The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (66)

‘The Prime Minister, alas, is  under arrest,’ said Brandis. ‘He gave terrorists detailed instructions, as recently as last Friday, on how to detain and behead a suburban commuter. He emphasised how easy it was. This level of encouragement of a specific terrorist act will be outlawed on Monday, and retrospective to Friday, and beyond.

‘All public servants, moreover,’ he sipped his margarita, ‘will be able to torture non-public servants in specific ways, and go unpunished. They will be able to keep a man in a turban awake and cold and naked for fourteen days. The will be able to cause the miscarriage of a woman in a burqa by saying she will not see her husband or children again. They will be able to delay medical treatment, as some did to Hamid Kehazael, till a sick Iranian dies of septicaemia on Manus. This now makes legal the escape from punishment of the child abusing provoker of murder Scott Morrison, and retrospective.’

Asked by Uhlmann what caused all this, he said, ‘There have been no terrorist incidents on Australian soil since January 1915. And it is my purpose to not let a hundred years go by without either provoking one, or fabricating one. Our government has no chance of survival on a detested Budget harming everyone and ruining the nation solely. We must summon up a great wave of primal fear, and blithering anti-Semitism —for Arabs are Semites also — and make, as I advocated in April, bigotry legal again.

‘I am, moreover,’ he said, and Uhlmann quaked, ‘ordering the arrest of Angus Houston and the hundred so-called “Diggers” who went to a war zone, near Donetsk. Their spurious explanation that they were there to look for bodies is one they will have to prove. They were clearly assisting, in my view, the overthrow of the legally elected Kiev government, in a bloodless coup which happened simultaneously.

‘Any Jew, moreover,’ he said, and Uhlmann flinched,’ and I’m not being bigoted here, any Jew who goes to Jerusalem, allegedly to pray at the Wailing Wall, but actually, like Mark Regev, to propagandise for a terrorist state, or fight for it, will be hunted down, captured, extradited and given twenty-five years. In solitary. Naked. Without books. And very cold.’ He licked the salt off his drink.

There was a silence. ‘Does not inciting terrorism,’ Uhlmann said eventually, very quietly, ‘include what Scott Morrison did on Manus Island? Telling them they would never get out? They would never get to Australia? They would never see their wives, their children again?

‘Do you imagine,’ and here the quivering Brandis quaffed the last pint of his margarita, and reached for another, ‘I am planning by this NOT to imprison Morrison? He is my rival, in Cabinet, for the crown of Chief Torturer And Next Prime Minister. Do you think me a dill? Do you think I came down in the last SHOWER?’

John Howard said it was on ‘the best available evidence’ that he and his Godbothering cronies Bush and Blair killed fifty thousand children and ruined sixteen million lives in a war caused by forged evidence and forbidden by the UN. Asked why the UN’s man Hans Blix swore he had not found anything much when Shock and Awe immolated Baghdad and burned the famous Library, Howard said, ‘We knew he was fibbing and we would find, soon, buried beneath a sandhill a hundred atomic bombs Saddam had neglected to use.’ Asked how he felt now, he said, ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time, like the Twist.’ Asked if he would apologise to the twenty million surviving victims of his lunatic misjudgment, he said, ‘My conscience is clear. I was misinformed, as Bogie was in Casablanca. I knew not what I did. The dog, you might say, ate my homework.’

And thus concluded one more day of the worst free-elected government in the 1180 years since the foundation of democracy in Iceland in 934.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (65)

In Cairns Hockey said Putin would be welcome in Brisbane. Though a neo-Communist mass murderer in charge of a police state who had lately, Julie Bishop thought, shot down a plane containing thirty-seven Australians, illegally annexed the Crimea and bloodily invaded our ally Ukraine, he had been in the past a good customer for Australia’s prime rump and its uranium which he turned into atomic bombs with which he last week threatened the West in a new world war, it was thought a good idea to accept his presence in Jimmy’s-on-the-Mall and the nearby Fitness First where he and Abbott, a kindred spirit, might work out side by side on the bar-bells.

‘We have a lot in common,’ Abbott said. ‘We are both body-building foes of human rights and friends of public nudity. I believe I can do business with this man. Australia is open for business and this five-foot, strapping love-child of Stalin and Bronwyn Bishop is, in my view, an ideal customer for Australian red meat. As to the thirty-seven Australians he lately killed in an act of evil unprecedented in human history, albeit inadvertent, well, ah, well, ah, we should let bygones be bygones and look to the future, not the past.’ Asked if he stood by his previous determination to ‘bring him in shackles to Darlinghurst Court, and in solitary confinement through frequent bouts of waterboarding to twenty-five years in Long Bay gaol,’ he said, ‘Well, that was in another context, and times change. Over a rare rump steak at Jimmy’s and a brisk walk up the Mall and a refreshing swim in the Shark Aquarium in the Peter Beattie manner we can, I believe, though I cannot guarantee, sort our several differences and become good friends.’

Abbott was told by a jumpy young minder he had the wrong citizenship and could no longer be Prime Minister. ‘I look to Vlad’s example in that case,’ he said, glancing across the heated pool at the near-nude Credlin, who nodded. ‘He was constitutionally unable to succeed himself, and he sorted the constitution at gunpoint, and so will I.’

Fran Kelly, a Liberal voter, compared the spotlit helicopter-thudding thousand-man SAS raid on a single pimpled youth in Guildford with ‘Shock and Awe’, and called it a ‘brilliant anti-terrorist act of assertive bare-chested Prime Ministerial virility’. Reminded by Cassidy that ‘Shock and Awe’ was itself a terrorist act — an illegal bombing raid on an entire undefended city — and one of the biggest since Hiroshima, she said, ‘Yes, but it showed the terrorists the hunky, hairy, lovely, muscly man they were up against’. It was thought she referred to Abbott, lackey of Putin, a universally derided boneless wonder still uncertain which country the US would let him invade (playing ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ and jelly-bombing small running naked girls) and deeply afraid at all hours of the night of annoying Assad in the smallest way. ‘We will invade his country only at his invitation,’ he forthrightly declared, ‘and bomb only those he wishes us to.’ It was called his ‘Road To Damascus Moment’ by journalists, falling about with laughter.

Tim Blair, a Liberal voter, said in The Sunday Telegraph ‘Bob Ellis’s predictions are always, always wrong. If you want the truth, go always, always to the opposite of what he says.’

Invited by five lawyers to make 350,000 dollars out of this big-toothed, wild-eyed, yapping dunderhead, Ellis said, ‘I’m thinking about it. He will not have noticed my correct predictions, nearly always within three seats, of Australia 1972, Australia 1974, UK 1974 (March), UK 1974 (September), NSW 1976, NSW 1978, Australia 1983, Australia 1984, NSW 1985, Australia 1987, Australia 1990, Australia 1993, NSW 1995, Queensland 1997, Tasmania 1997, Victoria (famously) 1999, Western Australia 2001, South Australia 2002, NSW 2003, South Australia 2006, NSW 2007, Australia 2007, the United States 2008, South Australia (famously) 2010, Australia 2010, NSW 2011, the United States 2012, and South Australia (famously) 2014, nor of my prediction of the margin by which Abbott would win the leadership (two votes, one disputed), famously, in 2009 when every pundit was picking Hockey.’

‘He was right, of course, about me being wrong about Scotland, a faraway country of which I know little, but wrong about me in general, as the above thirty-one examples of my almost eerie prescience demonstrate. I ask him to apologise in his column by Tuesday. If he does not I will settle for 150,000 in cash, in a brown envelope, delivered by noon Friday to the garden bar of the Newport Arms, which I will squander on my son’s mortgage, and a trip with my wife to County Galway, Connemara, Stratford-on-Avon and the Isle of Skye.’

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (64)

Julie Bishop told the United Nations it would be nice if Putin betrayed his friends, disarmed them, and let them be tortured and killed by those they had lately displaced, invaded, and bombed the crap out of. Putin, the most powerful man in the world, dictator and brutal ruler of eleven time zones, would surely obey her, she assured her awestruck audience, when he came to Brisbane and she spoke to him firmly but kindly. She was regarded as a lunatic by many attending nations: the French, for instance, who compared her proposal to the Churchill cutting off all help, which he did not, to the French Underground in World War 2.

She then complained that the bodies on MH17 had not yet been ‘brought home’. This outweighed in her mind the quarter of a million killed, thus far, by ISIL and Assad in Syria, the five hundred children killed in Gaza, the displaced six million Iraqis, Kurds and Tamils and the six hundred North Africans lately drowned while fleeing tyranny. We have to bring these thirty-seven bodies home, she railed, and irrelevant wars were getting in the way of her stated, implacable, holy objective. Peter ‘Malvolio’ Hartcher was proud of her again, and in yellow stockings paced beneath her hotel room and on a lute played love songs and bravely, feebly attempted to sing them up to her.

Abbott threatened the entire nation with beheading, swearing this had nearly happened to him. Men bearing scimitars and full black beards would no longer be allowed, he decreed, into Parliament House, or suitcases with nuclear devices in them. He encouraged terrorists to use simpler methods, which he outlined. ‘All you need,’ he said, ‘is a knife and a phone and a friend. Go for it.’ He was thought to be remarkably even-handed to have thus encouraged evil men in their evil purposes, and scared the bejesus out of old women travelling late at night after shift-work to distant suburbs and walking home in pale moonlight through lonely, echoing streets where pit-bull terriers wheezed and screeching possums copulated in the roofs of unsleeping bungalows.

Bishop refused to walk five yards to a UN conference whose aim was to save the world from storms, lightning strikes, tornadoes, the drowning of cities, the end of all animal species including the human race and its eventual fiery immolation. She had more important things to talk about, she said, like ‘bringing them home’. She flashed a fervid, cross-eyed glance at Peter Hartcher, whose embellished codpiece quivered as hope and engorgement grew. Five more months of grovelling flattery, he guessed, would achieve his heart’s desire.

It was revealed that Morrison had kept Hamid Kehazael away from medical help for a week of septicaemia and thus ensured his brain death and the turning off of his his life support after not letting his parents come to his bedside because, he said, ‘they were unsuitable recipients of even a one-day visa’ in his usual firm, implacable, righteous way. Lawyers thought him guilty of ‘murder by neglect’ as one would be when one had not fed, for instance, a starving, chained and screaming child for a week, and thought he might be justly imprisoned for it; but they did, as usual, nothing about it. ‘S&M is licensed to kill,’ said one of them, ‘and we’d better get used to it.’

In the Northern Territory, a new Cargo Cult sprang up in some Aboriginal communities. They believed, quite irrationally, that Tony Abbott would come back. It was compared by Biblical scholars to a similar illusion among the early Christians, that within a single generation, Jesus would return. Apprised of this, the Prime Minister’s office issued a statement that they might not be waiting two thousand years, but they shouldn’t get their hopes up.

The Ultimate Scare Campaign

(First published by Independent Australia)

Shouting ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre is frowned upon in most societies, and thought an example of a limit on freedom of speech we can all agree on. Tony Abbott did something far, far worse yesterday. He told an entire nation they could be randomly beheaded at any moment.

He then told us to calm down, and behave as if he hadn’t said it. He added to the usual terrors female shift-workers endure on late night buses, late night trains, and the long walk from a railway station home at 1.30 a.m., the ultimate horror of having your head cut off.

He did it by adding the word ‘random’: by not even implying, but saying straight out that you didn’t have to be famous, or politically connected to a particular cause, or a prominent member of a particular faith. You could be an ‘innocent bystander’, beheaded.

He then said it was very easy to do. All one needs, he said, is a knife, and cell-phone, and an accomplice with a car.

Is this responsible? Is it the act of a nation’s leader, or a cyber bully? It seems to encourage terrorists, implying they can’t be easily detected, and it doesn’t matter who they kill.

Forty-six people, Australian people, died from cigarettes yesterday, none from decapitation. Three or four motorists will die this weekend, in car accidents. Before Christmas, two young men will die in pub brawls. ‘Domestic’ terrorism will occur, a father kidnapping and threatening his estranged wife or children once or twice this fiscal year. I will bet a lot of money no-one will be beheaded, here in Australia.

It is because it is not a very Australian thing to do. People who live here don’t do that sort of thing, and thereby imperil their families, and the livelihood of their parents, brothers and sisters. It is a long way from the battlegrounds of Baghdad, Mosul, Gaza, Donetsk, where such ‘terrorist’ things do happen lately, incidents in war.

And this is why it hasn’t happened in ninety-nine years and nine months here, since the Battle of Broken Hill in January 1915. It is not a particularly Australian thing to do.

And frightening old women with it is, I think, unbecoming for a Prime Minister. And possibly illegal, as it ‘encourages the terrorists’.

If the Prime Minister were serious about it, the two big football games this weekend would have been cancelled, and the opening night of The King And I. If he were serious, there would be random body searches of Middle Eastern women entering the Sydney Art Gallery. Most art galleries, given ISIL’s hatred of art, would be closed for six months.

But he isn’t serious, he’s making mischief. He’s lost most of the policy battles of his first year, and he’s thought a joke by many people, by many others a disgrace, and he’s embarked on the biggest ‘scare campaign’ in our history, since the Yellow Peril.

He’s become what I call the Chicken-Little-in-Chief. And he shouldn’t, any more, be given the time of day.

And he should be asked to resign by his colleagues (as Alex Salmond was a few hours ago), or by the Senate, or by a poll of public opinion.

He’s blown it.

Discuss.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (63)

‘You may be taken off a suburban train and beheaded,’ Abbott said, licking dry lips. ‘There will be no armed guards on suburban trains. Please carry on as if I had not just said this. Carry on with your normal life.’

‘We knew for five months of the plan to behead Tony Abbott,’ said Brandis, sipping his margarita and looking round the room, ‘and of course did nothing about it. We knew if we waited, all would be well, and the proposed murder, if enacted, would be good for us politically. Please carry on as if I had not just said this. Carry on with your normal life. If you look in any way alarmed on suburban trains, the terrorists will have won.’

‘We will make life even more miserable for those entering Parliament House,’ Abbott said, ‘after hearing that for eighteen years Bob Ellis has brought in a Swiss Army Knife undetected through Security, and not beheaded anyone, the smartarse. Throughout the entire Howard Era, we waited for him to try his arm. That’s how vigilant we were. I befriended him, and with many affectionate phone calls checked his movements, claiming he was a great writer. That’s how across the terrorist menace we were, and I was. Trust us. Trust us. Trust me.

