The politics of simplistic populism

'Populism'. It's a word we've been hearing a lot about the place lately. Of course, it's uttered, generally, with a large side order of derision, as if it's the basest form of politics.

However, is it really? Or is it just a condemnation uttered by the jealous, who wish they could be as popular and instantaneously effective with the punters when they think out loud about policy.

Of course, the corollary of the derision must be that we, if we were politicians, would rather we were able to make pronouncements about policy that were deep and meaningful and resonated with the electorate so that we could have the term, 'leading the debate' appended to our moniker as a result.

In reality, that's unlikely to be the case for 99% of politicians in modern democracies. A Barack Obama, or, dare I say it, a Margaret Thatcher, only come along once in every couple of generations, and even they struggle to connect with their demos on a day to day basis.

Still, we need to examine Populism, as it is experiencing a resurgence lately.

So, I'd like to start with an explanation about what Populism is, in the political context.

Unsurprisingly, political populism goes back as far as the Roman Senate and practitioners such as Julius Caesar. The Populares were an unofficial faction in the Roman Senate who appealed directly to the people and bypassed the government with referendums.

The word 'Populism' is derived from the Latin word 'populus', which simply means 'people', or 'the people', in English.

So, you can see how the practice of populism has survived through the ages because it, seemingly, reflects 'the people' back to 'the people', and so is popular. Not necessarily the right thing, but the popular thing.

Populism also usually undergoes a resurgence during periods when religious revivals occur, as it is easy to promulgate the certainties that religion espouses to an uncertain and fearful populace who express a lack of a need to question and debate, instead just to follow a circumscribed set of certainties and assumptions. Thus it usually goes hand in hand with times of cultural and political insecurity, such as the Western World has been feeling since it was put under attack directly by Al Qaeda on September 11, 2001, and since.

As in the Romantic period following on from the socially cataclysmic Industrial Revolution, the ensuing religious revival eventually blended into political populism and nationalism, becoming a powerful force of public will for change.

As can be seen in America now, and in Australia, with the rise again of the reactionary Christian Conservative movement, the 'Religious Right', and the 'Tea Party' movement, and its bleeding into the policies and personnel of Conservative politics and the religious end of the progressive political spectrum as well, if you can call the 'alternative lifestyle' movement that generally gives its support to Greens politicians a quasi religion. Essentially, populist politics and charismatic movements synergistically enhance each other.

Populism is generally ascribed to a type of political discourse that seeks to take the side of 'the people' against 'the elites', and urges social and political changes as a result. Even if it's political and media 'elites' that are championing it.

In Australia at the moment this is being manifest as 'Bank bashing', especially by Joe Hockey, which is 'interesting' considering the fact that before he entered politics he was a banking and finance lawyer and that he is married to an Investment Banker. Though I will admit that he could be in a Poacher turned Gamekeeper position.

Nevertheless, it has to be said that that Joe Hockey is leveraging his folksy appeal to the average schmo and he is seeking to give the impression that he believes the people know best and that their everyday concerns should dictate policy to the government. He is merely their conduit. Fair enough. He is a representative of the people of his electorate. However it's well to keep in mind that when asked specifically what he would be doing today if he were Treasurer, the specifics became a bit more woolly beyond removing the Bank Funding Guarantee instituted during the GFC and giving the ACCC Bank Price Signalling oversight power.

This is entirely within the spirit of modern populism however, where populists often adopt a nationalistic vocabulary, as in John Howard's time where he made much of the 'ANZAC Spirit', and our flag became his leitmotif, or, recently, during the initial debate over a Mining Tax, where the 'Sovereign Risk' bogey was thrown about with gay abandon, appealing to an irrational fear of the economy going down the gurgler should the RSPT be brought in.

Also articulated are rhetorically-convincing appeals to the masses, whilst remaining ideologically ambivalent when you drill down into the meat of what the populists are saying and analyse it, as is the case with Joe Hockey's 'Bank bashing' exercise after the initial flurry of anti-Coalition ideology incorporated in his expression of a willingness to use any 'levers' available to government to tame them, later modified.

When populists in Opposition parties take strong positions on economic philosophies, often at odds with their party's traditional ideology, the position sparks strong emotional responses about how best to manage the nation's current and future social and economic position. Thus they gain favour with 'the people' as their 'champion', whilst at the same time knowing, cynically, they are not the ones in the position to have to do anything, and, if they were their actions may well be at odds with their rhetoric, and more in line with their traditional ideological stance.

Populists can be very successful political candidates in appealing to the broad political mass of people, prior to gaining power for their party.

This can also be applied to Kevin Rudd prior to the 2007 election, as populists may promise widely demanded food, housing, employment, basic social services, and income redistribution. Once in political power, however, they may not always be able to financially or politically fulfil all these promises, as we saw with Kevin Rudd's inability to get 'Grocery Watch' or 'Fuel Watch' up. However, on the other hand, they are often very successful in other areas where a common consensus exists within the community, such as Kevin Rudd's shepherding through parliament of a massive increase in spending on Public Housing, Public School infrastructure, and Public Hospitals.

It's also interesting to note that populists, such as Mr Hockey and Tony Abbott, mobilise support by taking a Third Party position that belies their own intimate involvement in the system they are criticising.

We also hear them manifesting their anger at 'big government', when they were both Ministers in the government of John Howard that expanded government more than any in our history; and, 'Big Business', when it is the Liberal Party that is the political creature of the 'Big End of Town', even though it constantly seeks to deny it publically and prefers to wear its allegiance to 'Small Business' on its sleeve when out and about in public or the media.

On the other hand we constantly hear the refrain that the ALP is the political creature of the Union movement, when all the 'field evidence' suggests that the Unions, or what is left of the Union movement, at about 20% representation in our workplaces these days, are transferring their allegiances to the Greens, and, in fact, the ALP is presently suffering from having no popular community-wide support base, save for those of a mind, within the community as a whole, who agree with the basic tenets of the 'Fair Go For All', egalitarianism, social justice, and support for the State as provider of support for the indigent in our society, as opposed to 'Faith-Based Enterprises’ allied to religious institutions, in the main, such as Tony Abbott championed when in government. I believe Greg Combet has expressed similar sentiments very recently.

I'd also like to point out that populism on the Conservative side of politics, especially when the Coalition is in power with its country cousins in the National Party, and as has been seen recently with the farmer's revolts, encompasses what has come to be known as 'Agrarian Socialism'. As in, because we all like food security, such basic social needs have been leveraged by the farming community into almost a form of nationalism. Campaigns that exhort us not to 'Sell off the Farm' to overseas interests, and now, not to allow the environment of the Murray-Darling Basin to win 'over' the 'rights' that the irrigators 'have', can also be seen as the well-organised Populist movement that it is, disguising well the multinational Agribusiness interests that hide behind its curtains. I must also add the Mining lobby to this oeuvre, as its recent hokey but effective anti-RSPT ad campaign demonstrated to a T.

Finally, I'd just like to conclude with an explanation of 'Neo-Populism'. It's also come to be known as 'Media Populism', and is a cultural and political movement that has specifically emerged in the 21st Century. Think Kevin Rudd and Joe Hockey on Sunrise, or Sarah Palin on Fox News in America, and Facebook and Twitter. It is unique in that it combines, or perhaps redefines, classically opposed Left-Right attitudes as well, and incorporates various new electronic media as its means of popular dissemination of its messages, and a means of bypassing traditional media, its critiques and critics.

Thus we are seeing Joe Hockey's 'Bank bashing' finding favour with the Greens, the Greens striking out into the countryside to form alliances with country folk and Farmers groups, and so on.

It is also manifest, as we have seen again last weekend, with Tony Abbott's efforts to get out the vote in his favour in Port Macquarie at the next federal election, as he attempts to win Lyne back from Rob Oakeshott, by being media and culturally savvy and parlaying his fitness obsession into a direct rapport with the electors, as he makes sure that everyone knows when he is going to be in town and that they are encouraged to come down and cheer him on, and ultimately, he hopes, vote for his political party. Watch out for a 'Star' candidate to be put up against Mr Oakeshott to capitalise on all of Mr Abbott's groundwork.

So this is Populism and Neo-Populism in the 21st Century. The Greens and the Liberals and National Party (with Barnaby 'Barnstormer' Joyce) are alive to its potential for political gains to be made off the back of it.

It seems to me the ALP is not, and if it is not careful it will be caught in a populist pincer movement from the Left and the Right.

What do you think?

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4/11/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx I have also added at the top of Lyn's Daily Links reference to [i]Australian Blog Sites[/i] that 'has been developed because of an overdue need for bloggers to share a sense of unity.' You can visit it at http://australianblogsites.com For reference, it is also listed at the top of 'sites of interest' in the right panel.

lyn

4/11/2010Hi Hillbilly A thousand thanks, for another fantastic column, we are very grateful for the time you devote to our enjoyment, in your very busy day to day activities, along mundane household chores, such as washing, ironing, you know what I mean. I think the Abbott Populism, is heading for a massive collision, in the not to distant future. This is America: News you can use - The US midterms AKA why America whyyyyy , The Vine TV [quote]Oh God, Tony Abbott, really? Like, just when you had started to appear like a regular, almost unobtrusive part of the political landscape, you had to go and come out with this (and I don't think I can improve upon the headline): Tony Abbott says 'beautiful, idyllic' surrounds of detention centre send the wrong message. I just... wow. This man makes a deliberate mockery of the supposed sanctity of the Christian faith. I may not myself be on a fast track to heaven, but, Mr Abbott, I would have to think Jesus would be inclined to spit on you.[/quote] http://www.thevine.com.au/news/current-affairs/news-you-can-use-_-the-us-midterms-aka-why-america-whyyyyy20101103.aspx

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4/11/2010Lyn I wonder how Tony Abbott feels about that comment on his Christian behaviour.

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4/11/2010Folks I recommend you take a look at Miglo’s new site: Australian Blog Sites. http://australianblogsites.com/ Although still under development, it already has some interesting features. If you can find the time, do look at the videos listed on the left side, but be prepared for a shocking assessment of Rupert Murdoch’s influence, particularly on his Fox News which touts the strap-line: ‘Fair and Balanced’, when it is quite the opposite. Check how many outlets he owns, how many people he reaches – you may be astonished. Ex-employees give a graphic account of how much manipulation occurs behind his so-called news, and how they have been removed for non-compliance or resigned because they believe this is not journalism at all. Several issues were mentioned on which we here on [i]TPS[/i] have commented. One said that Fox News blurs the line between news and commentary. Another said Murdoch wants all news to be ‘a matter of opinion’. Others mentioned how the phrase ‘some people say’ is used in an endeavour to divorce the presenter from the opinion expressed, although it is actually his/her opinion. Another pointed out how wedge issues are use to diminish opponents of his ultra conservative position. We see all these techniques used in News Limited outlets here. In the last video, there is a graphic demonstration of the aggressive bullying of interviewees by the presenter. Be prepared to come away from the viewing feeling disturbed and probably very angry.

D Mick Weir

4/11/2010Good Work HS, much food for thought as I drive all over the place this afternoon. [i].... I will admit that he could be in a Poacher turned Gamekeeper position.[/i] Moot point but, I would have said Gamekeeper turned Poacher!! as it has been suggested that Joe may have had access to some inside information about Swannies plans in this area!!!!!

TalkTurkey

4/11/2010Lyn, HS, thevine, jesus, looks like I have your support in what I said around election time, if ever Abbott approaches me with outstretched hand for me to shake I'll accommodate him all right, with a handful of goobie. He has earnt it so much more since then. How to make Australians clutch at their own decency? To label Abbott damagingly as unAustralian as he so richly deserves? This is not what this country is meant to be about. Abbott is appalling, but the Yellow Media is applallinger. He's the *, they're his *-lickers. I haven't found the "bussing" article yet though . . . Anyone point out link? Abbott is a Liberal and a Christian, oh yeah. But liberal and christian? - Don't make me sick.

2353

4/11/2010Marketing (the home of the 30 second sell) and politics started to merge at the It's Time election in 1972. The singing and hype didn't have much of a battle in being more popular than Billy McMahon! According to Wikipedia, marketing seemed to commence in Western Europe during the 1970's and [i]"The 'marketing orientation' is perhaps the most common orientation used in contemporary marketing. It involves a firm essentially basing its marketing plans around the marketing concept, and thus supplying products to suit new consumer tastes. As an example, a firm would employ market research to gauge consumer desires, use R&D to develop a product attuned to the revealed information, and then utilize promotion techniques to ensure persons know the product exists."[/i] So marketing is based on populism. Maybe the ALP on the initial battle, getting Whitlam elected, but lost the war when it tried to "supply products to suit new consumer taste". In other words, they lurched to the right to pick up disaffected "small l" Liberals but forgot the "needs and aspirations" of their own supporters in doing so.

Steve1

4/11/2010Modern day populism is based on the misbelief that there are simple solutions to every problem. Unfortunately the simple solutions espoused are usually wrong. The best example I have seen recently was the farmer who responded to the MDRA report and after calling everybody else drongoes basically said the solution on the Murray Darling is to simply build more dams. I am sure thsi solution is poular amoungst many people but it ignores the fundamental point that the problem is that there are too many dams already and it is the amount of water being taken out of the system which is the problem not the storage capacity on the system.

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4/11/2010HS Thank you for another thought-provoking piece. A particularly nasty illustration of populism has been the techniques used by Tony Abbott in his visit to Woodside to can the idea of housing asylum-seekers three kilometers away at the army camp at Inverbrakie. His portrayal of picturesque Woodside as a ‘postcard’ that would appeal to people smugglers is intended to evoke NIMBY attitudes in the people who live in such a peaceful place by ‘threatening’ them with images of ‘invading’ foreigners, many Muslim, who are subliminally depicted as despoiling this idyllic place. He is making an appeal to the baser instincts by stirring up a ‘why should we have "these people" in our beautiful neck of the woods’, knowing that this populist approach will stir enmity not just against the asylum-seekers, but even more so against the wicked, incompetent Government that placed them there, a government whose failed policies have not ‘stopped the boats’. He, Scott Morrison and the other hanger-on, presumably the local member, are squeezing every last drop of populist sentiment they can from this tactic, notwithstanding the distress it is causing asylum-seekers, their advocates and many decent Australians. To my mind this is the malevolent side-effect of this sort of malignant populism – many are hurt, many are discredited, many are affronted, and peace-loving rural residents are stirred into antagonistic mode when they might, with a different approach, be accommodating to these displaced people as have many other small communities around Australia. Stirring up xenophobia and racial hatred, or even unfounded apprehension, is populism at its worst. Sadly the MSM has fuelled this through its uncritical reporting of this episode. Grog has an informative and perceptive piece on [i]Grog’s Gamut[/i] titled [i]Place without a postcard[/i]. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/11/place-without-postcard.html Compared with this vicious episode of Abbott populism, Joe Hockey’s recent attempts to be populist over bank interest rates look positively benign.

