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February 26, 2021

Thus Spake Mungo: To market

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Scott Morrison is nothing if not a marketeer. Or, to put it more precisely, he is nothing except a marketeer.

His sole area of expertise consists of convincing the gullible to buy stuff they don’t need and generally don’t want and his success can be measured by the extent that he can persuade them that they can’t do without it.

His triumph, of course, was the 2019 election, in which a relentless campaign of spin revolving around the two great motivators of greed and fear overwhelmed any serious debate over policy.

And for this he became something of a demigod to his troops, who had been resigned to the idea that their manifest divisions and incompetence were finally ready to catch up with them. If substance could be abandoned and bluster enshrined, it would save them a lot of trouble – when problems multiply and the situation becomes hopeless, just unleash the master marketeer. He will have a quick word to the powers above and produce another miracle.

It all sounds very convenient, but there is a catch: Morrison is not actually invincible, even within the narrow parameters he prefers. His marketing record is, to say the least, patchy.

He was ignominiously tossed out of the prize gig of Tourism NSW, and while he has rehabilitated himself within the less demanding environment of the Liberal Party, this has led to instances of hubris and impulsiveness. In particular, he has a tendency to over-egg expectations – or if he doesn’t, those around him are always keen to do it for him.

His immediate staff seem to have taken up ideas way above their station – it sometimes appears that they see him more of a puppet than a prime minister, a useful logo to be deployed as a sort of ersatz messiah to neutralise crises in the belief that what worked two years ago can be repeated at will.

There is a risk not only of disillusionment among the electorate, but a mounting anger and resentment that they have been conned

Fine if it works. But if it doesn’t – if the expectations cannot be matched – there is a risk not only of disillusionment among the electorate, but a mounting anger and resentment that they have been conned. And if it happened once, perhaps it also happened in the past and can be anticipated in the future.

Which brings us to last week’s National Press Club address. In the days preceding it, the battalion of boosters belched forth a barrage of ballyhoo. This was to be the prime minister’s first major speech of the year, the one that fixed the agenda for 2020 and beyond. It would be a complete reset, the prelude for initiative, innovation and action on a scale seldom envisaged in Australian politics.

Why, there was a rumour (clearly deliberately leaked) that climate change was in the recipe, that our woefully inadequate Paris accord targets were to be ramped up to more credible levels. There was even a suggestion that some form of carbon tax could be on the table. That one had to be hosed down quickly and decisively, before the compost in the party room burst into spontaneous combustion.

The optimists hoped that at last something might be offered other than bluff and bluster. However, the hope was, as so often, extinguished by the pitiful reality

But still, the optimists hoped that at last something might be offered other than bluff and bluster. However, the hope was, as so often, extinguished by the pitiful reality.

The first half of Morrison’s lecture was pure self congratulation, a list of his government’s so-called achievements over the last twelve months. Then we indeed moved on to dealing with climate change – but not really. The key words were adaptation and resilience – we just needed to adapt and resile like buggery, and all would be well.

As for emissions reductions – the usual evasions, denials and procrastinations.

We are only 1.3 percent, we are doing our bit, will meet and beat our pathetic promises, we won’t destroy our economy, if we don’t flog fossil fuels some other bastard will, it’s our coal and we will bloody well do what we like with it so those interfering foreigners can shut up and piss off.

But there had to be what is delicately described as an announceable – so Generalissimo ScoMo was going to ring in legislation allowing him to declare a state of emergency, not the kind the British did to actually confront climate change, but to pretend that he is doing something when the continuing and worsening disasters stemming from it emerge in the near future. He wants to be able to send in the troops.

Will his emergency include conscription, rationing, censorship, night time blackouts with the populace sent to the shelters?

Okay, that sounds like action: but when and how – and also why and what? Will his emergency include conscription, rationing, censorship, night time blackouts with the populace sent to the shelters? Presumably not; in almost the next breath Morrison averred that he was a federalist, meaning that the states would be consulted (which they have not always been during the present disaster) and that in spite of the emergency, it would be essentially business as usual, his constantly reassuring slogan as things go to hell in a hand basket.

But this will not work, because Morrison, unwillingly and reluctantly, has been forced to assume a leadership role: having talked up an emergency, and involved the armed forces on a continuing stand-by basis, he has effectively abandoned his old line about the states being the ones with the responsibility.

