Lost the race but won the battle on primary votes

Ok, more than a week after the election I’m finally organised (or rather want to move on to writing about far more exciting things) to write about it. My observations, experience and once again longing to write a stream-of-consciousness election night piece like Bob Ellis. Here goes …

On Saturday afternoon I went to vote at my local polling booth, unfortunately this year situated in the hall of Siena Catholic College – insert glib remark about church and state here – and arrived to find quite a few Peter Slipper corflutes surrounding the place. And who wouldn’t want to kick them over, graffiti them or light them on fire? I was sensible and did nothing more violent than sticking my used chewing gum on them – twice. Much love, Pete! On the way to the queue for voting I was of course hassled by the faithful of a few different parties with their wasteful ‘How to Vote’ cards and pamphlets. Again, I was well behaved and instead of telling the Liberal volunteers to “piss off” I instead gave them the most curt and forceful “NOTHANKYOU” I could manage. I of course took the Labor sheet and a Palmer United Party (yes, PUP! – the most useless and ironic in it’s non use of irony anagram since the National bank became NAB) pamphlet and was again civilised to my canvas-shoed toes until the PUP player said after me, “Best place for it, put the yellow paper on top of the red!” So of course I automatically before you could say “fat millionaire” switched the papers round in my hands so Labor was again on top.

So, after quickly lining up I made my way to the polling booth and filled out the green ballot for the House of Reps.
And out of the 10 candidates my preference was:

  1. GREENS (Y’know, preferences to Labor and all that)
  2. LABOR – Bill Gissane was the candidate for Fisher and from first-sight a good bloke too
  3. Oh like you really care – you’ll be pleased to know I put Mal Brough dead last in 10th place and Slipper 9th, the rest were a motley bunch of half-baked independents, Family First (read: Fundamentalist) and the usual blokey yobbos from PUP and Katter’s Australia Party.

On to the Senate ballot, and of course I voted below the line, like you’d expect anything less (or better) of me. And I spent my time carefully giving my preferences to all 82 candidates for Queensland. Again, Greens 1st, Labor 2nd, the Liberals dead last at number 82 and then to work backwards until I’d made sure that the Sex Party was ahead of the I Shoot, Root and Vote or whatever the fuck they’re called.

I snapped myself after voting in a little tribute of sorts to Catherine Deveny’s pic of her culture-jamming the 2004 election.

At least I was on the right side of history.

At least I was on the right side of history.

And so to the election coverage.

And WHAT A CROCK OF SHIT it was that once respectable “journalists” or people who dare to call themselves “journalists” (whom you would think would know that to be a journalist one must be factual and IMPARTIAL) were declaring that Tony Abbott and his band of fundamentalist and economic-rationalist nutbags had already won – at 5 pm! Another hour until the polls closed in the eastern states! I know, right?

And Channel 7’s coverage, called the “Panel of Power” or some such rubbish that clearly belongs to a talk show in the 90s was nice and equitable, starting off with 4 Libs and 2 Labor people on the panel. And only 1 woman too! So switching over to the more “balanced” if not “subdued” ABC before I put my foot through the television, it was the same thing! “Liberals win! Liberals win!” Never have I seen Antony Green throwing all sense of patience and factual actuality out the window.

Eventually I started to get drunk, not to drown my sorrows on a Labor loss (I remain a proud Gillardite and know one day my views on Rudd will be vindicated) but because I just didn’t care anymore. This had been the most uninspiring election campaign in (my) recent memory, forced to choose between a paedophile-defending, fundamentalist-Catholic, homophobic, misogynistic blue(blood) tongued-lizard and a megalomaniac sadist who can whip up support on Instagram but can’t pass any lasting policies. Is it any wonder I just didn’t care?

By now (and I’m still waiting for the final result, was waiting until all votes were counted before I wrote this but I can’t put it off any longer) I really only hoped that Sophie Mirabella, the Member for Indi would lose her seat. Don’t know Sophie? Lucky you! How to explain a sneering, bullying, hysterical in the non-belief of a round Earth (probably) and most of all, RUDE person like Mrs Mirabella? And no, I don’t hate her because she’s a woman (looking at you, Helen Razer) but because, well, the best way to explain this is: you know that a person can’t be good if your astrology-teaching and peace and love-espousing mum reads Mirabella’s bio and all she can say is, “What a dog!”

