1. ‘Kill Bill’ is alive and well
- “Labor has become a party of lies, negativity and grievance. They have nothing to offer but a long, dreary whinge, interrupted by falsehoods”; and for good measure: “Bill Shorten is a liar. He cannot tell the truth. There is no point being mealy-mouthed about this. He is a liar*.”
That was actually Malcolm Turnbull last July, but if you Google you get similar stuff going back to at least 2012. The asterisk was to a note saying the Turnbull had joined with Mark Latham, who had once said:
- “I’ve had personal experience with Bill Shorten’s dishonesty. He just lies and lies and lies.” For the record, Shorten has in the past accused Latham of “displaying all the attributes of a dog, except loyalty”. So, all good.
Except it is not good at all. I can’t recall the last time Shorten attacked an opposing politician personally in that way. Yet very similar words were heard from the mouth of Scott Morrison on Friday, and then in rapid succession over the next few hours I heard similar words coming from other Coalition politicians.
So Kill Bill is a formal part of ScoMo’s re-election plan. See Kill Bill or any distraction vs a fair go from last August just before Turnbull disappeared and ScoMo makes it personal from last November. Very simply, they can’t win a debate on policy, so anything goes.
I’m sure the public are sick of this behaviour. I hope they take the forthcoming chance to give the people responsible the flick.
2. Trump: when the words don’t come out right
I’m sure it was just that he was tired and had had a long day, but Trump excelled himself in talking gibberish:
Origin stories seem to be a particular challenge for Donald Trump, not least because they sound like orange stories.
Trump wants to distract us from the Mueller report.
“No collusion. No obstruction,” Trump said about Russia, where his mother was no doubt tsarina in some cloudy corner of his delusions. “I hope they now go take a look at the oranges, the oranges of the investigations. The beginnings of that investigation.”
Others say Trump is just trying to distract people from the Mueller report.
The American journalist reporting to ABC’s Nightlife, not the usual bloke, said the people who worked on the Mueller report were indicating that the Barr statement we looked at last week was a whitewash. The Democrats are getting stroppy, and do have the power to subpoena. However, there are copies around and the likelihood that one will fall of the back of a truck is increasing.
3. Britain needs a Brexit compromise
Next Friday is 12 April, by which time something significant must happen on Brexit, or Britain will tumble out of the EU with no deal.
The word is that if Corbyn does a deal which does not include a second referendum, he will be slaughtered by some of his own.
So who knows what will happen?
We keep hearing what Emmanuel Macron thinks. Seems he’s sick of the Brits and would like to be rid of them. Tonight we saw Angela Merkel on TV say that she would do everything possible to avoid a ‘no deal’ Brexit. She’s been around a while, knows how things work, so we can cross that one off the possibilities. Perhaps.
4. Doug Cameron bows out
- Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
That’s Dylan Thomas, of course, and I just put it in there because I like it, also because Doug Cameron’s Valedictory speech reminded me of it. He quotes the Leonard Cohen song:
- Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The Poor stay Poor… the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
I’m not sure what he means by ‘socialism’ but he sure as heck believes in it:
- The first leader of the British Labour Party… Keir Hardie… who was born in Holytown… a stone’s throw from my birthplace of Bellshill… said this:
“Socialism is at bottom a question of ethics and morals. It has mainly to do with the relationship which should exist between man and his fellows. Therefore it is the equaliser in the position of the rich man’s too much and the poor man’s too little.”
In that first sentence he makes redundant the use of the comma… which I believe was introduced in written language as a guide to phrasing… particularly when reading aloud.
We’ll miss him. Here’s a tweet from his main page, while it’s still there:
Neoliberalism, privatisation and competition policy has benefited the big end of town, hurt workers and caused wage stagnation. Myself and the @theamwu were pilloried by the establishment for 20 years and it’s good to see some recognition that we were right.
Of course, many others are leaving and will be missed also, including the unforgettable Christopher Pyne, Wayne Swan (yes, he’s still there), Cathy McGowan and Jenny Macklin.
5. When will the election be?
There are three days in May, but the big question is, when will ScoMo go to the GG and get the show on the road? Effectively we have been in election mode for going on eight months now, ever since Turnbull was turfed. That in itself has had a negative effect on the economy.
I think ScoMo will hang on for at least another week, because, well, he likes being PM, and there is always a chance that the electors will think he is just part of the furniture if he stays long enough. And next week the Feds will probably approve the Adani mine to make trouble for Bill Shorten. Mark Butler for one who has long thought it should not go ahead, which he repeated in the last few days.
There is also a thought that ScoMo is going to wait for some bodgie modelling he’s commissioned on the impact of Labor’s climate change policy.
Katharine Murphy is thoroughly tired of this dreary lot:
Phillip Coorey points out an amazing fact – only Mathias Cormann and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, who is retiring at the election, will have been in the same job for the duration of the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison years.
By contrast 10 members of Labor’s 20-member shadow cabinet have held the same job for the past two terms – Bill Shorten, Chris Bowen, Tony Burke, Anthony Albanese, Mark Dreyfus, Brendan O’Connor, Mark Butler, Kim Carr, Catherine King and Joel Fitzgibbon. Moreover:
- Of the current shadow cabinet, 16 have been in the shadow cabinet since 2013, whereas the Coalition cabinet is barely recognisable from the first line-up in September 2013.
There are just six originals: Cormann, Scullion, Morrison, Greg Hunt, Peter Dutton and the departing Chris Pyne.
Chris Bowen pointed out the other day that 15 of shadow cabinet have actually been cabinet ministers.
Coorey says it’s going to be a bare-knuckled affair. From one side at least.
Can we just put our heads under a blanket and come out when it’s over?
6. Other stuff
There was a surfeit of stories, too much for me to cover. Julian Assange seems likely to be kicked out onto the street, where the British coppers will scoop him up. The Swedes are no longer interested, but the Americans are.
On balance, I don’t have much sympathy for the bloke. He’s put too many lives in danger, and did not appear to properly respect women in his relationships. However, Americans don’t treat people they see as traitors with any noticeable compassion.
Then there was a report of the Senate Inquiry into ABC political interference. Sarah Hanson-Young told Patricia Karvelas that it was extensive, and mattered. A large part of the problem is the self-censorship that bedevils program makers, especially in investigative journalism.