11 February 2007

Say it ain't so

The Mulga Bill of the Canberra press gallery has done it again, with a double whammy.

Read this and consider:
  • John Howard has no-one to blame but himself for being "wrong-footed on climate change"

  • Apart from his obvious fondness for Mr Costello, it is not clear why the prospect of a Labor victory is a "disaster", especially when the prospect was given such short shrift mere centimetres above

  • The "newspaper opinion polls" that Jase so breezily brushes aside is the same medum that publishes his columns, which might explain why sales of that medium are trending downward

  • "And if Howard wins but with a significantly reduced majority — in my view the most likely outcome — then Costello will finally become prime minister". Four assumptions there: first, that Howard would give the game away; second, that he would give over to Costello (we've heard that before and it may not be the unalloyed good Jase would imagine); third, that anyone gives a damn what this clown thinks; and fourth, that Labor won't win the next election. He asserts it won't happen but it is the spectre that haunts this column. Speaking of spectres:

  • "Cheney looks like someone from the cast of Night of the Living Dead" - no, he doesn't. Here are some pictures from NOLD, here is a picture of the Vice President of the United States. Similarities?

  • "With humour, flair and style, Costello scored several hits on Rudd ... The backbenchers loved it, with Costello's wit no doubt helping them push towards the backs of their minds any doubts over their political futures prompted by the runaway opinion polls." So? The operative phrase there is Jase's lack of doubt. Parliamentary repartee has no impact on polls, newspaper or actual; Malcolm Fraser regularly bested Hayden and Hawke in the House over 1980-83, but look at the impact that had on the result of that election. Australia's most boring theatre only matters to the press gallery. Where is the marginal Liberal MP so silly that a one-liner counteracts careful policy development and cumulative poll results?

  • "Talking to a handful of Liberal backbenchers last week, I got the feeling that that's exactly what many of them would love to do — if only to stop the investment banks and private equity firms raking in tens of millions of dollars in fees, a consequence of the deal many of them consider with some justification to be nothing less than obscene" - hmm, Liberals against businesses making money, protecting lazy neo-monopolies. Think about it, Jase!

  • "While things don't look good for the Government now, the pressure will gradually build on Rudd to make the case for why Australians should change government" - either that, or Howard's inertia makes him look moribund and Rudd's energy carries him over the line. Just a thought.

  • "Interest rates are trending downwards, employment growth is strong, and inflation appears to be back under control. In these circumstances governments are rarely thrown out." - yeah, just like 1996.

  • "Howard's $10 billion plan to save the Murray-Darling Basin has not been the knockout punch he might have hoped ... given the weakness of Opposition, it's difficult to make policies developed in haste watertight" - it's not just Oppositions that have trouble making hasty policies credible. Indeed, it's the sort of thing that makes a government fritter away its credibility and other advantages of incumbency

Wouldn't you think, Jason? Just once, wouldn't you?

Then there was this effort. What works in Britain doesn't work here, Jase: it doesn't work in most other places either. We have celebrities to slake or lust for prurience, and politicians - despite what you, and they, think - are not celebrities.

The only story in a sex scandal is if one or both parties has a reputation for going on about family values: neither Evans nor Kernot were wowsers. Ross Cameron did that and he turned the 2004 election into a referendum on his own hypocrisy, to Howard's chagrin and Labor's delight.

But this is all about Jase:

  • "Back in 1970, then Army Minister Andrew Peacock was forced to offer his resignation after his then wife Susan appeared in a print advertisement for Sheridan sheets." No, he wasn't. Biographies of Peacock and then-PM Gorton have made it clear that this was entirely a Peacock initiative, the issue wasn't that big and Peacock was widely held to have overreacted.

  • "So what's wrong with us?" - speak for yourself Jase. "Is it that Australian politicians are so morally upright that they don't cheat on their spouses?". Either that or journalists such as yourself are too lazy to dig for stories like that. How about you get, um, on the job and let us know what you find, eh? What do you mean it would be the end of your career?

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