Miglo

4/11/2010HS, what an enthralling post. The most enjoyment I get out of reading is when the thought bubbles are still bubbling after the read is over. The story still lingers in my head and the questions remain. Aa, thank you for the support and praise for Australian Blog Sites. It doesn't yet have the feel and look of the planned version but at least I finally have it functioning. For those who may be wondering what ABS is, it is/will eventually be a directory of like-minded blog sites who rightfully expect honest media in this country. Sadly, we don't get honest media and when this was raised on Grog's site the media responded by spitting acid as well as ridiculing the independent blog sites. Hopefully, through ABS we can send the message that we aren't as small an insignificent as the media portray us to be.

Patriciawa

4/11/2010 Joe Hockey may look comparatively 'benign' with his banking reform platform but remember his 'populism' has the same motivation - winning political power for Abbot's party, the Liberals, who clearly have no scruples about exploiting the basest instincts of some Australians. I wonder how much support Joe's private member bill will get from the Independents. I'm trusting they will politely commend its spirt but recommend deferring action until the more considered detail of the Government's proposal is before the House.

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4/11/2010Lyn Thank you for drawing attention to [i]The Vine[/i] and Grog's piece on the flagrant Woodside episode of Abbott populism. Grog's piece is very informative and if one looks on Google Maps, Inverbrackie is three kilometres from Woodside, hardly in the environs of this lovely hamlet in the Adelaide hills. As Grog pointed out, he has driven many times through Woodside without ever seeing Inverbrackie. He knew it was there only because his Dad drove him there specifically because of his interest in the army as a 10 year old. 2353 Your point about the relationship between populism and marketing is well made. Tony Abbott has used populism to market his simplistic brand of politics and has succeeded much more than has Labor, which has struggled to market its messages, even the very good ones. Steve1 Welcome back. You are right - the reason the MDB is so bereft of water, apart from the drought, is the misallocation of water that is dammed on thousands of properties, perhaps the most flagrant example being the Cubbie Station dams in south-west Queensland that has huge storage with a capacity of the order of 400 Gigalitres, two thirds of Sydney’s annual water consumption, all to grow cotton. It is these and many smaller dams that have sequestered the water that should have been flowing in larger quantities down the Darling and Murray and into wetlands and environmentally sensitive areas. No, we don’t need more dams.

nasking

4/11/2010[quote]Populism also usually undergoes a resurgence during periods when religious revivals occur, as it is easy to promulgate the certainties that religion espouses to an uncertain and fearful populace who express a lack of a need to question and debate, instead just to follow a circumscribed set of certainties and assumptions. Thus it usually goes hand in hand with times of cultural and political insecurity, such as the Western World has been feeling since it was put under attack directly by Al Qaeda on September 11, 2001, and since. [/quote] Spot on Hillbilly. I also believe that people durin' economic uncertainty are willin' to direct their anger at the big businesses, CEOs, share market manipulators & wealthy in general who are seen, quite justifiably in some cases, as bein' anti-competitive, exploitin' their labour power, rippin' them off w/ fees & by way of sellin' & providin' inferior goods & services, and gainin' far too much political influence providin' them w/ advantages others can't get. Too often governments are kneejerkly dismissive of such concerns (partially due to their obligation & connections to donors & lobbyists, partially due to an attempt to sound like rational economic managers in a globally-connected corporate world)and unfortunately this leaves them open to accusations of bein' "elitist", "puppets" & "not listenin' to the people"... and as we've mentioned previously, as you do here, provides a space for a desperate & opportunistic opposition party(ies)to fill. As we've seen w/ the Tea Party movement in America that has capitalised on the Obama administration & its allied media's too oft dismissive attitude towards Independent voters who were interested in 9/11 conspiracy theories whilst also detesting the Bush admin's wars & bank bailouts...and subsequently the Obama admin's bank bailouts. The Independents were ripe for the pickin'...and the ever unprincipled, opportunistic for profit & "lower taxes" driven Fox News & shock jocks picked up the blogosphere Independent's cynicism, rage & suspicion of authority...turned it on its head...and threw it at the Obama admin. Eventually, it may come back to bite Murdoch & co...but for now it has worked for them & the Republicans as it did for the Democrats previously. The problem lies in the fact that "playin' it rational" & tryin' to educate doesn't fully work to offset this "populist" movement...partially because there lies a number of truisms w/in the myths & conspiracies...true economic hurt, disgust w/ excessive corporate profits & lobbyists, a sense of manufacturin' & other secure jobs bein' ripped away & oft sent overseas, insecurity about whether ownin' a home/farm/land/business/access to water can be undermined by rates, fees & corrupt councils, eminant domain/resumption/compulsory acquisition & so on. Unless government ministers & leaders accept that it is easy for opportunistic politicians & media to reinforce the fears, myths & distortions...and accept that certain truisms & real justifiable anger, distrust & frustraion exists in these so called "populist" movements...they will be undermined time & time again. As a government w/ reform & hard decision-makin' in mind...distancing oneself from the concerned community whilst allowing yer opponent to walk in & feed the anger & create more ugliness - and in turn, listenin' to some truly bona-fide concerns - and thus, bein' portrayed by allied media as "a man or woman of the people"...well, that vacatin' the field. You have to have the courage to confront the BSers whilst negotiatin' w/ the reasonable...and ensurin' that allied media present yer side of things in a fair fashion. Certainly media can live & breed on hype & distortions & conflict...puttin' snippets up on tele & internet out of context...but if you ensure that you have doco-makers & others there to properly capture the community meetings that can be aired in entirety...then you have a much better chance of gettin' yer voice heard, hearin' & adaptin' to the concerns & eventually gettin' the reforms thru. N'

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4/11/2010Patriciawa I hope you are right, and that the enquiry into banking already in train is allowed to proceed without the one-up-manship inherent in Joe Hockey's private members' bill. I see somewhere today that Joe may have had access to a 'leak' about Wayne Swan's plans for greater competition in the banking industry, and is trying to one-up the Government by coming up with his own plan so he can claim 'I/we thought of it first'.

NormanK

4/11/2010Thanks Hillbilly. You may have missed this story buried in the middle of Lyn's Links this morning. [b]Abbott Address - "Populist Rhetoric" * Senior Labor Ministers have accused the Leader of the Opposition of engaging in "populist rhetoric" during a recent speech to disaffected citizens in the Adelaide Hills.[/b] In a surprise move yesterday,Tony Abbott and Shadow Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison visited the South Australian town of Woodside to reassure the local community that the proposed detention centre was not a threat to their on-going prosperity. Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison, in a show of support for local Member for Mayo Jamie Briggs, addressed a crowd of 500 impassioned locals gathered together in an old community hall to air their concerns that the new centre would be detrimental to their hard-won lifestyle based on an unusual mix of immigrant cultures. Local organiser, Briohny Pitts, said that although the venue was less than satisfactory (having been built in the late 1800's by German refugees), locals were "thrilled that Mr Abbott and Mr Morrison took time out of their busy schedules to speak to us on what has become a subject of serious concern to us". Mr Abbott told the Woodside locals, many of whom had travelled tens of kilometres to attend, that the proposed detention centre would provide a welcome windfall for the regional community. "The amount of money that will flow into Woodside and surrounding communities can not be overstated," he said. "Federal money will be spent locally to bring the facility back into commission with much of the work to be undertaken by local trades-people and labourers. Then you'll have the civilian workforce spending at your shops and restaurants. Even though they will only be here for a short time, I think you'll find that the input into the local economy will be quite significant." Mr Morrison reinforced this theme and reassured the audience that rather than stretching local amenities, the centre would bring the area to the attention of senior public servants who would of necessity evaluate the health and school facilities in the region and that such attention could only bring positive results if there were found to be any shortcomings. "Many regional towns will be envious of the attention that this area is going to receive over the coming months. I know Jamie (Briggs) has been advocating for more infrastructure for some time and this opportunity to get in the ear of decision-makers should be embraced. Everything from roads, schools, hospitals, the shortage of doctors and nurses to the underfunding of volunteer fire-fighters and SES will be under the microscope and it is up to the local community and councils to exploit this lucky break." Reiterating a philosophy espoused on his own website, Mr Morrison said "Only by focusing on community, can we build our capacity to work together to address the many challenges we face." Mr Abbot took a swipe at Prime Minister Julia Gillard, a self-confessed atheist. "This might not prove popular in some parts of the country or with the current Labor government lead by a non-believer but when I ponder the best response to issues like asylum seekers, I ask myself 'what would Christ do if he were here today?' And I know, I know that he would extend the hand of friendship to those who are genuinely seeking refuge from persecution and would welcome them into our midst with humility and compassion." Father of two, Scott Morrison also drew on his religious faith when telling the crowd that above all else it was the "suffering of the innocents" which prompted him to support any moves to release children from the harsh environment of detention in "makeshift prisons" and to release them into the care of a "good and decent Australian public". "I'd like to think that, God forbid, if ever Abbey or Lily (Morrison's daughters) found themselves fleeing persecution based on nothing more than their race or religion, the country to which they have fled would treat them with understanding and compassion. Really it is my love of them and my belief in God and His good works which inform my attitude to these unfortunate people." Mr Morrison also said that he felt that this was an opportunity to have our "next generation of citizens" mingle with newcomers in their school-yards and that perhaps they might even "pick up a bit of the language". "We need to teach our children that they have nothing to fear from people of different ethnicity and what better way than to educate them side by side?" Mr Abbott said that the "red carpet welcome" into this "picture postcard" town sent a clear and deliberate "message" to the rest of the world that Australia was willing to do its fair share in dealing with displaced persons. "There but for the Grace of God go I," Mr Abbott said. "I think it is a great pity that this topic has become such a political football," he told the adoring crowd. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said that while he welcomed Mr Abbott's comments, he felt that the Opposition Leader was "riding a wave of populism in the wake of an upswell in pro-Islamic opinion sweeping through Europe and North America on the back of positive Press treatment of Muslims". He questioned the longevity of Mr Abbott's Christian charity beyond the next electoral cycle. Anthony Alabanese accused Abbott and Morrison of "populist rhetoric in an attempt to garner favour from traditional Labor supporters". Mr Abbott later told reporters that he thought the Ministers' comments were "unfortunate" and that he felt "saddened to see Labor so out of touch with community sentiment". "Perhaps they need to get a life and get out more," he said. [b]*[/b] From the waste-bin of a Senior Political Editor at one of Australia's leading media houses. Reprinted in full without permission.

jj

4/11/2010To say that the Labor Party does not act in populism, as you did in the last paragraph is just pure fiction! I will just list a few populist policies and moves: -Grocery watch -Fuel watch -Asylum seeker policy (please dont argue that Julia Gillard is actually in favour of her governments policy) -reversal on the Murray Darling Basin plan -Dumping the ETS -the creation of the citizens assembly idea -cash for clunkers -dumping Kevin Rudd and many, many, many more. All sides play the populist card on occasions, dont be so foolish to claim that the Labor Party does not. Actually HS, name all the policies this government has implemented which you feel have gone against the grain of public sentiment?

jj

4/11/2010last time i checked, it was both Wayne Swan (treasurer of the Labor party), and Joe Hockey that were getting stuck into the banks...but of course, what comes out of the mouth of a Labor member is never populist! Can you please give me the figures, HS with which you base your assertion that in Australia we are seeing the rise of the conservative right?

Patriciawa

4/11/2010NormanK! You had me wondering for a moment! But of course that is exactly what Joe has indeed done, isn't? Pushed the line 'populist' line on banking which goes against the grain of normal Coalition thinking. I think Abbot is going to regret his 'postcard' comment. Even Joe's populism sounds a touch shrill in a country where most people are employed and the economy is strong and bank rates are still at historic lows. The tall poppy syndrome which is timeless and engrained in the national psyche is probably working more for him in his attack on the banks than extreme economic hardship. No one likes paying more than they have to when it looks their money is lining the pockets of fat cat bankers. If everyone was pulling their weight, economising at a time of national emergency, populism wouldn't be even remotely appealing. For Abbot's inhumane and mean message to really reverberate and take hold throughout Australia or even locally in Woodside you would need unemployment and economic hardship levels seen now in some parts of the US or in pre WWII Germany. True there's always a minority of people who are innately racist and fascist, but most Australians are of a generous nature, believe in a fair-go and think of themselves as decent. That last Essential polling report was telling - Abbot barely holds his own as best candidate for leadership of his own party, against Turnbull, a so far undeclared competitor, while Hockey comes a poor third. I think that Turnbull's general decency and likeability is a major factor there. We all know when someone is appealing to our darker side, and most of us prefer to be one of the good guys.

Jason

4/11/2010jj, Wayne swan isn't the (treasurer of the Labor party), any more the Anna Bligh is prime minister, although she is president, or any more than Joe hockey is treasurer of the coalition!

Gravel

4/11/2010HS I like the connection you've made to the 9/11 episode in America. That is when Howard ramped up his fear, uncertainty, and doubt rhetoric. It made a huge impact either consciously or unconsciously on most people in the Western world, particularly. I think it may have balanced the scales towards the horribleness of what we see manifested in the oppositions behaviour today. I think it may also explain Labor and the 'left' behaviour, they are too busy trying to make life better for the less fortunate, while the 'right' are into demonizing and bringing back the 'class, colour and culture' wars. Who will win this clash of behaviours is yet to be determined, and unfortunately if we follow America we will have a glimpse of how bad things may become here.

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4/11/2010NormanK As I read your comment, for a while I was asking myself: 'How did I get the story of Tony Abbott's Woodside visit so back to front' - then your brilliant satire swept over me like a caressing wave and lifted me gently onto the warm sand of an idyllic beach. Thank you for yet another striking contribution.

Patriciawa

4/11/2010Have just been reading a heart wrenching post at http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/11/04/letters-from-detention-in-the-test-match-of-life-howards-the-batsman/ Sorry, haven't yet mastered embedding of links. In it was this poem written by a young Hazara teenager detainee. In this world, some are in prison, some are at home, some are happy, some are upset, some are singing, some are crying, some are alone, some are together, some are enjoying, some are suffering, some are rich, some are poor, some are hopeless, some are hopeful, some are thirsty for freedom, some are not, some are stressful, some are not. And guess what am I! No bitterness, just speaking from the heart.

