Thursday, July 29, 2010

When too much politics is barely enough.

"And now, our Canberra correspondent with breaking news"

Last night I had a dream where I was trying to explain preferential voting to a group of overseas visitors.

Maybe I should ease up on the Federal election a bit.

Mind you, with the rubbish the media is spouting as political coverage, that’s not much of a sacrifice.

It’s getting to the stage where I’d get more sense from interviewing passing lunatics in the street.

Me: “Good morning sir, I wonder if you’d care to give me your opinion on the Federal election?”

Passing lunatic: “Fromage! Chickens! The Kaiser is stealing my string!”

Me: “I’m very sorry; I didn’t recognise you Mr Bolt. A very good day to you sir.”


Kettle said...

Is the political coverage for this election more shit-filled than usual? It seems like it is, but perhaps that's the real reason elections are spaced three-ish years apart: just long enough to forget all the shit you were pedalled last time?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Coverage is pretty much par for the course, Kettle.

And I don't know why the comments column over on the left is highlighting comments on a post months ago.

Anonymous said...

Ramon, I find it difficult to believe that any normal person would be capable of acting that politely if they came across Andrew Bolt in the street.

Kettle, this is only my second federal election as a pollie fancier; but yes, this one somehow seems to me, far more ludicrous than the last. The rhetoric seems to have become uncommonly asinine and, at times, borderline nonsensical (can Joe Hockey hear himself talk?). And the media seems kind of reluctant to engage in too much deep policy analysis. Instead, when we're not getting the monotonous over-analysis of stupid and inconsequential things, it's a parade of slightly less stupid and inconsequential things that are each surrounded by questions of "How damaging will this stupid thing be? Is this the big stupid scandal that will finally decide it all?" (which of course it never is). Maybe this is all par for the course and I didn't notice it last time because it was all so new to me. Maybe I'm getting jaded already. Maybe I've just got the flu and I'm not in the right mood for it.

Also, nice picture. I like the contrast in the lighting.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Alex, as Melba can attest, I'm unfailingly polite.

Kettle said...

when we're not getting the monotonous over-analysis of stupid and inconsequential things, it's a parade of slightly less stupid and inconsequential things that are each surrounded by questions of "How damaging will this stupid thing be? Is this the big stupid scandal that will finally decide it all?"

Beautifully characterised, Alex. I totally agree.

Perhaps the point at which the election date is announced should be the point at which a ban on political reportage should begin? (I suspect you will be anti this view, Ramon, ahem). It would save us all the campaign bullshit.

And anyway, surely voters don't make up their minds what they believe and who they think represents their views in the last few weeks before the election, based on election campaigning?


squib said...

When I went through that whole Galileo stage recently, I had a nightmare that I'd typed Gallileo instead of Galileo in something I'd submitted. I woke up in a cold sweat of terror let me tell you

Anonymous said...

Alex, as Melba can attest, I'm unfailingly polite.

Says the bloke who once advised me to tell hawkers to "Fuck off!" before they could get a word in. (Just joking, Ramon. It was good advice.)

surely voters don't make up their minds what they believe and who they think represents their views in the last few weeks before the election, based on election campaigning?

I often like to think that most Australians are reasonably thoughtful and intelligent people. And then I see the enormous racks of gossip magazines at the checkout of the supermarket or think about how successful and long-running ACA and Today Tonight are; and I weep a little bit on the inside. Just the other day, my old dad said to me "Never forget matey, there's a hell of a lot of fuckwits out there - and they all have to vote". Yeah, I guess there are at that.

WitchOne said...

I'm loving the screw up with blogger at the moment. This was a great post -

Monday, September 14, 2009
Boy, after this build up, it will be such a let down... Anyway, here goes:

Well, I really liked it anyway.

Actually, considering the content maybe I should just shut up now.

Politics sucks by the way. I'm pissed off with every single politician.

Melba said...

Ramon IS very polite. He shared a whole nachos with me and Princess. Kept edging the plate towards us.

Eat! he said. Eat!

I am over this election already, but I think for me, it's a special case of melancholy that is a combination of age and the special type of remove you can only achieve after many elections (the first election I gave a fuck about was Hawkey in '83 Alex, to contrast your recent besottment. Where have you been? Are you 25?).

BUT Ramon and I are of a similar vintage and he maintains the passion. I don't get it.

Everybody disappoints me.

It's not that I expected great things necessarily from Our Jules. I'm just over it all I think. Nothing much changes, things flare up, things die down. The world turns, we are all okay.

It's sad to be so disillusioned with politics.

[this is your cue Ramon to inspire me and get me caring. What say you?]

Anonymous said...

(the first election I gave a fuck about was Hawkey in '83 Alex, to contrast your recent besottment. Where have you been? Are you 25?).

