As I Please: The War of Jenkins’ Tears
As always, Gillard knows how to add but cannot hear the inner music of the numbers. She’s gained a vote but lost the Jenkins Effect from a parliament that will hereinafter seem a cage of whooping, leaping Neanderthals.
She is also the stupidest dramatist ever to kiss hands and take the oath in our democracy. To force Harry out of the post that he and his father aspired to all their adult lives and allege he left of his own accord, copping a hit of two hundred thousand a year and a loss of his grumpy superstardom on the boadcast news because he so hungrily craved the crabbed life of an impotent backbencher is to insult the intelligence of even Joe Hockey. Harry was pushed, and was forced to lie to the House about it. Gillard pushed him, and at least fibbed a bit about it also.
And had he gone straight into a Ministry — Arts, the Regions, the Murray-Darling — it would have made, as in good drama, emotional sense. But as always with Gillard, it never does. She sticks up for heterosexual marriage, but lives in sin. She damns the monarchy but fawns over Prince Frederick and Princess Mary. She swears Australian soldiers shot dead by their trainees did not die in vain. She claims Kevin Rudd is ‘part of the team’ with no higher hope of advancement than Foreign Minister.
Like most Martian visitors, she underestimates the human factor in human affairs. Had she given Rudd the Foreign Ministry on the day after she displaced him and not left him twisting and snivelling in the wind, she would have won, unharassed by leaks and howls of treachery, an early election comfortably, or a Christmas election by twenty seats. Had she offered Faulkner anything other than Defence — he is drained and bruised by soldiers’ funerals and thinks the war a strategic folly — she would have kept him in the Ministry. Had she given Mike Kelly Defence — a triple war hero, he both deserves it and really wants it, as Harry did the Speakership, and could do it very well — she would not have lost, as she will now, the only Labor candidate who can hold Eden-Monaro, having made him, insensately, insultingly, untidily, Minister for Cheese. Had she given Maxine McKew a Ministry — Communications, Arts, the Future — she would have preserved this most articulate of politicians in her swinging seat. Had she made Bob Debus Attorney General, she would have kept both him and his seat. Had she restored Duncan Kerr back to Justice, she would have kept him too, and spared us the sometimes worrying Andrew Wilkie.
But she is not made that way. She can see no further than the Deal, the moment, the instant crisis, the midnight compromise, the group handshake, the champagne toast. And this chess move, too clever by half, will end with Speaker Slipper in flagrante on YouTube or something like it, the Opposition loudly challenging his every ruling, the democracy in uproar, his seat lost soon to the LNP and Malcolm Turnbull Opposition Leader by June, unbeatable in that role by any move of pawns or knights that she can come up with. And, oh yes, Campbell Newman as Queensland Premier, campaigning in every seat.
He that troubleth his own house, the Bible noted, shall inherit the wind.
And Gillard, as always, has done it again.