Thursday, 2 February 2012

Long pause between drinks, posts.

Real life has a way of getting in the way, you see.

Anywhere, where were we? Ah yes, Julia Gillard is sinking into a sea of complete fail. Along with the economy going steadily south, illegal arrivals at an all-time high (not to mention drownings thereof) and the Damocles' Sword of Craig Thomson's "did he commit a criminal offence for which he must leave Parliament or did he not?" everlasting inquiry, we have Liberal defector Peter Slipper (now officially an independent) with his own spending issues (he's had them for a long time, before Gillard even offered him the post) and the recent kerfuffle in which Aboriginal activists surrounded a restaurant and offered aggression to the person of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

A rather dismal episode, that: Mr Abbott was alleged to have said that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy should be pulled down (a statement he did not actually make, but which IIRC Aboriginal former ALP president Warren Mundine has on one occasion made), and someone within Ms Gillard's office - allegedly operating alone - reported his whereabouts (through the agency of another person allegedly somewhat associated with Ms Gillard) to the madding crowd nearby. In the rush to get away, Ms Gillard lost a shoe, someone took it, and it briefly made an appearance on e-bay.

In the aftermath, it has become quite clear that (a) Abbott did not make the statement attributed to him, (b) the more reasonable among the Aboriginal activists are well aware of this, and (c) some prominent Aborigines feel as though they were used by at least one known person (since permitted to resign) operating within Ms Gillard's office, and are not impressed. Plausible denials emanating from the person of the Prime Minister are finding a cold reception in some circles; and whatever the truth of the matter, this is no surprise.

The Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Tony Abbott, has done much unpaid work in Aboriginal communities, to which he draws little official attention. To suggest that he is a fire-eating race baiter seems rather improper to say the least. For the Prime Minister's Department to have done it shows rank unprofessionalism. And if the Prime Minister had an actual hand in it, it would say little that is good about her fitness to remain in office.

The Left media - which can be understood for the purpose of this blog to be the Fairfax press (Age and Sydney Morning Herald primarily) and the ABC - is understandably saying very little about this which reflects badly on the Labor Government and the Prime Minister. Or at least, as little as it can. However, Fairfax is in grave trouble - its share price is below a dollar and falling, a symptom of a dying organism. Attempting to pump some life into the near-corpse is Gina Rinehart, the incredibly wealthy and successful daughter of the late Lang Hancock. Rinehart is a mining magnate by nature - her companies rip things out of the ground and sell them, an activity which is anathema to many of the navel-gazing intellectual onanists who excrete their waffle on the pages of the Fairfax rags - and her purchase of Fairfax shares would give her a sizeable influence within the company.

Understandably this is something they do not like and do not want, and the government which they put a lot of effort into defending has made noises about making such share acquisitions illegal. This is the same government which would like to filter the Internet on a national basis and is currently exuding a horrible animus for the Murdoch press - 30% ownership of Australian media with 70% readership - which is on the whole hostile to its nefarious bumbling. In other words, the Government is setting out to protect its dying media support while hobbling its wildly successful opponents - an activity which no government in any nation that wants to call itself democratic should ever engage in.

Ultimately the Fairfax share price may drop so low that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will be able to acquire a controlling share. Sometimes I think this is what ought to happen - the journalists in both organisations pretty much write with one mind in any case. The only problem with that is that Fairfax would then go on permanent life support at taxpayer expense and we would have what is effectively an Official Government Newspaper. We are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia...

Roll on, the election.

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