CALLIGULA

4/11/2010“Reductio ad absurdum - is a mode of argumentation that seeks to establish a contention by deriving an absurdity from its denial” “Unsurprisingly, political populism goes back as far as the Roman Senate and practitioners such as Julius Caesar. The Populares were an unofficial faction in the Roman Senate who appealed directly to the people and bypassed the government with referendums. The word 'Populism' is derived from the Latin word 'populus', which simply means 'people', or 'the people', in English.” Fair enough HS but don’t forget that our word ‘police’ comes from the same Latin and over the years following an ancient precedent they usually step in when the (Ha-Ha) politicians decide that their pursuit of (oh dear) policy has become polluted (no?) by populist pranks. But what you say about labour being caught in a pincer movement is correct. They are definitely caught ‘en salient’ presently and anyone who’s been to Duntroon could tell them they won’t get out of that situation by sitting on their hands. In other words if they keep acting as they have then they’ve lost. One nip of those pincers and they’re surrounded and besieged. TA and team win by default. Clearly a political situation differs from military concepts. We can’t airdrop fresh men and equipment to a political party and they can’t legally sally forth and undertake clandestine attacks against what is fast becoming an overwhelming opposition. They have no resources in reserve able to conduct a relief operation. Which really does leave them one possible choice - partisan action. Yes indeed one choice and limited time left to convince Australians that the ALP is prepared to accept the message of the last election and take affirmative action in the next few days. In an abstract way this means they need adopt populist tactics such as actually engaging with people and not only ‘listening’ but implementing what people are demanding even if some of the vaunted ideals are ditched. In short people want the rich taxed mercilessly, the banks curbed and carbon put back in the Barbie where it belongs. Perhaps they have it right. But perhaps they can’t do that. If so there can really be only a few reasons – A - They’ve been infiltrated and compromised beyond recall. B – They’ve no commanders able to gauge their situation and act pragmatically. C – The ALP ‘command’ has turned coat and is now working for a boss other than the Australian people.

NormanK

4/11/2010Ad astra Given your trials and tribulations on various fronts of late, I couldn't ask for a better response. Glad you liked it.

HS

4/11/2010Blacky the Skeleton here! :) Thank you all so much for your comments, especially Migs, who made me blush! I can only say, "I am not worthy." Talk Turkey, The link to the 'Bussed In' article can be hopefully found on the Channel 10 News website. It came out of Channel 10 SA. I know that the direct link was placed thereabouts on someone's blog post over the last day or so, but I just can't quite remember where I grocked it. Also, it was mentioned elsewhere today that the people at the meeting had come from towns 10-20km away. Might I also add that I was pleased to see that, despite the best efforts of John Cobb, Tony Abbott and Barnaby joyce, the MDB Authority meeting in Hillston, NSW today was an entirely sober and reasonable affair. Here's hoping that the good people of Rural NSW are getting hip to the Abbott jive. I also heard a Spin Doctor, who used to be Joe Hockey's Press Sec. on the radio this morning actually admit that Tony Bourke was a good guy and the best ALP pollie to be tasked with sorting out the requirements for the MDB in order to balance all the competing interests. lyn, It's my pleasure to keep submitting my 'thought bubbles'. It keeps me off the streets. :) Also I feel as if I'm at least making some small contribution to delegitimising the tactics that scurrilous politicians use in order to gee up the electorate for their own gain. D Mick Weir, I don't doubt you're right about the Coalition having another Godwin Gretch up their sleeves willing to leak against the government. Also, it's interesting to note that there are people who are prepared to go to the MSM with rumours about Ministerial 'indiscretions', and Kevin Rudd conducting fake Budget meetings. And, of course, the papers print first and ask questions later, usually to find that the stories are baseless. If they did it to the Coalition they'd have them in court on Libel charges so fast your head would spin. The ALP just seem to grin and bear it. PatriciaWA, I have an answer to your question, and it's, 'Not much'. The Ch9 News just stated that the Independants, Katter and Windsor, have given Joe Hockey's Private Members Bill to give the ACCC Price Signalling Powers, short shrift. They're old political hands and I'm sure they'd know whether Joe was on the drip from the inside of Treasury again, and not want to give him an unjustified win in parliament. Anyway, all he's proposing is 1 of his 9 points. Big deal! The Treasurer's package will be much more substantial, I'm sure. 2353, What the Coalition are doing is all about marketing their political 'brand'. And a nasty, mean-spirited brand, trying to appeal to people's basest instincts, it is too. Miglo, You are a Trojan and deserve a big warm hug for putting so much blood, sweat and tears into 'Australian Blog Sites'. :) I know that, once it is up and running, it will go from strength to strength. I especially feel this because it is one of those things that you can't help thinking that the blogosphere has been crying out for. Nas, Watch it! That post almost outshone mine! ;) Like I said before, you should get injured more often, it has given your work 'gravitas'. NormanK, Your work is as beautiful as your Gravatar! Of course, I recommend that you CC it to Morrison, Abbott and Briggs. Steve1, I don't think the Coalition care whether solutions to problems are found. They only care about stirring the pot and destabilising the government. jj, If you had bothered to seriously contemplate what I had written, instead og looking for some supposed sin of omission on my part, then you would have realised that I had included examples of ALP political populism as well. As you obviously have not paid this most basic courtesy to my work, I will not bother answering your silly and provocative question.

HS

4/11/2010Still as black as the Ace of Spades. Groan.

TalkTurkey

4/11/2010NormanK Damn, you had me. Just enough mix of believable . . . Like Ad I was wondering . . . Not that I thought Abbott had deliberately changed his whole persona but I did wonder whether he had said stuff so badly that he was mistakeable . . . That I could believe! Like Ad I began to smell a rat but in my case there was no warm fuzzy feeling but the same hard cold nastiness of these Christians and their hardfaced acolytes. Would that they really had changed their stance, oh yeah in a pig's eye. "Mr Abbot took a swipe at Prime Minister Julia Gillard, a self-confessed atheist." Yeah well I can believe he has indeed done that on many occasions, h'mmm, which would one be more likely to believe, a statement sworn on the bible by Abbott, or an affirmation by Gillard? Ha Ha Ha. There is some VERY good writing happening around blogsites right now eh! Thank you All.

TalkTurkey

4/11/2010"I just can't quite remember where I grocked it." HS, I'm just one of the queue Of devoted devotees of You But my universe rocked When you said that you GROCKED - 'Cos You must be a Hippie Chick too! Only it's grokked, from to grok, v.t.,(for the benefit of other readers, deeply to comprehend any complex matter; from Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein), and I haven't heard anyone but me use it in decades! I wish Aussies would take the time to grok the Coalition!

D Mick Weir

4/11/2010HS, Your post has reminded me of Populisms’ cousin [b]Parish Pump Politics[/b]. Wikipedia doesn’t have an entry for PPP but does mention the practice under Parochialism which is interesting given the very [i]parochial[/i] comments by Mr Abbott and co. about the MDB draft and the Inverbrakie proposal. [i]In pejorative use, the term [b]Parish pump politics[/b] is used to describe political activity that is more evidently concerned with addressing the immediate needs of the local electorate than with strategy that might affect their long-term well-being.[/i] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parochialism PPP isn’t mentioned often of late but was in common usage, perhaps, 40 years ago and mentioned when talking of politicians that knew how to work the system for the benefit of their electorate no matter whether a government or opposition member. It was often a badge of honour for these members but nowadays served up with possibly that same [i]side order of derision.[/i] Glen Milne mentions PPP derisorily in his post [b] Wilkie’s election death warrant[/b] http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/29708.html [i]’(Wilkies) politics have changed remarkably. From being a national interest whistleblower in 2003 he's now firmly rooted in parish pump politics, after that other famous pork bareller on behalf of Tasmania, former Independent Senator, Brian Harradine.[/i] However some see another side of the practice : [i]Malcolm Turnbull ..... has surprised his critics by his busy-ness on the parish pump. He is always good for a speech when the council cat dies or a municipal toilet is declared open.[/i] Peter Coleman Howard to hold on 17 October 2007 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/38728.html PPP (for me) is about understanding your electorate and working with the system for its’ benefit. Those members that do it best have an ear to the ground in every corner of their electorate. They know who to go to find out what the people are thinking about various issues. Populists they can be when it is appropriate but tempered with the correct dose of principle. Along those lines I found an interesting article by Jonathon Rosenberg around the theme [b]Big Society not Big Government[/b] in, of all places [b]Energy Bulletin[/b] (a clearing house for news on peak oil). Rosenberg discusses recent developments in UK politics and their ‘new paradigm’. Among the many gems in the article was this: [i] From the ideological wreckage of the war between capitalism, liberalism and socialism emerges a new age – post-recession, post-managerialist, post left and right - an era that draws on British traditions of community, or, for the more cynical, ‘parish pump’ politics. Deride it as you will: ‘Power to the People!’ is the new mantra.[/i] http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2010-07-02/if-thou-wouldst-what-true-freedom-thou-shalt-see-it-lies-take-big-society-good-fa Mr Abbott, Mr Hockey and other opposition members look to be [i]priming the pump’[/i] Time will tell whether they become effective practitioners of the art or not.

lyn

5/11/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]A world of Their Own, Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate[/i] But the media, in its hysterical and ill-informed reporting of the resource profits tax, precluded the possibility of serious policy action. http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com/ [i]The reform pantomine, The Piping Shrike[/i] Van Onselen clearly didn’t recognise the classic Abbott three-step, do the damage, retract it and then muddy the waters again. http://www.pipingshrike.com/2010/11/5305.html Lost or Leaked, James Allan,Quadrant Online [b]Julia Gillard will lead Labor to a victory at the next election that will dwarf the size of any of Bob Hawke’s or Paul Keating’s or John Howard’s or Kevin Rudd’s wins, [/b] That’s why she’ll go down in history as such a great reformer. As for Tony Abbott, have I mentioned that his own party is seriously considering dumping him as leader? And as for the man’s political instincts, well, he’s a Neanderthal. And I say that because I clearly don’t agree with his views. http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/qed/2010/11/lost-or-leaked [i]Pollies go to war over our right to know, Mungo MacCallum, The Independent[/i]. John Howard, who enthusiastically and unilaterally took Australia into the coalition of the willing in Iraq. http://theindependentbrisbane.blogspot.com/2010/11/pollies-go-to-war-over-our-right-to.html [i]FRIENDS LIKE THESE: Australia’s leading anti-Semite claims Tony Abbott and he “go back a long time”, Andrew Landeryou, Vex News[/i] doubt Abbott is as effusive about Töben as Töben is about Abbott but there couldn’t be a worse look for the federal Liberals as they make their legitimate points about the racket of people smuggling and the soaring number of unauthorised arrivals by boat http://www.vexnews.com/news/11405/friends-like-these-australias-leading-anti-semite-claims-tony-abbott-and-he-go-back-a-long-time/ [i]Just... do something, Barie Cassidy, ABC[/i] But Tony Abbott didn't really win anything. He just did enough to bring about a hung parliament and create legislative headaches for the Government. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/11/04/3057300.htm?site=thedrum [i]Letters from detention: in the test match of life, Howard’s the batsman, Tom Cowie, Crikey[/i] The federal government is currently holding more than 150 asylum seekers at the Darwin Airport Lodge (DAL) as a part of its policy of detaining children at Alternative Places of Detention http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/11/04/letters-from-detention-in-the-test-match-of-life-howards-the-batsman/ [i]Framing and farming,J Quiggin[/i] Risk and Sustainable Management Group at the University of Queensland, which I lead, planned a workshop to review the draft plan http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2010/11/04/framing-and-farming/ [i]Silencing the back bench: John Davidson, Larvatus Prodeo[/i] Barry Cohen had a depressing article on the decline of question time in yesterday’s Australian. http://larvatusprodeo.net/ [i]It's about Banking, Australian Politics. TV[/i] Video Sky News, Kieren Gillbert http://australianpoliticstv.org/2010/11/04/its-about-banking/

HS

5/11/2010Jeez we're good on 'The Political Sword'(if I don't say so myself). We have a great & inspirational leader, who sets a magnificent tone and guides our way; we have AAA-rated contributors to our small but significant blog, and we are about to network ouselves like crazy and leverage ourselves 'To the Stars!' as Ad Astra's nomen guides us to do. I have always operated by the guiding principle that quality begets quality, and trash begets trash. Thus we are on an upward incline, and blogs and radio shows like Bolt's, Alan Jones', Ray Hadley, and The Telegraph and Herald Sun, and, of course, The Australian, are in a Romanesque decline. Let us continue to work towards 'The Decline and Fall of the Murdoch Empire'. 'One for All and All for One!' So there!

lyn

5/11/2010Hi Hillbilly Thankyou for cheering me up this morning, this is a depressing day for me. Sometimes it just seems all uphill. We have got a quality blog and a sincere, wonderful, person providing for us, I am so grateful to Ad Astra, giving me the most enjoyable hobby I have ever had in my life. On The political Sword's., first birthday, last year, my comment to Ad was "You have made my Life", and you know what Ad said in reply, I will borrow lyn's comment "We have made his life too:. On my trips around the blogs, evidence is in abundance, there is no other Blog like the Political Sword, the quality commenters, we have are second to none. We also have a lot of other blog owners that are our friends and supporters. Mr Abbott is cooking up some Christmas cheer, Bash the Banks, Stop the Boats, condemn the Asylum Seekers to purgatory, infuriate the Murray residents, what else must be something else today.

