Weekly salon 26/11

1. Scott Morrison perfects the art of hiding in plain sight

That’s according to Paula Matthewson at the New Daily. She says he’s doing fewer TV interviews and holding fewer media conferences than we’ve come to expect from a prime minister, but is bursting out all over on social media, where, she says, it will be almost impossible to enforce ‘truth’ online.

    No matter how welcome and overdue, imposing truth in advertising restrictions on Facebook will do nothing to staunch the flood of misdirections, deflections, mistruths and porkies that can flow through the other direct-to-voter channels.

    Mr Morrison is just one example of a politician hiding in plain sight, who avoids questions on the big stage, and uses social media to strike up unfiltered conversations with the voters in the stalls.

    This is the future of political and campaign communications, but it is already here.

2. Don’t panic!

Katherine Murphy reckons Morrison’s schtick is not panicking.

He understands voters anxiety, but directs it to his political opponents:

    Morrison often tells voters either directly or indirectly he knows they are anxious, and sick of the noise, and the political circus, but he wants them to direct their anxiety to his political opponents, not the government.

    Morrison, in different ways, but with great persistence, says I know you are worried, but you don’t have to worry, because Daddy is here, he won the election, and he’s Not Panicking. That’s the potency of “hello, I’m Scott, and I’m not panicking” – a declaration that in any other context would be either superfluous or stupid.

Murphy thinks the voters will turn on him if the economy goes bad. I’m not so sure.

By the way, I’ve stopped calling him ScoMo, because he likes it.

3. Kelly-Frydenberg love-in dupes viewers

Part of the problem is that senior government figures too often get a free run from the media which should hold them to account, as that link shows. Fran Kelly on Insiders asks Josh Frydenberg a question. More than six hypocrisies and falsehoods were embedded in his answer, but Kelly challenged none of them.

As Michael Pascoe said, there will be a “record number of jobs” for the same reason as there will be a record number of deaths – there are more Australians. Our record on unemployment is very average:

We’ve been champions in chalking up government debt:

    In response to a question about recent tax cuts, Frydenberg schmoozed that “We’ll always be the party of lower taxes.”

Here’s the truth:

Frydenberg burbles about international economic headwinds:

    There are no global headwinds. The world is in a strong upswing in jobs, economic growth, wages, corporate profits and government revenue.

    Here’s an illustration. What do these twenty countries have in common? Germany, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Netherlands, Hungary, Thailand, Taiwan, Israel, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Armenia, Vietnam, Philippines, Kazakhstan, Chile, Nigeria, Colombia and Peru.

    In the last few days, all have released figures on annual growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for the September quarter. The average is a healthy 3.19%. All recorded higher growth for September than for the June quarter. All but three have jobless rates lower than Australia’s.

Economic growth?

    Frydenberg: “We are growing faster, according to the OECD, in 2020 than the United States, than Canada, than Japan, than European countries.”

    This is a blatant, bare-faced, black-hearted lie straight to the camera.

The truth?

    Australia’s latest annual growth number is a puny 1.4%, a fact which Kelly actually read from one of her prepared questions. The United States is now at 2.0% and Canada at 1.6%, both higher than Australia. Japan is 1.3%, marginally lower.

    More than 30 European countries have higher growth than Australia’s. Cyprus, Macedonia, Latvia, Serbia, Romania, Montenegro are more than double at 2.8% or better. Ireland, Hungary, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova are more than triple.

John Menadue says We should stop pretending that the Coalition is a good economic or business manager:

    The Coalition, supported by our corporate media and billionaires like Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer, claims that it is the superior manager. This claim has become part of the public mindset. But the evidence shows that the Coalition is a very poor manager. Its priority is not to resolve problems or manage them well, but to play a political game to win votes. (Emphasis added)

4. Aged care hypocrisy

I’ve said elsewhere that what this government is really good at is pretending to do something when quite consciously and intentionally they are not.

Take 11:47 mins to listen to Government announces more than $500 million in funding for aged care sector on ABC RN Drive.

First you have Scott Morrison laying it on with a trowel, his voice almost breaking with emotion. He has, he tells us, the deep understanding to know how you are feeling about care for your loved ones. “This is hard.” He wants for your family the same as he wants for his. The word “deep” gets a second outing.

Then listen to Ian Henschke, National Seniors Chief Advocate, tell you what the package amounts to. For home care, less the a 10th of the places required. 10,000 places when there are 120,000 on the waiting list. For training, $10 million. Sounds a lot, but there are 360,000 people involved. Do the sums, and it’s an average of just $27.70.

As Henschke says, you don’t balance your budget on the back of broken lives. When a judge says that what we have is “neglect”, “cruel” and “unacceptable” we should be looking at charging people with industrial manslaughter.

