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The Thatcherising of Lara Giddings
Mike Hunt01.08.11 4:15 am37 comments
Great graphics and a thought provoking message. Cartoons of this calibre should be included on the home page. Well done Mike.
Nice work. I recall Greg Barns in one of his columns admiring Maggie and urging Tasmanian politicians to be more like her!
Love the graphic. Love the name of the artist.
Mike Hunt??? Oh dear, that is bawdy.
Disturbing. Rather disturbing.
A bit unfair on Mrs Thatcher
Clever but unfortunately the depiction of Thatcher has an uncanny resemble with Christine Milne.
Any chance of getting Christine Milne to become Christine Keeler?
#8 I see the resemblance you mention but at least The Iron Lady doesn’t look like the majority of her diet is lemons.
I can’t condone the deployment of the alliterative “c” bomb implicit in the nom de clavier of the author/artist of this piece.
Sorry, can’t quite see the transformation here. Lara morphing into Paul Lennon had more traction for me.
In very basic terms Paul Lennon’s and Margaret Thatcher’s political positions have a great deal in common. And Lara appears more and more as close to both of them. After all it was under Bob Hawke and Paul Keating’s leadership that Thatchers ideology became such a serious problem for Australia.
#13 I was referring (#12) more to the artistic skills employed here, not the political positions of the protagonists. A couple of months ago, someone produced a very clever set of pictures on this website which literally depicted the transformation of Lady Lara, not into Baroness Thatcher, but into Big Red.
Politically, I don’t think Lara is quite in Maggie’s league…and I daresay (personally) that Maggie would find our Paul rather common, whatever their neo-liberal similarities.
re 13, And so much for political ideology when it gets in the road of the forces of greed.
Curiously just before this cartoon was published I was thinking that one of the things you can say in Giddings’ defence is that she has not deliberately Thatcherised her own political personality in the way our current Prime Minister has done. The similarities between the two are (i) they are both female politicians (ii) both have been involved in budget cutbacks - in one case out of ideology, in the other out of necessity (albeit created by her own party’s mistakes.) It all ends there.
Noting the hackneyed old alias used by the cartoonist (assuming of course that it is an alias), I’ll add that since Lara Giddings has become Premier, I’ve observed a surprisingly high level of misogynistic and personally belittling attacks from TT posters against her. It’s surprising because one would have expected that the green and anti-mill left were at least vaguely socially modern but apparently not in some cases. There is plenty to legitimately criticise Giddings for without posters needing to refer to her as “girl”, “child” and other kinds of terms they would certainly not apply to a male leader of the same age, irrespective of that leader’s debating style.
Comment 16 is right about the personal invective.
Wonder whether some of those who object most forcefully to what Giddings and Gillard cop were also front and centre at vilifying former PM Howard in the most slanderous terms?
As the owner of the “hackneyed old alias” I must protest! Ok, it’s usually “Michael” or “Mick” for obvious reasons, so I was being slightly provocative, but one has one’s parents to blame for nomenclature.
As well as being disgracefully misogynistic, it’s actually a poor attempt at an editorial cartoon. Bad art, bad idea, just bad.
so she’s a caring, nurturing Premier? Health & education cuts? Disability and mental health cuts? Pencils out then, Mr Harper, it’s your turn ;)
Interestingly, the cartoon was also submitted to Tasmanian streetpresses Warp and Sauce. Sauce published it, apparently uncredited although I have yet to verify the latter.
Warp declined to publish it, and Warp staff have noted “I assumed it was some stupid stunt put together by the Liberals.”
Now it may be that this is all entirely innocent but given the Liberal Party’s proven history of using front identities to covertly slag opponents (eg Exclusive Brethren cases) I believe it is time for a full investigation into the origins and authorship of this cartoon.
Disclosure: the author is sometimes a writer/reviewer for Warp.
Dr Bonham, how about ‘woman in her late thirties who displays no grasp of common sense’?
Using diminutive epithets for Miss Lara is probably more complimentary than what people really think - every time she opens her mouth, an immediate reaction, for me at least, is ‘What the fuck is she on about?’
And, regarding your observation about non-female politicians - ‘terms they would certainly not apply to a male leader of the same age, irrespective of that leader’s debating style’ - have you and Mr Colquhoun forgotten the era of ‘little Johnny Howard’?
No it’s not my turn at all Mick. I’m not trying to defend Giddings, I’m saying I think it’s poor cartoon that picks on Giddings because she’s a woman. Pick on her politics all you like but don’t stoop so low, please.
