Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Have We Done?

EDITORIAL THURSDAY 24.12.09.
In the words of John Lennon: And so this is Christmas… and what have we done? It seems hard to believe that another year has somehow passed by so quickly, and yet here we are, looking forward to Christmas time with family and friends, and looking back at the year that was. So what have we done in the past year?

After the economic disaster of 2008, the New Year began with a bleak outlook. The share market was still see-sawing its way down to depths not seen for years. Dire warnings of recession and unemployment prompted a second wave of economic stimulus in the form of the $42 billion nation building and jobs plan. Now as the year draws to a close, the markets have regained much of their losses, unemployment seems to have leveled out and the recession was postponed indefinitely. Well at least technically anyway. Some will say that the outcome means the economic stimulus spending did its job and the plan worked. Others will always say that the spending was unnecessary and a waste.

Early in the year we were devastated by the Black Saturday fires in Victoria which destroyed lives and property on a terrifying scale. Temperatures and weather conditions conspired to create an unstoppable inferno, leading to claims that perhaps climate change had made the intensity of the fire worse than it might otherwise have been. Drought still grips large areas of the nation, and rivers are drying up. It was the year of the great Sydney dust storm, which originated in the deserts of South Australia, swept across New South Wales, and transformed the city into a scene from a science fiction movie that might have been set on Mars.

Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O couldn’t stay out of trouble. Every time vile Kyle opened his mouth he managed to offend somebody, but for some reason he is still permitted to drive a Rolls Royce, a privilege which should be reserved for more civilized people… like members of the Royal Family and African despots. John Della Bosca shocked the citizens by owning up to an extra marital affair with an attractive young woman half his age, secretly impressing a cavalcade of ordinary looking men who could only dream of achieving something similar. And then even John’s achievements were overshadowed by Tiger Woods.

But while John was keeping company with a younger woman, another young woman was about to make history as Kristina Keneally became the first woman premier of New South Wales. In the federal arena, boxing champion Tony Abbott orchestrated a classic one – two maneuver to KO Malcolm Turnbull and take over the Liberal Party leadership. Mr. Turnbull, accustomed to the Marquis de Queensberry’s rules, was caught with his guard down because he was naïve enough to expect a fair fight. While keeping a careful eye on Happy Joe Hockey, he was blindsided by the Mad Monk. Poor bloke never saw it coming.

In 2009, the world was stunned by the death of Michael Jackson, completely upstaging the final tragic performances of one time Charlie’s Angel Farrah Fawcett and Dirty Dancer Patrick Swayze. Kung Fu star David Carradine checked out without leaving his hotel room in Bangkok. Not to be outdone, Hollywood star Jeff Goldblum thought about dying too for a while, but then realized that it wouldn’t be any fun if he wasn’t around to enjoy all the attention.

The leaders of the world all gathered together in Copenhagen to talk about climate change, and it turns out that’s about all they did. After two weeks of generating enough hot air to raise the sea level a good 15 centimetres, they failed to reduce emissions by even enough to offset their own carbon footprint fro all the jet fuel they used getting there in the first place. So instead of an agreement there is an accord, and instead of a target there is a target to set a target next year. We should have known what to expect all along. After all, Denmark is the home of Hans Christian Anderson, the creator of the world’s favourite fairytales.

When you realize that it all kind of makes sense. Kind of.

Until next year, have a safe and happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Look after yourself, but more importantly let’s all remember to look after each other. In the end, each other is all we ever really have.

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