5. Now for something completely ridiculous

Shape-shifting reptilian overlords distance themselves from Prince Andrew

In The Post Truth Post:

    Zelos, the earthly spokes-lizard for the Anunnaki, told The Post Truth Post that the prince’s behaviour “did not align with the Babylonian Brotherhood’s core values.”

    “A requirement of our sponsorship of the ruling global elite is that its members engage in acts that generate negative energy and human suffering for us to feed on.

    “Having conclusively established that his contribution to the sum of all human suffering amounts to nothing more than allegedly failing to tip a waiter at a Pizza Express in Woking, it is with regret that we will no longer be able to sponsor the mammal-form you call Prince Andrew.”

    Zelos was keen to reassure the sheeple of Britain that the inactions of the Duke of York were his and his alone, and did not diminish the royal family’s senior position within the ranks of the Red Dresses.

Except that he did do harm, and it’s not funny.

Any way Charles is furious and some Brits are saying, Let’s get off our knees and abolish the monarchy:

    Andrew wasn’t just a bad apple: he comes from a royal orchard of them. It’s time Britain matured as a republic

6. Vale Clive and Sam

One of Australia’s most acclaimed cultural exports, Clive James, has died in England aged 80.

    The ‘Kid from Kogarah’, a prolific wordsmith with an acerbic intellect, colossal vocabulary and passion for poetry, always retained a fondness for his Australian heritage, despite five decades of British residency.

Closer to home Vale Sam Watson Snr:

    Queensland and Australia have lost a fearless, tireless fighter for the rights of indigenous Australians.

    Sam Watson Snr was a proud member of the Munnenjarl and Biri Gubba Juru tribal nations, with blood ties to the Yuggera, Kalkadoon and Noonuccal peoples.

    A lifelong activist, community leader, author, academic and filmmaker, Sam was a passionate advocate for his people.

    Across more than half a century, he made an indelible contribution to the advancement of the rights of Indigenous Australians.

101 thoughts on “Weekly salon 26/11”

  1. Yeah, Clive James, I enjoyed all of the stuff I saw of him.
    That cheeky bugger essence and a way to convey dry humour to tribulations and trivialise conquest in a single sentence.
    And the next sentence convey defeat as harrowing and victory sweet.

    Special Bloke was Clive.

  2. I’ve been perusing the some right wing blogs too and every one has a tributary thread to Clive James.

    Whatever Clive had that bridged that divide is worth identifying and replicating I recon.

  3. Whatever Clive had that bridged that divide is worth identifying …

    I think that divide is of your own making. To my knowledge James never expressed any political leanings (just an unfortunate denial of climate change) and was known mainly for his wit and talents as a writer, to which you refer. I formed the impression he leaned ever so slightly to the right, but it never got in the way of his talent. His fame was based largely on his excellence as a TV critic.
    Whatever Clive had that bridged the divide between left and right he shared with Pavarotti, Miles Davis, TS Eliot, WB Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Aretha Franklin and literally thousands of others who were celebrated artists admired by people of all political persuasions.

  4. I stand in awe of Mr James’s wit, learning and literary output.

    His massive book “Cultural Amnesia” could sustain a reader for years Christopher Hitchens had a similar breadth and polished prose.

    And both wickedly funny.

  5. Mr A
    He was a genuine thinker with highly advanced elocution.
    A true, and probably Australias last, fair dinkum intellectual.

    He most certainly delved heavily into the mass body politic and individual politic yet never following a tribe that belittled the another tribe.

    I saw him as a neutral inquisitive observer and honest commentator.

    That’d be the foremost quality I can see to bridge the media compounded gap between left and right.

  6. Phillip Adams had a segment Remembering Clive James.

    Adams says James was conservative, like Barry Humphries and Bruce Beresford, and admits as much in the interview when he talks about John Howard.

    Adams said he had done a couple of interviews with James, but oddly could not remember a thing about them. Then played the interview from 2006, which sparkled with what you would think was memorable commentary. James’ account of his interview with Peter Sellers was priceless.

    There was a brilliant interview with Kerry O’Brien tonight on the ABC – The Kid from Kogarah. I can’t find it on free-to-air.

    Will future generations be reading TS Eliot?


    Clive James?

    How can we know? Possibly his translation of Dante, which seems to have been creative. Possibly his autobiography as a record of our times.

    I really don’t have an opinion. Certainly the words flowed, and James himself said his verbal production required no effort. He just turned on the tap, as it were.

    With Adams’ probing he said, in effect, he liked to keep himself busy because he had to distract from the underlying melancholy which would otherwise take over. That’s sad.

