Yesterday I visited the bowels of hell and it is actually a rather dull and dreary place that is far from being as glamorous as its public image would suggest.
You see I had to go to Surfer’s Paradise so that my daughter could spend some time with her friend from Tasmania who was on holiday with her family there. The drive there and back was nice for the conversation with my daughter , terrible for my back ( I am likely to be bed bound all day today as a consequence of the journey) but as it has been many years since I have spent any time on the Gold-Coast I spent some of my time there at looking at just what sort of place it has become in that interregnum.
The overwhelming impression one gets is of squalor with a veneer of tat and pretence. The footpaths are an unending patchwork of different surfaces and pose a great risk to anyone, like yours truly, who walks with a cane. Once you raise your eyes to the many people on the streets its hard to see much real joy among them. It seemed to me that most were trying very hard to “have fun” with a rather grim determination.
To give my daughter the most time with her friend I spent most of my day reading ” Dexter is Delicious” I finished the book as it happens and in many ways it was a most apt read for the day because the Miami setting Of Jeff Lindsey’s novels are so very similar to the place were I was reading his clever prose. I also could not help but wonder about the lives of those people who serve the tourists because I did not see even one person in the shops and Cafes who looked even vaguely happy or even marginally cheerful .
By my calculation it must be more than thirty years since I have been to Surfers Paradise and if I manage to go another thirty years before I again visit I will consider that to be too soon for this old codger.
People are creatures of habit and it is only that so many people are habituated to buying the news papers that any are still being sold at all. Just take any kind of commute on public transport and consider how many people are reading a paper and how many are staring at a screen instead. Some certainly may be playing games or even watching video but I expect that they will be out numbering those who are still reading dead tree editions of the MSM.
Then there is the things in the paper that people buy them for, most papers are not exclusively about politics and current affairs anyway, so some readers will be buying the paper for its coverage of sport, lifestyle or even just for the crossword puzzles. My point is that the political classes (in particular those from the left ) just look at the raw sales figured and they think that every reader of the Herald Sun is in the thrall of Rupert Murdoch and that the owners dictate to their readers directing their opinions. The reality is that all media entities write to their audience. If they don’t their audience wither away quite quickly. With the coming of the internet this is even more how things work Online entities are even more in an endless quest for readers so you have to play to what your readers want rather than thinking that you can manipulate their thinking. I have been writing a blog for nearly a decade now and I have noticed just how quickly particular readers flit in and out its the same now with the way that people read things online from the likes of Murdoch, Fairfax or even the Guardian People don’t just get their news from one source any more no matter what the subject is they will read what several sources say about it and then make up their mind. This behaviour is the same when it comes to broadcast TV people flit form one channel to another seeking different perspectives. My argument is simple, if the media consumers have changed their habits then perhaps there is something in the notion that media diversity laws from the last century should perhaps reflect those changes as well.
In my younger days I participated in various protests. It was political street theater then and its the same thing now. The difference is that then it had a point then and now well its for such a grab bag of pointless posturing that all achieves is a jump in sales for inner city Latte purveyors. One thing is clear though and that it proves what a disconnected bunch of posturing wankers our friends from the left have become. Courtesy of my twitter feed here are a couple of the more amusing images :
Its all of the usual suspects, making the usual complaints in the very tedious old fashioned manner None of it will be remembered beyond Tuesday (that attractive volunteer may be remembered till Thursday! 😉 ) and nothing will change in the polity as a result of this piece of nonsense.
Rollin on Comrades
The begging bowl never enhances the look of any business and the SPC bid for government money certainly strikes me as a bit of underhanded blackmail. and what is especially galling is that the parent c0mpany Coca Cola Amatil are far from short of a quid themselves. To be honest the driving force here is the foolishness of allowing unfettered imports of cheap product because it enhances the profits of the supermarkets. As the family shopper I make a special effort to avoid foreign produce and imported canned and preserved fruit but when you see the price differential its hardly surprising that many shoppers are less discerning that I am.
I know that this may horrify some of my conservative friends but it seems to me that this whole saga is a very good argument for grower’s cooperatives running canning companies to preserve and market their produce. Its also a damn good argument for tariffs imposed upon all agricultural produce that we ourselves grow.
