Chewin' the Gristle


Hello Gristlers and welcome to ‘Chewin’ the Gristle,’ the week’s political bits that we found hard to swallow.

In a week where the Poms finally got what’s been coming to them in the most over-hyped cricket series of all time, it was an equally cracking week for politics.

In a political climate (no pun intended) where green has become the new black, it seems that yellowcake has become the new green. Ziggy Switkowski, the ex-Telstra CEO who Prime Minister John Howard and his mates miss like oxygen, was given the task of breathing life into the nuclear debate. And didn’t he do a bang-up job!

As far as we can tell, the Zigmeister’s findings were that nuclear power is exactly what we need to meet our future power needs and sort out that pesky ‘Global Warming’ issue, all at the same time. There were, of course, a few minor caveats, namely:

  1. Nuclear power is only economically viable if you bring in a system of carbon emission taxes which will cripple our coal industry and which both the PM and Treasurer have said they won’t introduce, ever;
  2. We’ll have to wait a few decades to bring the plants online;
  3. The model works best if we don’t actually define the places where the 25-odd nuclear power stations will be built;
  4. Let’s ignore the fact we have no experience, skill or expertise in building these things.

So far, so good. Thanks Zig.

Now, any chance you can take your old job back at Telstra? Seriously, mate: all is forgiven. We can take care of this Sol bloke and his amigos

The last word on this issue belongs to Howard who, in a pearler of an ill-judged metaphor, referred to nuclear power as ‘just one weapon in the armoury’ against global warming. Ooops. To paraphrase Basil Fawlty: ‘Whatever you do, don’t mention the nuclear war!!’

Thanks to Emo

Meanwhile, on the other side of the House, someone from the Federal Labor Party realised it had been about 15 minutes since they’d had a leadership spill and set about putting that right. Word was that Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard (or Charlie Brown and the Little Red-Haired Girl, as they’re known in Canberra) were about to team up to roll Opposition Leader Kim ‘Bomber’ Beazley.

Seemed like a good idea at the time based on the fact that there’s still plenty of time for the Little Fella to take over, make a couple of mistakes, say a bunch of embarrassing things, lose the confidence of the Party and have the Big Fella re-instated and lose the next election, again.

All of this came on the back of ‘Bomber’ sending his condolences to Karl Rove over his recent loss. The press jumped on Beazley, accusing him of confusing Karl Rove with Rove McManus. But I think we shouldn’t underestimate how much the recent loss of Scooter Libby must have hurt Karl Rove; not to mention the rout of the Republicans in the recent US mid-term elections. That would have hurt ‘The Architect’ to the core he’s an emotional man. We salute ‘Bomber’ for his support of the US Presidential advisor at what must be a very difficult time.

In NSW State politics, it was the Libs (yet again) proving that pretending to be the Opposition to a crumbling government is never as easy as it seems. Just when Morris ‘Yemina’ Iemma was starting to look like a latter day Joan Kirner, somehow, Peter ‘Whitey’ Debnam acrobatically managed to turn a series of embarrassments for Labor the sacking of Carl Scully (or Karl Rove according to ‘Bomber’), the charging of Milton Orkopolous, the aura of vincibility around both Smokin’ Joe Tripodi and that ‘man in a hurry’ Kerry Hickey into a disaster for the Liberals in the opinion polls.

This was no mean feat.

By going after Attorney-General Bob Debus without anything in the holster, ‘Whitey’ managed to drop his approval rating by 9 percentage points and raise his dis-approval rating by 11 points! This has led to the extraordinary situation where more people disapprove of Whitey (44 per cent) than know his name (38 per cent). Those who could name him, though, had almost doubled since the last poll. The lesson here is that it’s no good people getting to know you if they’re only going to peg you for a dickhead once they do.

Latest reports are that Debnam is wandering around introducing himself as Karl Rove.

You can also  catch The Gristle on Radio 2SER 107.3 in Sydney or on the web at every Friday evening from 6:00 to 6:30pm.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.