What, not THAT Cathy McGowan? Oops.

What, not THAT Cathy McGowan? Oops.

Anyway, the one good thing (I hope will still happen) of this campaign is the massive swing against Mirabella, led by independent Cathy McGowan. Good on her! I’m sure I’m one of many people who wish they were enrolled to vote in Indi just to give Mirabella the shits. And no, unlike a few people on the internet who believe that most people are against Mirabella due to her being a woman, and not just a vile and nasty person – Helen Razer, whom I’ve only just discovered and copped a fair bit of flak for taking the view that we all hate Mirabella because she’s a woman, take note.

And on the subject of Ms Razer, she made election night fun. Sadly she’s since deleted her twitter account and has pretty much gone “off the grid”, but with a few drinks in me and a lot more in her she was tweeting away about anything that was annoying her about the election, politics and people in general. From calling Kevin Rudd a “symbolism obsessed lollipop” to decrying the left for trying to change the world with “rainbow chalk crossings”, what’s not to love? Shame on you wowsers and Helen Lovejoys who all flew off the handle at her. If I was any more churlish, I’d be like that skinny idiot having a hissy fit on Youtube – “LEAVE HELEN ALONE!”

So I got drunker on first Malibu, then Tequila, then Bourbon before I passed out for a bit after watching the Ruddbot’s concession speech and thankfully slept through Abbott’s victory, before my brother came home and piled me with more booze, Vodka this time, and he finally conceded that I can punch properly, for some reason daring me to punch him repeatedly in the stomach. It was that kind of night. I’m sure a glib columnist for the Sunday supplement would make some analogy of “rolling with the punches” here.

And so, we who believe in marriage equality, faster broadband and better infrastructure have been left to go wallow in the misery of opposition for the next few years. And yes, Labor did win more primary votes than the Libs, but only because the LNP and the Nationals aren’t tallied together with the Liberal Party, which is a crock despite they love to have a love-in, sorry, COALITION.

An attempt at culture jamming the 2013 Election

Recently Opposition Leader (and aspirant to the top job – knock him down, people!) Tony Abbott has had letters sent to voters all over the country, tailored and suited to their constituency, pleading for them to vote Liberal and by describing how we can “choose a stronger Australia and a better government” and his “Plan” to do so, which is in itself vague, non-descriptive and mistier than the vision of somebody with cataracts being stuck in a Gaussian blur.

Inspired by the few “responses” to these letters I’ve seen, mostly to be found on anti-Abbott Facebook pages (may Abbott’s own mad Mick God bless these people’s efforts instead of his), including this excellent and inspiring one from a constituent of the Division of Wills (thankfully held by Labor’s Kelvin Thomson – GO KEL!):

Whoever did this reply I will happily buy them a pint and bake them a cake.

Whoever did this reply I will happily buy them a pint and bake them a cake.

I decided to knock out a reply to this one sent to Mumsie, (yes, my shame is that I’m enrolled to vote in the Division of Fisher, where I’m hoping that the result will not leader to Angus Deayton’s only quip of “No change there then”):

FULL

Unfortunately, the ink was dying on my pen and I was without a scanner for the full high-resolution of my facetious responses.

Josh 1

Josh 2

Josh 3

If you’re reading this in Australia and have received one of these untruthful, PR-driven and ultimately failed missives, do as I’ve done and send it back to whichever candidate Mr Abbott has sent it from on their behalf. Also, if you’re on the other side of the world, I’d love to see what you can do with your political pamphlets too.

VOTE LABOR!

 

Spills, Thrills and Bellyaches

June 26, 2013:

Will he? Won’t we? Who cares? Who else is sick and tired of what the Australian Labor Party has become – a popularity contest worse than any to be found in primary school. There’s been pissing contests less juvenile and (ultimately) less self-harming than this. Although a bit of fun has come from Leader of the House Anthony Albanese emerging from his office to a media scrum and using Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pyne as a human shield. Hmm, is there a publishing spin-off here, 1001 Uses for a Christopher Pyne?

