Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ejected, Neglected And Unelected – Blair, Howard, Bush And What Awaits Us – REDUX! NOW WITH ADDED BLACKWATER! (See paragraphs 43 -50! It's worth it!)

Hi kids! Sorry about the wait! Anyhoo, here’s what’s going down here in the GSS (Great Southern Sunburnt Country©) and beyond. Things are hotting up some in the Anglophone members of the COW’s (Coalition Of the Willing™) pre-election campaigns as the MOW (Masters Of War®) try anything to cling to what is left of their ever diminishing power.

Australia, Britain and the USA are all up for RC (Regime Change™) over the next eighteen months and, as the MOW® begin to realise that for them the road ahead is hard, yea, and the mountain high, so they start to strategise on how to at least keep their relative parties in control if not themselves.

For Noo Labour’s Tony Blair, the answer was pretty obvious – cut and run. He knew that running in the next election would result in the biggest Labour thrashing since the evil Baroness Thatcher took down a befuddled Jim Callaghan and commenced her ROT (Reign of Terror©) over the hapless Britons back in 1979, and so laid the ground work for his disappearance a couple of years ago by declaring a timetable for surrender.

He now manages to be Labour’s longest serving PM and to leave office with his rep. violently savaged but not entirely negated, while poor Gordon Brown, long-time Blair hostage, tries to convince the wary, jaded, disappointed and downright furious Poms that he isn’t Tony, really, not Tony, Tony who? So Brown gets to either lose the next general election and thus be blamed for throwing away the largest majority in British parliamentary history, or be the guy that ‘lost’ the Iraq war. Actually, in old Blighty, this is probably the best move he could make.

And Tony gets to go and be the new head of the World Bank, or whatever other saving-the-poor role he can rustle up, in an attempt be the friend-of-the-people, finder-of-peace-in-the-Emerald-Isle, dictator-vanquishing saviour-of-the-third-world he wants history to demand that he is.

This quitting-before-the-bucket-of-shite-falls-on-yer-head approach to leadership is a luxury of the Westminster system that Honest John is starting to wish he’d indulged in too. And he may well; Crickey! has reported a few juicy rumours about Little Johnny, one of which is that he will just quit when Parliament heads for their respective ski-lodges come June.

Any excuse would do, dog died, whatever, because folks, don’t forget that he didn’t earn his ‘Honest’ for nothing – it was, and always will be, ironic. And this way he gets to go out on top and avoid the likelier-by-the-day scenario of being the only the second Prime Minister to lose his seat, but as this would also reveal himself to be nought but a craven, trembling coward, Elroy thinks he go to his Waterloo loins girded for a shellacking of the worst possible order.

And the theories continue to swirl around Howard’s ‘We’ll all be ‘rooned!’ speech to the party room last Monday where he said that the Liberals ‘…would not just lose but be annihilated’. What was he up to? Was he just putting a ferret up the trousers of his party and its fan base? After all, Howard never says anything he doesn’t exactly mean; it is very rare for him to just blather off the top of his head and don’t forget that the fear factor is weapon he knows how wield all to well. Or was he, just for a change, actually being honest?

Another thesis correlates with Elroy’s predictions in March, that Howard, win or lose, will bail soon after the election. Elroy still has the house on the Costello, Abbott and Turnbull trifecta for the Liberal leadership, taking turns like good little sausages until someone wins the glittering prize.

However, it has also been ruminated that Howard’s comment about Treasurer Peter Costello and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer’s eleven-year gigs being a ‘weakness’ in reality meant ‘Time’s up!’ for Pete and that, if Johnny was to lose the election then, then the Liberal Party must start its own ABC (Anyone But Costello®) and plonk Abbott in the job. Manipulating the party to gip Cossie out of his dearest desire be Howard’s final act of revenge against a man who has hated him for years but was ever too gutless to take the challenge implied by Howard’s famous mantra ‘I’ll remain leader as long as the party wants me’.

That is if there is a Liberal Party left which whose new party room is not a phone box. Recent media reports say an in-depth examination of the polls reveal a 10% swing to Labor that could mean sayonara to not only Howard but also Costello and Turnbull; the Liberal/National Coalition have been estimated to lose forty-nine of their eighty-nine seats, giving Labor a thumping seventy-two seat majority and sending thirteen of the Coalition’s twenty-three ministers off to an interview with CentreLink.

