Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's been a week of bums - literal, metaphorical, people, hash-tagging and ...well ... just an all round bummery, as chronicled in this week's load of ... well ... bumf.

Let's see now - there is an hilarioous but disturbing tale of two extremes: the Ho-Ho-Hos came a month early at the aptly titled Townsville Bully, making merry with a half-arsed, rib-tickling attempt to destabilise the community, but It was also more a case of Oh-Oh-Oh, Ando, in an unfortunate sub-editing boo-boo that made paper's best journeyman journo look like an internal rebel. It is one of the best own goals in a crowded field of same. 



Paul Keating's infamous gibe at John Hewson -  that a souffle doesn't rise twice - has been bettered here in the 'Ville - we can now enjoy the spectacle of a political souffle that hasn't risen once. Yep, serial political pest David I've Been Everywhere Moyle is at it - yawn - again.  


A Mount Rushmore-like monument for Herr Campbell Newman and his political storm troopers is proposed for Queensland.

And yet again, good news is anything but for the mathematically challenged Mayor Mullet.

Plus Quote of the Week, Name of the Week and the most unfortunate Twitter hash tag of all time - your not gunna believe it - all here on the gunao-splattered floor of this week's nest at www.townsvillemagpie@com.au
First, let's take a dustpan and brush to the week in politics. federal parliament is in recess, and as Bentley points out, just in time for activities more suited to their mental and emotional ages (with apology to all school leavers).

The Quote of the Week only had two contenders. An essayist in the NY Times said 'They say a good cry is the car wash of the soul'. 

That was neat but no match for the Queensland Minister for Mayors and Mullets, Kid Crisafulli. Reporters door-stopped him to see if he'd consider defecting to the Cut Snake Party aka Katter's mob. Quoth he on the run, 'I'd rather eat razor blades in a bowl of fresh prunes'. They breed 'em tough up thar in Ingham.


The Brisbane Bantam demands
loyalty from the chooks.


The most disturbing aspect of state politics this week was the LNP's jackboot policy requiring members to swear an oath of loyalty not just to the party (which is OK - sort of expected, really) but also to Herr Campbell Newman as leader (which is not OK and was gobsmackingly unexpected). 



For a moment, The 'Pie thought we were in Egypt or North Korea. This sort of undemocratic and personality-based edict of unfettered and unquestioned power is asking for trouble, since 'Dear Leader' declarations of fealty are required only in dictatorships. Imagine if they tried that on in Canberra - forcing coalition members into a 'my mother drunk or sober' situation with Mr Rabbit. Even socialist Labor stops short of this requirement, which carries more than a faint pong of fascism/communism.

But with their (still) whopping majority, the unlikely alliance of the latte-sipping technocrats of the south-east corner and the boys from the bush has really got the bit between its teeth - they're dangerously 'over-racing' in gee-gee terms.

The Magpie understands that the LNP is considering a Mount Rushmore-like tribute to its leadership of Herr Newman, Herr Seeney (he'd be a goofy figure of fun if it wasn't for the uncompromising spite - even for his own - that is so evident), Herr McIvor and -yes, yes, The 'Pie hears you - Herr Joh.

America has this noble and uplifting lie to fool all the people all the time ......


.... but The 'Pie suggests we be more honest about it, with this.




After all, when the snouts are in the trough, the most prominent aspect that best sums up their character is unmistakable. And it could be interchangeable down the years, no matter who wins the plush - it could even double as a memorial to all previous governments of the past 40 years.

Down at the Astonisher, it was a convergence of accident and deliberate deceit (yes, yet again) that had the town chortling away.

You will remember that last week, The 'Pie pointed out the inappropraitness of this Johnathan Thurston headline 'Dog Act'. 



But just in case you can't make it out, the sub-head below it reads:'Thurston spotted in secret talks with Bulldogs'.

Then, last Tuesday, the paper ran a witty little - ahem - Magpie-esque piece by the redoubtable John Anderson, which basically said the Thurston story anything but secret, it was all a bit of a set-up and it was no lucky accident that Thursto was snapped leaving the Sydney club.

