Home > Oz Politics > In the name of God, go!

In the name of God, go!

December 24th, 2010

If I could have one big present for Xmas, it would be to wake up and discover that Keneally and Bligh had both proffered their resignations, and devoted their lives to undoing some of the damage they have done to the Labor movement.

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  1. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 15:09 | #1

    Certainly, if there were to be a return to early-mid 2008 prices in a hurry there’d be some dislocation, but “civil collapse?”

    I think you need to recalibrate Fran, 2008 prices are just the start. The end of Cheap oil, unless replaced by an alternative energy source risks literally leaving us stranded. The risk is not enough cheap energy to sustain society, and not enough cheap energy to build different economy.

    The picture sounds fun when you think about the finance system collapsing, and bankers looking foolish again, but the shock will just keep rolling and like the GFC (but on steroids) will fall heaviest on us plebs. It gets super scary when considering the rise in food prices, and mass farming now effectively turns oil into food.

    Imagine food prices inflating at 10% p.a. while the economy grinds into a mega recession. How many years of this before groceries get beyond the reach of unemployed families?

    Lets try some stimulus: families in shock buy can food which further inflates the price. Lets try carbon abatement: now out of reach as the economy grinds down and groceries cost twice as much.

    Imgaine everything depending on oil getting more expensive (including primary resources to expand renewables and nuclear power) while the system of employment and livelihood shudders.

    We try dropping the tax on fuel, which works for a little while, but tax revenues suffer and infrastructure investment halts. Eventually as oil supply slides down the back of a bell curve, by propping up our oil driven economy, tax free fuel costs is as expensive and taxed oil only a few years before, then more.

    What next?

  2. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 15:17 | #2

    Not based on data? Come on Fran, its a projection based on data, and based on fundamental principle of production scale, and maturity of a technology not impeded by material scarcity.

    I’ve read similar quality of arguments from denialsts.

  3. Alice
    December 27th, 2010 at 16:43 | #3

    er shouldnt Fran be in the sandpit? Lengthy off topic discourses bound to end up..you know where ..with more spin from brave new world?

  4. Fran Barlow
    December 27th, 2010 at 17:30 | #4

    @jakerman

    The end of cheap oil, unless replaced by an alternative energy source risks literally {figuratively} leaving us stranded. {personal gripe: I dislike the use of literally as an emphatic}

    Yes and no. What it might do is force more rational use of oil. We might produce less protein from ruminants, for example, which would be a good thing. We might decide that having aircraft in the air and a two-ocean navy and occupying countries everywhere was much too expensive. Oh deary me. Perhaps those countries like Nigeria that produce so much of their power from diesel generators would need to think about other means.

    Imagine food prices inflating at 10% p.a. while the economy grinds into a mega recession. How many years of this before groceries get beyond the reach of unemployed families?

    Unclear but I’m betting that discretionary purchases go first. Since a lot of oil is needed for those, we’d be on a much trimmed lifestyle. Public transport in: private transport pooled and not so much.

    Imagine everything depending on oil getting more expensive (including primary resources to expand renewables and nuclear power) while the system of employment and livelihood shudders.

    Pursuant to PrQ’s wishes, I’m going to avoid commenting on that other technology except to say that renewables would indeed be in some trouble. Per kWh of output, they are very resource- and thus fuel- intensive.

    Lets try some stimulus: families in shock buy canned food which further inflates the price. Lets try carbon abatement: now out of reach as the economy grinds down and groceries cost twice as much.

    Not really. If we retire our ruminant meat and ease back on the dairy cattle there’s ample land and water to grow vegetable proteins (such as beans, rice, wheat etc). There’s carbon abatement right there. And fairly obviously, if petroleum is being burned at a fraction of the current rate and overall economic activity is down across the globe, that too is carbon abatement. All those packaged consumer lovelies are more oil intensive per dollar than even meat. Every polymer is an petrochemical derivative. That includes the packaging. They all have to be shipped.

    We try dropping the tax on fuel, which works for a little while, but tax revenues suffer and infrastructure investment halts.