‘It is clear eight million adult people want to kill me,’ he continued, licking dry lips, and looking round the room, ‘but, happily, seven million of them are women, who are usually unarmed. So I go about my business as if I had never said this. I jog, and bike-ride, and surf. I eat with property developers at the Steyne. I attend at known and regular hours St Barnabus’s Church, and there eat the Body of Christ in order to annoy any Shi-ite assassin who wanders in with a Swiss Army Knife and a beard like Jesus and a nose daubed with sun cream. I want my daughters not to be alarmed that I said this. They should appear in bikinis, an abomination unto Allah, on Manly Beach unguarded, and near naked, unashamed and unafraid, among hundreds of Muslim tourists throughout the summer.’

‘We know what we’re doing,’ said Brandis.’ We will guard Parliament House but not the Art Gallery or the Museum or the Shirelive Church in Sutherland, where terrorism’s most furious foe Scott Morrison babbles in a trance once a week and is unaware for twenty minutes who else is in the room. It is clear they would not come for him there. They would strive to come instead through Parliamentary Security with,’like Bob Ellis, a Swiss Army Knife, and a greater certainly of success.’

On his new blog Gerard Henderson defended the Ku Klux Klan. They were never as bad as ISIL, he said, though their policy of genocide was ‘unfriendly to Blacks’. They did not ‘control most parts iof America,’ he said, though their eight elected Senators determined, for a while, what laws were passed in that country. He further claimed Mike Carlton was ‘down in the muck again’. He had got there by tweeting ‘I don’t drink gin’. Gerard called this lie of his, this libel, ‘irony’.

He acclaimed the illegal ‘settlements’ in Palestine, echoing Simon Schama, and said Australia was not ‘dull and boring’ in the 1950s, and he was ‘appalled’ Clive, Barry, Germaine and Bob Hughes found it boring. ‘How could it be?’ he said. ‘I lived here, and dined each week with Bob Santamaria. The wonderful thoughts he had. Fourteen acres and a mule. Tony Abbott infiltrating the Liberal Party and subverting the nation. They were exciting times.

‘I never, of course, appeared on Bandstand, doing the snares with Johnny O’Keefe, but I occasionally watched it in a radio shop window on the way home. Those who thought the era, in other countries, of Mailer, Steinbeck, Amis, Osborne, Bellow, Elvis, Nabokov, Shirley Abicair, Kubrick, Martin and Lewis, Alec Guinness, Perry Como, Our Miss Brooks, the Goons, Doris Day and Fidel Castro was in any way superior, or more exciting, when we had Ken G Hall and Eric Baume, are just fantasising. The taxpayer-funded ABC puts round this kind of leftist furphy all, all the time, in the vain hope of diminishing, shrinking, shrivelling the international stature of myself, Sir Frank Packer and Archbishop Mannix, the key personalities of that era world wide. I adore that era. It is my spiritual home. It is where, sweet Jesus, I belong.’

Scare Campaign

I spoke last night at a dinner in Harris Park full of passionate Muslims. In the audience were Bob Carr, John  Della Bosca, John Robertson, Deb O’Neill, the Palestinian Ambassador, the Indian Consul, and various fervent advocates of the PLO and the Labor Party.

Fifteen hours before, helicopters had thudded over a household thought to be involved in the planning of a beheading. Five days before, we had been put on a ‘terrorist alert’, a ‘red alert’, higher than that of America.

Yet where was the security here? A former Foreign Minister mingled chatting with with brown-skinned Muslim strangers, any one of whom could have pulled a gun, and taken him away for decapitation. A future Premier arrived unguarded. Where was the security? Where was the motorcade of vigilant sharp-shooters? Where was the random cavity-search of the guests?

Nearby, the trains came to Harris Park. There was no visible phalanx of police targeting, and searching, men with big beards. There was no device for detecting knives, or guns, on those who boarded the train.

Yet we were told a planned beheading of a random stranger had been known about for four months.

Talk about ‘scare campaign’. Talk about ‘scare campaign’.

If there any truth in it the Prime Minister would not have ridden a bike in those four months, nor jogged on a beach without helicopters full of sharp-shooters hovering and thudding above him. The Attorney-General would not be allowed without an armed guard into the theatre. The Prime Minister’s daughters would not be allowed to attend college lectures, or go shopping.

Talk about ‘scare campaign’. Talk about ‘scare campaign’.

The difficulty Abbott has is in convincing us the ISIL ‘terrorists’ use only knives. In Iraq it is known they use guns, and tanks, and grenades. Yet Abbott, this morning, let a million people get on trains unguarded. How dare he do this?

If the terrorist threat were real, the coming football finals would be cancelled. Every other schoolbus would be cancelled. One train in three would not arrive.

What are we talking about here?

Talk about ‘scare campaign’.

Suddenly, there is money to do all this. Where did it come from? Is there not a ‘deficit crisis’ we must answer? Where did all this money come from?

Talk about ‘scare campaign’.

Abbott has been searching, desperately, for his ‘Tampa’ ever since he became less popular than Shorten. He proposed war against Russia. He proposed war against ISIL. He has put up a law that proposes the torture of men with full black beards. He has talked of ‘Team Australia’. He has vilified Putin, and spent half a billion looking for bits of a plane in three oceans, and forty million ‘bringing them home’, or failing to. And this, we are told, has nothing to do with his plight, as a detested, mistrusted, imperilled leader with a stinking Budget no-one will pass.

Pull the other one.

Talk about ‘scare campaign’.

Talk about ‘scare campaign’.

A Prediction

Four things make Scotland hard to call. One is the expatriates, overwhelmingly Yes, can’t vote, for some reason, and there’s a tidy few of them. One is the sixteen and seventeen year olds can, and will be overwhelmingly Yes too. One is the women, scared of losing household income, are fervently, and perhaps growingly, No and some of them are concealing it. One is the biggest turn-out in Scottish history.

My inclination, as in Australia, is to add 1.5 percent to the 49 the Yes is getting on the landlines because the young people, in summer, are rarely at home. And because they are, like here, on mobiles overwhelmingly, and many do not have a landline, as the older people still do.

But I am not certain at this distance. The 1.5 percent could go the other way.

Deep breath.

A narrow Yes, perhaps not known for days, while the votes come in through bumpy seas from the islands.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (62)

‘Our war is not with ISIL,’ Abbott told a heap of slumbering war-painted Aborigines, ‘but with the Arab suburbs of Sydney.’ There, he said proudly, ‘boots-on-the-ground operations commenced in the early hours of this morning. It is our belief that some of these eighteen thousand infants, lactating women and young men we in darkness arrested and handcuffed to Hills Hoists were planning to go off to fight ISIL in Syria, and of course they cannot do that; our soldiers cannot do that, and nor can they. For even thinking of it,’ he continued, warming to his theme and running on the spot through red rising dust, ‘they will be bankrupted, dispossessed of their houses, aggressively interrogated and put in solitary confinement for periods of up to twenty-five years.’

Asked under what laws he was doing this, he said, ‘Future laws. Which will be retrospective.’ He puffed, stopped running and began to do one-armed pushups. ‘Asked why fighting for the ‘goodies’ against the ‘baddies’ in Syria was such a bad thing, he said, ‘Take me. I’ve never fought for the goodies in my life. I hardly know any goodies. Most of my luncheon companions are property developers.’

The snoring heap of war-painted tribesmen — ‘corroboreed out’, the phrase was — did not stir. Abbott put on a slouch hat, and Crocodile Dundee moccasins and RM Williams high boots, and, so garbed, soon boarded a plane that would take him to an aerodrome where eight hundred awestruck Diggers, encouraged by his mighty Churchillian stammer, would soon, on his orders, fly without fear into a war zone, and, on his orders, not make war there, never ever; especially in Syria where baddies were fighting both ISIL and Assad and should be ‘discouraged’ from doing so. Asked by his fawning blond mind-slave and bromance Mark Kenny what form this discouragement would take, he said, ‘Air strikes by fighter-bombers on kindergartens in the usual way, and the phosphorous-bombing of naked running little girls, but only on this side of the border, in Iraq.’ Told by a flummoxed Kenny that ISIL was mostly in Syria, he said, ‘That’s what I’m saying. ISIL must be protected; from the fanatical anti-ISIL terrorists of Guildford and Lakemba. They are being locked up; and, after twenty years in solitary, may change their ways, and learn to love a death cult, as I do.’ Crossing himself, he spoke warmly of ‘Abu Ghraib South’, a facility already under construction in Hyde Park, near the Cenotaph.

Scott Morrison said he had ‘stopped the boats’, and listed sixty-four boats that had come, at a rate of two a week, in this calendar year. Asked by Uhlmann how they had been ‘stopped’, when they were still coming, he said ‘The price of liberty is eternal mendacity, and this is the policy that’s working.’ ‘Mendacity?’ said Ulmann. ‘It’s working,’ said Morrison. ‘We’ve sent genuine refugees back to their torturers when it was safe to do so and lying about where they’ve gone and that’s a policy that’s working. Trust me.’ ‘How can I trust you?’ Ulmann asked. ‘Try harder,’ S&M replied.

Uhlmann asked him how many of the Tamil infants whom he had sent back to Sri Lanka were still alive. He said it was an ‘on-water matter’ which his dominatrix Angus would not let him reveal. Asked if he minded people, in their millions, calling him a murderer, he said, ‘It is a badge I wear with pride. Like my role model Bashr al-Assad, peace be unto him, I do what is necessary. To preserve the sanctity of my position, awarded me by Allah.’ He spoke in tongues for a while and Ulmann, a Liberal voter, put his head in his hands.

Breaking his 312th promise in a year, Abbott chose not to go back to the Emu Dance and the Pearson Acclamation in the monsoon-washed Red North as he swore he would yesterday and flew south-south-west with his body-servant Credlin, still fetchingly face-painted with white and red spots and wearing an arrangement of gumleaves over much of her firm tall upper body, attentively serving him camomile tea, to Duntroon, to confer with some aghast and mutinous generals. On the way an urgent email came through from PVO revealing that he was, alas, pretty much, an illegal immigrant into Parliament House and Morrison could arrest him for pretending, on a false passport, to be an Australian, when his dual British citizenship disqualified him from being both PM and MP.

Morrison rang him and, whispering rapidly, told him he would have to vacate his parliamentary seat and pay back the 3,722,000 dollars he had earned from politics and the 822,000 he had spent on travel, accommodation and food in the last nineteen years; or, on the other hand, he could simply resign his seat for ‘health and family reasons’, and cede the Prime Ministership to him, the feisty rabid foward-thinking S&M, who would thereafter pardon him after he apologised to the nation on the floor of the House for High Crimes and Espionage under the Immigration Act and he would hear no more about it after serving four months in Goulburn Prison, sharing a cell with Milat, and converting to Shirelive to save what was left of his soul.

Cory Bernardi called for the police to rip the Burqas off women wherever they found them. Like his previous insistence that nuns under forty wear topless garments in the summer months, his call was resisted.

Some Thoughts On The Present Emergency (3)

(First published by Independent Australia)

It is worth asking who ISIL are. They are not interplanetary aliens; they are not invading vampires; they do not come from another tribe, with another language, or brandish an unfamiliar religion. They are home grown, and taught by Americans, and us, how to fight with imported weaponry.

Some were tortured in Abu Ghraib; many were sacked, outlawed, and persecuted by Bremer and Maliki; many saw brothers, cousins, gassed by Assad. They have lived through Shock and Awe, the Surge, the Phased Withdrawal. They have seen the corrupt, incompetent Malikite military thieving billions owed to bureaucrats and soldiers. They have reasons for their savagery. They did not arrive, like mushrooms, overnight. They have a history.

And it is worth asking too if the Americans, who killed forty thousand of their children, will be welcomed back by the Iraqis to the smoking rubble of Baghdad, where the current Malikite ‘coalition’ killed fifteen thousand more of their children (my estimate) and twenty thousand of their women, and sixty thousand, in war and peace, of their young men — more than all the Australian dead in World War 1 —will be welcomed back as allies and saviours. And if Australians, who look like Americans, will be welcomed also.

Let us imagine invading Indonesians killed two hundred thousand Australians, obliterated parts of Sydney, including the Town Hall, the Art Gallery and St Mary’s Cathedral, occupied New South Wales and Victoria for ten years, instituted Sharia Law and went away. Let us further imagine a vengeful Christian insurgency commanded by, say, Tim Costello, rose up and conquered an area of land as big as Victoria, killing and mutilating the corpses of the Sharia heathen fanatics they opposed and killed in battle, skirmish and hot pursuit.

Let us imagine the Indonesians then came back, with a ‘coalition of the willing’ from Pakistan, Somalia, Libya and Saudi Arabia supporting them and a vast and thundering armada of ‘humanitarian’ helicopters, drones and fighter-bombers. Let us ask how we would feel then, and whose side we would be on, and how welcoming we would be of the returning Indonesians, and their allies.

It takes no great intelligence to make this comparison. Nor to realise that, if we kill and torture enough people, they become our unforgiving enemies.

But it was the same sort of lunatic thinking that imagined, not so long ago, that Americans entering Baghdad would be greeted with streamers, champagne and kisses in 2003. The Baghdadis well knew their middle class jobs and pensions, under Jerry Bremer, would be gone soon, and their mortgages would not be paid and they would be out on the streets fighting other beggars for shelter in cardboard boxes. And that, under al-Maliki, neighbouroods of Sunnis would be slaughtered, and their mosques burned. They could see the future, and the Americans could not.

The same people can see the future, now, too, and the same Americans cannot. Neither can Tony Abbott, who believed, with Howard, the WMD would soon be found, beneath a sandhill somewhere, and all would be well.

He’s as big a lunatic as that.

And so it goes.

Some Thoughts On The Present Emergency (2)

One wonders how many days or hours will pass before Abbott finds himself in a moral tangle again. He’s already said our war, which is not a war, it’s a ‘humanitarian rescue operation’, will not cross the Syrian border — though there’s no such thing any more, it’s all the widening Caliphate now, and the hills are alive with crucifixions — since no Syrian, logically, requires humanitarian aid, or rescue, from crucifixion, beheading, forced conversion, being buried alive, does he. Well, does he? He can’t, he’s across the border.

He’s already discovered the group Obama wants to arm is one which ASIO think are terrorists, and should be bombed into flying chunks of meat, as terrorists deserve, pre-emptively, now, now. He’s already been informed of anti-Assad-anti-ISIL idealists who want to come home to Australia, whom he must, if he is fair dinkum, imprison. And he’s already caught Morrison trying, even now, to send back genuine refugees to Syria.