George Pike

5/11/2010Talking about populism..notice how the ABC's tone is now pro-redneck...very different from when Howard was in power and the Hansonites were saying exactly the same things hey! http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/11/05/3057874.htm?section=justin

Ad astra reply

5/11/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx

HS

5/11/2010lyn, Thank you for your kind comment. I don't want to bring you down again, and hopefully the following snippet from the 'True Crime' blog in the US, will give you some insight into the negative effects of the sort of cynical populism that Tony Abbott and Co. are peddling like drugs to addicts: '37-year-old Jennifer Leigh Jennings was at a gas station in Tukwila, Washington when she noticed two women struggling with a pump. It seemed the women had already paid the clerk, but they were having trouble get the pump to work... Yet to Jennings, this wasn't a case of an everyday petroleum purchase. It was a sure sign of terrorism! After all, the two Somalian immigrants were dressed in traditional religious garb! And they were right there in Tukwila! Pumping some goddamned gas! So Jennings drove up next to them and started blasted them with racial slurs, a sure way to stop a terrorist attack. Our patriot called them "terrorists," "suicide bombers," and the ever-popular "sand niggers." One victim also says Jennings asked, "Are you trying to bomb our gas stations? Our country?" The women did their best to ignore her until one went back into the AM/PM to get the clerk to activate the pump. That's when Jennings, patriot extraordinaire, slammed her car door into the woman's legs, then kicked the other lady. After all, nothing quite expresses American superiority like kicking a devoutly religious woman. Everyone knows that. But Jennings got a bit more contrite after police, apparently unmoved by her uber patriotism, decided to arrest her ass instead. While being hauled off to jail, where hardworking Americans will be forced to pay her room and board, she told a cop, "Yeah, I shouldn't of called them sand niggers or other stuff like that." Yeah Jenny! Welcome to the world of remedial enlightenment! But she's still not fessing up to being an asshole. She's pleaded not guilty to malicious harassment.' It is exactly this sort of blowback from the cynical political manipulators, like Abbott, Morrison, Jamie Briggs, Cory Bernardi, etc., that we have to keep pushing back against. Don't forget what happens when good men and women do nothing. That's not something that I want to realise has happened again while I am alive. So, keep your chin up, and keep cross-fertilising this blog with other worthwhile blogs. :)

HS

5/11/2010Hi again, I was going to include this blog about the Opposition's economic populism, but I couldn't work it in anywhere. It's still a good read though from someone who despairs at where the supposed party of the Free Market and Capitalism is going atm: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/40462.html

Robert van Aalst

5/11/2010Great article and an entertaining read, thank you. This is my first visit to this site - and it is already added to my Delicious bookmarks and RSS reader! I would just like to make a quick point though (and apologies if this point has already been made in the previous comments, I only skimmed them, not read them in depth). The fact that a politician may indeed by a populist, does not exclude him or her from being a thought leader, or 'leading the debate' as you termed it. And conversely, just because a politician is not popular, or does not take a populist approach, does not necessarily mean that they ARE a thought leader. They may just be unpopular and unclever (in simplistic terms)at the same time - I would suggest that there are many of these elected to parliaments across the country. Politicians who have both qualities, with a degree of charisma, are the ones that can actually make change - whether it is change that agrees with our own sensibilities or not. In fact, you could create a matrix with these parameters and insert politicians into whichever quadrant they appear to inhabit. Might be an interesting exercise.

lyn

5/11/2010Hi Ad This writer really, really cares how the Country is being Governed, the Murray Darling drying up, we won't have any food, Asylum Seekers sent to purgatory, the banks are robbing everybody, the Government is fragile and incompetent, they are saying, wasteful Government stop the waste, stop the boats, stop the spending. Talk about quality blog columns and genuine reporting. No none of that, Tim's open neck shirt is very important, because he is the first "Bloke", mind you this is a journalist writing about Andrew Bolt's comments: New first couple, new normal, Sue Cato, Unleashed we have the 'new normal', a female PM and a partner, not a spouse, and tattooed offspring doing glamour spreads in lads magazines. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/40776.html?WT.mc_id=newsmail

nasking

5/11/2010Thnx for the useful links Lyn. I'm always runnin' late due to my long virus check...and luv for sleepin' in 'til 7am then watchin' the various mornin' news shows...I cater to the late riser. :) Friday Siesta at the Cafe (Attack of the Leeches Edition) http://cafewhispers.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/friday-siesta-at-the-cafe-attack-of-the-leeches-edition/ [quote]Humanity is at risk. Towns are under threat. The very fabric of society is unravelling as fear of the invaders creates mayhem & an epidemic of mass hysteria. Town hall meetings descend into frantic pleas for help from authorities. The safety of wives, sweethearts, children, cars, cattle are at risk. [/quote] Have a goodie all. N'

NormanK

5/11/2010Hillbilly Skeleton I have been furiously searching for an answer to your "Skeleton on a Moonless Night" Gravatar and unfortunately it seems only one other person has experienced this problem and seen fit to post about it. He solved his problem (computer glitch) but didn't elaborate. I really wish I could help but a political forum is not exactly the best place for a talk-through. However, what I would do next is conduct an experiment which takes your computer out of the equation. Carefully document your e-mail, Gravatar password and username. Put your image//s on a memory stick//flash drive or CD or e-mail to a friend who's computer you can use for a little while. Go to another computer and log in to Gravatar and see what you can do from there. If it works then the problem is your computer. If it doesn't work then the problem is Gravatar.com handling your info (create new e-mail account or contact Gravatar support). No doubt there are other possibilities but eliminating your computer would be a good first step and should you have a successful outcome perhaps no further action need be taken.

TalkTurkey

5/11/2010Thanks to Lyn and TPS I’ve just been reading Glenn Milne’s take on Andrew Wilkie’s chances at next election. I could say sarcastically, Thanks a lot Lyn! (for the ugliness of that time I just spent.) But of course there is much more reason for sincerity in thanks. Know Thy Enemy! And the real enemy is not exactly the Drunken Thug himself, but the sort of thinking that has infected him and his ilk, and those they infect in turn. His take on Wilkie is that there is nothing more to the man than the most cynical of Machiavellian motives, in which he Wilkie himself wants to become and remain The Prince. It is a typical example of the viewpoint attitudes of Thug, and all those like-minded, and it permits no coloured light to enter. There is no such thing as decency, goodwill, altruism, anything like that . . . All is dark grey, sneering cynicism, with one-upsmanship the whole point of existence. Wilkie, it seems to me, is a lot of things that Thug will never acknowledge, and which it is just possible that he cannot even imagine, after a lifetime of gin and nasty company. Has it been Wilkie’s one burning ambition through a pretty damn intelligent life to become and remain a politician? I doubt it. If pure power were his one aim, he would hardly want to be an IndependAnt, he would surely have gone where the power resides, in a major party. In fact he certainly dipped his toe into them and didn’t like the milieu – and quite probably, it didn’t like him. And he has hardly been treated lovingly by the System: his entry into politics is an understandable fightback by an angry bloke at those he feels have dudded him. That he has finally found himself in a position of unprecedented power as IndependAnt is a fluke which he could not have foreseen, and even once elected, he was prepared to take the principled position of siding with Labor before the other IndependAnts jumped. Had Oakeshott and Windsor gone Right, he would have had no power at all. The fact is, he was and is driven by essentially principled agendae: on the one hand bringing sanity back where is now our military adventurism, and revealing truth about the wars, and on the other, what Thug portrays as the parish pump populism of petty porkery on behalf of Tasmania – but which, more charitably than Thug would ever concede possible, is the best thing that Wilkie could ever hope to achieve, not only the single fact of e.g. securing better hospital facilities for his own electorate, but beyond that, pointing the way for local action nationally. Better to spend big money on hospitals and nation-builing generally than bloody killer aircraft and bloody useless submarines all of which are blowing out their horrendous budgets horrendously! And he turned down Abbott’s porky $Billion in preference for the more modest and more honest offer by Gillard of a third of that. This rave is not about Thug himself and Wilkie himself, though. It is about the low sneering cynical attitude that sees no possible good in any initiative by anyone (even the Coalition, because it is implicit in their dealings that money spent by them is solely to get them re-elected and to benefit their Rotten Right mates – they don’t even pretend to higher motivation.) This attitude is deliberately inculcated in the population via the MSM, and it comes out thus from the People, “None of the bastards are any good, they’re all in it just for themselves, snouts in the trough . . . ” Yeah well I’ve known a few politicians personally, only a few but enough to know that the best of them are the best of Us, they are there because they are clever and decent and driven by an urge - which has to be of obsessive proportions! - to do well by their fellow beings. Don Dunstan was my local Member, he alone was enough to teach me forever just how valuable to a society a good politician can be. Yar boo sucks to Milne and his mind-crippled mob. Our Government is better than Them, and it is my belief that there is a lot of principle and decency in the IndependAnts too, Wilkie not least; and forgive me Swordsfolk, but I even think Katter showed a genuine, if weirdly twisted sense of principle too, in siding where his heart took him, even though he must have known that he would be stepping away from power in going there. Sure there’s Machiavellianism in the Left but it isn’t its sole raison d’etre. But in the MSM, take out Laura Tingle and a doubtful couple of others, and in the Coalition, bar the dubious Katter, cynicism and one-upsmanship reign supreme. Progressive bloggers are the thin B/W line to try to counter the Rotten Right. So, Right On, Comrades. Abbott’s going down, and once he is down the Rotten Right is going to be seriously headless. They’ve about done their dash, bussing Rent-a-crowds notwithstanding, the People are tiring of his attempts to destabilise Gillard, they want less divisiveness and more co-operation. And they will get them too. As the old bloke said in War and Peace: Time, and patience; patience, and time . . . No, Virginia, there ain’t no Santa Claus, but there is decency and good sense and altruism, and we aren’t about to let them slip away while we can do anything about it. There’s a lot of good people on our side. Chirrup, Lyn.

Ad astra reply

5/11/2010HS What a lovely tribute you have given this morning to [i]The Political Sword[/i]. Thank you for your generous remarks about how [i]TPS[/i] is managed. Apart from the quality of the initial contributions, it is the caliber of the comments that adds so much to its lustre. Looking around the other popular Fifth Estate blog-sites, which Lyn points us to each morning, although the quality of the pieces is good, the number of comments they attract is quite small, and mostly brief. Even Fourth Estate sites such as [i]The Drum[/i] and [i]Unleashed[/i] evoke but a modest number of comments. On [i]TPS[/i] we have well over a hundred who leave comments, some who visit almost every day to offer observations of high quality, some essays in themselves. These outstanding contributions are what bring people back again and again, often several times a day, to read what others are saying. Then we find comment on the theme of the piece gives way to conversation among bloggers about contemporary issues. Most pieces on [i]TPS[/i] attract over a hundred comments, often two hundred, and recently a HillbillySkeleton piece topped a record three hundred. In addition we have satirists and poets who delight us with their prose and verse that so stylishly captures the sentiment of the matter under discussion. We know too that those looking through Lyn’s Daily Links generate much of the traffic here. By scanning scores of blog-sites every day to seek out the pearls, Lyn saves the thousands that visit here untold amounts of time. This service is central to the success of [i]TPS[/i]. So it is a team effort that makes [i]TPS[/i] the attractive site it is, and all involved deserve to take credit for its success. Over the end-of-year break the site will be reviewed, repairs made and ideas for enhancing it will be considered. All suggestions will be welcome. So HS, thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment about this exceptional blog site. Lyn Your comment captures so exquisitely one of the prime attractions of [i]TPS[/i] – the [i]TPS[/i] family, one that gives visitors here a sense of community, one that fosters fairness and decency in our society and that fights injustice, unfairness and disadvantage. I can understand your feelings that we are pushing uphill as we take on the unequal struggle against political forces that seem antipathetic to our sense of fair play. So over two years into the life of [i]TPS[/i] I can repeat that as much as your life has been enriched by [i]TPS[/i], so has mine and so has that of those who contribute here with such sincerity, such insight, such verve. 2011 is looming – let’s make it even more rewarding than 2010.

lyn

5/11/2010Hi Hillbilly NormanK has given some excellent information, but I just wondered if this email address would be of any help: Report a bug in WebService-Gravatar please report your bug by sending email to: bug-WebService-Gravatar [at] rt.cpan.org. [b]Try to include any information you think might help the developer isolate, reproduce and fix your problem.[/b] http://rt.cpan.org/Public/Bug/Report.html?Queue=WebService-Gravatar

Ad astra reply

5/11/2010Robert van Aalst Welcome to [i]The Political Sword[/i] family. Do come again. I like your suggestion of a matrix of attributes into which we might place politicians. What would you suggest as the parameters? You have mentioned ‘popularity’, ‘populist approach’, ‘thought leader’, ‘cleverness’, and ‘charisma’. Any others?

lyn

5/11/2010Hi Robert van Aalst Thankyou so much four your enjoyable comment, and a big welcome to you from all at "The Political Sword" we really would be pleased if you come back often, to add another interesting comment to our interesting Blog. [quote]This is my first visit to this site - and it is already added to my Delicious bookmarks and RSS reader! [/quote] What a nice thing to say Robert van Aalst. Take your point about populism, and agree it does not exclude him or her, and I agree also populism with a degree of charisma, is wonderful, you are right some MP's have both, but I know of one that certainly doesn't have any charisma, you will know who I mean.

Patriciawa

5/11/2010With the 'terrorist fear' mindset of our media I'm surprised to see no mention of today's significant date! November 5th! Remember Guy Fawkes of infamous memory, notorious 17th century Gunpowder Plotter who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and replace King James of England with a Roman Catholic monarch? Or is not pc to mention that Roman Catholics, among other religious groups, have been involved in violently subversive activities? I'm not suggesting that Catholics here today are engaged in that sort of thing, though God knows the Vatican does its best to influence even our body politic. NormanK's great contribution yesterday reminded us of what should be Tony Abbot's more generous response to refugees and boat people, given his faith and connections within the Roman Catholic church. It made me wonder again - where is Abbot's spiritual advisor? Is no one in his church, including his great friend and ally, Cardinal Pell, reminding him of his Christian duty to his fellow man?

George Pike

5/11/2010This will give the zealots no end of ammunition against refugees...he shouldn't be released, he should be sent straight back where he came from when his sentence is complete. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/11/05/3058345.htm?section=justin

CALLIGULA

5/11/2010Hello people, I must be doing something wrong. I am a bit of a commie and that doesn’t mean I just hate some of the projected personalities from the other wing of politics. When I say that, say, MR A. acts like a stereotype obsessive/aggressive personality I mean his persona is being projected that way by whoever writes his script and schedules his news bulletins. If he writes his own stuff then he should maybe let Hockey have a bash for him. So if that team is attempting to achieve some threshold of ‘populism’ in order to turn enough votes to win the next raffle – then mine shall not be the casting vote. But let’s look at what I once believed was my laborite side of politics. I didn’t get to vote for Gough since I wasn’t old enough. I was old enough to be conscripted however and in that regard Gough did two things for me immediately. He lowered the voting age and more importantly scotched conscription leaving me free to make up my own mind to volunteer for the armed services a few years later. He also implemented a number of initiatives which satisfied me that Australia had finally reached the 20th century. Besides all that the man was surrounded by such an aura of decency and dignity that his has eclipsed any performance since. Oh yeah, Keating could put on a fair show and Hawke was populist but I did say Decency and dignity – Ja! But I cannot continue writing fact wrapped up as controversy if no one out there bites. I thought I’d done reasonably well with my other effort up above, especially this bit – “In short people want the rich taxed mercilessly, the banks curbed and carbon put back in the Barbie where it belongs. Perhaps they have it right.” I had hoped that by thus conveying the majority view of people I know I might gain a little more grass-roots response or – wouldn’t it be lovely – someone providing an advisory on how parliament really IS supposed to work. So in the famous words of that poor old black rectangle up there – “What do you think?”

