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Australia Fair by Hugh Stretton

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Thursday, 8 November 2012 20:36 by Kay Rollison
This book came out in 2005, and as far as I can remember, attracted remarkably little interest. Hugh Stretton is one of Australia’s foremost thinkers, and he has an international reputation for his work in the area of values in the social sciences. Though he started off teaching history – at Oxford, then Adelaide University – he finished up as a researcher in economics. This book is a work of political economy; it looks at how we got into the political and economic trouble we are in, and what we might do to fix it. Stretton argues ‘that we should be doing whatever it takes in our changing historical conditions, by old means and new, to keep Australia fair’. And this was before the GFC. How could such a relevant and important book be overlooked now?

In this post, I’m going to look at what Stretton says about how we got where we are, and in a later post I’ll outline what he thinks we could do about it.

It’s actually quite easy to see why the book was largely ignored. It takes a lonely stand against the economic orthodoxy accepted at the time by the Labor Party, the LNP and most economic commentators. It sees the changes to the operation of the economy, started by the Hawke-Keating government and pursued further by the Howard government, not as great and necessary reforms that have benefited all of us, but as an abdication of the power to control the economy for the general good. Stretton wrote too early. It’s only since the GFC dented confidence in the free market’s ability to deliver a fair society that such arguments are again being entertained. Well, he certainly makes a good one and it’s time to look at it again.

Paul Keating, Stretton says, brought about a U-turn in Labor economic policy. Instead of using the state to pursue full employment and balanced development, Keating gave up the power to do this. As well as removing most tariff protection, he ‘reduced the regulation of business, privatised some public services and slimmed others to cut their costs, maintained some unemployment to restrain inflation, shifted taxation downward from the highest incomes, and thus increased some inequalities.’ Stretton says that Keating knew that this would hurt some citizens, and accepted that there would have to be a safety net that provided good health care, welfare and education to those left behind. He argues Keating’s motivation was good, that he believed such changes would result in optimum foreign investment, employment, growth, and low inflation. The wealth thus produced could be used to compensate the losers.

I well remember how inexorable this program seemed at the time, particularly as most commentators endorsed it. Labor values seemed to be disappearing, but what was the alternative? Once the process had begun, LNP governments, state and federal, would only take it further, and so it proved. In the face of frustration and impotence on the economic front, Labor activism shifted to the identity issues of gender, race and sexuality – important in themselves, but cutting across the economic divide of the haves and have nots. Other activists turned to the battle over conservation of heritage and biodiversity, and joined the Greens. And some of us withdrew from politics altogether. A pox on both your houses.

Stretton agrees that for some of the time – when for example the business cycle is in an up-swing, or there are (or were) short term profits from asset sales (or there is a mining boom) – some of these good things have happened. But he argues that the downside has been greater than any benefits. Our current arrangement, he says, ‘trusts production to private enterprise and market forces with minimum public aid or regulation. Government’s role is to rescue the resultant losers and correct the misdistribution of income by tax and welfare means. In practice that has become so expensive for an under-employed and ageing population that we don’t do it very well.’ He deals with specific downsides in the chapters about what might still be done to correct the situation in areas such as employment, housing, health and education, income and natural resources. But as a quick summary, the downsides include unemployment, rising numbers on welfare, a smaller tax base to pay for welfare, unaffordable housing, less effective public services (cut to trim costs), more user pays, unproductive investment aimed at speculative returns, some spectacular corporate failures and more inequality. And his point is that much of this comes down to an economic policy chosen by a Labor government which gives undue freedom to the market.

Stretton is far too subtle a thinker simply to be making a case for ‘government intervention’ versus ‘the free market’. He argues that government always has a role in even the most free of markets; it is a question of the public-private mix – with the addition of the contribution of the not-for-profit sector and households. After all, as he points out, ‘It takes work by more than one of them, and often enough by all four, to get your dinner on the table, your car on the road or your children educated.’ Furthermore, unlike with market solutions, there is no ‘one size fits all’; it is a question of working with an eclectic mix of old and new, theory and practice, and experience and imagination. For the detail, see my next post.

Quite apart from the overall sweep of Stretton’s argument – and I have in no way done it justice here – there are two insights that in the light of current circumstances, struck me forcibly. One concerns pokies. As a result of spending cuts in pursuit of smaller government, revenue grants to states have been cut, leaving them less and less able to afford to provide the services for which they are responsible. ‘Desperate needs breed sickening remedies,’ writes Stretton. Most of the States have acted to expand gambling and their revenue from it … unlike the capital proceeds of privatisation, the gambling revenue is reliably, seductively sustainable.’ So the current plague of gambling addiction is an unintended consequence of economic rationalism.

The second insight is that where both sides of politics agree on the fundamental primacy of the market, politics easily degenerates into arguments about management – think BER and pink batts – and the trustworthiness of leaders – think JuLiar and sexism. These may be important, but they shouldn’t be all there is. What Stretton had before him at the time of writing was Mark Latham’s apparent acceptance that ‘the voters who matter are self-interested battlers, contemptuous of idlers living on welfare, and easily frightened by talk of higher taxes or interest rates or inflation.’ I would argue that Labor is now making some effort to initiate a debate about the role of the state, with the carbon tax, the mining tax (however watered down) and a modest assault on middle class welfare. But I’m not sure what direction these baby steps are going in – certainly Hugh Stretton would not be satisfied.

For all there is so much good stuff in it, I can’t say this is an easy book. You’ll see in my next post that his proposed solutions, though sometimes simple, aren’t easy either. But it’s a book that deserves much wider reading and discussion. Perhaps someone should send it to the Prime Minister for Christmas.

Kay Rollison also blogs at What Book to Read – reviewing everything from crime to literary fiction.

Comments (100) -

November 8. 2012 08:52 PM


Fantastic, am off to see if it's available on kindle, thankyou so much. (Great part 1 review).


November 8. 2012 08:54 PM


How on earth have we not heard of this book? 2005 is not that long ago, I'm disappointed with myself this slipped by.


November 8. 2012 09:17 PM

Gorgeous Dunny

Thanks for that, Kay. It is a worthy discussion to have, especially as there is now a chance of this government surviving, which didn't seem likely 6 months back.

I may get back to this after another reading. It is a topic we could do with some views on - and it might finally allow the reformists to re-establish a sense of purpose.

I'd agree that the main positive signs have only been baby steps - e.g. the desperate attempts to make a budget surplus have led to a tiny pulling back of middle-class pork in the health insurance rebate and in the baby bonus. It is odd that a squeeze forced the action, but good that cabinet and Swan seized on these as at least starting points.

By the time of the next budget, they could look at winding back these and others such as private school subsidies and reviewing the MRRT. The imminence of the next election may limit decisive action, however.

But there have been encouraging signs that the government is committed to a fairer society and improving access and mobility, primarily via education.

Even the Asian Century proposal is a good step, albeit it is framed in terms of trading and economics.  Politically it allows the government to bring its various big items into a narrative:Gonski/education and training, health, NDIS and offer a sense of purpose. Even carbon pricing/trading can fit into that.

I agree that we may never return to big government departments to do the most important things again, although it is becoming clearer that the private sector partnerships is not doing it either.  It may take a new approach with universities and TAFES forming regional partnerships and projects for research and development. Windsor was right to insist on the NBN. It will be a game-changer for regional development.

Housing is maybe the most urgent missing link from the era when Howard started dismantling infrastructure. I'm not convinced that the private sector and tax incentives can fill the gap left by the withdrawal of the state. Whether co-operative, community or local government ventures might meet the need, I don't know.

The dismantling of the Queensland public sector may perversely lead to the public regaining more acceptance of the need for a strong independent public sector. It's had an undeserved bad press over the past 20 years or so.

Gorgeous Dunny

November 8. 2012 09:23 PM

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Thank you for your thoughtful review of Hugh Stretton’s book.  Economics sits at the centre of policy-making, yet is so often set aside in favour of the more racy aspects of politics.  Differences in ideology separate our main political parties.  It is what determines the direction the party wishes to take the nation.  

Yet we cannot rely on our economists to set us right in our thinking, because they themselves often espouse different ideologies, which influence their thinking profoundly, and their response to changes in economic conditions.  These differences make it difficult for the average person to make sense of economics.  Take for example the argument that is extant about the desirability of a budget surplus.  Some say it makes sound economic sense at the present time; others see it as simply a political imperative rather than a fiscal one.  Who is right?

It sounds as if Stretton’s book might provide some of the answers.

pj, please let us now if the book is available for download.

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November 8. 2012 09:44 PM


Thanks Kay for the review.  I'll have to see if it is available through the Library system,

The economic argument seems to be should Government be operated to assist society or should it be operated as a business.  It's pretty clear which way the LNP seems to think, the ALP seems to go through phases.

As someone who in a perverse way didn't enjoy economics while doing it at Uni but can now see the rationale behind the subject, I wonder what is the "correct" amount of Government intrusion into the free market.  It is somewhat troubling that the Howard years were marked by tax cuts and middle class welfare to prime the economic pump rather than investment in the country by the way of infrastructure, which primes the economy and provides a lasting benefit to the cost of transport, communications or education.  

