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The Magpie

Saturday, November 12th, 2016   |   120 comments

A Warning From The American Voter To Townsville’s ‘Gilded Few’.

The concern that prompted American voters to install a maverick in the White House has a lesson in it for the ruling cabal in Townsville … and it ain’t reassuring.

And as the classic punchline says, that’s a funny way to fly an aeroplane … the LNP dithers and blathers … and factional in-fighting denies electoral winners to take sure-fire seats. The small parties and independents are lickin’ their chops.

And you don’t say! The Dudley Do Nothings have come up with a cunning plan to make money … for themselves.

But first …

Donald Trump is resetting bench marks already, just days after he blew the Clint away.  But one such record happened automatically, simply by his election. Trump has had to immediately revise one of his many campaign statements, the one where he said ‘Barack Obama is the worst US president in history.’

Not any more, he ain’t, mate.

And despite his flapdoodle about creating more jobs, some businesses have gone broke just on the news of his election …


As The ‘Pie reported during the week, optometrists are at a loss to explain a sudden global ocular epidemic, which has been reported in practically every country in the past week … it’s been dubbed ‘20/20 hindsight’. But for Bentley, the future holds some fun moments, when our current opposition leader meets The Trumpet.


The Short Un’s free character reading (pre-election) about Trump’s attitude to women is more a case of galloping hypocrisy from a bloke – a well known root rat – who is credibly accused of statutory rape of a teenage Labor volunteer some years ago.

But if The Trumpet had a penchant for the unauthorized anatomical examination of the odd strumpet, he still went down well with the Old Boiler brigade. But it had been a cliffhanger and he had one LOST by a single vote, wouldn’t be hard to spotlight what went wrong.

One Trump didn't touch.

Now Hillary has a few worrisome moments ahead, but husband Bill – whom she once described as ‘a hard dog to keep on the porch’ – will be in there pulling strings on her behalf … if he remembers.

clinton pardon

But when the yuk-yuk-yukery dies down and people start witnessing further mutilations to the body politic, there will be time for some serious reflection on the lessons learnt from this bizarre outcome for the whole world.

The Rise Of Planet Pauline?

Many are rejoicing … indeed, a small corner of the Magpie mind cheered at the defeat of the arrogant and ossified Washington establishment … and even those of us who now possess hyperventilating sphincters as we wait for the next (not necessarily metaphorical) bombshell to drop should consider the universal lessons of the Trump ascendancy.

The National Consideration

In Australia, the possibility the established parties fear most is that lurking somewhere out there in our future is an articulate, eloquent version of Pauline Hanson, a bit of either beef or cheese cake, but not a the fruit variety, who has a voice that doesn’t sound like it is going to quaver into upper register tears at any moment, and can sell the isolationist, anti-globalisation message with a dash of genteelly expressed religio-race baiting thrown in. Then we will have our own revolution upon us.

Queensland will again lead the way in this political sea change … as early as the next (year’s?) state election, … although the power may end up more with the Kattertonics than the One Notion mob.

The LNP continues its inexplicable death wish.

During the week, The ‘Pie learnt that the LNP selection committee made a yet another mystifying ruling.

Their brightest rising star, David ‘The Kid’ Crisafulli has made it well known that he is seeking a return to George Street.

One of the reasons Magpie whisperers say Sam Cox got unexpectedly knocked back for a winning run against the hopeless Coralee O’Rourke is that he would be a strong rival against Tim Nicholls for the top job … Nicholls has proved particularly inept as leader.

The Kid was hoping to stand in the new seat to be created on the Gold Coast, where he would probably coast in. But the poopahs, playing a game known only to themselves, have decreed The Kid must stand in an existing seat, and not necessarily an easily won seat at that. Again, a massive WTF?

And Colin Dwyer, the Astonisher’s former pet economic poodle, may well return from Brisbane for another crack here in Townsville, but for whom isn’t clear just yet.

But an election looks to be on the cards soon after the redistribution is announced in the first quarter of 2017, unless it all looks too disastrous for Labor … but then, what wouldn’t, all things considered?

But back to the American lesson.

The Townsville ConsiderationWe Are Sick Of Being Lied To And Patronised

On the face of it, it might be seen as a stretch to link the US election mood swing to the Townsville Bulletin, but there is a major underlying message for the Astonisher from the sentiment that drove the US political outcome. It is probably all too late for this busted-arse shadow of a real paper, but at least Holt Street won’t die wondering.

First and foremost, people in Townsville have now fully realised that the Bulletin does not represent the interests of the community.

The Gilded Few

In order to consolidate and protect its considerable investment in the Townsville operation (an investment made because of potential profits from clever manipulation and bullying, not any community-positive sentiment) the Bulletin rather operates as the ‘propaganda’ arm of an unelected elite of shadowy business manipulators, sundry opportunists and political lobbyists. The Pie will henceforth refer to them as the Gilded Few, an oligarchy to which the paper itself belongs, its membership confirmed when it went from observer and reporter to active player, disguising opinion and bias as news and conveniently ignoring those matters which do not suit the agenda of these Gilded Few. Far more cogent matters like water security are given comparative lip service.

The Policy of FIFI Editors

This is a pivotal reason why for the past 25 years, the Townsville Bulletin has not had an editor from the ranks of very capable local, long embedded and qualified journalists, people who know the sensible aspirations, information requirements and standards of the readers. Editors who may put the readership … the community … first.