Mick of Kambah

5/11/2010I don't know if anyone from within the Catholic Church is reminding Tony Abbott of his responsibilities as a supposed Catholic, but the more mainstream view from within the membership of the Church seems to not be like that of Abbott. In Canberra the Saint Vincent de Paul Society is on 19th November at the National Library having it's annual Vincent Ward Lecture titled "Welcoming the Stranger - Making Room in our Hearts for Refugees" given by Wilfred Cardinal Napier OFM, Archbishop of Durban, South Africa. I doubt his theme will reflect many similarities with the policy of the Liberal Party or Tony Abbott.

nasking

5/11/2010[quote]Mr Abbott is cooking up some Christmas cheer, Bash the Banks, Stop the Boats, condemn the Asylum Seekers to purgatory, infuriate the Murray residents,[/quote] Don't despair Lyn, even those who promote fear, think they're indestructable and go on & on & on run into trouble at some point: http://doctorwhotoys.net/dalekburn1.jpg Exterminate the boats, exterminate!!! :) N'

nasking

5/11/2010Fear-mongers & stirrers like Abbott only last so long before the people wake up to them: http://www.byhigh.org/Alumni_U_to_Z/Watkins/aaaMcCarthy-Joseph-08-Mar-1954-295x389.jpg [quote]After his censure, McCarthy continued senatorial duties for another two and a half years, but his career as a major public figure had been unmistakably ruined. His colleagues in the Senate avoided him; his speeches on the Senate floor were delivered to a near-empty chamber or were received with conspicuous displays of inattention.[99] The press that had once recorded his every public statement now ignored him, and outside speaking engagements dwindled almost to nothing. President Eisenhower, free of McCarthy's political intimidation, quipped to his Cabinet that McCarthyism was now "McCarthywasm." McCarthy's biographers agree that he was a changed man after the censure; declining both physically and emotionally, he became a "pale ghost of his former self" in the words of Fred J. Cook. Edward R. Murrow, See It Now Edward R. Murrow, U.S. newscaster, pioneer in broadcast journalismOne of the most prominent attacks on McCarthy's methods was an episode of the television documentary series See It Now, hosted by journalist Edward R. Murrow...[/quote] (wikipedia) Never give up. Keep up the great work Political Sword. N'

CALLIGULA

5/11/2010Since you put it there for comment HS – http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/40462.html It’s “Damnthematrix” 27 Oct - comment has it right there. Pretty mush every word up to and ending in – “Once we switched to being a SOCIETY to become an ECONOMY, we wrote our own death warrant.” Our journo (Chris Berg, is it) says – “It’s all about finding the right “levers” – a strange word which seems to imply that governing is like running a factory for the first time. Robb and Hockey seem to be hoping there are levers the previous factory owners didn’t know about.” Which is typical of a journo or anyone else of a golgafrinchan occupation. (see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Places_in_The_Hitchhiker's_Guide_to_the_Galaxy). They never do seem able to pick up facts like levers being made in workshops/factories, likewise checks/balances/platforms/levers/plans vehicles – you name it – are created out of thin air by our imagination. Can be a concept or can become reality. Of course Hockey can invent a lever if he wants to. But if he ever brains any bankers with it, then as they say these days – JH’d be a monkey’s uncle. Seems the elect believes everyone out there thinks with their pockets. Which isn’t surprising since the propaganda machine has been trying to brainwash us that way since the 1980s. Our journo picks on ‘levers’. I like it when his sort talk about ‘workshops’. A mob of nances poncing about over coffee and PowerPoint with the biggest risk a papercut. A ‘populist politician’ would take these ramblings on board – levers and workshops – and let the public know there is inevitable change ahead. Capitalism is collapsing and the blacksmith might be king again before you know it.

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5/11/2010Hi Lyn As we get to the end of the day, I hope you’re feeling less despondent. At times politics-watching is depressing. Today we have had Andrew Robb in his typical carping melancholic tone castigating the Government for advising the public that the rising value of the Aussie dollar is reducing the profits of the exporters and thereby the tax revenue the Treasury receives from them, making it more difficult to bring the budget back to surplus. The warning included a statement that to do so would require deeper cuts in expenditure, and that the Government was determined to meet this goal. These are the facts, yet Robb turns them nastily against the Government insisting that it must radically cut spending, adding for good measure that this is necessary also to reduce pressure on interest rates, an assertion that the Reserve Bank refutes. So we have verifiable facts about a turn of events over which no one has any control, turned into condemnatory rhetoric by an opponent. It’s depressing, but sadly it’s political reality. Then we had Joe Hockey, commenting on the same issue, once again insisting that ‘the Government will NEVER bring in a surplus budget’, that its announcement today shows that the Government is running away from its promise, is making excuses, and that this PROVES he was right all along. No logic, no well-reasoned argument, just Hockey bluster. It is depressing not just that he can utter such inanities, but that they are faithfully and uncritically reported, even by our ABC. Watching the disingenuousness of politics and seeing it echoed through the media is enough to make any fair observer despondent. But I guess we just have to grit our teeth and press on doing what we do – exposing dishonesty and unfairness and insisting on honesty and decency. Someone will listen.

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5/11/2010CALLIGULA I see you feel unheard. I re-read you first piece and noted your comment: [i]“In an abstract way this means they need to adopt populist tactics such as actually engaging with people and not only ‘listening’ but implementing what people are demanding even if some of the vaunted ideals are ditched.”[/i] Your suggestion however highlights a dilemma. It is just that approach that some believe brought Labor undone at the election. Listening to focus groups and internal polling persuaded the strategists to defer pursuit of the ETS, an issue of high principle to Labor’s leadership, and to swing towards the Coalition on the asylum seeker issue despite many Labor figures preferring a more humanitarian approach. Fears of an electoral backlash from its previous positions on these matters prompted these changes in strategy. Yet in the long run the changes to a ‘populist’ approach may not have achieved much. Of course we will never know if the outcome of the election would have been worse for Labor had it stuck to its guns on these issues. So populism is a two-edged weapon that can turn around to inflict damage on the perpetrator. Apart from which, populism often runs contrary to the principles that political parties hold dear. We saw that this week when the Coalition took the populist course of bank bashing and hinting that more regulation might be needed, although some of its basic tenets include free markets and ‘light-touch’ regulation. So I feel that taking a populist approach takes political parties from their well-beaten tracks into dangerous territory where they may become bogged, perhaps irretrievably.

George Pike

5/11/2010Here you go Lyn, this will cheer you up no end... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSSGiA4f5cs

Patriciawa

5/11/2010[quote]Why Only No News is Good News These Days[/quote] Here’s good news that should be aired. Of anywhere to live Oz is almost best. A UN Report has just declared Norway’s first, Australia beats the rest! Would you believe our personal wealth In all the world’s amongst the highest, Plus education and general health? Sorry, but that report is biassed. Tony Abbot has made that claim. He says that the United Nations Has the underhand and devious aim Of making us a desirable destination For people smugglers everywhere. They’ll bring thousands from across the seas Who all believe that we must share With them, just because they’re refugees. That’s the Coalition’s line today. This report’s no cause for celebration. Expect Abbot and his team to say To say it’s unfairly targeting our nation. Of course the other line he might yet take Could be attacking Gillard with his usual zest Blaming her government for this and that mistake Which made Australia only second best.

HS

5/11/2010Hi NormanK, Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier, but today turned into housework and cake baking day! Then, I went about doing my System restore, going back a month to get back before the problem came into being, except, as you alluded to in your reply to me earlier, the problem is seeming like it lies with my computer, as it wouldn't let me restore my system back that far. So I kept trying, day by day, until I luckily was allowed to restore my system to where it was 2 days ago only! As you can see, that hasn't helped fix my Gravatar problem at all. So, I will go to one of my kid's computers tomorrow and try out your other suggested option, and see whether my Gravatar works when I post from there. Cheers, The Dark Skeleton

HS

5/11/2010lyn, I'll see how I go with NormanK's suggestion tomorrow and if I have no luck then I'll e-mail Gravatar as you suggested. Thank you for finding that e-mail info out for me. :)

Patriciawa

5/11/2010Correction HS, please delete superfluous 'to say' in fifth line from the end!

HS

5/11/2010George Pike, That story you linked to re the Afghan man is just the sort of ammunition that an opportunistic politician seeking to fan the flames of intolerance and bigotry will no doubt light upon as soon as the idea occurs to them, or one of their advisers.

HS

5/11/2010PatriciaWA, If Cardinal George Pell could start the Inquisition and the Crusades again, he would.

HS

5/11/2010Calligula, I'll bite. If you've seen the response to aggression and uncompromising behaviour by politicians that was the American Mid-Term elections last Tuesday, and the subsequent uncompromising triumpahlism of the party that simply one a majority of only one house of government, plus Tony Abbott's return to the hubristic opining about the potential for a pre-election government 'Baton change', you will thus have realised that bumptiousness pays. The era of the quietly dignified leader has been taken out by the trash. The trashy politician appears to my eyes to be gaining credence and acceptibility where they should have none. As me old mam used to say, "They're a mile wide, and an inch deep." However, due to the increasing shallowness of the consumerist society, it is resonating, sadly, as the last thing we need is a government full of hokey Hockeys and intolerant bigots who only wish to encourage a sense of exceptionalism in Australia which is a mirror of that which the Republican Party in America is espousing. Or, in other words, a dog eat dog society and the devil takes the hindmost.

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5/11/2010Patriciawa Thank you for yet another piece of delightful satirical verse that illustrates so well how easy it is for an opposition to turn good news into bad.

nasking

5/11/2010Patriciawa...Applause. Well said. As ever. Abbott's a jerk. Full stop. N'

HS

5/11/2010Mick of Kambah, You may also be interested to know that St Vinnies has just appointed the former NSW ALP State Juvenile Justice Minister, Graeme West, as their new State President. Contrary to popular opinion of all former NSW ALP State Ministers, he's actually a very nice guy with a heart of gold and incorruptible. Btw, someone should be cheeky and send out an invite to Tony Abbott to attend the Vincent Ward lecture. You know, I get the impression the laity are staging a quiet rebellion against the more extreme clergy in the Roman Catholic Church in this country. :)

HS

5/11/2010Do you want to see how effective Hockey's populist bank bashing has been(even Greens voters agree with him): http://www.essentialmedia.com.au/essential-report/

Miglo

5/11/2010"We also have a lot of other blog owners that are our friends and supporters." And indeed we are, Lyn. Us Café folk are honoured to be considered a friend of TPS. Whenever TPS folk visit us at the Café we are enriched from what they leave us.

HS

5/11/2010If anyone has heard of the world-famous philosopher, Slavoj Zizek, they will be interested to read this transcript of an interview he did recently. It covers, amongst many other things, the melding between the Far Right and the Far Left, the pincer movement that is entrapping the old parties of the Centre Left, and the rising xenophobia: http://www.alternet.org/story/148648/slavoj_zizek%3A_why_far_right_and_xenophobic_politicians_are_on_the_rise_in_europe?page=1

HS

5/11/2010Sin of omissiion: I just noticed that Cafe Whispers is not on our list of 'Sites of Interest'!

Patriciawa

6/11/2010No, HS, never heard of Zizek, but I was still interested to read that transcript. So, it seems that Germany is feeling the rightist putsch too, with sexism, racism and anti-immigrant sentiment etc, and not only there but [quote]even the very models of tolerance—Netherlands, Norway and so on..................(and)..................Things which were unacceptable ten, fifteen years ago are now acceptable. And.................. the far right, what was twenty years ago the domain of the far right, is setting—even if they are a minority, they are setting the general agenda.[/quote] Does it comfort you at all to think that it's all a swing of the pendulum and eventually we'll find our way back to sanity. If it is like that I do hope it swings soon enough for us to see Tony Abbot get his come-uppance as Nasking suggests is likely.

HS

6/11/2010PatriciaWA, Yes, it's a very interesting transcript. A bit heavy going at times because English obviously isn't his first language but worth the effort to plow through it because he has that sort of global view that lets you see the macro and link it to the micro very well. Sadly, I've got to say thatit's been the Conservative side of politics that has been prepared to put the energy into arguing their case, day in, day out, until they swing people around to their way of thinking, and they don't care what part of the Social Democrat's 'persona' they attack, as long as they diminish them in the electorate's eyes. I mean, earlobes, ferchrissakes, and lack of a handbag. However, see how that attack plays right into their hands? Conservative women see it as a faux pas not to carry a handbag, and 'Girly Girls(aka the Young Conservatives), so they entrench the imagery that they want people to have about how it is wrong. Same with the attacks on Tim Mathieson recently. Trivial stuff about him going to Asia with no tie on and his shirt open at the neck. Transferance is used by linking it to offending the religious sensibilities of the conservative Malaysians, in fact it was said, by Miranda Devine, that he shouldn't have gone on the tour at all because he is not married to Ms Gillard, but it sets up a distaste in the readers' minds of our supposedly secular society as well. All the time covertly pushing their 'Culture Wars' conservative barrow. Then, by contrast, you've got the virile(though I wold rather the term 'obsessive compulsive' were used), Tony Abbott out there promoting the alternative to this hairdresser guy and his 'Common Law' wife, by being in the Surf Life Saving Association, local Firefighters, and doing his Triathlons and Bike rides for charity. It's insidious but effective stuff. Now, do you think that anyone from the Progressive side of politics has cottoned onto the NeoPopulist style of politics? Nope. I mean, even The Greens have got stuff that their followers can use as talismans to identify them with, like 'Mind,Body,Spirit Festivals, White Water Rafting, Bushwalking, Organic Food markets and the 'Slow Food' movement. Where's Progressive's social subgroups? The Soccer Mums, Nascar Dads, any cohesive group that identifies strongly with them? Even immigrant subgroups are getting peeled off by the conservatives. The Indians seem to be gone to the Liberals, and the Asians, even after Howard's era of intolerance. All Labor seem to have been left with are the corrupt ones linked to developers. I agree with Slavoj Zizek, it's time for Progressives to get their act together, or wither on the vine and die. It will take a lot of energy and commitment, otherwise we are in for another Dark Ages all over the world, as dark as my new avatar.

HS

6/11/2010Nice little piece by Tony Wright to counter all the populist nonsense that Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison, Jamie Briggs and Christopher Pyne, last night on Lateline, came up with: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/celebrate-the-ordinary-things-20101105-17heg.html

TalkTurkey

6/11/2010PatriciaWA, Swordsfolk generally, Norway #1 ? Two days ago (another) Lyn from Norway, just 21, (guest of a dear friend who is Norwegian-bred herself), went back sorrowfully to Norway . . . She would give her eye-teeth to be allowed to migrate to Oz! So would another lass, unrelated, from Denmark, sitting out in the sun in a next-door-neighbour's place daily here, on holiday as we speak . . . Anyone want to swap? Lovely fjords . . . Glorious ice and snow . . . More ice and snow . . . Oh yes and there's the snow and ice . . . Summer on Wednesday afternoon in June if you're lucky . . . I'm no flag-waver - not "our" flag anyway - but I know where I'd rather live. Even with the Rotten Right here and all its *-lickers, Oz is the place to be. Calligula, sorry if you feel less than properly appreciated . . . Anyone who speaks so appreciatively of Gough deserves deep appreciation h/self. BTW I fought against conscription and the Vietnam War in the streets of Adelaide - Got arrested too, more than once! - and later I found that those who promulgated the War turned their backs on those who fought and came back, the protesters were the ones who were more likely to befriend them. One of my very firmest friends, long an activist too himself now on behalf of other Vietnam veterans, was a Grunt . . . Why do I speak of the Rotten Right? Let me count the ways! Anyway you are appreciated, even if unspokenly, hang in Bro. All you Swordsfolk, unthanked or not, and all those likeminded who write for other blogs, we are a sort of extended family, so nil desperandum, just think how bad we could have felt if Abbott had got up! Lyn, hope George Pike's link to the Goons cheered you up. It did me! Thanks GP.