As the catastrophe mounted across borders and the news dragged on, worse every day, even the quietest Australians could recognise a national issue when they saw one

The public never bought it; as the catastrophe mounted across borders and the news dragged on, worse every day, even the quietest Australians could recognise a national issue when they saw one. They expect, demand, that their prime minister will do the same and will take charge. So Morrison has to try, even though his immediate response has been, to put it mildly, underwhelming.

But even the long-winded and half-arsed speech last week has raised expectations; don’t you worry, the government has your back, we will get things back under control. But what if we can’t? What if the nostrums offered so far prove to be too little and too late?

This fire season is far from over, and there are two more to confront before the next election. We can all hope that they will not be as frightful as the current one, but they are unlikely to be totally innocuous. And next time there will be nowhere to hide: Morrison, having been dragged to a leadership role which he did not want, now owns it.

He has already been politically charred; and it will be much harder for him to market his way out of the next crisis. But given that he has no other skills, marketing is his only hope.


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  1. Mungo, to the point as usual. Scottie from Marketing is definitely trying to sell the message, but the message is a load of rotting Fish (in the Darling River).
    Scottie from Marketing has now sold NSW a pup: We need to increase Coal & Gas production in order to get some largese from Canberra to help with the Transition to sustainable energy. I feel Scottie from Marketing must think the electorate is uneducated (although he is trying to achieve that end by cutting funding in real terms for Education).
    Scottie from Marketing´s team had to go back many years to Ros Kelly to find a Sports Rort & my memory thinks it was much smaller in scope than the current stinker, even allowing for inflation. This definitely seems to go to the top, with the news that the coloured spreadsheet was in Scottie fropm Marketing´s office.

    Question: If Gough was fired for incompetance in years gone by, by the Queen´s representative, why cannot the current GG fire this incompetent lot so the electorate can make a choice on who should lead in the current crisis? This is a burning issue for Scottie from Marketing. Perhaps it might lead to a Coronary Virus?? (TIC)

    … & God help us if the Beetroot man who cant keep himself contained within the marital relationship should arise as a Pheonix (another Burning allegory!)

    Well, back to my Verandah, where I sit as a Quiet Australian!

  2. Your understanding of this muppet and his band of self serving imbeciles is insightful, your writing sublime, your vocabulary unmatched. I thoroughly enjoy reading your commentary. Points to ponder; the governments last 2 agenda items for 2019 were the “union busting bill” and repealing the medevac bill. Please show me some leadership, an agenda, a plan to follow, some sort of hope for our country, ANYTHING!
    PS I don’t think Albo is electable, then again what would I know, I didn’t think Trump or Scomo were either.

  3. Doug – the Gogh saga was crook & should never
    have happened but what’s the excuse for our
    current ongoing crises? Queen Liz may just be
    stirred enough to listen to her OZ Rep & call
    an election due to incompetence. I was talking
    your talk only a few days ago.

  4. I think even those who despise Scotty from Marketing have been surprised by his utter superficiality (his absence in Hawaii apparently caused us “anxiety”); his blundering lack of empathy (his clumsy handshakes with people who had rejected his hollow overtures); his puerile and petulant reaction to criticism (his ill-conceived and ultimately selfish party political ad); his stunning duplicity in trying to deflect blame from himself towards Berejiklian and Andrews and…. well the list is long and deserves a book.

    His supporters will no doubt rationalise his spectacular failure as a leader and see his attempts at facile empathy as being spurned by the ungrateful, but the truth is more sanguine – Scotty from Marketing’s true character was on display for two ot three weeks and it was ugly.

    His opportunity for redemption at the Press Club was not so much squandered as rejected – his self-serving insistence that his excuse for a government is doing a good job; his blustering pomposity in deflecting questions he didn’t like and his unfailing determination to keep giving the same answer until, he hopes, it will align with the question being asked. This is his style – he will start with a farcical notion and then keep adding layers of nonsense – a veritable snowball rolling downhill.

    We should be fearful of a government as shallow, totalitarian and despotic as this LNP when they ask for the powers to deploy the military for “national emergencies” (isn’t the emergence of Extinction Rebellion a national emergency?). Think back to Ferdinand Marcos, more recently the governor of MIchigan (which had Trump making his own noises); Erdogan and there are others, who have called on the military to attack dissenters under the guise of “security”. A fanciful call maybe, but Morrison has shown how he handles criticism and allied to his craving for total power, anything seems possible.