    I’d be against that, unless we replaced it with a suitable road usage charge. I find it bizarre though that you think that the roll out of PV can foreclose dislocation of this magnitude. There’s just not that much energy on rooftops to be had, except at costs many times the cost of the oil you’re saving. Don’t forget that each of those panels has its own embedded oil cost.

    Not based on data? Come on Fran, its a projection based on data,

    Based on past data not data that is demonstrably still pertinent and thus predictive.

    and based on fundamental principles of production scale, and maturity of a technology not impeded by material scarcity.

    The latter is something it has always had, so unless you can show that it can persistently acquire and deploy more of the non-scarce commodity per M2 or that a ramp up from current to future plants will lower costs at the same rate as before, you are just doing economic jiggery pokery.

    I’ve read similar quality of arguments from denialists.

    Making that assertion would require a lengthy and ultimately pointless side argument. Come on Jakerman, that’s well below the standards you set over at Deltoid. If you can justify your claim that the learning curves in Nemet ought to be relied upon as a guide to future costs in PV, then adduce some specific reasons for doing so. In discussions over AGW and Charney sensitivity we actually have experimental models and records from the Miocene to work with. If you want to make this claim, you need something equivalent rather than mere handwaving.

  5. Chris O’Neill
    December 27th, 2010 at 17:39 | #5

    @BilB

    I think that you are using the Nemet study to suggest that solar panels will take a long time to mature.
    That is not how I read it,

    In that case you must have gone blind when you came to page 9: “Year at which price of PV equals that of competing technology”.

    But I think that it should be noted that the basis of his figures

    which came from 2003

    is the average US retail domestic electricity price of 10cents. Well this figure is not so average. The fact is that on third of the US population pays 15cents or higher for electricity

    I see what your strategy is. When Nemet says something you like, you repeat it verbatim. When he says something you don’t like, you either ignore it or argue that it’s wrong. You’re just a cherry-picker with a barrow to push.

  6. Chris O’Neill
    December 27th, 2010 at 18:03 | #6

    @jakerman

    And we ought to be aware of the likelihood of competing power generation rising in costs faster than projected as peak oil bites harder.

    The vast majority of electricity generation does not come from oil energy.

  7. Chris O’Neill
    December 27th, 2010 at 18:24 | #7

    @jakerman

    And the storage capacity requirements of PV match well with the essential transition to electric vehicles. Batteries for EV can buffer the demand and supply from PV and other intermittent renewables.

    EV storage will only match well with the requirements of PV if the EVs can be fed with electricity at the place where they sit when the Sun is shining. There’s no great problem with setting that up but it’s not going to be worth doing until solar is the main source of electricity during the day. As we all know, this isn’t going to happen for a long time.

  8. Alice
    December 27th, 2010 at 19:23 | #8

    @Chris O’Neill
    Will you lot go to the andpit (Fran, Jackerman and Chris Oneill).

    You are boring the rest of us to tears and this is so far off the topic of the thread….
    Thats why the Prof gave you the sandpit to play in.

  9. Alice
    December 27th, 2010 at 19:24 | #9

    thats sandpit – capital S.

  10. BilB
    December 27th, 2010 at 19:32 | #10

    The reason why I highlighted that part of Nemet’s presentation is simply because here he actually admits that “if you take innovation into account then that is a whole other ball”, but then proceeds to talk about reality from his very limited perspective. That is just not the way the world works. PV can reach parity tomorrow if manufacturers choose to sell their product at a price to achieve that. Which would make Nemet’s statistical assessment the total nonsense that it really is. This is in fact a glaring but real example of what climate scientists are falsely accused of. Someone producing reports simply to justify their income. But you lapped it up.

  11. Alice
    December 27th, 2010 at 19:36 | #11

    So I think Kenneally and Roozendahl deserve to share the same crypt in the cemetary for wrecking the state of NSW (or should I say handing over the state of NSW to the wealthy plutocrats) …but Rupert has grand plans for their post political careers, because, of course, he is a major beneficiary of their largesse.

    Unfortunately I dont have Ruperts bargaining powers.