I’m a long term fan of comics and editorial cartoons and have a very informed knowledge of a what a good one is, and I consider this cartoon poor.
Disclosure: I also write for Warp. A column about art, as it happens.
Re #22, I’d say from his post that Mr Colquhoun remembers terms like “little Johnny” very well and that that may well have been exactly the point of his post. But references to Howard’s stature, glasses, eyebrows or whatever were fairly minor compared to the line of attack deployed against Giddings on here, and I would suggest that pretty much any contentious politician cops some level of appearance-related chiding, otherwise the cartoonists would be out of a job.
As for your suggestion “woman in her late thirties who displays no grasp of common sense” well, no. Nobody much thought David Bartlett being a man in his early forties was relevant when having a go at him, so why is Giddings being a woman in her late thirties relevant either? As for “common sense” I have observed here many times that this is a hackneyed expression usually trotted out to defend beliefs that are neither commonly held nor sensible, and that frequently makes an appearance in debate as a tacit admission that the person using it doesn’t really have much of an argument. Furthermore many people would argue that what Giddings is doing - cutting services because the government is struggling to pay for them - is exactly what the government would claim to be “common sense”. I think your “What the fuck is she on about?” - hopefully followed by a critical explanation of why whatever she is saying is nonsense - is a much more defensible reaction than irrelevant personal reflections.
From what I’ve seen so far I don’t see the slightest evidence that Giddings is a particularly good Premier, which is in ways just as well because a really good leader’s talents would be wasted on a government that may not be salvageable. But I would like to see people debate the Premier’s abilities based on the facts and on what she has actually said rather than on crude attempts to objectify and demean her out of political existence.
An example of this is the use of the expression “girl Premier” towards Giddings as an insult, examples of which have been seen here and can also be found elsewhere on the internet. I can’t find a single exactly comparable example re Kristina Keneally who is only a few years older, not even after she semi-invited them by declaring herself to be “nobody’s girl”, while references to Gillard as “girl Prime Minister” are overwhelmingly positive.
Comment 23’s “I’m saying I think it’s poor cartoon that picks on Giddings because she’s a woman” shows how sneaky gender and race politics can be, and how seemingly well-intentioned stuff can have very UNintended consequences.
Take, for example, ‘affirmative action’, intended to promote, say, the health, welfare and career prospects whatever deserving minority it targets. There is no doubt that many thousands of targeted individuals have benefited from this.
There is also equally no doubt that it has been rorted by those inside and outside the targeted minority, including accusations like “You only got into this university / gained this position / were promoted this far this fast because you’re . . . “. And the feeling that one did not get X on one’s merits can be very debilitating and disempowering.
It seems likely that some of the backlash which women politicians have copped is a reaction to (perceptions of the injustices of) affirmative action. Women MPs are certainly not helped by professional feminists banging on about “It’s time we got a female PM, because A, B, C and D will therefore be so much better”.
Perhaps, ultimately, it boils down to Harry S Truman’s saying about putting up with the heat in the kitchen. (Or was it “the smell in the Scheissenhaus”?)
Still, some return to civility would be nice.
Yes, just bad art - not particularly clever and making a pretty clumsy and misdirected analogy. By the way, I am no supporter of Lady Lala, nor am I a member of the squatters party.
Maggie would leave this girl in her wake; I think the reference to ‘girl’ which some seem to find offensive, is merely suggesting Lara is out of her depth in her current role and in the present political climate. No worse than the ‘Beau Blair’ epithet used repeatedly by British commentator, Bea Campbell, to disguise her thinly veiled contempt for Tony Blair when he was Prime Minister of Great Britain.
#24 You are quite correct, Dr Bonham. Mr Colquhoun’s post does recognise the demeaning references often made to Mr Howard’s stature, during his time in office. I am guilty of reading too quickly, and not fully understanding.
And, an excellent example of the wisdom of Premier Lara can be found in an interview piece which appeared in the Examiner newspaper last Thursday. She said – ‘Forestry is a healthy example of how two parties can work together in government, for the benefit of Tasmania, but still have the ability to have their disagreements’??????????
In reality, forestry disagreements – in government, and among the Tasmanian populous – are a toxic blight on our island home, and our lives.
More pearls were scattered during today’s speech to the Labor party (un)faithful and disillusioned.
My top picks are –
‘Every Tasmanian family knows that when you earn less, you have to spend less’, and –
‘We no longer discriminate against our gay community’.
In the face of such inept insensitivity, to have your critics call you childlike and naive, is probably the best you can hope for.
