Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Milne’

The story of Glenn

At the end of a fairly lengthy analysis of the Libs’ incoherent ETS position, the Poison Dwarf drops this gem:

Which brings us to other sensitivities.

In my alternate role as political editor for News Ltd’s Sunday newspapers I was warned on Saturday by one of the most senior – and I mean one of the most senior elected office holders in the land – that if I reported claims in a new book that Julia Gillard had been Kevin Rudd’s preferred choice as treasurer I would not be dealt with again by the Government. And to his credit, the person making those threats wasn’t Wayne Swan. At least whatever punishment is dealt out to it Brendan Nelson, even by his own side, he doesn’t behave like that.

On that count I’m happy to consult the admirable script writers of The Hollowmen.

Now, this is champagne Milne. There may well be a legitimate story here, but it’s so sketchy that it is hard to tell. “… if I reported claims” – we have no idea of the source for Glenn’s “claims”, and given the dodgy speculation he commonly engages in, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he was threatening to print a half-baked rumour. In the classic muckraking Milne tradition, he doesn’t name the person who apparently threatened him – the more speculation about identity, the broader the negative impact can spread among the Labor ranks (note the discussion on Bolt’s blog, where various commenters attribute the comment to, at the very least, Rudd, Gillard, and Tanner, based purely on their readings of the chicken entrails). Note also the way Milne diminishes all of his discussion of Nelson’s woes by implying that a single comment by a single Rudd Minister overrides all of the posturing of the Liberal factions.

But at the core of this story-within-a-story is the central theme of Glenn Milne’s work – “look at me, look at me!” Milne doesn’t just want to write the story; he wants to be the story. He wants people to know, or at least to think, that he is a Very Important Person. He has the inside knowledge, and despite all the obstacles he is going to reveal it – one of these days.

You can be a player or you can be a commentator, but you can’t be both, Glenn.

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The Poison Dwarf continues to beat the drum that a Labor loss in Gippsland is a blow to the Government:

Depending on the outcome, one of either Kevin Rudd or Brendan Nelson is going to get a boot up the bum out of the result on June 28. And contrary to national opinion polling right now it looks as if it will be the Prime Minister who gets the imprint on his breeches.

Most by-elections don’t really matter in terms of national messages. This is not the case in Gippsland which has turned into something of a political laboratory. Labor is still very much in the hunt. But if the Coalition holds next Saturday, Kevin Rudd has some serious thinking to do.

This is rubbish. The complete article is worth reading to see the flimsy propositions Milne puts forward. For instance, did you know that “the Gippsland result will represent a definitive political verdict on” the issue of the stupid 5c fuel excise cut?

As Milne’s own story notes, the demographics of the Gippsland electorate aren’t exactly in Labor’s favour. But there are also clear historical grounds that suggest the Coalition should be expected to retain the seat. First, the Nationals have had it for the past 86 years – that suggests it’s a pretty entrenched Coalition stronghold. Second, in last year’s election McGauran only suffered a 1.8% swing against him, and won with 55.9% of the two-party preferred vote. That’s a pretty solid outcome in an election that saw such a substantial national swing.

Milne doesn’t offer reasons why Labor should expect to win, which is what it would take to make a convincing argument that loss equals failure. Instead, he is trying to set up a narrative to “explain” a loss that can be extended to the national stage.

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Glenn Milne divines the inner thoughts of a group of people who he has never been intimate with – the Australian Labor Party. A piece of speculation and opinion-shifting as rank as this should stand out as distinctively pathetic journalism – it says something about the current state of reporting on Australian politics that it merely looks a little sub-standard.

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Some brilliance from a commenting Bolthead:

On the Right we have – Andrew Bolt, Gerard Henderson, Janet Albrechtsen & Piers Ackerman


On the Left we have – David Marr, John Faine, Kerry O’Brian, Tony Jones, Philip Coorey, Brian Toohey, Peter Hartcher, Misha Schubert, Jason Koutsoukis, George Megalogenis, Glen Milne(depending on who’s in Government), Philip Addams, Richard Carlton, Dennis Shanahan, Michael Costello, Annabel Crabb, Laurie Oakes, Michael Brisenden, Lenore Taylor, Michelle Gratten, Gerard McManus, Michael Harvey and any other that you may want to add to the list.