So what does some sub-hub genius with a short memory down in Brisbane come up with as a suitable headline? Try this.




Now that really is a thigh-slapper, because it makes it look like Ando was cocking a snoot at his iditor (correct spelling) over the previous front page. Because in essence, the headline clearly suggests that Ando thinks the paper had been suckered into the previous front page 'secrecy' claim. 

Ando, of course, wasn't doing any such thing, he has strong reasons to remain loyal to The Astonisher, and not just because he's still got a job. He's pretty irreplaceable and management well remembers that when The Magpie resigned in disgust, within a month, they lost 4000 off their Saturday circulation (not a boast, just a fact). If Ando ever decided to walk - or worse, be pushed - The 'Pie reckons they'd lose just about all their Tuesday circulation. But out-of-touch headlines like this one, dreamed up 1500kms away by inattentive subs with short memories don't do a good journo any favours. 


But to compound the credibility problem, on Friday, Anthony Simpleton came up with one of the most deceitful pieces of unethical reporting seen in the paper in a while - like, say, last week, maybe. Talk about secrecy! And the hope for gulliblity on the readers' behalf!

Unethical? Absolutely, and here's why.

The mathematically challenged Mayor Mullet, who has a close association with the paper, hasn't been travelling too well image-wise since her junket to America. 

The 'Ville's annual financial figures are in good shape, the deficit is down, debt is well under control, Townsville has the fifth lowest rates in the state (and then only $300 above number one lowest) and the good news flowing from the various committee heads (all Townsville First or independent) is positive and progressive. 

All this seems to have resulted in Mayor Mullet's previous four years of self-interested negativity reasserting itself. Our gal is so politically ossified you'd be pardoned for thinking she had been mentally abused by the political priests in her early Labor days, and just can't get over it. She greeted the excellent news of the cheery fiscal figures with a politically driven skepticism hinting at a conspiracy by council officers, for Christ's sake - and, natch, the council CEO, Ray Burton.

So The 'Pie guesses the call went out to the iditor of the Astonisher and his attack poodle Anthony Simpleton (fair dinkum, this duo is so compliant, one idly speculates whether Mayor Mullet has some interesting 'private' group photos of  them - together or separately).

No probs, darl, says Simpo, who then went on to do a shock/horror piece of totally unsupported fiction about a split in the ranks of Townsviille First councillors over Deputy Doo Dah Vern Veitch's manner and attitude. This was run under the cringingly peurile, immature and totally unsupported red banner 'REVEALED' but that's maybe The 'Pies fault for recently pointing out the risible use of 'exclusive'. 'Revealed' is even sillier, since every story 'reveals' its contends that were presumably hitherto unknown. Somehow this seems to have eluded the deep thinkers in Ogden Street. 

It turns out that what the article revealed was tabloid tactics in action at the lowest level. 

A screaming headline of a story totally devoid of a single revealed source, and even then of such a mild manner that Simpleton and the paper have again made themselves a laughing stock. There was no story, so Simpleton started ringing around councillors, offering them an 'off the record' interview about Vern Veitch's alleged (by Simplo only) shortcomings. It was a fruitless fishing expedition, trying to elecit answers and comment to back up the reporter's predetermined conclusion. 

Virtually to a person, they told Simpleton they had no problems with the man called Uncle Fester, and he had their full support. Veitch himself and several councillors said they had heard nothing of any disharmony, and in so many words, told the boy reporter to sod off.

The above is as accurate as The 'Pie can get it, since he also did his own ringround. Those councillors he couldn't contact were quoted by others  because they'd been talking about the 'disgusting' and 'appalling' story amongest themselves all day. Ray Gartrell is overseas.

So what we got was a screaming headline 'Vern Notice' (a weak pun on the indifferently rating US TV pap Burn Notice), that juvenile 'revealed' tag - and an opening sentence which is pure fantasy, to wit :

'TOWNSVILLE'S Deputy Mayor Vern Veitch has been warned he must lift his game or risk losing support to continue in the key role.' 

