Friday, February 25, 2011

Bending over backwards for votes. How low will the Talking Mullet go with this political limbo dance?

Jenny The Talking Mullet Hill has gone all musical this week, and it bodes ill for a murky council election campaign, which is apparently already underway. That is, if The Mullet and Typo Gleeson, Labor's carnival barker and editor of North Queensland's version of Pravda are to be believed. (Believed? Oh, Magpie, you old thigh-slapper, stop it.)
First a little background.

The Magpie has always been fascinated with the connection between music and politics, and the unexplored possibilities of well suited matches. Pinching well known tunes for campaigns is a time honoured practice, most memorably when former US vice-president Walter Mondale used Gonna Fly Now, commonly known as the Theme From Rocky, in his 1984 campaign - it is also a favourite of the Cantebury Bulldogs team, and not just when they head on to the field; Gonna Fly Now is actually more apt when they hear the sirens heading towards their latest apres season sexual soiree.

Back in America, sadly it was an opportunity missed by the Republicans when they failed to buy Sarah Palin the rights to the Looney Toons theme music, but it seems it's not too late, she hasn't said `that's all, folks' just yet. And if Bugs Bunny won't agree to the use of the song, no probs, she'll just shoot him.
This is a musical field littered with foregone possibilities. Bill Clinton could've adapted Blowin' In The Wind, although the lyrics might have to be customised a little. The Eagles `Lying Eyes' with the notion of the cheating side of town, conjures up visions of Hilary in curlers, tapping her foot at the White House door, rolling pin at the ready.

Closer to home, surely Julia Gillard has good claim on the Queen hit `Fat Bottomed Girls' - although she would have to be careful that the final lines
Get on your bike and ride
Fat bottomed girl
Fat bottomed girl

...aren't sung too enthusiastically by colleagues, including Kevin Rudd. He himself missed a tailor-made opportunity for a dignified departure theme, by not using Lesley Gore's 1963 number 1 hit

It's My Party - …
And I'll cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you

KRudd would've had a bit of a tussle over rights for this one with Bob Hawke.

Wingnut Abbot could make good use of another Lesley Gore hit for those tricky questions about `policy on the run' issues about which he didn't bother to  consult shadow cabinet.  You Don't Own Me

And don't tell me what to do
And don't tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don't put me on display, 'cause
You don't own me, don't try to change me in any way
You don't own me, don't tie me down 'cause I'd never stay.

And amen to that, we hear Malcolm Talkbull muttering.
Anna Blight's recent jump in the polls may still have us all singing a chorus or two of Elvis's smash  fits the bill to a tee, with

You're The Devil In Disguise
Walks like an angel,
Talks like an Angel,
But then I got wise,
You're the devil in disguise.

So now it seems, The Mullet is after a musical Townsville Council election.
That's the distinct impression given this week's performance under the guidance of a `fair and balanced' (oh - snurffle, gurgle - stop it, you naughty old bird, you'll be the death of me yet) Typo Gleeson in the Astonisher, and, more significantly - conspiracy theorists please note - in the Astonisher's little sister publication, the weekly throw-over The Sun (`the Mild Surpriser'). The Mullet has set the tuneful tone for the election next year, particularlly with her free-kick, mendacious interview in the Sun.

There can be little doubt her theme song will be `Limbo Rock', which features the chrous

Limbo lower now
Limbo lower now
How low can you go.

In the front page Sun spinfest, adorned by a truly goofy publicity-hound photograph, Ms Hill has certainly set the bar at a challenging low. Using a donation to the Queensland Flood Appeal to boost one's dwindling political stock is one thing, and bad enough at that, but to base the claim on a deliberate factual distortion - if not an outright lie - is a different matter altogether.

The story began `Councillor Jenny Hill has taken the moral high ground, donating her $2000 pay rise to the Premier's Cyclone and Flood Relief Fund last week'.


Mullet, m'dear, what $2000 pay rise? You know full well (and if you don't, what are you doing on council?) that you got no such thing, and neither did any other councillor. That you admit you weren't at the particular council meeting when the matter of remuneration was voted on, The Magpie has generously devoted some research time to enlighten you as to the facts... as if you don't know them already.

The following is from a council release on the issue shortly vafter the meeting in question last december 16.

'Townsville’s councillors have again accepted a salary package lower than the recommendations of the independent remuneration tribunal with a nett pay increase of less than point two of a per cent.

