What Do You Want From A Prime Minister?

I want a statesman. Or a stateswoman. I want someone who the whole country can be proud.

I want one who has been elected fresh – not boosted from the cabinet ranks in the latest round of musical chairs. I want the apple I bought, not a sudden substitute from further down in the barrel..

I want one who is not radio-controlled from a union party room or some cabal of moneyed backers. I want one who cannot be cowed and refuses to be insulted by other nations throwing their weight about. I want one that can’t be bought or sold.

I want one that is there when the country needs them, and who stays through the crisis. I want a leader who – like King George VI – will never leave.

I want one who knows when to have a laugh and when to be sober. Above all I want a dignified person – not a Pierre Trudeau or Donald Trump – as our figurehead. I want the PM to communicate from Canberra or the Lodge and not on Twitter or Facebook. I’d prefer truth to lies but whichever we get, let us get it through official pronouncements rather than angry rants or press conferences.

 

How To Bake An Ethical Urinal Cake

Congratulations. You read that headline and had the courage to continue down the page. You’re like the expendable guy in the horror movie who goes into the dark kitchen as the music starts…

Leaving the cake aside until tea time, have you noticed how many of your social media contacts want you to approve and vote for political leaders they love? And how they want you to disapprove of and refrain from voting for the ones they hate? And how they have decided that every single day is election day in your computer?

Isn’t it all getting to be a spare crack in your ass? Don’t you want some relief from them pressuring you? Well you can do something about it, and now is the time to start.

a. Make enquiries to find out which electorate your Facebook friend is in. Then ask them which polling station they normally go to, and at what time of the day.

b. On Election Day turn up at their house and offer to accompany them to that polling station. Or wait there for them.

c. When they approach the station start talking loudly to them about the candidate you wish them to vote for. If they become angry offer to buy their vote. Do this in the hearing of the returning officer.

d. When they go into the little cardboard booth, elbow them aside, snatch the tiny pencil from them and vote above the line…for their candidate. If you’re loud enough and fast enough you can get that paper into the box before the returning scrutineers descend upon you.

e. Tell the cops that your friend made you change your vote.

You’ll go in front of a magistrate and pay a fine, of course, but you will have had value for money. After your Facebook friend de-friends you, tell all your shared friends that you really are the best of pals in real life. And that you are going to go to every election together.

What Are The Qualifications Needed To Be A Facebook Political Critic?

  1. You must have a Facebook account. You are going to have to admit to a name for it, but you might not have to admit to your own.
  2. You must have a device, or access to a device. It used to be a computer you needed. Then you could go to a laptop, a tablet, or a mobile phone. Soon you’ll be able to browse Facebook from the back of a cornflake packet or a plumber’s plunger. How ironic…
  3. You must have an opinion. It need not be your own. There are racks of ’em that you can choose from – some a lot smarter than you’ll ever be. Just pick one and plaster it on your feed.
  4. You must never hope to stand for any office whatsoever yourself. Because what you share and write on social media will be stored forever and be retrieved by political opponents. I’ve been writing weblog columns for years and am safe against any call from a political party…indeed when I vote at our local school for state and federal elections they hand me How-Not-To-Vote cards.
  5. You must have the courage of your convictions. But don’t rush to it – if you have only been arraigned you may get off with a warning.
  6. You must be prepared to de-friend people at the drop of a hat. If you don’t own a hat there is a nice section in Myers Garden City where you can get them. Try not to de-friend people at the drop of a VB cap – it looks cheap.
  7. Keep an accurate list of who you love and who you hate. It is embarrassing to like someone else’s memes when they run counter to your own.
  8. Remember that elections are won and lost by winners and losers. Or is the UEFA games?

The Ill WInd

It is interesting during this year of the Wuhan Plague to contemplate people’s reaction to it. Not the panic hoarding business – that is the common reaction at the start of any war, and is usually stopped by rationing.

I mean the social media reaction. The reaction of people who you know – not faceless strangers in a supermarket. People with whom you have had some past contact – however tenuous. I’m not a big collector of contacts in the Facebook sense, but there’s about 230+ I can identify. They rather fall into a set of categories this year – and it’s they who have sorted themselves out. Here’s the groups:

a. The people who post incessantly.

Heretofore they have been associated with Facebook games and promotions for home-selling goods – or for their children. In some cases they have been doing this for profit, and in others just to have some outside contact. I expect this behaviour will increase. If it helps them cope with self-isolation, this is probably a good thing. I certainly cannot fault someone who is proud of their family – after all, I show off my family of toy airplanes a lot.

b. The people who post mysteriously.

I’m not good with mysteries. I’m afraid their posts are largely bypassed. There may be gems there, but they remain buried.

c. The people who post religious messages.

I do not begrudge them these messages, as I realise that they are doing something to buoy their own spirits, but the tackier ones are a little embarrassing. Perhaps they reveal more of the inner workings of their mind than I care to know about.

I would post excerpts from Ton Paine’s ” Age Of Reason ” if ‘twould do any good…but they evidently draw their comfort from other thoughts, so I refrain.

d. The people who post memes and repeat messages from other people…for some political gain.

Here I start to look more critically at the poster. One or two of this sort of thing occasionally is probably a valid expression of freedom of speech – a good thing in Australia and other western countries. A novelty elsewhere, I daresay.