Warned by whom? Whose support? Don't ask, it remains - you guessed it - a secret.

Then followed this story where not a single thing supported that Jenny Hill-wish list claim ... not one single person with any criticism was identified. Vern's supporters were named, so why weren't his detractors? If they didn't want to be named, then, Simpleton, you chump, there is no story. We're entitled to think you just made up the whole thing. And The 'Pie will bet you did.

Clr Jenny Lane, the softly spoken straight-shooter seems to have had a subtle last word, and a sly dig that the likes of Simpleton and the iditor wouldn't pick up, when she was quoted saying 'Any negative comments about Vern's performance are probably someone trying to be mischievous and destablise the council'. Who on earth could she mean?    

So why does The 'Pie bang on about this? 

Simply because if The Bulletin had a shred of credibility left (it doesn't) this is a story that could be damaging to the community in its gross misrepresentation of the situation, could destabilise the council and give a disheartening perception of continued disunity and dysfunction to the public. 

It would be very reportable if true, but it clearly wasn't, it was all bullshit.

Worse, it is a clod-hopping attempt for the paper to be a player rather than an observer and neutral reporter, on an Murdoch agenda run by southern blow-ins who have a massive disconnect with this community, and, so The 'Pie is told, can hardly wait to get out of here.

At least on that point, we are agreed.

But it's not just Mayor Mullet that Ogden Street is seeking to promote as a council-bashing exercise. 

The 'Pie presents proof that even in this age of digital skullduggery, the untouched image can still lie. Have a look at this untouched photograph.    


  
Do you see the firm jaw of a resolute man of vision, a whiff of James Bond, with the steady gaze of a natural born leader of men squarely facing the daunting tasks ahead, framed against a background of a new tropical day symbolic of a bright new future? 

If that's what you see, you'd be wrong.

Actually, it's David Moyle.

Yup, it's our old party animal - as oft reported here, he's been in just about every political party except The Greens, and only then because they told him to bugger off, they didn't want him. Years ago, The Magpie dubbed our Davy the Lucky Starr of the political north, with his suitable theme song Starr's 1962 tongue-twister 'I've Been Everywhere'. 

So it was no surprise when he turned out for Katter's Cut Snake Party in the state elections earlier this year, in his familiar self-flaggelating exrcise - Kid Crisafulli trounced him in Mundingburra. 

Then Davy-boy suddenly faced a dilemma. Despite polling as well as can be expected in state - 23% and third of five candidates - he was no doubt biting his bottom lip when he was passed over as the Cut Snake candidate for the federal seat of Herbert - that went to ex-Nat and local businesswoman Bronwyn Walker. 

Master Moyle's problem was simple: how to keep up a public profile now he is so far out from having another crack at state?

The answer was a Baldrick-like cunning plan and it is a pearler - a whiffy little ploy which the weekly Sun throw-over has swallowed hook, line and stinker.

Our man announced to the paper he had formed the Townsville Ratepayers Association - unbidden by anyone, it was actually just a Facebook page seeking members, and the Sun went front page with it's 'on your toes, councillors, you're being watched' theme. Even the Bully ran the same story, but then, it would, wouldn't it?

The pomposity and hubris was palable, with Moyle having the arrogance to suggest his somewhat pointless group will 'actively lobby all city councillors to ensure that local government decisions are made in an open and accountable manner'. The insulting inference is that they are not now, and they will be apprised of the Moyle wisdom as required. That claim may have had some validity when Labor ruled the roost and His Radiance made sure any squabbling was behind closed doors in caucus, but any greater transparency nowadays and they'll have to have 'undies only' council meetings. (Now try and get that image out of your head.)

And how about this little condescending homily from a bloke who wouldn't be eligible for a loyalty card from his local coffee shop.

