The Bells Are Ringing –But for Who and for What
Some will remember from their youth US singer Dean Martin singing this catchy tune
“The bells are ringing for me and my gal.
The birds are singing for me and my gal.
Ev’rybody’s been knowing to a wedding they’re going.
And for weeks they’ve been sewing every Suzie and Sal”
With Frank Sinatra, Martin rose to the top before dying of emphanezema in the mid 1990s.
Perhaps this fall from the top of his profession was the reason this song was the first one to come into my head when I heard of the appalling behaviour by Smith as captain of Australia’s cricket team in allowing the scrabbling of one side of the ball used in a test match. This has significance beyond cricket. It encourages widespread antagonism to other supposed leaders in Australian society and will make life more difficult for future Australian cricket teams, possibly even extending to other sports played internationally. The announced penalty imposed on only three players for only a year by cricket CEO Sutherland is a weak response that must be changed.
The spread of the issue beyond cricket is captured in this article in today’s Herald Sun by Terry McCrann, who asks
“Is Steve Smith the Malcolm Turnbull of sport or Malcolm Turnbull the Steve Smith of politics?”
And what might be described as a story of “cheats” extends to Victoria’s Premier, Daniel Andrews, who has used taxpayer funding in an attempt to prevent the exposure of his employment of numerous persuaders of voters in the 2014 election. He too wants to be let off lightly. But former Premier Jeff Kennett has sent his antipathy to cheats by resigning as chair of a drug –injecting centre established under the Andrews government. Andrew Bolt has rightly said that the Andrews government has lost any moral authority (see Bolt on Kennett/Andrews).
The identification of Turnbull as one of the “cheats” has extended way beyond McCrann, whose article contains a photo of Turnbull and Smith together but also argues that “there is no way, no way Turnbull can ‘survive’ a 30th negative Newspoll” (the last one was the 29th and has the Coalition still at 47/53 even though it has 50% opposed to abolishing franking credit cash refunds proposed by Shorten).
Former Labor Minister Graham Richardson reaches the same conclusion, viz “the disappointment in Turnbull, the man, hangs like a pall over the Coalition’s election chances. It is almost impossible to see a Coalition victory under the leadership of this bloke, yet no one in the Liberal Party has the stomach for a leadership change. The lemmings are charging headlong for the cliff” (see Richardson on Turnbull).
And this article by Prof Fitzgerald on Turnbullis even stronger in his analysis, viz “by almost any test, Turnbull’s leadership has been worse than Abbott’s. While he has been behind in 29 Newspolls so far, the fact is that as of today Turnbull has trailed in the polls for 547 days as opposed to Abbott’s 491”.
The Ides of March (the 15th), when Caesar was assassinated, have passed and there are no Brutus’s around in the Coalition.