August 30, 2004


October 9 has always been a happy day with lots to celebrate, but this year Australians will have to interrupt their Che Guevara is Dead! parties so we can vote for the leader of our nation.

Who's going to win - the sickly, often hospitalised candidate or his vibrant, healthy opponent? Nobody knows! The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age seem to think Mark Latham is favourite, which probably means he'll lose.

And here's another reason to bet on John Howard, who I think will win by a narrow margin -- although I'd be ecstatic with a Latham victory, simply for the entertainment it could provide. Then again, Latham might govern quite rationally; and he can always rely on his mother, Simon Crean, to help:

Itís the way Mark Latham keeps misremembering his boyhood that shows us what makes him dangerous. Take his recent speech to Labor's national conference.

"When I was young, my mum used to tell me there were two types of people in our street -- the slackers and the hard workers," he thundered.

In fact, his mum thought we were all either no-hopers or hard workers, as Latham explained in the draft of speech.

But then his shadow treasurer, Simon Crean, checked the draft, took out his red pencil and turned all those no-hopers into slackers -- presumably because he knew Labor delegates hate such judgmental language.

And that's what Latham ended reading out -- Crean's version of what Latham's mother said, and not the truth.

Today's editorial in The Australian summarises the election's main issues, and here's a useful shorthand guide to the Australian election process (minus all the stuff about ritual scarification, which we prefer to keep secret).

UPDATE. Melbourne blogger Alan Anderson breaks in to the SMH's op-ed pages! Excellent.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 30, 2004 02:45 AM

Latham's mum sounds a bit reactionary for having raised a nanny state Labor candidate. Is she going to vote for him?

Also, in the article about his pancreatitis, there is a photo captioned with the following: "Tasty... Mr. Latham tucking into a chip butty..." Could someone decode, please? Should we be worried?

Posted by: Yankee English at August 30, 2004 at 03:13 AM

So would having an advisor do a hatchet job on a quote from one's mum, and then ignoring it, make one a slacker or a hard worker?

Posted by: cerberus at August 30, 2004 at 04:47 AM

They're worried over at Brothers Judd about Howard losing the election.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at August 30, 2004 at 04:57 AM

There was an electoral redistribution recently; does anyone know which party it favoured?

Posted by: 2dogs at August 30, 2004 at 07:03 AM

Mr. Latham tucking into a chip butty..."

It's a chip sandwhich. Well, Latham can't be all bad if he digs into one of those every now and then.

Posted by: Quentin George at August 30, 2004 at 08:05 AM

Attention Australian voters! Mark Latham as PM may be unpleasant, but will mostly bearable.

On the other hand, do not, and I repeat, do not give Bob Brown and his watermelons the balance of power.

Only bad things will come of it.

Posted by: Quentin George at August 30, 2004 at 08:15 AM

Is it too late to cut off Guevara's penis and stuff it in his mouth?

Posted by: Sean at August 30, 2004 at 08:54 AM

Compulsory voting? How fascist! No wonder you get an over-representation of the short-bus crowd...

Posted by: mojo at August 30, 2004 at 09:33 AM


There was a redistribution in Queensland and South Australia. Ithink the honours came out about even.

Posted by: Toryhere at August 30, 2004 at 10:24 AM

A chip butty is a chip sandwich.

O.K. I'll bite, what the hell is a chip sandwich? And No! the response that it is a chip butty will not suffice.

Posted by: Joe Bagadonuts at August 30, 2004 at 11:11 AM

In England "chips" are what we call "fries" -- as in fried potatoes. I know the English make this sandwich out of fries and gravy and white bread but I forget its Cockney name. I am guessing that "chip butty" is its Australian name though I don't know if you guys use gravy or vegemite or what. (It struck me a long time ago that English food is a lot like the meals single guys living in dorms come up with. Well, except for the things made with eel.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 30, 2004 at 11:25 AM

Actually Timbo it was someone in Crean's office but you knew that.
It will be interesting to see how many pants catch fire when Mr howard talks during the election.

Posted by: Homer Paxton at August 30, 2004 at 11:31 AM

Irony alert!

