Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Bankrupt PM and Those Who Give Her Credit

DEAR, dear, those poor dears. Oh, but it must be so galling, so very frustrating, to be a media friend of the Gillard government just at the moment. It should never have unfolded this way, they must be saying, wondering where the narrative went so tragically astray? Creepy Kevin’s demise demanded admiration’s immediate switch from Mr Mandarin to Ms Strine, and give them full credit, the barrackers managed it quite well – seamlessly, in fact. Kevin was still dabbing at his tears when the fresh set of talking points came into effect, and few outside Queensland cared a jot after that for that discarded little man or his torment. They were too busy assuring each other via mutually admired exercises of opinion, Silly solon to ABC opionionta, that in addition to Gillard’s many and other qualifications, her chromosomes were the trump. She would set things right, boost those polls, and sail through the gender gap to trounce the conservatives at the next election. Who at the ABC, the Silly or Phage could doubt it?  A woman! Well, that settled the matter there and then, according to Michelle and Lenore and Anne and Laura, who could not conceive (no pun nor offence to unused wombs intended)  that their sisters would dwell on petty matters of honesty, competence and sound policy when the nation’s latest leader had that most marvelous of all qualifications, a uterus. It was the  keenest, you-beaut-est recommendation for a lease on the Lodge the girls on the bus could imagine.

Such a frustration that womanhood alone cut no mustard with the voters, even the female ones! Couldn’t those suburban simpletons comprehend that Tony Abbott was Mr Misogynist? Evidently so, because the fools refused to recognise the danger of the man. His wife, his daughters? Just props, the priestesses sneered in their temples of received opinion, and how ruthlessly cynical of that brutal man to use them that way. If there were dissenting voices, well, they most certainly were not heard in ABC and Fairfax powder rooms. The media gals were astonished at such public indifference, possibly because their own professional ascents had been driven to one degree or another by gender-norming tokenism. Think that’s catty, to use a word of recent weeks? Well, ask yourself if a certain Michael Grattan would still be the political editor of a major media group after the long run of bum punditry his notional sister continues to accumulate?

Climate change, that presented an even greater challenge to adaptation. If the cheer squad understood correctly, Gillard was obliged to knife Rudd because his Emission Trading Scheme had become an electoral liability. Golly, she even stood on Princes Bridge with the Yarra for a backdrop and swore, swore blind, that there would be no carbon levies while she was manning, er, personing the Dispatch Box. This confused the peddlers of opinions. They had picked up the tune that it was Kevin’s fecklessness in not pushing hard enough for a Copenhagen agenda that made him unworthy. Now Gillard was saying she would not push at all. So, once again, editorials were re-written and, just when everything seemed settled, Gillard announced her carbon tax. Yet another change of position was required.

Again they managed it, but this time only just. When a boatload of illegal immigrants foundered on the rocks of Christmas Island, embarrassing questions were hushed with the admonition that it was an indecency to speak “too soon” of the factors re-animating the people-smuggling trade.  It was just one of those things that happen, apparently, and that was explanation enough to be served up but not chewed over by the dutiful chorus. But the climate change thing, that hush-them-up, argument-is-over mantra couldn't be suppressed with mere cries of "Shame! Shame!" The more they tried, the more they sneered and smeared, the more the opposition grew. It was very baffling, quite unprecedented, and very, very disconcerting.

If only reporters and columnists could vote, it goes without saying that Gillard would still be a sure bet for re-election. But the franchise is somewhat more broad than that, which means, as the opinion polls are saying, a catastrophic drubbing for Labor come the next poll. The hacks and hackettes can all see it, a spectre so grim their panic and desperation are palpable. The carbon tax is loathed by the overwhelming majority of voters? Quick, they say, let’s blame that ignorance on anonymous e-mailers and their rude notes to settled climate scientists! And those boats? Quick, more instant “analysis” hailing the genius of the East Timor solution … or perhaps the Malaysian solution … or maybe this week it is the Manaus solution.

It isn’t working. Sooner or later, doom awaits Gillard and government and with it, her urgers’ last shreds of credence.

It is a train wreck in progress, and the fun of watching has only just begun.


  1. Within a train-wreck
    passengers ask, “who is coach,
    and who is loco?”

  2. Well, we can see who is the caboose...

  3. If Gillard can lead the ALP back from this on a policy front (not due to the Coalition self imoliating) I will be deeply impressed.

    Her biggest problem - she is Welsh - need I say more?

  4. There is an argument to be made that the sisterhood in the media greatly helps the Liberals.

    When Tony Abbot announces a policy, he can safely assume that the Silly and Phage and the sisters will immediately tear it to shreds (regardless of the benefits of the policy). He's presumably going to work through the details in advance, knowing that he'll want to minimise this criticism.

    In contrast, Julia can announce that she's going to tax gravity and the chorus will line up to proclaim her genius. She therefore doesn't have to get the details correct before or after the announcement. Therefore, the voters see her plans in all their unprepared glory.

    It's the same echo chamber which contributes to Obama's troubles in the US. When is the last time you read a negative story about The One in any of the Australian dailies?

  5. PhillipGeorge(c)2011June 14, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    'Another boat, another policy failure'
    Julia Gillard

    Building Education Revolution,
    Home Insulation,
    Health Care Reform,
    Murray Darling Management,
    Border Protection,
    Mining Super-Profits Tax,
    National Broadband
    And decarbonising Australia for climate security.

    Julia - they 'don't share our love of family' - Gillard

    The dream came true, she got to play princess, with everyone looking.

  6. And the Princess kissed a frog and got...Timmee. Oh well you can't win 'em all.

  7. May I point out that Manaus is in Brasil, the island off PNG is Manus (pron Marn-oos).


  8. The sooner we rise up against this Gillard Labor Government the sooner we save our standard of living, our jobs and our families. We must defend our freedom and attack this illegitimate government.

    Bring on a new election NOW.

  9. What beats me is how that grinning cheshire cat Swan still leads a charmed life. Behind every girlyman and bad woman there's a worse man by the looks.