  12. Alice
    December 27th, 2010 at 19:37 | #12

    But I do have a shovel and am prepared to dig.

  13. Alice
    December 27th, 2010 at 19:43 | #13

    @Fran Barlow
    Fran of course true to form says (user pays all the way)
    “I’d be against that, unless we replaced it with a suitable road usage charge. ”

    The road usage charge, means, in english, (not economese)

    “will someone please get the goddamn nuisance traffic congesting poor off the roads so the rest of us can pay to drive in peace”

    Ewww Fran – at her user pays best!

  14. Alice
    December 27th, 2010 at 20:02 | #14

    @Alice
    Ok seeing as this has turned into some sort of sandpit…let me call you to account clearly Fran – you are your rightist advocation of “user pays road usage” (and other rightist user pay philosophies like tertiary education user charges on students).

    Let me spell something out straight for you. You impose user charges on roads, then you are excuding the poor, and possibly the lower middle now (increasingly poorer) but worse you are excluding the entrepreneurial poor, for the middle class conservatives who can afford to pay tolls for a comfort drive to work – where the real action happens.

    Take a risk, one in ten poor use the road to get to work to be innovative – lets say one in ten poor may be capabale of generating jobs for another five poor with their road use not paid for by themselves, but entirely by public provision (yes – free roads – imagine that – it was once normal – but we live in the age of insanity and greedy vocal minorities with media power).

    With the five poor that now have jobs, generated by one poor with an innpovative spirit who isnt bogged down moving his trucks around a vicious netwrok of tolls and user pays to governments, the government actually gets more tax and can pay for your damn roads Fran.
    (in fact wasnt that supposed to be what the fuel excise tax was for??)

    You cannot and should not price the infrastructure needed to make a buck and to be entrepreneurial and innovative out of anyones reach (no-one – poor and rich alike)- no matter how some middle class comfortable bastards would like to see the poor “off the roads” so they can drive, conservatively as professional bank or financial sector or other sector wage slave employees, to work.

    Doh. Doh. Its about saying no to those who think they are superior and can run the show.

  15. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 20:11 | #15

    Chris writes:

    The vast majority of electricity generation does not come from oil energy.

    Name an energy source that do not currently rely on a chain requiring vast amounts of either diesel fuel or petrol?

  16. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 20:22 | #16

    Based on past data not data that is demonstrably still pertinent and thus predictive.

    You mean a projection is not based on data from the future? Fran you’re jumped the shark again. I guess all the models based on the past century of data will have to be ditched as not still pertinent and thus not predictive.

    The learning curve is underpinned by past and present data, and comparability with other mass production and maturation rates. And PV is not impeded by scarcity of material. Its bottle neck of scarcity is energy to purify silicon, and current technology pays back its total embodied energy within 2 years

  17. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 20:28 | #17

    Woop’s I just read the sand pit request. Sorry.

  18. Chris O’Neill
    December 27th, 2010 at 20:32 | #18

    @jakerman

    The vast majority of electricity generation does not come from oil energy.

    Name an energy source that do not currently rely on a chain requiring vast amounts of either diesel fuel or petrol?

    I didn’t say no fuel consumption is involved in producing electricity, transport mainly, but the vast majority of the energy content comes from sources other than oil.

  19. jakerman
    December 27th, 2010 at 21:36 | #19

    I didn’t say no fuel consumption is involved in producing electricity, transport mainly, but the vast majority of the energy content comes from sources other than oil.

    But peak oil can interrupt these nominally non-oil based energy sources, which was the point I made.

  20. Chris O’Neill
    December 27th, 2010 at 22:08 | #20

    @BilB

    The reason why I highlighted that part of Nemet’s presentation is simply because here he actually admits that “if you take innovation into account then that is a whole other ball”,

    So your argument is just a strawman.

    but then proceeds to talk about reality from his very limited perspective.

    So now the truth comes out. When you said

    That is not how I read it

    you weren’t letting on that you thought it was rubbish.

    That is just not the way the world works.