And as Elroy has previously mentioned, with Federal Liberal sitting in the same gutter as State Liberal, powerless, irrelevant and ripping each other’s eyes out, the Liberal Party will simply implode. Who will take its place? Well, Elroy hears that Pauline Hanson’s back in business and she ain’t frying chips – we welcome to the stage the anti-union, anti-immigrant, anti-globalisation Pauline's United Australia Party! Hmm. The words 'Populist' and 'Demagouge' come strangely to mind...

Bush, however, faces a different state of affairs. George Bush can quit if he wants to, but that as would put him an ignominious club which at the moment consists soley of Richard Milhous Nixon, Elroy can’t see it happening. Bush can’t run again anyway, so his most pressing task is ensuring the success of his successor.

There is plenty of debate over whether Bush should have ever been elected president in the first place or the second place, the 2000 and 2004 elections being full of suspect behaviour, and the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina and a list of other high crimes and misdemeanors that should, by rights, see BushCorp take that long bus ride to the Big House, have irredeemably poisoned the US voting public against the Republican Party for possibly generations to come.

With a popularity rating at twenty-eight per cent and no end in sight to a deeply unpopular war, elections just aren’t going to cut it for the GOP (Grand Old Party™) but they cannot lose; there are not, Elroy believes, enough shredders with the requisite grunt or just enough shredders anyway, in all of Washington and surrounding states, to munch through the evidence so something else will happen.

But what? Aha! Let’s ask Elroy for some wild supposition! Here are a few scenarios: Stealing the next election is going to be most troublesome as they’ve used up all of their tricks; ‘caging’ lists, dodgy electronic voting machines, disenfranchisement of every persuasion, all of their little stunts have been rumbled by a growing army of voters who are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Furthermore, even if the Republicans did pull out every stop in their possession, they can’t take the chance that it wouldn’t be enough – the 2006 midterms weren’t lost for want of trying – and so we move on the next proposition.

Kill George. It’s simple enough. Assassinating George would generate a huge wave of sympathy for the Republican Party and maybe they could surf that wave back into power, especially if the patsy was a Muslim patsy. As if he’d be anything else! On the other hand, that would make Dick Cheney president, not a good look for the Republicans going into an election; one the other hand, he’s the president anyway so what’s the diff?

However, assassinating George would mean they couldn’t assassinate Obama, as the electorate couldn’t stand two assassinations in one year – it’s ain’t 1968, y’know – and knocking off Barak would steal George’s thunder, but as they have to kill Barak, well, they’re going to have to think of something else.

What? Of course they have to whack Barak! And will! Don’t look so shocked! Waddaya think, they’re gonna let him become president? Puh-leese!

Or, and this one’s really out there, they could just have an election with Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate and lose it, which the market will hate, and the fall-out from the subsequent scandals, impeachments, imprisonments and looming real estate meltdown will be catastrophic for the world economy as China and the Royal House of Saud pull their dollars out of the US and convert them into Euros, a move which will, in turn, panic President Clinton into fast-tracking George W. Bush’s of establishing the NAU (North American Union™) out of the USA, Canada and Mexico in order to institute the Amero as a counter to the Euro’s dominance and thus sparking the second American Civil War as various redneck militias, Canucks and wetbacks up pitchforks and head for the final hoedown.

This next cunning scheme is the nuttiest, the craziest, the most whacked-out piece of pre-emptive conspiracy theorizing Elroy has ever deliriumed and one, by the way, that is already happening. On May 9, George W. Bush signed the NSAHSPD (National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive™) which granted him virtual dictatorial powers in the event of a declared CNE (Catastrophic National Emergency™) such an emergency being defined as ‘any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.’

This directive is in direct defiance of the provisions of the NMA (National Emergency Act™) and the directive’s language negates any requirement that Bush submit to Congress a determination that a national emergency exists and implements the president’s powers without congressional approval or oversight.

Congress can supposedly ‘modify, rescind, or render dormant’ the authority if it reckons the pres has acted inappropriately but the new directive, drafted and signed to supersede the National Emergency Act, makes no reference to Congress; instead it creates the new position of NCC (National Continuity Co-ordinator™), who plans for NEF (National Essential Functions™) by arranging for private sector organizations and all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments are function under Bush’s directives in the event of a CNE, without any specific act of Congress authorizing it.

