In the Aussie political arena, there's a recently-elected Queenslander who's bonkers: Big Bad Jimmy Bidgood. He's got kangaroos hopping all around in his head.
You'll see that the fiery background in this portrait (borrowed from the ABC and slightly retouched) is perfect. A few days ago, outside parliament house, a 28-year-old Latvian fellow doused himself in petrol with the intention of committing suicide by fire, to protest against the fact that his parents—who have been settled in Australia for 11 years—cannot obtain a permanent visa. At the moment the poor fellow was fumbling around trying to set himself on fire, Bidgood happened to be passing by. What did he do? Did he rush in to save the life of the desperate protester? No, Big Bad Jimmy dragged out his camera and took a photo of the guy. Later, when police and journalists arrived on the scene, Bidgood attempted to sell his photo to the press! Not surprisingly, Bidgood was sternly reprimanded by the prime minister Kevin Rudd himself, and ordered to apologize both to his parliamentary colleagues and to the family of the protester.
Taking advantage of his sudden notoriety, Big Bad Bidgood then decided to speak out his mind about the worldwide financial crisis. His words were startling, somewhat crazy: "I believe there is God's justice in action in what is going on here. We haven't seen the end of it. The ultimate conclusion is like I say, we look at Bible prophecy, we are going towards a one world bank and a one world monetary system. And if you believe the word of God and you read Revelations... you will see clearly what is being spelt out. We are in the end times."
I've always believed that, in my native land, there's something fundamentally wrong with many politicians. They often seem to look upon their vocation, not as a service towards the good of the nation and the well-being of their compatriots, but as a platform upon which they can elevate their personal status, particularly from a financial viewpoint. So, Bidgood's trying to cash in on the suicide attempt doesn't surprise me greatly. But the idea of exploiting the visions of St John of Patmos as guidelines for solving international monetary problems is a novel aspect of Down Under statesmanship.