04 August 2009

Are you crazy?

When I was in the NSW Young Liberals, a series of clueless individuals sought to prove their visionary qualities and policy gravitas by professing a concern over this country's decrepit mental health facilities, and its antediluvian attitudes toward mental illness and the mentally-ill (lock-'em-up-and-keep-'em-away mixed with a quixotic civil rights approach). No firm answers, mind you, no consideration of how much mental healthcare might cost or on what such monies might best be spent, nor even much direct contact with those whose lives take them into these areas, but hey it's serious policy mixed with compassion.

Today, we see the urgency of some action in this area.

One step up from blaming someone who has died, we see a politician blaming a mentally ill person for his predicament. This was done on the basis of a journalist wheedling a story out of a mental patient.

This is so disgusting it is hard to know where to begin.

First of all, if you're appalled by radio shock-jocks don't listen to them, and don't be surprised when they overreach themselves. Higher standards should be expected of leaders of major political parties, and so-called journalists from so-called national newspapers. Maley and Turnbull are morally retarded in seeking to exploit a mentally ill man for their own purposes, and both organisations which they represent should expect to decline, not appreciate, in credibility and the esteem in which they're held.

It was Steve Lewis from The Australian who first hawked this email, and now Maley has brought up the latest development. The Walkley Awards should bar any entry from that paper into its awards. Not even commercial current affairs television would stoop so low (did you ask Grech "how does it feel?", Maley? I bet you did). The Rudd Government might be tearing off in numerous directions and achieving little, but it is never going to lose a single vote from this silly campaign.

Then there's Turnbull. No public servant will ever leak to the Liberals, not even if Rudd's popularity goes the way of Turnbull's. He simply does not have the standing to throw anyone under the bus, and more importantly nor is he able to screw someone so pitiful as Grech without his victim attracting overwhelming sympathy. He can't even go after the dead wood on his backbench because the Liberal Party would go "awww! Poor Wilson! Poor Bronwyn! Poor Alby!" and return them to that bush capital far from their branches.

I backed Turnbull because he is the only prospect of a post-Howard future for the Liberal Party currently in Parliament, and now he's gone. His shafting of Packer over the latter's deception about his intentions with Fairfax was probably the gutsiest move by a future conservative leader since Captain S. M. Bruce's Military Cross-winning effort at Gallipoli (those who claim Turnbull serves only himself overlook this). He's wrong to flog the debt too much now but it will become an issue, at the election after next or the one after. Though I no longer wear the club colours I hate to see them trounced by a nuf-nuf opposition - like Hewson, Turnbull can see the weakness in Labor but also like Hewson, he can't swing the blow that shatters the glass jaw.

Now Turnbull, and all the hopes that one could have for him, are gone the way of the Republic and Packer and Trevor Kennedy, dead and gone. There'll be Abbott and Lord knows who else (Hockey will be blocked initially by dopey Dutton), faffing about while chained to the course of Howard, waiting for the tide of conservative thought from overseas to turn (and when it does, this dimly perceptible day in the future is when Hockey will be able to get up, elected by a Parliamentary Liberal Party whose would-be members are not yet eligible to vote). I just can't believe that Rudd and Swan are squeaky-clean in all of this, I just can't. The Liberals are not only facing the end of the one-term solution, they are facing both the sheer task of reinvention and their own inadequacy to perform that task.


  1. I suggested a while back that there was very little in it to hoist Swan or Rudd.

    Did I read that the inquiry cleared both Swann's office and Rudd's, but suggested that Grech may have given undue attention to someone he described as a 'Lib'?

    Really, there was not enough in it for Swann or Rudd to get involved in what Grech suggested in the first place.

    It's only going to get worse from here.


  2. Hoist? No, they're members of the Qld ALP and I think the Coalition will start muddying the waters with that soon enough. Worse? No, it hasn't got much further to run (what if Grech self-harms?) but it is going to rust on to the hopes of the Libs.

  3. Not much further to run? There's to be an inquiry into the Liberal Party's involvement with Grech, which will reveal choice tidbits for the media to latch onto. I think there's plenty more dirt to be unearthed yet.

    No one in his party is making much if any effort to support Turnbull on this. I think they're quite happy to see him cut up a bit. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes before the election.


  4. This is fast becoming a Canberra circle-jerk, Kymbos. Tidbits? Perhaps. Choice? Not really sure. Maybe the media will be all over it, maybe they won't. Can you promise me that no more important (or sensational) issue will emerge over the next few weeks?

    Maybe he will chuck it in - but it could be worse, he could stick around like Beazley.

    The lack of support from the party is notable. When Howard became leader in '95 an army of cheap suits appeared out of nowhere and told us all toi shut up and do what we were told. Debates in the Liberal Party were euthenased by exec members saying things like "I'm sure John Howard is aware of this and the policy platform will have more to say on this when it is released, so in the meantime we don't want to pre-empt things do we". The media started running stories on how the Liberal Party is getting its act together. There is no sign of that now, which may explain why Libs look to The Man On Horseback (however small he may be in himself).

  5. derrida derider10/8/09 4:37 pm

    You're dead right on one thing - the masive amount of lead in the saddlebags that Turnbull has to carry in the form of the troglodytes that Howard nurtured. They are the barrier between the Libs and the median voter.

    He really needed to put the axe through them as soon as he became leader - indeed he should have made it a condition of him accepting the leadership, even if that meant it took a few more catastrophes before the party turned to him in desperation.

    But it's all far too late now - we're in for a string of uninspiring if moderately competent Labor goverments. We'll have to wait until their electoral use-by date expires, which as Howard's reign shows can be a bloody long time.

  6. I think you've captured the outrage of many, Mr Elder. It's a shameful incident for all concerned.

  7. Jason, that's a pissant comment.

    dd, there were more of these people but they lost their jobs at the last election. Those who remain are safe even after a rout - for which they will blame Turnbull - and have no idea how to reach out to marginal voters.

    For a model of how your prognosis works see NSW, where a handful of pinheads spray themselves with voter repellent and get all upset whenever they are challenged at preselection.

  8. Sorry, what?

    I simply signalled my agreement with the sentiment you've expressed about Turnbull's and Maley's treatment of a person who was and is in no condition to have further pressure put on them. It was and is, as you say, disgusting. Given his current state, I'm not sure Grech is being treated well by anyone who is a party to this "story", or whatever you'd like to call it.

    The comment was brief, but it wasn't intended to amplify the original post, just, as I've said, to signal agreement. I'm wondering why you approved it under the circumstances. Either way I don't think that what I said warranted your response.

  9. Jason, read your initial comment again: I read it first as an endorsement and then I read it again as a sneer, as though I were following the herd or something - and the words fit both. I'm sorry if I misrepresented you but thank you for clearing it up.

    My choice here is either to publish or reject comments: I chose to publish because this blog attacks what I perceive to be weasel-words and it seemed (wrongly, as it turns out) that here was a prize example.

    It is I who should say sorry and I do.