Melba, I used to be one of those ignorant louts who boast about their enthusiasm in avoiding anything with a political taint. When I did vote, I'd usually rock up pissed and with only the vaguest idea of who the people on the ballot paper were or what they claimed to represent. Labor: unions, Liberal: business owners, Democrat: keeping the bastards honest (I always voted Democrat on the basis that they had the best slogan), Green: tree-hugging tossers, National: sheep-fuckers (and incumbent since year dot in the electorates I lived in), other: who cares? And despite the fact that I often bitched about da stoopid gummint and its stoopid unfair laws, I was always very determined not to know anything more.

As I am now, I feel like I should be enjoying the absurdity of the spectacle, especially with this new continuous news channel. But I'm just too grumpy and ill-tempered at the moment to get any joy from anything other than lashing out like a cranky old bitch; and all I seem to do is shout abuse at the television*. (And by the way, who decided that Tom Switzer's opinion is so fucking important all of a sudden? Fuck you, Tom Switzer.)

Also Melba, I don't know if I've asked this before and I don't mean to pry, but you seem to have been kind of down about your age recently. Anything you want to get off your chest? I mean, what else are strangers on the internet for?

*I think I'm rambling more, too. Sorry about that, everyone

squib said...

This reminds me, Boogey said he's not voting Labor. Who is he voting for and where is he anyway? And where is Persey and Lewd and Wari? Were they all the one person?

Melba said...

You're right Alex. I'm making a lot of references to my age, I think I'm just making it part of my internet persona.

I do feel tired and intolerant and while I like to think it's age, I think it's more me. Maybe I try to use the age thing as an excuse for being grumpy and intolerant.

I don't know.

But sometimes I think you think too much about stuff and want to "unpack" everything or analyse everything.

Anonymous said...

But sometimes I think you think too much about stuff and want to "unpack" everything or analyse everything.

I think you're probably right, and I would guess that it's also quite tedious. I don't know if I can cut it out altogether, but I can maybe try to tone it down a bit, or something.

eat my shorts said...

I'd like to unpack the last chocolate bar in my fridge but I promised myself I'd stop doing that. (You can buy packs of 5 Wispa bars for 1 quid, 75p & I'm more than a little addicted.)

Sorry. Youse guys were having a serious discussion & I had to go and lower the tone.

But, yeah - where are Boogs & Persey & Lewd & Wari & anyone else who hasn't been around much lately? Busy work week?

Anonymous said...

I don't know what a Wispa bar is EMS. But if I remember correctly, Perseus was having trouble with his internet, Boogeyman said he couldn't access the site from work any more (though that was a while ago), and Bob was complaining about a lack of inspiration or something before he disappeared. No clue what happened to Wari, though.

shitbmxrider said...

I just like looking at Lakita Bourke

shitbmxrider said...

Oh, and I am 25, but have been interested in politics since grade 6 (1996)

My boss and I bore all the other employees stupid at work talking about it all

Anonymous said...

This reminds me, Boogey said he's not voting Labor. Who is he voting for and where is he anyway?

Squib, over the last year or two I have come to detest Labour with the same febrile passion with which I utterly and passionately hate the whole conservative side of politics.

The left wing of Labour is stunted and mostly powerless, and the party is increasingly dominated by right-wing factions and powerbrokers with a 'power at any cost' attitude.

In no way does modern Labour represent the things I believe in.

I will likely be voting Greens first, Nationals/Liberals dead last, and empty, lazy, useless, do-nothing Labour, by simple virtue of being none of the above, will manage to squeeze into the middle.*

And yes, I'm quite aware that, due to the 2PP system, this means they will probably collect my vote, and if they are returned to government, can continue for another 3 years of taking their left-wing base for granted, while aggressively pursuing policies and inaction intended to appease right-wing rednecks, xenophobes, shock-jocks and religious conservatives.

* Note that I will derive some inconsiderable joy if my local MP, the moronic Peter Dutton, finds himself looking for a job after election day.

eat my shorts said...

Alex: A Wispa bar is like an Aero bar (the non peppermint variety) but much, much better. And it has smaller holes.

Have you heard of a Caramac? I hadn't until I moved here. It's like a Milky Bar, but caramel instead of white chocolate. It is divine.

I think the English might be trying to kill me. I found a Wispa dessert in Tesco's the other week. It's a chocolate custard, with a corner of crushed up Wispa bar that you tip into the chocolate custard.

At the moment, one of the big political discussions over here is about capping immigration. I think if they want to deter people from coming to England, they need to work on making their junk food taste like crap.

patchouligirl said...

