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15 September 2015 @ 02:14 am
Vincent Crabbe and the Goblet of Bile  
You may have been wondering what’s been happening in Australian politics lately. Haven’t we all, kids, haven’t we all.

One or two people too lazy to look it up on Wikipedia have been waiting longer for a sequel to this post than I’ve been waiting for Jo Rowling’s Potter Encyclopaedia. The difficulty has been that the recent government has been unsatirisable. Because they are so ridiculous, it's hard enough to convince non-Australians that the reality is real – actual jokes about them are doomed.

However, recent events have left me with no choice but to hit the keyboard. Thus, I bring you:

Vincent Crabbe and the Goblet of Bile
September 2013
One shivering second of silence, the shock of the moment suspended: and then the tumult broke out around Vince as the screams and the cheers and the roars of the Slytherins rent the air.

“At last!” Crabbe crowed. Smiling Tony“Gryffindors are gone and FINALLY the adults are back in charge.”

“Or,” said Goyle, with an unnerving touch of accuracy, “us.”

“We’ll Axe the Tax, we’ll Stop the Boats, we’ll Solve the Budget Crisis!’ Crabbe continued, ignoring Goyle. "Australia is once again open for business! We'll be back into surplus in our first term!"

Somewhere in the back of the Great Hall, Pansy Parkinson Julie Bishop sidled up to Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull "It should have been you," she muttered. "Or me."

'Patience, Pans,' Malfoy replied. 'Our time will come.' He looked down at his phone. There was a text from Hermione Granger One Term, it said. Malfoy smiled. His phone beeped again. It was Harry Potter : Knife the ratfucker, it read. Malfoy's smile broadened.

With a perfectly arranged Australian flag billowing behind him, Crabbe continued to speak, naming his Ministry. 'Congratulations,' Malfoy whispered. 'You're the new Minister for Foreign Affairs.'

'And the only woman in Cabinet,' she whispered back. 'If he says it's on merit, I'm going to vomit.'

'There are many women knocking on the door of Cabinet,' Crabbe announced. 'But I've had to select on merit.'

Draco passed Pansy a cauldron to retch into.

She dropped it on his foot and ranted in quiet fury. 'Seriously, Goyle as Treasurer? He can barely count!'

'Crabbe's made himself Minister for Women, ' Malfoy noted.

'Despite being a misogynist,' Pansy griped.

'And Minister for Indigenous Affairs.'

'At the same time as slashing services to Aboriginal communities.'

'Hush, he's coming.'

Crabbe made his way to the back of the Great Hall, smiling beneficently at cheering Slytherins, smirking at scowling Gryffindors and ignoring the bemused stares of the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs.

'Draco! Pansy!' he declared, with a smile that would have done a Great White proud.

'Vince!' Malfoy answered for them both. 'So pleased for you!'

Following his lead, Pansy held out her hand. 'I'm looking forward to heading overseas to represent the country's interests,' she said.

Malfoy held in his laughter as Vince hugged her, unable to hear the honesty hidden in her statement. He said nothing. Like Harry and Hermione's defeat of Voldemort, he knew how to plan, and how to wait. Potter's text was foremost in his mind, along with the words of Sirius Black. Keating He was going to do Crabbe slowly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At first things went well. Harry and Hermione had both left Hogwarts to pursue careers in more rational spheres, leaving Dennis Creevey Bill Shortenin charge of the Gryffindor Common Room and the Australian Labor Party. Fearful of offending any sector of the Australian Voting Public, Dennis had locked himself inside his dorm and was refusing to come out until 2016. All Crabbe had to do whenever any problems arose was say, 'This is the mess the Labor Party left us with,' and the media would go away, nodding sagely, and agreeing that Gryffindors, while terribly heroic, were madder than several cut snakes.

Rita Skeeter, Murdochwho had lobbied strongly for Crabbe during the election, telegraphwas thrilled. 'Good government!' Rita's papers skited, thrilled beyond bits that he was about to make another gazillion dollars with the legislative changes he had been promised.