In short, this Executive Order allows Bush to assume power to direct any and all government and business activities without congressional approval or oversight. He has now put in place power to arbitrarily and unilaterally impose martial law, suspend the Constitution, assume virtual dictatorial power, deploy under his command military forces into U.S. cities to round up citizens declared by his regime to be enemy combatants or security threats, and to retain control of all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments, military personnel, law enforcement agencies, and private sector organizations until the CNE is declared over, and who declares the CNE over? That’s right…

Meanwhile, the rhetoric ramps up. The fear factor is back as Bush suddenly remembers about that Osama guy. Never forget what George said in ’02, not long after he vowed to get OBL ‘Dead or alive’:

‘Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.’

‘But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became -- we shoved him out more and more on the margins. He has no place to train his al-Qaida killers anymore. And if we -- excuse me for a minute -- and if we find a training camp, we'll take care of it. Either we will or our friends will.’

Now, far be it from me to call George II a flip-flopper – a murderous, narcissistic, deluded, functionally illiterate alcoholic sociopath would be far more accurate – but the other day he said this:

‘In the minds of al-Qaida leaders, 9/11 was just a down payment on violence yet to come. It is tempting to believe that the calm here at home after 9/11 means that the danger to our country has passed. Here in America, we are living in the eye of a storm, all around us, dangerous winds are swirling and these winds could reach our shores at any moment.’

‘Hear the words of Osama bin Laden: He calls the struggle in Iraq a 'war of destiny. The war is for you or for us to win. If we win it, it means your defeat and disgrace forever.'

Who? Osama wha? Ain’t he that there dee-moh-krat? For a guy Bush isn’t too concerned about, he seems pretty damn concerned. But there’s one more ingredient needed for such a situation, and of course the White House has not let us down.

In America, right now, internment camps are being constructed by, of course, Halliburton, on a contract from the DoHS (Department of Homeland Security™) awarded in 2005 worth $385m to be used for immigration, disaster relief or the troublingly vague’ ... to support the rapid development of new programs’. Eek! John Ashcroft said they could be used for American citizens who were deemed ‘enemy combatants’ and guess who says does the deeming? Gimmie a ‘G’! Gimmie an ‘E’! Gimmie an ‘O’! Gimmie an ‘R’! Gimmie another ‘G’! Gimmie an ‘E’! What’s that spell? Fucking lunatic! What’s that spell…

Peter Kirsanow of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission said that he “could foresee a scenario in which the public would demand internment camps for Arab Americans if Arab terrorists strike again in this country. If they come from the same ethnic group that attacked the World Trade Center, you can forget about civil rights.’

So it’s not just Elroy! The chances that anti-war dissenters and other neer’do-wells would avoid a holiday in such a facility are about the same as the Republicans winning 2008, so should we be afraid? Not down here, yet, but the denizens of our GAPF© (Great and Powerful Friend©)? Oh boy.

So what is Elroy getting at? Have you all done your sums? Take one election that cannot be lost at any cost, add surreptitious executive orders allowing George to govern by presidential fiat, mix with 600-odd domestic concentration camps, stir in a generous amount of boogey man paranoia and what do you have a recipe for? 9/11 Redux!

No wonder they didn’t want to catch Osama! He’s one pre-selected patsy! Who else would fit the bill? Who else would fit the bill? Ahmadinajad? Hugo Chavez? (Um, memo to self – re: Next 9/11: Possible perpertrators…)

The only reason AHBASNE (America Hasn’t Been Attacked Since 9/11!™) is that the terrorists haven’t needed to, but now they are being threatened with RC maybe they will act. A mini-nuke in the White House? 9/11 is a hard act to follow, but they’ll think of something; another 9/11 would certainly do the job, in fact it’s probably the only way to do the job. Everlasting Bushiness!

There is, however, one more option left open to the Republicans, and for that we cross over to a certain Dr Thomas Sowell – free-market economist, major influence on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and a syndicated columnist in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and sundry other mainstream establishment organs. He’s a lovely chap, and he wrote this not long ago in the National Review:

‘When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can’t help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.’