Apart from the billions spent in the BMW and Audi dealerships as well as the real estate agents in the "better" suburbs, those that don't really need the welfare of Family Assistance, "Lifetime" Health Cover and so on now feel entitled to the payments and will be less likely to vote for a Government that makes the correct economic decision and removes the entitlement.  At the same time the LNP seeks to lecture the Government on economic management (badly but tries).  It's somewhat hypocritical in my view.


November 8. 2012 11:07 PM


Thanks for that Kay.  I'm no economist, so I was a bit puzzled trying to understand what I now see is a minor typo in your first para.   Reading that GST as GFC now makes sense to me!

Send a copy to the PM for Christmas?   Nah!  She's worked so damned hard for months on end and through some really stressful times.   I think she should have a complete break!


November 9. 2012 01:10 AM



I'm glad you said

Reading that GST as GFC now makes sense to me!

There was I thinking ??What?!

Yes, your insight solved it.

Thank you Kay. What else am I thinking Hugh Stretton wrote? I guess I can look it up on the www!


November 9. 2012 02:03 AM


At St John's the main concern of some of the fellows was the reputation of the young men who had conducted the horrible initiation ceremonies. Not the women who were the victims of their actions.

None of the male students have been rusticated because that might damage their reputations. They should be free to go on to higher things where as leaders they can bring their ''values'' unimpeded into board rooms, the professions and politics.

Read more: www.smh.com.au/.../...an-clock-20121108-290md.html


November 9. 2012 07:33 AM



Gillard’s “misogyny speech” ― one month on, Bec Zajac, Independent Australia
In that speech, which has now been viewed more than two million times on YouTube, Gillard showed those of us watching that not only is it not fine to be a sexist, but that what is okay is to call sexism out where you see it. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are girls all around the country, and all around the world, who – after watching Gillard on their computers, phones and Ipads

Those Pesky Poll Numbers, Archie, Archie Archives
That meant that a seven percent swing was needed which translates to (pulls out calculator and punches button – wonders where the eleventy button is.) 868000 voters.
This means that 496,000 (that’s right – half a million) voters have changed their minds in the past five and a half months. At a rate of around 90,000 per month!

Thursday, November 8, 2012, Greg Jericho, Grog's Gamut
If we want to break it down to a few more decimal places (in which doing so also reduces the confidence with which the ABS is sure they’re accurate – but what the hell), then the seasonally adjusted

Andrew Bolt and Bill O’Reily need a theme song, Ash, Ash’s, Machiavellian Bloggery
Clearly Andrew is not happy with democracy that does not end in a result he prefers. Neither was Bill. Both lamented the end of the age of the white male.So I got to thinking, in the 1970s this song generated a lot of support for the women’s movement

Time’s up, Tony, Miglo, Café Whispers
how incompetent would a Government be with the policy-void, out-of-touch Abbott as its leader, the numerically useless Joe Hockey as the Treasurer and the significantly less than diplomatic Julie Bishop as Foreign Minister? That trio of buffoons alone will ensure the Coalition will only be a one-term Government

Trump melts down as Obama romps back into the White House, Clarence Girl, North Coast Voices
Donald Trump went into Twitter meltdown when it became evident that Barack Obama had been re-elected as President.He may have deleted one or two of those tweets, but what remains courtesy of Topsy may haunt him in the future

It’s the women wot won it: Democrat victory was no Fluke, Nicole Hemmer, The Conversation
Conservatives had successfully framed the issues as one of religious liberty, not women’s rights. But then something happened: conservative men started talking. And it turned out they couldn’t talk about policies aimed at women without saying something remarkably retrograde.

Right-wing unhinging begins, Murdoch and Haters lost, What next for Australia after US election, Turn Left 2013
If the Right can lose in the US, despite a biased media, biased election officials, gerrymandering districts in the extreme, “malfunctioning” voting machines, millions of dollars poured into advertising and electioneering, Mitt Romney’s son owning voting machines in Ohio and billionaire donors, then there is a little sunshine on Australia Left today.

The economy and the election, The Macroeconomics Mandate . The Economist
HAD Barack Obama lost to Mitt Romney yesterday, the explanation would have barely taken up a sentence: the economy defeated him. Mr Romney’s mission from day one was simple. Pound home the message that Mr Obama took a bad economy and made it worse, and leave the facts to do the rest: unemployment stuck at around 8% and four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits

Why we are likely to remember Obama's win for some time , Marina Go,The Daily Juggle
Yesterday was an historic moment. Although it was Barack Obama's second win, the sense of achievement following all that the US had experienced in the past four years was palpable.

Coalition on APS politicisation: more front than …, Bernard Keane, Crikey
That’s why the Coalition hasn’t got a leg to stand on when it moans about politicisation, particularly given Malcolm Turnbull and Eric Abetz were happy to exploit a Treasury public servant in Godwin Grech who saw his role as sabotaging a government he ideologically disagreed with.

.How women voters became the kingmakers, Jane Caro, Crikey
According to numbers that are being crunched as I write, Barack Obama outpolled Mitt Romney in every group except older white men. Based on these admittedly preliminary figures, the President won 55% of the female vote, 93% of the African American vote and 71% of the Latino vote. He also outpolled Romney in every age groupup to 45 and won the votes of most Americans who live in cities.

Heeeeeeees Obama Wins, The Hoopla
In his concession speech Akin compared himself to people who have suffered from cancer, saying people like him, “suffer of cancer, loss of a job, house, loved ones and they press on.”Even in defeat he managed to pile insult upon injury. So long, buddy! Don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out!

It's No Longer A One-Horse Race, Ben Eltham, New Matilda
On the National Broadband Network, for instance, Malcolm Turnbull has been claiming that the Coalition has a fully costed policy ready to be released. Despite this claim, he has not actually released any policy costings. Indeed, as Delimiter’s Renai LeMai has documented, there seems to be a degree of flip-flopping about whether the Coalition will complete a cut-down version of the NBN, as Turnbull has suggested at various times, or "pause" it, as Tony Abbott said recently.

NOT SHY: Excitable extremist Australian Senator Hanson-Young claims Obama as her own, shunning her Green party, Vex News
While Tweeting up a storm engaged in campaigning and “door-knocking” for Obama in the battleground state of Florida, which most would accept is a highly inappropriate thing for a serving Australian Senator to be doing, Hanson-Young sported T-shirts such as “If you love your mama, vote Obama.”

Energy White Paper , Gary Sauer-Thompson, Public Opinion
The Gillard Government's Energy White Paper--Australia’s Energy Transformation-- is being published in the context of massively rising power bills,falling wholesale prices and reducing demand for electricity. What we have is market failure. An energy policy debate should be about how best to re-design the electricity market institutions to achieve an integration with climate policy goals:

Energy white paper tackles power prices, David Twomey, Eco News
The conservative Liberal-National opposition has somehow construed that this is designed to distract attention from the carbon price, introduced in July, which it blames for the higher electricity prices.The white paper includes a significant focus on household power prices, compared with the draft document that was released a year ago,

How Twitter called the US election, Sam Youngman, Technology Spectator
In future elections, candidates and their campaign staffs will have to include social media as another battleground, Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons said."This was the first Twitter election and social media is now fully a part of our election mechanics," Simmons said. "Going forward candidates must have an aggressive social media strategy if they want to win."

Video: Jon Stewart describes Fox News election night coverage as "crisis on bullshit mountain"He gleefully tracked the pundits as they blamed the concept of mathematics itself for the declaration, before trying to come to terms with the fact that Mitt Romney, the candidate they had been saying would win for months, had lost.
Watch Stewart in action here:

Today’s Front Pages
Australia Newspaper Front Pages for 9 November 2012


November 9. 2012 07:55 AM

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LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: www.thepoliticalsword.com/.../...-DAILY-LINKS.aspx

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November 9. 2012 08:30 AM


Has this occurred to anyone else, What on earth are US political junkies of the Fighting 5th Estate going to do with their time for the next 3 years? (The 4th will be an election year so it will rev up.) Poor devils!

But more importantly, what are WE going to do after Labor wins the next one here? It doesn't bear thinking about!


November 9. 2012 08:33 AM


Turnbull, Morrison, Bishop, Andrews, whoever reckons they should be the next Conservative PM, with the manifest inadequacy daily revealing to the wider public (laggards!) of Tony Abbott, HAS to move before the election likely to be late 2013.

Because if Abbott wins that election whoever they are has at least 3, more likely 5 years to wait to unseat the 'best Opposition leader' since the current Opposition Leader so Humbly Accepted that "yes I might just be the best Opposition Leader being told I'm the Best Opposition Leader Ever by anyone other than paid hacks (hang on, they were paid hacks!) - whatever", Mistah To-oOnee Abbottttt!!!, because how could Conservatives be anything less than utterly hypocritical (what am I talking about - that's a job description for Coalition politicking!) to unseat a sitting (on his hands, natch, in Abbott's case) Prime Minister?

So, for them, it's now or never as being a Minister under Abbott would surely feel Sisyphean at the least, and liquor cabinet luring at every tick of the clock? But what if Labor wins?

Clearly a pretender would move against Abbott in early 2013 to ensure that doesn't happen (in their own minds). But if Labor wins by anything other than a skin-thin majority, something current polling hints Abbott may be facilitating them to do...

Then background number-crunching 'Johnny Come Lately'... no, that's Abbott... has to move quickly.

So move now 'ye who want to be', or it's at least 5 years before The Lodge houses you, and more likely 7 to 9.

