Hi. I’m on holidays this week – the war has got to me big time and I need to clear my head. But Blogjam goes on!


It was during the Battle of Hastings that one of Cromwell’s disaffected lieutenants, Sweyn Forkbeard, uttered the immortal words: “Another fine mess you’ve got us into, Ollie”.

Indeed! Lady Livia’s search for our re-entry travel documents was less than fruitful. The coastguards were less than impressed. Our relocation was less than expected. Our accommodation less than vice regal. This week Lord Sedgwick of Strathmore. (OA, DFC, DSC, VC, KPMG, WTF, IOOF)reports from the windswept superphosphate plains of Nauru.

As mentioned in Blogjam9, “there’s always the comments box to keep the blogging bastards honest”. This week’s Blogjam points to some blogs that have attracted extensive, thoughtful and querulous comments.

Donning his size 14s, Yobbo strode out where no “Media Watch” dares to go and “[went] through the first nine weeks of the series [of Blogjam] to rank the balance of left and right leaning blogs promoted” and after hours of painstaking research concluded that “Blogjam has never been anything but an extension of Webdiary’s already far-left biases.”


The document was tabled and a spirited debate ensued, with the House dividing along party lines. Blogjam’s founding father was shocked. “That’s a mere 3-1 tilt to the left. I had no idea we had tipped so far to the right and will be taking serious steps to rectify matters.”

Hopefully Tim is not too shocked, and will offer more of Harold (“Harold was in Changi in case you didn’t know.”), a posting which drew a comment from Barista as good as any blogger could wish for: “Every now and again you post something permanent in our temporary swirl. Thank you.”Nabakov (a veteran “take no prisoners” commenter) noted: “Well said, young Tim. We�ll make a polemicist out of you yet.”

Looking out through the bars of our accommodation one night last week, we saw the entire Australian mainland and its migration exclusion zones lit up by a blindingly bright light. We thought it to be one of those rare astronomical events that occurs but once in a lifetime. We were partly right. The light on the hill was in fact the fireworks display at the Hordern Pavilion for the premiere of “The Prime Minister’s Big Three-Oh Love-In” video.

“Leaving Sir Robert aside, there is no person who has been a greater Liberal in Australia than John Howard”, gushed Peter Costello, cast in an acting-against-type role.

Critic Jason Soon believes that the comparison to Big Ming is an inappropriate hymn of praise andtakes issue with Howard’s most obvious heir apparent, Tony Abbott:


“Thank God Abbott at least had the decency to capitalise the L in Liberal rather than bringing a great and noble philosophical tradition into shame and disrepute. Anyone with any cursory knowledge of political philosophy in Australia would know that the typical Australian Liberal is about as faithful to the ideals of classical liberalism as Torquemada was to the ideals of Jesus Christ.”

Andrew Norton attempted to sort out his blog flatmate’s problem at Intellectuals have always had trouble with the impurity of politics:

[…] We are never likely to see a viable classical liberal party in Australia. There just is not the constituency for it.”

Commenters weighed in on both sides, hopeful that these two won’t lose their bond.

Ken Parish at Troppo Armadillo contended that “it’s perfectly OK to expose one’s passions and prejudices in unashamedly polemic writing on a blog”. He was “thinking about instituting a “Blog Bile of the Week” award for the most impassioned, hate-filled blog rant” when he spotted Back Pages’ overview of John Howard’s 30 years:

“Let’s be honest. Apart from his wife, no-one, and I mean no-one, likes John Howard. Underneath, almost all Australians hate John Howard. If Howard lost tomorrow, all his many chummy ostensibly present friends and allies would not only forget him in a minute, they would be lined up with daggers drawn.”

Runaway winner Christopher Sheil accepted the hastily engraved gold plated spittoon with due modesty and commenters immediately began lobbying for nominations.

Observa reflected on own his bilious comments and wondered: “Perhaps I secretly admire the serenity of a John Quiggin.” Sensei Quiggin made an observation unlikely to engender universal serenity: “John Howard is a well-known admirer of Gough Whitlam, so it’s not surprising to see him returning to one of Gough’s favorite centralist themes.”

Alan of Southerly Buster rounded off the comments by pointing to the weirdness of “six competing governments trying to administer the Murray-Darling Basin”. Not as weird as Bitchin’Monaro’sreport of a parrot attacking a living legend on the eve of the anniversary knees-up.

Ahmed Chalabi was the money-filled brown paper carpetbagger on many bloggers’ lips. Kevin Drumset out the timeline that has lead up to the Bush administration’s cut and run from Chalabi INC:

“Bottom line: practically every group that has ever worked with Chalabi has eventually felt betrayed by him. This includes, at a minimum: (1) the Jordanian government, (2) the CIA, (3) the State Department, (4) Paul Bremer and the CPA, (5) the United Nations, (6) the NSC, and (7) the DIA. Oh � and quite possibly, (8) George W. Bush.”

Some of us with grey enough beards may recall another seller of pups who became a problem for an Australian administration …Tirath Khemlani and his telexes of mass destruction.

“There�s much to be confused about surrounding the sudden turn of events against Cheney/Rummy/Perle confidant Ahmed Chalabi”, warned Steve Soto

Word has arrived that the travel arrangements for our return to the mainland may be delayed until a parliamentary committee (funded by a windfall $10,000) cobbles together some new guidelines. Rob Corr has been offering pro bono legal advice to the Government, and we are buoyed by the Special Minister of State and the Prime Minister’s previous flexibility on the issue.

While Amanda sorts out our travel arrangements, we shall be spending the weeks and months ahead casting a critical eye over the following blogs. Call it a vice regal de facto study tour if you will.

The Illustrated Daily Scribble, “an ultra-current blog of my raw, rough sketches about the day’s news drawn usually on legal pads.”

James Russell “looks at a senator who not only calls a spade, a spade, but calls a hoe, a hoe.”

Southerly Buster:“The Great Chain of Being is an ancient myth that survived well into the renaissance. In these rational and scientific times, it is of course long abandoned. No-one now believes that the ritual actions of a king have any effect in the real world. Except the Man of Steel.”

Boynton: “At war with the bane of all bloggers. Spam in the comments box”.

Do Not Use Lifts:“Hey, they�re torturing people in Iraq. Bet you�re really worried about your hubby now, eh?”

The Green Man.: “The youth of today is fundamentally disinterested in politics, so are most of their parents actually. This was not always the case.”

Maja’s Blog: “Bush senior does a bit of fundraising for Number One son … in London.”

Bleeding Edge: “A new blog, from Charles Wright of the Green Guide, notes that “Bill Gates has opined that blogs are a serious business tool” and that there might there be a quid or two in it for the lad.

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