March 31, 2016 Leave a comment
The Alborz Mountains behind Tehran – taken from a moving vehicle
This blog is a repository of whatever comes into my head – a braindump. I'm on twitter @GFripley
March 27, 2016 Leave a comment
The chatter of Cockatoos
is a sure sign of escape,
they soar past the balcony
just to show sympathy
for the less fortunate,
the weekend wastrels
away for two days of
anything but the city
they flock together in their pity
‘You poor things. Make the most of it.’
Across the valley, their voices echo,
‘Visit a winery – it’ll help,’
they squawk before gliding away,
out here remote from the grey,
fading into the eucalypts
But with a Cabernet Merlot,
a view across the forests
pleasant company, the dull steel
spires of Perth although still real,
seem like distant ships
at least for now.
March 21, 2016 Leave a comment
Find out more about WARP http://www.westernaustralianwarp.wordpress.com
This is one of the most important questions a politician needs to answer during their stay in Parliament. There is absolutely no doubt that in any political career a politician will, at some point, find themselves caught rabbit-like in the headlights of an oncoming media storm. Do not fool yourself into thinking that ‘it won’t happen to me’ – it will; you’re not that bright. Your prime concern should be to limit damage to your party, ensure that votes are not lost, and also, most obviously, limit damage to your own career. At this point you may be asking why you should blame someone else for your own cock-ups, and let’s face it, I will repeat this warning, you will make your fair share of mistakes and stupid comments – such acts are an integral part of being a politician. Anyhow, if you are asking this question you should resign. There is no place in politics for those who take responsibility for their own actions.
Now, back to the question – Where does blame belong? In the immortal words of the Right Honourable Annie Portner-Storum – It doesn’t matter where the blame goes, just so long as it goes. These are wise words indeed, but the fact remains that you should take some care to ensure that you have a plan that provides some plausible options. If you have no plan, then you are in luck, for there is a tried and tested plan, devised by Sir Roger d’Enwharey, the well known political public relations consultant and spin doctor. Sir Roger is a much-feared operator who has beaten the varied and numerous libel and slander cases brought against him. He devised the Blame Hierarchy (a 7-level hierarchy) that allows the politician to learn from his experience and thereby lessen the number of blubbering and panicking parliamentarians ringing him at all hours of the day and night. You should have this hierarchy on your office wall. If followed it will ensure you have a long and distinguished career. It is particularly important if you have leadership ambitions. The Blame Hierarchy is as follows:
1) Your main opposing political party
The first and most obvious option when the need to pass the blame arises is the opposing political party. As you will undoubtedly realise, politics is not about running the country – that is what the civil service does. No, it is about taking part in petty point-scoring arguments with your colleagues, preferably in another party, but your own if need be. If you are on the front bench, your opposite number will be doing their best to blame you for everything, so feel free to let loose with both-barrels in their general direction. And feel free to dredge up as much ancient history as you feel is necessary.
This is the first option and should be used at all times unless there is no prospect of making any mud stick. If this is the case, then you should look at option 2.
2) The banks, big business, the unions
The second option depends on your political persuasion. If you are on the right of politics you should blame the union movement. They are, after all, a real pain in the neck and cause many of your party donors a lot of headaches with their constant demands for a fair wage and going on strike all of the time. They can easily be made out to be responsible for any number of current woes. Whether it is law and order, the economy, or social issues, they should be well and truly in your sights. You will have a lot of wealthy people who will be all too willing to believe your story and agree that the blame should indeed be laid at the union’s door. The country is clearly only one step away from becoming a communist dictatorship.
If, however, you are in a left-leaning party, then multinational corporations such as banks, phone companies, transport companies, private energy providers, pharmaceutical companies, chemical manufacturers, and oil companies should be targeted. They are obviously out to screw the people with their capitalist approach to business and are borderline psychopaths in the way they look after themselves at everybody else’s expense. The public don’t need much encouragement to believe that any one of these industries is responsible for the current crisis, whatever it may be.
3) A government department
Assuming that the first two options are not viable, then you need a third alternative. This should be a government department. Any department will do, provided that you think you can make the blame stick. And let’s face it, the public service is an easy target and will not be able to defend itself. It cannot be seen to be taking sides in politics, so you can let fly with accusations of incompetence or inefficiency, adherence to process over common sense, administrative wastage, giving you bad advice, and anything else you can think of. Add to this some snide remarks about the easy life of the taxpayer-funded government employee and you will be onto a winner. For more ammunition, read my book – You Can’t Polish a Turd (The Civil Servant’s Manual). All politicians love to put the boot into the public service and you should make sure that you are not the exception.
4) The unemployed, immigrants, minorities
So, assuming that your political opponents are smiling, you haven’t been able to pin the blame on corporations, unions, or the public service, you then need to look at Option 4 – blaming individuals and minorities who are not in a position to defend themselves. While the disabled immediately spring to mind, this is going too far, even for a politician (well, most politicians). No, you should take aim at the unemployed. An example of this is as follows.
These unemployed wasters are a stain on society and are responsible for everything; they sent the country into recession because of all their fraudulent claims for financial assistance and their apathy. Following this you can then include immigrants in your blame strategy, because they are now taking all the jobs that the unemployed could otherwise be put into, aren’t they? And then there are the bleeding heart community groups and non-government organisations. And the damn greenies must be responsible in some way shape or form for the current crisis. As you can see, there are plenty of avenues for blame using this option.