It's mathematical. And you ain't getting any younger.


November 9. 2012 08:46 AM


TT - we still have O'Farrell, Ballieu, Newman and the Premier of WA to discuss.

Thought this was quite funny Fox News anchors displaying the 5 stages of grief -> www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0121108-290pd.html

Romney's last political mistake.  President-elect site went live -> www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0121109-291o7.html


November 9. 2012 08:55 AM


As I grow older I find it ever moreabsolutely boggling that the Catholic Church has for generations condoned the most disgusting child abuse in Australia and covered for its perpetrators.

Brain-bendingly, gob-smackingly astounding.

Could there be any deeper hypocrisy than in this, an organisation which claims to follow and promote the teachings of a man who said, "Suffer litttle children to come unto me" - presumably NOT with rape and buggery in mind!

Pell, Abbortt, Hockey, the Pope, St Johns, Brough, everywhere I look there is a culture of corruption in the Catholic family worldwide, of secrecy and evil.

Yet some Catholics are very decent indeed . . . so, how have they let it go on and on and on, are they blind?  


November 9. 2012 09:13 AM

Tom of Melbourne

So the current plague of gambling addiction is an unintended consequence of economic rationalism.

…and not just economic rationalism, Gillard committed to implementing reforms. She made this written agreement in order to become Our Prime Minister. She then broke the commitment. The “plague of gambling addiction” is an issue that Gillard has dishonestly walked away from.

Tom of Melbourne

November 9. 2012 09:40 AM


  "The dying art of punditry in Australia"


November 9. 2012 09:55 AM


Happy 69th birthday TT!


November 9. 2012 10:40 AM


Stretton's book not on kindle (yet anyway), Australian kinle for complicated reasons has less access to library of books than USA sadly, but is available on ebay, ( 1 x copy), and also good ole' amazon, here: www.amazon.com/.../0868405396

I'm pleased with a hard copy anway, is looming (in mt mind) as a classic.  Thanks so much for all those links (again). Will enjoy all them later. Tom, you have picked out an item you wanted to bring to everyone's attention, you have done that. Thankyou, I heard you the first time. Now your behaviour is speaking volumes about you, not the other folks here on the comment section of this blog. Life is prepared to teach us lessons all the time, sometimes they are difficult ones. Have a great day everyone.


November 9. 2012 11:25 AM

Ad astra reply

That article by Barrie Cassidy is a beauty.  It should have been written a couple of years ago!  The dying art of punditry.


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November 9. 2012 11:26 AM


Good Morning Ad, Kay and Everybody,

Twitterverse for you:-

If you have time don't miss the James Massola article in the AFR.

Bushfire Bill
Posted Friday, November 9, 2012 at 9:41 am
As we have seen yet again, the pundits, no matter how big their reputations, have practically no influence on election results.

Because they’re wrong most of the time.

In a nutshell, Grattan tells us the problem…The Coalition is coy about its preparations for government, but handling the public service is an issue

Presidential tactics not welcome: Abbott, Business Spectator
Voters do not want the next federal election to feature the nasty personal attacks that marked the recent United States presidential campaign, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

Labor is reportedly planning on adopting some elements of US president Barack Obama's campaign strategy for the election, likely in late 2013.

Among the campaign techniques of interest for the ALP are methods for targeting key groups, such as women voters, in a bid to convince them to reject Mr Abbott, Fairfax Media reported.

Boxing in Abbott: Labor’s Obama strategy,Geoff Kitney and James Massola, AFR
The Labor Party plans to borrow strategy and campaigning techniques from Barack Obama’s election campaign to convince key groups, including women, to reject Liberal leader Tony Abbott.

The public has always had a question mark about Abbott and in recent months that has crystallised around issues of character and negativity,’’ a Labor source said. “A frame has been very successfully put around him and he is struggling to find a way to deal with that. Once you have successfully framed the weakness of your opponent, you stick with it through to the election.”

Leak brawl drowns out costings debate, Laura Tingle

Financial Review‏@FinancialReview
Qld, NSW resist federal govt push for state govts to privatise #energy assets to promote competition [free] http://bit.ly/TvZva2 #auspol

Lessons here as American voters spurn negativity, Opinions, SMH
The overall impression I got was that people found Mr Abbott's approach to be abrasive and divisive, and that they were looking to politicians to be more inclusive and to solve complex problems in a bipartisan way. They said the public was sick of the bickering and white anting by the opposition.

From my observation today, there seems to be a lesson in today's US results for the Coalition. If they ignore it, it will be to their own peril.

Figures frenzy turns spotlight on Canberra's bureaucracy, Michelle Grattan
But the incident raised wider questions about the role of the public service, and, if Tony Abbott wins next year's election, what sort of relationship his government would have with the bureaucracy.

Catching up‏Currently reading theland.farmonline.com.au/.../2633049.aspx

From Sept 2011 - Labor stalwart (LOL! Meaning @SkyNewsRicho) says Gillard 'finished' www.abc.net.au/.../2865836 … ah, memories... #auspol #ausmedia

What unhinging really looks like http://bit.ly/SxtOy6 via @hawleyrose

They really believed their own b.s
There's no way anyone with even the remotest access to the internet—and its myriad polling aggregator sites—would think they were headed toward any sort of big victory. That's why conservative media worked so hard to convince their audience that the polling was "skewed". They willfully made themselves breathtakingly stupid.

Rachel Maddow on Obama's Re-election
Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor

Mitt's last gaffe - Romney the President-Elect

angus mcleay‏
Gut-wrenching, must-watch interview on NSW Catholic clergy abuse, www.abc.net.au/.../4362000 …. A national Royal Commission must happen.

Andrew Elder‏
MigloCW I wish you weren't wrong about Abbott and the Liberals, but you are: cafewhispers.wordpress.com/.../#comment-116105

Andrew Elder
November 8, 2012 @ 10:45 pm
*sigh* Look. No.

The problem with Abbott isn’t just Abbott. It’s the whole National Right, with the undead Nick Minchin and all the rest of them. It’s the idea that they alone have the magic secret recipe for Liberal victory handed down by Howard himself. It’s their other idea too, that if Howard didn’t do it then it isn’t worth doing.

All those things are stronger than anything else in the Liberal Party. Those beliefs are not flexible. They cannot be modified to suit reality. They must be smashed, and only the cold hard arithmetic of an election loss will do that.

Turnbull has three challenges, which are seemingly insurmountable before an election loss but which disappear afterwards.

Read lots more:   cafewhispers.wordpress.com/.../#comment-116105


November 9. 2012 11:26 AM

Ad astra reply

Talk Turkey
Jason must know something - Happy, Happy Birthday.

Ad astra reply

November 9. 2012 11:33 AM


Talk Turkey

Happy Birthday to you, hope you get lots of presents.



November 9. 2012 12:34 PM

Truth Seeker

Hey TT,, here's one for you.

There is a man Talk Turkey
And Talk Turkey he will do
He’ll Talk the Turkey up and down
To me… and then… to you
He tweets.. and post on TPS
A wordsmith… through and through
He writes on matters… dear to heart
And his leftish… point of view
He’s passionate about.. Mss Gillard
And the job… he sees her do
But the rumour.. TT… is your 69
So today.. should be about.. you
So have good cheer.. and have a beer
And when.. your day.. is through
Remember.. people all around the joint
Are singing    ♩ 
♬  “Hippy Bathday to you”♩ 

Cheers mate, have a good one   Smile   Smile

Truth Seeker

November 9. 2012 12:43 PM


Another example of the type of interview we would like to see where Tony Abbott finds himself drifting on an island of slogans with no credible means of making his way back to dry land.

Tony Abbott interviewed by Lisa Wilkinson on Today.



November 9. 2012 12:46 PM

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Hi Lyn
I’m still working through your links as I’ve been out this morning, and I’ve just looked though the Twitterverse, which is fascinating collection.  Some of the pieces related to the Romney loss are amazing and one is frightening.

Republicans are sore losers, all the more so after pumping themselves up to a fever pitch of certainty that Romney would win by believing their own flawed echo-chamber generated rhetoric.  

Does this remind you if any folks here?  Barrie Cassidy had some relevant things to say about punditry today.  The Richo prediction of last year tells us how much he and his ilk are full of it.   There is a lesson there, but will any of the self-proclaimed pundits learn?

The Massola article was fascinating.  Let's see how the Labor strategy unfolds!

Ad astra reply

November 9. 2012 01:01 PM

42 long

  Tony Abbott is a LIAR when he says that Gillard wants he price of electricity to rise. "That is the point of the TAX." Well Tony it's NOT a tax, it's a PRICE on carbon. If the amount of carbon used is reduced the  the electricity price will come down, down ,down,( to paraphrase Tony) Electricity that does not use carbon based energy will not attract the price, tax, cost or whatever you want to call it. The market will modify as a result of the cost base of carbon being changed. The MARKET Tony.  Doesn't the Liberal party believe in the market.
   To cap it off, the state Right wingers are resisting privatising the distribution infrastructure. Can't they see the irony of their behaviour?

42 long

November 9. 2012 01:47 PM


  From "Richo in the Australian today! It's paywalled

THERE are lessons in the US election victory for President Barack Obama for both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. Obama's campaign team was superb. His people knew that the older, traditional methods of campaigning just don't cut it in a modern campaign.

