Barnacle Bill

Tony Abbott has asked nervous government MPs to maintain internal discipline in the face of the ABC funding controversy and bad polling, reassuring them he will knock “one or two barnacles off the ship” before Christmas.

Other than with the title, I’m not sure there is much of a lesson for us moderns other than that sensibilities do indeed change. This is from 1935. Anything similar is unimaginable today although I was shocked to see Olive Oyl playing the field as she does. But for all that, thinking of our leader of the opposition as Barnacle Bill does have an appeal specially when presented as a menace as he is here.

Should also mention how well the PM’s speech was yesterday. In fact, I was sitting next to a minister assisting the minister and was saying just that to him when he said why don’t you say it to Tony. And there he was passing by as he was leaving, so I said it again to him. The speech was reported in this morning’s AFR with the headline, “Abbott puts the onus on business”.

Tony Abbott on Wednesday night appealed to the business community to help the government sell its economic agenda foll­owing a decision to dump or water down key budget measures and new evidence the budget is far more vulnerable than previously thought.

The Prime Minister told the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Australian Business Leaders’ dinner last night that the success of his government depended partially on strong business backing.

“My hope is that you won’t just be interested but engaged in 2015. You matter and your voice is heard,” he said in a similar plea issued recently to the Business Council of Australia. “Reform or stagnation, budget repair or endless deficits. More tax or less. Your choices and your statements count.”

Prosperity travels through business; there is no other way. Crony capitalism is not the free market; it is a reversion to the mercantilism Adam Smith is supposed to have seen off the lot. Barnacle Bill is playing with fire. They created the mess that will sink our living standards while they pretend it has been those who are trying to repair the damage at fault.

UPDATE: The imagery is complete. Viva [many, many thanks] in the comments noted that Abbott is being portrayed as Popeye by Moir in his cartoons!

abbott as popeye