At 4.30pm, after a day of frenzied (more so than usual) speculation that a leadership spill would occur, and rumours of a petition to reinstall Kevin Rudd to the leadership, Julia Gillard announced a ballot to be held tonight at 7 pm.

So here’s me eating a Shirley Valentine-esque dinner of egg and chips in front of ABC News 24, ready to take it all in for you.

I’m in two thoughts over this: 1. If Rudd wins and becomes Prime Minister again, will he behave better than he did last time? For all the hissy fits over hairdryers, shunning and dismissing members of the cabinet and generally showing more signs of petulance and megalomania than Tony Blair (if that’s possible), Rudd better have learned his lesson and govern for all with all members of government. 2. It’s going to take a long time to get over this history of squabbling and in-fighting. Although I’m a proud “Gillardite”, if Rudd returns will that not give Labor the vote of the political apathetic who encourage the on-going popularity contests? I hope so, for more than anything I hope Labor triumphs, whoever’s at the helm, in order to keep Tony Abbott out of the top job.

And who is left to step up to a Rudd ministry? ABC News 24’s Lyndall Curtis earlier pointed out that there are “those within the party who have very strong opinions of Kevin Rudd … they are expected if he wins to stand down from the ministry.” So that leaves out Wayne Swan, Kate Ellis, Tanya Plibersek, and Peter Garrett … If Rudd is successful, it will be interesting to see who is elevated to a cabinet position. Bill Shorten’s announced that if Gillard remains leader he’ll resign his position as Minister for Workplace Relations and go to the backbench.

Independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, both famous for endorsing Gillard and Labor in this minority government, resigned today. Interestingly, Bob Katter has said he’ll support a Rudd Labor government. Until the election in September, if it’s not brought forward, will Oakeshott and Windsor continue to support Labor in the meantime?

“If I lose, I announce that I will not contest the next election.” Yes, Kevin. We’ve all heard you say that before. Gonna keep a promise this time?

It’s 6.57pm and Team Gillard has made its way to the caucus room – a defiant show of whose gang’s bigger than whose. Kevin Rudd trailed behind a minute later, on his own, curiously resplendent in a blue-tie.

I’ve been into politics since I was 14. I practically voted then despite being underage as from the 2004 election, my mum would ask who to vote for and I said she should vote Labor. Yes, we voted for a Mark Latham-led Labor, which in hindsight would have most likely been catastrophic, but it would have been bloody interesting. Who could forget when Marky Mark shouted down then-Prime Minister John Howard introducing George W. Bush to the House of Representatives as an “arselicker!”? And when he allegedly broke a cab-driver’s arm in an argument. And that handshake. The day before that election, Latham and Howard’s paths crossed at a radio station with dozens of photographers in attendance. Both decided to cordially greet each other and shake hands – instead, Latham grabbed on to Howard’s hand a bit too hard, and the resulting handshake turned into a body shake for the short and older Howard. Still, plenty of laughs though. Though hardly having the wit of Paul Keating, lest we forget Latham’s barrage of insults with a bully-boy edge. “Conga line of suckholes”?

7.19pm

Curiously, Leigh Sales is presenting an earlier edition of 7.30, and on the screen behind her is a picture of Rudd in close-up with “Rudd P.M.” as the title. Not even a question mark? Prescience or carelessness? As an aside, 7.30’s Chris Uhlmann, reporting from outside the caucus room, is married to Gai Brodtman, the Member for Canberra. Sure, a possible conflict of interest may arise from time to time, but I’ve never seen Brodtman in Question Time – is she the most hermit-like of backbenchers or is it just me?

PROS for Rudd:

-          He’s got the popularity vote – mindless, apathetic, gormless halfwits will vote for him in their droves.

-          He’s had the top job before, so therefore experienced.

CONS for Rudd:

-          Temper tantrums

-          Being held up to even higher standards than before.

PROs for Gillard:

-          Personally, she’s awesome.

-          She doesn’t get into a flap. I’ve yet to hear anything of Gillard ever “losing it” and becoming a sweary scary rager like Rudd.

-          In the face of adversity (i.e. the “Noalition”), she’s never backed down from a challenge and never shown any signs of stress or difficulty with it.

