Archive for October, 2010

Sensible questions on Labor’s incompetence

October 27, 2010

Labor in Purgatory

LABOR is in purgatory. Purgatory, the place between heaven and hell; the place where souls remain until they have expiated their sins and can go to heaven. Julia Gillard knows Labor’s sins. Appalling profligacy, phony revolutions, phony targets, phony committees and phony commitments. Mounting electricity and water prices extend the suffering. Can she expiate them?

Gary Johns, in his inimitable and stylish way, sums up the dilemma’s for the Australian Labor Party. A minister in the Keating government, he understands the Labor illness better than most. With real tax reform in mind, Johns wonders whether Gillard will actually get around to governing in the broad national interest.

Howard’s presence imposes on the ABC

October 25, 2010

An impressive performance

Coming on the heels of Tom Switzer’s editorial in The Spectator, ‘Howard the Great’, which sums up John Howard’s prime ministership, he himself appeared on the ABC’s Q&A. Everything Switzer said  became eminently apparent on the show.

To some of his fellow Australians, John Winston Howard is a figure demonised almost beyond rational understanding. But to many more, he is undoubtedly the greatest living Australian, and he will be feted accordingly next week when his long-awaited memoirs are published.

Those whom Mr Howard called the ‘self-appointed cultural commentators and dietitians’ never could understand his widespread popularity, much less explain it. As for John Howard himself, we suspect he’s amused and pleased to see that, even three years after he was retired by the Australian people, his old foes still underestimate and attack him.

The feting was well and truly there on television. Even Tony Jones, on radio this morning, thought Mr Howard “nimble”. Jones appeared almost in awe of him, showing great deference and respect, to the point of being gracious when caught out several times with unfair or misleading questions. I think he had forgotten, in just three years, just how nimble and intelligent a politician can be. In fact, the feeling in the studio, in spite of the handful of dissenters, gave an overall impression of seeing a stunning performer, on top of the facts, able to answer questions with brevity, incisiveness, and authority. The impressive performance was in stark contrast to the rambling loquaciousness of ex Prime Minister Rudd, and the dreary moralizing of present Prime Minister Gillard. It was truly a class act.



In listening to Fran Kelly on Radio ‘Notional’ this morning in an interview with John Howard, one can hear a riff emerging amongst pro-Labor anti-Howard journalists. Doesn’t Howard regret ANY of his decisions of his time in office? From this group of exasperated Howard haters, they all want to know — even as he emphatically tells them that no — if he had no doubts, no regrets, about what he did. The list is almost endless; not apologizing to the Aborigines, going into Iraq, going into Afghanistan, Work Choices, not retiring and giving the job to Peter Costello, the boat people, children overboard. They cannot believe or understand that he really, sincerely held a different opinion and now has no regrets.

Howard answers with candour that he actually takes full responsibility for decisions, even if they may not have been as good in outcomes as desired, or that they earned him disapproval by some. Would he have done things differently? With consideration of the facts at the time, not at all. Listen to this morning’s revealing interview with Fran Kelly.

Prince Charles wind farm rip-off

October 24, 2010

A right royal vested interest 

As we know, Prince Charles is a greenie, wants renewable energy, but has claimed that wind farms are a “horrendous blot on the landscape”. He refuses of course to have them anywhere on his own estates , either at Highgrove or on his Dutchy of Cornwall estate. All well and good, and noble.

However, according to a piece in the Mail On Sunday yesterday, the Royal Family has sewn up a lucrative deal worth tens of millions of pounds for wind farms out to sea. How does he do it? Simple. It is because the seabed within Britain’s territorial waters is owned by the Crown Estate!!

The Crown Estate said profits from windfarms in Britain’s territorial waters — which extend almost 14 miles from the coast — could rise to £100  million a year, giving the Royals £15 million.

But industry experts said this was an under- estimate and that the true figure was likely to be nearer £250 million by 2020, with £37.5 million for the Royals.

In what one source described last night as a ‘masterstroke’ by the Prince’s closest adviser Sir Michael Peat, 250 years of history was overturned by scrapping the arrangement under which taxpayers’ money has been used to fund the Royals and pay for the upkeep of their palaces.

Sir Michael, 60, Charles’s Principal Private Secretary, is the former Keeper of the Privy Purse at Buckingham Palace.

‘There is nothing Michael does not know about Royal finances,’ said a source. ‘His depth of knowledge will have been invaluable. Charles has always believed the money from the Crown Estate was taken away from the family. Now they have got it back. One could say they have pulled a fast one.’

Read all about it at the Mail on Sunday.

The Left’s fantasy of hatred and violence

October 22, 2010

No Pressure

Many have now commented on the sicko advertising campaign ‘No Pressure’ by Richard Curtis [pictured right] for a greener more caring environment, notably Andrew Bolt, and the way the Left seem to be attracted to hatred and violence.

The big thing that jarred for me was that Curtis was the director of Love Actually, one of my all time favourite films that is clearly the polar opposite of ‘No Pressure’. I defend Love Actually against all comers who prefer violent films, and films that obsess about unhappy dysfunctional and neurotic anti-heroes; the sort of film one critic called social worker porn. But that is another story.

