Politics and political incorrectness

And because we have a Federal election tomorrow and we have a female Prime Minister facing election for the first time I thought it might be fitting to include another politically incorrect post by quoting something heard from a female work colleague today who said –

“Did you hear that KFC has a new snackbox called the Julia.   It has two small breasts, two large thighs and a big red box.”

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Snollygoster

Always on the lookout for unusual words I found this one with a high hit rate on google trends today and as with some other things I have come across I can find no real reason why a search for this word takes off on one particular day. Certainly in searching it myself there is no hit on Google news so it doesn’t seem to have been triggered by a news item.

Still this is a useful word and the meaning is worth checking out.   Here are some of the definitions – From Urban Dictionary

  • A 19th century coinage, meaning a crooked and flamboyant politician. Later, in Maryland folklore, a monster half bird and half snake, that was used to frighten ex-slaves out of voting.
  • A “carpetbagger”. Somebody who will go to any lengths to achieve public office, regardless of party affiliation or platform.

Michael Quinion on World Wide Words writes –

  •  “A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.”

I guess we all know politicians like that and some may even say that politician is a subset of snollygoster which I don’t personally subscribe to.   Well, maybe sometimes I do because there is always a fair bit of snollygosting going on amongst our erstwhile leaders.

Look at our Premier here in Victoria, John Brumby,  who claims, despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary, that we are not in recession.  Shrewd, certainly, unprincipled arguably, snollygoster?  Well I guess that will depend what side of the political fence you sit on and in the current climate whether you have a job or not.

I know that politicians change their minds – I live in the eastern suburbs and I remember the pre-election promise that eastlink would not be a toll road, only to find a few short weeks after they were re-elected that the situation had changed.  But how often is bad policy blamed on external influences and how often is political expediency used to mask the truth from the public?

Remember in the state budget last year that we were told we could expect four years of continued growth and that unemployment would remain at around 4-5% with a budget surplus approaching $800m/annum.   Now we find that growth is flat, if not negative, that unemployment will climb to more than 7% and the surplus is gone, not only for this year but probably for the forseeable future too.  I am an economic moron so I have no idea who to blame for this, but I guarantee you that politicians around the world will not only continue to blame the “worldwide economic crisis” but swine flu as well.

Watch the snollygostering continue.

Snollygoster

Always on the lookout for unusual words I found this one with a high hit rate on google trends today and as with some other things I have come across I can find no real reason why a search for this word takes off on one particular day. Certainly in searching it myself there is no hit on Google news so it doesn’t seem to have been triggered by a news item.

Still this is a useful word and the meaning is worth checking out.   Here are some of the definitions – From Urban Dictionary

  • A 19th century coinage, meaning a crooked and flamboyant politician. Later, in Maryland folklore, a monster half bird and half snake, that was used to frighten ex-slaves out of voting.
  • A “carpetbagger”. Somebody who will go to any lengths to achieve public office, regardless of party affiliation or platform.

Michael Quinion on World Wide Words writes –

  •  “A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.”

I guess we all know politicians like that and some may even say that politician is a subset of snollygoster which I don’t personally subscribe to.   Well, maybe sometimes I do because there is always a fair bit of snollygosting going on amongst our erstwhile leaders.

Look at our Premier here in Victoria, John Brumby,  who claims, despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary, that we are not in recession.  Shrewd, certainly, unprincipled arguably, snollygoster?  Well I guess that will depend what side of the political fence you sit on and in the current climate whether you have a job or not.

I know that politicians change their minds – I live in the eastern suburbs and I remember the pre-election promise that eastlink would not be a toll road, only to find a few short weeks after they were re-elected that the situation had changed.  But how often is bad policy blamed on external influences and how often is political expediency used to mask the truth from the public?

Remember in the state budget last year that we were told we could expect four years of continued growth and that unemployment would remain at around 4-5% with a budget surplus approaching $800m/annum.   Now we find that growth is flat, if not negative, that unemployment will climb to more than 7% and the surplus is gone, not only for this year but probably for the forseeable future too.  I am an economic moron so I have no idea who to blame for this, but I guarantee you that politicians around the world will not only continue to blame the “worldwide economic crisis” but swine flu as well.

