Unbelievably, for the third month in a row, a figure from the world of football has taken out The Public Apology’s coveted prize for scandal. That said, it is the world game, so it stands to reason there is a greater pool of potential tomfoolery. But one can’t help be bitterly disappointed in the other codes – especially the NRL, which in 2011 was responsible for more drunken incidents than the entire population of Luxembourg.
Still you can’t say this month’s winner isn’t deserving. Making powerful enemies left right and centre, mining magnate Clive Palmer takes out our February Guildford for trying his darnedest to be both physically and metaphorically bigger than the game.
A walking cliché of the Obese White Capitalist, as a youth Palmer no doubt empathised with Australian 1970s icon ‘Fat Cat’ as he watched Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers and violated an enormous bowl of Doritos. This month saw him embroiled in an ongoing battle with Football Federation Australia that eventually resulted in the stripping of his A-League licence – leaving the future of Gold Coast United as bleak as, well, every other previous Gold Coast franchise.
After labelling FFA chief Frank Lowy a ‘dictator’ and threatening to stuff a potato in the exhaust of his BMW S-Series, Palmer has set up a renegade footballing body, Football Australia (FA), to keep the FFA in check. [NB: BMW executives have told The Public Apology that the S-Series does in fact include a potato resistant exhaust; however, given there about five thousand potato varieties worldwide, it’s likely a man with such extensive wealth as Palmer could source one capable of outfoxing the savvy German engineers.]
The FA will no doubt prove as effective as a Kirstie Alley seduction attempt, with all but one of Palmer’s players turning their back on him (a no-named aging defender has signed on as “Player Relations Manager” [to what players? Who knows…]). Either way, you have to admire the man’s complete refusal to back down or admit that he may have ever been slightly in the wrong.
Not content with only angering football’s powers that be, Palmer decided to also piss off the federal government by claiming he has “no public responsibility whatsoever,” despite making billions of dollars off the country’s own resources. Then, just last week, he was proclaimed a “National Living Treasure” along with six others, including sexy little songstress Kylie Minogue and, ironically, renowned conservationist Dr Harry Butler. Ian Carroll, from the National Trust of Australia (NSW), said the group was chosen because they “personified qualities all Australians should aspire to.”
So we should all be greedy, stubborn and arrogant? Well yes, according to the NLT panel of judges. And with that in mind, The Public Apology is proud to present Clive Palmer with this month’s Guildford Award – for proving once and for all that money can buy you love, happiness and nationwide respect. And a Guildford Award.
By Al McClintock