CONS for Gillard:

-          All that crap since 2010 about her “knifing” Rudd. I don’t know why people and the media keep spinning this lie. She asked for a leadership spill, Rudd agreed and resigned before the vote. So she never really “knifed” him, did she? Why has nobody ever understood this?

8.30 PM

And the votes are in, with Rudd the victor with 57 votes to Gillard’s 45. Still no official word from either party and now I’m bored with the constant (over-)analysis of everything that’s already happened by the usual pundits. Truth be told my interest is waning – I now want to go straight to tomorrow and find out who’s got what cabinet role, and Jewish Mum of the Year is on ABC2. Typical, me.

So there we have it – Rudd as leader and ultimately to be Prime Minister. Will there be an earlier election? Will the Gillard-loyal politicians be sent forthwith to the backbench? Will Rudd learn his lesson and become a truly unifying leader for the ALP? All I know is I’m off to get me some simcha (and I mean that in the most respectful way) action on the other channel.

L’chaim, Kevin.

Don’t fuck it up.

– LINKS ADDED SOON

Crying foul of crying fowl

Sorry, but it’s time for another rant.

The “menu” of Menugate, from theconversation.com

Another day, another sexist jibe at Julia Gillard with the usual defence of “I didn’t mean it like that” and “It’s been taken out of context”, and with the usual non-apology of “If I’ve caused any offence I’m sorry”. Well, how is someone supposed to take the insult of “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail, with small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box”? I’ve never known any male politician to receive insults based on his gender and appearance on the same level. And to all those who cry foul – and in this case crying fowl if not wolf – over Tony Abbott’s bathers getting branded “budgie smugglers” – are you not abusers enabling abusers? I’ve only ever heard two cracks based on gender and appearance at a male politician, to wit:

  1. My then stepmother after a few glasses of wine greeted the news of former Deputy PM John Anderson resigning due to a prostate condition as, “Yeah, he’s got a small dick!”
  2. My aunt didn’t vote for Labor led by Mark Latham because Latham “had man-boobs”.

Not exactly in the same league as a constant barrage of references to gender, sexuality and appearance is it?

This week started off with Prime Minister Gillard making a speech at a fundraising event where she stated that if Tony Abbott was to become PM, then abortion would be used as a “political plaything” and denouncing the Liberals as “blue ties”. For some reason everyone took umbrage to that remark and thought it flippant. The next day “Menugate” was revealed where at a dinner for more Liberal losers a menu was supplied with the aforementioned Quail remark. There was also some pith about eating your greens “before the Greens take over everything”. Hardly in the same league as Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde or the writers of Frasier.

Then come Friday the Prime Minister was against insulted by Perth’s 6PR’s Howard Sattler, who asked the PM if her partner Tim Mathieson was “gay” because he used to work as a hairdresser, and trying to accuse the PM of being Mr Mathieson’s “beard”. Thankfully Sattler was sacked, but is now doing the usual Liberal thing of crying wolf or fowl by claiming he was dismissed from his job because he has Parkinson’s disease. Don’t start getting the shakes now, Howard. To top it all off and make this a week of rubbish, Daily Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman (has there ever been a high-profile columnist in a News Limited publication that isn’t right-wing? Bloody Rupert) appeared on ABC1’s Insiders to say he’d heard plenty of rumours about the PM and her partner’s private lives and was basically trying to repeat Sattler’s theory, only to again offer the usual non-apology when called out on it.

Do I again need to share the link to Dr Anne Summers’ lecture on the barrage of misogynistic abuse, not that it doesn’t already bear endless re-reading to hopefully educate people to make a stand when sexism occurs?

So where does all this misogyny come from? Stupidity is the obvious answer, but how is it allowed to be ingrained and grow in the first place? Why are the criticisms of the current government based on gender and sexuality instead of policies? There’s one lesbian in parliament, the awesome Senator Penny Wong, Minister for Finance; but why do deadshits have as an insult that all women in the cabinet are lesbian? Are these not the same homophobic idiots who repel from the sight of a single gay man yet love to get their rocks off watching lesbian porn? And why is that? Really, I’d like to know as I’ve never been able to fathom that old chestnut of idiocy.