He’s in a moral tangle already, isn’t he. And if, as Shorten wants, some Australians begin to feel some refugees from Iraq and Syria, some genuine refugees from genuine horror should be allowed to come here and be given visas and work and schooling, what is he to do? What if some of them are poor fools Morrison sent back? What if some Gazans want to come here too? What then?

Because he has no priority other than getting to the next frantic lie — we must ‘bring them home’, we must search three oceans for MH370, there will be no cuts to education, I’ll only put it in a little way — he will not be well prepared, I think, not well prepared at all, for the basic moral question, why should schoolkids be robbed of shoes and outings and racquets so Diggers can go with jet fighters, mortars, grenades and bombs to Iraq to blow up other kids, collaterally, there?

And where, indeed, is the money coming from?

And is it being well used, as that other billion was, the billion we spent looking for WMD under sandhills, where they weren’t, and never had been?

Because he has the attention span of a gnat, and the moral memory of a whisky priest, Abbott will stuff up soon, I think, and lose in his flurry the esteem of even his new beloved, the beautiful, manly Mark Kenny, in a flash. And then where is he to go? Into explaining why a war without end must be paid for by old women going three times a week to a doctor? By saying it doesn’t have to be paid for, we’ll owe the money to China for three hundred years?

Hard going, old friend. Hard times for Tony.

Our Chicken-Little-in-Chief.

And so it goes.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (61)

Abbott said it was fine with him if Australians shot Australians in Syria. It served them right, he said, for joining the Australian army in the first place. He re-emphasised that Mark Regev, ‘a terrorist propagandist’, would be arrested if he came home to Melbourne, and justly punished there. He went to the Middle East, after all, and learned evil ways there, and should be therefore denied his ‘right of return’, or put in the slammer for twenty-five years if he dared come home — to a Mount Scopus reunion, or whatever.

He then, surprisingly, said no Australian ‘grunt’ would go to Syria. This war with the Islamic State would stop, he said, at the Syrian border. Told there was no Syrian border, just an Islamic State the size of Britain (or Britain until next Thursday) which overlapped the former border and much of Mesopotamia, greater in size than the Empire of Nebuchadnezzar, King in Babylon, peace be unto him, he said, a little snippily, ‘These are my decisions, as Commander-in-Chief, on the limits of this war, which is not a war, it’s a humanitarian intervention, and it’s not a humanitarian intervention until Obama, whom I campaigned against, orders me as Commander-in-Chief to go in there with guns blazing.’ Told the Governor-General was Commander-in-Chief, and a soldier of more executive experience than he, Abbott sipped more kava and chewed his witchetty grubs-and-cornflakes thoughtfully. ‘It’s a humanitarian invention on behalf of God,’ he murmured, almost to himself, ‘guns blazing.’

Fran Kelly then rang, and asked him, annoyingly, if young Australians fighting on the right side in Syria would be arrested and imprisoned when they came home. He warmly agreed they would. ‘It is wrong for young Australians to go to the Middle East and fight violently for any cause,’ he said firmly. Asked if that included the Anzacs and the Lighthorsemen and the Rats of Tobruk, he choked on his grubflakes and hung up, distractedly. He undressed, put on warpaint and prepared himself to dance in a corroboree, dressed as a cassowary, like Hugo Weaving in Priscilla, and thought of other things. His giant Nubian body-servant Credlin, dressed as a magpie, looked at his firm sunburnt anorexic torso coolly, then looked away.

A Liberal voter, Mark Kenny, whose winter-warmed affection for Abbott surpassed, some said, the love of women, predicted in the smh that his hairy, slouch-hatted, mandrill-gaited hero would win a ‘khaki election’ in 2016 for certain, for certain sure. ‘Rivetted by his masterful vision,’ he wrote, ‘of a war without soldiers that stopped at a border that didn’t exist, and the inspirational mid-term decapitation of twenty Australian schoolgirls who did not convert from Christianity and embrace, in Strathfield, the hijab, Sharia Law and clitorectomy, a grateful nation, stirred by his wisdom, good looks, hairy shoulders and appealing stammer will ensure absolutely that he storms back into government, as Churchill did in 1945, with an increased majority…an increased majority…let me read that again.’ He sighed, had a moment of dispirited self-loathing, repeated, ritually, ‘my cousin does not fuck goats’ five times, drained his Guinness, then, recovering, beamed at a photo of Abbott semi-naked on Manly Beach and the particular configuration of his stomach-hairs. He knew it was hopeless, but he dared to dream.

Abbott, noting with some surprise his war would cost money, abruptly cancelled the income he promised Rudd in his first days as Prime Minister. Though Rudd had given jobs to Downer, Nelson, Costello, Fischer, Vanstone, this was different. ‘No more money for Protestants!’ he suddenly screamed, as the noise of the clicking increased and the didgeridoo cadenzas probed the dusty moonlight and he feared, as his fingers clutched his eyes and ears, he was not in his perfect mind. On the other side of the campfire his giant Nubian body-servant Credlin, stained with ochre, looked through rising and falling knees at her crazed employer, contemptuously.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (130)

Phill has been pardoned, after many spoke up on his side, and will now suffer a ban of one month, and be back, if he wishes, on October 16.

Historian, a piece of Liberal filth, can howl in outer darkness for all eternity.

In Twenty-Eight Words

Who is David Cameron kidding?

He just said Scotland, if it asked to come back, would be told to go away and never darken his door again.

Really?

Ellis Gold Alert

My friend Sir Donald Sinden is dead, and I will put up on Ellis Gold an appreciation of him soon. I will also do reviews of Begin Again, Felony, A Most Wanted Man, The West Wing, Utopia, the Wharf Revue, Macbeth, the new biography of Roy Jenkins and the memoirs of Combet, Swan, and Gillard.

This I have sworn, and will deliver.

I beseech all who would like it to come to The Jet Lag Monologues, co-starring Bob Carr, me, Brandon Burke and Terry Clarke at Gleebooks, 6 for 6.30 tomorrow.

Yesterday’s Morgan

Morgan, accurately, shows 54 percent of Australians want this war in Iraq, 62 percent of men, 46.5 percent of women. But 59 percent of 18-24 year olds don’t want it, 52.5 percent of 25-34 year olds, 42 percent of 35-49 year olds, 41 percent of 50-64 year olds, and 46.5 percent of over 65s, some of whom have experienced war in the 1940s.

54 percent approved sending 600 troops to Iraq. Had it been 6000, the votes would have been lower. Had it been 600 turning round each year for ten years, it would have been the other way.

After the first Australian death, it will be 50 percent. After the first Australian beheading, 45.

It’s probable, not certain, support for this new war has peaked. Once it is more widely known that our ally Saudi Arabia beheads women in a public square and that we are against the monster Assad as well as the monstrous ISIL, his foe, and vaguely supporting some undefinable ‘Oppositionists’, fragmented along tribal lines, who cannot win against either, and once we see, or avert our eyes from, the beheadings of twenty children who do not ‘convert’ after we refuse to stop the war to save them, the numbers will plummet to Vietnam levels, pretty quickly.

And so it goes.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (129)

Phill and Historian have been banned for life.

Phill accused of me of lying about my experience of war and wanted a cripple kicked to death in gaol and Australian soldiers forgiven for killing children. It may be just me, but I find these brutal opinions hard to publish.

Historian is a Liberal staffer and can go fuck herself.

The Return

‘The torturers of Abu Ghraib are back, and this time they’re here to help us.’

‘Remember how scared they were of Iran? Now they’re on their side.’

The Arabs have a long memory and the Americans none at all. The Arabs remember Shock and Awe, the burning of the great Library, the levelling of Babylon and the ruined lives of six million Iraqis of the professional class — and the killing, maybe, of two hundred thousand children — and do not want the Americans back for any reason, in any cause. ISIL seem mild-mannered compared with them. They have killed, thus far, one hundred thousand fewer of their children than the Americans did, and they were mostly the spawn of Shi-ites, the corrupt and murderous mosque-burning zealots and mobsters the Americans put in power.

And we are going back in, it seems, unquestioning, the Surge having failed, into another Mesopotamian Holocaust whistling ‘Waltzing Matilda’. Why?

It is odd, though not uncharacteristic, that the Liberals have not yet looked at the ‘Homeland’ politics of this. We are inviting the ‘home-grown terrorists’ Brandis fears, to behead Peter Hartcher live on Channel 9. And how, if that happened, would that be helpful to any cause? We are inviting every ‘terrorist’ in Syria to behead, on television, a thousand successive Christians who do not convert, some of them children. Good idea, is it? Why?

The Liberals do not understand that Australians regard the words ‘war’ and ‘the Middle East’ with horror and loathing now. We shot our horses there after taking Beersheba. We lost the best of our gene pool at Lone Pine. We lost the best of the rest of it in Tobruk, Benghazi, El Alamein, Crete and Kandahar. We lost all our friends there after Shock and Awe and Abu Ghraib. We became a laughing-stock after not condemning Israel’s phosphorous-bombing of kindergartens. We railed against the genocidal Assad and now think him a fine fellow. We ‘trained’ what became ISIL and believed our job was done.

And we are talking now, even now, about being back in there, shooting children and apologising, for the next twenty years.

And this is why Tony Abbott lost, oh, five hundred votes yesterday. And will lose three hundred more every day for the next month or so.

No-one wants to be there. No-one has a hunger to be there, in the Middle East, killing people, and losing good men, for no good reason, and no result, where we have lost so many good men (and horses) before.

Or perhaps you disagree.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (60)

Abbott declared war on a nation that didn’t exist, in support of a nation that didn’t exist, ate witchetty grubs, and felt good about it. He knew Aussie ‘battlers’, whom he’d just deprived of their schoolkids’ money and their secure old age, and their jobs in all the industries he’d just abolished, would be happy to spend, on a war we took ten years to lose, a hundred billion more to restart it, and lose it again, the way you do. He knew that beheadings would begin in Strathfield soon, or Geelong, or Snowtown, and this would turn opinion his way, in favour of endless war, a hundred years’ war, perhaps, in a region, the Middle East, in which, at Gallipoli, Beersheba, Damascus, Tobruk, Alamein, Benghazi, Baghdad and Kandahar we’d lost the finest flower of our gene pool and chalked up only two hard-fought and costly bloodstained victories. He knew they’d be really keen on that, and the busloads of beheaded Shi-ite children in Lakemba, airbrushed on Channel 9, which would surely follow hard upon his valiant, leaderly courage, in this, the first weekend of World War 3; never such innocence again.

He ate goanna, and felt his life had been affirmed. He drank more kava, repressed some flashbacks and, tottering to his feet and quoting Churchill, said in harsh, rasping vowels, ‘I knew I had been walking with destiny, and all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour, and this trial. I fell asleep, and had no need for cheering dreams. Facts are better than dreams.’ A tribal elder tried to point the bone at him, but was wrestled to the ground, escorted away from the campfire, and given more kava to ‘settle him down’.

Editorials compared his actions to those of Oscar Pistorius. ‘Like that other legless, muscular drama queen,’ Paul McGeough wrote, ‘he prematurely ejaculated at a door that was closed, and found himself, a moment later, both weary and unhinged, and bereft, unsurprisingly, of sympathetic female company.’ It was thought no army wife, lately pleased to have her young, firm husband back from Kandahar, would be keen to see him off so soon, weeping, to Iraq and receive, next year, his head back in a box. But Abbott knew she would gladly and proudly bear that burden, for Team Australia’s sake. His giant Nubian body-servant Credlin looked at him through the campfirelight briefly and coldly, then turned away and did her nails. Tribal elders rendered, with clicking sticks, Reg Lindsay favourites past midnight, opening and closing their knees.

Brandis said bombing their relatives in Mosul would not ‘increase the likelihood’ of them beheading Australians here. ‘They’re already evil, evil,’ he said, ‘and they’ve been evil enough to do it for months, without a reason. They’re just evil, and strapped with bombs. I want nobody to be alarmed,’ he added. ‘They should get on and off trams and trains, and go to the theatre, as if I’d never said Boo to them. No, I wasn’t kidding. Beheadings. Australian beheadings. Coming soon, to a suburb near you.’ He became distracted, finished his brandy alexander, and was assisted by very big men with shaven heads to the toilet. He came out of it rapidly, pursuing a well-dressed James Ashby, as he was wont, in better days, to do.

Abbott claimed bombing Mosul was ‘an essentially humanitarian strategy’ and he wouldn’t do anything like that unless the Americans, the levellers of Babylon, asked him to. ‘It’s not really a war,’ he said, in the same tones as men of his generation would say ‘I’ll only put it in a little way’ to their fellow Catholics on moonlit excursions to Manly Dam. ‘It’s a threat of war. A dress rehearsal.’ A premature…getting off at Redfern. Those were the days.’

He refused to say where he would find the fifty billion dollars to bomb and cleanse and subdue and rule a site the size of Britain — or Britain as it was before next Thursday — and convert four million crucifying Sunnis to Christian values and his preferred Santamarian agenda of ‘twelve acres and a mule’. ‘If we can hold off the Dread Day of Surplus till 2100,’ he said, ‘and sell off, as a job lot, our dairy farms and universities to China, declare war on China and with Japanese nuclear submaries “degrade” them, and repudiate, post-war, our two trillion dollar debt to them…’ He was taken away by his giant Nubian body-servant Credlin and her husband Loughnane into their three-person pup-tent, injected, and ‘settled down’.

And so concluded one more day of the worst free-elected government since the foundation of democracy, in Iceland, in 934 AD.

Lines For Tony Abbott (22)

How do you stop a man from cutting off the head of a man in his captivity, when he’s in the mood to do it?

How do you threaten him? How do you bribe him? How do you kill him without killing his captive?

How do you… negotiate…with a…terrorist?

We’re in this war to find out.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (128)

I am putting up on Ellis Gold, progressively, my book The Capitalism Delusion which deals, in part, with the rent-and-house-price crisis that is currently whiteanting the world economy. And I will do, soon, I swear, some theatre and film reviews also.

I ask you to forgive me for being so obsessed with politics.

Leave Off With With Holocaust Already: Rivka Hartman’s The Handkerchief

I could be wrong about this, but what I saw last night at the Holocaust Museum, an unrehearsed reading called The Handkerchief, seemed to me to prefigure a play on the world stage as good as the best of Arthur Miller, though not, of course as good as the best of Tony Kushner, the finest English-language playwright in three centuries.

