Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gerard Henderson, John Howard (again), the evils of Labor policy (again) and some welcome tit relief

It was time for the rumble in the jungle. It was time for Foreman v. Ali. It was time to rope the dope and settle it once and for all. Who had the best aesthetic approach on loon pond?

Was it Gerard Henderson, with his hatred of all historical inaccuracies in works of fiction, or was it Michael Duffy, with his love of the dressed up period antics in Rogue Nation, an ABC docudrama which did the same for early colonial days as that hugely enjoyable romp Eliza Fraser did for the Australian film industry, mainly it seems because the docudrama had the tremendous virtue of being about white entrepreneurs rather than sorry blacks (it didn't have Susannah York or Pauline Hanson, but when have details like that worried genuine historians).

Sadly we might never get to the title bout. Maybe Don King's evil hand and whacky hair is somehow involved? 

Today Gerard Henderson stepped into the ring in his usual way in his column Bubble logic in troubled times, in which he goes ten tedious rounds with the Federal Government and its Fair Work bill, with nary a hint about his concern for historical errors in works of fiction.

Henderson rightly bashes the current view that immigration causes unemployment, and therefore a reduction in skilled migrants is the right policy now (try getting someone skilled in IT if you happen to believe we're a skilled up nation).

But after that round one points win, it's on to nine tedious rounds slugging it out with hysteria about unemployment and reminiscences about the good old days of employment under  Paul Keating, and natch, John Howard.

Somehow Henderson manages to find it in his heart to describe as 'amusing' an anecdote by Prime Minister Rudd about the way he and his deputy Julia Gillard, that mincing poodle, cobbled together their industrial relations policy in what used to be Sir Warwick Fairfax's office. What an irony. Chortle. Laugh out loud. How the poor bugger must be rolling in his grave.

Henderson uses the anecdote to point out sagely that then was then, and this is now, and now the sky has fallen in, and the timing is all wrong for the Ruddster's Fair Work bill. But then when is a time ever right for Fair Work amongst the conservative commentariet elite? Howard got it so much more right - you choose to work on our terms, and you don't work at all.

But then Henderson tracks off into a bizarre side alley, claiming that's what's lacking is a fully fledged debate. Actually there was a fully fledged debate, and it was called a federal election, and for good or for ill, the Labor party won the debate, and now will enact legislation reflecting the view of the majority that voted them into power. (And polling, both of the electoral and the private kind, showed that Howard's industrial relations policy had a significant impact on voting trends).

Henderson worries that many members of the Canberra press gallery remain obsessed with speculation about the Liberal leadership, but that is only, after all, because of Costello's extraordinary behavior. Still, it's always handy to blame the messengers when the message is stuffed.

And then Henderson takes a sideswipe at ABC TV's Lateline because it seems to have junked debates in favour of one-on-one interviews, and worse had the cheek to interview a Sydney University academic John Buchanan on the increase in unemployment, and worse still, no one had bothered to remember that as recently as 2005 Buchanan had declared that he was a socialist who had been traumatised by Howard's re-election.

In stark contrast to not interviewing Gerard Henderson, who has clearly been traumatised by John Howard's defeat. (Whether we should call our prattling Polonius an anti-socialist, or a neo liberal or a neo con (as a neo Costa would) or just an old fashioned non-neo con, we'll leave to Lateline when they inevitably respond to his trolling and invite him back to bore our stockings off). 

Bizarrely Henderson rambles on about how Buchanan talked about Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939 and the emergence of communism in the 1930s, but failed to suggest how the Fair Work Bill might be moderated as to maximise employment.

Bizarrely, because if you read Henderson, you emerge with not the foggiest notion of how the Fair Work Bill might be moderated so as to maximise employment. After fifteen hundred words or so, you have no doubt he's agin it, you have extreme clarity as to it being a very bad thing.

But amongst the desiccated coconut ponderings, humorous anecdotes, wanders down memory lane, sidetrack abuse of academics and the ABC, and sideswipes at certain aspects of the bill guaranteed to increase unemployment, there's not a single coherent statement as to what the opposition, or indeed the government might do to fix the damn thing up. 

Guess that's why there's a senate, hopefully with more useful clarity than newspaper columnists. It could  have been a title fight for champ'een of the world, but instead reading Henderson's column read a bit like wandering down sideshow alley to watch a Jim Sharman pug shake his fist at a world moving by with a speed that reduces the pug to irrelevancy ...

Funnily enough, Henderson doesn't even mention that the United States now has unemployment at 8%, the worst in 25 years, without the benefit of the Ruddster, his witty ironies or his socialist bills. Guess stuff happens. 

It's all the more a dull column because today we're all in a lather about Pauline Hanson's alleged nudie pics. Will she show her navel in court? Will we get to see her belly button and see in what exact ways it differs from the belly buttons in the nudie photos? Is  it an 'innie' or an 'outie' (well indeed and do  her nipples project, or are they inverted? Show me more, tell me more).

I tells ya, we're all agog. Could this be the biggest con since Keith Windschuttle and Quadrant? (Remember him?) Or is it another Salem witch burning? Well she does have red hair, and we know what that means (either the dye bottle or mad celtic genes - and a big howdy de do to all you mad St Patrick's day celebrants).

Silly old Media Watch, under the righteous title Hypocrisy Unlimited, thought a woman and her tits (no matter they were 30 years younger) somehow had a right to privacy. What and deprive news outlets of hard hitting news stories about women's tits and pornographic poses? What a skewed perspective. Why, we could have a national tit-led economic recovery. Newspapers start to sell again, lawyers get employed, and no one has to worry about Fair Work issues.

Now you see Gerard there's an issue that can shake a nation. Unemployment? Work Choices? Fair Work? Meh, show me Pauline Hanson's tits, preferably bound in a black leather belt. Warning graphic content. And we don't mean graphs. And to think we owe it all to Rupert Murdoch's fine team of investigative reporters, bringing all the news that matters to all caring Australians ... 

Oh and just for the record ...

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