Shut the gate, the Ute has bolted!

What an incredible, hilarious waste of time this week has been in the House of Representatives. Has there a more ridiculous non-scandal than Utegate - a stupid, absurdly Australian moniker that befits the stupidity of the whole saga.

With Federal Parliament having shut up shop for the winter, coverage of Utegate can be read at Crikey, The Punch, the brilliant Annabel Crabb's column at the Sydney Morning Herald, Twitter, and, goodness me, even Wikipedia.

For my part, here's my Player Ratings on the winners and losers among the Utegate Dramatis Personae:

Kevin Rudd: Fair suck of the salt shaker mate, Kev's just helping out a cobber who lent him a second-hand ute. A winner, fresh from jumping the shark in the past fortnight.

Wayne Swan: For a Treasurer who receives email by fax machine, Swan has been a remarkable survivor, even before John Grant's OzCar application rolled off the Intertubes. So many questions unanswered, yet most of us couldn't care less. A winner in the tradition of Bradbury (Steven the speed skater, not David the Honourable Member for Lindsay).

Malcolm Turnbull: Three words: (i) Dead. (ii) Man. (iii) Walking. The Oscar Wilde to Kevin Rudd's Marquis of Queensbury. (Or should that be OzCar Wilde?) Will remain Leader of the Opposition until the Liberal Party realises Brendan Nelson wasn't so bad after all.

Godwin Grech: The man no scriptwriter would dare invent. The only way Grech will come out of this a winner is if Woody Allen signs him up as a stunt double for his next autobiographical film.

Joe Hockey: Has a big future in comedy after his interview with Tony Jones on Lateline last Tuesday night. Will be a big(ger) loser only if he falls into the Opposition Leader's job in time to be hammered at the 2010 General Election. Could turn out a winner, however, if Dreamworks cast him in the lead role for Shrek 4.

Lindsay Tanner: Loser. For a couple of days it looked as if The Man Who Should Be Treasurer might actually get the job within his grasp. Then Turnbull and Co. let the Swanster off the hook.

Anthony Albanese: Winner. The Marrickville Machiavelli had the added bonus of Julia Gillard's absence in Israel, enabling him to trot out all his best schoolyard bully routines on the floor of parliament. You could tell he was having the time of his life when he started dissing Mark Latham and getting stuck into Malcolm Turnbull all at once.

Julia Gillard: Loser, for this week anyway. Has spent Utegate Week in the Middle East being bombarded with Israeli Government propaganda whilst enjoying the company of travelling companion Peter Costello.

Tony Abbott: Who cares? Mr People Skills was, to paraphrase Lindsay Tanner, supposed to be sitting in the back of the ute barking at strangers.

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