  7. Brian:

    Morrison, in different ways, but with great persistence, says I know you are worried, but you don’t have to worry, because Daddy is here, he won the election, and he’s Not Panicking. That’s the potency of “hello, I’m Scott, and I’m not panicking” – a declaration that in any other context would be either superfluous or stupid.

    When Morrison was elected I described him as a shallow smart-arse. His behaviour since then reinforces my perception. Right now we need a thoughtful leader like Shorten who has a track record of making things that need to happen happen.
    Advertising man Morrison may have done a brilliant job at winning an election but he shows no signs of being a brilliant leader.

  8. As a young boy Clive James lost his father, when a plane crashed, flying back from WW2 service. Hard to imagine the shock:”War’s over, Dad’s coming home soon.”

    Then that.

    Tough life for a single war widow in 1940s Sydney.

    But you’re right Brian, melancholy is a bastard.

  9. I hope ABC TV will show again a two part BBC doco circa 2014 about Germsine Greer, Robert Hughes, Clive James and …..

    It was very well done.
    Aussie kids go over ter London, make good, and never forget Australia.

  10. Yes
    And Howard Jacobson as narrator is as good as the fab four. Apologies to Barry H for my failure to recall him.

  11. With Morrison and this government, I can’t believe how bad it is. I didn’t start on Angus Taylor, because words are simply inadequate. What did we do to be inflicted with this bunch of goons?

  12. What did we do to be inflicted with this bunch of goons?

    An election where the alternative was Shorten and his goons perhaps?

  13. Jumpy: An election where campaign expenditure was capped so that the likes of Palmer couldn’t buy an election?
    Something to stop the Murdoch empire from buying an election with services in kind?
    Truth in reporting laws?
    A failure of the Labor party to understand how easy it is to spook us oldies by changing the tax system?

  14. John
    So when the left win it’s a recognition of how smart the voters are.
    When the right win they were duped gullible fools.

    Got it, check, roger, understood.

  15. How quaint, believing that the ALP (which is to the right of Malcolm Fraser and Bob Menzies these days) is “the left”.
    I’d be pleased if either one of our duopoly moved back to the centre.

  16. Please enlighten the group with your idea of a current centrist politician zoot.

    Just a name or two.

  17. Jumpy:

    Please enlighten the group with your idea of a current centrist politician zoot.
    Just a name or two.

    Richard DiNatali.

  18. I agree with John, and in the USA I would add Elizabeth Warren.
    That’s your two names. Face it Jumpy, your team has won. The Overton window has moved so far to the right it’s in danger of falling off.

  19. Zoot, my memory, which can be wrong, tells me that jumpy reckoned he’d never voted for the mob who have presently won.

    Given that he routinely mouths off about and dumps on Labor politicians, we are left with probably two main possibilities. The first is that he either isn’t on the roll or casts an invalid vote.

    The second is that he votes for one of the minor parties (Katter, ON, Palmer etc) or an independent. I’m betting, though, that if he does that he preferences Labor below the LNP.

    This would allow him to say that he didn’t vote for the member for Manila when in effect he did.

    I don’t care, really, but the default dumping on Labor is predictable and boring.

  20. It’s hot here, I keep having to work, and I’m stuck on a post about Westpac. I thought I could do it quickly, but it’s like quicksand. Problem is there is masses of commentary, but it’s mostly in ignorance of facts, wrong or hopelessly narrow in focus.

    Most of the commentary doesn’t deal with why Westpac can’t fix computer programs that don’t do what they are supposed to do.

  21. I don’t care, really, but the default dumping on Labor is predictable and boring.

    I didn’t call ALP right wingers Brian, that’d be zoot and JD. They probably also think there are right winger in the greens that need purging ffs.
    The truth is that creeping socialism throughout our institutions has pushed Australia to the left. Just not fast enough for them because, basically, a Marxist at heart prefers revolution over incremental improvements.

    About your memory, I said I’ve never voted Liberal party, and, I have voted ALP. It’s not tribal with me, I allow myself to weigh each candidate on policy’s, track record and ability.
    Their leader is a 3rd or 4th order issue.

    You on the other hand have joined a tribe.
    I’m sure if that bumbling idiot James Bidgood ran for ALP again in your electorate you’d be at a booth with his red shirt on handing out pieces of dead tree.

    I do however allow myself to be tribal with sport, to a certain degree, because it doesn’t really matter.

  22. I didn’t call ALP right wingers Brian

    Of course you didn’t. You implied the ALP are left wingers when you wrote in answer to JD

    So when the left win it’s a recognition of how smart the voters are.
    When the right win they were duped gullible fools.

