31 October 1998

All Pledge Allegiance to the Little Red Man

It's going to be interesting in the future, when anthropologists look back at the twentieth century. People follow this interesting custom where, whenever they walk up to a set of traffic lights, they have to wait for the lights to change. Suddenly there is this whole pagan ritual where you stop at the sight of the Little Red Man. And you may only continue when a little green one takes his place.

A fire breaks out, and suddenly, a swarm of firemen are telling you what to do. And afterwards, you're like, "bless those brave souls."

Did you watch the westerns where the posse is after the Red Indian, sometimes played by Charles Bronson, just because he was red, and presented a subversive bit of opposition to the status quo, not because he'd ever done anything wrong?

Red is used as a rebellious colour, often signifying the triumph of the left, such as was the case in the recent German elections - although the alliance with the Greens tends to subdue the impact of this. After all, isn't the Little Green Man the mortal enemy of the Little Red Man?

Not to mention adolescent males, and their… hmm, I'll just leave that one.

I'm struck at this point by the whole symbolism of the whole thing. Is it any coincidence that the greatest football team in the world wears red? Go Swans. We must all pledge allegiance to the Little Red Man, wherever He may be.

And it is funny how the media, who would usually make such a big fuss over seemingly little things like this, don't seem to notice this. The hated Adelaide Crows - they won a premiership this year with red in their colours.

But the media can say some amazingly silly things. Like for instance "Fatal Gas Explosion Kills 2". Well, der, if it killed people, then it's going to be fatal. And then there is the stultifyingly stupid observation of the Herald Sun, no less than 4 weeks ago bemoaning the fact that Collingwood were going to finish the year a long way down the ladder: "…Collingwood have never, in the whole history of football, finished lower than fourteenth…"

Unbelievable. Just conveniently ignore the fact that before 1985, there weren't even 14 sides in the competition. That one had me rolling on the floor in mirth. Laugh? I nearly declared Celine Dion listenable.

But it's election time, and I'm trying to see how soon it is before the ALP declare their colours as red and, um, red, while those blue-bloods, the Libs, try to regain some pride from the swing against them at this election. The fact that the Howard government have sacrificed a few of their colleagues for three extra years in power is moot when you've been re-elected, but I think that Howard and Costello et al should be quietly thanking their lucky stars that the ALP couldn't get their act into gear on concentrating on the GST, and that the voters still had an axe to grind over Labor's last stint in office.

Actually, I tipped a hung parliament.

Now, I usually find elections to be more than just a little irritating. I thought, at the last federal election anyway, that none of the major political parties deserved my vote, and voted accordingly (read informally).

But this year, I actually had a think and voted properly.

Notwithstanding my usual act of political bastardry in that I insist on numbering all the boxes below the line on the Senate sheet (this year - 63 in Victoria), I think that I made a good choice. Because while the Democrats insist on grey as their political colour, they're usually a fair bunch. Not to mention infinitely preferable to One Nation, who I might add, have as their colours a big yellow streak down their backs.

On this subject, did you hear the champagne corks a-poppin' when it was revealed to the political landscape that Pauline Hanson would not have a seat in the House of Representatives, leaving 'Pauline Hanson's One Nation', as they're properly known (no false modesty, here) without their own namesake in a caucus of, at last count, only one Senator. I thought it was great. Oldfield could not have planned it better, especially after Hanson went public with her ludicrous claim that One Nation would pick up ten to fifteen seats. Good riddance, I say, although, it would be fun, as it was noted in the election day Weekend Australian, to have her turn up at the next election for comic relief. Pauline Pantsdown, while funny and all, is just not the same. Even funnier, is the way Oldfield's leadership aspirations went out the window when he failed to win a seat in the Senate.

As for Gareth Evans falling on his sword when it was hinted that the ALP would not make government, that was just odd.

And what happened to the Greens? Is it just me, or have they really gone off the boil, lately?

Cheryl Kernot. She truly could be considered 'green' in light of her highly questionable decision to stand in a marginal seat after the ALP promised her so much. The question must be asked here, did they do a 'Pauline' on her? And if so, who was the David Oldfield character responsible?

Speaking of marginal seats, it was kinda cool to see Alexander Downer nearly going down to John "ex-singer of Redgum" Schumann. I wanted to see Downer come through by 19 votes so that Schumann could say, "aw, it was only 19…"

Also highly laughable was the Libs winning a seat off the Nats. That has to be good for harmony within the coalition.

Pluses from this election included Tim Fischer, who somehow managed not to appear like a complete dork, at any time during this election. Part of the credit for this must go to the National Party hierarchy, who somehow managed to give their party a lower profile than the reborn DLP, whom I noticed had candidates for the Senate.

Also, I liked the cut of Simon Crean's jib. Methinks that the ACTU has created another future leader of the ALP. Let's hope that Bill Kelty doesn't find out about this, we don't need any more silly hair in politics.

So we have three more years of Coalition policies to look forward to. I think that it's good that the Dems have the balance of power in the Senate, because they are going to make 'Honest' John look pretty damn silly when he tries to put his tax policy through.

How do the ALP pick themselves up after this? I don't know.

My suggestion is that they should wear more red.