Watch the snollygostering continue.

Keating’s Change of Mind

It’s no secret that former Prime Minister Paul Keating had a touch of arrogance about him and at times since he left politics he’s seemed like a bit of a dummy spitter, in some ways like me and the way I feel about my former employers I guess.  Bemused that people could have the audacity to get rid of us.

Still for all that he is the author of one of Australia’s greatest speeches and I will reproduce it in full here down below because when you read it, you may find it difficult to understand his latest comments.

In a speech last week Keating stated that the notion that Australia’s nationhood was born with the ANZAC spirit at Gallipoli was “utter nonsense”.  The disappointing thing for me is not that he said it but that it devalues the speech below.   That if out Prime Minister at the time held the same views this ex-Prime Minister now holds then the speech seems tainted by some political expediency.  I hope that is not the case.

Funeral Service Of The Unknown Australian Soldier
Speech by Paul Keating
November 11, 1993
We do not know this Australian’s name and we never will. We do not know his rank or his battalion. We do not know where he was born, or precisely how and when he died. We do not know where in Australia he had made his home or when he left it for the battlefields of Europe. We do not know his age or his circumstances – whether he was from the city or the bush; what occupation he left to become a soldier; what religion, if he had a religion; if he was married or single. We do not know who loved him or whom he loved. If he had children we do not know who they are. His family is lost to us as he was lost to them. We will never know who this Australian was. 
Yet he has always been among those we have honoured. We know that he was one of the 45,000 Australians who died on the Western Front. One of the 416,000 Australians who volunteered for service in the First World War. One of the 324,000 Australians who served overseas in that war, and one of the 60,000 Australians who died on foreign soil. One of the 100,000 Australians who have died in wars this century.
He is all of them. And he is one of us.
This Australia and the Australia he knew are like foreign countries. The tide of events since he died has been so dramatic, so vast and all-consuming, a world has been created beyond the reach of his imagination.
He may have been one of those who believed the Great War would be an adventure too grand too miss. He may have felt that he would never live down the shame of not going. But the chances are that he went for no other reason than that he believed it was his duty – the duty he owed his country and his King.
Because the Great War was a mad, brutal, awful struggle distinguished more often than not by miltary and political incompetence; because the waste of human life was so terrible that some said victory was scarcely discernible from defeat; and because the war which was supposed to end all wars in fact sowed the seeds of a second, even more terrible, war – we might think that this Unknown Soldier died in vain.
But in honouring our war dead as we always have, we declare that this is not true.
For out of the war came a lesson which transcended the horror and tragedy and the inexcusable folly.
It was a lesson about ordinary people – and the lesson was that they were not ordinary.
On all sides they were the heroes of that war: not the generals and the politicians, but the soldiers and sailors and nurses – those who taught us to endure hardship, show courage, to be bold as well as resilient, to believe in ourselves, to stick together.
The Unknown Australian Soldier we inter today was one of those who by his deeds proved that real nobility and grandeur belongs not to empires and nations but to the people on whom they, in the last resort, always depend.
That is surely at the heart of the Anzac story, the Australian legend which emerged from the war. It is a legend not of sweeping military victories so much as triumphs against the odds, of courage and ingenuity in adversity. It is a legend of free and independent spirits whose discipline derived less from military formalities and customs than from the bonds of mateship and the demands of necessity.
It is a democratic tradition, the tradition in which Australians have gone to war ever since.
This Unknown Australian is not interred here to glorify war over peace; or to assert a soldier’s character above a civilian’s; or one race or one nation or one religion above another; or men above women; or the war in which he fought and died above any other war; or of one generation above any that has or will come later.
The Unknown Soldier honours the memory of all those men and women who laid down their lives for Australia.
His tomb is a reminder of what we have lost in war and what we have gained.
We have lost more than 100,000 lives, and with them all their love of this country and all their hope and energy.
We have gained a legend: a story of bravery and sacrifice and with it a deeper faith in ourselves and our democracy, and a deeper understanding of what it means to be Australian.
It is not too much to hope, therefore, that this Unknown Australian soldier might continue to serve his country – he might enshrine a nation’s love of peace and remind us that in the sacrifice of the men and women whose names are recorded here there is faith enough for all of us.