HS

6/11/2010Talk Turkey, 'Nil desperandum'. Thank you. :) Btw, my late husband got his nose smeared across his face by the NSW wallopers after an anti-Vietnam War demonstration, and he was only a bypasser who came to the aid of an old couple who were watching the demonstration but were caught in the crossfire, about to be pushed into David Jones' plate glass window! He had long hair at the time and so the wallopers assumed he was one of them thar protesters. To get out of the mess the cops had created, they charged him with assault! My late husband was smarter than them(not hard). He knew he had right on his side, so he engaged the best Defence lawyer in town and counter-sued. He had some pretty good evidence against them, I guess. Anyway, they ended up dropping the chrges, btw, and the State was ordered to pay for his plastic surgery to have his nose fixed. :)

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6/11/2010Folks I've just had an email from Lyn to say that her Internet service is down and she is unable to post her links. As soon as her Internet service is restored she will post them.

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6/11/2010Folks Lyn is still having Internet problems which she hopes Telstra will soon correct. I'll be away from my computer all afternoon so will post the links this evening if Lyn has been able to get connected to the Internet again.

2353

6/11/2010Quote Mick of Kambah [i]"I don't know if anyone from within the Catholic Church is reminding Tony Abbott of his responsibilities as a supposed Catholic, but the more mainstream view from within the membership of the Church seems to not be like that of Abbott."[/i] I'm aware that a lot of self-professed religious people are only that for the time of the service per week - which leaves a lot of the 168 hours in a week to pillage and destroy. I suspect Abbott is one of these (and since a Catholic Mass takes around an hour - there are 167 hours left :) ). The people I feel sorry for are those religious (of all types) that genuinely seek to make a difference in the community in which they live - they face a battle to make those the care for have a better life and at the same time a battle from those in high authority (and those that hang their colours to the "religious" pillar such as Abbott) who are making it difficult for them to demonstrate the true nature of the religious "holy work" of their choice - be it the Bible, Koran of any one of a multitude of others.

CALLIGULA

6/11/2010Well there’s a few worthwhile ‘bites’. Thanks people. AA. Your – “some believe brought Labor undone at the election. Listening to focus groups and internal polling persuaded the strategists to defer pursuit of the ETS, an issue of high principle to Labor’s leadership, and to swing towards the Coalition on the asylum seeker issue despite many Labor figures preferring a more humanitarian approach. Fears of an electoral backlash from its previous positions on these matters prompted these changes in strategy.” I humbly suggest the best governance scenario under the present constitution would be a socialist federal administration and a bunch of centre-right nationals in the states. Leaven that with regional police, emergency, utility, health and justice systems staffed by locally elected/appointed personnel along the lines of the Swiss canton system and we might become a ‘society’ again. There is a big difference between the lobbying and chicanery of interest groups (who drown out any other ‘noise’) and those these days who have been disenfranchised and marginalised by the shoddy, cheap, dishonest, cynical, hurtful, discriminatory, ‘populist’, spin-centred, apologies for governance so many of our ‘populace’ seem to carelessly condone. I believe you’d accept that federal labor came close to ending up in opposition in result of the Qld election outcome? Despite the demographics change situation – the vastly increased number of (usual) labor voters in Q. – Madame Bligh has managed to alienate (eliminate?) traditional labor support here. Don’t ask me to work out their reasoning but I’m suggesting the result was 20% reaction against Kev’s sacking and 80% a message to Madame Bligh to lay off. Does this mean Qlders can’t differentiate between jurisdictions? The result seems to indicate that. In reality, events in Queensland – the eternal ‘great big rejection of just about everything’ by Ms. Bligh and her cabinet caused that result. The ETS, asylum seekers and all those issues are below the radar of regional Qld voters. What they don’t like is something glaring them in the face – the arbitrary privatization of three quarters of Qld assets by what is seen as an increasingly dysfunctional, amoral, unprincipled, unicameral dictatorship. It’d be easy for them to behave responsibly – but they won’t. As it is so often put to me, “The only thing that lot won’t sell is the police force. They can’t, ‘cos they’re still buying it off.” Believe me when I say that people who are dismissed out of hand as mere ciphers – made evident by every thought word and deed of some patronizing clique soon cease being impressed by last-minute charades of bonhomie. HS – Good bite. I can see by the typos that you’re having troubles with the keys in that dark room. In one of my past careers I had occasion to keep au-fait with some industry specific republican policy. At that level (oh yes, far and away from the teevee news hogwash) they are mostly brilliant, creative and supportive of American industry in a host of ways that our Australian imagination cannot seem to encompass. Trouble is they are pragmatist enough to keep falling back on the redneck policies to win votes – thus perpetuating capital punishment, mass incarceration, privatised health, zilch social services and all those policies neither of us is fond of. Would I be right in assuming you take the view that separate elements of Australian society are panning out in similar ways (a small minority with their own agenda manipulating a majority with populist gimmicks?) with TA and his mates shoveling fuel on the fire? If you do believe that may I quietly recommend you spend a little time reading the odd republican funded periodical. I’m not having a dig at you at all. Knowledge is power. Try the NRA Journal or, say, “Shooter’s Times”. At one level they take thousands of perfectly good rednecks and turn them into voters. At another they provide a channel of communications and policy development for military, law enforcement, the agrarian community, industry, sportsmen, and the like. The political assessments in these rags are usually accurate, detailed and often amazingly prescient. But if you do, please watch out. Some of those guys are rabid conservationists at heart and write well enough to get you sucked in. Dear TalkTurkey I missed the conscription stoushes – a bit too young and living in an apathetic town (it’s an apathetic city now) – but old enough to remember that horrormovie on the teevee. I tried to do an aside yesterday about what I say next but for some reason it glitched in sending – As mentioned previously, I was silly enough to volunteer a few years later under Mal Fraser’s reign. The arm I chose had only two lady vacancies for the rest of the year but the Navy offered me a hitch in patrol vessels. They hinted at a package with fast track training to CPO rank which sounded okay except for the fact that lurking around in a gyrating underwater steel cave with two bellowing diesels wasn’t exactly what I’d applied for. I ‘regretfully deferred’ my applications. Interesting though, at a defence industry junket many years later a certain Defence Dept. ’manager’ good naturedly grilled both myself and my lady wife as to which Navy I’d served in. I knew this bloke had a tour or two in ‘Nam and had the distinct impression that he had a bit of a thing about the Navy. A bit close to him with a shore barrage. One of the DDs perhaps. It only occurred to me the other day that they must have put a marker in my file with ‘Engineering Officer material’ nominated there – that he’d been checking my file and rubbernosed that. They must do that just in case one day, if the kack really hits the fan, you get a discreet summons out of the blue. But while what you say, TT, about our veterans is ever so true – do you know it applies to our reservists too. (You’ll maybe read one of those stories on my blog soon.) Some years ago after GW1 my, now deceased, son’s Battalion was to receive the keys to the City of Maryborough, Qld. They got wind that some activists intended to throw paint at them and cancelled the event. It hurts me to say that my lad felt as betrayed by that as he did some years later when he was betrayed by those to whom he’d pledged his allegiance – more to the point the bureaucrats allegedly, ethically, ‘managing’ defence and its affairs. So, fellows, forgive me if I appear to have an axe to grind. I do. If It appears I appreciate ‘populism’. I don’t. If you’ve gained the impression I’m expecting our parliaments to eschew bullshine and re-establish a regime of representative government – Then you’d be right.

lyn

6/11/2010Hi George Thankyou so much for posting that video for, very enjoyable. Well I am back on deck, my wonderful,efficient, adequate, $89 per month wireless, 3G, went down at lunch time yesterday. Telstra technical said I should ring Gizmo, there is something wrong with google search engine,they said I should instal google search engine again, they then asked me what security program I use, I am a wake up to that question, because if you don't use theirs they try to sell it, and then they blame the program you are using for causing connection problems, so I told them none, so then they said that was the problem, I must use a purchased security program because free ones are no good, I said well how come my laptop won't connect either, oh well it must be the modem, we can send you a new modem, I said but my frequency is working my 3G light is working, my internet light is working, the on light is on, they said, oh well, that can happen, but it still could be your modem, I said how come I can get connected for 2 minutes nearly every hour, oh that is definately your modem because that happened to me. So I phoned Malcolm Turnbull at 8 O'Clock and he said never mind "there is a cheaper way to do it" So I wrote it down on a piece of paper.

lyn

6/11/2010Hi Talk Turkey Thankyou for your well wishes. A sad story about Lyn from Norway. We are lucky aren't we. You will see above George's video cheered me up no end.

lyn

6/11/2010Hi Talk Turkey Thankyou for your well wishes. A sad story about Lyn from Norway. We are lucky aren't we. You will see above George's video cheered me up no end.

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6/11/2010Lyn Good to see you back blogging. I hope you finally get some satisfaction from Telstra and a return to a reliable Internet service.

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6/11/2010Hi Lyn I suggest that when you get your Internet working properly, you combine the links into one large batch, and I'll post them to your special page in one hit. I'm packing in for the night Folks - back tomorrow.

lyn

6/11/2010Hi Ad Thanks for that Ad, good idea. I've got fantastic, speedy gonzarlas service now, hope it lasts. So you see there was nothing wrong, other than Telstra's transmission station is not capable of handling the traffic, therefore not providing the service. They don't care if some poor unspecting person, following their technical advice, has rushed out and purchased a new $100 spyware program, put their computer through recovery, called in a $200 an hour technician, installed a $300 aerial, purchased a new modem, by the time the poor customer has finished, if there was nothing wrong with their computer to start with, well there sure as hell is after, if they follow Telstra's advice.

NormanK

6/11/2010Go get 'em Lyn! Great to have you back. I particularly enjoyed : [quote]So I phoned Malcolm Turnbull at 8 O'Clock and he said never mind "there is a cheaper way to do it" So I wrote it down on a piece of paper.[/quote] What with Tweety the Avenger and The Black Skeleton, TPS has its own superheroes fighting the forces of evil. Telstra. Hisssssssssssssss!! And The Goons keeping everything in perspective.

lyn

7/11/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]How bad journalism happens: an Example (3),Tim Dunlop, BSides[/i] Labor breaks asylum boat arrivals record, By Alexandra Kirk, There really is [b]no excuse for this sort of bullshit[/b] This is purely and simply crappy journalism brought about by a "news" mentality that instinctively reduces complex issues to a ridiculous level of simplicity http://tjd.posterous.com/how-bad-journalism-happens-an-example-3 [i]The limits of partisan reporting, Andrew Elder, Politically Homeless[/i] Sheridan's whole article is what you'd expect from a first-year undergraduate Liberal Student jotted out the night before it was due, rather than the Foreign Editor of a major newspaper http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/2010/11/limits-of-partisan-reporting-greg.html [i]This is what you want. This is what you get, Ash, Ash's Mavhiavellian Bloggery[/i] Are you happy yet Mr Tony Abbott? Are you happy yet Mr Scott Morrison. You keep saying you are not racist, and you continue to inspire it with your rhetoric. http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com:80/2010/11/06/this-is-what-you-want-this-is-what-you-get/ [i]NBN: a "Magic pudding", Gary Sauer Thompson, Public Opinion[/i] Jennifer Hewitt in her Fibre to the bootstraps: how Labor shackled its future to broadband in The Australian is at it again. Hewitt has long been an opponent of the national broadband, http://www.sauer-thompson.com/archives/opinion/2010/11/nbn-a-magic-pud.php [i]Circumspect Tony Abbott? Who da thunk it! Petering Time , North Coast Voices[/i] Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was out and about last week trying to plow fertile ground in the Adelaide hills http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/2010/11/circumspect-tony-abbott-who-da-thunk-it.html [i]We're splurging not spending. Er, thanks for the cheaper prices, Peter Martin[/i] This will come as news to politicians who campaigned about the price of bread http://www.petermartin.com.au/ [i]Not Super Villians After All, Jeremey Sear, An Ononymous Lefty[/i] Exaggerating their threat gives them an inflated sense of importance and quite probably motivates more impressionable young idiots to follow them. http://anonymouslefty.wordpress.com/ [i]Bolt sticks up for the big banks, Jeremy Sear, Pure Poison[/i] How to defend the big banks from what even his readers – and all the political parties – can see as outrageous profiteering on the backs of ordinary Australians? http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/ [i]Banks, banks, banks, Stubborn Mule[/i] There has been a frenzy of bank bashing in Australia over the last few weeks. The attacks intensified on Tuesday when the Commonwealth Bank decided to raise http://www.stubbornmule.net/2010/11/banks-banks-banks/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+StubbornMule+%28A+Stubborn+Mule%27s+Perspective%29 [i]What is Politics, Liz Beths, Left Flank[/i] So what is politics? For most, politics is that thing that happens in Canberra and on Macquarie Street. That thing to be ridiculed, not trusted, obsessed over and argued about. http://left-flank.blogspot.com/ [i]Australia’s Hazardous Road To Climate Action, Counter Currents. Org[/i] Australian big business lobbied John Howard’s conservative government to reject the Kyoto Protocol; http://www.countercurrents.org/boyer041110.htm [i]Watch this. You won’t know whether to laugh or cry. Neils Second Decade[/i] Hard to find anything in Oz quite as insane; just a worry that the “greatest nation in human history” harbours so many influential nut-cases. http://neil2decade.wordpress.com:80/2010/11/06/saturday-crap-detector-of-the-week/ [i]Laurie Oakes: Let's bank on Swan , Laurie Oakes. Herald Sun[/i] But the Bill is a stunt. In an area that is as complex and sensitive as the nation's financial system, you can't just throw a piece of legislation together. experts - the regulators - which Hockey has not done, and cannot do. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad-application/laurie-oakes-lets-bank-on-swan/story-fn6bfkm6-1225948488443 [i][b]Just putting up this link in case anyone wants to bother reading the comments:[/b]Beating a bad government that’s getting worse, Tony Abbott, The Punch[/i]http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/my-plan-to-beat-a-bad-government-thats-getting-worse/#comments

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7/11/2010Good morning Lyn What a time you have had with Telstra. In the past I too have had Telstra advise the $200 per hour Gismo consultant 'solution' only to find that the solution was simple and easy [i]sans[/i] consultant. Telstra's phone service, while in my experience always courteous, is time consuming, frustrating and too often ineffective. But what other option do we Telstra customers have? I hope all goes smoothly today.

