Diary

Gadfly
Sunday law school

We start with news from God, via the Human Rights Law Alliance, an organisational friend of the Australian Christian Lobby, which deftly fuses law and God. 

The alliance is run by a young groover named Martyn Iles, a former chief of staff at the ACL and a giver of sermons at the Pentecostal Southside Bible Church in the far-flung ACT suburb of Kambah. 

Applications are now open for the alliance’s inaugural legal academy – a training and networking experience for Christian lawyers. It only takes two weeks to digest the entire course. 

The alliance claims to be the source of a number of stories in The Catholic Boys Daily about the Safe Schools program and the persecution of Christians. 

There are also fundraising opportunities. For instance, Kathy Clubb, a mother of 13, is a member of an outfit called the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. She stands outside Melbourne abortion clinics making “simple offers of help”. 

Ms Clubb has been arrested and charged with breaching a Victorian law and now the HRLA is rattling the tin for contributions to her defence fund. 

As The Catholic Boys Daily says, the alliance will “fill the void left by the publicly funded human rights commissions and legal centres”.

Burning the fossil record

It’s almost a given that those who believe in God also believe in coal. Members of the religious right, particularly in the Nasty Party, are leaders of the Coal Prayer Group, which calls for the Finkel report to be burned alive. 

It’s incredibly puzzling, particularly as the report is significantly a political document designed to help Prime Minister Trumble and Minister Frydenberg chart a path with minimal resistance to a lower carbon future. 

Surely no one with even a slender grasp of reality believes that by 2050 30 per cent of our power will come from coal. The existing power stations are all old, and nobody, except perhaps a mad Abbott government, will build a new one, principally because renewables are cheaper and getting more so, and storage is getting better. 

The obsession with coal can only be explained by the fact that it defies science, which godly people see as an article of faith. The fact that 70 per cent of those polled want faster action on renewables shows what a heathen nation we have become.

The bigger Australian

Much has been made of the fact that Greg Plywood turns up to work at Fairfax Media driving his Maserati, while the wretched reptiles are rummaging through garbage bins looking for a meal. 

Apparently this perk is just part of his market-driven entitlement. It is worth noting, however, that Sir Colin Syme, when he was chairman of BHP, arguably nearly as important a business figure as Plywood, drove an old Holden to work.

Crosby stalls and tacks

The Tories are in a frightful mess and have to get out the plastic sheets before they climb into bed with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.  

Fingers are being pointed at our very own “Sir” Lynton Crosby, election strategist to Mother Theresa and the Tory Party. Should he hand back his gong? Should he return to Australia and start afresh advising other isolationist, anti-immigrant, nativist politicians? 

Important questions hunting for answers.

And what about Lord Moloch’s tissue The Sun and Lord Northcliffe’s Daily Mail? Two rags by any standards, and both pouring down boiling oil on the head of poor old Jezza Corbyn. The Sun had the witty pre-poll headline “Don’t chuck Britain in the COR-BIN”. This prompted citizens to grab copies off supermarket shelves and post pictures of themselves on Twitter and elsewhere chucking the paper in the bin. 

Free copies at airports were also binned and the Mail had the fate of being bundled up and burnt, with pictures of the flames spreading around the internet.

According to YouGov, Sun “readers” were the least likely of all newspaper consumers to vote, with 52 per cent of them not bothering to turn up on voting day. In fact, only 28 per cent of Sun lovers voted the way the paper told them to.

In other words, these crappy sheets, despite their hysterical efforts at voter manipulation, had precisely the opposite effect. We’ve seen the same waning influence here with The Daily Smellograph’s failed efforts to unseat Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and help the Nasty Party win seats in western Sydney where, instead, they managed to lose three. 

The days of moronic editors treating everyone as morons may be drawing to a close.

Left-leaning royalty

The connection between the next monarch and dressing to the left has been a topic hitherto insufficiently explored. Fortunately, Christopher Turner touches on these diverting matters in a recent London Review of Books piece. 

Those viewing Her Maj’s visit to kids hurt in the Manchester bombing must be thinking it’s time Brenda shuffled off. In a bizarre echo of the old Abraham Lincoln joke – “And apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the theatre?” – Betty asked a little girl lying in her hospital bed whether she had liked the concert. 

Turner, reviewing two books on suits, notes that according to venerable London tailor Henry Poole & Co, 95 per cent of men dress to the left, a notable exception being Buffalo Bill. Apparently, any tailor worth his cloth should not have to ask. 

Poole’s has been around so long it clothed Napoleon III, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Bram Stoker. Its debtors’ book, 1909-41, is 100 pages and its blacklist consists of 1000 names. Its cheapest bag of fruit is about $16,000. 

Turner discloses that Poole’s is making three state liveries for the royal household, in preparation for a coronation, all with plenty of comfort on the left.

Barrister idol

For $800 a pop Sydney briefs are being invited to sign up for voice and performance coaching. 

There are two sessions in the NSW bar common room – opening address and closing submissions, followed by examination of witnesses. 

This will cover topics such as managing speech and vocal mannerisms; controlling content and the audience; staying calm under pressure; buying time to think and navigate; and, in what is an entirely new skill, listening to the witness. 

Into the bargain, barristers can earn four CPD points while they brush up their style. For some time now judges have been complaining that they can’t understand what some barristers are saying and that they are all over the shop with their presentations. 

The old chancers who held the gallery in the gods spellbound have all shuffled off.

Trumpette #26

Forget impeachment. According to an article from Paul Starr in The American Prospect it is not going to happen – at least for now. 

Following James Comey’s testimony about Trump’s attempt to obstruct justice, the Republicans in congress have the president right where they want him. They can send him anything and he’ll sign it. 

After all, it is not as though Trump is the only one with extreme ideas. Congressional Republicans have them, too, such as cutting healthcare expenditure to finance tax cuts for the top end. 

Starr says: “Republicans pretended not to see the evidence of obstruction of justice. For the time being, they have no interest whatsoever in initiating proceedings against the president that would consume their agenda. They know they have Trump in a position where he has no real choice except to do what they want.” 

Only if the Pussy Grabber became a hindrance to the Republican mission will they toss him to the wolves. 

In the meantime, he’ll have to learn to behave like a lamb.

 

Tips and tattle: [email protected]

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jun 17, 2017 as "Gadfly: Sunday law school". Subscribe here.

Richard Ackland
is the publisher of Justinian. He is The Saturday Paper’s diarist-at-large and legal affairs editor.

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