I raise this issue tardively, as I have just read James Delingpole’s very eloquent essay in the lastest Spectator on just why the latest Curtis effort was truly not funny. It is well worth reading. He emphasises the Green Left’s contempt for humans, which is generally well known. That this is true, does explain, by extrapolation, why the Murray–Darling Basin Authority’s recent report on water allocation for the river left out any consideration for our farmers and riverine communities. Delingpole concludes:

After all, when your movement’s key influences, from Rachel Carson through Teddy Goldsmith to James Lovelock, are telling you that the human species is a ‘cancer’ on the planet, what better solution could there possibly be than a spot of radical surgery?

Afghanistan involvement coming to a close

October 6, 2010

Conservative dissent firms up

Increasing numbers of distinguished commentators, especially in America and Britain, appear to be changing their views on the West’s involvement in Afghanistan. Already, in Australia, past editor of the opinion pages of The Australian and now editor for The Spectator Tom Switzer, outlined his opposition to our involvement in Iraq back in 2003. The disastrous and deteriorating state of Pakistan, the naïve idea that importing democracy is a real possibility — notwithstanding some progress in Iraq — the persistent idea that a losing situation always needs “just a little more time”, the extraordinary costs involved, and the fact that nothing seems to be getting better in Afghanistan, conspire, amongst other factors, to sharpen the analysis. In a recent piece on The Drum, Switzer laid out impressively coherent arguments for disengagement with Afghanistan:

The British statesman Lord Salisbury once warned: “The commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.” Today, after nearly nine years of fighting and no end in sight, we are witnessing a striking and dangerous example of this error in Afghanistan. Indeed, the war to destroy the Taliban is “unwinnable”, as US Republican chairman Michael Steele recognises, and Australia should set a firm timetable for an early withdrawal from this world-class fiasco.

Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor of The Australian appears to be changing his mind. After spending two months in the US, and carefully digesting the new Bob Woodward book, Obama’s Wars, he is moderating his views. He explains:

Perhaps among all the scribbling newspaper columnists in the world, none has supported the US commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan more consistently than I have. Yet two months in the US, from which I have just returned, has convinced me that the era of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is coming rapidly to a close. And it is time that it did.

A couple of weeks ago on television, I saw a documentary where it was suggested to one correspondent in Kahbul that a sudden withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan would create chaos. He replied that a withdrawal in ten years or later would still create chaos. Both Switzer and Sheridan give us coherent reasons for why we should change our polices on these overseas adventures.

Why does Morry Schwartz allow it?

October 3, 2010

Robert Manne does it again

I recently posted a blog saying that one has to feel sorry for poor old Robert Manne. He had been exposed for his shoddy history research concerning the stolen generations. After that, came his very public demonstration in The Australian of the way he uses morality, indignation and appeals to authority to cover for his lack of facts. I suggested at the time that it was perhaps time for him to retire.

However, it appears that Robert ‘No-Shame’ Manne continues in the same vein, this time in the September issue of The Monthly. According to Hal Colebatch in the latest Quadrant, Manne writes about the South Vietnamese refugee policy in Australia between 1976 and 1982, making the extraordinary claim that “With the boat arrivals, the Labor Opposition under Whitlam, and then Hayden, resisted the temptation to exploit underlying racist or anti-refugee sentiment for party political gain.”

Colebatch rightly wonders if Manne was on another planet. He quotes the infamous comment by Whitlam ,“I’m not having hundreds of fucking Vietnamese Balts coming into this country with their political and religious hatreds against us” … He then goes on to list the many examples of ALP bloodymindedness; Clyde Cameron himself advocating in the 1977 election campaign that “the only effective means of dealing with illegal immigrants would be to have them arrested and deported as soon as they land”, Hawke wanting the return of the bogus refugees, and Darwin waterside workers striking over the ship Entalina that rescued Vietnamese boat people, threatening any further shipping that was prepared to rescue boat people. The litany of racist and inhumane bigotry by the Left is documented in detail. The article thus reveals Manne’s strange delusional rewrite of history.

Colebatch concludes:

I could continue these quotes at considerable length (my PhD thesis on this subject occupies 489 pages exclusive of bibliography and appendices), but this is probably enough to make the point.

Far from being the beneficiaries of a bipartisan approach, Vietnamese refugees were attacked by virtually every group on the Left. I find it baffling that someone occupying Mr Manne’s position is either unaware of the well-documented history of the ALP and the Left regarding Vietnamese refugees or, if he is aware of it, that he should apparently seek to radically rewrite these facts.

Hal Colebatch’s article, The Left Rewrites Its History on Refugees is very worthwhile and is available in the October edition of Quadrant [no link available].

It is now incomprehensible just how Manne manages to get published with such falsehoods, except for the fact that he is Chairman of the Board of The Monthly. Morry Schwartz should sack him.


Quadrant has now made the link available to Hal Colebatch’s article.