    John’s comment was about Australia where the only two “winners” are the ALP or the Coalition leading us as competent English speakers to interpret your term “the left” to mean the ALP.
    Now you claim we were wrong. Who were you referring to?

  23. I used to support the country party when I was in primary school. That was when I thought that they were Australia’s only true socialist party, at least where small farmers welfare and protecting Australian business and jobs was an issue. Then I grew up or was it that the Country party morphed into a National party with leaders like Joh not helping their reputation.

  24. Jumpy, I’ve joined a party, not a tribe.

    For me the policy package is more important than the people, though people do matter, especially leader and local member.

    Beneath all that lies a set of values. And then we have to deal with what we’ve got here and now and what it may become in the flow of time.

    At present there is very little that is at all acceptable about the Liberals, the Nationals, or as we have in Qld, the LNP.

  25. John, it’s an interesting link from Don Watson, but he goes out of his way to be critical of Labor, I think because it’s the fashion with some of the left-leaning intelligentsia. See also Quiggin.

    So he says Labor:

    having lost the election, they renounce the policies on which they ran and the beliefs underlying them.

    Albanese and co have gone out of their way to say the beliefs and values remain the same, indeed may be emphasised more, but actual policies must be up for a rethink. That does not mean that any specific former policies will be rejected, but you can bet that Labor will not have 250 concrete costed policies next time to put before the people.

  26. You on the other hand have joined a tribe.

    Quoth the correspondent whose automatic response to the mere words Wayne Swan or Julia Gillard is splenetic; who adores Donald J Trump from afar, telling us he despises #45 while repeating the latest memes du jour in his favour from the bowels of the alt.right cesspit.
    Yes Jumpy, it’s blindingly obvious you’re not tribal.

  27. Don Watson is a wonderful writer on Gippsland and Mirboo North and Poowong, which he knows well. His speeches for Mr Keating were very good.

    In my view he overemphasises the importance of writers and speechwriters in national life. Perhaps that’s understandable.

    His partner Chloe Hooper has published a fascinating book “The Arsonist” about the Churchill/Jeeralang fires on Black Saturday and the arsonist convicted of starting them.

    Partly she muses on the unpredictable nature of the crime of arson. (In some ways analogous to single-perpetrator acts of terrorism : how may we spot any warning signs so as to nip criminality in the bud before murders are committed?)

    A wicked problem for firefighters, police and the general public.

  28. On Parliamentary representation of segments of a national population, just saw figures claiming that in the 120 member NZ Parlt, Maori have 27 seats, or 23%.

    Maori make up 16% of the population.

    They have higher unemployment (double the national rate) and in prison populations they “punch above their weight” – an unfortunate phrase, indeed.

  29. I always seem to be a couple hours short of finishing the Westpac post. Probably should have let it go through to the keeper.

    I’m in the home straight but have to let it go until tonight.

  30. Better quieter than silent.

    The word used in the video I linked to is quiet (not quieter) and it’s about people being silenced by the Australian government, something I thought might concern even you.

  31. Ha Zoot, that review sums up the sermons from most of the franchisees of Free™️ -dom, -market, and -lunches. They own the rights to Free™️ and everything else is fake Free. They inhabit an alternative universe where the dialectic is between Working Hard, a currency or privilege they wallow in, where asFailure is abjective and usually attributed to everything else also know as the other. An ideology based on a mixture of 100ky BC Us and Them, 19C darwinian competition eg Survival of the Fittest, 20C commercialised and idolized individualism and 21C fascistic hubris delivered by digital carpet bombing via Murdoch, IPA, shockjocks et al.

    On a related matter, had a most entertaining morning yesterday with my battery brushcutter while on my headphones listening to ABC RN Science Friction with a fascinating systematic look at the value of kindness and collaboration. (30min podcast)

    It turns out when you breed chickens by selecting the best layers in a cage you end up with cages full of sociopathic hens spending more time bullying each other rather than laying eggs. If you breed chickens from well laying cages, the you will get cages full of well laying and happy chickens. Best part was that there is even a mathematical equation that proves that kindness and care for each other or the social is good for the evolution of the individual. The guy who came up with it hung around with Nobel prize winners. A UN conspiring scientist obviously, who was only in it for the money!

    Perhaps our resident franchisee of Free™️ is nothing but a lonesome rooster desperate for some kindness, crowing his heart out. A kind of reverse virtue signaling attempt to bond with his selfish tribe and battle the evil others, which hold values that consider fellow people and the natural world as part of the foundation of their personal existence.

