A very cruddy fable, Part 15: A down-payment on some decent numbers

Forget the ides of March, it was the tides of the opinion polls that had many in the Labor Party looking over their shoulders this past week. And, guess what, everyone saw the same thing: Hot and Steamy Gillard. Barely a shock jock encounter has passed without WonderGirl being asked if she was ready to step into Kevin Rudd’s shoes. And, sweet thing that she is, she shrugged her flirtatious shoulders each time and breathily intoned that ‘I think there’s a backhanded compliment in there somewhere’. This was followed universally by an assurance that she is only interested in the status quo. Which doesn’t wash with the legion of Labor leakers who have started to tell any media pundit within earshot that perhaps it’s time Our Kevvie started to take the business of winning the next election seriously.

Their concern is hardly misplaced as the Emperor has been doing passable impersonations of a Scottish caber thrower doing backflips as he jettisons anything like a policy or an initiative that might resemble an ounce of lead in the saddlebags. And all the while taunting the Monsignor to ‘show us your policies’. This has been echoed by Lend us a Tenner whose own mating call in the wild is: ‘Your debt and deficit scare campaign is dead in the water’. One can’t be sure just what mating partners this might attract as nothing seems to want to get close to him so far. But the rutting season has a way to run yet and the air reeks of pheromones.

The one thing everybody in fable-land can be grateful for is that there has never been any suggestion that Kevin Rudd’s shoes might be placed under Hot and Steamy’s bed. Verily, the stuff of nightmares! Yet that does not mean the Emperor does not have Hot and Steamy in mind as he tosses to and fro in the marital bed for the twenty minutes he spends there each evening. Like all who reach the heady pinnacle of political populism, Kevin the Dissembler is more than meets the eye – as many commoners have been discerning these recent weeks. Their instinct is that Kevvie is no longer the laudable lovely who wanted to bedeck the nation in policies, pure and pristine. Indeed, theirs is a queasy feeling that perhaps he never was. The revelation of recent times that Kevin has as much sincerity as a Sicilian mafiosi has focused minds more than a little. Whereas there was a time when they clamoured for his kiss on their cheek they now wonder, if such a gift were to be bestowed, whether it would presage a stiletto between the ribs. As a nation of loyalists, the common people do not turn lightly from one they have elected to trust but tremors of trepidation are trilling.

Indeed, the common concern was reflected in the Inner Circle – those loyal Labor MPs who comprise the Praetorian Guard that protects the Emperor’s personage because they depend in large measure on his patronage. The Guard suddenly found a voice as they welcomed the Emperor to their Caucus clique and sought his reading of the tea leaves. Kevin’s prognostications, however, did not accord with their own far-more-febrile fantasies. They could sense a revolt brewing among the people and they sought reassurance. Dissatisfied with the Emperor’s reassurances, they voted to tell him their innermost thoughts. ‘Get your act together, dickhead, before you cost us our beloved lurks and perks.’ This was but a rough translation from an unnamed source inside the clique yet it has not been denied by anyone since. Which makes one think the Emperor has been rather like a bear with a sore head these past few days. This would account for his sternest of stern visages as those whom the clique have dubbed ‘The Communicators’ have been entrusted with spreading the Emperor’s messages to the masses. How the Emperor has been humbled!

And so it was that the Duckling with an Abacus was allowed to gather to his side the vast majority of all the commentariat in the land and lock them up for a whole day while he plied them with words of wisdom enunciating his own intelligence in deciphering the chaos of the Global Financial Crisis. And, wouldn’t you know, the Duckling emerged with an enhanced reputation. Oh, the Emperor must have been furious. But he has, largely, remained inside the praesidium’s walls since the yearly accounts were released. One habit he could not break, though, and there he was gambolling among staff at yet another hospital. Give us a break!

The remarkable thing about the past week was the difference in the public mood once the Emperor had been persuaded to shut up and let the remnant trio of the Gang of Four do the talking. Can his ego cope? Will the Praetorian Guard let someone remain emperor while the deputies do the dirty work? And all the while the pheromones are stirring the loins and minds are turning to flights of fancy. The action promises to be fast and furious as we enter the Coliseum for the final show of the season.