||Issue No. 187||18 July 2003|
Hearts, Minds and Other Body Parts
Interview: As They Say In The Bible ...
Industrial: Just Doing It
Unions: Breaking Into the Boys Club
Activists: Making the Hard Yards
Bad Boss: In the Pooh
Unions: National Focus
Economics: Pop Will Eat Itself
Technology: Dean for President
International: Rangoon Rumble
Education: Blackboard Jungle
Review: From Weakness to Strength
The Locker Room
Sid Einfield Would be Proud
Tom in the Manger
Sermon on the Mount
Professional weirdo Paddy McGuinness presented his twisted parody of satire this week in the pages of the Sydney Morning Herald.
Under the headline 'What Corrigan did for the wharfies' McGuinness, with his eye firmly set on the nineteenth century, claimed that Chris Corrigan "creates wealth for everybody". The fact that a damn sight more of that wealth ends up in the bank account of Corrigan, C. - rather than the people who actually do the work - flew blissfully over the sad shambles that passes as Paddy's head. Anyone with half a grasp of what ensued during the waterfront dispute knows the best thing Corrigan could do for wharfies is to stick his head in a bucket of water twice and take it out once.
Paddy starts his creative rant by cloaking himself in the mantle of fact, but immediately disrobes by citing a Productivity Commission report that offers no support for the bizarre assertions that follow.
"Most union militancy these days is directed towards protecting the vested interests of union officials," rails Paddy, who obviously hasn't been near the real world for some time. Poor deluded Paddy obviously believes the campaigns at Ansett, One.Tel, Morris McMahon and Metro Shelf are some bizarre conspiracy bankrolled by Moscow gold.
McGuinness has obviously been an insecure man through his life. He took the criticism of his lazy engagement with the left in his younger days personally and has spent the remainder of his sorry existence crawling to the loony right for acceptance. While some go to extremes to win the acceptance of their peers McGuinness's efforts are truly remarkable.
In an unusual show of bravery, Paddy takes his attack right up to a dead man. After claiming that attack dogs and security guards wearing balaclavas weren't "thuggery" Paddy rounds on Tas Bull, the recently deceased leader of the MUA, citing Bull's autobiography.
"At no point in this book does Bull ever admit that anything good happened on the ships and wharves that was not the work of the union." This, Paddy old chum, is largely because nothing good did happen that wasn't the work of the union. The idea that working conditions in the maritime industry improved because of the generosity of ship owners is not borne out by the experiences of seafarers. If it comes down to the generosity of shipping companies Paddy may wish to take his next "pleasure cruise" aboard a Panamanian registered container ship.
Bull's autobiography is a great read and sets out exactly how the maritime unions managed to improve conditions over the middle part of the twentieth century.
McGuinness's bizarre fulmination on Bull's choice of abode, Hunters Hill, reeks of a conservative tantrum. Obviously Tas couldn't have lived in "working class" Balmain as all the housing there has been taken up by the gentrification that Paddy will no doubt be familiar with. Clearly, it sticks in Paddy's craw that someone who worked so hard for so long for their fellow workers didn't end up living in a caravan park in Leppington. The fruits of labour, in Paddy's world, are obviously not to be shared with the great unwashed.
Paddy's assertion that the Seamen's Union of Australia is responsible for the collapse of the coastal shipping trade will bring a bemused smile to anyone who has actually bothered to look beyond the Darling Street Wharf when evaluating this country's shipping industry. The Howard Governments green-light for substandard, flag of convenience ships to work Australian waters is the real death knell for domestic shipping. Its ramifications for working conditions, national security and the environment are big negatives for Australia. Yet, according to Paddy, its because the MUA won't let Australian companies pay their employees in salt.
Paddy is a truly amusing caricature of the blustering paranoid right in full cry. His brain explosions must be embarrassing to the very people whose support he craves. Is he Mad? Possibly. Just out to lunch? Probably. Irrelevant? Certainly.
Readers may wish to email Paddy and congratulate him on being our Tool Of The Week at [email protected]
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