HS

7/11/2010Calligula, Now I get it. A gun nut and Military junkie. Sorry, I like my societies peaceful and unarmed, like John Howard facilitated in Australia. Only good thing he did in 12 years, in my estimation. I suppose you would laud a society armed to the teeth, and, if American and a resident of Nevada, would have gladly voted for Sharron 'Open Carry' Angle? Can you see me? I have my little pinky up and wriggling in your direction. Real men and women don't need guns to sort out their problems, they use their brains. I'd really like to know what you thought about those Townsville Army recruits who were found to have tortured defenceless kittens to death. Fine by you? Just a part of the hardening up process? If you don't agree with actions like that I find that at variance with your stated aim of support for an increasingly militaristic society, which is the natural result of arming the citizenry to the teeth. People DO kill people, but guns kill people quicker and more dispassionately. As for gun lovers being 'Conservationists', pull the other one. Only in so far as they may want to preserve a particular environment so that it may continue to repopulate itself with more wildlife that they can shoot dead and strap to the bonnet of their 4WD. If, on the other hand you want to put up the canard that gun lovers keep down the feral wildlife numbers, well, that's all well and good, I agree they should be licenced to go out and get them from rural areas. However, on the other hand I think about the 16yo boy who was killed by his friend last week when they were out on a Rabbit hunting trip, and I think to myself, where were the reponsible adults accompanying them? Probably, like you, they had a relaxed attitude to guns in our society. Sorry, this little black duck won't be going down that road with my sons. I want them to live long, happy non-violent lives. If one of them wants to join the Armed Forces, like so many of my family before them, to defend our country, then I won't stand in their way. What I will do is counsel them not to assume that guns and armies are the answer to all society's problems. Also that they should not believe that they should bring their guns home with them and use them in their private lives in any way. I think that's fair enough. Finally, all I need to read about gun lovers is here: http://www.alternet.org/story/148691/irrational_phallus_worship%3A_the_missing_link_that_helps_the_tea_party_make_sense?page=entire

lyn

7/11/2010Good morning Ad Thankyou for your little note of sympathy, very much appreciated. I must say I have had a good 6 consecutive months, apart from being slow in peak periods, out of the 2 years to date, one should be grateful I guess, but I do have a bad feeling towards the Coalition's attitude. So now that episode is over, here's hoping for the next 6 months. Have a nice day Ad, Cheers

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7/11/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx It's great to have you back Lyn. I hope you have a nice day too, and a good run from Telstra from now on.

TalkTurkey

7/11/2010CALLIGULA? Hillbilly Skeleton? What have I missed here? I am puzzled HS at where this came from: "Calligula, Now I get it. A gun nut and Military junkie. Sorry, I like my societies peaceful and unarmed, like John Howard facilitated in Australia. Only good thing he did in 12 years, in my estimation. I suppose you would laud a society armed to the teeth, and, if American and a resident of Nevada, would have gladly voted for Sharron 'Open Carry' Angle? " HS I have looked for where Calligula has brought such a serve on himself, but I haven't found it yet. Please explain? I am far from being a 'gun nut' but when it comes to ferals, especially cats & foxes that can be killed with fairly low-powered guns, I do support the licensing of ordinary adults (with no record of violence or mental problems). Agreed, any gun beyond air guns is perfectly capable of killing anyone with a single shot, but then any pointy knife, any hammer, any motor vehicle, all can be used to kill instantly. One assumes that they never will be, but certainly some will. And some slug guns will be used to shoot baby Koalas, as happened yesterday. It's that feature of humanity that is the problem. But it doesn't take guns at all, remember the four noble youths who attacked the half-blind 80-y-o Adelaide Zoo Flamingo with sticks? At the time I wrote this parody on Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky: Flamingocky ’Twas swillig, and four heroes young Did gulp and guzzle West End Draught Of Heroes’ deeds their Daddies sung, And drunk until they barfed. Beware the FlamingO, Fair Youths! The Eye that’s Blind! The Plume that Plucks! That swansome Neck! Those trampling Hoofs! The Beak that flips and sucks! They took their cudgels stout in hand: Eftsoons the pinksome Foe they found: Then two on two, there at the Zoo, They circled round and round. And whiles in circles round they pranced, The FlamingO, with blinded eye, And swansome neck outstretched, advanced, And honked a goossome cry! One! Two! Three! Four! Twelve times! A score! Their cudgels stout went Whack-Whack-Whack! They knocked it flat, and feather in hat, They clapped each other’s back! “Hast thou laid low the FlamingO? Oh come to us, thou bold brave lads! Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” Rejoiced them thus their Dads. ’Tis swilling, and four heroes proven Gulp and guzzled Toohey’s New: On their brave deeds, their Dads a-groovin’ Drink until they spew. (The little creeps got off scot-free, btw. Amazingly the Flamingo survived, albeit with broken beak.) The problem comes with people who think of using guns in "self-defence". It's an attitude that Westerns and Yank cop shows and Yank attitudes generally foment, and it seems an unstoppable perception in Australian minds, yet it has never become in any sense a commonplace for Aussies to carry guns for that purpose. Where guns are carried by ordinary citizens they are overwhelmingly firstly for "sport", secondly for feral extermination, and only in a disappearingly-tiny number of cases for murder. For self-protection in the community, people-guns should only be issued to those in security-related occupations, and then only with deep reservations, (misgivings as far as I'm concerned). But HS, where did Calligula suggest a rad attitude to guns, I don't know? Seems to me that for a bloke with a background in “Defence” (?!), he has a fairly balanced point of view even about anti-warmongering protesters . . . But as I asked first . . . Have I missed something? Populism? . . . It's basically properly used meaning cheap-shot politics . . . the call for capital punishment every time someone does something extremely awful is the archetypal case of course. Demonization is an increasingly popular form of populism, gleefully promoted by the MSM. But obviously there has to be something there to be popularised, e.g. the fear of over-population of the planet and Australia in particular, which I have to say I share! It's how it's exploited that is where the evil comes in. There's nothing really important about being popular except getting elected, and there's the rub. Courage in leadership is likely to equate with unpopularity. Yes, Prime Minister?

Macca

7/11/2010Was it Martin Luther King who said; " the time will come when people will not be judged on the colour of their skin. But on the content of their character." In todays Australia, perhaps it could/should read; " the time will come when politicians will not be judged on the colour of their politics. But on the content of their character." While Abbott and co. go about the business of sowing hate, racism, kobuki theatre economics and any other lowest common denominator populist de jour, solely for the purpose of dividing a nation. I wonder if they fully understand how close to an abyss they are? And do they really want to take the nation over it with them? They say they are conviction politicians. Really? To form a conviction takes character. The courage of conviction equates to strength and depth of character. How can the demonisation of those of a different culture be a sign of strength? How can hiding a multi billion dollar cost blow out in pre election budget policy be construed as honourable? Is being a more than willing participant in the infamous conga line that leads to a media tycoons rear end a true example of courage? They have no courage. They have no character. They have no ethical and moral strength. But they do have; Populist rhetoric, insipid journalists and a disjointedly corrupt media. It may be enough. To any Labor politician reading this; For yourself, for your family, for those who you represent understand that tough times are coming. The seeds of your success have been sown in the strength of you character. Now is the time to start drawing on them.chat

lyn

7/11/2010Hi Talk Turkey You wonder what you missed, well I don't know what any of youse are talking about, sounds like double dutch, Talk Turkey if you missed something, well looks like I missed the lot. straight through the wicket keeper.

HS

7/11/2010I dunno, maybe it was because it was early on a Sunday morning, or maybe it's because Calligula's writing is a bit abstruse and I misinterpreted it, but to start out a reply to me with this sarcastic line: 'I can see by the typos that you’re having troubles with the keys in that dark room.', when in actual fact my typos are due to increasingly bad arthritis making it hard to hit all the right keys all the time, and I sometimes fail to correct all my mistakes, I guess got me offside from the get go. On the other hand, it may have been meant humorously, it's hard to tell. What I do know is that as none of us are perfect, I would have thought a few typos would have been allowed without the need for comment. Then, to go on and laud Republican Party Industry policy as being brilliant, well, what can you say? Especially when it was the Clinton Administration that picked the Tech Wave and encouraged the bigest industry of the late 20th, early 21st century, and who was the only US government of recent times to bring the US economy into surplus. Finally to get all misty-eyed about the Defence Industry and the Armed Forces was like waving a red rag at a bull to someone who abhors the Military-Industrial complex and the way it has insidiously worked its way into a position where economies would collapse without it. Sorry if I offended anyone with my reply.

TalkTurkey

7/11/2010Oh Folks. Glad we got that straight. See HS I felt like that after I shot my mouth off at NormanK on what turned out to be a dumb presumption on my part. I think he has forgiven me now. (Well at least I thought I was defending against the Rotten Right, but I was wrong.) HS I didn't interpret anything that CALLIGULA said as quite so sharp-edged as you did . . . I think perhaps he was a bit difficult to interpret in one or two clauses, and he needled you a bit with the typo quip/jibe (depending on interpretation!) . . . And yes HS we're grown-ups now, we can stump-jump typos, agreed, especially when people like You are SO-O-O prolific . . . So now yous can shake hands, isn't it? CALLIGULA? Why make a point of this, well, it's my belief that misunderstanding on tiny details can unnecessarily divide people with vast areas of agreement, and it's critical to good relations to get things straight asap. Sorry if this sounds trite or Pollyannish, whatever, but I remember Prof. Smart proposing this situation to us in Philosophy 1A: English Diplomat: I suggest . . . . Translator to French: The Diplomat recommends . . . Then into German: The English Diplomat demands . . . ! and the whole thing's a mess. We are too clever to let that happen here. Isn't it. Or n'est-ce pas. Eh. BTW thanks Lyn, I thought it might of only been me.

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7/11/2010Folks Most of the day I've been working on my next piece [i]What do you think of Rupert Murdoch’s power and influence?[/i], which I will post in the morning after Lyn has posted her links. I've read your comments with interest, some of which were somewhat cryptic, but I won't respond as others have answered them well. I'm off now to watch one of my favourites: Poirot.

Acerbic Conehead

7/11/2010HS, due to other commitments, I’m coming late to this thread, so, firstly, thank you for your clear and informative précis of the phenomenon of populism. Basically, I believe populism is based on fear and attempts to give simple answers to complex questions on important issues. Take multiculturalism, immigration and other related issues for example. For people like Scott Morrison, the Federal Opposition Spokesperson on Immigration, it’s mainly about banning people and things – the burqa, boat-people, etc. However, he’s always very restrictive in what he’s banning; notice he never seeks to ban Joe’s Black Hole, or budgie smugglers, or accusing people of bastardry, or Barnaby’s many brain-farts, or calling people, “back alley bitches”. However, his opposite number, the Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen, seems to indeed have his number. Chris has nick-named Scott, “Ban Morrison”, so sing along with Chris as he bangs out the old Van the Man classic, “Into the Mystic”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP3JlrHrf68&feature=related :- ) ‘Ban’ Morrison’s full of wind On the boats, thinks he’s a gun But like the seagulls in Nauru, he’s nothing but a stupid dipstick :- ) Hark, now hear the dodo’s cry For us all, “the end is nigh” If we don’t ban the boats, we’re the stupid dipstick :- ) But when Ban’s fog horn blows, we will be on our toes And when he’s ringing us up on Tones’ boatphone We don't have to fear it Just like the Rodent’s dog-whistle tone Way, way back in the days of old When Ban sat at his knee, learning to be a stupid dipstick :- ) But when that fog horn blows, you know he’s just a Pauline clone And when Ban’s doggie whistle blows, we gotta jeer it We don't have to fear it We gotta shaft that sleazy slob Just like way back in the days of old When Maxine showed Johnny up as a stupid dipstick Come on guys...

