Saturday salon 1/7

1. Cardinal Pell to face the music

Cardinal Pell is to come back to Australia to face “historical sexual assault offences“. There have been and will be many words written about Pell, but I liked Sean Kenny at The Monthly. Kenny is worth reading on the current political follies, but he says the Pell case reminds us that there are more important changes happening in society.

Charging someone so senior in the Catholic church would have been unthinkable not so long ago. Sexual abuse of minors is finally being taken seriously.

Pell is said to be the third ranking officer in the Catholic Church.

As I read him, Pope Francis is being exemplary in holding Pell innocent until proven guilty. Our practice in Australia is too often to throw people to the wolves. For example, Peter Slipper should have had full government support in defending himself.

Last year Pope Francis when asked about against Pell told reporters:

    “It’s true, there is a doubt. We have to wait for justice and not first make a mediatic judgment – a judgment of gossip – because that won’t help. Once justice has spoken, I will speak.”

Pell is facing “multiple charges” and there are “multiple complainants”, so he will most likely never get back to the Vatican where he was apparently doing good work cleaning up their finances, even if the court clears him.

In commenting please remember the case is sub judice.

2. Australia’s census shows a few tipping points

The results of last year’s census are now out. Australia is becoming much more diverse.

The Census shows 49% of population are either first- or second-generation migrants. Australia had the highest proportion of its population born overseas – 26%, ahead of New Zealand (23%) and Canada (22%).

    There was also a decline in the proportion of people who spoke English as their main language at home (76.8% in 2011 to 72.7% in 2016), an increase in those reporting no religion (21.8% to 29.6%), and a very rapid increase in the number of same-sex couples (a 39% increase to 46,800 couples).

3. Jeremy Corbyn on stage at Glastonbury

He was a big hit, apparently.

Ian Dunt talking to Phillip Adams had some worries about a crowd repeatedly chanting the name of a political leader of any stripe.

The New York Times has an article The Rise of Jeremy Corbyn and the Death Throes of Neoliberalism

It begins:

    “We do not believe in untrammeled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality.”

Remarkably, that’s from Theresa May, not JC. However, it’s like May starting a campaign based on personality rather than policy when she doesn’t actually have one.

4. Trump gets down and dirty

The US Presidency sank to a new low when Trump launched an attack on two TV presenters. Trump “unleashed a brutal personal attack on respected female television host Mika Brzezinski”, and her co-host Joe Scarborough, sparking an instant backlash including from senior Republicans. Some say he’s “unhinged”, certainly he is bringing the office into disrepute.

Now he has admitted that he misled everyone about whether he might have taped his discussion with Comey in order to influence Comey’s testimony.

    In President Trump’s first interview in more than a month, he admitted that he falsely suggested his conversations with former FBI director James Comey were taped to influence Comey’s sworn testimony.

Ezra Klein has an article on how Trumpism died. In essence, Trump doesn’t care about all the promises and policy positions that he enunciated to get elected. In fact the people he has appointed mostly oppose his former positions. What’s happening on health care represents long-time Republican Party policy:

    Both bills reflect longtime Republican health policy thinking and break Trump’s promises. They cover fewer people than are covered now with worse health care that carries higher deductibles. They feature massive cuts to Medicaid. And Trump has meekly fallen in line. The insurgent campaigner who relished confrontation with the congressional GOP during the election has been surprisingly low-energy in pushing his own agenda.

    What is true on health care is true elsewhere in Trump’s presidency.


    This, then, is how Trumpism died: Trump didn’t believe in it, his staff didn’t believe in it, and his political strategy made it impossible.

So we are left with an ineffective president grumpily tweeting.

Republicans in Congress are likely to keep him, rather than impeach if it comes to that, because he’s effectively a tool, albeit embarrassingly bad-mannered.

5. Liberals launch website to lure swing voters and take on activist groups

During the last election the Liberals’ digital campaign was sadly lacking. So they’ve stared a site ‘The Fair Go’ which will take aim at organisations such as Getup!

I think these things work better when they come from the bottom up, rather than top down. There’s more at The New Daily:

    The Fair Go is edited by Parnell McGuiness, managing director of PR firm Thought Broker, who is a regular on The Bolt Report and who writes commentary for The Spectator, News Corp, Fairfax Media and the ABC.

20 thoughts on “Saturday salon 1/7”

  1. However, it’s like May starting a campaign based on personality rather than policy when she doesn’t actually have one.

    Brian, I’m not sure if you’re saying Theresa May has no policies or no personality.
    Ahh, the vagaries of the English language. 🙂

  2. Well, if “Trumpism” can die so soon, maybe those who suggested that he didn’t possess dictatorial powers, and would be constrained by the “checks and balances” of the US polity, may have had a point after all?

  3. zoot, I had an inkling I might have left that up in the air.

    I don’t follow British politics closely. I think it was Ian Dunt talking to Phillip Adams who said they (the Conservatives) put out a policy manifesto which they clearly didn’t believe in, and whenever May was asked about policy she said “Trust me” or words to that effect.

    He said that her main line was that Corbyn was unsuitable and unelectable.

    So in effect she was running a campaign based on her personality, and, he said, she didn’t have one.

    So, in short, Dunt was saying that she had neither.

  4. Ambigulous, the checks and balances seem to be working, but I reckon it’s a badly designed system rather than the greatest democracy in the world.

