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Poll date surprise

PM Julia Gillard has stunned politics watchers by throwing away any element of surprise in this year's election date. Will the move help her, or haunt her?

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Good grief Julia, there's many ways to get the comments of your bloke out of the public eye, but this?

Surely, negating one prostate gag isn't worth putting Australia through eight months of election campaigning?

What if your bloke had made a more controversial joke about some other disease and another type or race of people? We might have been going to the election next week!

Have you really thought this through? How many babies are going to be cruelly traumatised by smiling politicians wanting to hug, even kiss, them in the coming months? The cost to the development of Australia's future could be incalculable.

And have you thought about this country's productivity rates in the next eight months, as workers around the country have to stop and mock explain to you how their sandwich bar, iron sheeting factory and auto-parts maker (sorry, perhaps not them, they're a bit scarce on the
ground) exactly go about their business.

And have you really thought through how many times we can stand the words 'ELECTION TWENTY-THIRTEEN' being bandied about in the media? Have you? I predict by September 14, the phrase will have been used 2,650,200 times. It will be followed not too far away by ELECTION COUNTDOWN (1,765,312 times). Not that anyone by then will be counting.

Not that by then anyone will have the slightest interest in any of it.

I can predict also the mood of the electorate at the end of it: stupor.

Perhaps by the second week of September, prostates will be tucked away properly where they should be. Perhaps also, you'll have ordered your bloke Tim to have taken a long vacation in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. His jokes over there might be lost in translation, which may or may not be a good thing, but at least you won't have to have a quiet word to him after he's opened his mouth in public.

Perhaps you've been thinking come spring, in the midst of the footy finals, people will be feeling that all's right with the world.

Election, what election? Did you see the Swans' last  game?

Never in the history of politics have a people had to pay such a high price for one dopey joke gone wrong. Denis Thatcher made a fool of himself many times during the prime ministership of his wife Margaret, but did the Iron Lady ever take it out on the British? No. She could do that just as well on her own account.

This may well go down as the gag that bored a nation to death. We are not amused.

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