But to implement an overall strategy directed out of Holt Street Sydney HQ, the Bulletin has had to import FIFO lap dog editors, who would not dare defy Sydney for fear of crippling their own professional trajectories. And would not – could not – take a stand for the local community of any serious, let alone courageous, meaning. Or speak out against the tabloid trivialization and often sheer invention of the Sydney Telegraph template.

This remains major disconnect between community and paper.

 Problem? What Problem?

And like the American Trump voters, there is also the resentment of uncaring outsider interference in our affairs, a fact that only recently has been lamely and dishonestly addressed with transparent puffery from the paper about ‘WE’VE been around for 135 years’, “WE drive and reflect community interests’ (ha!) and ‘WE shape and lead community debate’ .

As Tonto said to the besieged Lone Ranger when he lamented the fact they were surrounded by Indians, ‘what’s this WE business, white man?’ This is all so risible and is seen as such that readers have ‘voted with their feet’ to demonstrate that they don’t like being patronised as mugs.

When, all those years ago, a key executive was bribed and rewarded to betray other shareholders and allow Rupert Murdoch to get hold of the Bulletin, it was the start of the paper being, bit by bit, alienated from its reader base.

That disconnect accelerated when the sensationalised tabloid model was foisted upon a resentful readership in the mid-2000s. The paper has damaged this community more than has yet been calculated.

Make No Mistake, The Townsville Bulletin Is Not Part Of The Solution, It Is Part Of The Problem

Another driver in all this … again a parallel with the American election experience – was and is the increasing sophistication of social media. Its coming of age allowed two key things to happen here in Townsville.

First, the paper was no longer the primary ‘gatekeeper’ of information, arbitrarily choosing what news we were allowed to see (television and radio – ABC an initially weak but honourable exception – had long before become token news entities). In this way, biases suddenly became clear as it was left up to social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs – to shine lights into dark places. Ironically, social media is now the first place Astonisher journalists look for stories.

This has resulted in another crucial power being eroded and then destroyed; the paper’s sole prerogative of being able to examine and make arbitrary judgments on others while remaining unexamined and unjudged itself, because dissenters had previously had no effective platform to air grievances, contrary opinions or join in a fair debate.

Lately, the paper has decided offer the sop of critical opinion in the comments section of the on-line edition (for which you now have to pay). Often though, stories about the controlling cabal – the Gilded Few –  don’t offer the comment facility, neatly sidestepping that awkward issue.

The Two Words That Strike Fear Into Townsville Bulletin Executives

All this cynical manipulation resonates with locals witnessing the mood of the American voter and the outcome this week.

But in Townsville, there is no ‘election day’, no decisive overnight vote, no ‘concession of defeat’ speech, no sudden end, and those of us who have cared for the once proud and respected Townsville Bulletin – and for journalistic ethics and standards – must stand by and watch it die by a thousand cuts.

The ‘Pie reckons the two words most likely to give News Corpse executives the screaming ab dabs are … ‘crowd funding’.

That day is getting close.

Sounds Like A Good Idea … For Some

A commenter who is, for their own mysterious reasons a TEL member, tells us that TEL (of which Mr Lancini is an influential board member) has come up with an interesting ploy to assist in their coffers – which are mostly chockers with the ratepayers annual $750,000 stipend). A comment from the week tells us that as a member, our commenter was invited to the Annual General Meeting, as is required, but will have to fork out $35 for the privilege because they’ve decided that the occasion is a great topportunity to hold the annual members’ hootenanny.

What happens if there is actually someone demented enough to have invested in Townsville Enterprise … but not be a member? Yes, unlikely in the extreme, but still …??? Wouldn’t every Townsville ratepayer qualify?  Turn up in your hundreds, you ‘chumps’.

Other Matters All that chest-beating self righteous indignation over the oh-so-accurate  Bill Leak cartoon about derelict aboriginal parenting in the NT may have been dismissed by authorities, but Leak is still facing legal further proceedings over other similar matters.

The argument about free speech will continue to rage, as will the debate about 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act. Public-money waster Gillian Triggs,  the boss of the tax funded money sinkhole The Human Rights Commission (what a misnomer) has made a right charley of herself.  She recently said she would agree to dropping the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from the current disputed section that says it is unlawful to ‘offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate’, if the word ‘vilify’ was inserted instead. The dictionary tells us that ‘vilify’ is ‘to speak or write in an abusively disparaging manner’. Which is just another way of offending and insulting someone, only providing a bigger hammer to those who would curtail our rights for their own self-interest. .

A jug-headed ‘concession’ that fools no one, m’dear, so consider yourself ‘vilified’ by The Magpie – feel free to bring a complaint, hope you can afford the air fares.

And remember, as Salman Rushdie said ‘No one has the RIGHT to NOT be insulted’.

But Bill Leak can defend himself – with a little help from Bob Dylan.

Bill Leak Dylan

A ‘toon for the ages.

Get a laugh/scowl/hernia from all this? A donation of appreciation (or disdain, The ‘Pie doesn’t care) will greatly assist … but to Ben Bogan  and Lozza  et al,  donations in six figures, contained in brown paper bags, small denominations pls,  can open discussions on The ‘Pie retiring in style … under certain conditions, heh heh heh. How to donate button below.

The Magpie's Nest is now more than five years old, and remains an independent alternative voice for Townsville. The weekly warble is a labour of love and takes a lot of time to put together. So if you like your weekly load of old cobblers, you can help keep it aloft with a donation, or even a regular voluntary subscription. Paypal is at the ready, it's as easy as ... well, easy as pie. Limited advertising space is also available.

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