``Although it is recognised that current councillors are or have been members of political parties, it is hoped that Townsville
Ratepayers (Association) will encourage these elected officials to work together for the greater good by ensuring that, at all times, our elected representatives act in the best interests of, and remain fully accountable to, their constituents during their term in office.'

David, mate, you've got more cheek than Gina Rinehardt's bum. But guess what? The 'Pie reckons he's found the ideal party for you.

In one of the most unfortunate (although possibly deliberate for the noteriety potential) PR moves, singer Susan Boyle decided to promote her latest album on Twitter, using the hash tag @Susanalbumparty - make four words out of that, Dave, and you have another party in which you can make a real arse of yourself.

And just on the subject of unusual names, The 'Pie initially thought it was a mistake when the ABC 7.30 Report captioned an interviewee as Zana Bytheway. but that was her name (along with quite a few thousand others around the world, it turns out). It was a new one on The Magpie who initially concluded that she was an afterthought for her parents, as in 'Oh, by the way, dear, I'm preggers!'  

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs' Bar, where the subject of names will be avoided - last week, the old bird joked to a Russian lass that his name was Ivor Biggun, to which she said her name was Ima Nickinoff. And she did.      



  

22 comments:

  1. An acquaintance of mine has always said that the term "Journalistic ethics" is the greatest oxymoron! ('Pie excluded of course:)). Simpleton with his disgraceful article on Thursday,confirmed this, as he has done many times in the past.
    You are so right about the Mullet.... things can't be going OK if all the Councillors are in agreement, because she must have an "opposition" to continually denigrate. And therein lies her big problem!! 3 votes out of 11 votes doesn't give her a mandate for anything! So why doesn't sit down accept the harmony now existing and work for the benefit of the city and not for her political future!!

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  2. Hi Pie, Good spotting and great cartoon.

    For your readers, the JT article was first spotted in the Daily TerrorGraph's sports section.

    The picture was taken by Craig Greenhill at Belmore.

    Why would a DTerror photograph 'stand outside a carpark?' Secondly, the DT claims that they are only 'exclusive' pixs. No other media outlet captured the moment or have published them.

    DT says ..'The meeting took place after 9pm but was unsuccessful in its bid to avoid the media.'
    (Which media attended the secret tip off?
    SMH, AAP, News Ltd) Now, that's a PR tip off if I've ever seen one.
    A dog act to fool readers. We like you JT it's not your fault.Pie always good.

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  3. Please get to the bottom of this allegation that State LNP parliamentarians swore an oath, or made a pledge, of loyalty to Campbell Newman. I've put the question directly to John Hathaway by email this morning. Why don't you go & ask the Kid. Such an oath is an anathema to our democratic system & should, if not already, be illegal.
    Such oaths destroy the principal & point of having a local representative. They make a mockery of having a parliamentary chamber. And although legally unenforceable, such oaths would have a tendency to corruption. I would have expected that the constitution of every political party should ban such oaths & pledges, particularly a party which purports to have a 'liberal' ethos.

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    Replies
    1. There is many a precedent for pledges of loyalty being sought from restless political minions. I recall Joolya doing much the same thing earlier this year when Kev sought to re-heat his battered savs. Not so much a pledge as dire threats of the consequences of any perceived failure to support. It cost one of our best A-G's in recent years his job.

      Don't see how the threat of consequences of not supporting is any less repugnant to principles of Democracy that that of demanding a declaration of support.

      The late and lamented-by-few Joh had a much better system. Upon appointment, you deposited with Joh a signed, but undated letter of resignation.

      'Pie the Christmas season is upon us, together with the usual round of invitations to attend parties. Usually ghastly affairs.

      Now, how abouts we have a Gulp Party? It could be held at your favourite bar. I actually have a t-shirt (and a mug), emblazoned "Grumpy". SPQR could come in his toga and garland. All the Anons out there could come dressed in grey suits and sunglasses. Can you imagine who would be sitting outside with cameras and making a list? Not Santa - that's for sure.