The whole thing is fucked up, and it’s time to end it now as there’s less than 100 days until the next election. For if Tony Abbott and his band of bullying thugs form the next government, then misogyny and abuse will become legislation; even though I’m just a single white male (UGH!), that scares the shit out of me.

My brush with the loony left

People can talk of “skeletons in the closet”, whether they are personal or familial indiscretions. My shameful act was to join the Socialist Alliance a few years ago. Wanting to join a political party (lefty that I am) I naturally plumped for the ALP, but being skint (unemployed) I chose to join the S.A. because membership was cheaper for the jobless. I wasn’t sure I’d last long anyway, being a pro-Israel and Philosemite. It’s obligatory to barrack for Palestine in all matters as a lefty, no matter the circumstances.

Proof of my shame.

Proof of my shame.

Invited to the first meeting of the Melbourne branch for 2011, I went into town one Saturday afternoon, pushed out of home by a friend who encouraged me to go out and meet people instead of sitting on my arse watching box-sets of Weeds. The most memorable part of the day wasn’t meeting all my new upper-case-s Socialist friends, but the train into town – as I sat in my seat with sunglasses on and headphones pumping out a playlist of Deborah Conway’s “Consider This” and the Huxton Creepers’ “My Cherie Amour” (my “Melbourne music”), watching the suburbs along the Frankston line fly by, a girl a few seats away kept staring at me and as soon as I noticed would instantly look away, as if caught doing something untoward; which by all accounts it is untoward and unusual if someone casts an eye in my direction – I’ve no delusions. Before I disembarked the girl made a call and asked, “Have you ever had that weird thing happen when someone keeps staring at you on a train?” WELL, YOU STARTED IT! (“I have no issues. Really, I’m fine … I’m fine … don’t touch me!”)

Anyway, I made my way to the so-called “Resistance Centre” at the top end of Swanston Street opposite RMIT. A few floors up the branch meeting had just finished and, wallflower that I am, pretended to browse over books about Unionism in Eastern Europe in the 18th Century, Communist tomes and of course, the essential Marx and Engels, etc. Finally introducing myself, we all walked up to Carlton to a pub – this brightened my mood no end, friends and beer! Well, I was hoping I would make some friends after already committing a political faux-pas when asked what my thoughts were on socialism, “I’m a bit green at all this.” Cue lefties recoiling in horror at the name of another (and a damn-sight more organised and popular) political party. Thankfully the beer flowed and I did end up enjoying myself despite a few O.P. (other people’s) smokers – I aimed to please with my mercy dash to the nearest corner shop on a Saturday evening.

A week later I was asked to participate in a march to support Wikileaks, this being the summer of diplomatic discontent, and rocked up outside the State Library to find hundreds of people there of all different lefty backgrounds. There was a guy in a grey wig – to symbolise Julian Assange although he looked like Mrs Doubtfire – making speeches and was probably the organiser. Whilst milling at the edge of the crowd, lo and behold – another attractive girl came right up to me in her lovely purple ‘I SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE’ t-shirt and tried to sign me up to another group, the Socialist Alternative. (I bet you all just said “alternative to what?”)  So we got talking and as the march set off down tourist-filled Swanston Street on a warm Sunday afternoon, I quickly got into the screaming of
FREE BRADLEY MANNING!” and endless rhymes starting with “2-4-6-8!” Equality Girl and I talked of my reasons for coming, my support of lefty things (“I just do it because I hate Tony Abbott”) and becoming political through reading the works of Frank Hardy – strangely, she hadn’t heard of him – how can you call yourself “political”, much less a “socialist” and live in Melbourne without knowing of Frank Hardy? Odd, I thought as we marched on complete with police escorts and blocking tram access to Flinders Street. I even ended up in the very front row too, but of course sod’s law came into play and I didn’t get my mug in any papers at all. So embarrassing.

We suddenly turned off Swanston into Collins Street and came to a stop outside the British Consulate. Why? I don’t know – surely it would have made much more sense to picket the Yanks instead? And that’s when the lefties tried to cram every single one of their causes into the afternoon by having an Aboriginal smoke-ceremony, the (only way to say it) “token Indigenous” person, everyone’s favourite lefty fool, Stephen Jolly from Yarra City Council and other larks that had nothing to do with Wikileaks at all. One of the marchers had grabbed a megaphone and started singing “Burn, baby burn!” Yes, hell is a socialist disco.