Re #27 I think the comment about Forestry is being misinterpreted slightly. The point Giddings was attempting to make was that the Labor and Green coalition partners are capable of working together in government although there are issues (like forestry) on which they disagree. It was not to say that the forestry disagreement itself was necessarily healthy, but rather that it is (according to her) healthy that despite the forestry disagreement, the two parties can still work together.
“Every Tasmanian family knows that when you earn less, you have to spend less” sounds like the sort of vacuous cliche pretty much any mainstream populist politician might say.
“We no longer discriminate against our gay community” is indeed a pretty stupid generalisation to make (given that it is not actually true, especially while the same-sex marriage issue remains unresolved). Still, the basic point here - that Tasmania has come a very long way on gay issues in the last 15 years and is a better place for it - is well worth making.
So I don’t think these three Giddingsisms are especially ineptly insensitive by politician standards. Indeed if John Howard said the same things, instead of calling him childlike and naive people would be calling him shrewd, calculating and dishonest.
#28 Firstly, Kevin, forestry is not a peripheral issue in Tasmania. It is clearly front and centre of our political milieu, and the two parties forming an uneasy coalition in order to govern us are, ideologically, diametrically opposed on most issues concerning our island’s trees. Their differences cannot be euphemistically styled as ‘healthy’, robust debate. It is an ugly, decades-long battle, and it’s severely compromising, not enhancing, government processes in this state.
Secondly, you use the terms ‘vacuous cliche’, and ‘pretty stupid generalisation’ to describe Miss Lara’s comments. My point exactly. Why do you feel the need to offer justification?
Re #29 my point is that vacuous cliches and “pretty stupid” generalisations are by no means endemic to Lara Giddings. They are the general stock in trade of politicians of all ages, genders and parties. They therefore do not, on their own, justify the personal belittlement being directed towards Giddings that is based around her age and femininity. She is just another politician in those regards. A comparable example involving John Howard would be his tendency (and not just his) to make statements that he claimed to be on behalf of all Australians (but clearly weren’t).
On forestry, again I think Giddings’ point was not that forestry disagreement itself was healthy but that the ability of the parties to work together on other matters while still being able to disagree on forestry was healthy. The perceived healthiness is compared to the alternatives of (i) being unable to work together because of the difference (ii) being able to work together at the cost of inability to air the difference.
Of course, if forestry disagreements are really so unhealthy then perhaps those disagreeing with the established position on forestry matters could simply stop. But I doubt we’ll be seeing that any time soon. Clearly they either value the benefits of their action more than the damage that the “ugly” battle causes, or else are in denial about the latter.
My own perception is that at the moment the Greens are doing rather well out of the deal in terms of policy objectives (though perhaps not popularity with the purists) and that Labor is going further than it needs to to please them and may someday be sorry it has done so. This also seems to be occurring at federal level.
Kevin, if Kim Booth is as good as his word, the forestry ‘disagreement’ may see us dragging our arses to the polls sooner rather than later. Politically, and socially, this is not a healthy outcome.
‘Of course, if forestry disagreements are so unhealthy then perhaps those disagreeing with the established position on forestry matters could simply stop’.
Where do I start?
Firstly, what do you consider to be the ‘established position’ on forestry? Is there such a thing? It looks to me like a fine mess - like the dog ate his breakfast, chewed it really well, and then hurled it back up.
Secondly, you’re kidding, aren’t you? You don’t genuinely think people should stop voicing their ideas and opinions on contentious issues?
And, Miss Lara is not ‘just another politician’. I take your point that polticians are prone to prevarication, dissembling, and, when necesary, outright lying - how could I not. But, I live in Tasmania, and Miss Lara is our supposed leader. Her inane pronouncements would win her first prize in any political bullshitting contest, and that’s a big worry.
Last night, I was looking at Australian Agenda on Sky News, and some very earnest interviewers were speaking with Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop. I have NO party political allegiances, but I can assure you that both these pollies made yards more sense than our esteemed Premier.
Are you happy to excuse her patent mediocrity just because she is female? Are you a ‘rusted on’ Labor supporter? You seem like a smart bloke, Kevin. What’s your story?
PS Apolgies, Mike, for engaging in non-related argy-bargy on your page. Love the cartoon.