    OK, thanks for your yet-to-be-supported opinion. At least we know now that you weren’t interested in considered discussion of a citation.

  21. Chris O’Neill
    December 27th, 2010 at 22:27 | #21

    @jakerman

    I didn’t say no fuel consumption is involved in producing electricity, transport mainly, but the vast majority of the energy content comes from sources other than oil.

    But peak oil can interrupt these nominally non-oil based energy sources, which was the point I made.

    That’s only if you assume that peak oil is going increase the cost of transporting coal etc. so much that it makes the cost of the electricity produced rise to a moderately similar degree. That’s just not true because the cost of transport fuel for transporting power-station coal is a fairly small fraction of the total cost of electricity. And of course, where they build power stations at the coal mine as they usually do, there are other methods of getting the coal from the mine to the power station.

  22. BilB
    December 28th, 2010 at 05:13 | #22

    Chris Oneill,

    The strawman argument is Nemet’s. He recognises reality as I said then continues to expand a fallacy by ignoring innovation which he clearly has no method to quantify into his argument and further drifts off in fantasy using a distorted base figure against which to develop what is left of his argument. I said that is not how I read it because I know what the level of innovation is and the probable development time frame of introduction of higher efficiencies, and I am know what that the target market for solar products is not to people who are paying as little as 7cents a kilowatt hour for electricity in states where prices are manipulated by government ie I draw a different conclusion to Nemet. Nemet’s assessment had only one chance of representing the future and that would have been if the future unfolded in exactly the way that he predicted. The present is already way different to his prediction. Solar devices are already being sold for 50 cents per watt and certain to go lower. The retail price is very much a matter of marketing as I said and could fluctuate significantly, downwards as much as 75% over night under appropriate conditions.

    Projecting prices 20 years into the future is impossible. Who is the greater fool the one who makes the prediction, or the one who believes in it. I say the latter.

  23. John Quiggin
    December 28th, 2010 at 05:54 | #23

    Time for a new sandpit, I can see!

  24. BilB
    December 28th, 2010 at 06:22 | #24

    OK JQ,

    I don’t want to believe this but I have to wonder if Australian women can’t cope with leadership of issues requiring strength of personal conviction. What is the line up Meg Lees (was it) sold out to Howard on GST, Julia Gillard washed out on AGW caving to coal interests, Anna Bligh failed her cooking test then the protection of state assets, Kristina Keneally follows Julia’s lead and flogs the states jewels. What’s next? is Christine Milne going to be influenced by here newest party member Fran Barlow and walk the nuclear path?

    It is disappointing performance record. Are our women just not confident enough within themselves, does power really change people, are there lobbyists of immense persuasion, or is there really a conspiracy? The real question is can I afford to risk voting for another female politician?

  25. Alice
    December 28th, 2010 at 06:37 | #25

    @John Quiggin
    Whats happened to the Profs post boxes ? They have slipped to the left..

  26. Jill Rush
    December 28th, 2010 at 12:14 | #26

    BilB,
    What is clear is that the sex of the leader doesn’t of itself lead to a conviction leader. There are not too many conviction politicians of any sex or stripe. Meg Lees being female didn’t lead to the GST any more than John Howard and all the other Liberal blokes led to the GST. What led to the GST was the politician’s love of taxation dollars to do things.

    Even Tony Abbott is unable to maintain his former policy views about women in the face of 50%+ of the voting population being women who don’t believe in their inherent inferiority. Unfortunately the rapid rate of replacement of conviction politicians is unlikely to lead to many arising in the future.

  27. jakerman
    December 28th, 2010 at 12:56 | #27

    @Chris O’Neill

    Chris my reply is here in the sandpit.

  28. BilB
    December 28th, 2010 at 17:12 | #28

    Jill R, I think that females are more likely to take a concilliatory position in conflicts. The operative words there are “more likely” not absolutely certain to. In Meg Lees case I think that she was schmoozed by Howard and felt that by taking a centre position she was “being reasonable” and fair. The fact is that we now have a flatter taxation system as a result which ultimately becomes progressively flatter over time as the number changes. In NZ for example the kid on the milk truck after school pays 17.5% personal income tax on her first $100 earnt. Then when she spends it she pays a further 12.5% GST making a total 30% tax on her first pay check. Some incentive to work, huh. It is not that bad here yet, give it time. Thank you Meg Lees.

