Gertrude’s Diary #53 – Fairy Story

Once upon a time there was a funny-looking kid who behaved like a miniature grown-up. He looked askance at the other children’s earthy jokes and was the first to dob in the kids playing desk soccer. He never chewed up bits of paper and spat them through his pen. His face was permanently locked into an expression of smug rectitude, even as he told the lies that incriminated his classmates in imagined deeds of desperate mischief.

Scorned by all who knew him, except his pale and vaguely disappointed parents, his teenage years were a lonely time, filled with a bitterness he fed with envy and hatred of everything different.

One sunny, Sydney, Saturday morning, this pathetic creature made a startling discovery. There, on the footpath outside his local shops was a group of people, surrounded by brightly coloured flyers and waving streamers. These shining creatures looked past the sticky-out ears and the short-back-and-sides, past the weak chin and arrogant eyes, and they saw not an unhappy young man but a future voter.

Mistaking their shining eyes and flashing teeth for the symptoms of friendship, the young man adopted them and turned his not inconsiderable intellect to learning the ruthless dance of politics. He applied himself to studying the game, the numbers, and the rhetoric. With his inconsequential appearance, and the manner of one whom could no wrong, the young man quickly ingratiated himself to those around him, until his position was strong enough to run for election.

He had studied well, and was successful in his ambitions. Lacking faith in anything but his own rightness, the man grew to middle-age with the singular ambition of eliminating everyone and everything not like himself. Age cemented in him the certainty that he could do no wrong. His lies were never proved, his clever manipulations overlooked behind his well-rehearsed portrayal of a good bloke.

Only when the country was more divided than ever; only when civil rights and social welfare had been reduced to whimpering wrecks, when many of the industrial relations reforms of the last 80 years had been undone, did the scales fall from the eyes of the voters.

A story that starts with once upon a time should end with a happily ever after. I’ll settle for now with hopefully ever after.

5 Responses to “Gertrude’s Diary #53 – Fairy Story”

  1. Funny,

    I thought you were talking about Kevin until the last para.

  2. I thought Samuel Gordon-Stewart

  3. Anyone with half a brain would understand the Sydney line discounts our Kev…

    But what a fairy tale ending, hollywood would be proud of it! We all know the good guys always win. If little johnny was a dog he would be slinking around under the house with his tail well and truly between his legs…did I say if?

  4. Your insight is only too horribly plausible, but I would argue that Johnny’s problem wasn’t that he rehearsed well his portrayal of a good bloke, more that he genuinely believed (probably still does) that he WAS a good bloke. That conviction is what made him so horribly successful and allowed so many people to be lulled into the idea that self-serving, selfish policies must be okay, ’cause he was a good bloke, wasn’t he?

  5. He was an acceptable face to the people of Oz whilst his party went about wrecking the social fabric of this country. Gert is spot on about the good bloke image, the whole episode is utterly disgusting.