It deals with six generations of Jews, and a tremendous survivor, Gitl, who is a dominating scold, undiminished by suffering, and useless, blithering progeny, though 116 years old. In this role Elaine Hudson (whom I described to her face as ‘the best thin actress now working’) seemed to me, last night, to be better than Callas in Medea and Streep in Sophie’s Choice, and there you go.

The story goes from a Polish town like Anatevka in Fiddler On The Roof through, inevitably, Auschwitz to, inevitably, Bondi, and the tyranny and secrecy of Gitl, who is the Jewish Mother From Hell. We see the kind of meek husband she chooses — Morris, a sorrowing schmuck — and the kind of daughter she harries into banal rebellion — Miriam, the vapid freeloving hippie filmmaker– and Miriam’s daughter Sandalwood, a drug-addicted stand-up forever falling down in mid-performance, picking up stray fucks in rehab and transmuting family pain into wisecracks; and how motherhood redeems, or does it, each of them.

Robbie MacGregor plays a number of shambling schmendriks, plus an Auschwitz guard and Hitler, and is the only man on stage, among four feisty threatening women. Taylor Owwyns, who reminded me of Bette Midler, is very fine, fiery, amused and self-pitying as Sandy (Sandalwood), drying out, knocked-up and suicidal, and Anne Tenney superb as Miriam aged twelve, eighteen, thirty, forty and sixty, with a tender, focussed, intimate presence we remember from television that like, say, Emily Mortimer, draws and holds the audience’s sympathetic attention quietly and surely.

The story circles round the mystery of Dvorah, Gitl’s dead daughter, killed in Auschwitz, whom she never, never talks about. When we finally hear what happened, a fate both ordinary and searing, we begin to understand what makes a genial monster like this both immense and incurable. She is the stuff of legend, magnetic, bossy, stoic, a living wound, well into her second century, determined the story must continue, the traditions must be maintained,  the story, the story, the story must be told. Raised atheist, and unbelieving still in an afterlife, there is no afterlife but your daughters and their fecundity, she scrubs and cleans and curses each speck of dust, and puts pinholes in the contraceptives to help the fecundity along.

Madeleine Withington (Anne Tenney’s daughter) is very good, if under-used, as various  infant children, including Dvorah, and John Grinston (his face like a wood-carved medieval saint) surprisingly effective as the reader of the stage directions — emphasising the lack of accents, and how important this is, and he is right to so. The laughs come anyway, but vaudeville Yiddish flamboyance is not, this time, the reason why they do.

The play’s climax is inadequate, the title disastrous, and it needs an interval. The staging which requires a lot of back projection, whole experimental movies of great complexity, will be expensive. No cast changes are needed; this is ideal. The writer, Rivka Hartman, whose last play, Wanting, about computer dating, is as good as Ayckbourne, Coward or Simon, with a glimmer, sometimes, of Stoppard. But this is different.

It is a classic that, with a slight rewrite, will storm, I believe, Off-Broadway, and thereafter conquer the world.

Abbott’s Pistorius Moment

It is strange Tony Abbott thinks it a good idea to answer a beheading by sending in six hundred troops. All that will happen is more beheadings, in Strathfield perhaps, or Longreach, and a falling away of any support there still is for a war already three times lost.

Soldiers’ wives will hate the idea. Traumatised veterans will detest it. Crippled veterans will demonstrate against it. No general likes it. No historian thinks it makes any sense. What is he doing?

It is possible he has gone mad. He has certainly, as Paul McGeough says, jumped the gun, as Pistorius did, on hearing a noise in the dark. For ISIL was created by Maliki sacking, persecuting, torturing and killing Sunnis. And we are going in again on Maliki’s side again, or the side of his ‘coalition’, to torture and kill more Sunnis. We are committing troops to do so before anyone else does. Is this wise? Is this wise?

Abbott, mad or not, sees only an image of his resolution, in a slouch hat, restoring his political fortunes with a kind of Gallipoli Fever in its hundredth year. But people already battered by the GFC and the death of the car industry and the submarine industry and bits of the manufacturing industry all over the shop and a Budget that makes no sense won’t want a war of any kind. They certainly won’t want a costly one. If they do, I’ve not heard anyone saying so. Being revolted by a beheading is one thing. Saying Australians must die to stop it, sometimes by further beheading, live on Sixty Minutes, is another.

McGeough’s piece is good reading. He says what Abbott has done is a calamitous mistake. It’s showing the Arab states they need do nothing. They can sit on their hands and let us fight their war for them.

Our Chicken-Little-in-Chief, I call him, sometimes or Premature-Ejaculator-in-Chief. He has earned both sobriquets lately, and dug himself a spare grave.

Some Thoughts On The Present Emergency

It’s a while since Reagan funded rockets that, in outer space, would shoot down other rockets in outer space, put up there by Russians for reasons he could not clearly specify, and spent hundreds of billions of dollars trying to do so. It was thought then modern wars would be fought in this way. Now we know this is wrong.

Modern wars are fought by kidnappers, who, on the internet, threaten with beheading western journalists who, before their decapitation, applaud their executioners, defame their native lands and scare the shit out of western leaders who know there is no way they can fight this.

My Committee for the Prevention of the Beheading of Peter Hartcher notwithstanding (see below), this method may come, I fear, to Australia soon.

It requires very few weapons. The entire arsenal can be purchased for a couple of hundred dollars. And millions can be made from the threat, if the target is right, from his wealthy relatives, workmates and fellow citizens, the threat of the young man’s execution.

And this is ‘asymmetrical warfare’. On the one hand, trillions spent on submarines, drones, bunker-busters and helicopter-gunships, and billions more on boots-on-the-ground ‘pacifying’ suicidal jihadists who strap bombs on their fourteen-year old daughters, and the hamburgers Halliburton bravely brings through contested space to the boots-on-the-ground. And, on the other hand, an image of a head coming off a handsome American hero, who has just denounced America, calmly.

It is now impossible, I think, for this method not to prevail, if the beheadee is a citizen of a democracy. No Prime Minister can survive ten, seven, five such public decapitations of eloquent, calm young men. He has to come to terms. He has to ‘negotiate with terrorists’. And he loses office if he does, and he loses office if he does not.

Letus imagine the next young man is a Scottish doctor-without-borders who looks like James McAvoy. Let us imagine David Cameron is told he must, by Wednesday, pull out of the war on ISIL or this good doctor dies, in the usual way, on television. Let us imagine David Cameron says, ‘We do not negotiate with terrorists’, and the young man’s head comes off at midnight, eight hours before the polling stations open on Thursday. Will Scotland leave England then? Of course it will.

It is no accident, old friend, that the severed heads of ‘traitors’ put up on Tower Bridge to be eaten by worms and pecked by crows deterred, for centuries, subsequent revolutionaries. It is no wonder Mary, Queen of Scots died in this way, and, as a direct result, her son became the King of England, an act of Union that, with a couple of rancorous intervals — and the beheading of her grandson Charles — persists unto his day. It is no wonder Saudi Arabia, the world’s most secret society, decapitates women and children and its luxury-fond, unrueful Princes are reverenced by its people. It is no wonder the shrunken heads of his defeated foes adorned the belt of a warrior in Niugini, a warrior-king.

Is there an answer to this fearsome, proven way of making war? This WMD for which there is no anti-aircraft gun to take it out of the sky? This formidable broadcast image as frightening as Moses, wreathed in fire, holding up the Ten Commandments, carved in stone?

Don’t think so.

Perhaps you disagree.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (59)

The head of Abbott’s church, Pope Francis, said we were currently in a World War and wondered if this was a good idea. Abbott said he should keep his bib out of matters which, as God’s representative, did not concern him, and pledged we would die in our millions, if need be, in the coming Armageddon against Putin, the King of the North, whom he would arm with as much uranium as he had money to buy.

He raised the terrorism danger level to Red Alert, higher than that of America where thirty thousand people died by gunfire every year but not, thank heavens, in acts of ‘terrorism’, or not very often. Though ‘Terrorists’ had effected 9/11, killing 1820 Americans and some foreigners, only 350,000 Americans had died by gunfire since then, 800,000 in road accidents, 42 in backyard pool drownings, 22,500,000 from cigarettes, and one shot by Dick Cheney, who believed him at the time to be a duck. But these things posed no actuarial danger, Abbott insisted, and ‘terrorism’, which had killed 3,221 Americans in 238 years, was the real and pressing national peril, more so here than there. ‘Eighteen people have died by terrorism on Australian soil in only 226 years,’ Abbott boasted, ‘which puts the American total in the shade.’ Asked how many Australians had died here from terrorist atrocities in the last ninety-nine years, he answered, ‘None. And that’s why we’re bound to see some soon. It stands to reason. Trust me.’

And some Reds under the bed, he murmured, there had been a tidy few of them. He proposed therefore to reclassify Putin as a Red, and to refuse to shake his hand in Brisbane. That would teach him a lesson, he beamed, and convince him to give back the Crimea, stop shooting journalists and give Europe all the gas it needed, at half price.

Abbott, praised by Murdoch journalists as ‘a world statesman’, was gaining traction and stature, they said, by the hour. He had lately encouraged Australian teenagers not to go to war in Syria, and encouraged them to come home quickly, quickly, to their worried families, and threatened them with twenty-five years in the slammer if they did. This was acclaimed by his newly beloved bromance Mark Kenny as a ‘laudably balanced approach to a complex moral question, the carrot and the stick, worthy of the late King Solomon of Israel, peace be unto him’.

Two young Logan men, meanwhile, who had been found fighting on the right side, against both ISIL and Assad, as Obama recommended, in the Middle East would suffer, Brandis thundered, ‘the full severity of the Law.’ Anyone who left Australia to engage in a civil war overseas would be severely punished, he railed, with whips and scorpions, upon re-entering ‘their homeland, Australia’, after their spiritual infection by alien theocracies overseas. Mark Regev began to shake in his shoes.

A newly formed Committee for the Prevention of the Beheading of Peter Hartcher (CPBPH) met in secret, and afterwards emailed Malvolio beseeching him to dress more soberly. ‘Your current garb of cross-gartered yellow stockings,’ they said, ‘makes you an easy target, and constitutes a danger to the nation. It is likely a rocket attack on you will take out a hundred awed pedestrians around you. The scarlet serpentine codpiece should be likewise left at home.’ Hartcher protested that Julie Bishop had asked to see him so adorned, in a letter composed in her ‘own fair hand’, but agreed to adapt his mode of dress to ‘modern contingencies’. He arrived at the smh in a Spiderman suit and was tackled and held down by Security.

Abbott called ISIL ‘a death cult, not a nation’. Though he himself on Sundays ate the body of Christ, a brutally executed prophet whose death redeemed mankind, and acclaimed on various days of the year the mutilation and murder of ‘saints’ he duly revered for their ‘sacrifice’, and a Church long funded by the auctioning of the body-parts of ‘martyrs’, he thought a ‘death cult’ like ISIO unacceptable, and cursed it all to Hell, and recommended it be bombed and hacked and immolated, like Hiroshima, till it raised no more its heathen voice on earth.

Pistorius Postcript

The good judge has found Pistorius careless with firearms and negligent of the safety of his beloved in a moment of unjustified but understandable panic. She has let him go free on bail and prepared herself to free him for good under certain conditions in October. His beloved’s relatives are cursing this, and demanding the State waste further millions appealing this decision, though the State will not. And it is worth, I think, saying the following, however murmurously.

It would not be good if this hero of cripples were beaten to death in gaol or caused to suicide there. It would be wrong if either of these things occurred. It would be as wrong as the kidnapping by able-bodied men of the crippled FDR and his torture on television by jeering Nazis who then flung him off Mount Rushmore to his death.

It is important that a man who had incomplete legs and bettered himself and ran in the Olympics be not locked up till those legs were were no longer capable of running competitively. Whatever he did in a moment of inattention, he is a hero. It would be like turning off Stephen Hawking’s voice-machine because he had said, after eight Guinnesses, something sexist or racially inappropriate.

You do not take away the tools of a genius, whatever else he has done. You should not take away Einstein’s pencil and notepad because he was complicit in the invention, and dropping, of the atomic bomb.

Pistorius has ‘suffered enough’. He has killed, inadvertently, the beautiful woman he might had children with, beautiful, healthy children. He has howled at himself in rage for five hundred days and nights. He has suffered for his sin. He has suffered greatly, and will for the rest of his life, in the watch hours of the night, as he did in the years of his childhood, crippled, persecuted, mocked and trying to better himself, be a ‘normal person’.

Masipa, a black woman from Soweto, knows about suffering. She saw, as a child, the massacre of her neighbours. And she will hear the witnesses, patiently, and let him go. She will dress up her mercy in many admonitions and many imposed obligations on him to serve the community in his future years in particular, testing, punishing, humiliating ways. But she will let him go.

This is my prediction.

And I let it stand.

Terror Australis

(First published by Independent Australia)

It’s interesting what the Liberals think is a popular thing to do. Spending a billion looking forever, fruitlessly, for bits of a downed plane in three oceans. Spending a hundred million looking for bits of bodies on a downed plane and ‘bringing them home’. Inviting Protestants, Buddhists, Jews and Muslims into a Catholic cathedral to speak before a crucified Christ. Going to war, again, in Iraq if the guys who lost the last two Iraq Wars ask them to. And, lately, a Terrorist Red Alert.

There may be ‘inconvenience’ at football finals, we hear, and airports, as if the ‘terrorists’ would go anywhere near such places. The last terrorist outrage at a sporting event was the kidnap and murder of some Israeli weightlifters at the 1972 Olympics, which set back Arafat’s PLO by fifty years, and no-one has done any such thing since then: you don’t kill sporting heroes, you don’t do that. The last terrorist incident on a plane was the Underpants Bomber, and full-body imaging makes it hard for that cock-up to be repeated.

What ‘terrorists’ often attack is suburban trains (London, Madrid, Tokyo), and they do it for the obvious reason, that they can bring suitcases, backpacks, shopping bags on to them, and leave them on shelves or under seats, get off and detonate them remotely.

Curiously, this Red Alert Down Under makes no mention of this. It’s in part because it’s impossible to police. If random electronic searches hold up four trains each morning and nothing is found, and five school buses, and two ferries, the government falls.

If the government is serious, they must do random searches on every opening night a politician goes to – the Wharf Revue, The King And I, the Bob Dylan concert. They must upend, unsettle and inconvenience every party conference. Labor’s conference in Sydney Town Hall, which had a pro-Gaza demonstration in the square next door, could be entered by anyone, and observed from the gallery upstairs. Carr, Shorten, Plibersek were at it, Clare, Rees, Firth, Burke, Searle, Sheldon, Foley, Robbo, Albo, Faulkner, any one of whom could have been seized at gunpoint and beheaded on Facebook. So could a similar cast at Neville Wran’s funeral in the same crowded venue.

