Headlines this morning like ” Jones ‘incited’ Cronulla violence on air ” and reports that “broadcaster Alan Jones may be forced to undergo ‘training’ or a condition may be put into 2GB’s licence to stop it allowing vilifying comments to go to air” are excruciatingly predictable.

As is Jones’ response  that the regulator ACMA has “little radio experience or knowledge of talkback radio”. As is the Parrot himself?

It may be worthwhile to do a little bit of etymology here. The name “the Parrot” derives from early Roy and HG and Jones’s days as the Australian rugby union coach and talk of “the Parrot screeching on the sidelines”.

Sydney has been called Jonestown, but at last month’s NSW state election, Labor strategists decided Jones was doing little more than still screeching on the sidelines. They didn’t see any point in sending Iemma into the Parrot cage to brave that beak.

Many years ago, Crikey’s Parrot Droppings column identified Jones’s Sméagol/Gollum attitude towards the ALP. Chris Masters liked the line so much he borrowed it for his book.

It’s pretty clear that NSW Labor have decided that there’s no point in trying to appeal to the smiley Sméagol side of Jones because most of the time he’s on air he’s grasping, grumpy Gollum. And it’s going to be interesting to see if Kevin Rudd’s handlers adopt the same approach. They may well reason that while Jones commands an audience, he doesn’t actually sway any votes, that the vast majority of his listeners have already made up their minds which way they’ll vote.

In his uproarious Enough Rope interview , John Laws famously said of Jones and David Flint, “They’re both little men. Both like matching ties and handkerchiefs.”

The same could be said of the Prime Minister and Jones.

And if the Prime Minister isn’t cutting through, then there’s just as much a chance that Jones is only preaching to the converted.

His general credibility is currently open to question. Take Fincorp, for example. All the Parrot’s squawking now will do little to put any money back into pockets of listeners who lost out when what he called in advertisements on 2GB “a great Australian company that offers investors high returns and charges no fees” went kaput.

So while we’re sorry for encouraging Monty Python bores, we have to ask if this parrot is no more, if ‘e has ceased to be, if ‘e’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker, if e’s a stiff, bereft of life, if ‘e rests in peace, if ‘is metabolic processes are now ‘istory, if ‘e’s off the twig, if ‘e’s kicked the bucket, if ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible.

The plumage don’t enter into it.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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