All posts by Terry Sedgwick


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.


For the next two weeks, Terry Sedgwick is standing in for David Tiley who stood in for Tim Dunlop who stood in for the man who danced with a man who danced with the Prince of Wales. Terry is a cartoonist, has been a ceramist, has been a sculptural designer and has been a has-been. He combines his role as has-been with that of Australia’s One and True Visible Governor General, atLord Sedgwick of Strathmore. (OA, DFC, DSC, VC, KPMG, WTF, IOOF)


We understand this to be the first Blogjam filed from international waters. The Prime Minister has placed at our disposal one of the luxury yachts seized near Melville Island (fully refurbished and a full tank of petrol) for our return from Denmark. It has been our privilege to represent Australia at the friendly takeover of our own home-grown, apple-cheeked, apple-isled Princess by the Danish Royal Family Inc. whose founding CEO was affectionately known as ‘Gorm the Old of Denmark’.

Whilst it was an event of great interest to the delightfully hospitable and egalitarian people of Denmark, we were surprised to hear of the extensive coverage back in Australia. We believe that, despite important events like the Budget and another grumble from Miss Haversham, the impatient aspirational formerly known as the Treasurer, the 7.30 Report saw fit to set aside half of each programme plus its entire annual budget to accommodate Phillip Williams’ coverage of the Dianisation of Ms Donaldson.

We note that bloggers gave the moving offshore fairytale a big swerve in favour of far weightier matters. There were a few exceptions. We were surprised to see that Tim of Surfdom was reduced to “puking”.

Caz at The Spin Starts Here was uncharacteristically dulcet in her tone, whilst Helen (as noted in Blogjam8) leaned over her balcony and spotted an irony in Australia’s official gift, a stand of native trees.

The world appears to be swamped by a rolling tsumani of apologies. Bush, Blair, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Kimmit … Are they apologies from a few isolated individuals? How far down the chain of command will they go?

The Daily Mirror “apologised unreservedly” for printing fake pictures which in turn led to a mea culpa from Barista who, in a tired and emotional lapse, had doubted the doubters: “Are we convinced? Not bloody likely, I am afraid.”

John Quiggin suggests that there are some who should be taking a good hard look in the mirror::

“It’s striking to observe that the Daily Mirror has more stringent standards of personal responsibility than the Blair government (or, for that matter, any government in the Coalition of the Willing).”

Helen was the recipient of an apology from a parishioner, Ken of Troppo Armadillo, who has hadsecond thoughts on the Timor boundary, concluding “that Australia’s current position is both shameful and indefensible” and offers an apology for disparaging remarks made about her.

“it’s all about the oil” in East Timor post. Ken appears to be skating on very thin ice and may be at risk of losing his turn on the big leather chair in the port and cigars room at the “Darwin Lawyers’ Club”. (ref. “Lawyering for Fun and Profit”. Chapter5. Verse 11. “Never explain, never apologise.”)

(Pointing out this exchange is not intended to be a gratuitous beefing up of Blogjam by shouting “Fight! Fight!” but to highlight one of the better features of blogging. “We were wrong … or wrongish” postings travel expeditiously and effectively in the blog world. Corrections and reappraisals are a point of honour for most bloggers … and there’s always the comments box to keep the blogging bastards honest.)

Ah yes, the dear old Democrats,“The Lie Detectors”, moving seamlessly from a simple “Keeping the [other] Bastards Honest” chant, to running a high tech political polygraph testing facility.

Biometrical testing of the bowling action of Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan has prompted the Prime Minister to throw his Akubra into the ring and to declare Murali “a chucker”. After Grog Blognotes that the spinner is not happy with John’s quick declaration. “[Murali] would boycott Australia this winter because of Prime Minister John Howard.” “I won’t be going because of the Australian Prime Minister.” Tony on the other hand can’t wait to get to an Australian ballot box, “Shamelessly linking sport and politics … yet another reason to vote for Howard.”

The beard of economic gravitas, John Quiggin, ran his third eye over the budget and declared it “too clever by half”. He then turned from the short-term politics of the budget and asked “what does it do for Australia’s long-run future?” (N.B.: Quiggin’s analysis should be read with great circumspection. Not a single pie-chart in sight!)

Christopher Sheil looked at the “go forth and multiply, populate or perish” budget’s early polling.“The government’s now saying that it didn’t expect any immediate bounce; that the cat is not dead, only resting; and that the thing will bounce right on up there when they take the time to explain the benefits.” He concludes that “If it doesn’t bounce by Tuesday, [18/5] this will be one very, very expensive ex-cat!” (Tuesday’s come and gone, and as Backpages intimated, the reading of the cat’s entrails doesn’t look much like a barbeque stopper.)

Many Blogjam readers would have watched “Enough Rope” for the interview with Salam Pax (No longer in Baghdad. Now in Hiatus.) who, according to Peter Maass of, was (WARNING: Hyperbole next 5k.) “the most famous and most mysterious blogger in the world�Salam Pax was the Anne Frank of the war�and its Elvis.” Australian blogging’s ‘Salam Pax’ has yet to enter the building.

Not in hiatus, still in Baghdad, Riverbend posts on her reaction to the Daniel Berg killing. “I think beheading was the chosen method of ‘execution’ because the group wanted to shock Americans and westerners in the worst possible way. The torturers at Abu Ghraib and other prisons chose sexual degradation because they knew that nothing would hurt and appall Iraqis and Muslims more than those horrible, sadistic acts. To Iraqis, death is infinitely better than being raped or sexually abused. There are things worse than death itself and those pictures portrayed them.”

Gary Sauer-Thompson graphically notes, “Caravaggio’s painting of the beheading of John the Baptist bears an uncanny similarity to the still images of the beheading of Nick Berg by Islamic extremists.” Gary further considers the ‘moral equivalence’ arguments that have been raised by this savage event. “The line between civilization and barbarism is much thinner than Downer implies.”

The vice regal yacht has now moved into Australian territorial waters. Before we sail any closer it might be wise to have look at the latest updates of excised migration zones. There are more blog postings from this past week that warrant a look so we shall prepare a quick list whilst Lady Livia looks for our travel documents.

“How To Get Out Of Iraq.” (Satire) Giblets also has a brilliant solution for “How To Resolve The Standoff With North Korea” (hint: it starts with “n” and ends with “uclear bombardment”).

Josh Marshall. “Here’s the latest update from my friend in Iraq, a retired military intelligence officer, now working as a security contractor in Iraq.”

Josh Marshall again. ” regardless of the broad deterioration in the President’s poll numbers, John Kerry is still, at best,only a few points ahead of him.” (Any resonances in the Antipodes?)

Graham Freeman. Ten Days That Shook The World (Of Weblogs). MT, which is used by many bloggers mentioned on Blogjam, makes unwelcome changes and Graham jumps ship. “A business that conducts itself in this way is no longer one I could be bothered dealing with”.

Tim Dunlop. “I know you all, quite rightly, bristle a bit with the Vietnam comparisons, and I’ve never made one before, but …”

Soul Pacific.“Goodbye Geneva, Hello Rumsfeld”

Catallaxy Files.“… the safest call is that so far the Budget has had no electoral impact.”

Juan Cole:“People have been asking me about the slain president of the Interim Governing Council, Ezzedin Salim (Izz al-Din Salim).”

William Burroughs’ Baboon. “Morality is the final superstition in the unilateral world.”

Last but not lost. Full circle. From Princess Mary to another water cooler stopper …

Hot Buttered Death. “Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow has given birth to her first child, a baby girl named Apple Blythe Alison Martin”