Whoa, Jimmy! Say what? Hey, don’t sugar coat it doc; tell us what you really think!
And he’s not kidding, either. On that bastion of Fair And Balanced™- ness, Hannity & Colmes, he expounded further ‘I’m very serious about whether or not the country can be saved at all’ he intoned. When asked what crisis would precipitate such an action, Sowell said ’If the political system becomes ever more irresponsible, if the education system becomes ever more degenerate, if the race hustlers polarize this country and the schools and intelligentsia dismantle the values on which it’s built’

Indeed, if BushCorp finally get rumbled for their 9/11 chicanery this might well the only option left open to them, and there’s no shortage of military types to put their hand up for such an insurrection, good Bushies more than willing to take up the cudgels for Christ and cast that ‘goddamn piece of paper’ known as the ‘Constitution’ in the fires of hell from whence it was spawned.

Take General William G. ‘Jerry’ Boykin; he is obviously no great fan of democracy or even America’s vague semblance of it. He has no time for elections per se – as far as Boykin is concerned, the only vote that needs to be counted is the one cast by the Big Cheese Himself. ‘Why is this man in the White House?’, Boykin asks audiences about the unikely ascendency of KIng George II, ‘The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there?’ Hmm. Good questions all, Jezza! So, what’s the scoop? ‘And I tell you this morning that he’s in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this.’ Eek!.

Now, be aware, be very aware, that again this guy is no fringe-dweller, no retired old curmudgeon who can’t shut up; from April 1998 to February 2000 he served as the Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Operations Command (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from March 2000-2003 he was the Commanding General at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, and in June 2003 he was appointed Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and he’s still is. Gulp!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Elroy, you’re a fucking idiot. How’s he going to do that? Arm Sunday school teachers?’ No, Elroy’s afraid, very afraid, that the last piece of the infrastructure is also already in place. Obviously someone will have to round up the traitors, the dissenters, the A-rabs, the ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ and other ‘enemies of the state’ and it won’t be the military – Bush has busted all his soldiers – it will be Blackwater.

Ever heard of Iraq’s ‘private security contractors’? The USA has paid $4 Billion out to ‘private security contractors’ so far, and the biggest of them are to mercenary armies what Halliburton is to meals-on-wheels. There are at least 30,000 Blackwater soldiers of fortune in Iraq, some say more, along with another 100,000 other private suppliers of logistical support working for various other operators.

Incredibly, ‘private security contractors’ in Iraq are not subject to any laws, American or Iraqi, civil or military, which means that there are an unknown or at least undisclosed number of heavily armed, highly trained, utterly lawless mercenaries roaming Iraq with no confines whatsoever at rates of pay many times that of government regulars. 40c of every $1.00 spent by the US in Iraq goes inauditably to the private sector – the world is at outsourced war.

And Blackwater does not just supply soldiers. They run their own training camps in Iraq, have a 7,000 acre facility in North Carolina, another in Illinois and yet another under construction in san Diego, twenty-odd aircraft and helicopter gunships, contracts from the US Federal Government upwards of $750m and are currently setting up an intelligence arm, Total Intelligence complete with their own drone spy planes. Private military intelligence? Uh oh.

But surely this bunch are for helping out in foreign affairs? Not to be taken internally? Export only? Domestic consumption prohibited? The Louisiana National Guard were in Iraq during the Hurricane Katrina debacle, but hundreds of black-clad Blackwater goons in wraparound sunnies toting AK47s were on the streets of New Orleans way before any federal or state military with orders to guard uptown mansions and generally ‘kill looters’, a service which cost the Federal Government $240,000 per day.

But would this operation put itself on the line for Bush? Well, apart from the fact that he is their best customer (although they are setting up an international branch in the conveniently tax-lite Barbados), its founder is one of the faithful. Ex-US Navy SEAL Erik Prince inherited $1.3 billion in cash after the sale of his family’s car-parts manufacturing operation and put it to good use, as befitting a good Dominionist Christian.

Dominionists are to Christians what Islamists are to Muslims; they believe that there is no law but God’s law and seek political means to introduce it – they are, for all intents and purposes, a Christian Taliban and there are millions of them, including the owner of the biggest private army on the planet and, sadly, most of the White House staff and the President of the United States. Worried yet?