I bunked off with Equality Girl after an invitation to attend Trades Hall, where the Alternative’s set-up. I managed to stay for an hour despite not getting a single lefty joke – something about Condoleezza Rice or Donald Rumsfeld or some Bushite that was neither topical nor funny – and praise heaped on the beginning of the Arab Spring – I think Tunisia had just come through it and Egypt was about to kick off. When I got to Trades Hall I was met someone and said I’d just been on my first march, only to be asked, “Do you feel like a radical now?” Um no, I lived in Parkdale. Come on, like one bullshit march makes you a revolutionary leader. If true then a cake walk would be called a show of solidarity and consciousness-raising exercise. And why are the words “consciousness” and “collective” bandied about by hardcore lefties so much? They’re a worse cult than the Brethren! At least that time my mention of Frank Hardy was understood, before the motion was passed that to celebrate the Arab Spring they’d spit-roast a goat. Yeah, to celebrate the oppressed getting rid of their oppressors, they were going to cook a goat in a backyard in Fawkner. It’s like when they want to show solidarity with refugees locked up in detention centres – I don’t see the protesters sewing their lips and self-harming in protest.

A week later I returned to the Trades Hall mob for a free six-week course on learning all about socialism. Needing (and still) to know a lot more, I enthusiastically went along, only to be given a lecture on communism (which I can differentiate) and more “consciousness” and “collectives” being said. Me being me I started to take the piss but my barbs went unnoticed. So what more was there to do then just stop going? I’m glad I did – I’d have happily broken rank to condemn the BDS groupies and shame them for the anti-Semitic thugs they are. And so many middle-class members too – take this any way you want, but why try to change things on the other side of the world when there’s tonnes to do here – but of course, they’d be NIMBYs wouldn’t they? NOT IN MY BACKYARD! And I “love” NIMBYs. They’re the people who hate to see a block of housing-commission flats in their own street (“don’t want any riff-raff to come in”) but will happily snap up “investment” properties left, right and centre, charge exorbitant rents and thus create homelessness in the first place.

Like the Occupy movement, especially in Melbourne – what did the participants do for a living? They wouldn’t get the dole because they’d refuse to leave their pile of tents and squalor to attend appointments at Centrelink. I believe any hardcore and brainwashed member of a two-bit political group will always have a trust-fund or ready cash from Mummy and Daddy, especially if Pater works in the mines. How great to protest about minerals and natural resources being sent overseas when you’re living off the money your father gets for raping and pillaging the land and exporting said resources. It’s got to be true – when was the last time you saw a member of a political group other than the big four (Labor, Liberal, National and Greens) work from nine-to-five?

As much as I identify as a “lefty” (I believe in equality, free healthcare, education and public transport and less privatisation), I’m not a real one because I support Israel – and if I choose to support people who are holistically attractive instead of the other side with their tea-towels, hankies and policies of torture and abuse – then all the more fun for me!

Why I hate the BDS movement

Since the age of sixteen, I’ve had a deep love, interest and respect for Jewish people, whether they be practicing or just of the blood pure. It all started from reading the columns of Julie Burchill, the British journalist who is known as one of the fiercest defenders of Israel in the British media. Where are the defenders of Israel in Australia?

Why do I have such a thing for Jews? I can’t explain but I hope the following list will. How many of the people listed are either clever, talented, intelligent, funny, switched-on, interesting or even downright sexy, and all because they’re Jewish, regardless of whether by birth, religious observance or descent:

And that’s just a selection from Australia alone. I could go on with a list of people from overseas but we’d never hear the end of it, such is my passion.

I consider myself a philosemite (a Judeophile if you will, but small-minded people hear the suffix of “phile” and their minds go instantly to child abuse – I can’t fathom it either) and am very slowly learning all about Judaism, Israel and Zionism. Thanks to Burchill’s and others’ writings and the dozens of books I’ve read, I’m gradually becoming more passionate and learned.

I overcame the slight dislike of my name once I learnt it was of Hebrew origin, (Yeshua, translated to God is Salvation) and that even the alias I tooled about with, Levi, was again by coincidence Hebrew, meaning “joined in harmony”.

