Kevin Rudd, fail whale:

Jenny Morris writes: Re. “Essential: Rudd is damaged goods, and badly damaging Labor in turn” (Monday, item 1). Regarding your stories on Kevin Rudd’s fall in the polls (an undeniable decline), and the scathing comments in your Comments section yesterday. Amazing how quickly everyone sticks the boots into Kevin Rudd.

Why is the loathing so personal? I was reflecting only last week (to self, and others) how nasty political commentary had become in this country — bilious, vitriolic, simplistic and generally unconstructive.

It’s laughable that the media, so enmeshed in the sound-bite driven politics in this country and largely responsible (with a few exceptions) for the lack of sensible public debate, now turns on Kevin Rudd for spin and media management. Pot, kettle, black, anyone? What’s the alternative anyway? Tony Abbott and a Liberal Party without any policy inspiration, still directionless without the iron hand of Howard at the tiller, leading Australia ever downwards as it destroys the fabric of Australian public life with a “me first, bugger anyone who’s a different colour and not already here” rhetoric?

And speaking of JWH, I suspect the inane “debate” in our media (and politicians’ response to it) arises largely from the Howard years, where there was little if any meaningful debate, voters were bought off with pots of money our future couldn’t afford, the public service was demoralized and run into the ground, and the media got used to playing a negative game.

Maybe Rudd and his government are reaping what Howard sewed for all those years.

Chris Lehmann writes: What we were promised by Rudd:

  • cheaper fuel(fuel watch)
  • cheaper groceries (grocery watch)
  • child care centres (eliminate the double drop off)
  • mega GP clinics
  • ETS
  • success at Copenhagen
  • improved mental health services
  • eliminate homelessness
  • 2020 summit
  • fix the hospital system by mid 2009
  • lower interest rates
  • “evidence based policy”
  • “poker machines are evil”
  • stop the boats
  • education revolution
  • a laptop per child (toolbox of the future)
  • co-operative federalism
  • an end to the blame game
  • progress on indigenous housing
  • “closing the gap”
  • …….

What we got:

  • None of the above….
  • $140 billion of public debt
  • massive waste in the school halls program
  • waste and danger from the insulation program
  • three completed homes in the NT to solve the housing crisis in aboriginal communities, etc, etc.

It’s all hyperbole and spin ad infinatum. To mangle Winston Churchill…. “never has so much been promised by so few costing so much and achieving so little.”

It’s used car salesmanship 101, over promise to get the sale, and then blame everyone else when the product doesn’t live up to the sales pitch.

I shudder to think what we would get from another three years with this mob.

David Cameron and Gordon Brown:

Keith Thomas writes: Re. “Rundle’s UK: Brown resigns, a Labour/Lib-Dems union beckons” (yesterday, item 4). The very first thing David Cameron said in public as British Prime Minister was both untrue and loaded with spin: he acknowledged that Britain under Labour had “become a more open society at home and a more compassionate one abroad” or words to that effect. Begin as you intend to continue?

How long before the British become as disenchanted with their new leader as Australians have become with Kevin Rudd and Americans with Barack Obama?

Russell Bancroft writes: Gordon Brown (with apologies to The Stranglers):

Gordon Brown Labour’s poor son
Laying down from power he runs
Sometime last night
Gave up the fight
Always a frown with Gordon Brown

Not this time, not like the last
Tony Blair, a memory past
Back to Scot-land
Wringing his hands
Always a frown with Gordon Brown

To the backbench, no give it a miss
Some company board he’ll be heading

Came to London
From far away
Election today
Always a frown with Gordon Brown

Always a frown
With Gordon Brown

Always a frown
With Gordon Brown

Fat finger fubar:

Niall Clugston. writes: Re. “Still no news on why or how the crash happened” (yesterday, item 21). Glenn Dyer wrote on the cause of Thursday’s US stock market crash: “Five days after the crash, those who should know, can’t or won’t say. Can’t is more like it.”

Well, I think it’s “won’t”.  The nonsense that it was due to a trader with a “fat finger” went round the world and was reported as fact.  This had the initial effect of calming international markets, which was no doubt the intention.  None of the subsequent enquiries have unearthed anything, but by now only Glenn Dyer remembers the issue and it can safely be declared dead.

The truth is the market freefall was as “rational” as any of its other movements, but this isn’t what the public is supposed to hear.

Kossmann and trial by media:

Peter Wilms writes: Re. “Trial by media goes for the doctor: come up empty handed” (yesterday, item 17).  The case of Dr Thomas Kossmann and trial by media is redolent of the way in which Jim Selim, the founder of Pan Pharmaceuticals, was treated as his world fell about him with the company’s forced and unjustified closure in 2003 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. At the time TGA did one of the best hatchet jobs seen and used the media to vilify and demonise Selim while peddling tendentious arguments to justify its decision to destroy the company.

Having destroyed the company with the help of a compliant media, it then set about pursuing Selim personally,  concocting a range of criminal charges that, if proven, could have resulted in a lengthy prison term. Again the media appeared to be in thrall to the TGA. Notwithstanding Selim beat all charges and then turned the tables on the TGA by bringing a massive civil damages action against the Commonwealth. In that case he proved that executives of the TGA had acted outside their powers, had been guilty of misfeasance and had been negligent in their duties. It was a slap in the face for the reputation of the Commonwealth public service in general and the TGA in particular.

In his civil case Selim was awarded $50 million in damages. Perhaps Kossmann could learn something from Selim’s experience of dealing with authorities and the media when they decide to work together to destroy reputations and lives.

The burqa:

Mike Carey writes: Frank Birchall (yesterday, comments) is right, a clear view of the face helps define us. I propose we ban beards, especially big, bushy, Dick Adams,  Ned Kelly, Henry Parkes hirsuteness. The burqu equals beard envy.

Peter Burnett writes: Senator Cory Bernardi may be on the right track with his demand that we should ban the burqa as a way of stopping un-Australian criminal behaviour. Please find attached some illustrations as evidence for his thesis that bandits cover their face during robberies.

Ban the burqa

Ban the burqa 2

Ban the burqa 3

Dad’s Army vs. Tony Abbott:

CRIKEY: In yesterday’s Comments section Crikey reader Glen Frost wrote:

That picture the Libs are using with all the big red arrows pointing into Australia (representing the tsunami inflows of illegal boat people) reminds me of the beginning of that great BBC institution, Dad’s Army; whereby Adolf’s red arrows flowed across Europe and almost invaded England…

Could you run a photo of the Dad’s Army “Map of Europe” next to The Liberal’s “stop the illegal’s” advert so your readers can compare (the farce)?

We then asked our wonderful readers for some help because with the Federal Budget and deadline looming we were unable to initiate investigation to find said picture. And my! didn’t Crikey‘s readers respond!

We’d like to thank Fiona, Elizabeth, Erin, Victoria, Robert, Edward, Michael, Steve, Andrew, Robert, Keith, Mike and Sharlene for sending in the image to us (which was apparently on Possum’s blog but we missed it).

So here it is (via YouTube)…



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