  32. Watch out, Ootz, decades ago we used to mock softies like you by yelling, “Chicken!!”


  33. Oh look, here’s another review of “No Safe Spaces” which concludes

    This isn’t an argument for free speech, it’s just paranoid whining, complete with a roundtable of comics sympathetically agreeing how sad and scary this all is, plus images of the Statue of Liberty with tape over its mouth.

  34. At zoot’s suggestion…. a few comments about reporting.

    Brian told of mandatory reporting by teachers and doctors of suspected child abuse. Then the cops nay investigate.

    Many citizens report suspected burglaries, or assaults. Authorities can gain valuable time when someone reports a fire that’s just started, or a serious road crash.

    Long ago someone walked down the railway line near Glenrowan to try to stop a train loaded with police, after the Kelly murderers Gang sabotaged the rails…. unfair? busybody do-gooder? social justice warrior? snitch? reviled cop-lover?

    Of course some reports by citizens can be based on misunderstandings or misinterpretation. Some may be malicious. Detectives, police, fire crews are likely expert in sorting out fact from fancy.

    On suspicious transactions, Mr J: are you saying that it’s OK for Customs to search crims taking large wads of cash out of the country, but not OK for banks to be required to report suspect transactions? Do you mean rhat money laundering and hiding proceeds of crime overseas are fine as long as they’re done through a bank? Really?

    Some persons are banned from the Melbourne Casino by the Victorian Police. Casinos can be used to “clean” drug money. You know that, don’t you Mr J?

    Some persons are “warned off” race courses. Why would that be, Mr J?

    Would it be similar to convicted paedophiles being banned from hanging around outside schools?

    1. Some former company directors get banned from holding directorships. Why, oh why?

    2. Footy fans who assault players or umpires or other spectators can be banned from footy grounds. Completely unfair, eh??

    I reckon 1 and 2 could be justified on a “precautionary principle”, or the old idea of letting the punishment fit the crime.


  35. Since Mr Jumpy has raised Ingsoc (“1984” alert) may I mention a story, which I think Mr Christopher Hitchens told?

    Mr Orwell served as a colonial officer in pre-WW2 Burma, and later wrote Burmese Days.

    Some Burmese students said George Orwell had published three books about Burma.

    They were Burmese Days,
    Animal Farm

    And tragic.

  36. It’s probably understandable given that he wrote the book just after the war, when government bureaucracy ruled, but I find it intriguing that Eric’s vision of dystopia has been realised largely through private enterprise rather than government.

  37. Outer Party members were required to have a telescreen in their homes. Proles weren’t; and they couldn’t afford one.

    Nearly everyone has a smart phone now, recording where they go, which websites and shops and places they visit…. listening in to their emails, their conversations?

    All enabled by private corporations. Paid for by proles and everyone else too.

  38. Nearly everyone has a smart phone now, recording where they go, which websites and shops and places they visit…. listening in to their emails, their conversations?

    Voluntarily, that’s the difference.
    There are only private corporations that offer masked IPNs, no government would.

  39. Voluntarily, that’s the difference.

    Voluntarily? You can’t volunteer for something you’re not aware of and I don’t remember any provider being up front about their invasion of our privacy.
    Once we found out we invested in ad blockers, tracker blockers, VPNs etc etc

  40. Terms of service, click yes to accept.
    That’s opt in.
    Your socialist wet dreams are compulsory.

    As I keep saying, Capitalism is like voluntarily mutual sex, socialism is rape.

    Do keep typing without thinking though.

  41. Mr Jumpy

    Has any Australian Government, State or Federal, ever done anything you approved of (at the time) or which you now approve of with hindsight?

    Curious of Victoria

  42. Ms Dillon, the late Mr Hawke, the late Mr Landeryou.

    Lord Acton, “All power tends to corrupt…..


  43. Mr A,

    Mr Jumpy

    Has any Australian Government, State or Federal, ever done anything you approved of (at the time) or which you now approve of with hindsight?

    Well yes, if one considers their actual function.
    The Feds should concentrate on the National Highway, border security ( immigration, quarantine), diplomats and the ADF.
    Probably a pass mark that could definitely be improved by not fiddle arsing around with State responsibilities for votes.
    The Federal Government could be slashed by 80% and improve the lives of everyone in Australia IMHO.

  44. ta, Mr J

    In a federation, central vs provincial roles can cause difficulty.

    Have you observed a nation that does better at this, than Australia?

  45. Mr A

    Have you observed a nation that does better at this, than Australia?

    I’m not highly educated about my Country yet and even less about others.
    I do think the SCOTUS delineate better than us but it’s far from perfect.
    It helps them having a relatively simple Bill of Rights in there Constitution.

    I was only just this morning wondering about if Australia became a Republic, who would be tasked with creating a new Constitution.

