Friday, March 25, 2011

Bluff, Bluster and Bulldust - Brisbane's Battling Bantam Throws His Ego Into The Ring.

Only in Queensland.

Banana-bending in these parts has always extended to rule-bending in the Sunshine State (time for a new moniker?), and we look set to end up with a completely unelected albeit a reputedly competent bloke calling the shots for the LNP opposition from outside the parliament. The `Pie, like many others, wondered at the implications for democracy as we know it (for what that's worth in this neck of the woods), but he is told it is all legally ticketyboo.

Enough has been written about all this hoohah elsewhere, so The Magpie will just allow himself to observe that Campbell Newman seems a bit full of himself. His head is getting big enough to have its own postcode, and it looks to be growing towards getting its own gravitional field which could attract its own moon. 

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. 

Every time a TV camera ihas been within cooeeo since last Tuesday, our humble hero-in-waiting has lowered his eyes, scuffed the ground with a modest swinging foot and murmured `I really don't want to talk about me  ....' and has then instantly overcome - with gusto - his revulsion of the subject of `me' ... and talked about himself. 

Endlessly. Lots of guff about leadership and he's the man and so on.  

Look, the dazed fixed grin, bunny-in-the-headlights behaviour of a clearly stunned Anna Blight clearly indicates that Campbell Newman has scared the industrial undies off the premier and her union chums, and with good reason. 

A few have asked why now? The answer is that in the game of politics, timing is vital in any powerplay. And it is the Local Government rules that has set the timetable for Newman's move. Sunday March 27, when Brisbane's fighting  bantam says he'll resign the Lord Mayoralty, is exactly one year out from the next local government elections. And the final 12 months of a council term is the zone when a direct appointment of a replacement mayor can be made, without a by-election. So the LNP will retain that powerful office and gain what they say is a keen electoral advantage at the state level.

Maybe, but The Bantam has to get elected first, and that looks like being a right old barney, down and dirty as it comes. As Sam Goldwyn once said, there'll be a lot of water passed over that bridge before that happens. (Hmmm, perhaps a bad joke given Brisbane's recent history, sorry.)

THE LNP appears to have had a more extensive strategy in mind for some time, because they've wasted no time using the occasion to turf out a few of the old backroom plotters and plodders. It could be said that it was with indecent haste that one Jake Smith, Springborg's best buddy and senior adviser was given his marching orders less than 24 hours after his boss resigned his position. The Magpie is told that Smith was urged never to darken the LNP doors again. Word is that most of the parliamentary members weren't shedding too many tears over Smith's departure, The Magpie is told he was a bit up himself and could be somewhat abrasive.

If he can actually win a seat and take the LNP leadership (one will naturally follow the other) this pugnacious chook will become the LNP rooster and will represent the first real challenge to the tired and frayed Labor hegemony in Queensland. But first, he'd better get over himself, we've had enough of that sort of self-praise from a parade of useless shiny bums over the years, and it wears pretty thin pretty quickly. Look, chum, let's just take it as read that you're a loaves and fishes kinda bloke, we accept your resume, so just address the issues and we'll all happily endorse your turning Labor's brackish water into sparkling LNP wine. (As if).

And an early election? 

The smart money is telling The `Pie - forget it. Although Premier Blight has long been among growing ranks of Labor's Fibbing Female faction, her panicked declaration that all bets were off regarding her vow of no election this year, it is doubtful she'd suddenly head down that path. 

The only thing that may change her mind is if special internal polls tell her that current Environment Minister Kate Jones will beat Newman in Ashgrove right now and really upset the LNP's carefully stacked applecart - Jones has a handy seven per cent margin. Otherwise,  the Premier will probably hold off, to give The Bantam every chance to make his own cock-ups as he trundles around the boondocks, trying to prove that he's just plain old down-home country folks, aww shucks. 

Of course, that carries the obverse danger for Premier Blight that she and her mob of stumblebums adding to their impressive list of weird, out of touch policies.

Insiders say that if there's no election called within 30 days, it will be next year as scheduled.  

Speaking of such matters, two great belly laughs emerged from the week's circus, both of which have earned Janus Two-Faced BUMM Vase and Bowl Awards. This occasional Magpie award is named for Janus, the two-faced god of mythology and the BUMM stands for Barefaced UnMitigated Medacity.

The first was the screeching outrage from Labor MPs about unelected 'faceless men' calling the LNP shots and 'secretly' manipulating leadership challenges. 

What a wheeze!!