The dirtier this election campaign gets the more mud is landing on everyone with the end result that by election day the average punter will mistrust both Liberal and Labor. The Greens have it good in a way because they aren't in the direct firing line. I reckon they're going to do well out of this election and if the Democrats had their act together they would too.

squib said...

Well that was depressing. Thanks, Boogey

Puss In Boots said...

I'm pretty sure Laurie Oaks is a bad word around here, but did anyone catch his interview with Abbott on the weekend? It was the most entertaining few minutes I have seen in a long while!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Puss. I shall see if I can find it. I could use a laugh.

EMS, cutting back on immigration seems to be the flavour of the month everywhere. I guess it must be a natural reaction when the economy gets a bit dicey.

And I hadn't heard of Caramac, but I do remember being told about the availability of deep fried confectionery over there. Had any of that yet?

WitchOne said...

mmm, mars bar, battered and deep fried.

Same deal with a tim tam.

I've only had a bite of each one, anything more would have landed me in hospital.

Puss In Boots said...

This is the transcript, Alex, but the video footage was much funnier.

Anonymous said...

Cheers, Puss. I got quite a chuckle out of that (and that video wasn't too bad either). Weathervane. Ha!

squib said...

hah, good one

eat my shorts said...

I do remember being told about the availability of deep fried confectionery over there. Had any of that yet?

No, I haven't been to Scotland yet (hur, hur). But if Delia reccommends them, then I'll definitely have to try one.

Anonymous said...

Well, Labor's new Empowering Schools policy seems to have sent a ripple of fear and apprehension through the large teacher faction of the Alex family. Does anyone know if I can get some really detailed documentation on exactly what they're planning at this stage? What's your opinion, EMS?

eat my shorts said...

Does this mean you want to talk about something serious & not about chocolate?

Ok. I can do that. But I might go back to chocolate afterwards.

Obviously I'm not there to see what others at home are saying about this policy, but there's been a lot of debate about the same thing in education over here. The new government here have done a similar thing in extending the control communities/governments/parents/teachers (hmphh) have over curriculum & management of the school. Some have said this is a good thing because the previous Labour (I think the put the 'u' in over here, don't they?) government here reduced the control communities had over their schools. (That's what I'm told, anyway.)

I completely sit on the fence here. I think it's important for local communities to have a say in how their schools are run, but I also think there does need to be federal input.

Lots of teachers back home were up in arms about the Australian National Curriculum - I thought it wasn't a terrible idea, as long as there was enough flexibility within it to deal with local contexts. And I think it's the same for general school management.

There was also talk of grants for parent or teacher run schools over here - no idea how many people have put in for those grants & it'll be very interesting to see what happens there.

What were the teachers in your family saying about it, Alex? I hate that I'm not there to hear what my colleagues think about it all.

Anonymous said...

What were the teachers in your family saying about it, Alex?

From what I gather, EMS, the thinking goes something like this:

The shift in the public system from department based curriculum and resourcing, to school based budgets and planning (despite being a money saver for the government) has not been great for schools. It creates mountains of extra work for staff; it disadvantages schools that are remote, or have special needs, or have aging or outdated infrastructure; and it makes it too easy for less-than-stellar principals to run schools into the ground.

Also, all schools rely on teachers to do stuff that they don't get paid for. When you work in the public system, the size of your volunteer effort is largely a matter of choice. But when you work in the private system, either your volunteer effort meets the expectations of the principal, or you're swiftly shown the door. The trade off is that private schools are usually better equipped and can be selective about the students they take; so the appeal is classes that are much more pleasant to teach.

Moving public schools to an even more private-style system of governance, will create a wost-of-everything scenario. Classes won't change, but, like the private system, your job security will become more dependant on the whims of the principal; and there will be an expectation to do more and ask for less, as teachers compete to stay away from the shittiest and most poorly managed schools (which will just continue to fall further and further behind).

Obviously, some literature that lays out the finer details of the proposal would go down a treat.

Now, you were saying something about chocolate before I rudely interrupted?

eat my shorts said...

All those points are issues that the education system has been struggling with over here, Alex.

And some of that stuff is supposed to be prevented through Ofsted & their inspections, but Ofsted is pretty crap as well, so it doesn't actually do anything to help out much.

Also over here, they've announced serious cut backs to the funding of new buildings/improving buildings, so even the physical environments of these schools are suffering. The state of some buildings here is really shocking & awful to try & work in.

As for chocolate - all I have to offer there is that I discovered how difficult it is to grate chocolate that has been in the fridge. I know this because I made a trifle last night. I'm a bit nervous about the outcome because I think I may have put a smidgen too much booze in it & because I decided to experiment by substituting choc chip brioche for the sponge fingers. Gawd only knows how it'll turn out.

eat my shorts said...

How it turned out (because I'm sure you're all wondering /sarcasm): The brioche got drunk & turned nasty.

