After years of boosting up Evan Thornley’s sleazy aspirations, Crikey has turned very nasty indeed against Senor Thornley according to its Andrew Giles connected Andrew Crook who apparently works full-time at Crikey on a wage so low that he can barely afford gruel for lunch (Eric and Di dish it out a 12pm sharp to ensure the crew don’t pass out before deadline).
THE SL’s MAN IN CRIKEY
Crook allegedly covets a job at a trade union with some of his low-ranking SL mates but instead settled for employment at the union-free, award-busting Crikey. Beggars can’t be choosers perhaps.
Under Stephen Mayne’s governance, the bankrupt email newsletter was usually very keen to stay on good terms with the lefty millionaire. This was because Mayne attempted to sell him the loss-making enterprise before eventually offloading it on another lefty millionaires Eric Beecher and Guy Dribble Di Gribble. Under Beecher, its losses are now believed to exceed $10,000 a week.
With his best chum Bruce Guthrie deposed from the Herald Sun and the Fairfax empire smouldering nearly in ruins, it seems Beecher and Gribble’s plan to build and flip will have to be deferred indefinitely.
Credit where it’s due though, the Crook did a good biatch-slap and it’s well worth a read for free. Rumours that Beecher is going to nix his failed subscription business abound, along with some serious down-sizing this year. How they charge for it is beyond comprehension at every level. But it’s certainly priceless how they’ve turned on the one they once so loved with all the ferocity of a jackal.
THORNLEY HAS DISPLEASED THE COMRADES
It’s certainly more vehemence than Crook manages with trade union officials aligned to his factional tendency. Check out this hard-hitting interview (not). Soft-ball questions like:
LHMU members recently took to the streets in Melbourne as part of the Clean Start campaign. In simple terms what are you trying to achieve?
Now Business Spectator tend to spend a greater than average amount of time in CBD offices and luxury hotels, have you noticed any support for your campaign coming from the business community?
No Walkleys in that lot. But Crook’s picking up of his rhetorical mace of lace against fellow nancy-boy Evan reflects Crikey’s ideological bent and also its tendency to attack soft targets. As long-time OC and VEXNEWS readers can attest, our editorial policy about Thornley has been consistent.
THORNLEY IS A SHARK… WHY ARE FOLKS SURPRISED HE’D BITE OFF YOUR ARM FOR A BUCK?
It surprises many that Evan Thornley has used his position within the Victorian government and ALP to land himself a high-paying job from those seeking to obtain tens – if not hundreds – of millions of dollars of taxpayers subsidy but it barely surprises us at all.
It is clear that Thornley has played very fast and loose with his role in the Victorian Government. It is clear he spent taxpayer money to identify business opportunities for himself. It is clear he has broken the law by failing to fully disclose to the Victorian Parliament all of his financial interests. It is also clear that he has deceived Better Place into thinking his connections in the ALP make him the leprechaun who can lead them to a big fat pot of taxpayer gold. This misconduct is all perfectly consistent with Thornley’s form, all his life.
Consider that in Thornley’s last enterprise – which burned in excess of $300 million in operating losses – he sold at least $100 million worth of stock while shareholders saw a collapse in the value of their company from $5 billion to practically zero. That such a shameful effort was counted as a success by some in the Labor Party and in the press should cause both to seriously consider the real records of all those presenting as high-achieving outsiders in future.
And prior to that, when at McKinsey & Co. That venerable firm had a long-term client called Reader’s Digest. Thornley worked on their account. They came to like him and wanted to take up the firm’s idea that they set up a web directory. Did Thornley show his loyalty to the firm paying him a big salary and extra allowances to live in New York? Nyet. He poached Reader’s Digest from McKinsey’s, got them to back his own business and burned a lot of bridges there in the process. No one should be shocked at Thornley biting the hand that feeds him. It’s just what he does.
THE SL’S ROLE IN THORNLEY’S DOWNFALL
To be fair to them, the Socialist Left Giles tendency never fully came to terms with Thornley, recognising in him a lost sheep who had wandered far from their flock when he was very much aligned with the SL in his Melbourne Uni days.
His recent factional moves – in joining the moderates – underscored their discomfort in dealing with him.
When Premier Steve Bracks imposed him on the #2 position in the Southern Metropolitan upper house province – a position that would have ordinarily been allocated to the Left – they understandably felt they’d been dudded.
Word is they are intent on claiming the seat back for their militant faction. While some will be keen to avoid a fight over a position more than likely to have only two years in it, many in that faction of indulgence struggle to contain their urges (of all kinds).
Trouble with that is some very prominent figures in the Left had solemnly pledged – for and on behalf of their faction – the seat to the Right in return for a trouble-free run at Albert Park. Should they persist in their claim it might be a case of egg on face for the leftists concerned. The whole episode is believed to be causing considerable amusement for the intra-factional rivals of the promise givers, who were apparently not consulted at the time.
Watch this space on the red-faces in the Socialist Left.
BIZARRE THORNLEY MOVES
But it’s still all eyes on Thornley at this stage. The astonishment of many of his former comrades is well reflected in Rick Wallace’s first piece on the issue after a well-deserved break.
He explains that many are in search of a salacious reason that could explain Thornley’s quick change of heart from preparing to saddle up on the Brumby Ministry to skipping town in the aptly named Better Place “Rogue” vehicle.
“It’s just so bizarre,” one source said of Mr Thornley’s move to reject the ministry that same night. “As we far as we know, this is unprecedented in Victorian politics.”
It’s certainly seemed to backfire.
And the more we scrutinise the opportunity he’s decided to pursue, the more we are left puzzled. Even at the alleged $15,000 per week salary Thornley seems to have disclosed to The Australian, the start-up could be an expensive white elephant according to many industry observers.
AND IT COULD ALL BE FOR A DUD
You’d think the electric car movement in the US would be all excited about the battery charging infrastructure company Better Place that managed to excite Evan Thornley’s attention long enough for him to junk his political career. Not so. Canada’s Financial Post reports on the concerns:
Paul Scott of the electric vehicle advocacy group Plug-In America isn’t convinced. He says plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt – which will be able to go 60 kilometres on battery power before switching to gas and can be charged at home – will have little use for Better Place’s grid. “We’re shaking our heads thinking, â€˜Man, nobody’s going to really need that,'” he says.
Meanwhile, a Texas company called EEStor is working on an ultra-capacitor that could allow a small electric vehicle to travel 400 kilometres and charge in five minutes. If something like this becomes a reality, the need for an electric network may vanish.
Blind people aren’t impressed with the cars either saying they are so quiet they represent a major risk to their safety when crossing the street.
A case of the blind leading the blind.