October 05, 2004


Whenever Mark Latham disappoints his followers, Latham apostle Robert Bosler soothes them with his all-knowing wisdom:

Margo Kingston: Why did he do this, Robert. Why?

Robert Bosler (in a shroud, eyes closed, hovering in the sky): Mark Latham has not collapsed the energy built up among citizens. He has collapsed the illusion he was anything but a politician. Of course he has made mistakes; we all knew he would. But the energy you speak of has not been collapsed. Further, what has been collapsed is the illusion that we would immediately and from this terribly divided national condition, exacerbated for nearly a decade by Howard, fight on the grounds of an ideal national way. That is not the playing field we are on.

The energy you are speaking of is a latent energy. You and your readers will find in him more of what you are seeking at that moment.

And a nation -- nay, planet -- is calmed. Lately Robert (an artist, if that werenít already evident) has turned his attention to Lathamís opponent:

This painting questions John Howard's fitness to serve. It is not about evil. It's not about the bible. It's about John Howard purposely allowing himself to be susceptible to forces of negativity.

People need to see this image. It shows the whole picture of a leader. We have to learn to look beyond clever words. This picture shows what is really going on - not all the time, but far, far too many times John Howard has chosen to open himself to forces that would do our nation harm.

I wish you well, Mr Howard. Should you want to continue misleading, Sir, I give you this painting, your mirror.

From our country's point of view, this painting is a sign of a country gone too far. It should never have had to have been done.

And you will notice, Mr Howard, that this is not a personal attack on you. Have I captured your smile, Sir? Isn't this how you look? Rather, I have given a more complete picture, and as different from a personal attack, this is the more fulfilling.

It is long overdue. It had to be done.

Here is Robertís painting. Remember, itís not about evil, so just ignore the clawed hand of Mephisto pawing at the Prime Ministerís skull. Has Robert captured Howardís smile? Possibly not; to me, it looks more like famous Labor candidate Ivan Milat.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 5, 2004 07:38 PM

I would add a wind chime, beads and two concrete ducks for good luck.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at October 5, 2004 at 07:53 PM

Good stuff. This guy reminds me of one of those hippies in a Dirty Harry film

Posted by: Steve at October 5, 2004 at 07:54 PM

Dear Mr. B.;

For those of us in the States who are biting our nails to the quick about your upcoming national elections, could you link to some good sites for poll numbers in Australia? Something similar to Real Clear Politics for the land down under, if such exists.

I don't know whether Australia is as poll-obsessed as we, but I presume there must be some polling data vis-a-vis Howard and Latham. (Do you have direct elections of the PM, or is it similar to Great Britain, where voters vote for the parties?)



Posted by: Dafydd ab Hugh at October 5, 2004 at 07:54 PM

What utter wankers! I am amazed that there are some who take these journalistic charlatans seriously.

What next? examining the entrails of a chicken? Channelling an American Indian Chief who is also, surprisingly, anti Howard? An over talkative horse who believes that Howard is satan?

There's a tram thats ringing its bell loud and clear and it wont dawn on that 'lot' until it has run over them.

Posted by: nic at October 5, 2004 at 08:06 PM

Be kind....he's a sad boy with potty training issues.

Posted by: TT at October 5, 2004 at 08:10 PM

'latent energy'? sounds like Bosler's been hanging out at the 'Tool Shed' up on Oxford street.

Posted by: rosceo at October 5, 2004 at 08:30 PM

Dafydd ab Hugh: It is similar to Great Britain, where voters vote for the parties.

However, we have preferential voting: you number the candidates from 1, the one you want most, down to the one you want least.

For voters there is a small tactical advantage to putting a minor party dear to your heart first (unless too many people do it).

For candidates, what you want is for a respectable number of people to put you first, and enough of the others to put you second, rather than, say, last. If everybody but your hard-core supporters thinks you are a lunatic, either your hard-core supporters are an absolute majority or you will lose.

All this makes sorting out exactly how much support the parties have, and even showing it in graph form, a bit tricky. You may have hidden strength if voters for a big enough minor party are going to give you nearly all their second preferences. The higher tactics of it all and the taking of oracles - it's an acquired taste. How far do you want to take this? Even political scientists have found the arcana of senate voting confusing. A man was jailed in recent memory for daring to explain a part of the system. But we all find it as familiar as the taste of vegemite.

There is no Real Clear Politics that I know of, and I'd be glad to hear from others of a good place to get polling information online. (But we do less of this than Americans.)

Posted by: David Blue at October 5, 2004 at 08:35 PM

Hmm. With Robert Bosler directing magic mirrors, aethereal energies and truly talentless canvases Latham's way, I'd be very scared. But only if I was (shudder) Mark Latham.....

But what really makes me personally go ghostly pale is the thought of Margo and Robert breeding.

My old grandfather called people such as Robert Bosler 'rod-wallopers'. It is most apropos.


Posted by: MarkL at October 5, 2004 at 09:06 PM

The best equivilent to RCP in Australia is http://www.pollbludger.com/

Australian electorial processes are different to the US. To win government, you need to get a lower house majority. There are 150 federal MP's, so the magic number is 76. The Poll Bludger's latest projection is that Howard's coalition will win 78 seats. This is going to be a very tight contest indeed.

Posted by: Scott Wickstein at October 5, 2004 at 09:41 PM

quite the classic wankfest ...

speaking of today's herald and bizarre (and somewhat disturbing) disconnection from reality, i'm surprised noone's mentioned this article
international law

which gives the opinion of three smarty law types that the introduction of HECS was a violation of human rights under international law.

