Friday, July 8, 2011

Prince Peter of Lindsay has trouble keeping his feet on the ground - why The Astonisher is a notable 'no show' at the Townsville show - and an apt epitaph for the passing of a paper.

Uh oh, looks like the lordly Prince Peter of Lindsay, the former Laird of Herbert, is still up to his 'let them eat cake' ways even after retiring from the court of deposed King John. Not for the first time, Peter Lindsay is still living - or actually flying - high on the hog in his taxpayer-funded retirement.

Papers tabled in federal parliament during the week confirm that Prince Peter is leading the pack in travel expenses for retired MPs over the last six months of last year.

Spoil your day by reading about it in this week's nest at www.townsvillemagpie.

Ever more a ponce that a prince, and no doubt kitted out in his crushed velvet pantaloons and diamente-studded curly-toed slippers, our royal one

has donned his leather flying cap and goggles no less than 53 times from July to December last year, clocking up gold pass travel privileges to the tune of $23,725. 

And he's not the only one.

Another champion snurffler with his snout firmly embedded in this out-moded and outrageous trough is former labor MP Alan Griffith, who racked up more than $17,000 for flights between Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in the latter half of last year. And he left parliament 15 years ago!

In all, 20 former shiny bums spent more than $10,000 on such travel perks (Prince Peter no doubt using this trough to flit about revving up LNP business around the state). In all, more than 150 of these bloated pomposities enjoy our largesse for their holiday travel plans.

The central problem for The `Pie is that he wouldn't mind if they just went away - one way - but the leeching buggers keep coming back.

God knows why, but MPs qualify for lifetime free domestic travel if they serve as backbencher for 20 years, or as a minister for six. Here's the real kick in the bum for the punters, as drily pointed out in the Sun Herald (read the whole sordid story here) - there is no 'public interest' test and the Department of Finance finds out about the flights only after they have been taken and the bills for same arrive. 

This is a rorter's rort by any reasoning, and it remains a mystery not so much that is done, but that it is allowed to be done. But it will be interesting to see how Astonisher editor Typo Gleeson handles this favourite subject of his. Last time around, when The Prince was still a sitting MP, Typo fibbed away mightily on the front page in a fabricated screamer of a story about the purported cost of an overseas 'study' tour by The Prince. Which was all invented codswallop in a vain attempt to get Boys Club candidate and Typo's Labor mate Tony 'His Radiance' Mooney up in the Federal election. (Didn't work).

Let's see what happens now, especially since The Prince is a bit of a big say-so in the LNP back rooms.  

Now that we've reached the 'let's keep the bastards honest' part of the weekly blog, did you notice that the annual Townsville show was on last weekend?

You wouldn't have known it from the pages of The Astonisher. For the first time The Magpie can recall, and probably the first time in its 100-year plus history, there was barely a mention to be seen of the traditional community event.

Now, one wonders if this could be something to do with show boss Chris Condon declining to advertise in The Astonisher because he reckoned he'd been given a raw deal by the paper during last year's event. You see, the way it now works under the Ogden Street Ogre's reign of change, it seems GM Michael Wilkins is using the news columns to punish those who do not succumb to his smarm offensive and sign up as a 'friend' of the paper with a special 'partnership' arrangement of lucrative advertising. It look like the rule is 'no arrangement, no coverage', not even of long-standing and legitimate community events like the show. Cute, aren't they? 

Not that Biffo Condon could give a flying continental - this year's figures for the show did not appear to be affected, all packages of pre-purchased ride tickets sold out before the first day, and numbers through the gates were better than expectations. The outspoken show boss and his management committee are no doubt giving careful consideration about the value of paper's role in future.

But the seemingly spiteful and damaging attitude of The Astonisher's current management would be creating hardly a ripple among the minds of the puppeteers at the top of the News Ltd pile. Their nervous gaze is riveted on London and the fact that the old Nudes of the World is no more. 

In what some legal eagles have called a stroke of genius, Rupert has decided to instantly close down his prurient  Pommy paper News of the World to pretend contritness for the paper's deeply disgusting and illegal hacking of personal voice mails.  (In The Magpie's books, celebrities deserve whatever they get in this arena, since they feed and thrive on media attention for their often spurious 'celebrity'. But parents of murdered children and the families of dead soldiers are entirely another matter. Same goes for ordinary citizens caught up in fishing expeditions).

Through this closure involving the callous axing of the entire paper's uninvolved and blameless staff (all this unethical and illegal hacking was years ago), Murdoch will at least partially limit and complicate the possible revelation of further sordid details or even other bigger illegal dodges made on his behalf in his never-ending chase of a dirty dollar. Decades ago, Murdoch was dubbed (by the magazine Private Eye if memory serves) The Dirty Digger. Ironic that although the name was a sniffy reference to to his nationality, it was dirty digging by employees 40 years on that has forced Murdoch to close down of what has been termed 'a national institution'. 

Generations of Poms had got their Sunday jollies from the pages of this ever racy paper, but they need not make their beer any warmer with hot tears of dismay. In a move which gives the lie to Murdoch's sincerity of public sorrow, it is believed that The Sun, an equally ethics-free zone, will start producing a Sunday edition almost immediately. So the great unwashed will still be able get their weekly tittilation to put them in the mood to give the missus what they quaintly term ' a right good seeing to'.

But The Magpie thinks it fitting to recall a particular News of the World headline some decades ago as an apt epitaph to the paper. The story concerned an Anglican clergyman who had been up to some sort of salacious naughtiness, and was facing the boot from the church, a process known as 'defrocking'.

In it's best prurient style, the paper urged the clergyman to go voluntarily, under the advisory headline 'Go Unfrock Yourself'.


But enough! It is again away to Poseurs' Bar, perchance to bebubble a suitable companion and explain that 'unfrocking' doesn't always have to happen after an event, but can indeed - preferably - precede it. A warning though, this may also lead to unethical behaviour, like, say, the taking of the Lord's name in vain. Loudly. And repeatedly. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting read. In my opinion, Murdoch was accountable. He'd have wanted high circulation and the profit for his share holders. Toxic. Has he registered a new website?