    I was filled with dread at the alternatives.

  46. Sanna Marin, formerly the Transport Minister, will soon be the Social Democrat PM of Iceland. She is 34.

    She’ll be tbeir third female leader.
    Youngest PM in the world.

    The Social Democrats are the largest party in a five-party governing coalition.

  47. As if Informer 3838 wasn’t enough entertainment for the year, “The Guardian” has a most diverting story about the environment reporter for “The Australian” a Mr Graham Lloyd…..

    and a Peruvian shaman, hallucinogens, dwindling investments.

    And the Judge said, “What’s a shaman?”


  48. Ambi: I realize both Iceland and Finland are in the far north but:
    Finland’s new 34-year-old prime minister to be youngest in the world, backed by all-female leaders.
    Sanna Marin will become Finnish prime minister after the Social Democrats voted her into the party’s leadership
    The majority of party leaders in Finland are now women.
    See what happens when you spend a lot of money on education. No wonder conservative males want to scrimp on education.

  49. Ambi: The Finns are not even Vikings.
    Then again given how far behind we found the Vic educations system was behind the Groote Eylandt system I am not surprised by your blunder.

  50. Sir John of Groote.

    It’s the Vic schools.
    And summat in water.
    And general iggerance.
    And inattention to detail.
    And Victorians addicted to Scandi Noir and murder mysteries set in Reykjavik.
    And iggerance.
    Not to mention poor education.

    Must hurry back to get the dray out of the ditch. Not sure how I did that. Prone to fall asleep at reins. Dreaming of Vikings.

  51. “Excuses are like a**eholes. They’re very useful. And everyone’s got one.”

    Ambi of Victoria

  52. OK, I’ve now read the article and I heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a model that Australian capitalism could follow. (But with our current flock of “leaders” I’m not holding my breath)

  53. Witness 3838 informed the Royal Commissioner that her physical and mental health were so poor that she couldn’t give evidence.

    Last night she appeared in an ABC TV interview on “7.30”.

    The Royal Commissioner has asked for an explanation.

    Informer 3838 is required to give evidence (by phone) next month, but Commission staff are sceptical that she will do so. Does she consider herself “above the law”??

    Meanwhile former Police Chief Commissioner Overland has been dismissed as CEO of Whittlesea Council – on the outer north of Lord Melbourne’s City,
    The Queen’s State,
    Commonwealth of Australia,
    Southern Hemisphere,
    et cetera

  54. Nice link on Finland Zoot. I really liked:

    There’s a big lesson here: When capitalists perceive government as a logistical ally rather than an ideological foe and when all citizens have a stake in high-quality public institutions, it’s amazing how well government can get things done.

    Ultimately, when we mislabel what goes on in Nordic nations as socialism, we blind ourselves to what the Nordic region really is: a laboratory where capitalists invest in long-term stability and human flourishing while maintaining healthy profits.

    Capitalists in the United States have taken a different path. They’ve slashed taxes, weakened government, crushed unions and privatized essential services in the pursuit of excess profits. All of this leaves workers painfully vulnerable to capitalism’s dynamic disruptions. Even well-positioned Americans now struggle under debilitating pressures, and a majority inhabit a treacherous Wild West where poverty, homelessness, medical bankruptcy, addiction and incarceration can be just a bit of bad luck away. Americans are told that this is freedom and that it is the most heroic way to live. It’s the same message Finns were fed a century ago.

    Sweden has run a very sound economy for a long time. Someone said to me that this started early because Sweden invested in a healthy, educated population and imposed the taxes needed to make this happen.
    The tragedy is that recent Australian governments are more focused on skimping on everything so that they can miminize the taxes on the rich. Like your friend Jumpy they just don’t understand.

  55. In more interest NEWS,

    What a day tomorrow will be.
    A UK election and the 1st Test between Australia and New Zealand.
    UN stuff.
    HUGE Political consequences !!

    Will ScoMo’s Boy triumph over Mrs Gayford’s Gals ?
    Will Commie Corbyn be victorious over Brexit Boris ?
    Will any of these UN Global Warming meeting make a difference, at all, in any way, even a bit ?

    Only time will tell……

  56. John D this resonated most for me

    Capitalism works better if employees get paid decent wages and are supported by high-quality, democratically accountable public services that enable everyone to live healthy, dignified lives and to enjoy real equality of opportunity for themselves and their children.

    I think it contains echoes of Menzies “forgotten people” speech.

  57. A non sequitur is a conversational literary device, often used for comedic purposes. It is something said that, because of its apparent lack of meaning relative to what preceded it, seems absurd to the point of being humorous or confusing. This use of the term is distinct from the non sequitur in logic, where it is a fallacy.

