Speaking of a world where everything is black and white, the pond was immensely relieved to learn that the stress of it all has sent the doddery old Bolter off to the garden, though not before enjoying a delightful gesamtkunstwerk (screen caps only, no hot links):
The Bolter has been in such a frenzy of hate and despair and fear and loathing that doing a Don and tending the tomato plants might be just what he needed, as a supplement to his addiction to aesthetics.
Why only on the weekend was the bouffant one channeling big Mal as he cautioned against the politics of hate:
So silly. Hate is what has fuelled and driven Abbott for decades, with nattering negativity at the heart of it all.
Amongst the weekend reading for the pond was the delightful and amusing sight of big Mal's report on student politics for The Bulletin, 7th February 1978:
bbott who is doing second-year Economics/Law at Sydney University is the president of the Democratic Club and also controls the Liberal Club which the Democrats infiltrated and took over a few years ago. He admits his connections with the NCC quite openly. “Well. the NCC doesn't have members you know, but if they did, I'd be one. Our aim is to turn AUS from a political body into a services and education lobby. But I don’t think we will ever get the numbers to do that, so we will have to at least emasculate it as a political body.
Abbott was educated at St Ignatius College, in Sydney, and is a practising Catholic. He personifies the political problems of the Democrats. While he can win support from students because of the shocking state of affairs in AUS, he cannot take the next step and take control himself because of his conservative moral views. Abbott is opposed to any legalisation of homosexuality and generally presents an old-fashioned DOP image. The students may be more conservative than they were a few years ago, but they have not swung back to the right as much as that. (Crikey here).
But enough of back to the future, and it's back to the Bolter, who is still in a state of rage.
Before heading off to tend the garden and some colourful natives, he once more lanced the boil of festering pustulence that's always ready to erupt when Malware hovers into view:
Oh no, not Mao:
Oh it's shocking, shameful. No wonder Erica and the Bolter are in a frenzy. No wonder the tomatoes exercise a siren song on the startled commentariat and lure them into the peaceful garden with Chance.
Of course we must be cautious; the whole deviation might simply be a Fairfaxian plot:
Oh yes, dear concerned Erica, still anxious to return the politics and the country to student politics circa 1978. Or should that be B. A. Santamaria circa 1954?
Never mind, and as we are speaking of Mao, what's wonderful is the way that the Bolter now routinely lists a long line of Malcolm's thought and policy crimes.
This invites big Mal to indulge in a struggle session where self-criticism might produce worthwhile reform:
Conscientious practice of self-criticism is still another hallmark distinguishing our Party from all other political parties. As we say, dust will accumulate if a room is not cleaned regularly, our faces will get dirty if they are not washed regularly. Our comrades' minds and our Party's work may also collect dust, and also need sweeping and washing. The proverb "Running water is never stale and a door-hinge is never worm-eaten" means that constant motion prevents the inroads of germs and other organisms. To check up regularly on our work and in the process develop a democratic style of work, to fear neither criticism nor self-criticism, and to apply such good popular Chinese maxims as "Say all you know and say it without reserve", "Blame not the speaker but be warned by his words" and "Correct mistakes if you have committed them and guard against them if you have not" - this is the only effective way to prevent all kinds of political dust and germs from contaminating the minds of our comrades and the body of our Party. (more self-criticism here)
And so to the list of deviations which require self-criticism, and soon enough, the criticism of others:
And that's just a partial list! Doing his best Red Guard imitation, the Bolter obligingly adumbrates other thought crimes and policy failures:
Last week, for example, he gave in to a campaign by public service unions against the Abbott government’s offer of a 1.5 per cent pay increase. The offer was raised to 2 per cent to buy peace.
Of course, there’s a danger in reading too much into these moves. For instance, Turnbull is right to argue there’s no point in repeating Abbott’s mistake. Why fight for legislation with no hope of passing a feral Senate controlled by Labor, the Greens and populist crossbenchers?
Changes to the Racial Discrimination Act would never get through. Nor would Abbott’s planned cuts to the family tax benefits. Far better to cut a deal where possible and just move on. That’s smart. That’s what the public wants.
Yet Turnbull seems particularly unwilling to fight for anything that might cost him the love of the Left. At the weekend came a perfect example.
Turnbull told The Australian he wanted to push again for what the Senate has twice blocked — the restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the tough workplace cop killed off by the Gillard government. There couldn’t be a better time to try.
The royal commission into union corruption has now exposed widespread malpractice by the most militant building union, the CFMEU. It has also crippled Labor leader Bill Shorten by investigating his own dodgy deals as a union boss.
Yet Turnbull still won’t risk war for something important to his base and to business. He merely said he’d be “very happy to talk” to Shorten and the union movement about his plans, but wouldn’t waste Parliament’s time if it seemed the Senate would say no.
Sure enough, Shorten took just hours to say that no: “Stop obsessing with trade unions.”
So now what, Prime Minister? Will you only fight for what Labor likes?
In that case, conservatives get nothing.
It immediately reminded the pond of Cruikshank illustrating Oliver Twist:
'Please, sir, I want some more.'
The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the copper.
The assistants were paralysed with wonder; the boys with fear.
'What!' said the master at length, in a faint voice.
'Please, sir,' replied the Bolter 'I want some more conservative policies.'
The master aimed a blow at the Bolter's head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arm; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.
The board were sitting in solemn conclave, when Mr. Bumble Barnaby rushed into the room in great excitement, and addressing the gentleman in the high chair, said, 'Mr. Turnbull, I beg your pardon, sir! Andrew Bolter has asked for more conservative policies!'
There was a general start. Horror was depicted on every countenance.
'For more!' said Mr. Turnbull. 'Compose yourself, Barners, and answer me distinctly. Do I understand that he asked for more conservative policies, after he had consumed the rich feast of conservative tomatoes allotted by the dietary?'
'He did, sir,' replied Barners
'That boy will be hung,' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 'I know that boy will be hung.'
Well, the fun probably breaks down at the thought of Barners playing the beadle, but actually there's more than a bit of Oliver in the concluding fulminations of the Bolter:
Yes, it's the small boy stomping his foot and promising revenge and hurt and a world of pain for his tormentor... because the Bolter is as good a hater as Abbott, and as full of the same nattering negativity as made his hero such a bad PM.
Where does it leave the Bolter?
Well curiously it puts him exactly on the same page as those he affects to dislike, such as Dr Lissa Johnson at New Matilda concluding that Malware is in effect a planet-eating death star (must keep promoting the new Disney show, must keep ...)
And it makes this sort of stuff from Malware, faithfully transcribed by the bouffant one, guaranteed to gnaw at the vitals, and lather up the haters as they corrode from the hate:
Indeed, indeed, and of course what gets the Bolter out of bed each day is negativity, gloom, and a bleak view of the world, where a death scene in an opera exalts the poor possum and transforms him into a state of Germanic bliss ...
The pond understands the feeling.
Business is down at the pond, the hits are sliding, as people wonder whether they'll ever see the grand times come again ...
And what grand times they were ...
Perhaps the pond will just head out to inspect what's been eating the mint this past week ... while yearning for the past to return to the future ...
Then David Pope would once again be able to have fun, and we could enjoy our conservative gruel again ... (and there's a whole gallery of Pope here).