Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The discreet ongoing charm of Erica ...

(Above: the pond did enjoy this John Shakespeare, with Malware as the Cheshire Cat. It has nothing to do with matters at hand - Peter 'send in the hounds' Reith here is never a matter at hand for the pond - but it does lead to deep thoughts about thought leadership).

The pond has been watching that Buñuel film where the cunning old atheist got two women to play the one role.

It's completely silly but also entrancing, and somehow it came to mind when Erica jumped out of his Tasmanian box to position himself as the natural born leader of Australian conservatives.

Now naturally enough, when Erica speaks, the world pays attention, and so everyone in the media was linking to the mighty Advocate and its burnished story Unfinished business for Tasmanian senator.

Right up front came the "I'm still available sweetie" line. Not exactly hanging, but here for you baby:

Dumped Liberal minister Eric Abetz says he would "of course" accept another ministry if Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull offered one. 
Whether or not that happens, the experienced Tasmanian senator says he wants to continue to promote the views of conservatives within the party, while "putting Tasmania first".

And then came the "I'm not going anywhere baby", "you'll have to carry me out in a box" line:

Yesterday, in Burnie, Senator Abetz said he had always been firm about wanting to go on, rather than quit Parliament. 
"It didn't take long [to decide]," he said. 
There was speculation he would quit, or not seek preselection for next year's election, which was intensified because he took time off for personal reasons earlier this year.

Then came the self-appointed, self-designated, without benefit of election, key role in the party:

He said he also had a role as "the informal leader of the conservative element of the Liberal Party".

The informal leader!

Then, after a token nod to Malware and the boost in the opinion polls and the king being dead, long live the king - just like the recent cartoon portraits of Emperor Malware - came the "we coulda been contenders, we coulda been winners baby" line:

However, Senator Abetz maintained the government would have won the next election under Mr Abbott, pointing to British Prime Minister David Cameron trailing in the polls for years before winning the country's recent election. 
He said he hoped Mr Abbott would stay in the Parliament. 
Senator Abetz said Mr Abbott would provide a focus and support to conservatives "who see him as being an opinion and thought leader".

A thought leader!

That's a joke corporate line that's been doing the rounds the last few months in the pond household because of a tendency for one fearless leader in the private sector fearlessly invoking this bit of useless jargon at least once a day ...

Forbes even devoted a gallery to the most annoying business slang, here, and what do you know, thought leadership was the culminating triumph in an alphabet pack of 32:

The pond commends to Erica, Takeaway, Take Ownership, Space, Punch a Puppy, Share of Wallet, Sacrifice (instead of sack), Rock Star, Pivot (as in Silicon Valley), Parking Lot (where thought leaders put their ideas), Pain Point, Organic, Optics, Onboarding, Make it happen (only losers and dropkick nerds say 'make it so'), Ideate, Going Forward, Fail!, (no, not epic), Effort (only as a verb), Do more with less, Disruption, Deliverable, 'Come to Jesus' moment (no, don't say 'Come to Satan' moment when talking with an American), Client-facing (oh you still say personal interaction? How quaint), Change Management (that's what thought leaders do Erica), Care and Feeding, Big Data (everyone's doing it), Best-of-breed,  Bandwidth, Ask (strictly as a noun), Alignment, Adult in the room (that's you, thought leader Erica).

Now this was all compiled in 2013, and featured this epic match-up of terms in a classic smackdown:

Where were we before we got distracted?

Oh that's right, thought leader Tony.

Now it will be noted that Erica voted himself as the informal leader of the conservative element of the Liberal party. But that's because Tony Abbott is such a determined centrist and extreme moderate, and so his thought leadership is firmly in the middle of the Liberal party, leaving plenty of room for Erica out wide on the ratbag right. And if you believe that, the pond has a moderate Harbour Bridge to sell you, and you may, according to your mood, call your purchase Sir or Dame Sydney Harbour Bridge.

However Erica was also willing to be a thought leader in the move to shift the country out of the colonial era:

Senator Abetz said he did not care about the issue of Australian knights and dames, beyond viewing their introduction by Mr Abbott and recent scrapping by Mr Turnbull as distractions from more important issues.
He said the government seemed to be keeping the same policy settings under Mr Turnbull.

So Malware is a thought leader too, and is the formal leader of the conservatives because he's hewing to the same policy settings as Erica...