Abbott’s biking and Iron Man events must be discontinued, clearly. Joe Hockey’s visits to his Queensland farm must be overflown by vigilant helicopters. Julie Bishop’s visits to Geneva must be accompanied by armed motorcades.

Do we believe any of this? Well, no, we don’t. The reason is that the terrorists’ resources are limited, and the people they want to terrorise aren’t living here in Australia. People wanting to set up a Syria-Lebanon-Iraq-Egyptian caliphate are not going to bomb Newcastle Town Hall. They are not going to kidnap and behead Peter Hartcher. They are going to concentrate their efforts round Mosul, Baghdad, Samara. The Bong Bong Picnic Races are not their principal global target.

And the ‘terrorist virus’ theory the Liberals are trying on lately – that young men, infected in Syria by beasts who want to overthrow Assad, will come back here and blow up a cricket match – lacks what Poirot would call ‘a believable motive, ’Astings. Wert do they ’ave to gain by doeeng zat?’

They have a lot to lose — their lives, their intimacy of their young wives, the love of their children, the suburban contentment of their mothers, cousins, old grandfathers. So why would they do it? What lost homelands would they liberate in Strathfield, Logan, Collingwood? Why would they do it?

And why haven’t they done it already? Muslim Afghans have been here since 1830, Muslim Pakistanis, Indonesians, Somalians for twenty, twenty-five, fifty years. And the last terrorist attack on our soil was by Martin Bryant, an Anglo-Saxon, in 1996, and the one before that, the Hilton Bombing, in 1978, was contrived not by terrorists but ASIO.

Oh, similar things do happen here. Bikie gang wars, Underbelly assassinations, prison riots, suburban ‘incidents’ where the crazed fathers of kidnapped children shoot it out with the police. But nothing of the kind we know as ‘terrorist’ – the Bali bombing, the Tube train massacre – on our soil since the Battle of Broken Hill in 1916.

How much money will this nonsense cost us? Where’s it coming from? The shelved GP co-payment? The pared-down Baby Bonus? What? And what evidence is there for alarm? None, evidently. Apart from two young men who are about to go to Syria to fight, as Obama advises, against ISIL.

Abbott, caught in a moral tangle as usual, says going to war with ISIL is a criminal offence if boys from Logan do it, but a heroic act if Diggers do it, and it won’t endanger Australians at all, we won’t provoke the ‘terrorists’ by going to war with them, of course we won’t.

And he won’t go to war unless the Americans tell him to, the Americans who got it so right last time, destroying six million lives, and causing ISIL while they were up. He’ll consult the Americans, but not the Australian people. And he’ll body-search Australians at football finals in case they’ve got atomic weapons up their clackers.

Dare we call this excessive? Deluded? Hyperbolic? Demented? Wasteful of the, ho ho, taxpayers’ money?

More Australians have died on our soil from backyard pool drownings in the last five years than ‘terrorism’ in the last hundred. Fifty times as many from funnel-web spider bites. Twenty times as many, each day, from cigarettes. Four times as many, each week, from road accidents.

What you have to do in Big Scare politics is make the people believe you. Believe you, Tony Abbott, of all people. And one of the ways you do that is behaving as if you yourself believe it. And unless there are full-body searches of every foreigner at the Crown Casino, or The King And I, or the Melbourne Cup, or the corridors outside ICAC, no-one will believe you believe it. No-one.

Abbott says, ‘Carry on with your lives as usual’, and ‘Look, look, the terrorists might be strapped with bombs at the next Grand Final’ simultaneously.

What an oaf he is. What a creepy, Americanised, frantic fool.

What a Chicken Little-in-Chief.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (58)

Abbott announced the vaginal cavities of all Arab women would be searched for WMDs at football finals but no-one should be in any way alarmed. ‘Just carry on as if World War 3 were not imminent,’ he said, ‘or Armageddon. Or the Rapture. Or the Conversion of the Jews. Or Hell for homosexuals. And it probably isn’t, this may be just a false alarm. It may be just another ASIO trick, like the…Hilton bombing.’ His eyes flicked sideways, and he licked dry lips, jovially. ‘Those were the days. Just kidding.’

On discovering the young men he had arrested for fighting for ISIL were actually fighting against ISIL, he urgently promised them Orders of Australia and a free trip to Mecca for the Stoning of Satan if they just ‘shut up about the whole thing. Shit happens,’ he added winningly, ‘especially to me. Especially lately.’ Mark Kenny fell about laughing, amazed at his hairy-chested beloved’s fresh new flowering wit, and immediately planned fifteen hundred more affable words on ‘Abbott, the new Costello’ in the smh. Abbott then warned the Gallery that any one of them might be kidnapped at any moment and decapitated on Sixty Minutes and they, too, laughed heartily. What a card this man was. What a wild card.

Derek Parker, a Liberal voter, wrote in The Australian that Wayne Swan should not, not, not take credit for saving two hundred thousand Australian jobs and Australian civilisation though this, indeed, is what he did, all reputable historians and economists agreed. He should instead apologise, and do it urgently, for spending too much money correcting an unprecedented situation, when five dollars less per taxpayer should have been enough, fumed Parker, whose Nobel Prize for Economics is still unaccountably pending. ‘He has learned very little’, he said of Swan, and castigated for him for ‘the festering delusion that Murdoch was in any way anti-Labor.’

Parker knew this to be absolutely untrue. He swore on the Bible, and crossed his heart, and pocketed the pitiful four hundred and twenty dollars Rupert paid him to say it and, after rewrites, say it more loudly and crazily. He had a Guinness, and then another, and was not happy. He slept early, and woke to a vivid dream of Abbott’s giant Nubian body-servant Credlin approaching his bed unclothed with an enigmatic, firm expression and a whip in her teeth.

Craig Baumann, the tenth Liberal MP to resign while denying he was corrupt, made it seem that, at this rate, there would be no NSW Liberal MPs by March, when an election was due. Mike Baird, the ‘cleanskin’ Premier, unusually did not swear, as he had before, he would run no Liberal in Baumann’s seat, Port Stephens, lest he lose government cataclysmically only ten months after achieving it, and become a laughing-stock forever in the memory of humankind.

$inodino$, in the dock, professed not to know what a ‘property developer’ was. He was told; and he said it was news to him. Asked if he, as the President for a while and the chief money-raiser, before that, of the NSW Liberal Party, knew of the 700,000 ‘washed’ by The Free Enterprise Foundation, he said that came under another man’s jurisdiction. Asked what he, $inodino$, did as the Party’s chief money-raiser, he said that this was an ‘under-Harbour matter’ he was not free to talk about.

Several pundits thanked heaven the corruption was confined to NSW and had ‘no federal implications’. Told that the NSW Liberal Party, a geographical entity, funded also the campaigns of Abbott, Hockey, Morrison, Bash and Bronwyn Bishop, the aghast commentators crawled under lino and put their toes in their ears.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (57)

Abbott found to his amazement that the two Logan boys he was putting away for twenty five years were going off to fight against ISIS as he had just pledged to do, and Obama wanted everyone to do, and he might have to give them an AO instead, or even apologise. ‘How all occasions do inform against me,’ he muttered to his giant Nubian body-servant Credlin, who returned his gaze unfondly.

Morrison lost a court case and was prohibited from persecuting, any more, a genuine refugee, a sensation that did not please him. Slavery, or TPVs as he called it, was more to his taste, and he suffered withdrawal symptoms when he could not experience it, as now, ‘hands on’. This massive political defeat of a prominent seething madman was concealed from world history by all the newspapers, whose proprietors hide, instinctively now, whatever might upset the Liberals.

Abbott awaited instructions on whether he would go to war or not, and Bishop admired his exemplary indecision. ‘Our Cabinet,’ she is said to have said, ‘does not consult the Australian people, or their elected representatives, when we sign up for a thousand years war. We do not even discuss it among ourselves. What we do is await with meekness what the Americans tell us to do. These are after all the titans who lost the last war in that region, destroyed six million lives and wasted a trillion dollars, levelled Babylon, burned the Great Baghdad Library and tormented with dogs and tampons naked men in Abu Ghraib and so lost all respect for the West in the Arab world, and they surely, clearly, demonstrably, know what they are doing, and down what road, with a proud, uplifted heart, we should follow them.’

Mark Kenny, a Liberal voter, praised Abbott for calling himself a wanker. He was ‘frustrated’ as a trainee priest, Abbott told a joyful claque of Murdoch drunks at the National Press Club’s 50th anniversary, and masturbated a lot, as he admitted in Battlelines. ‘His considerable intellectual power,’ Kenny said, ‘as a writer and a thinker’ was evidenced by a joke he had ‘told many times before’, and by his demand, laughing heartily, and licking dry lips, that the press be ‘more right wing’.

Kenny, who has gone in two months from a moral vaccuum to a simpering Faust — traumatised, perhaps, by the dread news that his cousin Chris does not fuck goats — called ‘witty, after all’ Abbott’s plea for ‘a speech, with no questions afterwards’, and rocked with laughter, as he does these days, at his Jesuitical hero’s deftness of mind. Some found it a sadness to see a once fine mind so reduced to blithering sycophancy. But, as a great man said, ‘Shit happens, to even those who do not, alas, like many friends of mine, fuck goats,’ and so it goes.

Abbott prepared himself for his cataclysmic announcement that all Muslim women would be body-searched for ‘internally secreted lethal weapons’ at relgious festivals and soccer finals and felt, at last, he was turning it around.

And so concluded one more day of the worst democratically elected government in world history since democracy’s foundation in Iceland in 934.

Waiting For Masipa

6.05 pm

It seems that Masipa will rule that Pistorius did not, with premeditation, kill his woman. Her evident annoyance with witnesses who heard the wrong number of gunshots, mistaking blows of the cricket bat against the locked door with which Pistorius, on his stumps, attempted to retrieve Steenkamp, still alive, from her mortal situation, rang out significantly in her calm, clear utterance. They heard it wrong.

Pistorius’s face is changing: he thinks it may be all right.

6.17 pm

She’s accused the witnesses of being affected by the publicity, and of being asleep when the event occurred. Steenkamp cannot have been able to scream, such were her injuries. So it had to be Pistorius they heard screaming, not his woman. That it seemed to them to be a woman’s voice was irrelevant: they had not heard him scream, and so could not have known what he sounded like in extremis, in a life-threatening moment, or with his beloved’s shattered body in his arms.

7.00 pm

Morning tea adjournment. She’s disregarded the text-messages — some aggressive, some affectionate — between them. Couples fight; they make up; they have their bad days; this means nothing. She notes that he said he shot without thinking, then he also said that he shot low, not intending to kill. This is contradictory, and bad for him.

Nowhere in the prosecution’s case is a logical motive for killing, deliberately, in this way, one previously beloved. He could have shot her in an alley, and claimed a mugger did it. He could have had her hit. He could have smothered her. He could have clubbed her to death, with his cricket bat perhaps, and blamed a Manson-style crazy. That he would have shot through a door, risking the possibility that she might survive and testify against him, makes no sense, no emotional sense, no logical sense, at all.

7.55 pm

She’s got to ‘reasonable doubt’. The State has to prove him a murderer, and has not done so. The intention to shoot is not the intention to kill. Some of the evidence might be false, some unreliable, some unintentionally unreliable.

She calls him ‘a very poor witness’. He went, in the dock, from rigid calm to blubbering hysteria. He altered his testimony. But this not mean he was guilty of murder. You can lie in the dock, and still be innocent as charged.

8.12 pm

She has said the State did not prove premeditated murder. Then she took a break.

She has said he was of sound mind; he knew right from wrong; he was not in a ‘frozen, automatic’ state of paranoid impulse. He may have acted culpably. He may have been morally careless. But he did not premeditate the murder of his woman.

Unintended homicide? Could be.

Fifteen years?

Could be.

8.44 pm

Lunch break. She will take, perhaps, another hour to sentence him to eight or ten years, to suspend that sentence, and to tell him to be more careful in the future. I have not heard, not that it matters, in my lifetime a more thinly-sliced and carefully reasoned judgment, not even by Spencer Tracy in Inherit The Wind. What a fine person she is.

She comes from Soweto, and it may be that in the back of her mind the Tutu-Mandela policy of Reconciliation, forgiveness, and the coming together in public embrace, amid worldwide amazement, of the murderers of heroes and the heroes’ mothers, which became the South African way.

And we will see what we shall see.

5.35 am

She pronounced him guilty of taking insufficient care — he could have called Security, gone out on the roof and yelled — then ended proceedings until tomorrow. Perhaps she will give him, now, a suspended nine-year sentence, or a three year sentence that gets him out of gaol in a year. It’s probable she thinks, like me, he has suffered enough. It’s possible she thinks him a bit of a drama queen. Hard to say.

I wonder how much our ‘kick the cripple’ response is active in all this. In childhood we kick the cripple. Some of us do not cease to.

Australian soldiers who fire on little girls and kill them are not treated like this. The ‘honest mistake’ response kicks in, and we forgive, each time, the killing of children — in Afghanistan, in Gaza, in Pakistan with drones — when unimpaired soldiers do it. But a man who looks like a robot in a Tom Cruise film we do not forgive.

I predict she will give him a suspended sentence, fine him, in millions, money he must give to the Steenkamps, and impose on him some sort of community obligation — to campaign against firearms, or drugs, or violence — and let him go. She will do this rather than risk him being beaten to death by cripple-kickers in gaol. More to come.

Iraq: The Actuality

(From Patrick Cockburn in The London Review Of Books)

During his eight years in power he (Maliki) created what one former minister calls ‘an institutionalised kleptocracy, more corrupt than anything in central Africa’, which will do everything to stay in power, or, at least, avoid prosecution if it has to go. Though Baghdad looks tattered and impoverished, oil revenues run at $100 billion a year, and great fortunes can be made by anyone with the right connections to government. In the bird market in Baghdad, which sells all types of pets aside from birds, a shopkeeper offered to sell me a tiger cub last year and took out his phone to show it gambolling on the ground at his farm outside the city. I asked him who had the money to buy such expensive pets and he became circumspect, saying his customers were tribal leaders and government people but giving no names.

