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Terry Pratchett dies and so does Clive Palmer’s time in the political sun

This is a post about loss, on one had we have the very sad news that Terry Pratchett has died after a very public fight with a form of dementia :

The British fantasy author (left; and with wife Lyn, top right) sold more than 85million books worldwide in 37 languages, but also waged a very public struggle with Alzheimer's disease in recent years - and was a vocal campaigner of the right to die. The writer is best known for his satirical fantasy novels set in Discworld, a flat planet resting on the back of four elephants, themselves perched on the back of a vast turtle moving through space. Sir Terry's thousands of fans on Twitter were alerted to the news of his death by a series of messages (bottom right) shortly after 3pm today, finishing with: 'The End.' Prime Minister David Cameron said today he was 'sad to hear' of the death, adding: 'His books fired the imagination of millions and he fearlessly campaigned for dementia awareness.'

The British fantasy author (left; and with wife Lyn, top right) sold more than 85million books worldwide in 37 languages, but also waged a very public struggle with Alzheimer’s disease in recent years – and was a vocal campaigner of the right to die. The writer is best known for his satirical fantasy novels set in Discworld, a flat planet resting on the back of four elephants, themselves perched on the back of a vast turtle moving through space. Sir Terry’s thousands of fans on Twitter were alerted to the news of his death by a series of messages (bottom right) shortly after 3pm today, finishing with: ‘The End.’ Prime Minister David Cameron said today he was ‘sad to hear’ of the death, adding: ‘His books fired the imagination of millions and he fearlessly campaigned for dementia awareness.’

‘The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds’: Tributes pour in to fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett who has died at 66 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s

And then there is the news that , the brick with eyes and senator for my home state of Queensland has pulled the pin on Clive Palmer deciding that he will no longer sit as a PUP member in our upper house. Now I draw theses two seemingly disparate events together because Clive Palmer is just the sort of crazy bizarre political animals that Pratchett was so frond of creating in his disc world novels but sadly for Queensland he is real.

On the upside though I am really enjoying the  political emasculation of Clive Palmer far more than I really should be. As a conservative I find this a big improvement for the prospects of government being able to get legislation through the senate.

Thus we can all see that every day can show is both sadness at the passing of one of the best fantasists of our age and joy of something he could have created passing into the political irrelevance it so richly deserves. In some ways the departure of the brick from the PUP may make it harder to pass particular bills  but not having Palmer’s expansive ego and endless vendetta against the coalition in play will more than compensate in the humble opinion of this scribe.

Definitely a day of light and shade Comrades

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Palmer is dead buried and cremated as a political force you could say that he is like this pillow…

Guess what I’m going to be watching tonight?

The odds may be against Queensland  but I do hope that we do better than match one .....

The odds may be against Queensland but I do hope that we do better than match one …..

Cheers reserved for later Comrades

 

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EIGHT IN A ROW

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17:  Justin Hodges of the Maroons

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 17: Justin Hodges of the Maroons

As much as I don’t want  to admit it I watched the game and thoroughly enjoyed it especially the victory over NSW, strewth, there may even be something in this sport malarkey!

Cheers Comrades!

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You can bet on it, but advertising gambling is bad for us

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Does gambling improve sport?

I’m not a gambling man by any stretch of the imagination, heck I don’t even buy lottery tickets but I am no wowser either I don’t care if other people want to have a flutter on the ponies or any other competition. On top of that I am lightning fast on the channel change button if I find sport on the TV. None the less I do have an opinion about the current issue of advertising by bookies during sports broadcasts. I just think that the infusion of gambling to be utterly pernicious and that makes me in agreement with Julia Gillard (oh the humanity!) but I am inclined to think that a total ban on the broadcast  advertising of  bookmaking would be the most socially beneficial regulation.

Cheers Comrades

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How Julia Gillard is going to be a sure-fire winner*

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The more traditional game for the politically involved is Chess but as a cipher for modern democratic politics it is not really the best fit, the game is after all analogous to conflicting monarchies. Democracies have a very different dynamic. All of this is a rambling way of getting around to my view of politics as a game. Now I can just imagine that the howls of objection will begin and suggest that to see politics as a game is to not take it seriously, however as any committed sports fan will tell you there is nothing more serious than sport.

On one side of the field we have team Gillard who should have the home ground advantage except that they have done a really good job of upsetting their own fans and of course they have had to make up for the lack of a full team by bringing in some blow-ins who have their own ideas about how the team should play and its those blow-ins who have been the beginning  of Team Gillard’s   woes and led to them beginning their first quarter with a  very spectacular own goal that has haunted them ever since. Now even if you believe in climate change this betrayal of a  undertaking made just prior to the 2010 poll was very bad politics and evidence of a contempt for the voters.  It was bad politics because it destroyed what little good will Gillard had left after Knifing Rudd to become team Capitan. It was also bad politics because it showed just how desperate Gillard was to get a team together.  A better negotiator  would have walked away when the asking price was too high. That Gillard did not do so speaks volumes about her deal making ability and none of it is good.

Impulsiveness is often cited as one of Tony Abbott‘s failings  there is many a critic from the left who will insist that he is prone to “brain-farts” but there can be no better examples of flatulent thinking than the coniptions that has passed for the Gillard’s ever changing pattern of denial about the folly of changing the asylum seeker regime after winning the 2007 election. Really I don’t know if we should  classify this as one own Goal or many.  In the first instance there was an unbelievable denial that there was even a problem, the fans did not buy it for a minute,  then there was the Timor solution that not even the Timorese knew about even though it had been announced by Gillard, then came the “Malaysian solution” which failed at the first legal  hurdle, finally after some furious instance that she would not have overseas processing  that is what she has created. By my count that has to be about half a dozen own goals on that issue alone.