    The next slippery path is the suddenly happening any day now nuclear waste facility with expressions of interest in storing France’s spent fuel rods. Where did that suddenly come from?? I feel another Meg Lees style cave in coming on here only this time with Julia Gillard’s finger prints all over it. And I don’t think that this is what Julia Gillard really believes in, I think that she has this time been manipulated by her advisors, or something. So how does this one play out? First there is the site established to take some waste from our medical reactor. Then one day suddenly there are French fuel rods which arrive secretly in order to prevent terrorist interception. But there here, too late. “We’re nuclear now, we may as well have a big reactor, for, you know, the environment”.

    Christine Milne I believe would not have a bar of this but she is doing the “right thing” and not moving Bob Brown out of the driving seat because he has been the backbone of the party for so long and he is a really nice guy. Concilliatory.

    Can somebody please proffer any theory at all on what Kristina Kenealley’s tactics are about? What ever she has done it was not for the money because there is very little in it. Did she have a bunch of parliamentary secretary superannuations to payout that week? or something?

    There is no game plan in this country, there is no “big picture”, its just every dog for himself and what he/she can get out of it.

  29. Alice
    December 29th, 2010 at 11:30 | #29

    Bruce McDonald in the letters to SMH of December 28th asked “wheree the outcry is from his fellow lawyers at the proorguing of Parliament to cover up the details of electricity privatisation.

    Indeed.

    Now Emeritus Professor of law, Peter Butt says “I am here, as are many others. I share his outrage. Has there ever been in living memory such blatant disenfranchisement and contempuous disregard for parliamentary process?”

    Prof Q. You have been much too kind with your heading,

    For Kristina Keneally and Eric Roozendahl (who blithely appointed his sales and spin merchants from ministerial offices to positions as directors of boards, when they had no qualifications for the position whatsoever, when the real directors resigned in disgust at this transaction – just to slide this electricity privatisation through without any thought of due process and transparent public actions….. and they did it in the dead of night.

    It should read ” In the name of God, why arent you both in jail?.”

    and “just get.”

  30. Alice
    December 29th, 2010 at 11:31 | #30

    Thats proroguing above

  31. Charlie
    December 30th, 2010 at 11:28 | #31

    Fran claimed “This is especially so because the infrastructure that makes this possible is substantially paid for out of a common pool of funds which maintains the roads regardless of how often any individual uses them or the damage they cause. This is an incentive scheme for individual to use roads”. Clearly Fran has never heard of the excises and other taxes on cars and petrol receipts of which regularly exceed government spending on roads.

    Thus in 1998-1999 excises and levies on oil and LPG produced $11.16 billion for the Commonwealth, and the states collected $3.9 billion from motor vehicle taxes. The total has probably exceeded $20 billion by now. TOTAL construction work on roads and bridges cost just $6.2 billion in that year. Yet Fran claims road usage is tax free! ’nuff said.

  32. Fran Barlow
    December 30th, 2010 at 13:17 | #32

    @Charlie

    Clearly Fran has never heard of the excises and other taxes on cars and petrol receipts of which regularly exceed government spending on roads.

    This is misleading, because spending on roads does not include spending on road trauma and associated losses in productivity, spending on the policing system for roads, losses in damage to buildings and other property and human health from airborne pollutants, and of coruse, as we now see, the damage from CO2. It doesn’t account the cost of keeping troops in the middle east either or the cost to humanity of civil wars in oil producing countries or repressive regimes (like the Saudis for example). It also attaches no value at all to the easement on the commons that roads represent. If road users had to pay a fair commercial rent on this land, it would utterly dwarf state expenditures directly on roads. Given that unlike parks, the use of these lands is largely commercial, it seems fair enough.