The days of candidates patting themselves on the back when they have letterboxed their electorate four times are long gone. These days social media really do matter - it is on the net that the majority of Americans, and even Australians, truly live.

Since 2008 when Obama won comfortably, the use of social media has skyrocketed. Twitter users in the US are up from 4.5 million in 2008 to 140 million now. Obama has 23 million followers and he out-tweeted Mitt Romney by a margin of eight to one. Election day was the subject of 31 million tweets and even those debates, dreary and unexciting though they were, generated 10 million.

Obama's Four More Years tweet with a picture of him hugging Michelle was the most retweeted message ever at 768,000 times. On Facebook, where women in particular seem to spend some time every day, Obama had 32 million likes compared with 12 million for Romney
The Republicans were old-style people running an old-style campaign. They lost ground with women (single women in particular) with blacks, Latinos and especially younger voters. The biggest problem in the campaign seemed to be that they spent so much time convincing each other. Many white males voted for them and therein lies the root of their dilemma. They have a white middle-class base who are likely to be intensely religious. Add on to that the Tea Party rump of those who really don't believe there should be much federal government at all and you start to see why they get close but don't get there.

It started with the race for the presidential nomination. For a whole year the primaries went on and on while the contenders relentlessly battered each other. It took a long time for Newt Gingrich to pull out and Rick Santorum battled on almost to the bitter end. Romney had to lurch further and further to the Right to win his party's nomination. His difficulty was that as soon as he won the nomination he had to begin the long march back towards the centre.

Conventional wisdom had him choose a far right-winger as VP nominee to back up his right-wing credentials just as Sarah Palin was plucked from obscurity four years ago. The real middle ground in the US is made up of people who are ill-at-ease with people of this ilk.

The right-wing commentators on Fox News America took it very badly. Less than an hour before Romney rose to make his concessional speech, Karl Rove was still arguing that victory was possible. By then everyone in America knew who had won but Rove argued otherwise, such was his level of sheer desperation.

Where there are parallels with Australia, they can only make the Gillard camp feel more confident. Perhaps the only part of the old campaigning we know and love that still holds true is television advertising. Obama's attack ads did Romney great damage.

Over many months the relentless attack on Romney being out of touch with anyone who wasn't making hundreds of thousands a year actually hit home. Rove himself, after he had recovered his composure and could talk rationally about the Republican defeat, had to concede that even those who voted Republican doubted Romney's level of understanding of their problems.

The Obama victory is remarkable for two reasons. Two years ago Obama was as popular as a pork chop in a synagogue and the Democrats were routed in the mid-term elections. And let us not forget, the American economy is in all sorts of strife. Record unemployment, record debt and suburbs full of empty houses.

If ever the Republicans were going to win this should have been the time.

The right-wing commentator I respect the most is George Will and yesterday he hit the nail on the head while speaking on CNN. He said that Obama's victory was a triumph of demographics over economics. All those groups I spoke of earlier knew that Obama had failed on a number of fronts, they just didn't believe that Romney would take their lives into account as he cut his swath through government programs.

Abbott needs to be wary of this trend. He has already been losing the votes of women, young and old.

The misogyny attack, rightly or wrongly, has borne fruit. Wayne Swan is running a class warfare theme that Abbott is too close to the billionaires. He will need to flesh out what programs he will cut; all $70 billion worth. Ethnic voters will need to be looked at very carefully too. Dangers lurk every time Abbott seeks to wield the knife on a program that matters to punters.

The Gillard camp began the year hoping to finish 2012 in a competitive position and it has. Whether it is a couple of points behind or even stevens, it has pulled up a long way, just as Obama did.

If social media is the key, then think about these numbers. On Twitter Gillard has 301,211 followers compared with Abbott's 84,482 followers. On Facebook, where women voters spend so much time, Gillard has 145,000 likes compared with Abbott's 25,000. At the time of the misogyny speech, 1.6 million was the peak number taking a look. This is no small deal.

Forget about silly old buggers like me. Facebook has phenomenal reach in Australia. Eleven million have it and 75 per cent of them use it every day while 53 per cent use it several times a day, women in particular. Somewhere, I hear a bell ringing.

Graham Richardson hosts Richo on Sky News at 8pm on Wednesdays


November 9. 2012 02:04 PM


I should have given the details of Stretton's book. They are:

Hugh Stretton, Australia Fair
UNSW Press, Sydney, 2005
ISBN 0 86840 539 6

As far as I can see it is not available as an ebook. His most recent work before this one is Economics, a new introduction, which owes a good deal more to Keynes than Friedman, but probably his best known work is Ideas for Australian Cities, a wonderful book published in 1970.

Part 2 of the review will be posted in a week or two.
Thanks you your kind words about the review - do read the book.


November 9. 2012 02:07 PM


Dam I never mentioned today's stupendous significance to Jason Obelix, I asked him how he knew, Facebook says he, Oh yeah right.

Thank you wellwishers. Same to you whenever yourses is likewise I'm sure.

And TS I'm touched! But you knew that.

You aren't half bad with the odd play on words your~own~self.
I love it.

I shall imbibe a Coopers Ale (red label) in accordance with your directions.


Abbortt Hockey Pyne & Turnbull are all Catholics.  

Ad astra said
Republicans are sore losers, all the more so after pumping themselves up to a fever pitch of certainty that Romney would win by believing their own flawed echo-chamber generated rhetoric.  

Does this remind you (o)f any folks here?

Could the parallel be any more obvious?

The only demographic Romney won was older white men.
A shrinking demographic as I am ever more acutely aware!

A majority of ALL women (53% of US voting-age people) across the board supported Obama, what was it NINETY-something % of Negroes! 70-something Hispanics! Majority of disabled and gays, and now there is the 5th Estate in America too ~ Not, I flatter ourselves, that it is anywhere as sophisticated as the Fighting 5th here, but a lot of truth gets around there fast too now.
And ALL those groups are burgeoning!

And what is more they are not going back now. The ground has shifted and Thank Dog for that. But it's so very very late . . .  



November 9. 2012 02:09 PM


That's the thing, and there reaches a point, perhaps a tipping point where people, (both gender) just say enough is enough. I have no issue accepting/arguing with policy, genuine offerings from opposition, but there has been another agenda driving the righty tighty's for a while now. A lack of preparedness to see it is 2012. That women will no longer accept their status quo. I am one of the quiet people, a woman, I am by nature reserved, shy, not that much to say, but society need not mistake that for someone prepared not to stand her ground. The behaviour of abbotts, of American right politics, the attacks upon my own gender world wide, the sexism and misogyny have given me cause for concern like never before. I sought out facebook, I lined up my twitter, I got stuck into reddit, into blogging, into commentary to say enough really is enough. Go crawl back under your rock. Play nice. You don't get to tear strips off females any more. You don't get to make laws removing my control over my own body, my decisions. So, social media has been a great facility to do that, a place to give voice. I would agree Jason, social media, (while it has been used against females, race, minority groups most certainly), has given us a platform to give and add our own voices. Culminating in our PM Gillard finally saying enough too. So, it's not that I am by nature a chatterer, a participant in day to day social media, it has become my platform through necessity.


November 9. 2012 02:21 PM

Truth Seeker

TT, Ahhhh Coopers... good choice, have a couple!


Truth Seeker

November 9. 2012 02:27 PM


Rachel Maddow on Obama's Re-election

Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats.


November 9. 2012 02:53 PM


There is more than a bit of confirmation bias on my part at play here but it is just so refreshing to hear these sentiments enunciated.

This is a longer clip of Rachel Maddow doing the washing up after the U.S. election.



November 9. 2012 02:55 PM


thanks for that Richo article

Forget about silly old buggers like me. Facebook has phenomenal reach in Australia. Eleven million have it and 75 per cent of them use it every day while 53 per cent use it several times a day, women in particular. Somewhere, I hear a bell ringing.

Gees, someone must have spiked Richo's tea this morning, Forget about silly old buggers like me.  Can't stop giggling at that Smile

It ties in quite well with the Rachel Maddow video linked to above by NK and somewhere in Lyn's Twitterati.

Let's hope that the LNP and its' supporters don't get the message until after the election.


November 9. 2012 02:57 PM


happy 69th anniversary of your debut appearance on this mortal coil


November 9. 2012 03:32 PM


Happy Birthday, Talk Turkey!  May we all at TPS enjoy many more with you in years to come.

Well done, Truth Seeker!   What a great birthday song from one poet to another!  


November 9. 2012 04:05 PM

42 long

  Richo is a good numbers man. When it comes to people whowever I don't think he shines. It might be who pays him that is the problem.
. I still say that the LieNP had better get their thinking capson.
  There are significant parallels between the US election and the one here, but there are also many differences.
   Tony's silly plan "A" ( probably Minchins) with no fallback capability was NAIVE ans simplistic and a great insult to the voting populace. Lynch mob Parliament, dumping of standards of behaviour. Constant abuse of process at question time..Spin Spin Spin and little substance. Let's lift the game for the time remaining before the next election.

42 long

November 9. 2012 04:28 PM


Talk Turkey

Happy happy birthday to you. Smile

Truth Seeker

That was lovely birthday song to TT, I'm sure he will be thrilled.

I read of you health problems on a previous thread and wish you well in every sense of the word.

