As good as a play by Trevor Plumbly

They bore him barefaced on the bier

Let’s not get overdosed with regret over the departure of Aussie PM Scott Morrison; these people come and go, it’s the nature of the beast.

Scott Morrison PM of Australia 2018-2022

We’re taught from infancy that forgiveness is a virtue but when it comes to the odd politician I wonder if that concept might need a re-think. Lots of countries draw a wild card from time to time: Thatcher, Muldoon, Johnson and so on. It seems to me that after a period of relative stability, the punters get lulled into comfort fatigue and decide that a spell of whip-cracking might ginger things up a bit. Despite the increase in the availability of opinion, it’s surprising how many people still believe that quasi-dictatorship can be socially beneficial. When it comes to picking dream-weavers, we haven’t really grown much; a few years ago a flash of cleavage or the odd cinematic stunt elevated folk beyond their natural station in life. These days, politically at least, good teeth and a stock of one-liners will do the trick.   

And the trumpets sounded on the other side

The promise of a political Valhalla might be real for most aspiring leaders, fortunately though, lots are sufficiently innocuous that it’s safe to leave them with the illusion. But surely there should be exceptions: take Scott Morrison who, with about as much charisma as a cane toad and a tough guy front, conned his way into the big job and lost himself and the country when he hit a few speed bumps. But shed not a tear folks, sunshine awaits this boy, a knighthood, board positions and lots of those lucrative speaking gigs; not a bad outlook for a reject.

Robert Muldoon PM of New Zealand 1975-1984

Robert Muldoon, having led NZ into a crippling inflationary spiral, went on to push us to the brink of civil war over a few games of rugby. He was the Grand Poobah of the boys’ club and as such destined for the ‘royal tap’. His exhortation for a small country to ‘think big!’ made as much sense as shouting ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre. He’s somewhat roguishly remembered, despite the fact the accounts for his economic services are still arriving.       

This sceptred isle

Margaret Thatcher PM of the UK 1979-1990

It was no mean feat for a grocer’s daughter to head up the Eton and Harrow mob, but the old girl did it! And true to form the Brits couldn’t wait to bend over to get whacked. ‘There is no alternative’ sugar coated ‘my way or the highway’ and they elevated her to ‘Iron Lady’. But once they stopped enjoying punishment, the rust started to show and the threat of reality loomed. In the nick of time, the Gods delivered the Falklands War and armour-bright she emerged untarnished, became a Baroness and ended up with a regal send off, which could leave the more cynical thinking that someone’s using a two-headed coin.  

A fellow of infinite jest

Boris Johnson PM of the UK from 2019 to present

The Iron Lady was a hard act to follow, but after a series of mediocre players the Brits came up with ‘Mr Bojangles’. Boris is the entertainer on the bill: instead of Thatcher’s bulldozer approach to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, he prefers tap dancing and he’s pretty good at it! Faced with proof of his own ineptitude or dodging facts, rather than waste energy and strain the public attention span by going through the ‘did/didn’t’ seesaw, he does a spot of ‘mea culpa’, followed by, ‘of course I accept full responsibility’ and finishes up with, ‘it’s now time to move on!’ It’s brilliant stuff! Everyone admires a bloke with the courage to face up to his own failures, at the same time it waters down the opposition attack, proving that when it comes to public gullibility the soft-shoe-shuffle still works.  

Some achieve greatness

William Shakespeare aka The Bard

Others have it thrust upon them. The Bard got it right most of the time, but he didn’t have to cope with any of that lot, none of whom actually achieved greatness, they just filled a vacuum that existed at the time and got elevated to stardom through lack of choice and public complacency. Will came out with some crackers, perceptive stuff like ‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players’. Thought-provoking stuff, but then he didn’t have to pay today’s ticket prices.

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