There is a connection between the buoyant market for tiger cubs and the fall of Mosul. I asked a recently retired four-star general why he thought the army had fallen apart so quickly and why its commanders had fled. ‘Corruption! Corruption! Corruption!’ he replied: pervasive corruption had turned the army into a racket and an investment opportunity in which every officer had to pay for his post. He aid the opportunity to make big money in the Iraqi army goes back to the US advisers who set it up ten years ago. The Americans insisted that food and other supplies should be outsourced to private businesses: this meant immense opportunities for graft. A battalion might have have a nominal strength of six hundred men and its commanding officer would receive money from the budget to pay for their food, but in fact there were only two hundred men in the barracks so he could pocket the difference. In some cases there were ‘ghost battalions’ that didn’t exist at all but were being paid for just the same. Soldiers would kick back half their salaries to their offucers in return for never going near a barracks. Checkpoints on roads acted like private customs postl , charging a fee to evrry truck passing through. A divisional commander might have to oay $2 million for his job: when one candidate asked where he could get that kind of money, he was told to borrow it and pay back $50,000 a month through various forms of extortion. Safa Hussein at the National Security Council confirmed that prices for military posts had soared in the last five years — a position that cost $20,000 in 2009 would now be worth ten times as much.

The corruption had devastating effects on every level of the Iraqi army. Defeat in Mosul was preceded by defeat in Anbar province in the first six months of the year, with the army suffering 5000 casualties and 12,000 desertions. Even the depleted units that did reach the front were often left without food for days. Men were sent with only four clips of ammunition for their rifles. Fuel was in short supply and shortages of everything else grew worse as Isis and its allies swept through the Sunni provinces. Corrupt private companies had no intention of delivering supplies supplies over roads where they risked bombs and ambushes.

‘The army is dysfunctional,’ Dhia al-Assadi said a month after the disaster at Mosul, ‘and so is the police force.’…

Iraq now has a political crisis and a military crisis, neither of which is likely to be resolved soon. In Baghdad, a failed prime minister and his government cling to Sunni representatives who don’t dare visit their own cities and towns vie for posts in the capital. Kurds have an expanded and quasi-independent state. Isis has no plans other than to defeat its enemies on the battlefield. People in the capital wonder apprehensively when the battle for Baghdad will begin. When the American military delegation came to review the capital’s defences, a senior Iraqi official ‘you look to see which ministers had put fresh sandbags around their ministries. Those that have done so like myself will stay and fight; where you see old sandbags it means the minister doesn’t care because he is intending to run.

4 July

Obama’s War

It was gloomily said of Lyndon Johnson that he failed as President because he never truly addressed any problem before him, only the politics of that problem. That he put foolish, cautious limits on what he could do in Vietnam — bombing the North, nuking Hanoi — rather than winning there.

Obama is in the same fix now in Iraq and Syria. He will bomb the bastards back to the Stone Age, he has that capability, but the politics won’t let him put ‘boots on the ground’ there, to defend the new-won democracy, if any. He rightly regards al-Assad as a monster who has killed or injured half a million of his own people, but he cannot, cannot, cannot, support ISIL, his principal foe, nor do the fucking obvious, take him out with a drone, because of the ‘politics of the problem’. So he’s looking vainly for a ‘middle force’, an anti-Assad anti-ISIL bourgeois insurgency that may not exist, almost certainly does not exist, and hoping to get weapons to them, training, first aid, quality kindergartens, sniping rifles and grief counselling.

He likewise despises Maliki and his legacy — he turned a sectarian difference into a nine-year civil war — but he cannot do other than send his corrupt generals arms, and advice, and money, that they will not pass on to their soldiers, but keep for themselves, as Patrick Cockburn reveals, appallingly, in the article above.

The solution, of course, cannot be found in any military action that does not include atomic bombs. The best he can otherwise do, I think, is offer the anti-Assad ‘moderates’ and the anti-ISIL Sunni ‘moderates’, what is left of them, if they ever existed, sanctuary in America, Canada and Europe, and put in ‘boots on the ground’ in defense of new arbitrary borders round Kurdistan, Gaza, Greater Baghdad and so on, borders a pan-Arab conference might draw up and agree on. Killing more and more young men with hundreds of cousins each does not, as Gaza proves, and Afghanistan, and Algeria, and Ireland, make sense.

And so it goes.

Me And Mungo: An Exchange

A politician asked me for some nice words about Mungo MacCallum which I wrote in the nine minutes before he turned up alive. I sent them on to Mungo who replied. This is the exchange.

From Ellis:

Mungo MacCallum had verbal skills greater than any working reporter of his time and used them to mock and goad our erring leaders delightfully, justly and powerfully. A phrase-maker of acerbic brilliance, an eccentric presence and an unmistakeable dry contemptuous radio voice, he enriched our knowledge and our moral understanding of the issues of the day with a clarity, and what might be called a rare, romantic realism, like no other in this country.

Like the great cartoonists Low, Scarfe, Pickering and Leak, he showed us inconveniently naked, and did that most necessary thing in our trade: he taught us to behave better.

From Mungo:

Thanks mate — hugely flattering. I must admit I rather enjoyed my 15 minutes of fame, even if I had to die for it. Still, as they say, that’s life. Cheers Mungo.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (56)

Having lost, in a single day, every vote in South Australia by giving our traditional beheaders billions to build our submarines, and having learned with horror that Gillard is guiltless of everything and MH 17 may have been shot down by the Ukrainians not the Russians, and MH 370 could be anywhere, absolutely anywhere, in a quarter of the world, and Putin was coming to Brisbane ready or not, the Liberals planned a distraction,which was rapidly announced by the handsome, tongue-speaking, feverish madman Scott Morrison He would not now imprison children for a hundred years on Nauru, he told the frowning Press Club happily, but enslave them for life in Australia, where they could never work, except illegally, or go to university, thus proving himself a good fellow. This would happen if they got here before January. Fifty others, who came later, would be sold off as child whores to Cambodia, as arranged.

He also announced that terrorists were everywhere. They were going off to Syria, he shouted, speaking rapidly, and coming back with a burning desire to blow up Australia, which they hoped, the heathen swine, to turn into a Europe-sized caliphate, demolishing cathedrals and immolating works of art in weekly bonfires, and forcing Christians to convert or suffer crucifixion or burial alive or beheading, by 2020 or 2022 at the latest. When asked how many of them were currently, stealthily planning this transcontinental jihadic imperial putsch, he said, ‘At least fifty.’ Asked why they would want to so endanger and shame their families, who had grown up here and had friends here, and jobs, and prospects, and young children, he said, ‘They’re like that.’ When asked why ISIS, whose aim is an Iraqi-Syrian-Libyan-Egyptian caliphate, would want to waste their shrinking resources in faraway Brisbane, he said, ‘It’s not just ISIS — there’s hundreds of other organisations. Thousands.’ He began to sweat, but seemed inwardly cheerful enough. He would be Minister For Scaring Heathens for only another week. Then, he knew, or he thought he knew, he would be Prime Minister.

He was rightly pleased with himself, of course. In only a year, after all, he had caused three young men to burn themselves to death, a hundred children to try suicide, ten or twelve women to abort, and twenty overpaid thugs to bash sixty young men, beat the brains out of one, shoot one, throat-slash one, and render one brain-dead by not treating a cut foot and not letting his parents come to his death bed side. Though not as muliplicitous a murderer as Martin Bryant, he was, many thought, in the league, and sweatily, smilingly, handsomely proud of himself, and destined for the Lodge.

Some Logan coppers found some nearby Syrians who were, astonishingly, opposed to Assad and, like Obama, keen that he be overthrown, and they put them in the slammer for twenty-five years. It was presumed they would do the same to Obama when he came to Brisbane for the G7. ‘We’ve heard of him,’ they said. ‘The Kenyan terrorist.’

Obama anounced he would not help out Assad and these young men, probably, were goodies not baddies for wanting to overthrow him. Abbott, uncertain whether to gaol them for life or give them a medal, was then obliged to say what he would do to protect the world’s leaders not just from ISIL but from the Chasers, who might come disguised again, as Rolf Harris perhaps, and any suburban commuter from the Logan Two who might kidnap, say, James Ashby and behead him on Sixty Minutes.

‘Don’t worry,’ whimpered Abbott, ‘it’s all under control. We will have on every railway station scanning machines like those in Parliament House, and at every airport and Opera House opening and Cathedral full-body nude imaging like that in, er…’ His giant Nubian servant Credlin took him away and ‘settled him down’.

He was calmed, and nearly asleep, when word came through that the Gold Coast was a hotbed of Ebola, and no foreign leader was now coming to Brisbane but Putin.

Red Terror Alert (3)

It will be interesting to see how well the G20 is protected from explosive attack now we know some ‘terrorists’ live only thirty miles away, in Logan, and how many nations will come it to it now, in the light of this. It will be remembered that ‘Osama Bin Laden’ got within a few yards of George Bush’s hotel in 2007, and what a goose Howard looked then, and what a laughing-stock Australia. It may be these overdiligent Logan coppers have caused Abbott, world statesman, some inconvenience; or…there may be something else afoot.

It is pretty certain from his healthy, beaming, cocky, sunny demeanour that Morrison will not be Minister for Immigration this time next month. It is widely believed, not least by Leigh Sales in her interview with him last night, that he will be Minister for Defence by Melbourne Cup Day, and no longer subject to UN condemnation for driving so many children to try suicide, so many women to abort, and for covering up a murder, and cyberbullying, and so on, as it will be another Minister’s responsibility, and he will be out of it.

But that may not be the end of it. There may be plans to make him Prime Minister when Abbott, by prearrangement, feigns a medical condition, intense leg pains like Combet’s or whatever, and ‘stands down’, or ‘aside’, or ‘takes a sabbatical’.

For in the crazed world of the Liberals S&M is seen to be their best performer, and not, like Julie Bishop, a famous advocate of lethal blood-coughing cancer. And Abbott, after yesterday losing every last vote in South Australia, and having been shown to have accused the wrong nation, Russia, of shooting down MH 17, and refusing to sell it uranium when we need its billions, and failing to stop Putin from coming to Brisbane, and having to shake his hand there, and so on, may not have many friends left.

And Morrison ‘stopped the boats’. Didn’t he.

It’s nonsense, of course. He no more stopped the boats than he found MH 370 in six months of searching the same dark stormy seas. Boats, or some other form of transport, are getting through all the time. He no more stopped the boats than he runs a hygienic operation on Manus. His every hectic verbal contrivance is mendacious, and his word can’t be trusted on anything. He’s excluded, for instance, the fifty Tamil children from his recent gesture of threatened mercy. They came after Christmas, after all, and so they must be excluded from his amnesty, and sent on to Cambodia to become child whores, as arranged.

This is not a nice man, and he may be Prime Minister next week.

And it’s a worry.

Red Terror Alert (2)

Some boys in Logan have been charged with wanting to fight Assad.

They will get twenty-five years for this, though Obama called Assad a ‘war criminal’ who had ‘crossed the line’ by killing, sometimes with illegal chemicals, two hundred thousand of his own people, and beseeched the Arab world to overthrow him, which these boys wish to do.

It is surprising that disliking him is now such a bad thing, incurring twice the gaol time as a child-rapist-murderer.

Thoughtcrime, they used to call it.

It gets worse and worse.

Shall we now see arrests of those, like me, who thought Maliki wrong to shoot three of Saddam’s lawyers and hang Saddam — and twenty-five of his brothers and cousins — for ruling Iraq far better than he did?

Why is it not?

What can we say?

Whom can we oppose?

Just asking.

Lines For Richard Marles (12)

Minister, if the level goes to ‘high’, will there be body-searches on opening nights at the Opera House? Why not?

Lines For Steve Lewis (1)

How do we know the boats have stopped? Any more than we know where MH 370 is? Where is MH 370, Minister? When do you think we will find it? And in what ocean?

Rafe Revisited: Clarke’s, Burke’s, Llewellyn-Jones’s And Ellis’s Dreaming To Order

(From Rivka Hartman)

Bob Ellis’ readings are always enjoyable – they reflect his boisterous irreverence as well his love and respect for genius.

And now Dreaming to Order is the latest from Bob and his merry band of articulate thespians.

If you like a fabulous evening of wit, words and song while getting to know and appreciate a great character, this show is for you. And Ralph Richardson not just a great character, but a great character-actor, perhaps the greatest of all time.

A single child of a lone mother, RR’s background was fallen middle-class. He was not particularly confident or handsome or driven, but rather rambling, vague and bumbling. Mr No-one from No-where. And maybe it’s this very lack of definition that is the secret of his superb craft.

An actor’s tools are his/her body, voice and sensibility. These tools need to be malleable and controlled with precision. Ralph Richardson was the ultimate malleable and precise human being. An extraordinary ordinary man.

He was not a “capital-A” actor but a true actor – a man who could go un-noticed, who was inhabitedby and disappeared into his roles; he could be mistaken for the man who read the gas meter.

Like great film music and great editing, RR’s acting is so natural and seamless, you don’t notice it. But without it, nothing works.

As a man, Ralph Richardson was a mess of contradictions – both graceful and awkward, smooth operator and bungler, faithful husband and lecher,transgressor of boundaries and stickler for niceties, troublemakerand reactionary.

He was also a bon vivant – a gourmand and drunk. Just listening to the ingredients contained in one of his cocktails, left me with a momentary hangover. Yes, he was often drunk, possibly always. Yet he gave faultless performances, though sometimes from the wrong play. And throughout every shenanigan, his demeanour remained detached and focussed, never ever blousy or blasé.

In the 1940s Richardson was the co-director of the Old Vic Company, along withLaurence Olivierand John Burrell. Olivier who was five years younger, was both colleague and combatant; they had an ongoing relationship that was seldom easy. Richardson was the first of the two to receive a knighthood. More cause for rivalry and discord.

And along with the triumphs, there were gigantic mistakes. Perhaps the greatest was turning down a role in Beckett’s Waiting For Godot. It was not, as Gielgud had advised, a load of unintelligible rubbish – but a ground-breaking work of genius. But RR was establishment and the play was too outre. Sadly for him, he rejected the part. But even sadder for us. Because he was the absolute and archetypal bungling slapstick clown.

For instance, one time when Richardson was visiting Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh’s newly and lovingly refurbished home, he inadvertently set fire to Vivien Leigh’s curtains, a catastrophe difficult to live down, and one which, years later, had an even more disastrous and comic sequel – but you have to hear Bob and Co. tell it. In fact, this whole show is in the telling.

Bob Ellis’s appreciation of talent and those who have it is abundant and generous. In addition to his own large and looming presence, to Dreaming to Order Bob brings the brilliant Tony Llewellyn-Jones as Ralph Richardson, Brandon Burke playing a variety of RR’s fellow-actors, acquaintances, admirers and critics, and the formidable Terry Clarke with his impeccable timing as narrator and occasional walk-on, both male and female.

