THE LAST GASP: The world’s a stage

The Twittersphere jeers the Mal and Tony show, Coles and Woolies stand triumphant and Margaret Thatcher takes a final bow.

The Last Gasp is a wry take on the week’s news, every week.

Finally, the release of the Coalition’s cheaper, slower (download), faster (rollout) and nodier NBN was released, garnering reviews across the nation. It’s a real divider. (Here at Gasp we don’t really care for either, we want a fast train – and we want it now!) But the tech-savvy, cost-incompetent Twitterati was not impressed with the Mal and Tony show, with the online community getting creative in its opposition to the less-than-gold-plated alternative with the ‘fraudband songs and movies’ hashtags. Here are a couple of our favourites:

I like that old time copper load (@PumpkinMichael)
If I could Turnbull back time (@PMenken)
I can’t get node satisfaction (@Ark_required)
U Can't Watch This (@TheBreaker)

And for the flicks:

Buffering the Vampire Slayer (@Billablog)

In other news, Holden delivered the bad news that 500 workers would be sacked from its Adelaide operations, reigniting the debate about manufacturing subsidies in this country. The whole episode was a stark reminder that Australia actually does have an auto industry. Sometimes I forget. Oh, what a feeling.

It was not a good week for the gas industry either, with the offshore West Australian Browse project put on ice in the wake of cost blowouts, US shale fears and other economic nasties. The whole episode was a stark reminder that you shouldn’t let timber companies run gas developments.

Woolies and Coles were winners this week, with the former racking up some nice sales numbers on the back of loyalty shopper data-inspired reforms and the latter getting the ACCC, Canberra and all sorts of others ­off its back with a new deal to guarantee dairy farmers a decent milk price. It’s the first time both milk and loyalty have been used as weapons in a war – this is a ‘supermarket war’ – since the bovine revolution led by Cow Tse Tongue made famous in the historically questionable tribute song Cows with Guns (YouTube it if you don’t know it, you won’t regret it).

Speaking of China, away from the NBN hullabaloo, Julia Gillard and an entourage of Australian government as well as business representatives met with leaders of the communist nation’s political and business communities (well, I guess they’re actually one and the same). Highlights included when Twiggy Forrest hugged an unsmiling central banker, when Julia Gillard called for an end to human rights abuses … in North Korea, when Xi Jinping didn’t fall asleep talking to the Australian delegation (he has the biggest bags under his eyes since sleepy Bill Clinton) and, finally, when Craig Emerson didn’t do, or sing, anything. Phew.

Finally, half the Western world mourned the passing of iconic economic reformer Margaret Thatcher this week, while the other half either politely said nothing or, less politely, danced in the streets. It’s unlikely that reaction had the Baroness turning in her grave. After all, the lady was never for turning. I better go now.