flight to Versailles
bourgeois bohemians are off to Paris for the high season. Paddy McGuinness
has been flagging his trip for weeks but Peter Costello kept his travel
plans under wraps until they leaked to the press, or perhaps it was
a spur-of-the-moment decision. Who can blame him for wanting to escape
the last ghastly week of media disasters before the GST hits?
Keating is probably already wandering carefree down the Champs Elysees.
He once reportedly remarked that the only good way to see Darwin was
at 40,000 feet on the way to Paris, but that was before defeat and exile.
The Emperor recently made one of his rare visits to the old estate at
Bankstown, to bless a park which the peasants had named in his honour.
Chikarovski should have been in Paris by now, rediscovering herself
as a Woman, but things didn't go according to plan and she is doomed
to wander the treacherous corridors of Macquarie Street for a few more
and Peter will fly first-class, of course. Peter, because he is, after
all, the Treasurer of Australia, and Paddy, because, well, to put it
diplomatically, he is a man of substance and too generously-proportioned
for a standard economy-class seat. They will probably try to put Paddy
in the aisle seat to get him nearest to the plane's centre of gravity
and the pilot will trim the tabs, or transfer fuel to the opposite wing,
to make up the difference.
of the dual exodus finally solved a mystery which had been exercising
observers of the Incomprehensible Right since Paddy announced his trip
three weeks ago: who would dine with The People's Champion on his pilgrimage
to the finer restaurants of Paris? This year it's a fair bet he'll be
tucking in with the treasurer. Paddy tells us he's going to the exclusive
La Coupole in Monteparnasse -- a place you can't walk into without spending
the sort of money most people think of as a week's wages.
time last year it was his very old and very dear friend Bob Carr, at
a nice little place in the Palais de Louvre. Paddy couldn't help telling
the story in his column but he couldn't recall who paid the bill. Which
seems odd: you go to dinner in Paris with the Premier of NSW, and you
can't remember who paid the bill? Perhaps, among bourgeoise bohemians,
these things matter so little the details are easily forgotten. Me?
I remember who paid when my long-lost business partner Bruce Possum
and I did lunch at Darcy's back in 1973 (it was Bruce).
and Paddy have lots to celebrate. Peter has pulled off the biggest wealth
transfer in Australian history, a trick that eluded Emperor Keating
and the hapless Cardinal Hewson. Over aperatifs they'll tell each those
stories of outrageous front that politicians and spin doctors love.
They'll be a few laughs about Paddy praising the GST as "a very
fair tax". After all, if people like him pay more to eat at top
nosheries, they pay more tax ... simple as that ... what could be fairer?
The whinging swine should count themselves lucky too. If they flew to
Paris to eat at La Coupole, they'd be paying tax at 20.6 per cent. It
ain't easy bein' rich. Ho ho, that'll bamboozle 'em!
tears of laughter will roll down their cheeks and into the Bollinger
when Paddy tells Peter how he lashed the arts community in his last
column. If they didn't get on side with what he called "popular
feeling" against Reconciliation and in favour of mandatory sentencing,
they had only themselves to blame if people thought them elitist.
in Whispers from the mean streets
-- Best of 2000