  5. …..can we please just eliminate this charlatan and move on….

    ….but also, please, no more of the same….

    Enough is Enough

  6. To put it simply, so people can understand.
    The LNP is the butt of Australia, all it does is squeeze out crap. And right now it has diarrhoea and everyone no matter how ignorant and or gullible can now see Australia is completely covered in it!
    We have another 2 years of being covered in this stinking LNP crap.
    Next time think, before you vote Australia and remember the long 3 years of this rotting stench of the LNP diarrhoea? It’s going to get far worse than it is now, far worse, this is just the beginning?

    • My worry is there is no visible palatable leader standing in the wings. God help us if Mutton scrambles to the top of the pile! I look back & think how different things may have been if they had elected a woman instead of Scottie from Marketing. Julie Bishop, even though I was not necessarily a fan, I feel would not be in the current predicament: at least she would have handled the human aspects much better. Unfortunately, even if we get a moderate PM to replace Scottie from Marketing, that person will still have the bumbling backroom of deniers to contend with. Unfortunately, even if we changed to a Labor govt, there are still a few deniers in that mob too. I feel what is needed is a government that relies on a few well educated & reliable independents that will steer a government down the middle of the road, around obstacles.
      This happened when Julia Gillard was in power: Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott had to make a decision whether to support Abbott or Gillard. Personally, I feel they made the ONLY decision they could make: Tony Abbott I feel would have been unlikely to follow a reasonable moderate course, but was likely to dig dirt on the politicians to use to force his objectives. Gillard was a good negotiator (a fact never achnowledged by the Conservatives) so was able to work around Reps & Senate to get legislation through. I wonder if some of the vitriole poured on Gillard was caused by her ability to navigate the maze.
      To get to the chase, I feel one major failing of the recent conservative governments is the inability to write reasonable, palateble legislation that can be massaged to pass the current Senate. My analysis is that Scottie from Marketing is incluned to withdraw Bills then try to ram the same Bill through a a later date using bribery as a tool. Everyone knows that the Senate runs on back room deals. Unfortunately, I feel the legislation that has beern withdrawn is so unpalateable that it does not pass the pub test: Religious freedom is one: everyone knows Religious freedom must be protected, but not at a cost to minoritty religions, personal non-religious rights, or the views of the non-religious majority. Unfortunately, this also applies to so much more of the recent legislation: Protecting our remaining natural Eco-system, waterways, reducing pollution including carbon, etc.

      I think you get my drift: Change is necessary in the Government if we are to survive. It is possible, but there needs to be an acknowledgement from Government that they have changed direction.

  7. Bridget McKenzie’s rorting pales into insignificance when compared with ‘Clockwork Lemon’ Howard’s $328million Regional Partnerships Programme over the period 2003-2007. Like McKenzie, Howard and his looting ministers systematically ignored local and departmental funding recommendations forcing public servants to fast-track assessments for political reasons to their favoured National Party seats during election campaigns. The 1200 page Auditor General’s report was scathing. In many cases, grants were handed to National Party electorates that had not even applied for assistance and even before applications had even been received! Corruption is endemic within the The Looters and it seems nothing has changed.

  8. Worse is true, Tweed. I’m wondering how our
    Smoko’s managing in Canberra today as the
    Peoples’ Climate Assembly rally in his ‘house
    of employment’. He could shake hands with
    a Rebellion for a photo-shoot.

  9. Very well said ‘Ill Fares The Land’.
    Any new legislation enabling governments to “deploy the military for national emergencies” will require exhaustive scrutiny and strenuous debate; not only in Parliament but by every group that has the potential to be involved, and of course “the pub test”.

  10. Morrison, like most people in positions of power and responsibility in much of the world today is the product of the Peter principle.
    The Peter principle is a concept in management developed by Laurence J. Peter, which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their “level of incompetence”: an employee is promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent, as skills in one job do not necessarily translate to another.

  11. Yo Barrow aka ‘The Defender in Chief’. You got it back to front with paying for those one way flights. This country is being taking down the toilet by ProMo ScoNO and his crooked mob, they the ones that need to hop on the plane and go to, say Hawaii, permanently.

  12. Virtue signaling while holding an electronic device That is made from fossil fuels and powdered by rare earth metals that require significant fossil fuels to mine and process. Charged with electricity that is primarily fossil fuels.
    Irony captain planet !


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