At today’s Full Council meeting, the councillors voted to accept a 2.5 per cent gross increase in salary which has almost been cancelled out by a further halving in their amalgamation loading.
When combined, the nett increase will range from $95 per year for a Councillor through to $245 per annum for the Mayor.
Councillors again decided not to accept the maximum recommendation from the independent Local Government Remuneration Tribunal.

This has never been challeged by any serious commentator which naturally knocks out any of Typo's fiddling with the reporter's story at the time.

Jenny, you are hardly one of those fabled battlers you claim to represent, and are financially a very well-off individual through personal good fortune and a solid employment record, so you can easily afford two grand. But you sure as hell didn't get it as a bonus in your council pay packet.

Trying to use the emotion of one of our worst disasters in our history for dishonest and grubby political gain is, well, just let the song say it

Don't move that limbo bar
You'll be a limbo star
How low can you go

And the spurious, ludicrously spun nonsense you and your campaign manager Typo Gleeson have orchestrated in the paper about divisional elections (because divisions would greatly favour Labor in Townsville) is tedious, and your call for a second debate on the issue was low level grandstanding.

Without Typo in the chair, it would have rightly been ignored by a `fair and balanced'  editor. That is all aside from the argument that an undivided council allows voters to have their choice of an entire council, and not just the best of a bad lot in a two or three horse race in a ward.

Anyway, it has already been signalled that the Townsville City Council will go along with whatever recommendation is finally made by the government on the matter. But one supposes you have to make the best of it while Typo's still around. Come off it, Mullet, it's grubby stuff.

Now, on other matters, while grubbiness is one thing, just plain dopey is another matter altogether, and the Queensland LNP seems to have a vice-like grip on the Twerp of the Week award.

With floods, cyclones, asset sales, unpaid nurses  and cynical cabinet reshuffles offering a mixed bag of opportunties, what does the LNP decide to run with to flog the government ? They trot their child shadow minister Jarrod Bleijie (yup, that's how it's spelt and mercifully is pronounced Blay-ee - bit like the Magpie's Japanese mate saying Bligh) and what does our boy try to whip us into a frenzy about? The colour of prison uniforms! Apparently, young Mr Blah (oh, whatever) is getting all warm and moist over the new khaki and green uniforms for the involuntary guests of our government. Seems the colour scheme might - might, mind you - assist escapees and make detection more difficult.

Perhaps, but in the middle of all the big ticket issues around, this brand, spanking new ( and irrelevant at this time) issue was hardly going to prompt any inquiry except `huh?', and an idle thought as to whether Mr Blah had suddenly gone off his medication. Or had been over-indulging in product from his Dad's first great business venture , the famed Ettamogah Pub.

The LNP still has a battle on its hands, with Premier Blight personally bouncing up in the polls, and an election could be along any moment, no matter what she says. Coming up with this sort of guff won't do the cause any good, it makes the opposition look out of touch with current  community concerns, and , well, - just plain dopey.

The Magpie met the opposition leader John-Paul Langbroek when he was in Townsville last weekend, and in person, he is engaging and certainly likeable. But listening to him the next day on radio, the `Pie was struck by the fact with his public pronouncements, there was no fire, no grit and no feeling of conviction, a sort of `painting-by-numbers' policy drone.

Frankly, even when worked up, JP seems to lack any saleable passion.

Presentation in politics can be just as important as timings for popular policies, and it is doubly important right now in Queensland, where the old truism applies in spades: oppositions don't win elections, governments lose them. Let's trust JP doesn't come to stand for `Just Passionless'.

Enough now, it away to Poseurs' Bar, where perchance the old bird may discuss with a suitable be-bubbled companion the lonely life of the high moral ground, and the albeit fleeting delights of the grubby approach. This will not be a conversation about politics.


  1. Any more news on whether Typo is actually leaving the Bulletin?

  2. If Typo does leaves town, I hope Jenny goes with him!!

  3. re Typo's departure: Sydney is still making up its mind about a replacement,and given his disasterous stewardship of the Astonisher over the past year (readership down from 86,000 monday to friday the previous year when he'd just taken over to 71,000 last December just gone) the Sydney poo-bahs may be having second thoughts about casting Typo as the saviour of anything, let alone the floundering Gold Coast Bulletin.

  4. Good work Magpie. Always a good read.