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Friday, May 28, 2010

LONDON: "Was it all that horsing around with Big Ben's first bell that caused it to crack?" asks PL Inkletter, noting that he'd've cheered for it too.

Be all that as it may, meanwhile:
'In other news…'
28th May 2010

Friday: My plans to take Bob to the city for his outing were sunk today, due to being too weary to manage it. I vacillated long and hard before, with Missus Inkletter's encouragement, I gave up on the notion; I would have been too tired to drive, let alone function.

And so, she sent me back to bed, and I slept on till around five; even so, it was fitful sleep, and I had to resort to having my headphones on with my favourite talking book keeping my overcrowded mind occupied enough to grow weary concentrating, thus slipping in and out of sleep.

Methinks the devious devotee had some self interest in mind with her insistence that I get more sleep, for we had a dinner invitation to the Chocsons' in Ellenbrook commencing at 7 p.m.; I would be lying if I tried to intimate other than that I was keenly looking forward to it as well, but I did so want to be able to work with Bob beforehand.

Never mind, and yes, we got to Reeve and Chocci's nearer to half seven, thanks to old perpetually late chops, moi, but our hosts were as gracious as ever. The moon was almost full after last night's milk moon, and the night was clear and crisp.

Our hosts' gave us a lovely meal, and a lovely evening, which lasted till after midnight, yet another to treasure among so many dozens spent with them over the years. Reeve spent some time showing me a cooperative community farm plan he is working on, and it was fascinating; the detail he is building into it is remarkable. I let him know that I thought that some of the rules and guidelines might best be moved, for pragmatic reasons, more into the class of aspirations. Nevertheless, he is working on a masterful plan for cooperative living.

I resorted to watching a recorded version of Lateline: The Tick(y Fullerton) Check Mark: Radiating as only she can, Ticky Fullerton anchored tonight in Ms Sales' absence. She wore a simple coral red long sleeved blouse, tiny earrings and no other jewellery, very subtle-effect make-up, and with her long blond hair falling loose in a convex then concave line, it flattered her well. She gave away an inch and a half of cleavage, if you looked hard, and fortunately George Brandis, Shadow Attorney-General – one of her on-screen two long interview interlocutors for tonight's Friday night fight club –  being a younger man than dear 81 year old Editor at Large of The Week magazine, Sir Harold Evans – whom Ms Fullerton interviewed in October last year and I fear might have killed (or almost killed) due to the degree of cleavage she let loose that night – as I was saying, fortunately George's ticker was likely up to the task.

If there was any doubt about Mr Brandis' ticker, there was none left by his couture, for he looked crisp in his dark and quietly pinstriped suit, white shirt, and dark blue tie with yellow shield shapes populating it, and what hair still inhabits his crown was all in perfect place. His in-studio opponent was Tanya Plibersek, Minister for Housing and the Status of Women, who was flawlessly presented, her short closely swept hair, subtle-effect make-up, and minimalist jewellery – tiny earrings alone – being beautifully complemented by her simple lavender (floral) shirt and bistre jacket.

The pollies were off and racing with the issue thrown to them by Ms Fullerton, of the $38.5 million advertising campaign in support of the proposed resource super-profits tax. Mr Brandis used a wonderful term 'triply damned' to describe the Rudd Government over this, and while I've long tired of Mr Brandis' hyperbole many times on this program, I agree with him that the Government is being disingenuous about this advertising money. Ms Plibersek mounted an articulate but phoney argument in support of the expenditure of such a large sum of taxpayers' money, saying during her attempt to put lipstick on the pig "There is a very strong desire from the Australian people to be clear about what's actually being proposed here."

Well, maybe there is and maybe there isn't, but almost $40 million could go a long way towards a thousand other useful things for our nation, when we have radio and TV news and current affairs to find out what the proposed tax is all about, as well as newspaper and magazine articles, without a single advertising dollar being spent. Now if tens of millions are going to be spent by the mining industry spreading 'misinformation', and if the Rudd Government is prepared to spend against this, then have the balls to call it what it is, while fairly pointing out that Howard did it also, but so far his largesse with our money was to a much greater extent. Also have the balls to admit that, in the words of Mr Brandis "No, what I'm doing is drawing attention to the complete hypocrisy of the Labor Party. You said it was wrong for Howard to do it, and whether you're right about that or not, you can't say it's wrong for Howard and now say that it's right for Rudd." You are right about this one George.

We the public know it's hypocrisy, so for heaven's sake, admit it. Some grudging respect will come your way, Labor Government, by admitting it, as radical an idea that is: admitting the bleeding obvious, even if it's courageous.

Ms Fullerton handled this interview very well, not panicking at any stage, when the pollies got to overtalking each other as they are so wont to do. She shone as she kept them talking about the issues she put to them, which moved on to asylum seekers and Ken Henry's defending of his tax proposals in the public arena by questioning the fundamentals of the mining industry's attacks.

A wonderful flow occurred with this: Ticky Fullerton: "Tanya Plibersek, the most interesting thing about the whaling announcement I think is the timing; 9.30 you had a press conference and 9:38 was - the Government was notifying the Senate about the change in advertising rules. Was this a bit cute?"

Tanya Plibersek: "Oh, not at all. These are busy days. Parliament, Senate Estimates ..."

George Brandis: "I can't see you, Tanya; do you have a straight face at the moment?"

I give this interview to Mr Brandis, but full marks to Ms Plibersek for remaining polite while articulate, and to Ms Fullerton for handling these combatants with professional ease.

As I've often said, thank heavens for Stephen Long's contribution most Friday nights: The (Stephen) Long and Short of It: Mr Long was finely attired in a dark and subtly pinstriped suit, white shirt, and blond tie with brown stripes, which was not a good choice because it did not leap off his shirt at all. His curly hair had been ruffled up by his Mum as per usual, and her emphasis with her tousling tonight had been upwards well above his ears.

Now the poor sod was given not even 3 minutes by a now extra radiant Ms Fullerton (obviously she was glad to speak to someone decent and with nothing to hide) to explain the proposed super profits tax for the mining industry.
 More story coming…

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