9 Jun. 2007

Howard Died And Went To Hell

After a decade covering Howard, it's a miracle. But Alan Ramsay still has a sense of humour:
One day, during his morning walk, John Howard drops dead. He arrives at the Pearly Gates, to be told by St Peter: "We seldom see a Liberal, so we're not sure what to do with you." No problem, says Howard. "Just let me in, I'm a good Christian."

But St Peter tells him it's not that simple. Under God's new HEAVEN CHOICES policy, Howard must spend one day in hell and one day in heaven before choosing where he'll live for eternity. And with that, St Peter rings the bell, an elevator arrives, and down Howard goes, non-stop, to hell.

However, when the doors open Howard finds himself on a lush golf course. The sun is shining, the day is perfect, and standing in front of a beautiful clubhouse is Bob Menzies, Billy McMahon, Billy Hughes, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Frank and Kerry Packer, Bob Askin, Bob Santamaria, and many more. They all run to hug him and talk about the old times they had getting rich. They play a round of golf, have a lot of laughs, dine in the club on lobster and champagne, and are having such a good time that, before Howard realises, it's time to go.

Back in heaven, St Peter takes him inside where, for 24 hours, Howard hangs out with a bunch of ordinary, good-natured people who enjoy each other's company, eat simply, talk about things other than money and treat each other decently. Not a broken promise or short-arse joke among them, but what Howard notices most is that he doesn't see anybody he knows.

The day over, Howard tells St Peter: "Heaven has been delightful but I really think I belong in hell with my friends."

So back into the elevator and down he goes, only this time when the doors open he's surrounded by endless scorched earth covered with smog and filth, while all his friends are chained together in rags and are filling black drums with toxic waste.

The Devil appears.

"I don't understand," stammers Howard. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a clubhouse and I ate lobster and drank champagne with all my friends. We lazed around and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland and everybody is miserable!"

The Devil puts an arm around him, smiling, and says silkily: "Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted for us!"
Heh. This bit from Ramsay is also worth noting:
I asked Fraser this week why he'd ever made Howard treasurer. To get his predecessor, Phillip Lynch, out of the headlines, he replied without hesitation.
That's not a joke. Lynch was in trouble over a dodgy real estate deal. So maybe we should all blame the last ten years on Phil Lynch?