My respondents have heated up as they do from time to time and are now yelling and fighting and calling each other cunts and saying boo sucks Labor is on the way out everywhere.
It’s an old right wing technique. You distract and busy the enemy with matters other than policy, with personal attack and fabricated scandals (Slipper, Strauss-Kahn, Edwards, Lewinski) and remove him/her from contention with a tsunami of graffiti, nudges and blithering.
In the Gillard Government’s case it is an attempt — and it may succeed — to ‘overshadow’ with a charge of sexual harassment a hundred and sixty good laws and the best economy in the world and the first significant hobbling of the tobacco industry and its murderous daily worldwide poisoning of children, and give an impression that a good and busily achieving government is incompetent and tottering from crisis to crisis and bring it down. The cry used to be ‘There will never be a Budget surplus from this government.’ Now it’s ‘Peter Slipper’s Cabcharges have brought it to its terminal crisis, resign, resign.’
The hysteria has been well managed and has fooled even Fran Kelly.
But in fact it has no numerical basis. Peter Slipper’s vote will stay with Labor, and the figures are 77-73 on significant legislation with or without him in the chair. If Andrew Wilkie changes his vote, they will be 76-74. If Peter Slipper is no longer Speaker, someone else will be.
And that Speaker has the power to remove, say, Bronwyn Bishop from the House for a week at a time repeatedly and frequently and thus improve Labor’s numbers if Abbott refuses a pair, as he is likely to do, to Bob Carr or Stephen Smith or a sick, miscarrying member.
Because this is what the Liberals are like. They do not build anything (except, in Baillieu’s case, prisons), they do not make anything (name a Liberal-funded Opera House or Snowy River scheme) and prefer to tear things down as a rule (O’Farrell the monorail, Newman Queensland’s literature and its Barrier Reef); they can only work on crisis, and will feverishly forge a crisis wherever they can. War refugees escaping tyranny and seeking a better life for their children is a crisis. Stephen Conroy saying ‘fucking fantastic’ is a crisis. Kevin Rudd saying ‘mate’ to Kerry O’Brien is a crisis, nay, a ‘meltdown’. Belinda Neal speaking sternly to a waiter is a crisis. David Campbell visiting a bath-house is a crisis. But a war for ten years on the wrong country in which a hundred thousand children die is not a crisis, it’s good policy.
Like Murdoch, the Liberals cheat. It’s what they do. And it’s all they do. In the end all they want is CEOs on two thousand dollars an hour to be earning instead three thousand dollars an hour for doing very little work, and this is their guiding theology. And everything else they rail against — the arts, the friends of the forests, Slipper’s Cabcharges, Broadband– are a smokescreen over that mindless greed for more and more money for fewer and fewer people and everybody else replaced by machines or in the servant class as they were in Edwardian times.
Let my smirching, harassing respondents know therefore from this time forward that I am on to them, and whenever they advert overweeningly to personality not policy I will delete their contributions. They will not scare away my intelligent readers with an impression of carnage, obscenity, rapine, panty-sniffing and mindless riot. It may work with Peter Slipper and ruin him. It will not work with me.
They have been warned.