Friday, January 14, 2011

The Waters Go Down, Blight's Stocks Go Up, but The Astonisher Keeps Leaking

The Magpie once had a blonde COCC (Current Companion Of Choice) who thought that the global unpleasantness of World War II was actually World War Eleven.

This came to mind during the week, when contemplating the vagaries of leadership and history. In the decade leading up to the second World War, Winston Churchill was considered just a so-so MP, no great shakes, but his unexpected hour of leadership came when Hitler went onto steroids.

It was an unexpected hour of destiny which lasted throughout the war.
Fast forwarding to the sad and soggy old Queensland of today, Winston's moment in history was the most apt parallel for the shining moments for Premier Anna Bligh.

The past week has been her hour, so as to speak, vaulting from a scorned party hack, sure to be turfed out at the next polls, to a strong, purposeful and involved leader during one of the greatest natural disasters ever seen in Australia.

In past days, she, in turns, has been Mother Bligh, the matriarch concerned for her Queensland family, Premier Bligh the reassuring leader confirming that her government will be there all the way, and at other times, just once or twice, Anna Bligh the person who has struggled to hold herself together when detailing some of the grimmer and heart-breaking updates of this state's greatest disaster.

This week, Anna Bligh has been every inch the leader that has always been there, but one that previously been suppressed under the dictates of a party political system that often stifles common sense through factional fighting and bad bookkeeping.

The Magpie has not been, and probably won't be in the future, any fan of Anna Bligh, but right now, although it is only words, The `Pie cannot imagine a more comforting or reassuring person to hold a beacon aloft for suffering and shell-shocked Queenslanders. She has simply been at her impressive best.

And the political ramifications of both the floods and Premier Bligh's performance cannot be under-estimated.

Depending on the handling of the clean-up and restoration across the state and the 2011 budget, an early election could well be called soon after mid-year. 
If the undoubted bounce in the opinion polls is big enough and can be sustained - while Labor will probably still lose - it won't be  the looming comprehensive rout the faithful had been dreading.

We'll see, but you can bet the LNP, mercifully gagged right now from playing politics, will be watching for the main chance during the re-building process, and the slight cock-up they will be all over like a cheap suit.

Mind you, looking dispassionately at the situation, unless The `Pie has it wrong - an ever-present possibility - one of the premier's more controversial decisions, exacerbated by rotten timing, looks like costing the taxpayer a motza.

It seems the railway sell-off saw the rail tracks themselves remain in state hands, and now we will foot the billion dollar bill for replacing damaged lines.  So does this mean that shareholders who bought what they already owned will be nicely subsidised by the muggins masses - read taxpayers - and won't have to pony up a penny?

There's also been a strange turn when it comes to language from the media. Journos are - or used to be - trained to do the straight talking, and use direct and uncomplicated terms to get the message across.

But it seems there hasn't been any floods in Queensland at all, just `inundations'. Along with the unfortunate terms `self-evacuation' and the truly aggravating `rain event' - for God's sake! - it also seems the water levels won't go down, they will `subside'. 
Reporters have generally coped well - take a bow, Paul Lockyer of the ABC - and done a great job of keeping the world informed while behaving with uncharacteristic restraint. 

Even up our way, for a heart-stopping glimpse at the power of rampant water, have a look at this, an assumingly innocuous-looking causeway over the Fitzroy River - date and camera person unknown, but sent in by MagpieMate Sheila Hasenkamp. 

In other matters, here's a snippet on the local front. With all the elbowing and frantic horse-trading on all sides for the next council elections, The Magpie can report that former Townsville City Council CEO Brian Guthrie has been making noises about having a tilt at a council seat.

The `Pie is told if he does run, it will probably be as an independent, although his inclination would probably be towards the left.

Two who won't be running are Jim Jumbo Gleeson - apparently his better half won't have a bar of it, and who could blame her, having to nightly dress those knife-wounds in Jumbo's back last time around.

The other one is Prince Peter of Lindsay.

The Magpie put it to the retired Laird of Herbert that the rumour had been going around that he was thinking of civic office again. The `Pie became somewhat concerned that our man might do himself a mischief, with the Prince almost popping his velveteen pantaloons he was laughing so hard. Which one takes as a 'no'.

Finally, a (yawn) final word on another matter. 
Bloody instructive, this blogging lurk, you learn so much that would otherwise have escaped your attention. And sometimes forces - sigh - one to put to rest some insidious twaddle being hawked around the place.

For instance, since the last load of drivel, when The Magpie had the temerity to naysay the blatant lying style of editor Typo Gleeson, he has learnt he was apparently fired from the Daily Astonisher for regularly returning Oliver Twist from lunch, leading to unspecified sexual harassment allegations by the Magpie - whether to himself (possible) or to others (not a chance) is not spelled out.

And writing stories filled with mistakes. 
And he was lazy. 
And egotistical. This last of course being a relative matter depending with whom you are comparing yourself.

Apparently, a (now very flattered) old bird was 'bagged' by one and all at the recent media drinks knees-up, generally known as 'media drunks'.

All a great load of steaming old cobblers, a shoot-the-messenger campaign which amounts to a cheap shot from some cheap shit.

The number of factual, spelling and grammatical errors in the anonymous free character reading leads The Magpie to suspect that the emailer was either a recent uni graduate, a junior journo carrying out riding orders, or an industry hanger-on - or maybe all three.

Just for the record, and (sigh) once only because this ain't about the bird, it's about the Bully, The Magpie resigned because of proposed changes to the way he reported court. He has the paperwork to confirm the manner of his departure, when his resignation was accepted only after two weeks of negotiations with Typo and HR manager Debbie de Kroo, who were both reluctant - or appeared to be - about his departure.

One could take the view, and The Magpie does, that it's flattering to be the subject of a mini-smear campaign, but the handful of abusive emails all have unmistakable similarities of style - almost Sanskrit, one could think -  and not one of them has addressed or refuted any of the old bird's revelations about Typo's unique approach to the truth.

Indeed, some old Bully chums have actually confirmed or added to the 'Typo Files'. And, suffice to say there is no truth in any of those allegations, that is the last word on the matter of the bird's parting from The Astonisher, which is not an issue of any importance.

But the performance of the Astonisher will remain under scrutiny because it should be the most influential opinion leader in the community, and there has to be people in this town willing to do a Don Chipp and 'keep the bastards honest'.

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs' Bar, to be-bubble the night away, before heading homeward for a night of sexual harassment involving rubber - that is, providing the bicycle pump is working.


  1. 'Pie - if they're talking about you at the pub - you must be doin' somethin' right!!

  2. Sorry,This video has been around for ages and is not in Qld or Australia as we don’t have yellow double lines, this was taken in Nov 2008 near Maine, but still pretty impressive
    Catch ya later, stay dry