I, like most here, are thrilled that Barack Obama got another term, what a relief.  Thanks to Lyn's Links it was great reading the reactions against the Repub's, it is all so familiar here.  I do hope this will help Labor, although I notice the ABC wasn't happy with the result, and continues to insult me with their reportage of events.


November 9. 2012 05:09 PM


casablanca, it's a pity (but not surprising) that the MSM hasn't jumped on Abbott's sneering response to the goings on at St Johns.  Of course, if a Labour politician responded like that, the tabloids would have a field day.


November 9. 2012 05:59 PM



Thought you might like to see what we have succeeded doing in AFghanistan.  Ain't it grand to see them even worse off than they were 11 years ago?

And as the UNHCR and our own human rights commissioner have called shove offs to Nauru egregious human rights violations and breaches of the law perhaps some of the fuck wits here can write to the racist reactionary coward Gillard and demand that she stop it instead of whining about my language.


November 9. 2012 06:13 PM

Tom of Melbourne

42 long - ” it's NOT a tax, it's a PRICE on carbon. If the amount of carbon used is reduced the  the electricity price will come down, down ,down,( to paraphrase Tony) Electricity that does not use carbon based energy will not attract the price, tax, cost or whatever you want to call it. The market will modify as a result of the cost base of carbon being changed

Now that is just a load of nonsense.

1.  It is a charge intended to raise revenue that the government uses to fund it’s programs. One of the programs is to fund tax cuts and pension increases to compensate for …the price increases!

2.  It is a “price signal”, intended to use the price increase to dissuade traditional use…to change consumer behaviour through the application of the price. The desired consumer change s a reduction of consumption – because the price has increased.

3.  It is intended to provide a competitive advantage to alternative, renewable energy by making traditional power generation relatively more expensive.

Really, this is typical of the wishful thinking nonsense that abounds here.

Tom of Melbourne

November 9. 2012 06:25 PM

Tom of Melbourne

When a government imposes a charge to raise revenue, that the government then uses to fund programs, most people think this qualifies as a “tax”.

Even Our Prime Minister Gillard is honest enough to acknowledge this.

Tom of Melbourne

November 9. 2012 08:20 PM


  A very interesting article, with promise of more to come, was it around Keating's time that most Aust CEO's decided that setting their own wage was much more profitable?.

  Happy  birthday mate, a have a few cold ones, or whatever ya poison is.
  Now I know why we see eye to eye most of the time we are both Scorpios. My meter ticks over next Thursday. Oh dear.


November 9. 2012 08:21 PM


Sorry Kay got you mixed up.


November 9. 2012 10:01 PM


Alex ‏@xx_Alexandra
One of the best memes from #election2012. Hilarious. #RomneyRyan http://instagr.am/p/RzgWqRjhZa/

Revenge is so SWEET


November 9. 2012 10:40 PM


The latest offering from George Bludger. This really does deserve the widest possible audience.



November 9. 2012 11:03 PM

Wake Up

Better wheel out the wife again hey Tony !!!


Wake Up

November 9. 2012 11:53 PM

42 long

Tony LOVES women when they help him. He hates it when they beat him. You have to feel sorry for the bloke. He has a lot of monkeys on his back.
   Trouble Is. He will make HIS problem OURS, if he gets in.

42 long

November 10. 2012 12:07 AM


Comrade Swordsfolks,
What a great mob are the people who write here! Thanks last week for condolences, today for birthday wishes . . . And the best part is, we ALL feel empathy for each other's joys and sorrows, so I will take your comments in both directions as directed from all to all.

Well almost all. We have just a tiny few regular ill-willians. I'm genuinely sorry for these unhappy souls . . . because if they can't find friendship on this site they are not well in the head. I never reply to them, because so long as they spit what they fondly imagine to be hurtful venom but is really only slimy slag, they put themselves beyond range for polite conversation.

Pity, we all lose a little bit, as in our Harpy's little bit of Truth, but the thing is she's so offputting that I just see her gravatar and I'm gone usually, I just check enough to see she is still spitting. Same with tomthing.

I don't mind them being here. They're like the bits of gravel that pass undigested through the guts of chooks, they do us no harm. They do serve to remind us of the very reality of illwill in the community though, making us stronger because more aware of the realities of such people's presence in society - vandals, arsonists, spoilers of all kinds. They also give us reason to consider how to deal with such people - though the strategies are never going to account for all the nastiness which seems to be their sole reason for living.  

I see that the Harpy said at 5.59 that contributors here were whining about her language. Just shows what side of the political fence she is really on. Because it is only the Right that slithers from the Truth, which in this case is, who really cares about the language, the illwill is what we don't want, nor need, nor need to tolerate. If she wanted to get a discussion going here she would not spit, as she has from the first, but speak what Truth she may have earnestly and respectfully. So despite her screeching how socialistic she is, she is in fact nothing but a stooge of the Rabid Right.

Or if not, and she wants to change minds, why doesn't she show some respect?  Anyway I don't care.



Let me assure you, and this is true, you were born not under the sign of Scorpius but the splendid sign of Ophiuchus, The Serpent-Bearer, bringer of wisdom and healing to Humanity, he was the noblest being of all in ancient Greek mythology.

See there are not 12 star-signs really, there are 13, corresponding with the 13 annual cycles of the moon. The likenesses to fishes, virgin, bull etc are entirely fanciful (though great Scorpius really looks like a join-the-dots scorpion) but they served to familiarise early mariners with the constellations by which they navigated. 13 constellations along the Ecliptic were chosen to correspond with the 13 cycles of the Moon through the year, not 12 of course, but early Christians didn't like 13 (Judas was the 13th in Jesus' mob, Jesus himself being one.)

So they excised the very beautiful Ophiuchus, leaving 12 bullshit starsigns about which people have talked bullshit ever since.

Bringing Ophiuchus back shuffles all the others into new positions, each having 28 days and making sense, unless you try to read meaning into them. "Astrology" literally means "Science of the Stars", a complete misnomer, for astrology is crap. (So  the true celestial science had to take a lesser name, Astronomy, which means naming of stars, it's annoying but it's set in concrete of course.  

As I said of the word paedophile, whose literal meaning "lover of children" has been turned 180-degrees to mean monsters like some Catholic priests, words don't always mean what they mean.

But Grasshopper I'm sure you will feel proud of your heroic real starsign as you read of him. Teacher, healer, and maker of great personal sacrifice for the good of mortals. I'm sure I will have kindled your interest enough to goad you to further research . . .          


November 10. 2012 07:04 AM


You are a wealth of info, I don't follow them seriously like you say its all crap anyway, hummm where have we heard that before.


November 10. 2012 07:49 AM


Sometimes the smallest things have the biggest impact

Andrew Leigh ‏@ALeighMP
Representing PM by meeting Prince Charles & Duchess of Cornwall at Canberra Airport. Will have 5yo Sebastian, flowers & ARM cufflinks.

maybe not today but every little bit counts


November 10. 2012 08:13 AM


The last comment on the US election should really be this.


Education is a wonderful thingWink


November 10. 2012 08:22 AM


oppps sorry B/Day next Saturday, shows how much I take notice of it.


November 10. 2012 10:37 AM

Sir Ian Crisp

Attention fellow Swordsfolk: It is my intention to boycott The Political Sword and also begin a hunger strike. Yes, drastic action indeed but necessary. The only way to bring a swift conclusion to my actions is for Mr AA to put up an anti-Abbott piece OR a piece warning of the dangers of the evil Murdoch Empire and other arms of the media which aren’t in lockstep with the bird of paradox and her government. I implore fellow Swordsfolk to join me and force AA to act.

Sir Ian Crisp

November 10. 2012 10:57 AM


Sir Ian,
       Toughen up princess if you don't like what's on offer here you could always start your own blog!
Perhaps Ad could do something on your idol Anders Brevick.


November 10. 2012 11:00 AM


Good Morning Ad, Kay and Everybody.

Thankyou very much Kay for your magnificent article.  Shame Hugh’s book is not available on Kindle, never mind maybe in the future.

Ad look at this a tweet from Latika Bourke one of many of course:

Latika Bourke ‏
Oppn asking if taxpayers funded PM’s spin doc to travel to US to learn tips on turning women against Abbott: http://latika.me/RnUN0h

This is Latika’s qualifications:
Latika Bourke is ABC’s first social media reporter
The ABC has signed up 2UE’s Latika Bourke as its first journalist to report primarily via social media

Twitterverse for you:

Turnbull uses US poll to warn against giving in to political fringes, Phillip Coorey

Another tactic will be to define Mr Abbott in negative terms, as the Obama camp did with Mr Romney.

Mr Abbott said on Friday that voters did not want to see ''the importation into this country of American-style political campaigning''.

''I don't believe the Australian people want to see the nasty personal side, which sometimes came into the American campaign, coming into our campaign,'' he said.

No instant cut in power bills if tax repealed, say retailers, Lenore Taylor
''If the carbon price was repealed, customers would not see an instant decrease in their energy bills,'' a spokeswoman for the Electricity Retailers Association said. ''Legislative changes and regulatory reviews would have to take place prior to changes in the price. Retailers would then need to review their pricing and notify customers

Republican anger over Rove 'waste of money', Julie Bykowicz, The Age
Karl Rove and his investors were the biggest losers on election day.
The Republican strategist created the model for outside-money groups that raised and spent more than $1 billion on the November 6 elections - many of which saw almost no return for their money.