    – Wikipedia

  58. Perhaps Bob Menzies actually had grasped a few principles of good governance and applied them to the welfare of farmers, students, small business people, factory workers, immigrants from Europe, and the society generally?

    Came from a small country town, didn’t he?
    Had some opportunities in Melbourne and made a life.

    His “Forgotten People” speech puts him more to the centre than some Liberal PMs since, I think, zoot. I reckon you’re onto something here.

    [In our day, Mr Barnaby Joyce has been writing about corrugated iron and dusty farms…. by no stretch of the imagination is he a new Bob Menzies, however.]

    BTW, I think a young firebrand called Guido Baracchi was a contemporary of Menzies at the (then tiny) University of Melbourne…. Guido took the path of revolutionary socialism.

    Of the two men, who changed the nation for the better?

  59. Sweden has run a very sound economy for a long time. Someone said to me that this started early because Sweden invested in a healthy, educated population and imposed the taxes needed to make this happen.

    I’ll use my “ implied freedom of speech “ to say SFU zoot you idiot.

  60. You either practice freedom of speech and allow others to practice it or you don’t, nothing is “implied”.
    I am unfamiliar with the term “SFU”. Did you mean STFU?

  61. Me first?
    Why thank you sir.

    Guido wanted a socialist revolution; he and his comrades failed to persuade sufficient Australians, that a rebellion of that type should be attempted. Vladimir Lenin despaired of Australia, where workers had been “hoodwinked” into forming trade unions which sought better working conditions and wages, and Parliamentary representation (instead of “going for broke” trying to seize power and establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat). Guido failed.

    Bob was a bright lawyer who went along the Parliamentary road, was elected repeatedly, spoke and debated in public, rose in conservative ranks in Canberra; later remade the moderate right wing forces into a new party. Named it “Liberal”, avoiding the Conservative label, as a clear message of so-called “middle of the road” purposes and policies.

    Of course PM Bob wasn’t perfect.
    But as a representative of a majority of voters, however slim that majority was occasionally, I would say he was a success.

    Bob wasn’t a leader who depended on an outrageous gerrymander [c.f. Joh].

    He had strong support from the Agrarian Socialists Country Party. He benefitted from the overwrought “leadership” of Bert Evatt and the Labor Split brought on by Bert in the Cold War fury of Commo/anti-Commo guerilla warfare in the trade unions. (Thank you very much, Heirs of Guido!!) The DLP directed its preferences the only way their beliefs would allow, away from the ALP.

    Your turn, Mr J.

    Thanks for opening up this topic again, zoot.

  62. Jumpy:

    I understand a 20% corporate tax rate, 24% VAT and top fed marginal rate of 31.25%.

    What you don’t understand is that the result is a much better country for people and business than the land of tax cuts for the rich and scrimping, scrimping, scrimping on services.

  63. Ambi: Menzies was leader in the era where the west felt threatened by communism. An era where some Aus trade unions were run by communists and conservatives were always checking there wasn’t a “red under the bed” who was going to creep out one night and kill them.
    It was also an era where our leaders had all lived through at least one world war and a major world depression.
    The likes of Menzies understood that Communism had to be fought by improving the lot of the working class and avoiding economic crisis. As a result, the unions were tolerated, free trade avoided like the plague because that generation understood what happens when it goes feral and bursaries and scholarships established so that the likes of myself and wife were able to finish school and graduate from university.
    All his successors seem to “understand” is that getting a budget surplus can be used to attack Labor for doing the right thing to deal with the 2007 GFC.

  64. I’ve saved a link about what Ken Henry thinks on the current situation.

    He thinks the current tax system is simply unsustainable, and that living standards will fall big time unless we change it.

    Our current account surplus is not to be celebrated, because it means that foreign capital is not investing in Australia. I guess there are many reasons we are being given a swerve at present. Having people in power that make arbitrary decisions doesn’t help.

  65. Having people in power that make arbitrary decisions doesn’t help.

    Even less help when they are intellectual pygmies who are beholden only to the lobbyists. I miss representative democracy.

  66. Yes John

    Many youngsters benefitted through those Commonwealth Scholarships for Uni courses. Menzies should get credit for funding an expansion of tertiary education.

    The influence and power of Communist officials in unions is complicated. Certainly in the 1950s most would have held primary allegiance to the USSR and later some to China. (Not that such loyalties would have had much influence on industrial relations, workers vs employers…)

    zoot: representative democracy can be very good…. so how doe we try to restore it? How reduce the power of lobbyists and advertising??

  67. Saw a nice assessment of George Orwell recently. Something like this:

    to write like Orwell you would need to have the life he had…. but that is impossible these days because of the books he wrote.