In another example of shopping sadness the butcher shop that I have been patronising for nearly thirty years is to be either sold or closed within the next 12 weeks and I am less than pleased about the prospect. Angus and Tom have been great examples of the perfect store keepers with well priced quality product and exemplary service to their customers. Its the very old story of a shopping mall management greedily charging outrageous rents and greedy adjacent supermarkets (Aldi and Coles) selling packaged meat at below cost prices. If they can find a buyer they will sell the goodwill but if they can’t then they will walk away. I know that that is the reality of free enterprise but I can’t help but think that its a far from attractive reality.
Strewth, looking back on this post I think my inner lefty has escaped! Now that is a real worry!
I too have been utterly appalled by the toll of young men who have been killed on our streets over recent months and I share a quote from our PM on the subject:
While, we all want to see the courts absolutely throw the book at people who perpetrate this kind of gratuitous, unprovoked violence, we have to recognise that courts can only act after a crime.
The challenge for officialdom at every level, for the police, for pubs and clubs as well as for parents and young people is to tackle the binge drinking culture and the violent behaviour that is accompanying it. We also have to identify if drugs like steroids are also contributing to this outbreak of violent behaviour. There is enough anecdotal evidence from police and our emergency rooms that what we are seeing is not fuelled by alcohol alone. All too often alcohol is consumed along with other drugs such as ice and other amphetamines.
We need to tackle this issue in a comprehensive and considered way. We don’t need knee-jerk reactions and stunts that give the illusion of action, but don’t make any real, lasting difference.
Where possible, we need community solutions between police, local government, pubs and clubs and residents. Some communities have already demonstrated that progress can be made and many pubs, clubs and alcohol providers have discovered it is better to solve a problem and be part of the solution, than have a solution imposed on them.
We have to approach this in a way that actually makes our streets safer. That means we have to resist the idea that one single action will change everything; that one group is responsible for this problem or that one politician has the answer or is the cause of the problem. While this is not an easy area, with much control in the hands of state and local governments, the Commonwealth stands ready to work with the states, parents and communities to tackle this scourge.
Alcohol has and always will be part of life in our country – and most countries in the world. Our challenge as a people is to ensure that we get the balance right again. Few of us can say we have been perfect when it comes to alcohol in our lives – but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t as individuals and as a society work harder at tackling dangerous behaviour and keeping our communities safer. After all, alcohol should be about adding to our celebrations rather than detracting from them.
We obviously need a culture shift among the great unwashed so that the need in the male ego that needs to be, and be seen as, a warrior is properly satisfied. However one thing that Tony Abbott is wrong about and that is his suggestion that “throwing the book” at these cowards is in anyway sufficient. No matter how you cut it there is no punishment that one of these killers can expect for their cowardly thuggery that is adequate. Maybe for this class of criminal transgression we need to force the miscreants to become organ donors rather than expecting the families of their victims to salvage some solace from the needless demise of young men like Daniel Christie by donating his organs. Thus, assuming that the drug crazed murdering scum-bags’ vicera are viable for transplant we can both remove a blight upon Australian manhood from our society and provide a chance of a better life to at least a dozen far more deserving Aussies. Heck if these killers are at all contrite we could even give them the kindness of rendering them unconscious while their bits are harvested…
As the chief cook and bottle washer here it pleases me no end to discover that our pollies can and do do their bit in their family kitchens, however the story about our New Again Dear Leader first “suspending” his campaigning due to the matters in Syria and then going off and spending time in Brisbane filming an episode of the Kitchen Cabinet with the lovely
In the first instance I find it rather a stretch to suggest that we have a horse in that quite despicable race in Syria. Assad is clearly a despicable despot but the Islamists on the other side are hardly any better so to be frank I think that rather than picking sides between two loathsome choices both the USA in particular and the west in general should just take a step back and let then kill each other until there are none of them left. Does that sound harsh and uncaring? Well I for one don’t think that in intervention of secular (or Christian) nations is going to solve or heal the endless feud between Sunni and Shia Islam and one thing that you can be sure of is that no matter who we choose (even the lesser of the evils if we can work who that is ) win or lose both sides will still hate us, better to let them kill each other and allow God to judge them in the next life. Anyway it is