Just when you thought that Barnaby had been consigned to the back bench and we could all concentrate on things that matter, Mr Joyce reminds once again while you can sometimes keep a good man down, you certainly can’t keep an ex-leader out of the news.
Now, I suspect that some of you thought that Barnaby would have had enough of being front-page news and that he’d be looking forward to spending some quiet time with his tea towel and new partner. You’d think he’d take the time to paint the nursery, pick out which toys he’d like to see thrown from the cot and decide the colour of the dummy which he’d proudly teach Barnaby Junior to spit.
It seems that the colour of the nursery is to be grey because that bastion of family values…
Is bastion the right word there? Bast… something. Anyway…
It seems that Mr Joyce has told “The Sydney Morning Herald” that the child’s biological father was “a bit of a grey area”, a revelation which must fill all of us – including Vikki Campion, the child’s mother – with a great sense of relief.
Mr Joyce makes a salient point when he chides “The Daily Telegraph” for assuming that he was, in fact, the father without checking. However, from there I find both my sense of what’s an appropriate comment to make and my knowledge of the facts of life differing from the Honorable Mr Joyce.
To quote “The SMH” directly:
‘Mr Joyce conceded that the fact they were physically apart for almost all of the critical period in which conception occurred, meant the question of paternity remained “a bit of a grey area”.’
Now, my understanding of biology suggests that if they were physically apart during the critical period of conception then there’s no chance that he’s the father unless by insemination. However, even if Mr Joyce was travelling in Europe and Ms Campion was in Queensland for part of the time when conception may have occured, and even if he was acting PM in early July with “close personal protection body guards”, neither of these things mean that the happy couple spent no time together, and as Billy Bragg told us: “the time it takes to make a baby can be the time it makes to make a cup of tea”! Unless the “close personal protection body guards” also doubled as a condom, there’s no reason why an acting Prime Minister couldn’t decide that, rather than make a cup of tea, he’d find some other way to fill in the time which led to the creation of a little bundle of Joyce.
Apart from this, there remains the strange comment about the question of paternity being a “bit of a grey area”. Let’s just remember there’s been a bit of a discussion about staying out of politician’s private lives and, in the strange case of Barnaby Button, we were told that it was opening a can of worms if we were to go down that path. Now that he’d lost the leadership, you would have thought that Mr Joyce would be content to leave his worm in the can.
But Barnaby, now unconstrained on the back bench, feels that he must inform us that he may not be the father. Why he wants us to know this, I have no idea. I would have thought of all the things you’d want to keep private, it’d be the fact that you may not be the child’s real father and I don’t mean that from a political point of view. I mean, would you really want your child being told at some time in the future that your father had speculated in the paper that he may not be your actual parent? Ok, ok, I know that in the case of Barnaby’s son, it could be a great relief, but still it does seem a strange thing to put out there.
Is he trying to tell us that Ms Campion was having relations with other people as well as himself? Nothing wrong with that, of course, given they weren’t in a committed relationship with each other. But it does help justify his argument that she wasn’t his partner at the time she was being employed in the offices of other members. See, I wasn’t lying, can I have the leadership back?
And, while many people would be happy to admit that they’d had more than one sexual partner around the time of their child’s conception to their friends, there aren’t so many that would be happy to broadcast this fact to the wider population in a newspaper interview, if only because it may make Auntie Doreen’s questions at Christmas lunch a little more uncomfortable than usual.
Or is he trying to suggest that the child may have been an immaculate conception and that he is the modern day Joseph, step-dad of the Second Coming. And speaking of second comings, I expect to be Deputy PM again now that I’ve cleared up this idea that I’m fathering a child to a ex-member of my staff.
Whatever, whether he meant to or not, the poor kid now has the terrible prospect that if he doesn’t look like Barnaby, it will lead to speculation about who the real father is, with Michaelia Cash threatening to repeat rumours even though she doesn’t believe them.
An even worse prospect for the unfortunate child is that he does look like Mr Joyce.