5) One of your own party colleagues
In the unlikely event that you cannot attach blame to minorities, and at this point you should take a long hard look at yourself and your career choice, then Option 5 looms as the next best bet. This is the ultimate ‘it doesn’t matter where the blame goes’ situation; you are in the shit, right up to your nose, and desperate measures are required. Having said all of that, this is also an opportunity, because by now you will have got on the wrong side of any number of your own party and it is one of them that you should target. Make the most of your petty grudges and simmering resentment; line up the appropriate person for a totally unexpected and vicious attack. At first glance, this may appear to be a career-limiting move; however the hollow men of your party will recognise your ruthlessness and leadership potential, albeit with a certain nervousness. They will ensure that all is forgiven a week after your treacherous act, and a short time later you are likely to be promoted. But what if you are in a position that such an act will actually ruin your career? Then you need Option 6.
6) Climate change, global financial crises, in fact any global issue will do.
At any one time there are global issues that are totally out of the control of domestic governments, although few like to admit this unless there is a good reason to do so. They prefer to maintain the illusion that they are actually in control. One such good reason is when you need to shift the blame and all other higher level options have been assessed and found wanting. One word of caution – there are likely to be many experts out there who actually know what they are talking about, or at least are more convincing than you are when they talk, so beware of getting too specific about why climate change or the current financial crisis are responsible for your current woes. You need to have your bullshit technique in good order for this. You’ll need to practice a lot.
7) The French
As the hierarchy was developed by an Englishman, the final port of call is to blame the French. Feel free to improvise should you be in a country other than England. As every Englishman knows, the French are responsible for most, if not all, of the woes of the world, so they should rightly take the blame for your latest crisis. When you have reached this stage of the Blame Hierarchy you will be looking like a complete twat; no, don’t argue, it’s a fact. Your lame excuses and nationalistic posturing will provide huge amusement to the population, many of whom will laugh out loud when they see you on the street. They will actually start liking you at this point, and your stocks may well rise. You’re obviously an idiot and incompetent in the extreme – congratulations, you are perfect political material and should be Prime Minister.
Cross-posted from https://moregravyplease.wordpress.com/
March 20, 2016 Leave a comment
As it is clear that Australian is heading to the polls – eventually, maybe sooner than later, in true political style WARP is recycling its policy platform for the coming election and this is our manifesto…
We promise to lower income taxes
We promise to lower business taxes
We promise to reduce the deficit
We promise to solve the refugee problem – well at least find a good excuse to not solve it
We promise to give free education
We promise to give free health care
We promise to have a strong defence policy
We promise to stay in Eurovision
We promise to leave Eurovision
We promise that there is life on Mars, and maybe even in Western Australia too
We promise world peace, or at least peace in Canberra
We promise that all lawyers are nice people
And accountants and real estate agents and bankers too, but possibly not politicians, even us
We promise to prove that unicorns really do exist
We promise to ban reality TV and that annoying fixation on food and renovation programs
We promise to keep Johnny Depp’s dogs alive should they revisit Australia
We promise to attend to your every need, whatever that might be
We promise to review all our promises should we be elected and see reality; and finally
Should we be elected, we promise to find numerous ways to deny we ever made any promises in the first place.
So….VOTE FOR WARP – get Australia up to WARP FACTOR 10!
Cross posted from http://www.westernaustralianwarp.wordpress.com
March 14, 2016 Leave a comment
Ron Ronaldson Minister for Recycling Ideas makes the most of tyres
Recycling Minister Ron Ronaldson today announced that there will be a complete ban on the dumping of used tyres into landfill in the United Kingdom.
The Government announced it would phase out the dumping of loose tyres and significantly boost recycling. Instead of sending tyres to landfill, the Government is now committed to using recycled vehicle tyres to create colourful playground surfaces and footpaths, rubber sex toys, and pointless disposable items that will end up being thrown away within a few months of their purchase.
“There are lots of these bloody tyres floating around and not being properly used all over the country, contributing considerable tonnage of waste to landfills each year – it’s in the bloody millions,” Mr Ronaldson said.
“This is a big problem; if you laid all these tyres in a line, they would form a barrier that would be at least 700km long. We could in fact use it to stop all these bloody foreigners coming in, but apparently I’m not allowed to say that.” he said.
“This ban will eliminate the majority of people who constantly take up my time by writing letters to me about this subject. Rather than write letters to me you should write to the makers of these tyres to let them know what the problems are. ‘
Once put back on track Mr Ronaldson added, “We can now use this valuable resource for road surfacing ‘soft-fall’ playground surfaces, golf walkways, synthetic turf, horse walkways, ‘traffic calming’ products such as speed humps, bitumen additives for road paving and other useful products such as rubber sex toys.”
When asked about using the tyres to create false reefs Mr Ronaldson said, “We’re not in Australia you idiot. This is England and the sea is bloody freezing. Get a grip will you! The best method to manage and dispose of tyre waste has been the subject of much discussion and I haven’t got much of a clue about the right answer, but the boffins tell me this new policy will do the trick.”
“A seven-stage strategy will be implemented by the Environment boffins and then Hey Presto! the problem will be solved. I have every confidence in them.”
Mr Ronaldson said he had complete confidence that all stakeholders would embrace the new policy. When questioned about the similarity to the previous government’s policy, Mr Ronaldson said, “This is a completely new policy sunshine, I can’t remember them promoting the use of recycled rubber in sex toys.”
“This is a positive step towards reducing the workload in my office and allowing me to spend more time at the Parliamentary Bar,” Mr Ronaldson said.
This is an extract from More Gravy Please! The Politician’s Manual available at Amazon & Creatspace.