So there you go, folks; in a climate where presidents can declare themselves to be above the law, where civilian prison camps can be openly constructed, where even respected men of letters like Thomas Sowell can advocate the establishment of a military junta and not be ridiculed and sidelined but lionized and feted,where top brass generals can openly regard the democratic process as some sort of affront to the will of God and not be cashiered and sent to a home form the terminally bewildered, where an alternative private partisan army can be raised and maintained on taxpayers' millions, well, nothing is beyond speculation. At least the military coup option does away with the need for subterfuge and patsies, and it would sure shut the conspiracy theorists up.

This has been a special souvenir edition of Let’s Ask Elroy!™. Cut it out and keep it, read it again from the bunk of an internment facility near you and remember where you read it first. Before, that is, they take you out the back and…

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Back To The Future? We'll All Be 'Rooned!'

Once again, Australian trade unions are under siege from the forces of an ever-desperate conservatism seeking to scare the population into believing that any number of reds are hiding under any amount beds in order to steal the peoples’ money for their own nefarious ends.

Conservative Prime Minister ‘Honest’ John Howard, of the Liberal Party of Australia, claims to represent a new age of industrial relations when he is really plunging us back to standards comparable with those of pre-World War One; The Australian Labor Party’s Kevin ‘That Nice Mr’ Rudd, on the other hand, says that workers must be represented fairly by their respective union bodies in order for a mature, progressive society to move forward in a serious and meaningful fashion, and if this means tearing up Australian Workplace Agreements, so be it. Howard says we must go forward into the past – Rudd says we must go back to the future.

The unelection campaign is hotting up down here in a sunburnt country as Honest John ramps up the rhetoric against That Nice Mr. Rudd. Industrial Relations (IR) has become the latest blood-soaked battlefield as Labor promise to wind back some of the more onerous provisions of a satirically titled ‘WorkPlace Relations Legislation Amendment (More Jobs! Better Pay)’ that no one voted for. The notion that his cunning plan to roll the rights of Australian workers back to those in place at Federation might be usurped has the honest one fair sputtering on his ’45 Lafitte in indignation, but luckily the plucky PM has the business lobby to hold his hand and make the appropriate noises.

Leading the charge is such altruistic and civic-minded concerns as Rio Tinto, BHP/Biliton and that tireless advocate of workers’ rights, The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA). They are shrieking to the highest heavens that the ‘WorkChoices’ legislation and Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) are the only things propping up Australia’s mining boom and without them the entire world mineral market will collapse, bringing a pestilence and blight upon the land and nothing to do with India and China becoming the planet’s one-stop services and manufacturing shops.

AWAs are individual contracts that employees must voluntarily sign with their employers. The theory – and Elroy just loves conservative political theory – is that employees and employers will come together mano-a-mano, on that good ol’ level playing field so beloved of free marketeers without those big, bad boogey-man union nasty-pasties getting their two cents worth, strike a deal that makes both parties want to plant a sloppy WorkChoice smooch on one another and pledge everlasting individual agreement adoration.

Both parties are then supposed to trip merrily back though the sweet-smelling meadows of industrial contract law to their workstations various and harvest the blossoms and blooms of a deregulated labour market, bosses rueful about the concessions that wily Afghan refugee screwed out of him and said refugee safe in the knowledge that she has fully protected her rights despite the fact that she speaks only Farsi.

As Honest John will waste absolutely no time in telling you, the greatest impediment to peace, goodwill and an IR environment so harmonious as to render doves redundant are those utter, utter beasts the unions. Unions are, as we all know, the scourge of all mankind, venal and corrupt axis’s of evil that prey on the pay of those dispensing honest sweat and fair dinkum toil to feather their own nests and drink their members’ blood in orgies of satanic delirium. Obviously, workers’ interests are best protected by those bodies that have a vested interest in them, like the Australian Chamber of Commerce.

The problem for unions is that they have doomed themselves to irrelevance by dint of their success. 100-odd years ago, unions were an absolute necessity for workers as they fought tooth and nail for rights that are now taken for granted, and therein lies the rub. People now do not realise that the rights they enjoy are because of the unions, and so resent paying their dues, but the price of liberty is eternal vigilance I tells ya!

