(Above: Penny Bradfield's excellent portrait of Stephen Conroy, used to illustrate the Asher Moses article, below, and an excellent insight into Conroy as a sensitive new age Labor minister who prefers the subtlety and power of a whiplash wood, rather than a coarse two iron, a baseball bat, a cricket bat or a piece of 4 x 2. Apologies if this is an IP infringement, as always we only attempt to link to copyright material, and do not attempt to trade off, as concerned netizens opposed to piracy, but Bradfield has only herself to blame for such a delicious, irresistible snap. How did she persuade him to pose this way? Full marks. We could of course bit torrent it or put it up on Megaupload, but Senator Conroy's grand filter will soon put a stop to all that).
Asher Moses is fast becoming the hero of the internet, citizen first class with elephant stamp, by the simple expedient of tracking Senator Conroy's sayings.
The latest - Minister rapped over yes minister quip - covers Conroy's off the cuff remarks about the studio heavies v iiNet court case currently going down, with Conroy calling the iiNet defence, in so many words, dumb, and a Yes Minister defence. (And didn't we all chortle when we heard that Obama had given Gordon Brown region 1 dvds that wouldn't play in Brown's region 2 player. Dumb studios, destined to walk down the same dumb path as the music business).
It's a minor matter, though the way Conroy manages to step into the nearest cow pat available means he's great fun to watch in action. If anybody belongs in a Yes Minister episode, it's this minister.
Moses does some standard coverage, whips up a little froth from the opposition, and generates some bubbles by calling in the iiNet defence team. But he saves the icing on the cake until a fair way into the piece:
With rumours that the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, will reshuffle his ministry after the budget, Senator Conroy, whose internet filtering and national broadband network policies are in disarray, may be vulnerable.
Well of course that assumes the fiendish Rudd survives shouting at a hostie for a non-meat sandwich. Feed the man meat? Not if he's a red-blooded wimp.
Anyhoo, we've already speculated awhile ago that Rudd would at some point do a shuffle, and it also seems obvious that the only way out of the whole mess for Conroy is to shuffle along, so that someone new comes along, and in best Yes Minister fashion, announces that after due consideration, and careful review of all the policy settings, and extensive consultation with stake holders, and abject reflection with humility on all the possible alternatives, the government has decided that the policies previously pursued by the plucked rooster formerly in power are now deemed to be ... comprehensively fucked. Rooted. And under the wise new minister new policies, abundant and joyous, will be pursued forthwith.
Moses a couple of days ago caught out Conroy on what one internet engineer wag dubbed "the great walkback of 2009" (see Conroy backtracks on internet censorship policy). Again there wasn't that much to the story, except to recycle in a new guise, the ineptness of Conroy and ACMA, but accumulated slow drips will eventually turn the wheel (or should it be phrased that the Conroy wheel is a gaggle of slow drips).
Of course I now understand, courtesy of Greg Sheridan, that Asher Moses is likely a pseudonym, and the man is likely working under deep cover as a mole for the Chinese and Russian governments, and perhaps might well be responsible for the way the Russian mob and the Chinese triads have thwarted ACMA's noble black list.
Unlike Moses, I don't know how long we can keep this pace up.
Conroy is like Br'er Rabbit and the tar baby, getting more and more entangled (and while we appreciate folks might get upset about the racial profiling involved in referencing Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus stories, just remember it's better to have cultural history on record than driven deep underground in a Conroy repository of thoughts and words and deeds that upset the Labor party).
Of course some interpreted Conroy's snide jokes about iiNet's defence as payback, two wood style, for iiNet withdrawing from Conroy's internet filter trial, saying it was stuffed.
Good, because I've heard it whispered within the industry that this is a Minister whose lost the respect of almost every serious player, and that takes a heck of a lot of doing in such a fractured, fractious crowd. Stand by now for the fall out as the NBN tender turns into a schemozzle worthy of all the current clucking over the employment services tender (though I personally don't care a hoot if the Christians get kicked out of the unemployment game, since they and their charities should never have been there in the first place in a decently secular and business-orientated society).
Still, Conroy is the piñata that keeps on giving, especially as this Friday our pet favorite ex-Treasurer of NSW Michael Costa seems to have gone missing in action.
Grand times for the Ruddster. Can I suggest he put a little meat in his sandwich.