Coal CEO Prays For Deliverance from Obama, Fires Workers, Slate
These kinds of eye-popping donations to conservative causes are common in today’s coal industry. Joseph Craft, CEO of Alliance Resource Partners LP, gave $4.35 million to several different conservative super PACs during the 2012 election. Richard Gilliam, founder of Cumberland Resources Corp., a private coal producer, gave more than $1 million to pro-Romney, anti-Obama super PACs. And Oxbow Corp., a Bill Koch-run company invested in several natural resources including coal, gave more than
$1 million to super PACs supporting Scott Brown and Mitt Romney this year.

Greg Combet claims everything Tony Abbott says in "complete bulls---"Phillip Hudson, News Com

Pinocchio: The future of Australian politics, Laurie Oakes
The Washington Post has been trying to get funding to develop the whole fact-checking thing further through a high-tech project called Truth Teller.It would involve a phone app that parses audio from a political speech or TV ad and determines in real time whether what is said is true or false.The Post reported in August that the system would use speech-to-text technology to gather the audio and compare it against a database of statements, stats and other data that had already been fact-checked.The app could immediately report back to the user that a statement was untrue and provide details. Costly to develop, and a way off—but work has started.


Gillard caught out doing party business at tax-payers expense
The Prime Minister needs to come clean. Did she have John McTernan travel with her for official government business or was this visit used as a disguised opportunity for Mr McTernan to do Labor Party work by carrying our party business with the Obama Campaign?, this is the question that needs to be answered”, Mrs Bishop said.

Further to the post below. Gall does not begin to describe this. Abbott has , for almost 3 years, engineered one... http://fb.me/25L97HNja

We shouldn't import US-style political campaigning, Tony Abbott says
Mr Abbott said the recent US election was marred by "nasty" personal attacks and the Australian public did not want to see that in a local election.

"What I don't think Australians particularly want to see is the importation into this country of American-style political campaigning," Mr Abbott told the Nine Network.

Obama praises Gillard's sexism speech
President Obama wasn't the first leader to mention the speech during Ms Gillard's current overseas trip.

In Laos for a meeting of Asian and European leaders it was raised by French President Francois Hollande and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Oppn: Combet on Abbott: 'complete bullshit'
GREG COMBET: And given that everything he has said about this issue, to be frank about it and so that you don't misunderstand anything I'm saying, has been complete bullshit
GREG HUNT: Mr Combet used some offensive and desperate language. Mr Combet has been expressly and intentionally offensive in search of a headline but at the end of the day we've got a plan to reduce electricity prices, they've got a plan to abuse Tony Abbott. That says everything about the two approaches to government

Are Republicans Really This Stupid-, Crooks and Liars
So now we come to 2012, and a bid by Barack Obama for re-election after four years of daily demonization and "othering" by conservatives in the mainstream and on the fringes. In the process of marginalizing him, conservatives have also taken aim at women, particularly younger single women, and Hispanics. For four years they have honked their horns about jobs and the economy while working to stall all growth whatsoever until they could get someone more favorable to the billionaire's tax goals, at the expense of working people everywhere.

Palmer suspended from LNP www.brisbanetimes.com.au/.../...0121108-2915i.html … via @brisbanetimes



November 10. 2012 11:17 AM


Serious question. Am I being overly sensitive in my reaction to this article if I describe it as being hate-filled hyperbole? This is nasty nasty stuff. As a sometime writer of satire myself, I understand the power that can be derived from using small truths to flesh out and highlight the shortcomings of the intended target but does Mr Dean actually believe any of this spiteful nonsense?

I'd like to believe that I could enjoy a decent chuckle when reading a clever bit of satire aimed at the PM but this effort strikes me as completely devoid of humour and instead drips with vitriol. How did we come to this?

Warning: some readers may find the following content disturbing.

Can Gillard’s long division last? Yes it can
by Rowan Dean     AFR

Julia Gillard returned to the Lodge last night following her election victory against Tony Abbott, “more determined and more inspired than ever before” to reach out and divide the nation.
Promising to pick up the phone in the next few weeks and tell Mr Abbott he’s a vile woman-hating North Shore-dwelling wall-smasher, Ms Gillard pledged to do everything within her power to keep blaming the opposition for everything the government got wrong.
“Tonight, more than two years after a group of faceless men won the right to choose who gets the top job, the task of perfecting my grip on power moves forward.” In her rousing speech, Ms Gillard reaffirmed that the things that divided Australians were more important than the things they had in common.



November 10. 2012 11:22 AM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn and Folks
I have to go out now for a while, but will read the comments and Twitterverse when I get back.

Ad astra reply

November 10. 2012 11:24 AM


No Norman. 'They' have hit new lows. You only need see the commentary here (by a small few), it's like their brains have disconnected. Replaced by vile and vilification. Hence, I think, the public's response of 'enough REALLY IS enough'. The looney right has hit new levels, the looney cynicism has hit new lows.


November 10. 2012 11:54 AM

Tom of Melbourne

The rants of Talk Turkey make no difference to me. The imploring of Ad Astra to ignore alternative opinions is hypocritical, and the wilful ignorance of others in excusing Gillard’s proven duplicity is also dishonest.

I looked at the very first post from Ad Astra, which set his objectives-

…“it will provide a forum for exposing deception among politicians, bureaucrats and commentators”


Don’t blame me for pointing out that this site chooses to neglect it’s stated mission. There are very few around who even attempt to require this part of the media to meet the “balance” that it requires of the rest of the media.

Tom of Melbourne

November 10. 2012 12:00 PM


In case you hadn't noticed it is a 'counting' day, 10-11-12 Frown #dadjoke

One bloke, oops wog, who can count has inscribed his final words @TheOz.

It's been mega, but a new life calls George Megalogenis
http://goo.gl/mPXQz (link to a page that shows a way over the wall - click on the link on that page)

Some interesting and informative reminiscing and pondering 'pon politics past, present and future. Richmond doesn't get a mention but another AFL team beginning with 'F' does.

So long Mega and thanks for the fish.


November 10. 2012 01:27 PM


   Haven't you got public servants to bother?


November 10. 2012 01:33 PM


I congratulate Limpy on his decision to boycott TPS,
and wish him ultimate success in his hunger strike.  


November 10. 2012 01:54 PM

Tom of Melbourne

Jason, I really have no idea what you’re on about. You’re welcome to provide some details here , or email me – tomofmelbourne@gmail.com

If you don’t provide some form of explanation, I’ll presume you are yet another who just makes stuff up.
By the way, I see the AFR has provided more of a case for Gillard to answer about her involvement in the fraudulent slush fund.

Tom of Melbourne

November 10. 2012 03:06 PM



That was really really awful.  It is NOT satire.  It is what the whole Nopposition believe and think.

I agree with pj, and I sincerely hope that the Australian people will see through all their rubbish come election time next year.

Had to giggle at the Nopposition's shock horror with Greg Combet calling abbott's bullshit for what it is, bullshit.  Oh how they get so offended when the tables are turned on them.  The love to dish it out but scream blue murder when it is returned by much less offensive words and behaviour.


November 10. 2012 04:29 PM


A few people have been looking for the full video of the TV interview where Ms Gillard made her now-famous 'no carbon tax' comment.
Phil Vee over at PB helpfully provided a link recently. Ms Gillard does not go on to say that she intends to put a price on carbon (as she did in the interview with The Australian) but she does reconfirm her commitment to working towards a consensus for climate change mitigation legislation. Since Windsor, Oakshott and The Greens all insisted on action on carbon pricing as part of any agreement to form government, that consensus was actually forced on to Labor by virtue of the hung parliament.

Anyway, here is the clip for your files:



November 10. 2012 06:50 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
They were an interesting set of Twitterverse, which proved useful to me in completing my next piece: Take heart from Obama’s win and Romney’s loss.

What sort of editor would allow that scurrilous article to be published?  Answer: Michael Stutchbury.

Ad astra reply

November 10. 2012 09:31 PM

42 long

Norman K. I thought it was totally OFF. Too much license. it's not satire it's character assassination pure and simple. Typical of the hate filled stuff that comes from that lot. What's it got to do with what the AFR would be writing about?

42 long

November 10. 2012 09:44 PM


       Rowan Dean is an editor of sorts for the Australian content of the Spectator magazine!
He's just another right wing mouth piece who hates the PM and her government.


November 10. 2012 10:10 PM

Wake Up

Want to know how the Lib's $7-11 Billion Black Hole was discovered...........


Wake Up

November 10. 2012 10:21 PM



Thanks for that. Showing my ignorance but I know nothing about The Spectator magazine. A quick search doesn't give much indication of it's leanings. Are we talking rabid Right or is it indiscriminate in its targets?

I found myself questioning my own bias as I reacted to that article. I'm sure that if I wrote something as cutting as that about Abbott, for example, I might well be pleased with myself but I would have to acknowledge to myself that the kernels of truth that I was exploiting were mostly 'truths' as I perceived them. As a consequence I would not feel comfortable in publishing such a rabid attack on another individual based mainly on my own prejudices. Hence my shock at seeing it in the AFR. The only conclusion that I could reach is that Mr Dean actually does believe all that he included in that article. That level of venom is not good for anyone.