Oh, there were teething problems. After driving a former Speaker of the House out of politics and nearly to the point of suicide over some $954 of mis-used taxi vouchers, Crabbe had to pay back $1600 spent travelling to friends' weddings. And then there was that awkward moment when it turned out they'd been using Invisible Ears to spy on the Indonesian President and his wife. But Crabbe didn't think there was anything to apologise for, and was startled when the Indonesian President begged to differ.

The Australian car industry did disappear in a puff of smoke, but no one wanted to claim any credit for that, and even Professor Flitwick was uncertain who to blame.

And the budget didn't miraculously improve, not even when Goyle poured a vial of Felix Felicis over it. Of course, he'd brewed it himself, and there may have been an unfortunate incident when it came to counting the number of clockwise stirs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


May 2014
There was a frisson of excitement in the Slytherin Common Room. Crabbe and Goyle had just stood in front of the entire school and told them that the days of treacle tarts and pumpkin juice were over! Yes, it was Budget Day at last, and FINALLY they were conquering the Budget Emergency.

'It will be all right, though,' the voting public had reassured each other. 'Crabbe has promised us there's be no new taxes, and no changes to health, education, or the ABC. That's all the important things taken care of.'

Goyle had stepped up to the podium. 'I'd like to begin by mentioning the new taxes. Sorry! No! Not taxes! Co-payments. Levies. Small sums required from al of us to conquer the Budget Emergency! Anyway, they'll be minuscule. Especially compared to the tens of thousands more it's going to cost you to get a university degree and the swingeing cuts we've made to pensions and health care.'

'YOU WHAT??!!' cried the voting public.

'Oh, stop your whining,' Goyle admonished them. 'The age of entitlement is OVER. We're suffering, too, you know. I've had to cut MILLIONS out of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.'

'Hang on,' said the voters, 'it's OUR ABC, you hate it.'

'Oh yeah!' A smile spread across Goyle's face. 'That's not so bad. Anyway, we need lifters, not leaners.'

An angry voice cried out above the others. 'How is sitting outside your office this afternoon with the Finance Minister drinking and smoking cigars lifting, Goyle?' cigars

'I have no idea what you're talking about,' Goyle answered. 'And anyway, we're encouraging people to find work by making it impossible for them to be able to afford to feed themselves if they don't! We're all paying something in this budget!'

'But I notice you're paying $50 and I'm paying $5000,' said an accounting student.

'It's all to do with proportion,' said Goyle.

'But you earn a hundred times what I do,' complained the student.

'Yeah, but you're young, you're going to pay, er, I mean live, longer.' Aware that the brandy wasn't going to drink itself, Goyle shouted 'Budget Emergency!' and fled back to the Slytherin Common room and the warm reception of his peers.

'You've cut billions from my international aid budget,' Pansy hissed as he walked into the green-tinged room.

As her eyes raked over him, Goyle felt real fear for the first time. He took a step backwards, wondering if he could make it past her and into the boys' bathroom before she could paralyse him with her Death Stlare.

'Patience, Pans,' Malfoy counselled, putting a soothing hand on her arm.

Crabbe appeared, and wrapped Goyle in a warm embrace. 'Perfect, Greg. Just perfect. It's the budget the people want!'

'NO WE DON'T,' cried the people from outside.

'Shut up,' Crabbe bellowed back. 'We've axed the tax!'

'We liked the carbon tax,' the people yelled back. 'It cost bugger all, lowered emissions and raised money from a broad base rather than putting it all on a small number of tax payers.'

'Well, we've ended the Mining Tax, too!'

'We loved the Mining tax! It brought in money and only pissed off miners. And even then only in years when they were making obscene profits. You could have used it to build infrastructure instead of pissing it up against the wall like your lot did the last time you were in power!'

'How many times do I have to tell you we're not the Labor Party!'

The year could have all gone very badly, but then the Russians shot down a plane, killing 298 people including 38 Australians. They immediately blamed everybody else, which made things very awkward, because Igor Karkaroff Putinwas meant to visit Queensland later in the year.

'I've got this one,' said Pansy, and began a complex series of negotiations with Beauxbatons, Durmstrang and the European Ministries of Magic in a bid to prove the case against Karkaroff's people. Week by week she worked to negotiate access to the bodies, the crash site, the fragments of proof required.