    One amusing example of comtention externality arose just the other day. Apparently, the contraflow machine — the one that maximises road space on Victoria Road by awarding extra road space to the peak direction on the road — had to be made less noisy. The extra axle weight this entailed in the modified vehicle means that the road needs to be resurfaced, at, of course, public expense. Of course, if the roads weren’t so congested, you’d not need contraflow management at all.

    It’s clear that road users need to pay more for their specific road use and it should reflect the externality their road use imposes on the commons. Whether one accepts the third or fourth power rule for axle weight, vehicle tare is clearly a factor. Similarly, the amount of road space taken up by each vehicle ought to be considered. So too should the sundry emissions of the vehicle, the vehicle operator’s drving competence and compliance record and of course the demand for road space at the time an individual demands it. Just as one expects to pay more to rent a holiday palce in the high season, or take a place over the holidays, it seems reasonable to compel those who insist on driving on congested roads more than if they drive when there is little other traffic, especially if there is a viable parallel public transport option.

  33. Charlie
    December 30th, 2010 at 14:32 | #33

    Fran your productivity in terms of drivel per ten words is outstanding! You opined “If road users had to pay a fair commercial rent on this land, it would utterly dwarf state expenditures directly on roads.” Road users’ excise taxes on the fuel they use has always been considered a form of road user charge (along with annual licence fees). Neither charge applies if cars are permanently locked up their garages. Originally the proceeds of these charges were intended to form a road fund dedicated to road building and maintenance and other running costs such as policing. By the 1920s most countries realised such funds far exceeded what could usefully be spent on roads.

    Anyway, what is your assessment of “a fair commercial rent” for being on say the Sydney-Canberra road for 3 hours, occupying say 20 sq. metres at any and each moment, and try selling this noble invention of yours to Wayne Swann who is however idiotic enough to buy such nonsense, and when he does that will certainly be the end of him, and good riddance!

    However you are right there is a case for inner city congestion charges as in Singapore and in a small area in London.

    Given that unlike parks, the use of these lands is largely commercial, it seems fair enough.

  34. Fran Barlow
    December 30th, 2010 at 14:42 | #34

    @Charlie

    there is a case for inner city congestion charges as in Singapore and in a small area in London.

    I dislike loopholes. Let there be a geometrically progressive contention charge starting at a modest threshhold and ramping up from there. If you’re driving along a road at 9AM on a Sunday morning and you’re one of fifty vehicles per hour on that stretch of road, it would be utterly trivial, because the service is for all practical purposes, non-rival and non-excludable but if you are one of 5000 vehicles per hour, it would be a lot more than 100 times as much.

  35. Alice
    December 30th, 2010 at 17:47 | #35

    @Fran Barlow
    says “geometrically progressive contention charge”

    more rightist gobbledegook from Fran which at this point needs a definition. For this Ill probably be labelled some unseemly creature..

  36. Charlie
    December 30th, 2010 at 23:11 | #36

    Alice: you are right, Fran is the patron saint of gobbledook. Fran has yet to inform us what a commercial rent would be for having one’s car on a road at any time. As ever she confuses rent (usually a fixed charge irrespective of usage) with user costs wholly contingent on usage. In Australia, vehicle licence fees approximate to rent, while fuel excise is a user charge, drive more pay more. In Singapore congestion charges approximate to rents (high at peak, low at off-peak, as in tourist resorts). But never let facts get in the way of ideology!

    Meantime, even if OT, it is a shame the MSM & of course ABC above all have yet to comment that the floods at Theodore and Rockhampton, costs of which you-me are expected to cover, arise only because the WWF successfully prevented the construction of the Nathan Dam which would have prevented these floods, because of (1) some unheard of snail which is extant all over that area, not just the dam site, and (2) alleged negative effects of the Nathan Dam on the GBR. In fact, as widely reported today, the huge inflows of freshwater into the sea have far more adverse consequences for the GBR. But no doubt Fran is a fully paid up member of WWF and all the other malicious NGOs like FoE and GP. Alice , I do hope you are not! (h/t to Jen Marohasy).

