The view from Possum Point
2 December 2010
The sun rose in gorgeous soft pinks and glowing oranges over the glassy grey sea and through the morning mist sliding down the river. A light rain had fallen in the early hours and it dripped off the tips of the gum leaves and sparkled in the bracken and kangaroo grass.
A grimy year was drawing inexorably towards the silly season and Joadja and I had slipped out of Sydney to the old cottage at Possum Point.
It was a long time since we’d been down. A little rain had leaked through a rust hole in the old iron roof and a lot of leaves had blown in under the old back door. An impressively large limb had crashed down from one of the old spotted gums way down near the old dunny, but apart from that, the old place had just slumbered on in our absence. The old bluetongue lizard emerged from under the old shed.
“So, 2011, what will it bring?” Joadja asked as we breakfasted on the verandah.
“Buggered if I know. More of the same mostly, I guess”, I mumbled, with my mouth full of avocado on toast.
“An economic recovery?”
“Nah, I think not. The world has been floating on a sea of debt for so long, it’s doubtful if it can go on. And if they manage to reflate the economy by pumping in even more cheap credit, the price of oil and gas will go through the roof and there’ll be shortages preceded by a nasty bout of price inflation. Hey, the only thing that’s protecting Australian motorists from $1.70 a litre is the strength of our dollar. If it slips back to 75 cents to the US dollar, the shock will be profound.”
“The beastliness will grind on. Western imperialist policy will absolutely guarantee that, at the point of origin, war and disruption will continue so the problem won’t go away. Probably it will get worse. And then, of course, when the unfortunates arrive here, they’re easy meat for redneck patriot politicians who wave the flag for ‘War on Terror’ and then whip their dumb followers into a frenzy against the victims of their wars. I can’t see Gillard’s ‘Indonesian Archipelago solution’ being less controversial than Howard’s ‘Pacific Solution’. All she’ll end up doing is turning Timor or some place in Indonesia into a giant Australian-funded concentration camp. The natives will hate it.”
I washed down the toast with a slurp of Jo’s excellent coffee. “The redneck dingbats will seize on irrelevant factoids and deny that there’s a problem and our coal giants will continue to make mega-bucks exporting greenhouse gasses to the world. Gillard and Abbott will compete to do the least possible to rein in carbon. A few more wind turbines will be installed with much fanfare.”
“What’s your prognosis for the Middle East?”
“The Zionists will go on being mad, intractable and beastly to the Palestinians. They’ll continue, with total impunity, to defy Obama’s ever-so-gentle attempts to weedle them into any sort of compromise. And of course, as more and more Jews with a brain and a conscience abandon Zionism, it’ll be more and more dominated by fundamentalist fruit-loops. Ah, but with Gillard in power and Abbott in opposition, we’ll just go on mindlessly supporting them.”
“We’ll stay until the Yanks declare ‘victory’ and cut and run. Faulkner will continue to look sick at heart every time he repeats the government line, but whatever the Yanks say to her, Gillard is unlikely to increase our commitment. If she sent more than three or four thousand, she’d have to introduce conscription and she doesn’t want to go there, does she? Our guys will be told not to get killed too often.”
“The Korean peninsula, China?”
“Most likely, business as usual, but with US–China relations deteriorating. Occasional provocations and border incidents. Beijing will regard any serious move against the North as a proxy war against China and the only way the hereditary Stalinist regime will be overthrown is from inside.”
“Gillard’s war on public education will grind on. You know, dumbed-down rote-learning, mindless fact-testing and league-tabling of schools. But now they’ll have a school hall.”
“NSW elections. Barry O’Farrell will get in?”
“Barry will get in even if he’s caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl. He’ll be carrying a bunch of mean, ultra-conservative, religious nutters on his back, but at least we’ll be shot of Labor’s Mediterranean patrone faction. They’ll all go off to the sinecures in the private sector that they’ve so obviously been preparing for themselves.”
“But will those jobs really be there?” Jo asked”. “I mean, how many ex-Labor ministers can the merchant bank and the developers accommodate? They’re carrying quite a few on their books already.”
“Good point. Maybe the Murdoch press can absorb a few of them.
“It’s just possible that O’Farrell will bite the public transport infrustructure bullet and actually build some rail and light rail, but he might just rush off on some silly rail privatisation kick and blow the whole thing.”