Then some fool asked Crabbe what he intended to do about the situation.

Standing in front of three waving flags, he declared: 'I’m going to shirtfront Mr Karkaroff. You bet you are, you bet I am.'

'I'm going to kill him!' Pansy shouted into her mobile phone.

'Patience, Pans,' Malfoy reminded her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Of course, it wasn't all ranting Gryffindors, bemused Ravenclaws and head-desking Hufflepuffs. Some parts of the constituency were thrilled with the job Crabbe was doing. Thorfinn Rowle Boltin particular was a massive fan, especially when Crabbe promised to repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Rowle had fallen foul of the act a few years previously when he declared that sundry Indigenous Australians were both not Indigenous enough and frankly UnAustralian.

The voters, by now almost wholly lacking in gruntle, pointed out that this would lead to open slather on people based on their racial background. And that, if nothing else, the 20th century had taught us that that never ended well.

"But people do have a right to be bigots,' declared Amycus Carrow. Abetz'It's a free speech issue!'

'Free speech isn't so important it should be allowed to function separate from truth and without regard for the protection of citizens!' the public declared.

'I hear you,' said Crabbe. 'So I'm shelving that change and instead we'll be recording all your phone and email metadata.'

'You what?!' demanded the public.

'You said free speech wasn't that important,' Crabbe reminded them, standing in front of four Australian flags.

'We're starting to hate you,' muttered the public.

'Better than the Labor Party,' Crabbe reminded them.

Which may have been true, but it wasn't as though anyone was able to make real comparisons. The Labor Party were now nowhere to be found for much of each day, trotting into parliament only to be expelled under Standing Order 94a by Alecto Carrow, BronwynSpeaker of the House and Wearer of the Pearls. For sins as diverse as standing up, asking questions during Question Time and calling her Madame Speaker. Though it should be noted that it wasn't all one-sided. For every 393 members of the Labor Party she ejected, she also ejected 7 Liberals.

But even without a sighting of Dennis Creevey, there were problems. The 2014 Budget just wouldn't pass, held back by the Senate's Order of the Phoenix. Senate

'I'll go back to the polls!' threatened Crabbe. 'I'll seek a Double Dissolution!'

'Isn't your approval rating 30%?' asked the Senate.

'BUDGET EMERGENCY!' shouted Crabbe.

But it was to no avail. Especially when it became clear that Crabbe's government were spending more than either Hermione's or Harry's, while losing jobs and placing the country into a worse economic position.

'It's all Labor's fault!' Crabbe declared.

'Is that strictly true?' asked the public.

Stung into action, Crabbe reshuffled his Front Bench. Cabinet now contained TWO women! A 100% improvement! "We're clearing out some barnacles," he announced, leaving the dumped MPs to mutter furiously at being described as shipping hazards.

The Liberal government in Victoria was defeated, causing some to say that Crabbe's unpopularity had doomed them. He argued that this was clearly nonsense, just look at the healthy Liberal governments in New South Wales and Queensland! But quietly he scrapped plans to make students pay tens of thousands for their degrees and the armed forces lose tens of thousands from their salaries.

While popular, they were expensive backflips, and the (still unpassed) budget was sinking deeper into the red. There was nothing for it, Crabbe massacred the Paid Parental Leave Scheme that had been the centrepiece of his election campaign, leaving some women worse off than they had been under the previous Labor scheme.

Understandably, mothers complained. They had planned their pregnancies around their ability to top up their corporate schemes with the government allowance. 'But that's double dipping,' declared Crabbe and Goyle.

'But that's what the scheme was designed to do!' protested the mothers.

'It's basically fraud,' said Goyle.

'You what?!' demanded the mothers of Australia.

'Women hate us!' Goyle whispered to Crabbe, aghast.

'You're over-reacting,' Crabbe assured him. 'It's not all women. It's just mothers, feminists, Indigenous women and civil libertarians. Who needs them?'

But as it turned out, the Queensland Premier had needed them, and he was swept from office after one term in a record swing, with the electorate returning a woman leader whose name no-one could spell. Qldprem

Draco was rushing through the quadrangle when his phone rang. It was Pansy, with news of the Queensland elections. He listened, trying not to show the glee he felt inside.