In the more recent period of play we have seen even more own goals. The spirited defence of Craig Thompson has not been her finest hour and had she not been in such a precarious position on the numbers in the parliament  Thompson would have long since been forced to resign form the house and the Government would have been truly distanced  from the stench of corruption. However if Thompson is the “try” then appointing appointing Peter Slipper as Speaker of the house would have to qualify as a “conversion”  because the whole point was to shore up her numbers on the field and it has turned out to be a disaster from start  to finish. Firstly to make a place for Slipper in the speaker’s chair she had to give the well respected incumbent, Harry Jenkins the old heave ho and then Slipper invited derision and disdain for that high office with his instance upon reviving old out dated and pretentious ceremonial processions. Add to that the simple fact that he was dodgy on his attitude to his expense accounts and the sexual harassment claims against him and the whole business easily earns Gillard six demerit points.

But Gillard is not the only member of her team who is prone to making “Own goalsWayne Swan has scored more than his fair share it starts with the simple fact that not one of his five budgets have ever  turned out even close  to his predictions , well I suspect that has been the case for many treasurers but few have been made to look as much a fool as Wayne Swan has over his instance that the promised surplus would be delivered even though this claim was widely denounced by our most knowledgeable financial commentators. When it could not be denied any longer Swan did finally admit the obvious but by this time he was well over his own goal line and the touchdown was just a formality.

Of course there is no better example of Swan’s ability to score against Labor than the MRRT which has been so unreasonably celebrated  since its inception as away of clawing back a bigger  return to the Australian people for the mineral riches that fuels our economy. Quite a laudable aim in many ways but the own goal lays in the design of the tax and the way that it has been spent many times over before even one cent was collected. The revelations in Fairfax press about how Swan “negotiated” the deal should stand forever as an example of the way not to get the best outcome fro the Australian people .

Its not just been the front row of team Labor who have   been scoring goals for the other team the NBN has been a political disaster for Labor as well. Now as much as we all want a bigger brighter broadband network  the fact that the business case for such a grand scheme can possibly be excused in the name of nation building but the cost blow-outs and endless delays are far less forgivable,  likewise the minister Stephen Conroy has been less than scintillating in convincing the Australian people that the project will be worth the billions this is costing us to build it. Maybe not a own goal touchdown but it does move the ball very much into the scoring contention against their own interests .

But the biggest own goal score maker has to be the ever present Kevin  Rudd, this ghost of Christmas past has been haunting Team Labor since he was so ingloriously dispatched in the 2010 Coup. He is definitely not a team Gillard player even though he wears the team jersey. He clearly wants the Captaincy again but but like Marley’s Ghost he is burdened by the chains of his past sins and they may well be to heavy a burden for him to rise cream like to the top of the Labor pail. Then again if Labor is in losing big time they may just try to use him as a final all in bet.

On the other side of the field  Team Abbott have played a far more disciplined game , managing to largely stay on message and focused on the prize of ultimate victory when the final whistle blows . There have been a few stumbles but overall they have managed to maintain the momentum of play in their favour. Of course many of those who are dyed in the wool Labor Fans have been trying to get the game commentary onto the topic of next season’s  plays but Abbott is faced with a team who keep scoring goals for him rather than against him  so he does not have to work very hard to get that winning score. Sports fans  get easily bored by a  game which is too one sided  and they start to drift off to the beer tent well before the final whistle. They are drifting ale-wards  now and unless something truly extraordinary happens between now and September 14 we can expect Team Abbott to be crowned as champions on September 15.

Cheers Comrades

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*for team Abbott 😉

What do you do when your 12 year old comes up and announces that she wants to watch the State of Origin game?

What do you do , as a long time supporter  of the Anti football league, when your 12  year old daughter comes up and announces that she wants to watch the State of Origin game?

Well I did the only thing that a good father can do and I immediately suggested that we watch the game together and you know what comrades I enjoyed the experience, It helped a great deal that QUEENSLAND thrashed the Blues but I have to admit that I am warming  (slightly )  to the idea that watching sport can be pleasurable:

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TRY!!!! Comrades

And this is news?

What are the Wallabies?

Apparently, over there in the country the world forgot – aka The Shaky Isles – the Australian Rugby Union team lost 20 – 6 to the New Zealand All Blacks in the semi final of the World Cup.

Now, this might be a big deal to the Kiwis.

And it might even be a big deal to Aussies living in NSW & Queensland (although, as I understand it, Rugby Union is only the minor code of the game and they’re more into something called Rugby League up there).

But, to those of us in the rest of the country and particularly in Victoria, it’s like this:

TELL. SOMEONE. WHO. CARES.

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Oh NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There will certainly be some sore heads up here this morning as die-hard maroons supporters try to digest the terrible result of last night’s State of Origin defeat

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Of course we should be philosophical about loosing this match and hope that it will serve to give Queensland that little bit more of an incentive to crush the cockroaches in the next match… 😡

I think there is a valid reason for this horrible state of affairs and it may have something to do with the fact that as creatures of the night the blues  may have received some heavenly assistance in the form of the lunar eclipse last night…. 😉

Grrr  Comrades

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