The Booth thing - firstly, it seems that the government is quite keen to avoid his no-confidence motions anyway. Secondly there is no evidence that the other Greens would support him, while the Liberals say they would only do so if the rest of the Greens did, so it may all just be bluffing anyway. But even suppose that at some point the Greens bring down the Government over forestry and we have an early election. Well all that happens then is a Liberal majority government, which is exactly what probably would have happened in 2014 anyway. Big deal. Some would say that if Liberal Government be inevitable then the sooner we have it, the sooner we can be rid of it again (though I think it will take Labor quite a while to fix its problems). Frankly I think this particular Labor/Green coalition has been dealt a very lucky hand of cards as far as the forestry debate goes, and if this coalition can’t keep itself working despite forestry differences then I doubt that any can.
By the “established position” I simply mean the bipartisan pro-industry consensus on forestry matters as it has traditionally existed in this state. Of course it has become increasingly messy and blurred as the result of one party forming government with the support of a party that doesn’t adhere to it, and also the increasingly odd behaviour of Gunns.
I’m not saying anything about whether people should or shouldn’t voice their often misinformed views. That’s up to them. I’m just pointing out that while you are saying the debate is so damaging to our state, obviously people on both sides of it believe that what is at stake is more important than the damage that that debate causes. Are they right about that? You tell me. If they are not, then the logical corollary is that some of them should shut up.
It’s to be expected that leading federal politicians would outshine pretty much any small-state Premier in terms of their ability to communicate a message. There have been exceptions but many other Tasmanian Premiers would scrub up pretty poorly if they had to go head to head with someone like Turnbull (who is prone to great errors of political judgement but nonetheless very articulate.) Furthermore, making sense when all you have to do is oppose the Gillard Government is like shooting fish in a barrel; even Tony Abbott can almost manage it if he stays away from chemistry. Making sense of marketing this Tasmanian government at this point of time is a fair bit harder.
The story with my comments on Giddings is that while I don’t personally rate her as a Premier to this point, I find the cranky misogyny of many of the attacks on her quite ominous. I find them so because I suspect that the same line of attack (“girl Premier” and so on) would be employed by the same people on a relatively young single female Premier with no children even if that Premier was brilliant - unless perhaps she was a Green. My issue is not with Giddings being attacked but with the way she is being attacked, and with the implication that some on the left are actually covert social reactionaries who value their own lines of ritual forest conflict more deeply than the progressive social values to which they pay lip service.
The story with me politically is that I am not remotely close to the position of any of the three parties. I’m very libertarian on social/moral/religion-related issues, generally sceptical of environmental alarmism, and on economic issues I believe in greatly strengthening and simplifying the welfare net while at the same time deregulating almost everything else. This combination of views finds no home in our three-party system. I have tended to find Liberal positions on issues like gay rights, and Green positions on some environmental issues (at least in the Milne/Putt era) unacceptable and therefore have often preferred Labor by default but without positive enthusiasm. In the 2010 state and federal elections I voted for Andrew Wilkie. Had Wilkie not been a candidate my 2010 state vote would have gone all over the place.
Bronwyn, can I ask what you like about the cartoon, what you think it says about Lara Giddings and what you consider to be other examples of a good editorial cartoon?
Kevin, while some may be motivated by ‘cranky misogyny’ to criticise the Premier, there are others, like me , who are frankly bemused that a person (whether male or female) of so little obvious ability is holding such high political office.
And, if some on the left ‘are actually covert social reactionaries who value their own lines of ritual forest conflict more deeply than the progressive social values to which they pay lip service’ - well try telling them that. You might need to give them a dictionary, and a primer course in social theory and philosophy, but I’m sure they would eventually get the idea. And once they understood the nature of their indiscretions, maybe you could turn them towards more progressive thinking. Unfortunately, it won’t make the Premier any more competent, or even sensible.
Andrew, the cartoon is interesting because it illustrates a connection which is not immediately obvious - our Labor Premier morphing into the hard line Conservative former British PM. They do, however, share a common back story. Both are career politicians, from politically active families, and both have legal qualifications. Lara may, in fact, aspire to the power and influence of Mrs Thatcher, although I suspect she will only ever be a pale imitation of the Iron Lady.
Hmmm. Interesting comments.
this one in particular interests me:
“Both are career politicians, from politically active families, and both have legal qualifications. ” largely because of the amount of Tasmanian politicians you could apply it to.
I would agree it was not immediately obvious as well, but the problem is the word obvious. It just doesn’t work as a gag becasue the bow is so ridiculously long.
I note that you didn’t mention any other editorial cartoonists, leaving me to assume this is the first one you’ve ever seen - surely that’s not right? ALTHOUGH it would explain why you, or anyone likes the wretched thing.
this is dumb
thanks for your insight.
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