'Now?' she demanded.

'Patience, Pans,' he replied.

'I can't wait much longer!'

'The time will come. You'll see.'

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In theory, 2015 should have been a quiet year. The new budget mostly passed, by virtue of being wholly innoccuous, and all those mothers were too busy to maintain a sustained campaign.

Oh, there was that attempt at a leadership spill in February, but it came to nothing. 'We're not the Labor Party!' Crabbe reminded everyone.

'I wonder where the Labor Party is?' everyone wondered.

But it was all fine. Even when Crabbe decided to bring back Knights and Dames as a 'Captain's Call' in March. After all, everyone found it charming when the one of the first Knighthoods was offered to Prince Phillip. Especially the Queen.Abbot and Queen 'Very amusing, Mr Prime Minister,' she said. 'I can't remember when we all laughed so hard.'

'No, it's serious,' said Crabbe.

'Oh,' said Her Majesty. 'Lovely. Must dash, I hear a corgi calling.'

Other international news was grimmer. Two young Australians, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, had made an awful series of decisions nine years previously and tried to smuggle heroin out of Bali. They had been on death row, but under the previous Indonesian government's lenient approach, they had found art and religion respectively and were now well regarded prisoners, helping to rehabilitate others. But with the advent of Jokowi, political points needed to be scored, and their executions were rescheduled.

'I've got this,' declared Pansy Parkinson. 'For the love of Merlin, do not say a word and leave it all up to me!'

Weeks went by, and Pansy inched towards a solution that would be acceptable to all parties.

It was too slow for Crabbe. 'You would think they'd remember that time we gave them a billion dollars after the tsunami,' he grumped.

'I remember that time you spied on my wife,' Jokowi responded. 'And me, while we're at it. You know what, we don't need you, and we're sick of you pretending we do.'

Crabbe stood in front of five Australian flags to announce the death of the young men.

Pansy kept the black hijab she had worn in discussions with the Indonesians up, to hide her face. 'I'm tired of waiting, Draco,' she said. 'I'm taking him out.'

Malfoy put a collegiate arm around her shoulders. 'Leave it, Pans, he's taking himself out.'

And so it appeared to be. When median house prices in Sydney passed the $1 million point, Goyle declared that all people who felt priced out of the market had to do was get a good job that pays good money. Crabbe agreed that this was self evidently true, despite the cries of disbelief from renting Sydneysiders with decent incomes.

When Alecto Carrow was sprung spending $5000 on a helicopter to save her spending an hour in a car on the way to a politcal fundraiser and $90,000 for a fortnight in Europe in search of a new job, Crabbe declared that she had his full support for weeks, until it became clear that his already dreadful poll numbers were slipping, at which point she was for the chop.

When boatloads of Rohingya migrants spilled over the waterways in desperate bids to escape persecution, Crabbe said, 'Nope, nope, nope' to taking them in, insisting that he had stopped the boats at a press conference held in front of six Australian flags.

'But you've only stopped them from landing in Australia,' said the voting public.

'That's right, because we will do whatever it takes to stop people drowning at sea.'

'But they're still drowning at sea, just in Indonesia.'

Crabbe held his line. 'I will not be responsible for the death of queue jumpers.'

'But there's no queue!' the voters cried. 'They're refugees! We're imprisoning them in an offshore facility under brutal conditions and a corrupt government, and aside from the ample evidence of sexual, physical and mental abuse, at least two of them have ACTUALLY DIED, so we're not even not killing them!'

Crabbe stamped his foot. 'I promised to stop the boats! Also, ISIS!'

And lo! A terrorist emergency erupted, with 8 Australian flags in the back of the stage for the press conference.

'We will be removing the citizenship of dual citizens suspected of terrorism!' Crabbe announced.

'Or pretty much anyone!' a backbencher leaked.

'You what!?' demanded the High Court, appalled at the lack of process detailed in the first proposal – which left the decision up to the Immigration Minister Dutton, a man often mistaken for a Brussels sprout – and by the sheer unconstitutionality of the second suggestion.