When the posting becomes repeated and overbearing, the poster takes on the character of political tyrant – in some cases it can reveal bigotry, bias, sycophancy, malice, and other dire characteristics. It can tie people to right-wing, left-wing, or criminal groups and make them seem to be a part of far worse things.

It is amazing – I’ve got people in my 230+ who hate Asians, Africans, Muslims, Jews, Americans, Catholics, Liberals, Conservatives, communists, capitalists, men, women, gays, lesbians, trans-genders, and possibly the Mr. Whippy man. There is surprisingly wide basis of hatred, though no-one applies it to everybody. I suspect many of posters are undergoing their struggles, but few are going to produce a two-part book about it…

e. The people who do not do the above. They share pictures of pubs and meals, dogs and cats, cars and artwork, historical postcards, fashions and clothing. These people I treasure.

There are more sub-categories but I leave that to the Univac* to sort out with the paper cards. Some card slots will fill up and I’ll read them. Some I’ll avoid. And just a few –  a very few – I’ll  quietly empty into the bin.

*Look it up, child. Look it up.

I Intend To Form A Government In Exile

The only problem is choosing where to be exiled from. It’s not as silly as it sounds.

If you are going to be exiled from somewhere, it is far better to be barred from the more horrible parts of the earth. I would hesitate to use the term ” shithole ” as this has negative  political connotations, but I think we can all recognise ” troubled land ” as a pretty good description of a lot of places. And that is the basis upon which I intend to proceed.

Governing an entire nation is difficult – doing so in exile even more so as hardly anyone ever listens to you. Unless you are Charles Degaulle and have the British army behind you ( pushing you away from themselves…) the business is hardly even worth pursuing. So I intend to start my crazed lust for world power on a much more modest basis; I intend to become the government in exile for a suburb.

Not a local one, I hasten to add. Local suburbs are far too easy to get to and people who learn about my assumption of power may come looking for me to actually do something for them. The last thing I want is a line of supplicants at the door.

I shall become the ruler of some other suburb or shire located on the other side of the country. In view of the recent catastrophes I will be careful to choose somewhere that is sparsely populated and reasonably fireproof. Somewhere with no natural resources, attractive coastline, or prominent tourist attractions will be perfect as it will require the least governance.

Currently I am looking at maps of the Adelaide area. Being banned from Adelaide is sounding more attractive year by year.

The Moral Pea And Thimble Game

Or ” Now you see it, Now you don’t, It’s all the fault of the Prime Minister…”

But don’t you worry, Folks. As soon as we get the set adjusted you can go back to hating Trump again. This is just a temporary technical malfunction.

Well, the UK election is over, and the verdict is in – and all the British voters will get to share in passing the sentence. I believe the Queen is preparing a black cap to wear for her opening of Parliament. It will also come in handy when she has Christmas dinner with Prince Andrew. Hint: don’t sit too close to the carving knives, Andy…

It will be interesting to see whether trendy Australian social commentators pick up on the UK election in the way they did the last US one. And in the way that they never do for Canada, India, South Africa, Andorra, Iceland or anywhere else. I do not blame them for this lack of interest-  they only respond to the prompts from the media, after all. If it becomes politic for them to be whipped into outrage or ecstasy, the mechanism is in place and needs only to be switched on.

For myself, I shall be very interested to see how the negotiations to remove Great Britain from the clutches of the Continentals conclude. I would be all for fortifying the coast, dynamiting the Channel Tunnel, and starting nightly bombing raids over the enemy capital, but I doubt the Belgian Air Force has enough planes to do the job efficiently.

 

 

British Independence – Part Four – Cashing In

If Great Again Britain finally wrenches itself loose from the toils of the EU, and is politely asked to withdraw their Governors – General, Lieutenant, State, or Honorary as the case may be – from nations that have finally decided that they can also govern themselves, there will be formalities to be completed.

In the case of the United States these were conducted at Yorktown in Virginia some centuries ago. The representatives of the British Crown under Lord Cornwallis were invited to throw their muskets into a heap and get on board Royal Navy vessels and go away. The alternative was to be shot dead. It may not seem a very formal procedure, but it was effective.

We need not go the musket route here in Australia or New Zealand, though it would be a lot of fun. We can simply pack up the silver, paintings, Rolls Royce cars, and portraits of H.M., place the Governors on top of the pile, and send them back to Tilbury Docks via the next container ship. The various Government Houses can be occupied by the state or federal leaders and if it is done with efficiency no-one will really notice anything.

Canada may have a problem in that they will be replacing a Queen with a Trudeau and there may be a lot of popular sentiment against it. If they substitute a hockey goalie the thing might go well.

I think the UK would do well to look to a hitherto untapped source of funds – the Loyal Oath taken by new citizens of Commonwealth countries during their naturalisation ceremonies. I underwent one such affair in 1970 and it was a solemn and joyous occasion. A Bible was held and an oath of fealty to HM Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and assigns was taken. This was not given a run-out period and is in force today.

If the British BREXIT from Australia as well as from the EU, I am prepred to pay a fair fee for the cancellation of this oath and/or its transfer to an Australian President or King or High Ruler. If the transaction occurs during the reign of King Charles III, I would be prepared to pay more.