Apart from the obvious fact that we all know who belongs to the LNP executive - and they were just doing what political party excutives do - for the ALP to pinch Ming Menzies famous, 'faceless men' election winning phrase of the early 60s is a real thigh-slapper. Without delving into literally hundreds of examples over the years, maybe we should just ask little Kevvy KRudd his opinion about faceless men. He was turfed out by party powerbrokers who were not members of the Federal Parliament, several of whom were instructed by non-party donors with heavy business interests at stake. And if not convinced, perhaps doubters should cast a casual eye to the south, where `faceless men' have replaced the NSW premier on three or four occasions in as many years. The fruits of their effort will this weekend fall from the NSW tree, to make room for a whole bunch of chickens coming home to roost.

The second Janus Two-Faced BUMM Award goes closer to home, none other than our own Craig Cuddlepie Wallace, who graced the pages of the Daily Astonisher with the start of an anti-Newman campaign based on regionality - wholly supported by one of Typo Gleeson's 'fair and balanced' editorials.

Cuddlepie, with his tediously common lack of evidence, was reported thus:
'He accused Mr Newman of actively seeking to pull funding from regional Queensland in the past and of being worried the southeast corner would miss out after rural independents, including Kennedy MP Bob Katter, held the balance of power after last year's federal election. 
'He (Newman) doesn't know or understand the regions, and what's more, he has campaigned against the regions getting funding,' Mr Wallace said. 'Brisbane would be his priority and he would strip funding from the regions.'

Hmmm, you make The Bantam sound about as useless as you've been in campaigning for funds for your region, despite (or maybe because) you being a minister.

But hang about, surely this couldn't be the same Cuddlepie who stoutly, even angrily took to the ABC airwavews to defend the axing of the funds allocated to upgrading and flood-proofing parts of the Bruce Highway, the said funds redirected to the southern flood relief. In an extraordinary outburst when questioned by that perfumed steamroller Paula Tapiolas, Cuddlepie in essence suggested his constituents were a selfish, uncaring, callous and ungenerous bunch of whingers. This neatly ignored the fact that axing those highway funds was just plain stupid as a way to give the much-needed and justly deserved assistance to flood victims. 

This Minister for Mean Roads looked a right chump when just a few days later, along came Yasi to cut the Bruce Highway in more than 23 places.

Talk about not knowing the regions! 

Cuddlepie, me old dear, along with the highway, you'd better start mending some fences out your way, bluff, bluster and bullying is maybe OK in the hallowed halls of George Street, but keep it up towards your electorate and they'll be waiting for you with electoral baseball bats come voting time. And your own party's polling right now has you at maybe 50-50, so cut the swagger and change your tune a bit - The Magpie needs you to retain seat, just for the laughs.

Finally, The Magpie would like to record his disappointment with one particular aspect of an Astonisher story under the byline of one its finest journalists, Tony Raggatt. (Sorry Tony, an endorsement from The Magpie is not always a positive down in Ogden Street, but you're a big boy, you'll handle it.) The story was about Prince Peter of Lindsay, the former Laird of Herbert and his alleged naughtiness in allegedlly leaking allegedlly private insider LNP party polling - allegeddly favouring Campbell Newman over the lackluster JP - to alleged metro news outlets last week before the leadership upheaval. The Prince flatly denies doing any such thing, but so what if he did anyway? But the disappointment came with a single stand-alone, unexplained sentence near the top of the story that simply said Peter Lindsay's daughter works in Campbell Newman's office. And what, pray tell is the relevance of this information?  If this is an innuendo that she gave daddy the polling (which he'd probably have from the party as a matter of course anyway), surely the journalist is required to say why he believes ot knows this, rather than a very unprofessional nudge,nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean. A bit of proof offered to mug readers is always appreciated as well as required, and if there is no proof, then the allegation is just a undeserved and unsupported slur. 

Given Typo's well-known penchant for inserting something a little extra by way of spin into reporter's stories - and that JP is a personal mate of the editors - perhaps Raggers is not the responsible party.

Remember the old joke that innuendo is an Italian suppository? Well, this particular innuendo should end up Italian - fashion, in the appropriate fundament belonging to whoever wrote that sentence.     

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs Bar where The Magpie will seek pre-selection in the affections of one Deidre McFondle, an old chum who always welcomes a bit of insider input if the right policy - one including a lavish breakfast - is put forward.


  1. Just remember Magpie dear, it is the eggs I like soft ... not the sausage.

  2. The Rasmussen RoosterMarch 28, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    Re Deidre
    Is that easy over or tummy side up?