"On October 9, 1967, Bolivian forces executed Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, and amputated his hands for identification. Guevara had been agitating in Bolivia, a definite no-no. The location of the body remained a mystery for 30 years, until a search by the Bolivian government uncovered it on a mountainside near Vallegrande. Now, Vallegrande is an epicenter for Che merchandising." [emphasis added]

Posted by: Damian P. at August 30, 2004 at 12:19 PM

Ah, Communism has gone Capitalistic! Every where it seems (e.g., China). For Che to be merchandised is ironic indeed.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 30, 2004 at 12:41 PM

Imagine if Howard lost the election-

Abbott and Costello VS. the Two Fat Ladies(Latham and Beazley).

Posted by: BT at August 30, 2004 at 12:59 PM

Chip Butty is British. It's not Aussie food!

Posted by: kae at August 30, 2004 at 02:38 PM

I had to really hunt around with Google for this one. "Butty" is British slang for "sandwich".

A "chip butty" is a french fry sandwich, with butter on the bread. I suppose there are variations for personal tastes.

Oh, well, at least it's not haggis....

Posted by: The Real JeffS at August 30, 2004 at 03:55 PM

The Real JeffS ó Hey, the CPUSA has an e-tail website where you can buy caps and mugs and t-shirts....

... and a chip butty ain't a patch on my peanut-butter-and-bacon torilla wraps...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at August 30, 2004 at 05:07 PM

*Lots* of butter.

A delicious snack, but I hope for Latham's sake that the quality of his diet has improved in recent weeks.

Then again, drawing attention to his "manboobs" didn't compel him to eat more responsibly; a health scare probably won't be any different.

Posted by: Grand Old Elephant at August 30, 2004 at 05:10 PM

Haven't you guys heard ?? You can eat all the unhealthy shit you want, as long as nobody knows about it
I'm off to Macca's....

Posted by: Johnny at August 30, 2004 at 05:26 PM

I quite like bacon butties.

To refer to a sandwich as a "buttie" is a British term, but then so is the term "sandwich"!

Posted by: Alex at August 30, 2004 at 09:00 PM

Did somebody say "manboobs"?

Posted by: Endgame at August 30, 2004 at 09:17 PM

Where are they hiding Simon Crean? I think he's been locked in a room with his Tandy calculator untill he works out a economic policy.
Poor Manboobs , he's going to get flogged..

Posted by: John P at August 30, 2004 at 09:41 PM

I ate a fat-a-licious chip-butty from KFC the other day - I made it myself out of the contents of a two piece feed.

It was a chore shoving those chips in the damn roll, I tell you...

Posted by: Quentin George at August 30, 2004 at 10:12 PM

If you don't put a layer of french fries in your McDonalds/BK/Wendy's/Harvey's hamburger, you're missing out.

Goddamn, I'm hungry.

Posted by: Dave S. at August 31, 2004 at 01:28 AM

"Manboobs" = "Daddaries".

Posted by: Doc at August 31, 2004 at 02:11 AM

Since my wife unfortunately is a victim of a genetic form of pancreatitis (she suffers from pancreas divisum -- her major pancreatic bile duct never developed properly), I think I can safely say that if Latham was "cheerful" during his hospitalization he was under the influence of some heavy drugs, possibly demerol and vistarol. Trust me. If it's as painful as it looks from the outside, nothing else could explain being "cheerful."

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at August 31, 2004 at 04:12 AM

No prizes for guessing how Latham got pancreatitis.
Chip butties ????
Back in my school days in the Neolithic Era I sometimes used to put potato crisps in a bread roll for lunch if I was short on money. Other times I'd put a liquorice strap in the roll.

One of my friends used to put a large 9pastry) sausage roll inside his bread roll with lashings of tomato sauce (ketchup).

Peanut butter and bacon tortilla wraps ??? Omigod

Posted by: Fool to Himself & Burden to Others at August 31, 2004 at 12:34 PM

A quick FYI regarding the federal election for those who may be interested... there will be a libertarian candidate for the first time since the 1970s. And the candidate is a blogger.

Information at catallaxy ( or at

Posted by: John Humphreys at August 31, 2004 at 03:25 PM

Isn't amazing? A thread on politics, but we are mainly concerned about the chip sandwich.

Shows how interesting Aussie politics is...

Posted by: Quentin George at August 31, 2004 at 05:35 PM

No, it just shows we are focused on 'round the dinner table' issues.

Posted by: Johnny at August 31, 2004 at 06:40 PM

"there will be a libertarian candidate for the first time since the 1970s."

And he will receive about .0000012% of the vote, as usual.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at August 31, 2004 at 09:13 PM