'ISIS!' exclaimed Crabbe, ten flags fluttering behind him. 'They're a Death Cult! They're coming for you! They're worse than the Nazis!'

'Really?!' exclaimed the Council of Australian Jewry. 'First the right to be a bigot and now this?!'

Far away, a tiny child drowned, and hardened hearts found that they could feel again. 'We must do something for the Syrians!' the voters pleaded.

'Nope,' said Crabbe. 'Nope, nope, OK, fine!' He stood up to his full height in front of 12 flags: 'We'll take 12,000 of them, but that means we'll take 12,000 fewer in other refugees. And if that's not good enough for you, I don't know what is!'

Draco grabbed Pansy's arm and pulled her behind the nearest tapestry. 'We've reached peak flag,' he said. 'It's on!'

It was the matter of moments to explain the situation to Crabbe. Most of them belonged to Malfoy: 'I feel our styles are divergent: you're all classic Death Eater, I'm more complex anti-hero with a possibility of later redemption. It's just not working for me. Also, I've been planning your public downfall since you rolled me four years ago and I can't think of a better time than four days before you meet the criteria for your Prime Ministerial pension supplement.'

Pansy's message was simpler: 'You're dumped, Crabbe. And you're taking Goyle with you.'

Even Rita Skeeter couldn't argue, epsecially when Malfoy fronted the media with his hair glinting perfectly in the afternoon sun and with no phalanx of flags to make his argument for him, but rather words, more than three, constructing an actual argument. Draco looked earnestly into the camera. 'We need advocacy,' he said. 'Not slogans. We need a different style of leadership, one that respects the people's intelligence."

Two hours later, Crabbe replied. 'We're not the Labor Party!' he declared. 'We are not the Labor Party! WE ARE NOT THE LABOR PARTY!

'Alas,' muttered the Australian Voting Public, remembering well that – mad as they may have been, and in all honesty they put cut snakes to shame – the Labor Party under both Harry and Hermione had provided stable government, passing legislation, negotiating intelligently with the opposition and cross benches and rarely embarrassing us on the international stage.

For hours they pretended there was still a decision to be made. Goyle announced: 'We cannot and we must not become a carbon copy of the Australian Labor Party.'

But it was all to no avail. Of the 99 votes, Draco received 54, Vince 44, and Kevin Andrews drew a picture of a penis.

Crabbe was out, having served less time than any Australian Prime Minister since the one who was eaten by a shark*.

And then it was all down to the speeches. Draco went first: 'We're sorry to keep you up so late. This has been a very important day in the life of our nation. This has been a very important and sobering experience. I am very humbled by it.'

He spoke for a few minutes, being kind to Crabbe, encouraging Pansy to speak in her role as Deputy Leader. 'I've served as Deputy for eight years,' she said. 'I'm thrilled to continue.'

Cameras flashed and a few questions were fielded from the press corps. All too soon, the gaggle retreated and Draco and Pansy were left alone to walk back to the Slytherin Common Room together. 'It was hard to keep a straight face when you said you were humble,' Pansy said. 'We're going to need to negotiate a planned transition of power at some point.'

'Can I rely on two terms?' Draco asked.

'If you play your cards right. But I'll have you know I watched both Keating and The Killing Season.'

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From his sleekly chromed office atop his Secret Lair, Harry Potter pressed a Contact on his phone, one he had long meant to delete, and yet …

A ring tone was heard. He could imagine the person at the other end, looking at his name, finger hovering above the screen, uncertain of whether to tap Accept or Decline. And then – a miracle – he was through.

'Harry,' a nasal voice greeted him.

'Hermione,' he replied, politely.

'So …' she managed, before laughter overwhelmed her. He joined in. They would probably never speak again, but for these few, glorious moments, Schadenfreude did what no mediator ever could, and they revelled in the simple delight of the moment.


Far away from each of them, from within the Gryffindor boy's dormitory, came the sound of muffled tears.




* Probably.
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Catherine17catherines on September 15th, 2015 11:16 am (UTC)
I literally squealed with joy when I saw that you had written this post. Perfectly done, and I love your final scene (and your characterisation of Julie Bishop who really is terrifyingly competent, if somewhat evil). I'll be interested to see what Turnbull does.