November 10. 2012 11:07 PM


Hi NormanK

Dorothy talks about Dean,

If Rowan Dean is an AFR resource, ship him to China this instant , Dorothy Parker, Loon Pond  

June 02, 2012

Dean it seems, is the replacement for Peter Ruehl, who shuffled off the twig back in 2011, and was presented in the inimitable AFR Fairfax way as a right wing humorist and scotch drinker (apparently the two go together). (Peter Ruehl, columnist and humorist, dies at 64, may be paywall afflicted).

Because of the job's credentials - right wingers who are humorists, perhaps in the way that Hitler always showed a keen satirical self-awareness - a replacement was no doubt hard to find, and the AFR must have resorted to scraping the bottom of the barrel.




November 10. 2012 11:12 PM



You never cease to amaze me! What could be better than Dorothy doing Dean? I'm off to savour it, mouthful by mouthful.

Thank-you very much Lyn.

Sorry about posting something you had already linked to the other day. Embarassed


November 10. 2012 11:23 PM


Hi Norman

Have fun, I thought Dorothy might make you feel a whole lot better.

Restore your faith in the human race.

Please don't worry about re-posting links, we all know there is not always time to backtrack when we are wanting to share information on the moment.



November 11. 2012 12:43 AM


NormanK, further to your comment on Ms Gillard's 'No carbon tax' statement @ November 10. 2012 04:29 PM

I recall failing to find a video of the PM's full statement when I went searching for it a few months ago. The following from the Australian and Ash Ghebranious bear out that the PM fully intended to introduce a Carbon Price/ETS.

In an election-eve interview with The Australian, the Prime Minister revealed she would view victory tomorrow as a mandate for a carbon price, provided the community was ready for this step.

"I don't rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism," she said of the next parliament. "I rule out a carbon tax."

This is the strongest message Ms Gillard has sent about action on carbon pricing.

While any carbon price would not be triggered until after the 2013 election, Ms Gillard would have two potential legislative partners next term - the Coalition or the Greens. She would legislate the carbon price next term if sufficient consensus existed.


Ash’s Machiavellian Blog

“There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead, but let’s be absolutely clear. I am determined to price carbon.”

Here is another little truth. For Abbott to demand a ‘levy’ to be imposed on business, to legally make that a valid piece of legislation, the coalition MUST use the word ‘tax’. That is because businesses are not citizens. You can levy citizens (eg MEDICARE levy) but you have to tax business. Abbott knew this. He knew this before the 2010 election when he deceived the electorate telling them he will NOT impose any new taxes. He denied his levy was a tax saying what ever he needed to say to get into power. He even tried to sell his arse to new parents. But he also knew it was a tax.

Likewise, Abbott is very aware that the CEF legislation has NO NEW TAXES in it. But he lied and he told the electorate it was. He still does now despite having now seen the legislation.



November 11. 2012 02:17 AM


NormanK, surely nothing could be clearer than the Australian story?   How has Abbott been allowed to get away with his lie about the Prime Minister day in day out since then?

In an election-eve interview with The Australian, the Prime Minister revealed she would view victory tomorrow as a mandate for a carbon price, provided the community was ready for this step.

“I don’t rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism,” she said of the next parliament. “I rule out a carbon tax.”



November 11. 2012 07:50 AM


Please to remember
Eleventh November
The Kerr-Fraser Treason and Plot!
I see no reason
Why the Kerr-Fraser Treason
Should ever be forgot!

With apologies to Guy Fawkes,
Who was no more dishonest than Kerr and Fraser when they staged their coup on this day which will live in infamy
beyond all those who took part in the treachery.


November 11. 2012 09:11 AM


Good Morning Swordsfolks,

I have just tweeted Malcolm Fraser pointing out that this would be the perfect time for him to APOLOGISE to Gough Whitlam and Australia for his coup on this date in 1975.

It might be his LAST opportunity too.

From Fraser's comments over the last several years, and his tweets recently even more so, it appears to me that he is trying to work his passage to heaven. There is only one step that he must take, but he must take it unequivocally and while Gough is still with us.

Said with the preparedness on my part to be forgiving, but with unflagging rage that he ever done what he done, which can only be alleviated by his taking that one tiny huge step.



November 11. 2012 11:00 AM


Crispin Hull must be a nobody as he doesn't have his own Wikipedia page. Mr Hull is however, in my 'umble opinion at least, an excellent journalist and observer of the body politic and the society that surrounds us.

This article from September has some worthy thoughts and observations on the craft of journalism:
Evolution in journalism and society @CanberraTimes
(Journalism) is on the cusp of radical change - so radical that it might constitute the evolution of a new species.



November 11. 2012 11:25 AM


Good Morning Ad and Everybody,

Twitterverse for you:-

Not much twitterchattyatti about the Insiders this morning, other than  Piers Ackerman, you will see he is not very well thought off.

Whit Goughlam‏
An entree for those of you intending to watch #DevilsDust on ABC1 tonight @TonyAbbottMHR on Bernie Banton#thetonyiknowwww.youtube.com/watch

Peter van Onselen‏
My Sunday Telegraph column on Obama's victory & unsavoury commentary about it... www.dailytelegraph.com.au/.../story-e6frezz0-1226514295198

Liberals want Abbott policies, Jessica Wright

US poll gives Labor audacity of hope, Michelle Grattan

INCREASINGLY, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott does not seem up to the job. In fact, he looks a bit of a dill, writes Lainie Anderson.

Unmarried men and the undoing of America, Emma-Kate Symons, AFR
While a disbelieving Karl Rove tried to contradict statistical projections live on Fox News that Obama had won the key state of Ohio, Murray, who will be in Australia on November 19 for the Centre for Independent Studies’ John Bonython lecture, is struggling to come to terms with the idea that US voters backed the incumbent

Power company Synergy caught in carbon tax con, Joe Spagnolo
Synergy admitted to The Sunday Times that it had squirrelled away millions of dollars into a bank account accruing interest and won't pay anything to the Gillard Government until mid-next year.

"Yes, the carbon charge amount collected is sitting in an account accruing interest," a spokeswoman for Synergy said.

Jeremy de Korte‏
St John's patron in racial outrage www.smh.com.au/.../...-outrage-20121110-294wy.html … via @smh Outdated #stjohnscollege culture rears it's head again #AUSpol #values

With memories of '93, the opposition readies the troops never to lose an unlosable election again. Jessica Wright


Lone Deranger ‏
What that wacky loon Piers Ackerman said on #Insiders #auspol pic.twitter.com/8fpT5LQx

Lenore Taylor‏
Did piers just say Gillard's speech appealed only to radical activist feminists? there must be a hell of a lot of them #insiders

GObama Geek‏
War on Women RT @KaushalyaSun: Piers Akerman says "the PM's ridiculous misogyny speach". Millions dont agree. 3 MEN on #Insiders, no balance

People Skills‏
Pies talking about misogynists is like Pies talking about diets. No understanding of either. #insiders

Elizabeth Aitken‏
#insiders anyone seeing the similarities between Piers and bullsh1t mountain Fox News commentary re Romney?

Kimmaree ‏
#insiders Piers is off, why does this delusional pig even get air time. Boomer Men must cringe that they are tarred with his brush

Brilliant. Akerman's final observation was about the Prime Minister's footwear, reminding us of her policy platform re: heels. #Insiders

Destroy the Context‏
Combet calling 'bullshit' on Tony Abbott's Carbon Price nonsense was the quote of the week. #insiders



November 11. 2012 11:32 AM


Krugman hits the nail on the head more often than he misses but is still pilloried by his dismissers (is that a word? - it is now 'cos I wrote it)

Delusions of Reason  @The Consience of a Liberal
The truth is that the modern GOP is deeply anti-intellectual, and has as its fundamental goal not just a rollback of the welfare state but a rollback of the Enlightenment.

Are there parallels in Aus? or are we in a parallel universe?


November 11. 2012 11:38 AM


Thanks for digging up Dot Parker's piece on Rowan Dean.
She's (I presume she really is a she) always a good read.

The misreporting of Julia's carbon pricing statement interested me for, among other reasons, it literally tells half the story. 11 words of a 22 word statement are repeated endlessly, distorting the meaning while the other 11 are deemed never to have existed. "Half the story". A commentariat who of late have been keen on the precise literal meanings of words when it suits them should perhaps reflect on their own perfect example of this well worn term.

T.T. et al
A couple of beers are in the fridge to have on Gough's behalf later on.


November 11. 2012 12:25 PM

Tom of Melbourne

I agree, there should be less emphasis on Gillard’s “there shall be no carbon tax” commitment.

It should be more balanced with –
•  Her commitment to establish a large community forum to promote understanding
•  Her comment that “the reform will fail without community consensus”
•  Her commitment to spend the term building community consensus.
•  Her promise not to introduce any change until June 2013

None of which she kept. Far to many think her only breach of promise related to the tax itself, when there are so many more promises she broke on this issue.

Tom of Melbourne

November 11. 2012 12:50 PM


   I find it amazing that an informal voter such as yourself crys crocodile tears about being disenfranchised!
You got the government you voted for.

The second thing I find even sillier is you seem to think that reminding us every day about broken promises we might shift! what to the Coalition? I and many others don't care, So if you think you're cutting through or you see it as some sort of community service, can you be honest enough to put a diclaimer there about you?