But the real turning point for me was when I decided to join a political party. Being of a lefty persuasion (despite favouring Israel over Palestine, a slap in the face to any left-leaning cause) I decided to join the Socialist Alliance, cheap at only $15 a pop for yearly membership. I only attended meetings and such for a fortnight before realising what a crock it was, of people brainwashed by words like “solidarity” and “cause” and “consciousness” bandied about like stones, the same stones that Israelis are pelted with by Palestinians. Also I got out before the question over the Middle East arose and would surely have been kicked out anyway. I can just picture myself being chased out of Trades Hall for refusing to kow-tow to the demands of a group of people whose chosen fashion accessory is one of Mum’s tea towels, straight out of the third drawer down.

Months later and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign kicked into full swing in Australia, spearheaded by Senator Lee Rhiannon of the NSW branch of The Greens, and a few mimsy words from then party leader Bob Brown, who didn’t anywhere near calling it out on the anti-Semitic bullying it is (And doesn’t Lee Rhiannon always remind you of that weird teacher from primary school that nobody liked and always smelled like they’d pissed themselves and rolled round in chicken-salt before leaving home?).

I’m glad I cut all ties with the lefty loonies by then, because at that time they all decided to do the only thing a BDS campaign can do, to picket a chocolate shop because it was started by two guys who happened (by fortune) to have been born in Israel. I was livid and had a near panic-attack when I read in the papers that 19 protestors (some of whom were from the S.A., just one letter away from S.S.) were arrested for protesting outside a Max Brenner store in Melbourne’s CBD, on charges including riotous behaviour, trespass and besetting premises. In my upset state I seriously thought that the next thing the S.A. would do was goose-step down Glen Huntly Road to Caulfield, Elsternwick and Balaclava (the home of most of Melbourne’s Jewish population) and attack any newsagent that dared to sell the Australian Jewish News. Thankfully, this has not happened, but if anything so resembles that sickening thought I’ll be on the first plane down there to abuse them in turn whilst proudly wearing my Israeli flag-patterned bandana (sorry,  it was cheaper than buying an actual flag-sized flag, of which I hope to buy a few to put up in my front windows).

Picketing Max Brenner stores and other businesses with links, however tenuous, to Israel is not just confined to Melbourne, or even Australia, but has happened throughout the world too – from London to Los Angeles. It also happened at around the same time to another Max Brenner store in Brisbane, and delightfully the BDS mob were met by a counter-protest, with bigger numbers and louder voices. Happily there was as a pro-Israel protest and show of support for the beleaguered chocolate shop in Melbourne, although sadly (to me personally) was sponsored and organised by the Liberal Party (don’t let the name fool you, international readers – the Liberal Party of Australia are conservative and currently there’s a right-wing Catholic at the helm), but at last Josh Frydenberg, Liberal MP for Kooyong, finally endeared himself to me, by asking BDS protestors to their smug faces: “Where is your Boycott, Divestment, Sanction about the butchers in Syria, about Ahmadinejad in Iran and the perils of Hezbollah?” If I should ever move to Anglican, leafy, upper middle class Kooyong – he’s got my vote.

So why do we hear nothing from a pro-Israel point-of-view in the Australian media? Granted we hear precious little about the Middle East anyway, usually only a few seconds on the evening news of rockets being launched over borders. And even that’s only on World News Australia on SBS! Australia needs a shake-up to scrape off the anti-Semitic crust that somehow most people I’ve met have inherently got. Even last week a 17 year-old (now former) friend of mine heard me mention that I was reading about Israel. His response to this was “bomb the shit out of them.” Considering that the political history of the Middle East isn’t taught in high school history (for shame), how could he say this without knowing a thing? How come in February 2012 on a block of toilets in near-redneck Wantirna of all places, some yobs chose as graffiti “The best Jew is a dead Jew” and a picture of a stick-figure in a noose, in a place with no Jewish people at all?

