Fort Lytton

14 November 2015

A bloody Good Read

Every now and then you come across a fabulous book. At the airport on Wednesday, while we were waiting for our flight to Sydney, I strolled into the book shop next to the coffee shop we were sitting in. There it was:

THE  SHORT AND EXCRUCIATINGLY EMBARRASSING REIGN OF CAPTAIN ABBOTT by Australian columnist Andrew P Street.



Just the sort of funny book I like while away from home. I started reading as soon as we were off the ground and was hooked by the time we got up to cruising speed. Now, I have never been a fan of Abbott so maybe, just maybe I am a little bit biased against this bloke who has absolutely no nous for politics, why else would he knight the Duke of Edinburgh.

Andrew covers just about every gaffe and blunder the Abbott government committed during their short turn.

Who could forget Treasurer Joe boldly declaring that poor people either don't have cars or don't drive very far. Who could forget Kevin Andrews boldly declaring his support to the government of Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard. Or who could forget Senator George Brandis making a statement that people had a right to be bigots.

The book is written exceedingly funny. Andrew rightly points out that it is very difficult for a leader to find people who will tell him that something is "a really bad idea". With this in mind, Andrew guesses a possible conversation between Abbott and an imaginary staffer:

ABBOTT: So anyway, I've decided to confer a knighthood on Prince Phllip.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: ...I'm sorry .. Prince Philip?
ABBOTT: Yes.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: As in the husband of the queen? That Prince Philip?
ABBOTT: That's the one.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Oh. [Pause] And, um, why?
ABBOTT: What do you mean, why?
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Well, you look at the other people who are getting honours--- like co-Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, who's been a tireless campaigner for domestic violence reform in Australia, or Professor Denis Wakefield for his lifelong work on ocular immunopathology. You're giving him an Order of Australia.
ABBOTT: Yes, and...?
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Well, I'm just curious as to what Prince Philip has actually, y'know, done. Especially as a British citizen of Greek descent who has been in the country, what, half a dozen times?
ABBOTT: Well, he's the prince!
IMAGINARY STAFFER: ...And?
ABBOTT: And it's about time he got some recognition for his life of service.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Recognition?
ABBOTT:Yes.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Prince Philip?
Abbott: Yes.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: He's already a prince, you realise?
ABBOTT: I do realise that, yes.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: And he is the Duke of Edinburgh.
ABBOTT: Yes.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: And he is also the Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of of the Order of Merit, Grand master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, Extra Companion of the Queen's Service Order, Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu, Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Canadian Forces Decoration , Lord of her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Privy Councillor of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, right?
ABBOTT: Yes.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: And he needs to be given some recognition, you think?
ABBOTT: Look, just send the damn email.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Rightio then. Anything else I should know about?
ABBOTT: Well, I'm also thinking we should make Queen Elizabeth a dame.
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Let's save that one for 2016, maybe.
ABBOTT: Eh, fine. hey, how's about Pope Francis?
IMAGINARY STAFFER: Well... oh, my phone's ringing, I really have to take this.

This is just a great book describing a very embarrassing period in Australian politics. Let's say about 55% of the Australian population will find it very funny while 45% of the population may not, but at least cringe, one hopes.

I strongly recommend it.