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  4. It's a given that all parliamentary leaders- state or federal - expect loyalty from their elected members. But for Jack Boot Jeff(Seeney)to publicly demand it, smacks of an immature leader and government. The polls say the voters aren't happy with the LNP and Can Do Without is on the nose in his own electorate. Keep this up and my predictions of 10 years of LNP could be cut to five. But then again the talent-less Labor won't come to the party. Bugger!

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  5. Sounds like Paul Jacob and David Moyle should get together

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    Replies
    1. Why not, northern beaches agitated agitator Guy Reece is there already, wasn't he a founding member of the Forest Gump Party - slogan 'life is like a box of chocolates, you just don't know what you're gonna get'. Soft centres ear to ear. This old bird is all for it, plenty of 2013 grist for the mill ... Magpie season all year.

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  6. Always good and entertaining Pie.

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    Replies
    1. Homile or homily?

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    2. The 'Pie replies to ppeter sandery.

      Tthanks ffor tthe hheads uup oon tthat sslip-uup, ppeter, ddamded ttricky,tthese wword tthingys iin ccyberspace.

      Delete
  7. Magpie,the dysfunction is the Astonisher. The Murdoch-owned company News International seriously failed in corporate governance.

    It must have failed in Townsville. eg. Asbestos.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Really like today's cartoon.

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  9. Yes, one has to wonder why authorities haven't been alerted to this and at least made inquiries. And/or why staff showered with asbestos dust - or otherwise exposed to it - haven't done anything to legally protect themselves and the future welfare of their families if asbestos poisoning emerges in the coming years. A class action is clearly possible.

    On the first point, maybe there is something going on behind the scenes, but how would we know, since only The Bulletin could tell us. And there isn't a pollie in sight that would dare take up the matter, or perhaps Sam, John and David may care to make a polite inquiry about the issue if asked by one of the potential victims.

    This asbestos issue is just the latest in the hypocritical stance on matters affecting The Bulletin, just like the sacking of half their staff. If it was any other company in either case, it would be front page screamers and pompous and condescending editorials of faux outrage. But because it was News Ltd, through its wholly owned subsidiary North Queensland Newspapers, not a dicky bird.

    The Murdoch culture of irresponsible and occasionally fatal behaviour is alive and well, even here in the 'Ville.

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    1. I have not been informed at all by 'Human Resource' department. I hear other staff were asked to get xrays while working in there.

      I notified HR at the time of the asbestos but was told that 'once a year' inspection. Disregard Yasi... etc.It's only a cyclone.

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  10. The 'Pie mentions Guy Reece in Northern Beaches. I believe he lives in Kelso and the records show that because of labour party preferences he was within 51 votes of being elected in Division 4!. Now this gentleman states that his investigations have led him to believe that all elections since Federation in 1901 are illegal, because no ID has been required for voting. He also has no clue whatsoever regarding the difference between operating deficit and long term capital borrowings for large infrastructure projects.He is now contributing to David Moyle's personal site. These are scary guys!

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  11. Happy Christmas Pie.

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  12. The issue is when it really happened in The Astonisher's workplace. eg. Asbestos. No one believes anything anymore. Because, all they did was lie while working for them.

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  13. Batman's story about 'Townsville warming faster than other tropical cities'

    The Earth has heated up 0.7 degrees over the last century. Threfore Townsville sits within the bounds of what is known as natural variablility.But all you need is a headline and the overheated feverish imaginations of the green global warming scarmongers get their collective knickers in a great big knot and the wailing begins.

    Nice one Batman, did you get paid by JCU for this?

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  14. Pie, could you set up a page for us humble readers where we could discuss the daily stuff ups and fairy tale stories the Astonisher entertains us with.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed, Mr/Ms Woodduck, that is coming when this blog will be expanded in the New Year. However, correspondents may have to sign an oath of 'humbleness' to get a guernsey.

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  15. Most are fairy tale stories. The [junos] are a half Ar sed Lot and are useless at reporting. I think it's the JCU way.

    I loved working with you though Pie.

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