    There can’t be too many higher accolades for an obscure, poor, chain smoking English scribbler.

    “1984” and “Animal Farm” can be life changing books. Grip you by the brains and never let go.

    Well done, Eric Blair.

  68. Mr A
    My favourite Orwell book was The Road to Wigan Pier, probably because it was not a cryptic fiction.


    Your turn, Mr J.

    Nup, it’s still your turn to answer your own question.
    You haven’t yet.

    I’ll remind you in case you forgot.
    It was “ Of the two men, who changed the nation for the better? “

    There really are only 4 options.
    1. Baracchi was better.
    2. Menzies was better.
    3. Both were equal.
    4. I don’t know.

    I’m a 4er on this.

  69. Mr A

    ..representative democracy can be very good…. so how doe we try to restore it?

    Perhaps the outvoted could accept the result and make the best of it.

    The left just don’t accept democratic outcomes unless they prevail.

  70. Perhaps the outvoted could accept the result and make the best of it.

    That’s not an answer to Ambi’s question.
    Unless you’re saying, for example, the fossil fuel lobby outvoted the majority of Australians who believe immediate action should be taken on climate change, in which case I must ask where this vote was taken?

  71. My answer to Ambi’s question is “I really don’t know”.
    I listened to Eva Cox chatting on Late Night Live and I suspect her thoughts might point the way, but I despair of it ever happening. As a race we are just too bloody stupid.

  72. IMO Menzies changed the nation for the better more than did Guido Baracchi. The projects Menzies worked on, many brought to a successful result in his own terms, helped advance the nation.

    As mentioned earlier, Guido’s hope to see and assist a socialist revolution didn’t bear fruit, mainly, I think, because very few of his fellow citizens wished for such an outcome. Blinded as they were by everyday concerns that we would recognise today.

    As a footnote, PM Menzies tried to ban the Communist Party, then thwarted by the High Court he put the question to a referendum which he lost. (I don’t know if Guido was still politically active in the early 1950s).

    BTW Mr Jumpy, I’m surprised you express neutrality on the Menzies/Baracchi question. ?You do know that Guido was a Commo, Si? Am I wrong to believe you are staunchly anti-Commo?

    I agree that “The Road to Wigan Pier” is good.

    Suggest you may find “Down and Out in Paris and London” valuable. If you want chunks of provocative material, Orwell’s “Collected Essays” are very good; less dreary than “1984”, though perhaps not as amusing as “Animal Farm”.

    An admirer of Orwell in recent years was Christopher Hitchens, who covered a similarly wide range of topics, but sometimes wrote in a more complicated style than George.

  73. For some odd reason the US has found that direct voters support propositions that call for either more government spending on specific items and specific tax reductions. The result is that a number of states are short of cash and have at times reduced the number of days per week kids are taught because so far no proposition has been passed demanding 5 days of schooling per week.. The only thing they can’t do is postpone the spending that has been voted in.

  74. Mr A

    IMO Menzies changed the nation for the better more than did Guido Baracchi.

    There we go, all sorted.
    Zoot and I go 4 and you go 2.

    Could you please ask zoot how he reconciles being an admitted racist supporter of democracy and a belief that humans ( including himself) are too stupid to govern Earth at the same time ?

  75. JD

    The result is that a number of states are short of cash and have at times reduced the number of days per week kids are taught because so far no proposition has been passed demanding 5 days of schooling per week..

    State in the US can levy as much tax as they want regardless of any Federal taxs.
    What specific State would best exemplify your broad assertion so we can look at the details ?

  76. Could you please ask zoot how he reconciles being an admitted racist supporter of democracy and a belief that humans ( including himself) are too stupid to govern Earth at the same time ?

    In the words of Wolfgang Pauli, “Not even wrong”.

  77. While I’m here, I can highly recommend an ABC podcast “Russia if You’re Listening”. I started with series 3, and now I’ve gone back to the previous two series. It’s great, if a little repetitive.

  78. Ming certainly changed the country.

    That he did.
    I think he didn’t do nearly enough to modernise Australia and some of his actions were downright regressive, but overall he was an order of magnitude better than the current Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison shit show.

  79. That Aust Dict of Biography piece is colourful indeed.
    It seems that, contrary to my faulty recollection, Guido and Bob may not have been contemporaries at the University of Melbourne.

    But they make a strong contrast.
    And I appreciate the irony of Guido’s private wealth allowing him the political freedom to pursue his Marxism.

    The question inviting a comparison was based on the contrast of their approaches to the political future of the nation.

    I see that Guido died in December 1975, the ADB claiming he campaigned for Labor in that Annus horribilis

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