Today, the canonisation of Saint Rod, the socialisation of Adelaide boozing and noshing, and what Boris Johnson can really teach us about Adelaide’s cycle lanes.
Axed public servant Rod Hook has been canonised in the wake of Premier Jay Weatherill’s decision to give him the boot.
The long-standing department chief executive has been given credit for “rebuilding” South Australia and the man himself alluded to having a positive role in Labor’s re-election.
The latter raised a few Labor eyebrows – given that problems with trains cost the party more than a few votes (and probably the seat of Bright). Not a word either about Saint Rod’s role in negotiating those rock-bottom bus contracts that made Adelaide’s public transport system about as reliable as shipping lettuce by rabbit.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday night Hook loyalists from his department gathered at Adelaide Oval’s plush and prestigious Cathedral Room to honour him.
Members of the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure received an emailed invitation to the knees up, which seemed officialish, considering it came from the department’s Acting Director of Communications and Community Relations.
Before you ask, those attending were slugged $60 a head at the door to pay for drinks and canapes.
Not since Don Dunstan helped his mate John Ceruto into the restaurant and catering game has the state government been so closely involved in the glamorous world of fine dining.
While tourism minister Leon Bignell continues to flagellate restaurateurs in Leigh and Peel streets for their rank ingratitude in not turning out bespoke brekkies for the masses before footy games, the taxpayer-bankrolled hospitality business continues to boom down on the Torrens.
The Adelaide Convention Centre, being upgraded by you to the tune of $350 million, is making a killing selling booze to the punters on its terrace overlooking the greenish glory of the river. Next door, the Adelaide Festival Centre is just getting in on the act (with our sympathy given their relative lack of moola from the government), setting up a bar on a “deck” created as part of your $40 million spend on the footbridge.
Over at Adelaide Oval, the “not-for-profit” Stadium Management Authority’s more than 20 catering spaces are hoovering up the booze and grub business both before and after the game. Soon, a fine dining restaurant with a Henschke wine theme will be running at the Oval in direct competition to Adelaide’s scanty collection of fine diners – with a view paid for by you, as part of your half-a-billion-dollar splurge on the new stadium.
But, according to Biggles, despite this billion-dollar socialisation of riverside imbibing and noshing, the poor sods who run restaurants off Hindley Street should be hauling their tired arses out of bed five hours after they fall exhausted into their sweat-stained cots, in order to make 50 cents a throw on bacon and egg rolls – all because the government paid for some bollards and planter boxes with change they found down the back of the Cabinet room couch.
The dear old Advertiser this week published a full-page “house” ad, claiming it reached a higher percentage of South Australians per month than Facebook or Google.
What they failed to mention was that a poultice made from the newsprint of Thursday’s “Hit” liftout can smooth away wrinkles and melt melanoma.
When too many manifestos are barely enough
City councillor Mark Hamilton has launched a spiffy website as part of his campaign to unseat lord mayor Stephen Yarwood in the local government elections later this year.
He is planning to release a baffling array of plans for the city – of various hefts, in terms of their pointage. There’s a nine-point plan, a 12-point plan, and seven-point, eight-point, 10-point, and even 15-point plans for the city (including one called “Hamilton’s other policies and plans”).
There’s also this intriguing endorsement: “Never before has a Lord Mayoral candidate put forward such an extensive plan for the future of Adelaide. It reminds me of Boris Johnson’s manifestos for London.”
Problem is – we don’t know who said it (was it Mark himself?)
The only plan Hamilton has actually published is “Hamilton’s 12-point car friendly city plan”, which includes reviewing and reducing bike lanes, a moratorium on new bike lanes, and getting rid of bus lanes because “the vast majority of people in Adelaide don’t use public transport”.
We thought we’d take a look at Boris Johnson’s manifestos for London, that seemed to have inspired Councillor Hamilton.
He might be surprised to learn that Johnson’s manifestos favour investment in public transport, promise an expanded free bike scheme and, in 2012, he vowed to triple the number of “cycle superhighways” in London.
Yes, these involve cycle lanes of various kinds – serious, car-lane-munching, bicycle lanes.
And what does Boris himself say?
In March, he talked about his vision of creating “mini Hollands” in London – pockets that emulate the Dutch cycling nirvana.
“We are absolutely committed to making cycling not a marginal or niche activity, or something eccentric, but what it increasingly is: an integral part of the transport network,” Johnson said.
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