It all seemed so sudden. One moment she was photo-opping in time-honoured fashion, the next she was being sent down for three years. Shut away in the sort of seclusion that will be the stuff of a dozen New Idea covers – “Pauline’s Prison Torment!” Indeed, it’s already started with rumours of “breakdown” emanating from behind the walls, as well they might be.
I’ve always thought Hanson to be totally over-rated. A not all that smart, small business owner whose metier was probably being narrow-minded, obdurate and argumentative on some benighted city council somewhere. That she crashed through several ceilings of incompetence with dizzying rapidity owed much more to her capacious appetite for flattery – and the ends to which the flatterers put her undoubtedly newsworthy and photogenic appeal – than to any discernible ability.
She behaved like some Kath & Kim rendition of Elizabeth 1. Capricious without tactics, a polemicist without philosophy and egocentric with no solid basis so to be.
That she’s guilty of fraud, (Anthony Green provides some clarity in the SMH), seems pretty self-evident – and not terribly surprising given that she seems to have a problem with “details” generally. Whether or not imprisonment for three years is a fitting response is very much open to debate. And debate is raging. Her biographer (of sorts) Margo Kingston, is thundering away about the iniquity of Hanson’s incarceration seen against the continuing liberty of the Dark One who wickedly benefitted from her misguided idealism.
This is Margo at her feverish, hyperbolic, overkill best and is best digested without a cup in your hand – to avoid keyboard spillage. One Nation aficionados appear onscreen in walkshorts, long socks and bad humour to compare her travails to those of Nelson Mandela. Peter Beattie worries at the capacity for Hanson to transmute into Jeanne d’Arc – or maybe Pauline d’Ipswich. Conspiracists point to evil plots to bring her down but at the end of the day, the only person to bear ultimate blame here is Pauline.
One Nation’s vote may have declined because Howard “stole her agenda” – though the fact that immigration roars along at a 10 year high sits a bit uncomfortably with that notion – but I think it’s more likely that people eventually saw through her. Let’s face it, looking through Pauline isn’t all that hard.
The only conspiracy I’m prepared to wear is the one I’m about to spread: the whole thing was jacked up by Margo in order to get her 1998 Hanson opus “Off the Rails” out of the remainder bins. Just off to fax Tony Kevin.