Honest John Howard’s idea of progress is to take us back to time which is now before living memory which is being painted as being nice, different, unusual. Some workers’ have been duped into thinking that the capitalist classes just live to make their employees’ life worthwhile, ignoring that without union intervention they too could be working for one to five dollars a day like their third-world comrades.

Some people have made an analogy between unions and business, that unions are ‘labour corporations’ selling man-hours on a level playing field with employers, but the owners of t’ means o’ production, lad, have always had and will always have the upper hand, unless workers stay strong. The Liberal Party whine that it should all be ‘Fair And Balanced™’ but it can’t be. Capital has the power. The only bulwark the worker has against this is the union. Is that fair? Probably not. But capitalism isn’t fair, the system isn’t fair, and as capital has no morality per se, business will only fight fair when they are forced to.

Business has been hollering ‘We’ll all be ‘rooned’ since slavery was abolished (another feat not due to the largesse of corporate interests), and it just wants to be happy and safe in the knowledge that they can hire and fire at will, and drive down wages to wherever makes the most profits for their poor widdle put-upon shareholders, the people who are, after all, the backbone of society and the only ones to which the corporation must be responsible. Investors must have certainty! The workforce can just blunder on from day to week wondering where the next mortgage payment is coming from, but INVESTORS MUST HAVE CERTAINTY!!!

However, free market ideologues that quote Friedman are as much Utopian nutters as any commie they may care to mention. If workers are not represented by a single entity then they will be picked off and exploited. Divide and rule. Elroy has a friend (Yes! Apparently it’s true!) whose employer was bought out recently, and as result the workers there were ‘moved’ into the new corporate structure, which meant that their contracts were torn up and AWAs were put in place. They were all called in to ‘negotiate’ individually, in a process known in the real world as ‘sign or resign’. Not ‘re-sign; resign.’

They were told not to discuss the content of their contracts with anyone. Elroy’s pal stated that she could not sign the AWA due to an unconscionable clause and, in spite of corporate directives, discussed it far and wide. All the workers in her department refused to sign and the company backed down. Fortunately they were skilled workers and so had something to bargain with. God help them if they had been Sudanese cleaners.

Unions are a necessary evil; without them we’d all be buggered because business cannot be trusted to be reasonable and they have proved this time and time again. If they did behave properly the unions would not be, or would ever have been, required. But the nature of capitalism requires that enterprises do all to they can to maximise profits. That means increasing productivity and reducing input costs by any method available, and labour costs are part of that equation. Why do companies relocate overseas? To reduce labour costs.

Monetarist policy demands that a certain percentage of the labour force, between 5%-15%, is unemployed at any one time. Of course, the victims of this system are blamed for their predicament, but it must be that way to keep labour at each other’s throats and a free kick for capital. Some bright spark from the ANZ admitted this the other day when he said that jobs had been scarce over the past thirty years, blowing apart the lie that the work was out there but the unemployed just couldn’t be bothered looking for it.

So having conned us then as now, how’s it looking now that a labour shortage maybe on the horizon and labour might have some bargaining power? The goalposts are moved in order to help business some more. Conservatives love to scream from the rooftops that the country is being held hostage to the unions’ demands, but is it?

Yes. It is being held to ransom by unions, by staunch, militant unions whose tentacles reach far up into the echelons of power. The government are in the pockets of these unions; politicians argue their case for them and the government uncritically do all in their power to mollify these institutions. Their wishes are the government’s commands. There can be no doubt that they legislate on the unions’ behalf; the Australian Chamber of Commerce and similar organizations are in the box seat of power and they don’t feel much like moving.

They are the correct analogy for workers’ unions. As business colludes, so does labour, and business does collude; anyone that thinks that they are constantly fretting about ‘competition’ is also waiting for the Tooth Fairy to show up.

If Labor is in the pocket of the ACTU, then Elroy would rather that than a government that was in the pocket of the ACC. In the end, trade unions represent the people. Business associations represent vested interests. One is fundamentally orientated toward enriching the great unwashed, and one is orientated toward enriching the corporate elite. Elroy knows which he would prefer. What about youse?

If the Liberal Party is somehow mysteriously returned to power at the end of the year then it will be big business usual, but once those AWAs really start to bite the punters will flock back the unions and the 20th Century IR battles will have to be rerun. Ho hum. Go foward to the past to get back to the future? We'd rather not, but if we have to – we will.