Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gerard Henderson, Paul Howes, and the Green guide to the Greens ...

(Above: these bloody posters have been turning up all over Grayndler and I'm so sick and tired of tearing them down).

This is the time of year when the potentiometer should be cranked down from eleven to zero, so that the bisexual worm can slide smoothly across the screen without a ripple or an undulation, and there's quiet in the house, not even a mouse stirring, until election day has passed.

But of course for the commentariat, scribbling about politics right now is a form of ecstasy and terror, as they awake in wonderment and bewilderment, thinking of what might be beneath the upcoming Xmas tree.

The cynical average punter with enough experience knows it's most likely another jack in the box. The thought of Tony Abbott at the helm of the ship of state is best avoided, unless the notion that a massive depression is a helpful prelude to a wonderful bout of mania, while the thought of Stephen Conroy taking a vote for Labor as a vote for his censoring nanny ways - yes he's still on about it - is enough to turn any worm militant.

But commentariat commentators have different nightmares, and the one that gets our resident Polonius, Gerard Henderson, going in the middle of the night is the notion of middle class radicals.

In Radical roots seep through at the heart of Greens, he furiously scribbles about the dangers of:

... middle-class radicals who control the inner-city greens ... inner-city left-wing political activists, left-wing socialist-style party ... lifelong members of the pro-Stalinist Socialist party ...ex-communists and socialists trying to take over the inner-city branches of the Greens ... and middle class radicalism

Much of this is borrowed from Paul Howes, AWU heavyweight, numbers man and boogeyman evoker supreme, scribbling in the Sunday Terror, and it leads to a remarkable harmony of thought between Henderson and Howes, as Henderson suggests that inner city Liberals should vote for the Labor party, and put the Greens last.

His concern is to thereby ensure the likes of head kicker Anthony Albanese in Grayndler and Tanya Plibersek in Sydney and Cath Bowtell in Melbourne get up, and his favourite demonic boogeyman - watch out the green boogeyman will get you - is Lee Rhiannon, NSW Senate candidate, as he lovingly and lavishly describes her family's pro-Stalinist past.

Yet at the same time, Henderson has the cheek to suggest that voters should follow Bob Brown's advice and exercise their vote and their preference according to their taste and preferences.

So let's not conflate the Senate and the House of Representatives. Let's not conflate Sam Byrne standing in Graynder with Rhiannon. Sure Byrne is secretary of the Alfalfa House organic food cooperative in Enmore (you have to be local to know what that means), and he plays soccer with the Hurlstone Park Wanderers and he was on Marrickville council for yonks at a time when it decided to splash cash on a swimming pool rather than libraries, but however you dress it, he's not a Stalinist boogeyman. Do gooder, alfalfa lover, soccer player. These are legitimate terms of abuse, but please we might soon have to invent a swear jar for the Stalinist equivalent of Godwin's Law ...

Might not a vote for him indicate some dissatisfaction with the Bennelong funnel kicking in yet again, as planes soar overhead every five minutes, while women and the handicapped still have to get down a very big flight of stairs at Newtown railway station, as they have done for years?

Sure that's conflating federal and state issues, in much the same way as the federal government manages to conflate them in any marginal seat where they can splash the cash on bits of infrastructure to please the punters. Except the inner west, who are punished by Henderson and by the likes of their elected representatives. Abused all round all year ...

Grayndler is of course safe Labor, and so Labor safely ignores the seat, ensuring that in it sit, not a bunch of middle class radicals, so much as a bunch of pissed off, regularly ignored voters.

Never mind, as Antony Green - himself an Enmore icon and regularly seen in the streets of Grayndler notes - it's safe Labor, and his assessment is Labor retain.

But frankly when the Labor party starts doing the Stalinist dance, and blathering on about it in the context of Grayndler, backed up by Gerard Henderson, I'm suddenly inclined to shift my vote from the Happy Birthday party to one that's dangerously middle class, and therefore radical ...

It's the same story in Sydney, where the inert Tanya Plibersek is running, and the Greens candidate Tony Hickey is running. Now Hickey is a country boy, openly gay, living with his partner in Chippendale, is a TESL teacher and as close to Stalinism as my maiden aunt:

Tony has been involved in campaigns for peace, sustainable transport, workers' rights and LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) rights. He was a founder of the Inner Sydney Greens, and is currently the NSW Greens’ secretary.