As Peter Finch cried in Network, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna’ take it anymore!” Why is there no history of out-and-proud philosemitism in Australia, particularly in the most Jewish-populated cities of Sydney and Melbourne? Why do studies say that anti-Semitism in Australia is on the rise since 9/11? Correct me if I’m wrong but was Israel in anyway involved in an attack that was orchestrated by the suicidal shareholders of Al Qaeda PLC? I know Muslims, whether fundamental or not, have taken stick (if not a branch), since then but blaming Jews for a cowardly offence committed by people? Have you not heard of Nick Griffin? Isn’t this just fringe-dwelling conspiracy nuts blaming Jewish people for everything wrong in their lives becoming mainstream?

It’s not on.

NOTE: Next I’ll be writing about what it’s really like attending a Socialist Alliance meeting and joining them on a protest – in other words, “My Brush with the Loony Left”.

Bread and bullshit circuses

What a hard time Julia Gillard has of doing her job. Running the country, trying to get policies legislated and out there and instead the media’s focus is – again – on a sandwich being thrown.

Granted it is out of the ordinary to have food as a weapon (apart from all those old Hitchcock-esque murder mysteries where a wife who’s had enough belts her husband with a leg of lamb and then cooks and eats the joint so there’s no evidence), but how will the PM be able to go to Aussie’s café in Parliament House without riot gear? Bring out the shields, lads – there’s sangers about!

Today whilst on a meet and greet at a high school in Canberra to spruik the Gonski education reforms, the Prime Minister had a salami sandwich thrown in her direction; I could say thrown at her but it was so widely off the mark that even non-athletic and bone-idle moi could have aimed better. In a gale. With my eyes closed. Listening to Elvis Costello’s “My Aim is True”.

Only last month whilst visiting a school in Brisbane, Ms Gillard had a sandwich thrown at her in a school playground for the first time. Again, the sliced-bread assailant missed, and the alleged offender was suspended from school – not before getting his mug all over the evening news – what more could a teenager want? Instant fame (or infamy) and the beginnings of what Max Markson would surely call a “media profile”. Add that one to your show-reel, kid.

And hasn’t the humble sandwich come a long way from it’s unsure and indefinable beginnings? There’s the whole Earl of Sandwich lark where either his good lady wife or his valet stuck a chunk of meat between some bread and gave it to the Earl so he could gamble whilst eating. That’s nothing – try filling out your trifecta slips at the pub while eating chips and gravy without a fork.

Other sources say it was Hillel the Elder, ancient Jewish religious leader (Philosemite that I am – my heart has swooned and my stomach is rumbling) who “invented” what we’d call a wrap now, by putting some leftover Paschal lamb on a bit of matzah. Next time you want to stir up a radical lefty, look them in the eye and with the most deadpan look you can muster, ask them: would you be eating that (no doubt wholemeal) sandwich now if it wasn’t for the Jews? I dare you!

I’ve never considered food let alone a sarnie as a weapon. Drinks, yes – the number of times I walked past then-Lord Mayor and now Queensland Premier Campbell Newman in King George Square with a coffee in my hand hot enough to cause GBH. Instead I behaved and laughed my head off instead when nearly he fell off a bicycle outside City Hall. Unfortunately (to me) despite not wearing a helmet, if he did fall Mr Newman would have no doubt been unharmed by just bouncing off his ego instead. And does drowning in your favourite cocktail count as “death by misadventure”? I’m off to enquire about a swimming pool of gin and a dash of tonic.

So why do the mishaps and unfortunate events overshadow the Prime Minister’s actions? Is it because she’s a woman? Yes – I’ve known of no other political leader in my 20-odd years be abused and insulted for their gender; from being considered “unfit” to be Prime Minister because they’re “deliberately barren” to having Opposition Leader Tony Abbott continue the insult from shock-jock (more like joke) Alan Jones that Ms Gillard’s father “died of shame” and that the “government had died from shame”. The Prime Minister’s response to this in Question Time was the best 15 minutes of 2012.

Yes, I’ve voted for and support Julia Gillard as Prime Minister – sometimes I must be the only young white guy (ugh!) around who does. For more on the abuse the PM cops just because she is a woman, read this lecture by writer and journalist Anne Summers: Her Rights at Work - it is powerful in it’s truth and shows just how much bullshit the Prime Minister gets thrown her way – and, in Dr Summers’ words: “a conspiracy of silence” by the media.

With all that happening, who gives a rat’s about a sandwich?