Like R.R’s acting, Bob’s theatrical instinct is so natural that you take it for granted. And like Bob, the show overflows with love and panache.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (55)

David Irvine, a Liberal voter, said young Australians who opposed Assad would come home and blow up the Opera House. He did not say why they would do this, and thus ruin the lives of their sisters, mothers, nephews and old grandfathers after losing, cataclysmically, their own, and what such an exercise might achieve. A twenty-minute Caliphate of Circular Quay? He did not say why no ‘terrorist’ since Ned Kelly had killed anyone on our soil in 134 years. He said he was quitting on Friday and was throwing a farewell hand grenade over his shoulder, probably, by elevating to ‘high’ a ‘terror level’ that since 9/11 had been ‘medium’ cool’ and would not say why.

A poll showed Julie Bishop, aka ‘the Mesothelioma Princess’, more admired than any other Minister — for, some said, her tireless ‘shuttle diplomacy’ and total failure to get thirty bodies out of a cornfield or to find out who killed them, by mistake or design, and what the evil murderers’ nationality was, and for singing, imperfectly, ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ on the floor of the United Nations till the BBC, aghast, quickly ceased to broadcast proceedings. The true reason, others said, was that she was the only woman in Cabinet, and for this reason women voted for her, and would have done so if her first name had been Bronwyn, and her services to mesothelioma, corpses, Ukraine tourism and the new Cold War had not come into it.

Tony Abbott’s decision to ruin South Australia was criticised. Sending billions of Australian money to Japan, not Adelaide, never to return, was thought by some shallow-minded pundits to be of disadvantage to Australia, and of great advantage to the grandsons of our former beheaders, the Nipponese. It meant, these fiscal innocents further babbled, the money would be spent in Yokahama, not here, and a hundred thousand Australians wouldn’t have any.

‘But we’ll get cheaper submarines!’ Abbott shrieked, ‘like those clever little fuckers that sank the Manly ferry! And, look, look, look, if we’re at war with China, if we’re at war with China, they might build us more of them, and keep up a steady flow of spare parts through contested Arafuran waters! If we’re at war with THEM, however… if we’re at war with them, however…’ He was taken away by his body-servant Credlin and, as the phrase is, ‘settled down’.

S&M prepared his Press Club Luncheon speech acclaiming his own success in ‘protecting our borders’ from the ‘illegals’ who had not drowned because of Labor’s wicked incompetence, and his joy in punishing them for their survival, some with a hundred year sentence among birdshit, septicaemia, child rape and poor schooling on Nauru. He hoped to Christ no-one asked him how long Kehazaei’s wound festered before it was treated, and why he wouldn’t let his parents come to his bed side, or his organs to be distributed among ‘Christian Australians.’

He squared his shoulders, prayed in tongues, and looked at his own dark eyes in the shaving mirror. ‘Hello, beautiful,’ he said.

And he began to practise his speech, which he called ‘The End of History.’

And so concluded another day of the worst free-elected government since the invention of democracy in 934 AD, in Iceland.

Red Terror Alert

David Irvine thinks that young men who fight overseas for a Muslim cause will come back to Australia and commit terrorist acts here. That an opponent of Assad, say, might blow up the Opera House.

It is hard to imagine why he would. He has a mother here, sisters, nephews, an old grandfather, who would be victimised if he did. Who would he do that? Do that to his family?

Why would he do that? What has he got against Australia? It’s where his family prospers, or struggles, or gets by. It’s where they go to school, attend the mosque, give birth, play cricket, skateboard,, go shopping. What he has against Assad is the killing of a quarter of a million of his countrymen. What he has against Maliki is a civil war against the Sunnis that killed, perhaps, fifty thousand of his kinsmen and co-religionists.

But what has he got against Australia? Irvine should tell us what his grudge is, his motive, his strategic plan, his agenda. He should let us into the secret. He should not say, as others said of Lindy Chamberlain, ‘These people do this sort of thing. They don’t need a motive. They just do.’

He proposes to put up the Terror Alert a notch, to High. This is idiotic. The last ‘terrorist’ to kill someone on our soil was Ned Kelly. Backyard pools, brown snakes, red-back spiders, tractor accidents, hailstones, have each killed more people on our soil than a hundred years of terrorism. Cars kill four more a day. Cigarettes forty-six.

It is good this fat fool is leaving his post.

May he fester and twitch in oblivion, jumping at shadows.

Certain Housekeeping Matters (128)

Duck Longsleeves has been banned for life. He called me, wrongly, a racist (I have Indian, Jewish, Welsh and Scottish blood, and Japanese, Chinese, Aboriginal, Irish and even South Yorkshire close friends) and so breached the house rule that you do not say anything about my character unless you know me personally.

He is a piece of lying filth, who will not, hereafter, I hope, have a day’s luck.

Rewarding The Beheaders, The Way You Do

Giving Australian jobs to men whose grandfathers beheaded their grandfathers is not a good look, in some eyes. If these jobs are in the manufacture of war weapons, it feels a little worse.

Would Britain ask Germany to manufacture fighter-bombers, and sack Englishmen, grandsons of Spitfire pilots, to do so? Of course not. Would Israel ask Germany to build their new gas pipe lines and crematoriums? Don’t think so.

Abbott, however, is thick as a brick, and thinks most veterans, in their eighties and nineties, and the widows of the Changi dead, in their eighties and nineties, won’t mind much if the ‘Japs’ take jobs from their grandsons, in the manufacture, design and repair of defense weaponry we might use, sometime, against Asiatic invaders. Is he right about this? Don’t think so.

Thick as a brick.

And so it goes.

Jacqui L

Jacqui Lambie reminds me of some of my old Mum’s working class friends. A recovering alcoholic, a bad mother, a plaintive Army-injured invalid, with a chip on her shoulder, a smack-addicted son and a Bathurst Burr up her arse and a genuine tribal connection to genocide, she is also sharp as a tack, and one of the best users of the English language in our public life. No sentence is ungrammatical, no utterance a lie, and no uttered thought worth dismissing.

And she will be in the Senate, PUP or Independent, till she drops.

I like her, and I wish her well.

She has that quality also that few of our female politicians have, one shared with Bronwyn Bishop, Cheryl Kernot, Jane Lomax-Smith, Vini Ciccarello and Maxine McKew, a pleasing voice — one composed, in her case, in equal parts of Tasmanian honey, asthma, rum and remembered fellatio. I know she will not take this as anything other than the compliment it is meant to be.

I wish her well.

I climaxed the greatest speech I have ever given with a quote from her. She said all university education should be free, and when asked ‘But what if we can’t afford it?’, she said, with a lot of spirit, ‘That question should NEVER be asked!’

What a good woman. What a fine person.

And so it goes.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (54)

Abbott thought it good politics to give thousands of Australian manufacturing jobs to a nation that beheaded Australians in World War 2. David Johnston, appalled, said this bizarre decision was ‘still under discussion’ and had a stiff drink. It was explained to him over several more that Abbott was for his first twenty-four years an Englishman, and was ‘not up to proper Ocker speed yet’.

He was unaware, apparently, that beheading was lately frowned upon, and cheap submarines as a rule no consolation for the grief of the parents and widows and children of innocent beheaded Anzacs, however inexpensive the subsequent war machines supplied by the bombers of Darwin and the slaughterers of Nanjing — illegally, as it happens, because their constitution forbids it, and has done for sixty-nine years. ‘But this nation is great,’ Abbott shrieked, ‘as a builder of submarines! A really, really tiny one sank the Manly ferry! And what a superb achievement that was! What skill! What honour!’ His body-servant Credlin took him away and, as the phrase is, ‘settled him down’.

Pyne said he met Ashby three times and ‘never, ever’ asked what, dear, Slipper was doing that made him ‘uncomfortable’. By mentioning eight hundred available jobs, he ‘never, ever’ suggested he was offering him one; and, when he said he was paying for his lawyer, he was ‘lying, the way I do.’

Brickworks, a property developer, admitted paying for a ‘researcher’ in O’Farrell’s office, breaching the law that property developers give no money to political parties in NSW. Credlin, the Prime Minister’s brain and body-servant, admitted receiving ‘cash for questions’ from Brickworks, about three hundred and forty thousand dollars, no more, but said this affected her employer’s party policy ‘not at all, not a jot, not a tittle’, and rapidly passed on the money to her husband, the Party’s president, who used it, she is said to have said, ‘for private purposes he wouldn’t even tell me about.’

Abbott called the Ashby-Pyne-Brough-Slipper-cunts-in-brine affair ‘old news, at least two years old’, and acclaimed the questioning later this week of Gillard for bribes allegedly taken twenty-two years ago and spent on house extensions as ‘urgent information the nation must, must, must hear, now, now, now.’

S&M rejected criticism of his human rights record — bullying people into burning themselves to death, selling children into sex slavery, and so on — by saying ‘beheading is worse’. He admitted bashing in a head was ‘close’, but ripping organs out of a brain-dead young man after forbidding his parents to see his last hours was ‘common practice, and in line with our humanitarian response to drownings at sea. The more Iranian corpses we mutilate,’ he exhulted, ‘the fewer drownings will occur in the Arafura, it stands to reason.’ He prayed in tongues for the soul of his latest corpse in his church in Cronulla, and found his fellow parishioners shuddering, and looking away as he reached his ultimate, babbling, spittle-flecked climax, and wishing he worshipped somewhere else. ‘It’s not just that he kills people, ‘ one said. ‘He sends them to Hell, and he seems to enjoy it.’

Abbott emphasised our troops would go to Iraq to ‘train’ them to fight the troops we previously ‘trained’, and turned into crucifying maniacs. ‘It is to be hoped,’ he said, licking dry lips, ‘that this new lot of trainees will turn into sober peaceloving democrats, once they have murdered every last crucifying and beheading fanatic they can find, including their own family members.

‘Trust us. We know what we’re doing.’

And so concluded one more day of the worst free-elected government in the history of democracy, a system invented in Iceland in AD 934.

Today’s Newspoll

Today’s Newspoll, once more not listing PUP but giving its preferences to the Liberals, ringing only landlines and alleging three million Australians to be ‘uncommitted’ on who should be Prime Minister, has Labor half a million votes ahead of the Coalition and likely to win back twenty-seven seats and government. This is 120,000 more votes than it won, in Newspoll, a fortnight ago.

Under heavy Murdoch instructions, Shorten was not allowed to beat Abbott as Preferred Prime Minister and got, like Abbott, 37, though he got 36 satisfied and 43 dissatisfied against Abbott’s 35 and 54. Logic would suggest he is ahead on these figures but Rupert has spoken, and there you go.

Some find O’Shannessy’s chronic fraud risible but I do not. Even though his margin of error gives Labor 55, and this is a good guess, it is criminal he does not ring mobiles (and therefore anyone under forty) and that he falsely distributes half a million of Palmer’s preferences to the Liberals when, after the co-payment, the new HECS fees and the rancorous assault on old age pensions, no PUP voters favour them any more.

I call, again, for Premier Andrews to investigate, arrest and imprison O’Shannessy, and throw away the key.

Yesterday’s Morgan

Yesterday’s Morgan shows Labor down to 54, the women on 56.5, the men 51.5 in the two weekends before then.

This sounds about right. The Carbon and Mining tax went, the roof-batts inquiry bucketed Rudd and Garrett, a second beheaded American invited war in Iraq, Abbott sold uranium to India and his first anniversary as PM was cautiously celebrated.

And he picked up only 180,000 votes, and would still lose thirty-eight seats and government.

The poll occurred before Pyne was shown to have offered Ashby inducements if he framed Slipper and Abbott to have campaigned in Brickworks factories after getting, illegally, a quarter of a million dollars from them, and then to have cancelled all submarine building in South Australia. It is likely after those clangers that Labor will be back up to 57 again soon, in this, the accurate poll; and, if we go to war in Iraq, 59.

And it is doubtful the Liberals, under anyone, can come back from there.

Classic Ellis: Holmes And The Strange Case Of Ashby’s Arse

‘Harassment, you say, Watson? Harassment?’

‘Harassment, Holmes, indeed. Thrown out by the court.’

‘This Ashby, Watson,’ my old friend stoked his meerschaum with crack cocaine, ‘is the only thirty-four year old male so inconvenienced in history.’

‘He is unique, you say?’

‘I do say. No other man’ –– raising his voice, Holmes got to his feet and addressed his macaw Montezuma, who listened keenly – ‘no other full-grown man in recorded history has professed himself to be so affronted at such mild banter, nor yet has denounced what must be adjudged the equivalent of a dirty postcard as a threat to his genitalia.’

‘Nor yet asserted so ludicrously that it was genitalia heretofore unfondled.’

‘A subject for Aristophanes, were he living, to make money with in the West End.’

‘It is a puzzle, Holmes, indeed.’

‘Or Aeschylus, perhaps, on Broadway.’

‘Or Sophocles,’ I mused. ‘Or, of course, Ben Travers.’

Holmes blew smoke at Montezuma, who flinched, and began to totter on his perch. ‘It is not a puzzle, Watson,’ he said softly, choosing his words with care, ‘it is a conspiracy.’

‘Oh, come now, Holmes,’ I protested affably, ‘these are mere Queenslanders, not skulking Venezuelan macchiavellian proto-Marxists armed with machetes. Conspiracy theories, in this day and age … ‘

‘Consider the facts, Watson.’ My friend slid the front page of The Times into the bottom of the parrot-cage, on the perch of which Montezuma was beginning to snore, and mutter selections from Hamlet in his sleep. ‘A young attractive man, Ashby, wooed by a smooth and powerful sodomite, Slipper, meets Brough, his wooer’s greedy rival, in secret, and after certain discussions in Surfer’s Paradise moves in with his wooer, refusing to leave the shower door open, accepts work in his office, begins flirtatiously to “text” him, then professes to be horrified by what he gets back, in jovial smutty man-to-man response.’

‘He is acting unworthily, surely.’

‘No, Watson, no, “unworthily” is not the word.’ Holmes slapped Montezuma about the beak until the big bird recovered his senses. ‘It is mendaciousness, cock-teasing, moral sabotage, a form of blackmail. By launching the court case, much as my friend Lord Queensbery did against the bloated woofter Wilde, he was able to make public a private, light-hearted phrase or two .. ‘

‘Cunts in brine, Holmes.’