that cesspit of certain intervention disaster that our New Again Dear Leader wishes to involve himself and the nation. Even though he can’t solve the vexed issue of irregular boat arrivals he thinks that he might be able to solve the Syrian Civil war? Nah that is just bonkers its obvious to this sauce bottle shaker that our New Again Dear Leader just wanted a break from the endless failure of his campaigning. Who could blame him as he faces the clear reality that when he goes to press the flesh he is being heckled and jeered at by an electorate that has utterly lost faith in Labor? So by citing Syria our New Again Dear Leader has been able to avoid the voters for a day or so without appearing to be craven. It is however an excuse that will not last forever and at least it looks like our humiliation adverse New Again Dear Leader may be spared the ignoble fate of outliving his government as another survey finds him trailing in Griffith. Which makes me wonder if the electors in the Rudd Family might just be doing the right thing by their patriarch and voting for Bill Glasson to ensure a quick and smooth departure from politics for their New Again Dear Leader…
- PM denies delaying Syria talks for TV show (smh.com.au)
- Rudd and Abbott to appear on Annabel Crabb’s Kitchen Cabinet (mumbrella.com.au)
- Human rights groups estimates 322 people dead from alleged chemical attack in Syria; rebels blamed (vancouversun.com)
- PM rejects cooking show claims (bigpondnews.com)
- Annabel Crabb’s Kitchen Cabinet sees off Masterchef and Great Australian Bake Off in Tuesday’s ratings (mumbrella.com.au)
- Syrian victims of alleged gas attack smuggled to Jordan for blood tests (theguardian.com)
- Al-Qaida branch blames Hezbollah for Lebanese bombings (theguardian.com)
- False Flag Chemical Weapons Attack on Syria. Pretext for All Out War? (thedailysheeple.com)
We have a fine tradition in this country of understanding that what a political player does in private with their privates is not of necessity any reflection on their ability to meet the requirements of their office. With that in mind I just can’t get excited about the silliness committed by Peter Dowling . Yes the idea of sending pictures of your penis in a glass of wine is a bit of a larf but is it really a scandal?
Lets look at the facts, firstly the woman involved was a consenting adult , secondly as far as we know there were no breaches of the criminal law by Dowling, thirdly after the affair was over the woman spurned has made public the indiscreet pictures.
If there has been a failure of ethics here I would say the guilty party here is the woman who has broken the tacit agreement involved in any relationship that intimacies will remain private . That includes silly pictures sent between lovers because I can’t help thinking that the salacious pictures would have been only coming from Dowling if they were the erotic currency of the affair (it is to his credit that he has not splashed pictures of the woman’s girly bits all over the media)
Finally lets remember that its not only conservative pollies you play away (Bob Hawke, anyone?) its inseparable from our humanity and our sexuality that human beings fall in love (or lust) and the simple fact is that its not a conscious choice and that people in love do silly things. People spurned in love do even sillier things.
- Peter Dowling: Australian MP mixes sexting with a nice glass of wine (theguardian.com)
- Penis. Wine. Penis Wine. That Is All, Just Penis Wine. (wonkette.com)
- Qld Ethics Committee chair, Peter Dowling, accused of sending explicit texts to mistress (abc.net.au)
- Qld parliament ethics boss in porn scandal (news.theage.com.au)
- Queensland MP stands down as ethics committee head over sexting allegations (theguardian.com)
- FRESH : Sexting Scandel: Weiner is Still In, Australia’s MP “Peter Dowling” Out (sacratomatovillepost.com)
- Australian MP in sexting scandal (itv.com)
The thing about apologies is that they can not undo the serious consequences for which they express contrition. Now where is this more so than in the case of the fatal results of Brother Number One’s Pink Batts fiasco:
The coroner’s report is incredibly damning of the federal government and its role in the design of the scheme and its something that we critics of Brother Number One have been saying ever since these three young men were so tragically killed. Of course we have had the usual excuses made about it being the responsibility of the States to regulate the building industry but such nonsense has no currency with the families of these three young men who will never recover form their tragic and unnecessary loss. So when you see or hear Brother Number One makeing his insincere apology don’t be swayed towards the excuses and Labor party spin. instead remember that it was a panicked Kevin Rudd who created the fatal scheme and it is a desperate Kevin Rudd who now just hopes that this issue will go away so that he can play his game of spin.
We, the voters, should instead remind the erstwhile Brother Number One time and time again that his decisions have cost lives in the roofs of our houses we lost fine young Australians and on the seas to our north Brother Number One has to be held responsible for the deaths of an unknown number of “asylum seekers” as well. Strangely enough he is apologizing for that as well. Surely there has to be a point beyond which such empty apologies are an insult to both the dead and those who grieve for them and I for one think that Kevin Rudd is well past that point.
With respect for the dead Comrades.