Hugo Kelly has covered politics for many years in Canberra and Melbourne and also did a stint as a political spinner so he’s got the insight to pull together excellent columns such as this one.

Jonathan has been spending his time in Pakistan practically begging the Taliban mullahs to attack Australia. When he first asked the Taliban’s PR mullah two weeks ago whether Australia was now subject to the jihad imposed on the US, all he got was hearty laughter from the mullahs and the assembled international news hacks.

That didn’t stop our Jonathan. He asked a second time, and received a throwaway response that America was big enough to look after itself. It didn’t need Australia’s military help.

Undeterred, he fired the same question to the mullah once again, last Thursday. Finally, things looked promising. The mullah rose to the bait – obviously a slow news day in Islamabad. Not that Jonathan got exactly the response he was after; he had to ask several times, getting more specific with each question, before the mullah spoon fed him the response he’d been seeking for weeks.

Yes! Alright! Australia is under the jihad. Now we can all tremble in fear, thanks to Jonathan’s one man jihad campaign.

And, yes, all you Muslim taxi drivers, next time you pick up an Aussie businessman from the airport, feel free to take the long route to the city via Broadmeadows. Not forgetting to deliberately miss all the lights along the way. Jonathan’s jihad decrees it.

And, yes, Sydney Road hallal bakeries, you can now jack up the price of bread and tibulleh for infidels.

Interestingly, a few weeks ago, Jon Faine had Jonathan’s wife and mum on his radio show talking about how they handle the perils of being family of a brave war correspondent. How nice of him to get all warm and inclusive and throw them – and the rest of us – into the warzone.

PETER KNOTT SERIAL PEST

Having recovered from a nasty attack of the infectious Cheryl Kernot spores, Kim Beazley has had to swat away a plague of Peter Knott.

Knott is probably – and this is a big call – the thickest individual ever to hold a seat in the lower house. Which is no sin. It’s just that he saves his stupidity for elections.

His latest blunder – doing a Mundine and blaming the US for the September 11 attacks on itself while campaigning to win back his seat – brings back fond memories of the performance in the 1993 election that earned him the most evocative nickname in politics.

He was taking PM Paul Keating on a tour of shops in his lovely coastal NSW electorate of Gilmore. A nice pic fac for the media. Now these things are always meticulously planned, setting up friendly voters to meet the visiting dignitary, with potential nasty surprises like non-Labor voters, screened out.

Keating and his people naturally assumed local MP Knott knew where best to take the PM, who was fighting a rear-guard attack against Hewson’s GST in a desperately close election. So Keating had no problem visiting the local bakery. Pointing to a cake, Keating told the friendly merchant: “You know, that cake would be more expensive under the GST.”

“Actually,” replied our baker. “I’ve done the sums, and it will be cheaper. As a matter of fact, since you’ve raised the issue, I reckon Fightback will be good for retailers and great for the economy.”

Keating retreated from the shop, cameras recording the priceless look of puzzlement and fury on the PM’s face, the media lapped it up and a day’s coverage was lost to the incident.

Funnily enough, PJK never visited Knott’s electorate again, and never again referred to Knott by name. He did, however, give him a new name, which was heard loudly and bitterly whenever Knott was mentioned in his presence: “the c#[email protected] from the cakeshop.”

And now, eight years later, the cake has risen again. It would be ironic to see the Rhodes Scholar derailed by the twit from the southcoast.

AUNTY’S TRUE COLORS?

Back to the election. Crikey, we knew Aunty was a hotbed of Labor fellow-travellers – look what they’re just done to that nice Mr Shier. But how’s this for a line from ABC radio’s co-presenter of the World Today, Eleanor Hall.

Eleanour told listeners at the end of last Wednesday’s show: “You may have heard me say yesterday after Labor announced its preference deal with the Democrats: ‘hopefully it will do them some good.’

“Oh dear. That was a slip of the tongue. What I meant to say was: ‘Labor will be hoping it does them some good’.”

Glad we got that clear.

HUNG PARLIAMENT, ANYONE?

Just a thought.

John Howard’s desperate trips round the country telling everyone not to vote Independent shows how much he fears a hung parliament, or Independents getting the balance of power in the lower house. Works well in Victoria.

Feedback to [email protected] or direct to Hugo at [email protected]

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