An improving economy in the early months of 2018 has been overshadowed by Barnaby's Mistress'n'baby affair. As someone said, 'The ram got out of the home paddock'. Prime minister Turnbull's savage denunciation, we judge during a boiling temper fit, was utterly unnecessary. Why not say something like: 'I regret that my dear colleague, Barnaby Joyce, has got himself into a personal muddle and I wish him well as he sorts his life out.'
Then he could have announced his ober dicta on sex in the office. Instead he looked and acted like an old fashioned Puritan, missing only the tall hat, as he ordered the modern equivalent of a flogging, effectively a death sentence for Barnaby's political career, at least for now. The PM's new rule makes him a laughing stock. As Mrs T said: 'Modern people greatly value the workplace as somewhere to get to know people. With long hours and demanding jobs it is one of the few places to find a suitable spouse."
The PM's total inability to answer a question about how long he has known about Barnaby's new partner was acutely embarrassing. Did he know before Barnaby's by-election? He said then that Barnaby was his hero. Did he advise Barnaby to move his new partner out of his office? The pettifogging answers to the questions about the move of Ms Vicki. from office to office, into that of a man 'Then not a minister', and Barnaby's acceptance of free accommodation, added a grubby overlay to what was otherwise a strictly personal matter.
Then there was a report from the wild west of an allegation against the ram for sexual misconduct. Barnaby probably smiled at the lady, doffing his hat in a (to her) suggestive way.
Where to from here? Soon 30 Newspolls will have been delivered and the PM already looks like a political dill, flapping around in shallow electoral water and now clearly marked as a man who has absolutely no political judgment. One hopes the Nats do not elect as leader a person of low intellect, lousy ability in front of a camera and no political judgment. If they fail to find the perfect leader Barnaby will be back within 6 months or there will be yet another Deputy Prime minister.
Anyway you think about it this is a rotten situation for good government and increases the risk of Bill Shorten becoming the next Prime minister. Still, Bill is also a bit of a dill, although with a fair bit of low cunning. But Mr Shorten's return to old leftie politics will provide opportunity for the coalition. Australians do not wish to return to industrial conflict, or wage increases the nation cannot afford and even more foolish government expenditure than now in the pipeline.
I must apologise for Henry's absence last weekend. Saturday was day 2 of a Telstra blackout that lasted until 9 am Friday when finally a competent technician was sent to install a modern modem. This 6-day clusterf**k was the third in month and we came very close to switching internet suppliers.
The trouble is that no person one speaks to another person before 5 minutes at best, sometimes 30 minutes. Speaking to a Telstra robot, and then a human who obviously fails to know all the tricks, or to care too much, is deeply frustrating. Henry went to a Telstra shop and learned about 'Hot spot tethering'. The competent technician said 'The help desk people are meant to tell you of that option when you call to report an outage, but be careful, it is pretty costly'.
One is forced to conclude, as the old time Treasury men used say, that what this country needs is a good recession. After the next bit of economic sunshine fades, that is probably what we get, so do cut back spending and repay debt is you can.
Fiona Prior (re)visits the mysterious and magical Lady and the Unicorn. More here.
Do not miss Henry's editor's latest painting - of his four favourite economists.
The Sporting Life
Australia's much maligned T20 team, lead by Dave Warner, went from 7th to nearly no 1 while flogging England and NZ.
Now the test team is about to face the South Efricans, with a bowling attack about as scary as our top three and a spinner almost as good as GOAT.
Caaaaarlton! gurls got beaten by the Bullies in a most disappointing effort last night. The Bullies featured a former ice skater who kicked 4 goals in the second quarter and an unbelievable 7 over all, and was definitely the difference between the teams.
Soon it will be the AFLM season and we can be disappointed by Caaaarlton!'s blokes.
Image of the week.