CALLIGULA

7/11/2010Title – “Know Thy Enemy” Restating fact - In my last I did my best to lend advice to HS as how to discover something about populist politics directly from the elephant’s mouth. (Now c’mon HS, everyone knows the elephant is the republican’s logo.) The idea was to get the message across that US politics is undoubtedly an event for pragmatists. And yes I still have copies of publications like the NRA journal, Shooter’s times and the like. I don’t very often read them unless I need some reference material. Now let me get off thread and speak to what HS last said. If HS scanned the shelves of an Australian newsagent she’d likely find publications that make me sick to my stomach. Repeat – sick to MY stomach. Addressing prejudice - There’s the sort of hunting magazines popular in Australia. They feature glossy centerfolds of designer dudes and dames – thousands of dollars worth of the latest camo clothes/accessories, ‘designer stubble’ for the dudes – an artfully applied cheek-smear of ‘DesignerBlood ™’ for the smiling faces of the dames. Resting on one arm is their choice of weapon while supported by the other is their ‘trophy’. One of my all time favourites was a grinning bowhunter who, oh so skillfully shot this poor mangy nanny goat clean through her arse lengthwise. I suppose it demonstrated to the punters the strength of his bow. What a hero. But big game like that is becoming increasingly rare. These days that sort have to make do with the odd Moggy or bunny. But that’s okay isn’t it to go out and kill them? Or better off use biological or chemical agents against ‘em. Just nip out and do to some bureaucratically declared ‘pest animal’ what MR. Hussein was executed for just thinking of doing. But, forgive me, those sordid rags aren’t the sort I recommended as reading but I suppose my mentioning them here will be misinterpreted too. Christ! I’m making myself sick writing this. Why am I bothering? Oh that’s right – someone was telling me I have a bad attitude. Some more truth - For the record and since I won’t be asking for an apology from HS I shall say this – It often comes as a surprise for some people to discover that others of the human race are adaptable, flexible, lateral, complex, with their reasoning while others perch somewhere on that sliding scale heading down to completely dim. Please note that I have said nothing that is not self-evident nor have I accused any particular person of being dim – nor of them being able to parse sentences or assimilate the written word. In the last twenty-plus years of my life I made a decision to find myself an occupation affording me the opportunity to avoid the sort of dim people that seemed to overpopulate most of my previous workplaces. In that ambition I was fairly successful until one particular dullard turned up a few years in and effectively blew the whole show for myself and all too many of my colleagues in industry. ( It is remarkable that HS refers to that person above, saying of him – “Only good thing he did in 12 years, in my estimation”) In the meantime my new occupation put me in contact with an amazing number of people from all backgrounds, occupations and walks of life. It would be impertinent of me to categorise them but am perfectly prepared to say that my poor experience dictates that the majority of those who take up the vocation of soldier are a cut above the average in comparison to those of comparable status/responsibility in other walks of life. It cannot be denied that defence has it’s share of LuLus too in slightly less a proportion found in the general population. (they’ll do better when someone lets serving personnel select recruits for them instead of civilian shrinks – but there it is.) I can unreservedly say that I have been profoundly honoured to have shared time and spoken with (yuck) soldiers, sailors and even airmen of all ranks. That includes a lady Petty Officer from the Brisbane recruiting centre with the most incredibly sexy (GRRRRRRRR!) telephone voice I’ve ever heard - to hours arguing on the blower or in meeting with all sorts including gentlemen of star rank. We have shared coffee and much appreciated Arnotts Honey Jumbles (they usually get plain back at the citadel) at home with Brigadiers general and if anyone doubts that soldiers are human a certain West Point graduate, a Lt.Colonel, US Army, once lifted his shirt to show us that Gulf War Syndrome was, for him, a real and very frightening personal outcome of his allegiance to his nation. Did any of these guys turn up here armed, bayonets fixed, in camo and jungle boots? No. Did any act aggressively, dishonestly, patronizingly, discourteously, or display unacceptable manners? No. Were they ever unprofessionally narrow in outlook, unimaginative or hidebound? No. Did they restrict themselves to some narrative; therby discouraging any sharing of opinion and personal views? No. Were they the sort who would long endure any of the above being displayed by us? No. Were they the sort who would long endure any of the above being displayed by others? Only if they were their political masters. Of course, I’m talking about people who have mostly ‘seen the elephant’ - http://wesclark.com/jw/elephant.html - and in this case I’m not talking about republicans. Back to the thread - There is another sort who are ‘attached to’ defence but are not ‘with’ defence – an agency called the “Defence Materiel Organisation” - DMO. Many of its agents were once in or with defence but are now employed by a ‘corporatised entity’ whose CEO saves public embarrassment by reporting their stuffups directly to the minister. Many of its employees were admin/defence and moved to DMO in result of being passed over for promotion. It may be that many were passed over for good reason. (This was the gist of one long conversation I had with an officer of star rank. He was “unable to disagree with me”.) I guess you could say that DMO has to work within the confines of the ‘populist’ approach to the defence of Oz. – are in fact completely politicized beyond redemption. It seems our soldiers, and those in Australian defence industry who want to support them, are generally held in contempt by our media, and resultantly, by a fair proportion of the populace. An adverse consequence of simplistic populist politics. Summary - Do you see – I’m getting back to the thread now. For some the escalation of boring simplistic pap on TeeVee is just an irritation that bends their minds away from unpleasantless and needless repetition. For others it is the manifestation of the corruption of everything we have worked for. For a very few it is the end of their lives on the side of the road in Afghanistan. In closing I’ll say that I have refreshed TPS pages and have noted that HS now realizes she’s goofed a bit. Still hasn’t realized my jokes about fluorescent paint and typos made have been – jokes – intended to jolly her along with the disappearance of her logo. As far as being misty eyed about defence industry? Why not read my blog as it unfolds in future? Go to it now and drop in a few comments there HS – or would you prefer to shut your eyes forever until our defeats bring us down the same way as happened to the USSR. Hey, TalkTurkey – thanks for reading and the plug. I’m too shagged to write much more now other than say where you lead – your elements of reasoning - each merit articles themselves. If one separates any particular thing that can be put to the peasantry – then manipulate it this way or that it can be utilized for good or bad. Problem is, these days usually either bad or to distract the masses completely away from any iota of truth. Sincere thanks and Man’ana

TalkTurkey

7/11/2010Ad astra The phenomenon has a name - er - not "convergent speciation" - not serendipity - er - synco - ? - SYNCHRONICITY! That's the word! I was imminently poised to suggest that TPS bring a tight focus onto one Rupert Amerigo Murdoch, and what happens? Gazzumped! Good on you Ad. I look forward to your lead. "Together we will fly Into the Mystic." Thanks AC

lyn

7/11/2010Hi Acerbic Conehead Thankyou AC brilliant again and again.

D Mick Weir

7/11/2010Hi all, on ABC News24 this afternoon I caught a small part of something from 'Dangerous Ideas' with Waleed Ali talking much sense (as he usually does) about how the politics is not about ideas or policy at the moment. I was only able to watch a few minutes of it but it seemed to relate to populism and other pertinent stuff. Did anybody see any of it or know where we could find more?

HS

7/11/2010Calligula, I can see that I am going to have to flesh out MY perspective in a blog in order for you to understand that there are other valid perspectives. I might have to incorporate Laura Norder, Fear and Loathing and criminal elements. It might even incorporate a little Ghandi, Bertrand Russell and Mandela, just to leave you in no doubt where I am coming from. I think it is an important can of worms you have opened.

lyn

7/11/2010Hi D Mick Weir I didn't see the program with Waleed, but here is a link to ABC 24 maybe you can find the show you mentioned. Cheers abc NEWS 24 http://www.abc.net.au/news/abcnews24/

HS

8/11/2010The 'Johnny Come Lately' to the bank regulation party Shadow Treasurer and Opposition Leader, Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott, are certainly adept at making thin gruel look like a banquet. I've just finished listening to an interview between Alexandra Kirk and Tony Abbott, and from the way he was going on you'd think that the news in the papers today about the banks signalling that they will drop their mortgage exit fees before the government brings in its foreshadowed legislation to effect same, was all down to Joe Hockey's bluff and bluster. A cuckoo's got nothing on these guys. Also, when pressed as to howwould they be able to increase competition between the banks and non-bank lenders, all TA could come up with was the Coalition's stunt legislation to aid the ACCC in calling out banks for Price Signalling. Legislatiuvely, that's it. Abbott also added that the Non-Bank lenders should be covered by the government's guarantee, however he's bereft of a legislative answer to back that claim up. Guess we'll have to wait for the government's legislation which will do just that. One thing you can guarantee is that it will be the Opposition shamelessly crowing that it was all a result of their work that any of it happened at all. All I can say to that is that there is one word that Abbott's Opposition knows how to spell upside down and back to front-'Populism'. Speaking of which, I also see that the Opposition are continuing their gatecrashing of the supposedly independant and non-partisan MDB meetings today. Then Abbott's off to Brisbane to create more mischief by having a bank bashing 'Town Hall' meeting with the punters. He knows he's just poking a stick into a Hornet's nest, unable to achieve any more than impotent rage in the community, but it makes for good 'content' for the 6PM News, and will adroitly suck some oxygen away from what should be a big day for the government around the AusMin talks.

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8/11/2010AC What a stylist take on Van Morrison you have made to match Chris Bowen’s clever ‘Ban Morrison’ slogan. You treat us to such a lot of sharp satirical verse. Thank you. Talk Turkey I hope that [i]What do you think of Rupert Murdoch’s power and influence?[/i], which I will post soon, will enable discussion about this man’s weighty place in world and local politics.

lyn

8/11/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [i]Old Labour regulations to save Murdoch BSkyB takeover? Richard Farmer, The Stump[/i]With British Labour Party MPs now joining in the chorus of opposition to Rupert Murdoch being allowed to buy the 61% of broadcaster BSkyB that his company does not own, http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/ [i]Murdoch, Plurality and the Public Interest, Jacob Rowbottom, On Line Opinion[/i]Murdoch has a presence in government whichever party is in power. That makes it all the more important that any increase in his hold on the media is closely scrutinised. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11197 [i]Murdoch's empire bids to rule the skies, Catherine Field, NZ Herald. Co. NZ[/i] The Conservatives were backed by the Murdoch press at the last May election and Prime Minister David Cameron's head of communications, Andy Coulson, was editor of News of the World at a time when the paper notoriously hacked into the phones of politicians and celebrities http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10685790 [i]The Sermons on De'Mountables, Mr Denmore, The Failed Estate[/i] The job of Mr Kelly and all the other News Ltd hacks is to dress up their boss' tawdry, ideological ambitions in an unspecified "reform" agenda that no Labor government, however diligent, could ever live up to. In the meantime, our own democracy is laid to waste by a man who controls 65 percent of our print media and who lives somewhere else. http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com/ [i]Victorian Leaders Debate, John, The Conscience Vote[/i] Baillieu constantly interrupted everyone else – in fact, his entire manner could best be described as ‘don’t waste my time’. http://consciencevote.wordpress.com:80/2010/11/07/victorian-leaders-debate/ [i]Eyes without a face, Andrew Elder, Politicaly Homeless[/i] always thought it was funny that a guy who's never worked a day in his life got to be head of the Australian Workers' Union, l http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/2010/11/eyes-without-face-i-always-thought-it.html [i]Tony Abbott's missing moral core, Neil Ormerod, Eureka Street[/i] When his 'jet lag' excuse was exposed and he came out flailing, hoping to land whatever blows he could on Gillard. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=23929 [i]Top newspaper’s top editorial team enlists top ex-Victorian Bar right-wing barrister to “lash” Greens, Jeremy Sear, Pure Poison[/i] So, it looks like the Sunday Herald Sun is doubling-down on its much-condemned and stunningly illogical smear (even Andrew Bolt called it a smear) http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/11/07/top-newspapers-top-editorial-team-enlists-top-ex-victorian-bar-right-wing-barrister-to-lash-greens/#more-7832 [i]Yet more Zombies - Crooked Timber, J Quiggin[/i] Now, though, I’m thinking I could spend a lifetime on the zombie ideas that dominate the political right. http://johnquiggin.com/ [i]How About "All They Got Left Is A Bag Of Loose Change And Some Crisps"?, Darryl Mason, The Orstrahyun[/i] It's no great drama. Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott can't pull the corporate donors like...well, let's just say Malcolm Turnbull, http://theorstrahyun.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-about-all-they-got-left-is-bag-of.html [i]Cookie monsters: browser beware as political websites plant spy devices , Nicky Phillips, SMH[/i] The websites of Barry O'Farrell, Kristina Keneally, Tony Abbott and the Greens plant spying devices on visitors' computers, which can track them http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/cookie-monsters-browser-beware-as-political-websites-plant-spy-devices-20101107-17j13.html

D Mick Weir

8/11/2010Good Morning Lyn I had tried the News 24 website and went nowhere fast. However after a bit of searching I found the video, where I should have remebered to look, on The Monthlys' Slow TV site http://www.themonthly.com.au/video There is a great range of videos there on Politics, Society and Culture. You could get lost for hours there!! The talk I saw part of was from the recent [i]Festival of Dangerous Ideas[/i] - [b]Good Ideas = Bad Politics.[/b] http://www.themonthly.com.au/good-ideas-bad-politics-festival-dangerous-ideas-2812 I will watch it later

Ad astra reply

8/11/2010LYN'S DAILY LINKS updated: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/Lyns-Daily-Links.aspx

TalkTurkey

8/11/2010"Talk Turkey I hope that What do you think of Rupert Murdoch’s power and influence?, which I will post soon, will enable discussion about this man’s weighty place in world and local politics." (Ad astra, 8.52 this AM) As I mentioned last night the subject of Rupert Amerigo Murdoch is much on my mind too. I wonder what makes an old man like him so want to expand expand expand his power, is it for his own glory, for his kiddies, for his Mam, for the good of the World, ha, what makes him tick? More importantly, how to stick a stick in his ticker? And what will become of Global Murdochracy on his demise? I remember a line from H.G.Wells' War of the Worlds, the author is imagining a conversation between the Dodos on (?Mauritius?) when the sailors start coming and eating them, "We will peck them to death tomorrow, my dear", he's comparing their plight to humans' at the hands (well, tentacles) of the invading Martians. Murdoch is Chief Martian as far as I'm concerned, and his invasion of world media is more than political, it really does threaten Life on Earth - Imagine if the power of his empire was turned to smartening up rather than dumbing down of the People, we'd have climate change agreement in a flash, urgent eco-action everywhere, demilitarisation via better communication, and on and on - The man is a megalomaniacal global disaster. Waiting for him to die is not good enough. We really gotta get a-peckin'. His dragon brood is poised to take over seamlessly, as with Packer. (Gotta getta better Packer pecker. Say that 99x daily!)

TalkTurkey

8/11/2010Ad astra, I just posted the post below on the last subject re Populism, crossing your new lead, so I'll post it again below the new one, not yet having read what you have said. (Murdoch of course is #1 populiser of populists anyway.) So - from previous post - "Talk Turkey I hope that What do you think of Rupert Murdoch’s power and influence?, which I will post soon, will enable discussion about this man’s weighty place in world and local politics." (Ad astra, 8.52 this AM) As I mentioned last night the subject of Rupert Amerigo Murdoch is much on my mind too. I wonder what makes an old man like him so want to expand expand expand his power, is it for his own glory, for his kiddies, for his Mam, for the good of the World, ha, what makes him tick? More importantly, how to stick a stick in his ticker? And what will become of Global Murdochracy on his demise? I remember a line from H.G.Wells' War of the Worlds, the author is imagining a conversation between the Dodos on (?Mauritius?) when the sailors start coming and eating them, "We will peck them to death tomorrow, my dear", he's comparing their plight to humans' at the hands (well, tentacles) of the invading Martians. Murdoch is Chief Martian as far as I'm concerned, and his invasion of world media is more than political, it really does threaten Life on Earth - Imagine if the power of his empire was turned to smartening up rather than dumbing down of the People, we'd have climate change agreement in a flash, urgent eco-action everywhere, demilitarisation via better communication, and on and on - The man is a megalomaniacal global disaster. Waiting for him to die is not good enough. We really gotta get a-peckin'. His dragon brood is poised to take over seamlessly, as with Packer. (Gotta getta better Packer pecker. Say that 99x daily!) TalkTurkey

D Mick Weir

8/11/2010What an entertaining and informative hour of SlowTV I have just consumed. [i]Festival of Dangerous Ideas[/i] - [b]Good Ideas = Bad Politics.[/b] I linked to above. If I knew how, I would insert several thumbs up thingies here!!!!! [b]Miriam Lyons[/b], Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Development used an example of Hottellings' Law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotelling%27s_law to illustrate why our political parties have both moved to the 'middle ground' [b]Waleed Aly[/b], lecturer in politics at Monash University was great and his comments on how politics has become more about managing rather than about ideas struck a chord for me. The other panelists, [b]Elizabeth Farrelly[/b], Sydney-based columnist and author as well as [b]Annabel Crabb[/b] also had some great contributions To steal a phrase [i]'Must see (Slow)TV'[/i]
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?