‘Precisely, Watson. Cunts, as you most accurately asseverate, in brine. A phrase which toppled from office the second highest official in the land …’

‘The third, surely Holmes. There is, above the GG, the Queen.’

‘In the land, Watson, in the land. Do pay attention.’

‘I apologize, of course …’

‘Which conspiracy, in wartime, against this most high official, twice elected, by both his constituents and the House, is treason.’

‘Treason, Holmes?’ I revolved this grave charge and nibbled one of Mrs Hudson’s excellent buns. ‘Punishable by … Holmes?’ I at last had the boldness to ask this.

‘Beheading, Watson. Beheading, in the Tower.’

‘For Ashby alone?’

‘For Ashby, Pyne, Brough, Brandis and Abbott.’

‘Abbott as well.’ I pondered momently, in half-dream, the good man’s hairy torso, and imagined it headless, on a slab, and my tender probing autopsy.

‘He taunted, Watson, the Speaker of the House on a regular basis, proclaiming him a slimeball, to the grief of his nation, and his wives, and his family. Hoping to unsettle his mind, and break his spirit; and drive him ..’

‘To suicide, Holmes?’

‘Of course not, Watson. You go too far.’

‘What, Holmes, is to be done?’

Holmes’s mood had improved; because, I imagine, of the cocaine; and he carried Montezuma on his shoulder now and stroked his head as he spoke with increasing fervour of this latest hypothesis to engage his brilliant, questing, unforgiving, fecund, fervid, forensic mind. ‘I have made communication, Watson, with my friend McTernan, a profound laconic Sassenach strategian of the Socialist persuasion, and urged him to enact with speed a Senate Enquiry into Liberal wrongdoing in the present millennium. Not just this, but the AWB, the WMD, the children overboard, the framing of Hanson, the stalking of Thomson, the ever-widening net of intrigue and entrapment attendant on Abbott’s and Costello’s assault on the civil rights and smirchless name of my pen-friend Robert Ellis …’

‘Surely, Holmes, you go too far.’

‘Never too far, Watson, never too far, when wickedness is to be exposed!’ My old friend grew feverish, and Montezuma concurrently apprehensive of his balance on the deerstalker. ‘As my keen young imprisoned albino friend Assange said to me only yesterday ….’ He could not for a moment recall what had been said. Then he did. ‘L’audace, toujours, l’audace!’

‘The audacity of hope,’ I murmured, helpfully but fruitlessly.

‘Just so, Watson, just so,’ Holmes muttered wearily, looked up with an air of inspiration and fell unconscious to the floor. It was not, I fear, for the first time in recent months, since his latest addiction had taken hold, that he had so succumbed in mid-peroration to its evil effects. Montezuma rose flapping in the air as he collapsed, then alighting on his prone form solemnly pecked at his ear, in vain.

Was my old friend dead? I bent with my stethoscope over him, obscurely blaming Ashby, also known as Kabuki Jim, for this ugly colonial happenstance; much like the case, now before the courts, of Greig and Christian, the dead Punjabi nurse and the briefly imperilled foetus of our future King.

‘He’s breathing,’ I said, with relief.

‘Elementary, my dear Watson,’ chirped Montezuma, not for the first time.

I gave him the rest of my bun, and sighed a prayer of thanks.

The Three Worst Things The Liberals Did Yesterday (53)

Abbott described as ‘discreditable, squalid, sordid, miserable and over’ Peter Slipper, whose vote elected him Leader, when asked what he knew of Pyne’s and Brough’s attempt to gaol, in an act of treason, the second highest official in the land for crimes akin to groping young males in office hours. Pyne called a lie what was plainly the truth: that he promised Ashby would get a job and lawyers’ expenses if he brought down Slipper and put the Liberals one vote closer to power — and, after that, in power absolutely once they drove Craig Thomson to suicide. ‘I would never do that,’ Pyne hissed, contradicting thirty years of his nasty, vengeful, audacious, mendacious, bitchy history. ‘I would never do that. Power is not my priority, and never has been. I’d sooner die.’

Peta Credlin, a Liberal voter, was revealed to have let a company called Brickworks give a quarter of a million dollars to the Liberal Party, in New South Wales, through channels she nominated. She denied having discussed this, in pillow-talk, with her husband Loughnane, the Federal President of the Liberal Party. ‘We have so little pillow-talk these days,’ she is said to have said. ‘I am so often overseas with Tony Abbott, I barely speak to him at all.’

$inodino$, a former NSW President of the Liberal Party, and O’Farrell, a former Premier, will be interrogated by ICAC tomorrow, and it is hard to see how the Liberal Party, whose only stated purpose is ‘kickbacks to criminal and semi-criminal donors and positions post-politics on their Boards’, will not now finger Abbott, a Sydneysider whose electorate includes Manly, and Hockey, who dominates North Sydney, where a lot ‘developments’ occur, and selfless ‘developers’ like to lunch with him from time to time for twenty thousand dollars per Chinese meal, and hear him attractively whinge about Palmer, Turnbull and ‘fucking Friedman’, his innumerate betrayer, and drink all the costlier Grange at the table, belching after each course as befits a man of his proud Arabian heritage.

Bribery, amazingly, is not yet a gaoling offence on this continent, but will be soon under Premiers Andrews, Robertson and Palaszczuk, their elections now made inevitable by these noisome ICAC findings, widening and multiplying by the hour and reaching octopus tentacles round the throats of every Liberal, LNP, CLP, National Party and crossbench member of parliament currently unindicted, undisgraced and unbeseeched to leave now, quickly, by Baird who lives in Manly and prays on his jog most mornings the pointing finger will not point at him.

‘I did do that,’ Pyne hissed, revising his evidence. ‘Or, rather,’ he is said to have said over a frozen margarita, ‘I almost did it. I told him there were jobs he might get, in eight States and Territories and the federal jusdiction and the diplomatic service, but I didn’t, didn’t didn’t offer him any. I would never do that, never. And I said we’d pay for his lawyer, then warmly agreed we wouldn’t.

‘I met him only fourteen times for drinks, no more than that. He’s a very attractive person. What he’s been through is hell. Emails about his arse, and what cunts are said to look like, from an older man who’s seen one. Seen both. I can’t begin to imagine what that would be like. I would positively sob in my pillow till morning. I don’t think I could cope with it.’

Abbott said some submarines would not be built, any more, in Adelaide by Australians but in Japan by Japanese, of whom he lately said, ‘I admire the skill and honour with which you sank the Manly ferry some years back’, which made them, he said, ‘more deserving of Australian money than mere Australians, who can go fuck themselves, and go broke, in that order, for daring to put back a Labor Premier, and an ex-Liberal Leader as his consort. ‘It is important,’ he is said to have said, ‘we eliminate all Australian industry from the world economy. We must urgently embrace our manifest destiny, of urgently becoming, the Mexico of Asia — supplying nannies to Indonesia, aerobics instructors to Hong Kong, and serving bonzer cuisine in our takeaway Thai and Indian restaurants in suburban Sydney. We have gone in three generations from a nation of peasants to a nation of waiters,’ he exhulted, licking dry lips, ‘and this is our future; and you, you ex-working men, you ex-car builders and submarine designers, can now retrain as shelf packers, toilet cleaners and curry deliverers, after six months of total poverty. So let it be written, so let it be done.’

And so concluded one more day of the worst democratically elected government in a thousand years of that sysem’s history, since its invention in Iceland in 934 AD.

One Hundred Things That Abbott Got Wrong In His First Year In Power

(First published by Independent Australia)

He said those who wanted an independent Scotland were enemies of ‘freedom’ and ‘justice’. He said Putin had personally ordered the shooting down of MH17. He said there was a cover-up, and proposed to ‘bring to justice’, presumably in shackles, Putin and his co-conspirators. He promised to ‘bring them home’, and after spending fifty million dollars, failed to do so. He spent half a billion failing to find, in three oceans, one skerrick of MH370. He failed to investigate what was obviously true, that Americans in Diago Garcia shot it down. He uttered no word of criticism of the mass murderers of Joe Hockey’s relatives in Gaza.

He promised no cuts to health, education, Gonski, NDIS, SBS and the ABC, and broke all these promises. He let Pyne, who paid nothing for his degree and eighty thousand for his house, charge the next generation two million dollars for these advantages. He defended Brandis when he said, ‘We all have a right to be bigoted.’ He proposed legislation which, if enacted, would have put Mark Regev in gaol for twenty-five years. He proposed legislation that would have put in gaol for twenty-five years all Australians who, in Syria, opposed Assad, an unpopular greedy slaughter of his own people, a quarter of a million of them thus far. He redefined ‘disability’, demanding disabled people get a job, or else. He effectively told teenage girls who did not accept available employment as whores they would get no money for six months.

He proposed to take away Schoolkids’ Money that would give some families 2,400 dollars in a year, and most families 800 dollars. He denied all money to the car industry, and destroyed it. This caused the ending, in the next three years, of a hundred thousand jobs and the distortion or destruction of half a million lives.

He opposed gay marriage and would not let the Liberals, some of whom are gay, vote their conscience on it. He believes his sister will fry in Hell for it.

He let Scott Morrison’s cyberbullying cause two young men to burn themselves to death, and one to try to. He approved the unhygienic conditions which caused the death of Hamid Kehazaei and the brutish regime which injured with violence sixty young men in one night, killed one, shot one, and slashed another’s throat. He approved Morrison’s proposal to sell into slavery, and probably sexual slavery, fifty children in Cambodia. He approved Morrison’s bizarre idea that children now infants should serve a hundred years on Nauru, not leaving it to marry or seek a university education, for the vile unforgiveable crime of having got here last September, not the previous June.

He proposed to go back to war in Iraq and fight those crucifying savages the previous war had created. He did not apologise for his hero, Howard, having fuelled a war that killed, wounded, or exiled six million people, including all the dentists, and engendered by its brutalities ISIS, the nastiest mob of cutthroats since the Spanish Inquisition. He called ISIS a ‘death cult’ though his own fierce faith, with its crucified hero, burnt martyrs, torturing inquisitors, beheaded Apostles, auctioned saints’ fingers, Holy Crusades against the Infidel, and weekly eaten Christ, was and is a death-driven madness also.

He defied the world on Global Warming, and got an unimaginative capitalist to propose the end of solar power and the embellishment of coal. Though the Carbon Tax had brought down emissions, he abolished it. Though he said he would keep the carbon reduction 2020 target, he did not contradict those who wanted, now, to abandon it.

He said he would get the Budget back into surplus, then spent twelve billion dollars this year on a rich women’s baby bonus, a useless jet fighter and a pointless search for a drowned plane, and refused to reconfigure Super deductions that would bring to the government four billion (per year) its coffers needed.

He said ‘It’s all about trust’ and became the least trusted leader in Australian, or British, history. He became, as well, the least popular Prime Minister, in his first six months, in world history. He swore he had broken no promises, not one, three hundred times.

It is thought his proposal to provoke World War 3 in the Ukraine, and Armageddon in Iraq, will gain him votes and show him to be a world statesman but he may wrong about this. The electorate may be tired of expending billions on doomed incompetent missionary wars and bringing traumatised Anzacs back from them, in coffins and wheelchairs. He thinks that selling uranium to a country likely to use it, in atomic bombs, on a Taliban Pakistan, which will respond with atomic bombs of its own, in Iran as well as India, is wise policy.

He is as mad, and stupid as that. He thinks that a fresh crisis a day will distract attention from his incompetence and cruelty. He may be right about that, thus far.

But the Ashby interview last night, and Morrison’s assistance to escaping murderers, and his own confessed and proven misuse of travel funds (twenty times Peter Slipper’s mere nine hundred dollars) will do for him eventually. And so will Sinodinos’s and Credlin’s part in the crimes that ICAC is daily uncovering. And so will O’Farrell, Napthine, Hamilton-Smith, Costello and Turnbull, who hate him.

And so will Clive Palmer.

And so it goes.

The Return Of The Mussels In Brine

(From Dali)

So, James Ashby approaches Liberal MP Wyatt Roy, to ask for help and advice about how to handle the sexual harassment he had received from then Parliamentary speaker Peter Slipper.

Then Roy introduces him to Christopher Pyne, who has drinks with him in the Speaker’s office, while the Speaker is downstairs doing his job, and Pyne offers to find him legal assistance which would be paid for and a job in state politics if he made a claim of sexual harassment against speaker of the House of Representatives Peter Slipper.

Pyne has always denied that he spoke to Ashby about his concerns, but Ashby says Pyne warned him “if you discuss or tell anyone we’ve had this discussion I’ll be forced to come out publicly and call you a pathological liar.”

The next day, Roy calls Ashby with a solicitor’s name, number, and email, and was told he could trust the lawyer. Ashby has just said “ It gave me a lot more confidence knowing that the complaint I was about to make wasn’t going to be held against me.”

Pyne has just said once more he “had no specific knowledge of the allegations made by Mr Ashby and the first I knew that he was suing Mr Slipper was when I read it in the newspapers… This is a dispute between two individuals – not a dispute that includes me or any other member of the government.”

Of course, not content with orchestrating the removal of one speaker, Pyne now gives orders to the Liberal Speaker Bronwyn Bishop – Look for Christopher Pyne Strange Behaviour on Youtube.

There has to be a Royal Commission into this tampering with the Office of the Speaker and the conspiracy to bring down the government by these beerhall blackshirts! They are in it up to their reptilian necks! What scum! What hypocrites!

I made this in December 2012

What slime Team Abbott are will be seen by refusing to set up an enquiry into their sabotaging of parliament, while setting one up for their own political agrandisement, and then sabotaging that, when it looked set to backfire.

How??

Royal commissioner Ian Hanger has accused the Abbott government of “hampering” the insulation royal commission with a last-minute dump of 100,000 official documents, while “extraordinarily” failing to suggest how the Rudd government’s insulation scheme’s four deaths could have been avoided.

Hanger has delivered a damning assessment of the federal government’s performance during the nine-month, $20 million investigation.

He revealed the federal government failed to hand over crucial documents quickly and without a formal summons, failed to legally represent bureaucrats, failed to suggest possible witnesses and failed to “elicit any evidence of its own volition”. “All of this despite the fact that it was the repository of the critical documents and the corporate knowledge of what had transpired,” Mr Hanger said in his 360-page report. “Furthermore, the commonwealth hampered the work of those assisting me by the way documents were produced.”

Senator Brandis who personally chose Hanger for the task would not be drawn on Hanger’s pointed criticism of the role the federal government played at the inquiry. Funny that.

They’re ALL mussels in brine.