Brioche is a bad, messy drunk as it happens.

eat my shorts said...

Oh, and the raspberries were tarty.

You'd think tarty raspberries & drunk brioche would be a good combination, wouldn't you?

But ... no.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, EMS. I was wondering actually.

eat my shorts said...

I've got one more chance with dessert and then I'll have to concede defeat to my flatmate.

This really hurts. I'm very much a sweet-tooth & not being able to make a decent dessert freaking kills me.

Fuck this fucking country.

Melba said...

Easiest self-saucing choc pudding, EMS (from Stephanie Alexander):

125g plain flour
scant pinch salt
60g caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons cocoa (she uses Dutch, any type works)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I leave these out)
1/2 cup milk
40g butter, melted
1 egg
few drops vanilla

180g brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup boiling water


Preheat oven 180 degrees, butter a 750 ml pie dish. Sift flour, salt, caster sugar, baking powder and cocoa into bowl. [Stir in nuts.] Combine milk, melted butter, egg and vanilla into dry ingredients. Pour into pie dish.

To make the topping, mix brown sugar and cocoa and sprinkle over the pudding batter. Pour boiling water carefully over all ingredients. Bake for 40-45 mins until puffed in centre and feels firm when pressed.


But if it fails, then we move to plan B - upside-down pear cake. It is the stuff which dreams are made of, and again pretty damn easy.

Good luck!

eat my shorts said...

Thanks Melba, you're a gem. I'll have to give that one a try. I'm glad to hear you leave the walnuts out. Walnuts are little mini-brains & should not be eaten.

I've got a recipe for a lemon pudding that I'm going to try, which is the clincher. If I stuff it up, then I hand pudding making duties over to my flatmate. If I have success with the lemon, I'll give yer chocolate pud a go. I used to be great at making self-saucing chocolate pudding. I just don't know what's happened to me lately. I'm making great main dishes, but I'm letting down the pudding side (which used to be my strength in the kitchen).

Anonymous said...

I see the foot doctors are spamming again.

EMS, I think all brains are delicious and should be eaten. Including the mini walnutty ones.

Also, I don't want to sound like a broken record on this, but I feel that there's something going astray in my local community and I'm wondering if anyone else is noticing a similar trend. I went years without coming across any really overt racism (just the small-fry sort of stuff you get everywhere). Then there was that altercation I had with those young men a few months(?) ago. Since then, I've been hearing grumblings in the shopping centre along the lines of "look at all the gooks", "spot the Aussie", "At least they're better than Sudanese", etc, etc. Today, I stopped and gave directions to a distressed young man who was parked on the side of the road and babbling frantically into his phone about not knowing where he was supposed to go. Between thanking me and speeding off, he looked out into the street and said, "I'm lucky you came along. All I could find were (shouting now) these fuckin' slope-head cunts who can't speak fuckin' English and I've had a fuckin' gutful of 'em!"

I don't know if all this brouhaha about boat people is shaping people's opinions, or emboldening them to say things they've always wanted to, or if there's something else at play here; but I don't like where this is going. I really don't.

catlick said...

And Julia was brilliant last night on Q&A. She did have jazz and karate hands but she handled the respectful and gentle audience with aplomb. Is Tone going to get the same gig?

squib said...

Did Latham's sexual fantasies about Gillard get a mention?

catlick said...

The general consensus that Latham has "issues" has not been diminished by his assertion that he was touched inappropriately by the Prime Minister in a way that was usually reserved for his wife. He is drawing attention away from the Rudd / Gillard rapprochement beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Yes, she placed her hand on his shoulder/upper-chest-area. What a slut!

And didn't poor Tony look like a complete tit talking to O'Brien tonight*. I almost felt sorry for the bloke. Well, I would've if I didn't remember his tenure as a Howard minister. Yay, Kerry!

*For those who missed it, I recommend checking out the 7:30 Report website (or iView) when it goes up.

Anonymous said...

Also on the subject of Latham; I do totally believe him when he says that his wife is the only woman who's touched him like that in a long, long time. Yep, don't doubt it for a minute.

eat my shorts said...

I'm sure many of you'll be pleased to hear that I have maintained the title of Prime Pudding Maker Minister in our household. Next, I'll be contesting for the title of Chief Cook & Bottle Washer (not really, I'm the only one in the race).

It was a closely fought competition (not really, I was the only one in the race), and I believe I gave 110%.

I'm looking forward to enacting the policies promised preceding the pudding election, including that of the chocolate self-saucing pudding and the bread and butter pudding (you might not have heard about that one, I snuck it in just before voting took place).

I believe in pudding for all, and a fair pudding future that strives for an economically sound visit to the supermarket.