Fellow travellers, I'm sure that you are as sick and tired as I am of all that fuss about that shovel left out the front of the home of the Health Services Union's Kathy Jackson.

Appalling right-wing commentators have gone into overdrive carping about the culture of thuggery and intimidation in so many unions. But of course this stereotype is completely divorced from reality. The truth is the exact opposite of what they say, as usual.

As we on the green left all know, union officials are invariably kind and gentle souls. And on the rare occasions that they do act in ways that might be described as physically intimidating and a tad inappropriate, then you can be sure that they do so only in response to the years of vicious, unprovoked violence inflicted upon them by those eeevil captains of industry.

So to the symbolism of that shovel: Now, the usual suspects on the right are claiming that the message was very clear. Ms Jackson was "digging her own grave" by allowing police access to the union's records in their investigation of the Craig Thomson affair (a completely fabricated scandal if ever there was one!).

But as usual, the vicious capitalist stereotype of unionists completely misrepresented the message intended. The shovel was not meant as a warning of impending retribution if she disobeyed the higher-ups. It was actually a gentle, wise reminder.

Yes, it was a reminder to Ms Jackson that cooperating with the police in this matter could well result in Thomson losing his seat and the Gillard Government losing power. Needless to say, if those events unfolded then Gillard's precious, visionary carbon tax would not be implemented. And if that were to occur, then as so many of us have been saying for so long, catastrophic climate change would be inevitable.

Clearly, the shovel on her doorstep was meant to say: "Kathy, remember the earth -- and the Earth. The fate of the planet rests very much in your hands. Just as you cultivate your garden with this implement, you can help us transition to a clean energy future with your decisions regarding the Thomson investigation. If you really want to save the planet, you will not cooperate with the police. Please, we beseech you, just consider this. (And peace be with you, oh child of the universe!)"

There was absolutely no sense of threat or intimidation about it at all. How could anyone in their right mind come to that conclusion? This was clearly just some very kind-hearted, life affirming and sage advice from one of the many gentle giants in the union movement. Those guys might look a little rough, but they are all "salt of the earth" types, and have the souls of poets.

I just pity the poor man who placed the shovel there out of the goodness of his heart, and a deep concern for the environment. To see his wise counsel so viciously verballed by those on the right must be too traumatic for words.

Well, I'd just like to say to that loveable lummox, whoever he is: Chin up, big fella! Don't despair. There are many who know very well what you were really trying to say. You did a good and honourable thing, okay!