That’s right – the GG’s finest, the Poison Dwarf and ace pollster Dennis Shanahan, have been outed as lefties. And they’ve been concealing it so well. Not to mention the decidedly even-handed Megageorge.

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Didn’t get the memo

It looks like Tip didn’t fill his press secretary, the Poison Dwarf, in on his plans:

Despite Labor’s depiction of Mr Costello as a “living smirk”, he’s a gregarious, funny and self-deprecating person. This side will be on show as opposition leader.

And, despite speculation he might not want the job after almost 12 years as treasurer, Mr Costello has already taken the decision to accept the challenge of the opposition leadership.

In this respect, he learned a lesson from former Labor leader Mark Latham’s early departure from politics.

Mr Costello considers politics to be his vocation and does not want to repeat Mr Latham’s mistake – abandoning his career too early and living the rest of his life wondering “what if”.

Latham at least stepped up and took the leadership when there was a chance to grab it. Tip’s mistakes are all his own.

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Glenn Milne starts to lay the foundation for Peter Costello’s ascension:

IN light of economic developments in the US, the question must be asked: what if the fundamentals that should be driving this federal election campaign have been fundamentally miscast? What if Peter Costello is not playing Henny Penny? What if he’s telling the truth?

First time for everything.

Nobody ran his comments at any length or with any great prominence. Why? Because the media is putting an election filter over public utterance at the moment, particularly the Government’s, on the basis that November 24 is distorting reality. But what if it is the reverse? What if it is the election filter that’s actually distorting reality?

The charge against Costello is that he can’t be believed because he’s transparently using the US sub-prime crisis to whip up an economic bogyman sufficient to scare the wits out of an electorate seriously looking at the option of replacing him with Labor’s Wayne Swan.

Sounds like a fair charge to me, although I dispute your claims that it didn’t get considerable media attention.

But then, the Poison Dwarf points his finger at the real culprit:

Having decided to stick around against good advice, this is very much John Howard’s campaign and he began it with all the sunny optimism of the Disney Channel.

Go for Growth was the Prime Minister’s preferred slogan, plastered across the hyper-blue (no clouds in this sky) backdrop that accompanied him wherever he went.

Um, didn’t some other guy stand in front of that slogan and talk about our economic prosperity as well? I seem to recall something about a team …

What’s now clear is that someone in the Howard office forgot the heavily scripted, and therefore entirely predictable, intervention of the Reserve Bank last week. Faced with a 25-basis-point rate rise, out went Go for Growth, literally.

Suddenly we switched from Disney to the economic equivalent of the Discovery Channel at its most brutal. In this new and elemental environment, where the sub-prime spectre stalked, the Prime Minister acknowledged mistakes, apologised (sort of) for them and grimly urged voters to stay the course in the interests of their own survival.

It was the channel-flicking that did it for the Government’s message.

Trust Howard to botch it all – and just when Tip was so close to his dream of being PM! Bastard!

This article is quite clearly not about shaping the current election campaign – it is Milne’s first shot at shaping the Costello years in opposition. If things fall apart, Tip can say, “I told you so. Now vote me in, and I’ll sort this business out.”

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Three more pieces of dung from the News.com.au stable to add to Milne’s disgusting smear piece (by which I mean today’s one, not the earlier efforts such as Strippergate):

  1. Irony ahoy! On the same day that he publishes the smear on Gillard, the Poison Dwarf claims that Labor is about to “get personal” with Howard. Except that, in this case, getting personal means pointing out his public announcement that he will retire.
  2. Andrew Bolt helps to turn Milne’s piece into a claim that Labor is launching a smear campaign against Howard, and somehow manages to draw solace that perhaps this suggests all the polls are wrong.
  3. A separate News Limited article from Milne’s piece reports Gillard’s denial of any wrongdoing. It also manages to take her comments that “I was young and naive. I was in a relationship which I ended and obviously it was all very distressing.” and attach them to a melodramatic headline (“Julia Gillard: Conman broke my heart”) and a lead-in to the quotes that says “JULIA Gillard has revealed she fell in love with a former union official and fraudster who broke her heart and threatened to destroy her political career.” A nice job of overdramatisation and of playing on gender stereotypes.

The silly season really is getting underway now.

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