    I believe the method of drawing electoral boundaries for the House of Representatives, which is by the political party in control of each state, may be under review by the Supreme Court. The current method is scandalous.

  5. Thanks for the link, Jumpy. I don’t know whether ‘dictatorial’ is the term. Corbyn wants party discipline. Seems Labour there doesn’t work like Labor here. In Oz you have your differences in the party room, and whatever is decided there is followed in public and in voting in the parliament.

    The issue seems to be around hard or soft Brexit, and single market and customs union membership. Dunt reckons there is a cross-party majority for the latter.

    My understanding, which may not be as perfect as Dunt’s who has written a book about it, is that the Europeans won’t allow Britain into the single market unless they accept freedom of movement of people. So hard Brexit may be the only option available.

    And here you’d better believe:

    Europe has already made clear any deal outside the single market must be worse than one within it – or what’s the point of being a member in the first place?

  6. Brexit as I anderstand it was mainly migration and economic sovereignty. Basically legislative autonomy for Brits in Britain.
    Would that be your take Brain or some other ?

  7. Article from The Independent says:

    Theresa May is likely to hang on as Prime Minister for the time being but only because Conservative MPs are terrified of another General Election.

    Seems no-one wants the job for now, because there would be calls for a new election, and everything will probably go badly, so best Theresa may takes the blame.

    The article says Corbyn is unlikely to offer bipartisanship, as he doesn’t want to be associated with a stuff-up.

    It also says may has no domestic agenda.

  8. Hi Brian

    I certainly don’t think USA is the greatest democracy
    (see Leonard Cohen, “Democracy is Coming, to the USA”)

    You wrote:
    I believe the method of drawing electoral boundaries for the House of Representatives, which is by the political party in control of each state, may be under review by the Supreme Court. The current method is scandalous.

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    Every time an instance of skulduggery or potential skulduggery in electoral systems shows up overseas, I thank the Lady I’m an elector in Australia.

  9. The question is, what Countries model is the best ?
    Pew Research has some interesting findings.
    ( Note the timing of the surveys though, attitudes may have changed dramatically )

  10. Heavy frost this morning, possibly -4C or -5C.

    Pipe join on solar hot water panel burst open due to a plug of ice. Fixed.

    But pinhole leaks inside panels too? “Frost tolerant” panels.


  11. Following on from Jumpy’s link i discovered that the 2017 Freedom Report (from Freedom House) judges Australians to have more freedom than Yankees, but less than Canadians.
    The document is an interesting read (disclosure: so far I have only skimmed it), and states that 2016 marked the 11th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.

  12. zoot, I’ve only skimmed it too, but it is interesting. Top gong for freedom goes to Sweden, Norway and Finland, then Canada and The Netherlands, followed by us, NZ and Urugay.

    Towards the end Angela Merkel is criticised for calling for a ban on the full-face veil.

    IMHO we are social beings and if we want to be in the world we need to show our face.

  13. Ambi, unusually warm and drizzly here. Have you still got warranty on those panels?

    In other news, barely two days ago I painted the picture of how the liberal party power base and neocon libertarian ideologues wedging the prime minister and the more pragmatic moderates in the Liberal party and thereby summarised the situation with:
    “Therein lies Malcolms Gordian knot, how is he going to untie this one and make his way in history like Alexander the great did? Has he got it within him, we will see.”

    Well he has risen his sword and may well smash the conundrum. God knows, he has been pulling on loose ends for awhile.

    When I cease to be Prime Minister, I will cease to be a member of Parliament

  14. Democracy would be advanced in Australia if we switched to something like this 3 member electorate system. This system ensures that the winner of the 2 party preference vote always forms government no matter where the electoral boundaries are drawn or how party supporters are spread between electorates. It also means that minor parties and independents get places in parliament.

  15. Hi Ootz

    No, seven year warranty has expired. One of the two panels was replaced five years ago due to frost damage. Now looking at replacing using a set-up with evacuated tubes; or one that has minimal water on the roof inside a well-insulated manifold.

    So far, two models fit the bill.

    Mr Turnbull’s remark had two interpretations:
    1. I’ll cause a by-election
    2. My predecessor should have left Parlt, as did Hawke, Howard, Gillard, Fraser, et al (but not St Gough) after losing PM position

    I want to know: whatever happened to “I have a life after politics”, “Looking forward to the next challenge”, “my family doesn’t want me to spend more time with them”, “it’s for the good of the Party”, “fresh blood”, “generational renewal”, “plenty of talent coming through”, ” heavens, is that the time? I really must get around to marrying my mistress, sorry everyone, I must fly now, cheerio, I’ll send you all postcards from Monaco”
    ???????? etc. etc. etc.

  16. I was browsing the SMH online and spotted a piece about the Non-sniper Mr Abbott, who attended a Liberal Party branch meeting in the electorate of Mr Sukkar [Assistant Treasurer] this week.

    A Liberal Party source who attended Monday night’s meeting said the audience of about 200 was “basically in raptures” at the end of Mr Abbott’s presentation.

    “He is definitely on the war path,” the source said. “I have never seen him speaking so well or looking so good.”

    It would appear that when a chap is on the warpath, he doesn’t deploy a sniper’s rifle. No, he uses tanks, mortars, and Big Bertha artillery, with heavy air support and sea power just off the coast.

    Good on him! We don’t need wimpy little petals in the House of Reps. Nostalgia wins out: it’s Kevvie Rudd all over again.

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