Once you've reconciled that in your troubled confused mind, then we have to go back to the thought leader trailing his coat:

On the possibility of another ministry at some stage, Senator Abetz said: "If you were offered one, of course you would take it." 

 He said he had a wealth of experience (17 years as a frontbencher, 21 years in Parliament) that was not easy to replicate, but he said he was not motivated by self-advancement. 
"You get into politics to serve, not to succeed," he said.

Because success is abhorrent to any right-thinking thought leader ...

Then after a bit of blather about Tasmania - remember, always feed the horses a decent serve of hay - thought leader Erica showed he was fully wired, as he proposed a most gainly pivot:

Senator Abetz wants conservatives to make more use of social media, saying it has been an area "the conservative side of politics has not used as much as it might". 

He has had big numbers of social media "hits" for an interview on Paul Murray Live where he criticised the media's attitude towards conservatives, and for a Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece he wrote about marriage.

Oh dear Erica, that's going to get the SEO nerds and geeks going ... Difference between Hits, Page Impressions and Unique Visits ...

So Erica writing for Fairfax and talking to a rightwing radio ratbag doing a gig on Sky is a successful use of social media?

Not a clue, not even the beginnings of a clue ...

Never mind, where would we be without Erica's thought leadership? Well at least up to the 1950s, and perhaps stepping into the 1960s ...

And now, speaking of social media, how's the pond's new favourite going in the world of twitter?

Be careful Erica ... it's hell out there in the twitterverse and some of the wretches might just flame and troll you ...


  1. The trick played by denialists is to make a general statement in a single sentence referring to a single aspect of a Climate Change report in such a way that it looks as if the report confirms denialist claims. So it is with at least two claims made by the Australian newspaper editorial quoted 4/11/15. One is the Auckland University report on Pacific atolls, the other a NASA report on Antarctic ice, both of which can be easily Googled.

    The Auckland University looks at changes in the shape and area of atolls over time. Some are quite considerable changes. It does not say much about sinking, except for none, or even some increase, but there has been an increase in sea levels of 30 cms. The report warns that the situation requires further attention. In looking at shape and area, it has the same approach as the NASA report.

    The NASA report is about a record area of Antarctic ice. It is a matter much explained in recent years, pointing out that East Antarctica is expanding, while West Antarctica is contracting. It has also been pointed out before that the ice is thinner, even though the extent is greater. Globally, sea ice is melting.

    The way the Australian reports these matters is deceitful and should be exposed for what it is: denialist propaganda. It shows they are incapable of holding more than one smidgin of an idea in the head at one time.

    Strangely, the Australian also reports elsewhere that it has for more than 20 years confirmed its belief in AGW; it just questions what humans should do about it. A way of walking both sides of the street.

    1. Then again, Anon, who reads The Australian?

  2. Ms Pond
    what happens to that stack of "freebees" at the airport? They cannot all be taken home to be placed under the lino!

  3. Of course it is not a matter of The Australian alone; there is the whole Murdoch stable across Australia. Newspapers, radio stations, think tanks, captains of industry...all get their news and opinions from the Murdoch hymn sheet.

  4. " ... the pond's new favourite ..."

    Well, plus ca change, I guess. And the immediate must ever displace the important.

    But I was just thinking of one who used to be something of a favourite: the bread and water man (aka Paul Sheehan). Don't see anything much of him on the pond these days - which is not surprising considering how many sharks he hasn't jumped, I suppose.

    1. and Judith Sloan - aka Dame Groan. What has happened to her?

    2. So many loons, so little time.

  5. Do you mean ... selfies from EricA? What a prospect! He could be the Oz answer to The Donald.

  6. Well, the Kool Aid Kids are nothing if not "agile" in their "ownership" of Climate change "pain points".

    Come to think, "agile" didn't get into the chart. P'raps because the chart's a couple of years old, though we did use "agile" methods in my last Corporate, IT-laden gig all the way back in the end of the naughties.

    Could Malcolm actually be "behind the curve"?

  7. Hi Dorothy,

    Well EricA is certainly living out a surreal fantasy but I fear he lacks the humour and earthiness of Bunuel, maybe it's only us observers that can truly appreciate his absurd position.

    I always enjoyed "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" but strangely it was "The Phantom of Liberty" that has always stuck in my mind. It's the bit where somebody says "it's your sister on the phone" and the protagonist replies "but she's dead" that I always remember. Death, Spain and Surrealism all seem to come together perfectly at that moment.



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