Besides his interest in multiculturalism, languages, education and politics, he enjoys running, cycling and sharing meals, movies and theatre with friends. (here)

Now this might be the sort of CV that sends Henderson and Howes into a dizzy tither, muttering darkly about Stalinism and middle class radicalism, but their fears do diddly squat for me.

Once again it's a never no mind for me as the infallible Green guide to the prospects of the Greens tells me that Sydney is a Labor retain though this is a seat where the Greens have a chance of finishing second. (here)

You can also consult the Green oracle about the Green running for Melbourne, which is really the only seat where the Greens have a reasonable chance, with a margin of 4.7%. Let's examine the Stalinist credentials of the Green candidate Adam Bandt, as found in the Green guide:

Bandt has worked as an industrial and public interest lawyer for the last decade, representing workers and their unions. He has been a partner at Slater and Gordon, holding a position previously held by Prime Minister Leader Julia Gillard. He represented construction workers before the Cole Building Industry Royal Commission, represented unions and workers during the Ansett insolvency, and states that he was involved in prosecuting some of Australia's biggest clothing companies for breaches of laws designed to prevent the exploitation of outworkers. Bandt lives in Parkville and has resided in the electorate of Melbourne for more than decade. Bandt finished second in this seat in 2007, and also finished second in the 2009 Melbourne Lord Mayoral election. Bandt describes himself as a book nerd and live music fan and is completing a PhD in Law and Politics at Monash University.

Dearie me, if Henderson had wanted to rail about Slater and Gordon lawyers working for those bloody unions, and book nerds and live music fans and their singular excesses, he might have been on solid ground.

Of course it might have produced a bit of tetchiness between those suddenly good mates Henderson and Howes, since Howes is after all a bloody unionist, but that's how it swings as the worm turns in the run up to the election, and boogey persons must be found.

Instead Henderson scribbles in a presumptuous way about the intelligence of voters, and proposes ways they should vote, and so ends up in a conga line of heavyweights chanting about how the Greens are all Stalinists. That sort of childish smear might have worked in the fifties, except when it comes to referendums to abolish the Communist party, but it has to do a lot harder work these days to cut the mustard.

Well here's a counter-vailing thought for intelligent voters. If happen to live in NSW and you don't think much of Rhiannon, duck down below the fold in the Senate vote, and fill in each box according to your preferences.

We do so regularly for the sheer perverse pleasure of putting fundamentalist Christians and other assorted ratbags last - that's worth ten minutes any day of the week, let alone voting day -and any Stalinists we discover will also be down at the bottom of the list.

If every voter in Victoria had followed their instincts, and carried on like a sensible loon, the likes of Steve Fielding would have been only a passing dream, instead of a Labor party induced preferential nightmare.

And then check out the preferences and tastes of your candidates for your local house of reps seats, and see who's standing and vote according to your tastes and inclinations, and not on the basis of the cards they thrust in your hands, and don't list to the saucy doubts and fears and head kicking ways of Howes and Henderson.

Because blather about middle-class radicalism - the sheer bizarre incongruity of the term - is enough to turn this quiet, seemly middle-class inhabitant of the pond quite radical. And Stalinist smear jobs - where all and sundry in a party are smeared by association with Lee Rhiannon, when the same could be done with any number of Labor party ratbags who once were on the radical left, not to mention the right wing fundie Christian smears that could be heaped on any number of Liberals - are about as useful as harking back to the nineteen fifties, and the days of the old Soviet Empire.

What's that you say? Henderson still lives in that past, valiantly re-fighting the cultural wars belonging to an era a half century out of date?

Yes of course, but that's always the way of the dinosaurs, and soon enough a radical change to the climate saw them become extinct ...

(Below: eek, a dangerously green politician peddling evil electric cars as a green solution to green urban issues. Quick, check out whether he's a Stalinist. What's that? A second airport for Sydney. Take that green interloper asking difficult questions and deal with them. Have you got the baseball bat that makes Balmain boys cry? Good ...)

1 comment:

  1. Very high spirited.
    Bit manic!! Thanks anyway.
    I prefer my politics served cold, like Paul Keating.


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