Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gerard Henderson, Quentin Bryce, and GGs above the fray

It wouldn't be a Tuesday without the dull earnestness of Polonius:

Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay’d for. There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!

Excellent advice, yes yes, but can we just get on with it, get Ophelia drowned and Hamlet dead, and over and done with? 

Wait a moment, impatient strangers, wise words these are, and you would do well to heed them my friends, especially the bit about the apparel and the need for rank and station, especially when amongst the perfidious French.

But stay, who softly approaches and speaks his own words of wisdom, and for the benefit of our governors, and speaks in kindly but firmly tones to the likes of wretched vassals who dare to speak ill of our glorious Governor General (yes you Glenn Milne with your story entitled Soaring price of Bryce, as if a dull rhyme suddenly gives you wit above your station).

Yes it's Gerard Henderson, a knight in amour of the kind worshipped by Miranda the Devine, galloping to the defence of GG Quentin Bryce, and her spending 200k to spruce up the GG residences.

It is a fact of life that old houses require constant maintenance which is invariably expensive. Security also costs money. Moreover, it is difficult to imagine that someone like Quentin Bryce or Kevin Rudd are overly fixated on the quality of a roof or the look of a gate.

Take that, you vile and gaudy Milne.

After an exhausting tour of the recent history of GG's, handing out gongs and scolds - see Heads of state are above the fray if you want the full tour - Henderson settles in to the serious business of defending recent GG Jeffrey and current GG Bryce - Jeffry against the charge he was too coalition in his ADF carry ons, and Bryce for her recent tour of Africa.

Both judgments are harsh. As governor-general, it was proper that Jeffery should visit ADF personnel on overseas service. Moreover, it would be improper for him to be other than supportive of the ADF - even if Australia's commitment in Iraq was controversial. It's much the same with Bryce. When she receives visitors to Australia, or when she travels on official business overseas, Bryce has no alternative but to be seen to be supportive of Australia's UN aspirations, even if this matter engenders some domestic controversy.

Oh I say sir, nicely stroked to cover. That should teach those pesky critics, those prattling knaves like that Akerman chappie, a short, sharp lesson. 

The governor-general and state governors hold a position which is above party politics. Unless they are unsuited to the job or exhibit serious character defects or become overly outspoken, it makes sense to support them - or at least refrain from carping criticism. Both Jeffery and Bryce were successful governors, in Western Australia and Queensland respectively, before moving to Yarralumla, and both were well-qualified for appointment as the Queen's representative in Australia.

Well there we have it. A member of the commentariat columnists' union rebuking his fellow columnists for carping criticisms of an unkind kind. What's more, there's no problem spending  14k on painting a gate in these troubled times when we've all been urged to spend to save the country from a devastating recession.

... the evidence suggests there are few examples of expenses-of-office rorting by appointed officials or politicians in Australia. Australia is an important player in the world but is physically isolated and has a relatively small population. Consequently, it makes sense for governors-general, prime ministers, ministers and opposition leaders to travel overseas.

The political debate will be healthier in Australia when political conservatives and social democrats alike accept that the offices of the governor-general and prime minister are at the core of Australian democracy and deserve respect.

Well I never. Does that mean we should respect the likes of Richard Butler for his short, sorry stint as governor of Tasmania? (Henderson didn't). Or the proposal that bonnie Prince Charlie be our king? (let's see the commentariat chew on that particular environmental activist and aspirational tampon).

The notion that somehow the office - or the people who infest it - are ethereally above the political fray, embodying some regal concept of I know not quite what, is one of the quainter notions that Henderson has led with in recent times,  but entirely within his aspiration to be Polonius to the nation.

The idea that heads of state are above the fray, and only there to remind the peasants that they're working to produce taxes so that someone can be a grandee in a lodge doling out cheese and cucumber sandwiches to their ever so grateful servants somehow brings out the Sex Pistols in me. Why I feel a certain faintness coming over me, like a Milne or an Akerman. Time to put on the steel capped boots methinks, odd bodkins:

God save the queen
The fascist regime
They made you a moron
Potential H-bomb

God save the queen
She ain't no human being
There is no future
In England's dreaming

Don't be told what you want
Don't be told what you need
There's no future, no future,
No future for you

God save the queen
We mean it man
We love our queen
God saves

God save the queen
'Cause tourists are money
And our figurehead
Is not what she seems

Oh God save history
God save your mad parade
Oh Lord God have mercy
All crimes are paid

When there's no future
How can there be sin
We're the flowers in the dustbin
We're the poison in your human machine
We're the future, your future

God save the queen
We mean it man
We love our queen
God saves

God save the queen
We mean it man
And there is no future
In England's dreaming

No future, no future,
No future for you
No future, no future,
No future for me

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