptiles so much. Arise Sir Duke ...


  1. DP, I am harbouring a secret yen that Turnbull is on friendly terms with Judith Regan.

  2. Hi Dorothy

    Commodus: If you're very good, tomorrow night I'll tell you the story of emperor Claudius who was betrayed by those closest to him, by his own blood. They whispered in dark corners and went out late at night and conspired and conspired but the emperor Claudius knew they were up to something. He knew they were busy little bees. And one night he sat down with one of them and he looked at her and he said, "Tell me what you've been doing busy little bee or I shall strike down those dearest to you. You shall watch as I bathe in their blood." And the emperor was heartbroken. The little bee had wounded him more deeply than anyone else could ever have done. And what do you think happened then, Lucius?

    Abbott is evidently worried what the little bees will get up to with a day to plot and onspire in parliament, so has brought forward the spill to Monday morning.

    Desperate stuff


  3. He gives a low, respectful whistle.."phew!..that's some catch..that Catch 22. "...

  4. James Massola, Dan Harrison in the Brisbane Times 9:12AM

    “Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos has publicly criticised Prime Minster Tony Abbott's decision to bring forward a party room vote on the leadership to Monday.
    In a stinging rebuke to Mr Abbott, Senator Sinodinos, who served as chief of staff to former prime minister John Howard for a decade, also suggested Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had not been consulted.
    Senator Sinodinos is well respected in the Coalition and his criticism will carry significant weight in the Liberal party room.
    Prime Minister Tony Abbott gives a press conference at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices, Sydney. Photo: Louie Douvis
    "I am disappointed the party room meeting has been brought forward. MPs should be given adequate time to discuss the matter at hand," he said.
    "Tuesday is the time to do that. It is disappointing."
    "Was Julie Bishop consulted about it being brought forward?"
    Another MP said his Liberal colleagues were outraged by the way Mr Abbott had treated the party room and people opposing the spill were now more likely to vote for it.”

    shoot oneself in the foot

    Foolishly harm one's own cause, as in He really shot himself in the foot, telling the interviewer all about the others who were applying for the job he wanted

    1. " makes Harold Holt look like a good swimmer ". Heh Heh Heeeh.
      Heeee Heee.

      Please DP , on a Sunday??

      For all we know Harold might still be out there in his Yellow Submarine. There have been suggestions that Tones might like to take a refreshing 'dip' down at Cheviot .

  5. I'm feeling so smug about this chaos that has enveloped red neck Australia that I might buy one of those "Australia: Love it or leave it" t-shirts to wear to the next family gathering with my mostly LNP voting rellies.

  6. Poor old Joe. He has been carted out on to the nature strip like a lumpy old mattress to await the rubbish truck. His days of dancing and cigars are over.

    But is it fair? I doubt it but I shall leave that for others to decide. There are so many voices clamouring to be heard and fingers pointing in pointed directions that I shall leave it to the experts. Like Piers and Miranda.

    I will chip in though on the subject of Peter Costello and, by inference John Howard.

    Brilliant? All I can say is that both had a much easier time of it than Abbott and Hockey.

    H & C were in the top paddock munching on clover. The money kept rolling in. Costello wanted to squirrel it but that PM from the Golden Age when everyone felt they deserved a triple car garage with remote controlled roller doors, a movie screening room and jacuzzi in every bedroom, delighted a grateful nation with hand-out after hand-out. And tax cuts.

    And then the Boom went phhhht and there was nothing to show to show for it. It reminds me of a fable, something involving an ant and a grasshopper.

    Boom times suit politicians. And they are remembered as masterful politicians, shrewd, capable etc etc.

    Poor old Joe.

    Miss pp

    1. " the Boom went phhhht and there was nothing to show to show for it."

      But, but Miss PP, there's all those triple car garages, movie screening rooms and bedroom jacuzzis to show for it (not to mention all that middle class welfare and tax cuts). If that's what the people want from a boom, then that's what they should have, and a pox on all that painful 'nation building" stuff.

      It only ends up building more nation for the wealthy to exploit, anyway.

    2. GB - now there's a catch 22 thought!
      But getting back to jacuzzis. I meant to put them in the bathroom, not the bedroom! Land sakes
      Miss pp

  7. Twitter and my regular blog (The Pub) are rife with stuff following Abbott's bringing forward of the Spill Motion. A few are coming out of the woodwork that otherwise might have hesitated.

    My initial assessment that he'd survive a spill motion but not a ballot, where Turnbull and Bishop would both outpoll him, needs modifying.

    That action has sent out just the wrong signals to nervous MPs. It takes a special talent to stuff up this badly. A coup will still not help the Liberals, with so many shit policies (if the IPA wish list can be called policies). But it will give them a facelift for a few months.

    My own inclination was for this to be drawn out, 'death by a thousand cuts', as you memorably phrased it. But a quick coup will expose the essential hollowness of the Party and they won't be able to get to an election before the public sees it and digests it.

    There is also another tweet flashing about that Toad (Oakes) will break a story later today which will sink Abbott totally. Well, perhaps the sooner the better.

  8. I really have nothing to say about all this, just wandering round the house in a golden glow of schadenfreude....

  9. Abbott is infamous for branch stacking his Warringah franchise, where they say they're sticking with him because "______," er, um, well, er, whatever they say. Alright?

    Now, all he can do is bring a meeting forward. Is that all he's got these days?

    O no, for fun's sake say it isn't so, sticking it to schmick Mal the Budgie stacker's a stuck schmuk?

  10. So much gold sewn into the lines above, first a fleck or two, then a gorgeous rush. Each day, I take a new favourite, and today's it's this:

    "Apart from feeling shut out, what alarmed his internal critics then was that "if he makes a political blunder, he doesn't even clean up afterwards. If he makes a mistake, he just digs in".

    When the definitive list of this boofhead's brief and incompetent time at the helm is writ, the list of still spilt errors will be longer than a dunny roll. How did Fiona Nash's chief of staff get to where he did in the got office with all his lobbying connections? That was alarm bell # 1, still unaddressed, and that seems so, so long ago.

    Like Glenn, best to just enjoy the bejesus out of circumstances, and look at those confused starlings up above as they fly hither and thither, occasionally bumping into one another.


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.