Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Setting the Records Straight on John Howard's Westin Hotel Shindig

The heavens opened at exactly 6pm on the dot this evening (I know, as I was listening to the 6 o'clock ABC news on the radio at the time), dumping on an estimated 300 faithful union members and other assorted anti-Howardists assembled at Martin Place. But remain they did, despite the rain, the indecently large number of assembled police (some of whom were positioned inside the second floor windows of the Westin Hotel - what did they think we were going to do, fly up, smash the windows, and climb inside?). We had a good old chant and a yell, and waved our placards. The Your Rights At Work did a couple of laps of Castlereagh St, and we cheered our guts out at it. Then, at 8:30pm, Unions NSW asked us to pack up and vacate the area. This, we did very peacefully, and the whole thing proceeded as cheerfully as a protest against a nasty little man running country for ten years could do. All in all, it was a jolly old way to spend the tenth anniversary of Lord Voldeshort's ascent to power.

I describe what went on in reasonable detail in order to refute the first TV media report of the protest, which came via Channel 10 (I can't, at the moment, remember whether 2GB's Jason Morrison is still their news director, but the fact that one of their other top stories was `Meg Ryan Speaks to Oprah Winfrey About Her Relationship With Russel Crowe' is a good indicator of the quality of their, ahem, `news'). According to Channel 10, protesters, `ran out of puff' and `packed up and went home' shortly before the `wily' PM turned up and fooled the lot of us.

This is simply incorrect. The protest was disbanded at a pre-determined time. The crowd was asked to disperse at 8:30 by Unions NSW officials, and therefore, we did so. Whether a coincidence or a sensible decision to disband before a merry rant turned ugly, I can assure you of one thing - I did not see a single person turn away and go home when it began to rain. We did not `give up'. We certainly did not `run out of puff'.

As for the shindig itself, the 1,000 guests who attended are rumoured to have paid up to $2,000 each for tonight's dinner, which follows one in Canberra last night and precedes another in Melbourne tomorrow, meaning the whole 10th anniversary hullabaloo (being played up to a ridiculous extent by The Oz in particular - who, after all, have their new book, `The Howard Factor', to hawk) represents a tidy little earner for the Liberal Party.

What little I've seen of the event is too nauseating for words, though I'd love to get my hands on some of the posters that were used to decorate the Westin's ballroom. `STRONG DIRECTION, MAINSTREAM VALUES'. I think Howard might have a copy of this on his bedroom ceiling.


At 11:45 pm, Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

I caught Howard's mug last night on Radio Australia news. The first grab was him thanking all of the political drones - "hard workers" - who had done more for him in the last ten years than anyone else.

I also noted the motto under the podium. That's right, Orstraya, if you don't share Howard's values then you are not "mainstream". You are an outsider.

Good on everyone who turned up. How typical that the police were there in force, showing how many "precautions" are necessary against the loons. What a joke.

At 11:13 am, Anonymous Guy said...

Nice work - would have liked to have been there but had another thing on that I needed to go to.

I couldn't help but grin when the lead story on Channel Nine that night was "protesters mar Howard's schmancy dinner" rather than "wonderful Johnny celebrate historic 10 years in office".

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