Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dead Ted

THE AMERICAN comedian Joe E. Ross is remembered these days, if he is remembered at all, for playing Patrolman Gunther Toody in Car 54 Where Are You?, but his greater claim to fame should be the manner in which he departed this vale of tears. Onstage in 1982 and performing one of his routines, the show was going badly when he exclaimed “I’m dying”, clutched at his chest and dropped to the floor. The audience tittered, thinking it was all part of the show, until a minute or so had passed and someone wondered aloud if  Ross might not be playing it for laughs. Discussion ensued and, eventually, someone with medical expertise climbed onto the stage, checked his vital signs and reported that the night’s star attraction was at that moment finishing his act for St Peter.

Down here in Victoria, where we have a state government that is conservative by label but certainly not by action or inclination, those who voted two years ago for Ted Baillieu’s Liberals are experiencing our very own Joe E. Ross moment. The polls say that our gentlemanly premier would be doomed to defeat if forced to face the voters, and there is no reason to dispute those damning numbers. This is the question for all Victorians who fear the return to Labor’s cronyism, its spendthrift incompetence and government by spin, not to mention a judiciary stacked with ambulance chasers and union hacks’ restored access to the public purse: Who will be the first to approach Baillieu’s political corpse, pronounce it beyond revival and clear the stage for the next, and hopefully more adept, leader of the Coalition?

Now it is true that there is a dearth of likely contenders, as long years in opposition winnowed the ranks of those with the gift, and perhaps the principles, to lead. Consider, for example, that Baillieu’s predecessor was current Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle, who is doing all in his power to make every motorists’ journey into the CBD a nightmare of bike lanes, humungous tram stops, nonsensical malls and bylaws officers writing tickets for looking sideways while driving. With such talent formerly at the top is it any wonder the spear-carriers of the parliamentary Liberal Party are, to put it mildly, a collection of pension-accumulators and case studies in narcolepsy. Present them with a cudgel and opportunity to pulverise Labor and what do they do? Shift their weight to an alternate buttock, yawn loudly and drift peacefully back to sleep.

If you think that an unfair appraisal, consider as one example the mess Team Ted has made of its promise to introduce an independent aniti-corruption watchdog. It is now a year overdue and the opportunity for the Liberals to do well by doing good has passed. How so? Well, if the body had been brought into being with greater dispatch it might have turned its immediate attention to many of the deals and favours Bracks and Brumby bestowed on their mates. Land re-zonings, sweetheart contracts, chronic back-scratching, union goldbricking – when Baillieu took office, every Victorian Liberal knew those examples of corruption were out there and just waiting to be dragged into the light of day. Instead, two years of dithering have insulated those erstwhile targets from investigation. If Ted were to move now – take an inquisitor’s interest, for example, in the huge wages paid to workers at the desalination plant, which is itself another matter screaming to be investigated – such an inquiry would appear no better than the use of a taxpayer-funded agency for the most venal political ends. This government has blown so many opportunities to lock in a second term one can only marvel that its recent conclave in Ballarat did not consider a motion to rename the coalition as the Passive Party.

That said, and politics being the magnet it is for the ambitious, there must someone in the party who believes the Great Bunyip has placed a field-marshall’s baton in his or her knapsack, an ambitious sort who can recognise opportunity and is prepared to take it. If so, that person should be working the phones this very minute.

The return of Labor to government is a prospect to be dreaded only a little more than the survival of the present reincumbent in the Premier’s office.

For God’s sake, whoever you are, make a bloody move before Premier Andrews consigns you once again to those pokey little offices in Spring Street’s basement reserved for the opposition.  


  1. I think these are good polling numbers.
    Hopefully it will prompt someone with 24 verterbrae to unseat the Mollusc-in-Chief.

    First job after the coup?
    Send the Social Democrat Chief-of-Staff back to Kew.

    The Irish Lion

  2. Well said, Professor.

    Ted might be a gentleman, as are many others, but he certainly does not come from any class accustomed to leading or governing. No doubt he fancies he does, but the evidence places him firmly in the lower timid and prissy echelons more prone to placing doylies under vases.

  3. PhillipGeorge(c)2012October 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Prof, ever reaching for the meta narrative I want you to reflect on how Andrew Bolt can get away with calling himself a conservative. The word obviously means just a wafer thin margin to the right of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez or Chairman Mao. Such conservatives are out marching for every 1 percent minority group and cause. The only solution to any problem is a tripling of government expenditure and intervention.

    If people get the government they deserve, Rome fell because ordinary people didn't think it worth defending.

    Your problem is you. The white porcelain surrounding the sink hole or s bend, is a people without any cultural memory, pride or unity.

    Love your writing Prof. But it misses the jugular.

    1. The conservative movement has been hijacked by big government, mass immigration, Israel firster, neoconservatives. This description fits Bolt et al down to a T. Paleoconservatives are few and far between.

      Don't get me wrong, I'll take Liberal over Labor anyday, but all we are voting for in our imperial elections is who is the better economic manager. To pretend otherwise is deluded.

    2. I don't read the Andrew Bolt you do, it seems.
      I read him as against all the government growth and lavish spending,and desperate as I am for our borders to be controlled again
      Also, like me he is a fan of Abbott as a decent man against which the rabble on the government benched Federally show up as our very own Mafia.

  4. Where's Kroger and Costello and Kennett? Stop feuding, you lazy bastards. Go and find one and draft him/her into the role from outside parliament if necessary like CanDo. We'll blame YOU if the Trades Hall gangsters get the keys to the state Treasury again.

  5. Another Henry Bolte would have the commos back down the holes with the Rest Of The RATS.He d clear the reds out of the PS and law trade quickly ,the teachers union would be fined till they were Broke,have to chip in out of their huge "pensions" to clear the fines .Find a New Bolte ,we desparately Need one.

  6. Timid Ted has been a trifle disappointing in not living up to the promises. Most of Commissar Hulls' poisonous legislation is still in place, the Anti-corruption Body is nowhere to be seen and now he is allowing the "Wanker from Frankston" a free pass. No matter if the description and actions accurately reflect the opposition TT could have shown some leadership and ripped his guts out publicly for non-professional behaviour. The last thing this State needs is Daniel Andrews [aka Mr Potatoe Head] in the Premier's Office. We'd become like Tasmania - mendicant. Boris, we don't need another Bolte, we need someone with vision and strength, not the ability to have the road to his farm paved and his blood sample lost.

  7. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.October 25, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Melbourne politics are like Melbourne traffic, Prof. Both almost defeat me. Well, with the traffic, I can crash and crash through. The politics though - Libs seem very Lab in many ways here. It seems to be something to do with Melbourne having tabs on itself as a rather cultcha'd place and thus in cahoots with the bleating theatre glitterati and foppish literati? Someone with balls is needed, male or female.

  8. I'm a Liberal party member but I lament at what Ted is not doing.He apparently sees good in everyone or else he must listen to his ma-in-law who is a rabid leftie.
    He has not sent the leftie public service seat warmers packing, why, Joan Kirner is part time on the payroll ,for God's sake!
    She's the one who started the red witch on the climb to high office after Tanner et al had connived to deny her pre selection, knowing a thing or two about her character I don't doubt!

    1. The Victorian citizens are still putting money in La Kirner's pocket? Well, Perth seems like an overgrown country town at times, but news like that...

  9. My condolences Victoria.

  10. Dead.

    Dead Ted?

    I thought it was Roo.

  11. Prof it seems scientists are studying One Term Ted and his ilk...