Posted by: chris at October 5, 2004 at 09:45 PM

Centrebet has blown the ALP price from $3.50 to $4.00 since this afternoon.


Posted by: amortiser at October 5, 2004 at 10:26 PM

That article proves verifiably that anything the left disagrees with runs contrary to international law. Fancy that charging an education is against international law while cutting blacks to pieces with machetes is business as usual.

Posted by: JBB at October 5, 2004 at 10:26 PM

As well as Labor's star candidate Dr Ivan "Milat" Molloy, Mark "Chopper" Latham's team includes such other luminaries as Martin "Bryant" Ferguson, Robert "James Earl" Ray, and as the elder statesman in the wings, Robert James "Lee Harvey oswald" Hawke.

On the other hand, the conservatives can field Tony "Brendan" Abbott, Julian "Knight" McGauran, and David "Berkowitz" Kemp, with Jeffrey "Dahmer" Kennett and Fred "West" Chaney in the wings.

It's no wonder the Tasmanian Premier is wary of sharing a podium with
the Member for Bragg. Or that WA Labor figures are nervous about Chopper crossing the Great Sandy to help them with their next State election campaign.

Posted by: Uncle Milk at October 5, 2004 at 10:29 PM

I just...I...no. Honest to God, words truly fail me in this case. But thanks for that, Tim. Made me laugh out loud!

Any word of any Wiccans or Druids casting a spell /curse on Howard yet?

Posted by: Richard at October 5, 2004 at 10:30 PM

Gawd, that painting is shit!!

No wonder hes sucking up to Marky baby......an art grant would help keep the wolf from the door i guess....but nothing will improve his artistic ability.

Posted by: Bailador at October 5, 2004 at 10:33 PM

I don't know of any Oz equivalent to RCP, more's the pity.

Some good explanatory sites about the Oz system:
The ABC's Anthony Green's Election Guide (proving that the ABC is not always biased)
AustralianPolitics.com for everything you ever wanted to know - except for polls.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at October 5, 2004 at 10:34 PM

Richard : Re Spells/Curses : Funny you should say that...

Posted by: Alan E Brain at October 5, 2004 at 10:39 PM

Computer: $1799 U.S. Annual fiber optics connection: 540 Yuan. Your description of Bosler ("(in a shroud, eyes closed, hovering in the sky"): simply priceless.

Loved Bosler's painting; loved the swirls of red white and blue in there; loved how the demon has a caricature of GWB's nose. Bosler puts the nuts back in fruit-cake.

Posted by: Helen at October 5, 2004 at 11:15 PM

How long until Neville writes some really bad poetry about the really bad painting.

Posted by: JBB at October 5, 2004 at 11:15 PM

I may not know much about art but I know shit when I see it.

Posted by: Arty at October 5, 2004 at 11:34 PM

His answer to Margo's question sounded like some kind of recording you'd hear on a telephone psychic hotline! With all that crap like "you and your readers will find in him more of what you are seeking at that moment."

I'd say it were as if he was about to say "Use the Force, Mark", but I'm a big Star Wars fan, and I'd consider that to be a grave insult to the legend of the great Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Posted by: Richard at October 6, 2004 at 12:12 AM

I notice you're the 2nd most popular referrer to Margo's site. That means a large proportion of her readers are there just for the laughs. Now that's what I taking back our democracy thingy.

Posted by: Hanyu at October 6, 2004 at 12:19 AM

Why is Reagan in the pic?

And why does the thing behind Howard look like something out of LOTR?

Posted by: Sandy P at October 6, 2004 at 12:44 AM

Or maybe it's Dobby from Harry Potter?

And didn't Dobby look like Putin????

Posted by: Sandy P at October 6, 2004 at 12:47 AM

Quite a portrait of Dorain Gray he's got there. Does anybody in Australia (other than wanna-be intellectuals and neo-BoHo types) actually take artists seriously? We really don't in the States and I am a bit curious.

Posted by: Mikey at October 6, 2004 at 01:15 AM

Make that Dorian. PIMF.

Posted by: Mikey at October 6, 2004 at 01:17 AM

A good title for the 'work' is "Pain in the Arts"

Posted by: Bob's Your Uncle at October 6, 2004 at 02:04 AM

Robert Bosler, painter of light. ::evil grin::

I'm not a fan of Thomas Kinkade, but I'd give him the nod over Bosler.

Posted by: Dr Alice at October 6, 2004 at 02:06 AM

It should never have had to have been done.

It should never have had to have been being done in the first place.

Quirk et al. list this kind of construction as ``rare.''

Posted by: Ron Hardin at October 6, 2004 at 03:00 AM

Thanks, David Blue -- and I suddenly remembered that a club I used to belong to elected its officers by what they called an "Australian ballot system," which was, in fact, exactly what you just described. So I've actually participated in such a ballot.

To the rest of you guys, thanks for the links; I'll toddle off to pollbludger and see what it says. But I don't like the idea of Howard having such a slim majority; we're counting on Australia and our other allies to help make sure Madrid and Bali don't happen in Los Angeles and Sydney!

Thanks again, for everything.


Posted by: Dafydd ab Hugh at October 6, 2004 at 07:13 AM

Hey, what gives? Not a single one of Margo's water boys has come in to complain about how harping on Margo's lack of intellectual capacity and flimsy grasp of the written word does not refute her arguments yet.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 6, 2004 at 12:18 PM