Keating’s Change of Mind

It’s no secret that former Prime Minister Paul Keating had a touch of arrogance about him and at times since he left politics he’s seemed like a bit of a dummy spitter, in some ways like me and the way I feel about my former employers I guess.  Bemused that people could have the audacity to get rid of us.

Still for all that he is the author of one of Australia’s greatest speeches and I will reproduce it in full here down below because when you read it, you may find it difficult to understand his latest comments.

In a speech last week Keating stated that the notion that Australia’s nationhood was born with the ANZAC spirit at Gallipoli was “utter nonsense”.  The disappointing thing for me is not that he said it but that it devalues the speech below.   That if out Prime Minister at the time held the same views this ex-Prime Minister now holds then the speech seems tainted by some political expediency.  I hope that is not the case.

Funeral Service Of The Unknown Australian Soldier
Speech by Paul Keating
November 11, 1993
We do not know this Australian’s name and we never will. We do not know his rank or his battalion. We do not know where he was born, or precisely how and when he died. We do not know where in Australia he had made his home or when he left it for the battlefields of Europe. We do not know his age or his circumstances – whether he was from the city or the bush; what occupation he left to become a soldier; what religion, if he had a religion; if he was married or single. We do not know who loved him or whom he loved. If he had children we do not know who they are. His family is lost to us as he was lost to them. We will never know who this Australian was. 
Yet he has always been among those we have honoured. We know that he was one of the 45,000 Australians who died on the Western Front. One of the 416,000 Australians who volunteered for service in the First World War. One of the 324,000 Australians who served overseas in that war, and one of the 60,000 Australians who died on foreign soil. One of the 100,000 Australians who have died in wars this century.
He is all of them. And he is one of us.
This Australia and the Australia he knew are like foreign countries. The tide of events since he died has been so dramatic, so vast and all-consuming, a world has been created beyond the reach of his imagination.
He may have been one of those who believed the Great War would be an adventure too grand too miss. He may have felt that he would never live down the shame of not going. But the chances are that he went for no other reason than that he believed it was his duty – the duty he owed his country and his King.
Because the Great War was a mad, brutal, awful struggle distinguished more often than not by miltary and political incompetence; because the waste of human life was so terrible that some said victory was scarcely discernible from defeat; and because the war which was supposed to end all wars in fact sowed the seeds of a second, even more terrible, war – we might think that this Unknown Soldier died in vain.
But in honouring our war dead as we always have, we declare that this is not true.
For out of the war came a lesson which transcended the horror and tragedy and the inexcusable folly.
It was a lesson about ordinary people – and the lesson was that they were not ordinary.
On all sides they were the heroes of that war: not the generals and the politicians, but the soldiers and sailors and nurses – those who taught us to endure hardship, show courage, to be bold as well as resilient, to believe in ourselves, to stick together.
The Unknown Australian Soldier we inter today was one of those who by his deeds proved that real nobility and grandeur belongs not to empires and nations but to the people on whom they, in the last resort, always depend.
That is surely at the heart of the Anzac story, the Australian legend which emerged from the war. It is a legend not of sweeping military victories so much as triumphs against the odds, of courage and ingenuity in adversity. It is a legend of free and independent spirits whose discipline derived less from military formalities and customs than from the bonds of mateship and the demands of necessity.
It is a democratic tradition, the tradition in which Australians have gone to war ever since.
This Unknown Australian is not interred here to glorify war over peace; or to assert a soldier’s character above a civilian’s; or one race or one nation or one religion above another; or men above women; or the war in which he fought and died above any other war; or of one generation above any that has or will come later.
The Unknown Soldier honours the memory of all those men and women who laid down their lives for Australia.
His tomb is a reminder of what we have lost in war and what we have gained.
We have lost more than 100,000 lives, and with them all their love of this country and all their hope and energy.
We have gained a legend: a story of bravery and sacrifice and with it a deeper faith in ourselves and our democracy, and a deeper understanding of what it means to be Australian.
It is not too much to hope, therefore, that this Unknown Australian soldier might continue to serve his country – he might enshrine a nation’s love of peace and remind us that in the sacrifice of the men and women whose names are recorded here there is faith enough for all of us.