Former ALP member
Financial member of the Australian Democrats
Informal voter at the last election
Current cheerleader for the Federal opposition


November 11. 2012 01:09 PM

Ad astra reply

Hi Lyn
Thank you for your Twitterverse – another interesting collection.  Already I’ve added one to the piece I’ve just finished: Take heart from Obama’s win and Romney’s loss which I will post later today.

The comments about Piers Akerman were apt.  When I saw him on the Insiders panel I bristled, but as the program progressed, I realized that he was the local embodiment of the conservative punditry that so misjudged and miscalled the Obama/Romney contest.  His ilk misled the American people, just as he is doing here.  It is his breed that diminishes our MSM so dangerously, rendering its opinion near to useless.  He epitomizes the angry, grey-haired, middle-aged white male that so go it wrong in the US, a phenomenon I address in the next piece.  On today’s performance Akerman was a heavy weight on the Coalition.  I’m pretty sure Malcolm Turnbull would have cringed.  Other people will have noticed too.

I have enjoyed reading the other comments and the links attached thereto.  There are quite a few MSM journalists beginning to talk out now, aren’t there?

Ad astra reply

November 11. 2012 01:28 PM


Apologies if this has been linked already, I am still working my way through all the information (thanks so much AGAIN!).

Reading twitter this morning I asked how has Piers come to have such standing that he has privilige of a media voice (ie on Insiders) for example, trying to understand this bundle of nonsense, a fellow twitter writer sent this:


It is from 1991, Caroline Wilson, 'The Power of a Murdoch Man'. Well worth a read if you are not familiar with Ackerman's character, past.


November 11. 2012 01:43 PM


Happy birthday, Patricia.


November 11. 2012 02:12 PM


Abbott's gone.

Listen to/read what he had to say in addressing the Country Liberal Party today in the Northern Territory. His 'speech' will undoubtedly be on the Liberal Party website or fawned over in the Murdoch Press (same thing?) by day's end/tomorrow.

Not a new word, not a new thought, not a new angle of attack (his specialty, we're told by everyone but him [who actually wants a kinder, gentler polity, without personal politics, didn't you know?] that 'everyone' who continue to say he's the best Opposition Leader ever), nothing but the same old same old which has nowhere to go.

He can't change. Himself, his tune, or his fate.

When the Today show's Lisa Wilkinson can make him look evasive, incompetent, and just plain silly, by no more than re-asking a simple question, this simpleton is erasing himself from competence in voters' minds.

A slow spiraling political suicide. With smirk.

He's about to be remembered, on so many levels, as "Tony Abbott, The Man Who Never Got It".


November 11. 2012 02:55 PM


Thanks, Miglo!   I had a great start to the day here with breakfast at South Beach with an old running friend from decades back.  We enjoyed telling each other how we'd hardly changed over the years!  (As if!)

He'd cycled over to Freo from Claremont before seven and looked to me just a little more grizzled than in the eighties, but as trim and alert as ever.  I'm not a good cyclist so I rely on Tacker to keep me fit with our daily walks.  Thanks to the wonders of modern surgery I don't have a limp or feel slowed down by my recent crosswalk collision with that 4 wheel drive.  Like him I'm a bit more wrinkled and faded than last year, but miraculously I feel healthier and happier than ever in my life.  None of those former aches and pains in neck and back from long hours of desk work.  Tho' I do have a slightly arthritic right thumb caused by excessive hours of  handwriting essays and exam papers some sixty years ago!  Both agreed that our only care is how to avoid having our bodies outlast our brains so that we don't become a burden on others.  Any ideas or suggestions on that would be welcome.


November 11. 2012 03:04 PM

Ad astra reply

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Patricia,
Happy Birthday to you.

Ad astra reply

November 11. 2012 03:25 PM



Happy Birthday! ♡♡
Very pleased to hear that you are fit and well once again.


November 11. 2012 04:02 PM


Hi PatriciaWA,

One of The Political Sword's most faithful contributors you are, we honor you and rejoice in your feeling so well after a lot of pain and trials. Your influence is seen everywhere through the Fighting 5th Estate, always positive and encouraging. Today is your day, this day when as a kid you couldn't work out why it was such a special day, if my memory serves! Smile

Happy Birthday Dear Patricia.



November 11. 2012 04:07 PM


Interesting read.

My views:







So, is that 8 wins out of 9 swing states then? Obama...and the Dems...got gutsy there with policies in the election year...helps.

Voters take you more seriously. Can see who the REAL BULLSHITTER is.



Happy b'day Patricia.



November 11. 2012 04:17 PM


Patricia said
. . . our only care is how to avoid having our bodies outlast our brains so that we don't become a burden on others.  Any ideas or suggestions on that would be welcome.

Welllll . . .  


This is not a joke! Scripps is one of the most respected pharmacological reserach houses in the world.  


November 11. 2012 04:23 PM


Talk Turkey's post...: "ungh...faarrroutmaaan!"


November 11. 2012 04:28 PM





November 11. 2012 04:30 PM


Snotty Joe's promises . . .


And my thoughts . . .



November 11. 2012 04:39 PM


Because of the three year term...being so short...the crew MUST be in place to head straight outa the station after THE WIN.

Good crew like SMITH and EMERSON and CONROY and MACKLIN...ETC. need to be rested so they are available to do heavy lifting in the latter part of the following term.




November 11. 2012 06:53 PM

Ad astra reply

I have just now posted Take heart from Obama’s win and Romney’s loss.  Enjoy.

Many of the links have been supplied by our Link Queen, Lyn.


Ad astra reply

November 11. 2012 07:42 PM


Hi Nasking,
Good always to see you Bear, but I'm not really sure where you be a-comin' of in your two last posts. I think the Labor Party is very well placed for talent, though I'd love to hear some really dazzling verbal thrusts from young blades it's true.

Some clever wit, nice metaphors (a la PJK's "all tip, no iceberg" sort of thing iyswim), but *J*U*L*I*A* herself does pretty well, I thought when she paid out Costello for being spineless it was the funniest thing I've ever heard in Parliament. (She was Deputy PM at the time).

Fear not Mr Bear, the hard yards are done now, the rest will be 3-reef sailing and our Braves will have great pleasure, now the legislative agenda is pretty-well achieved, in the Fun part, needling the Slopposition, things like Emerson's Whyalla Wipeout song and Combet's calling Bullshit, our warriors would not have been game (nor had the time) to do that sort of thing before they got the legislation through, now they are positively champing at the bit, pawing the ground like war-horses, THIS is what they LIKE! Never mind being rested, a change is better than a holiday in this case, as we are about to go into 3-quarter time in the Big Game, for from February on, It's ON!

So many now have reason to be pleased with Labor, and few have cause to think at all well of the Abborttians, thugs and yahoos they are and are being seen to be. We of Leftish persuasion have worked like Dogs collectively, even we whose main contribution has been just writing like this. Time to start, not crowing, ~ (that's hubris, deadly to a campaign) ~ but telling our truth loud and earnestly, ridiculing and probing and challenging the Others, and especially goading the MSM -(speaking of which we're doing all right imo, watcha reckon? We have made them lift their game just a little, we will make them smart* for their sins in the coming months, they have been Wrong Wrong Wrong up till now and WE have been Right Right Right, RIGHT?!)

And I'll be right about this too, mark my words! (Just as I claim, OK ad nauseam, to have been hitherto, to my pride and delight and hopefully even FINANCIAL gain when my favourite comes home next year! Smile) Because it's ALWAYS been *J*U*L*I*A*s game plan, she as good as said so all along, and through hate and lies and grief and stonewalls all the way she has never faltered, her team has never put a foot wrong, not a single dismissal nor hint of corruption or culpable negligence, that is some record for a group so under attack from all sides.

True there have been many hurdles along the way, she could have fallen or broken a fetlock, but she hasn't, she is nimble and shrewd, and she is now 'way out in front of Abbortt personally, ever more so I suggest. She is pulling our Party UP now, he is dragging his DOWN. You know, it really does make sense!

I predicted that Abbortt would be challenged (for the leadership) this month.

That might still happen, or not. But it doesn't actually matter.

It seems to me that he is already increasingly under challenge in the wider sense, from the few but telling interviews in which he has been so cornered, by Lisa Wilkinson twice now, and obviously as his personal popularity ratings plunge 'way below the LNP 2PP's, there must be huge dismay amongst the Party spin doctors in deciding how to treat the deep infection of their sick old Party's private parts.

Whether they will decide to lance the huge boil in the Opposition's crutch or not now I can only guess, or whether they will put dressings over it and hope it heals - which it won't, it will leak poison into their system as long as Abbortt remains - is their problemm, and it is due to the fact that they have NO-ONE in a position to replace him without losing even more credibility. They are in a NO~NO~NO win situation, and Turdball is a very serious problem to their whole Party. The public loves him, his party can't stand him, and he is hopelessly wedged in a  crediblity gap over his French NBN shares . . . And many Aussies are saying I would vote Liberal if Turdball was Leader but with Abbortt, no way!

So I don't care who leads the Liberal Party, they are becalmed in Sewage Swamp via Shit Creek thanks to Abbortt.            

Oh by the way Nas I do understand that you mean after the Win, I took that on board, but look, we can let talent problems beyond that look after themselves in good time don't you think?

Besides I might be all wore out before that.

*(! undeliberate pun word!)


Comments are closed