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Why Ossie sacked the housekeeper


Economics. The romance of truth through measurement.

“An understanding of the value of economics can best be established by using its own methods. Draw up a list of the large economic problems to have stuck the West over the last quarter century. Detemine the dominant strand of advice offered in each case by the community of economists. Calculate how many times this was followed. (More often than not it was.) Finally, add up the number of times this advice solved the problem.

“The answer seems to be zero.”

The Doubter’s Companion. John Ralston Saul.

From “Capital in the Twenty First Century” by Thomas Piketty:

“To put it bluntly, the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics and for purely theoretical and often highly ideological speculation, at the expense of historical research and collaboration with the other social sciences. Economists are all too often preoccupied with petty mathematical problems of interest only to themselves.”


“My child has just told me that you have been hitting him with the broom. Is this true?”

“Yes, he’s a very lazy child. And his room’s a mess.”

“But that’s no reason to hit him with the broom.”

“He’s soft and lazy and won’t pick up his things. He needs to be hit – it’s good for him.”

“I disagree. Please don’t hit him again.”

“Who’s in charge of this house? You or me?”

“Well, I am the owner.”

“And I’m the housekeeper.”

“That doesn’t put you in charge.”

“Yes it does.”

“Look, you convinced me that a man would make a much better housekeeper than a woman, because woman were less methodical and too emotional, and so I sacked my previous one and appointed you on the understanding that you were going to do certain things.”

“Well, if you’re not happy with my work, then you don’t have to renew my contract.”

“Yeah, just on that. You promised that you’d look after my mother as well as your other duties.”


“Well, you’ve got her weeding the garden!”

“A bit of sunshine’ll do her good.”

“But she’s ninety.”

“We all need to share the load.”

“You said that you’d look after her, not put her to work. And you also said that you were a nurse who could administer first aid.”

“If people can’t make a small contribution to their own first aid, I don’t see why I should have to do anything.”

“What do you mean by small contribution?”

“Take themselves to the doctor. Or better yet, not get hurt in the first place. First aid only encourages people to needlessly hurt themselves!”

“Yes, but I hired you on the understanding that you’d not only look after the house, but take care of my mother, help my children with their schoolwork and administer first aid. And you said that – because you’re a strong man – you’d be able to do it all for less than my previous housekeeper!”

“That’s right.”

“Well, you aren’t doing any of those things. And as for the library…”

“What about the library?”

“You said that you’d get my books in order. That they were a mess.”

“That’s right. That was my over-riding promise. The others don’t count.”

“Well, I just had a look in there and you’ve pulled even more books off the shelves.”

“Yes, I’ve had to put them there in order to sort everything out.”

“But why have you put so many of them in the bin, and put prices on the rest?”

“Well, how else will the buyers know what to pay?”

“You’re planning to sell my books? Why?”

“So that they don’t get in a mess again!”

“But you promised that you’d sort them out.”

“And I will. But I’m reducing them to ten books so they’ll be easier to keep track of.”

“I have hundreds of books.”

“It’s all right – when they’re sold, I intend to share some of the proceeds with you.”

“Some? Why not all?”

“Well, it was my idea wasn’t it? And I’m selling them to my brother so I can be sure that you’ll get a fair price. You’ll thank me for this one day. Just like you’ll thank me for giving that lazy child of yours a few beatings…”

“But you lied to me when you went for the job.”

“Not about anything that actually matters.”

“I want to check the books before you throw any of them out or sell them.”

“Sorry, but that’s just going to slow things down.”

“Who’s running this place?”

“I am. And I’m doing a damn fine job.”

“No, you’re a liar and a…”

“Don’t say anything you’ll regret. Just calm down and think about how bad things really were before I took over.”

“I’m not sure they were that bad.”

“They were – trust me. If you can’t trust a person saying ‘trust me’, who can you trust? We’re all in this together, after all. In fact, I don’t even think you need to give me that pay rise I deserve for doing such a sterling job. Just freeze my wages for the next twelve months, ok? You can give me the back pay on the freeze then.”


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  1. Sir ScotchMistery

    I am shocked to the core. I know a political satire is fun, but this is shockingly accurate.

    You need to cast Dame Kwithtoffer as the hag I think.

  2. edward eastwood

    Great satire Ross, sharp, succinct, and spot on!
    🙂 🙂

  3. diannaart

    FB & Tweeted

    Cheers Ross

  4. MissPamela

    That really “sums” it up so well!

  5. Keitha Granville

    omg – it’s succinctly perfect. I feel unwell and have to go and lie down now.

  6. lawrencewinder

    It felt worse hearing it in a Belgian (Terminator) accent!
    The loopy Da-Da-iste/ surrealist quality of the narrative was too close to the bone, too.
    (Psst…are you really writing for the IPA?)

  7. mikestasse

    Mathematis grought the rigour to economics. Unfortunately, it also brought the rigor……….

  8. mikestasse

    Bloody hell… I stuffed that up!

    Mathematics brought the rigour to economics…… Unfortunately it also brought the mortis…!

  9. Kaye Makovec

    I had to share that with Abbott supporters 🙂 🙂 🙂

  10. Kerri

    Brilliant as usual Rossleigh!
    An excellent analogy!
    Is this on Fbook yet?

  11. Winifred Jeavons

    Loved it! politicians must be reminded that they are elected to serve us not to rule over us or sell our hard won property. But what would you expect from men who want elderly and disabled to work when there is not enough work for all the rest.

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