Works in the Bulletin 1909

At present the Fusion Government has not the statutory majority - viz, 38 votes for every clause - required for the passage of the Bill, as it stands: though the acquiescing Ministerialists say that if the Ministry cracks the whip, 40 or 41 votes can be safely counted upon. - Melbourne AGE.

It was thus in the beginning: With a sporting chance of winning,
   Jones contested an election years ago.
He was young, enthusiastic, and maintained that measures drastic
   Were imperative to save the land from Woe.
For the laudable admiration of this budding politician,
   Who with zeal to serve his bleeding country burned,
Was to make a reputation as a saviour of the nation,
   And a clean and honest statesman - if returned.

The electors took a fancy to the youngster, and the chance he Had of winning was improved where'er he went. His high motives were respected, and, in short, he was elected; And an Honest Man went into Parliament. Went in to strive for glory where there held a system hoary, Founded on the good old English party plan. Wherefore Jones, half understanding things, submitted to the branding, And became, perforce, a solid party man.
But when he heard a mention of the Whip - Party Whip, He gave answer, as he curled a scornful lip, And his honest zeal upbore him, That his course was plain before him, Just the clean, straight course of earnest statesmanship. For young Jones held notions utterly absurd; And the old campaigners sniggered when they heard That young patriot unfolding His stern views, and Truth upholding, But he meant it, when he said it, ev'ry word.
For a time, in all debating, Jones was famed for boldly stating Plain, blunt truths and keen uncomfortable facts; Till his colleagues grew uneasy, for, in fashion bland and breezy, He proposed to back his burning words with acts. And they told him, with much cunning, that he might be in the running For the leadership if he'd consent to hedge. He was bold, ambitious, clever, but advance, they said, he'd never While he clung to childish notions of his pledge.
Brave young Jones at first was scornful; but, ere long, with visage mournful, He sat down to think on what he stood to lose. And his party friends, with caution, hinted honors were his portion If he'd but consent to water down his views. And they e'en suggested slyly that, although they valued highly His great services, defiance was not meet. Till, his splendid dream departing, Jones saw plainly that a parting With his party meant a parting with his seat.
It was then he heard the cracking of the Whip - Party Whip! And he found the System had him in its grip, On the one hand was devotion To his duty, with promotion On the other, and the hope of leadership. For he'd come unto the parting of the ways, And he hearkened to the voice of fulsome praise - To the promise of preferment, And - there happened the interment Of the self-respecting Jones of other days.
Step by step he climbed the ladder: now a wiser if a sadder And a meaner politician, till he led, And his party, though erratic, was lukewarmly democratic; Thus he strove to soothe his conscience on this head. But there came a day of clamor when his colleagues vowed the glamor Of his visions was all bunkum and a myth; For these champions of the nation had perceived their sole salvation Lay in fusing with the Tory leader, Smith.
Jones at first held out, refusing all suggestions of his fusing With this person he had hitherto abused. But he marked his sullen backing, and he heard the whip a-cracking, Then he abjectly surrendered all, and - "fused" ... Jones is now a semi-leader. O, consider, gentle reader; Think, how many politicians can you name Who, though starting straight and cleanly, have surrendered weakly, meanly, When their party bid them fuse and "play the game"?
How they shudder at the cracking of the Whip - Tory whip. How they tremble lest the slightest fault or slip Should offend their august master, And upon them bring disaster, And deprive them of their cherished membership. 'Twas to save their bleeding country in they went, And to bleed it save themselves in Parliament; Ev'ry worthy cause neglecting, Their own worthless skins protecting, And a fig for all the "views" they "represent." O, the "freedom" of the Fusion Party man! Noble man! Abject creature of the grim old Tory clan, Waiting, watching, shuffling, veering, Scheming, plotting, engineering - Sorry product of the "Good old Party Plan."

The Bulletin, 4 November 1909, p16

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-03