  37. Alice
    December 31st, 2010 at 06:57 | #37

    @Charlie
    Hate to disappoint you Charlie – It was a tough choice whether to sign up to Bob Katter’s team and move to Kennedy to start a Katter for Prime Minister movement, or the Greens and help Bob get the job. ….Im a bit over the rationality and destruction of the open door free market policies and Im a bit over the heartlessness to my fellow Australians by people that want to shift all our infrasture to the private sector and user price others into poverty.

    Tell me Charlie – where do you go?

  38. Charlie
    December 31st, 2010 at 11:23 | #38

    Alice: re London Undergorund, you confirm it has not been privatised. Outsourcing track work etc is not privatisation. I was in part brought up on the work of Jeremy Bentham, still gazing fondly at his worshippers at UCL – “what is the use of it?”. If the public sector performs poorly privatise if they can do better, if not, not. Performance is what matters, not ideology. As for the ruination in Queensland, I have no sympathy, they deserve the condign punishment they are getting for allowing WWF and the Greens to rule their lives. Your hero Brown supported the successful campaign to block the Nathan dam and all the others that would have alleviated the floods and stored water against the next drought.

  39. Alice
    December 31st, 2010 at 11:34 | #39

    @Charlie
    Oh for goodness sake Charlie sho says ” As for the ruination in Queensland, I have no sympathy, they deserve the condign punishment they are getting for allowing WWF and the Greens to rule their lives.”

    What a load of old bunk. Both country people and the Greens have something in common these days. Neither like the free markets policy which is decimating production in regional towns. Neither like the pro privatisation policies of liberal and labor which is decimating services to country towns, city infrastructure and with it decent govt jobs. Public investment is also the lifeblood of regional Australia as well Charlie as is a some moderate protection for our regional industries.

    You need to read more Charlie. Some of your ideas are so passe.

    The privatisation of trackwork and maintenance of the London Underground has resulted in a complete shambles with a number of private companies and consortiums involved going bankrupt but not before paying their executives obscene amounts, major league cost blow outs (at taxpayers expense), maintenance simply not done.

    It would have been cheaper for the government to just get on with the work itself as it used to.

  40. Charlie
    December 31st, 2010 at 15:16 | #40

    Alice: you disappoint me – again! I think you are confusing the Underground with the railway network which is privatised. The Underground has never ever been run by any government.

    As for reading do peruse the review in today’s Fin of the new biography of Adam Smith. You might learn something!

  41. Fran Barlow
    December 31st, 2010 at 15:28 | #41

    Watching Charlie & Alice is rather like watching the blog equivalent of Laurel & Hardy.

    That populist schtick based around the authenticity one claims if one parades ignorance of certain categories of metalanguage is particularly amusing, though still not as much fun as watching some self-styled vaguely liberal populist communitarian cohabit with some conservative populist defender of the privileges of wealthy folk.

    It is telling though that their area of shared agreement is the value of ignorance in making sense of the world.

  42. Alice
    January 1st, 2011 at 11:36 | #42

    @Fran Barlow
    Indeed I have been labelled some unseemly creature by Fran our noted harbinger of names and labels and derogatory boxes for those who dont quite see things the same as Fran. Laurel and Hardy now.

    And a very happy New Year to you too.

  43. Alice
    January 1st, 2011 at 11:49 | #43

    @Charlie
    Charlie
    brushing aside Frans uncharitable interruptions…
    re your comment “The Underground has never ever been run by any government.”
    I did post Wikipaedia before on Underground history. Refer the subheadings nationalisation and GLC control.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Underground#Nationalisation

  44. Alice
    January 1st, 2011 at 18:08 | #44

    @Charlie
    Oh Charlie…did I ever once promise not to disappoint you/ I dont find I fit into anmy clear category Charlie. I dont hate greens, I sympathise with conservative agrarian socialists, UI dont like the free markets (think they can strip a country’s home production faster than you can say poverty), I dont like privatisation except in a mixed socialism sense, I like public education and public transport but dont want to wait for user pays to pay for it, I dont like misxing the public with the private sector (too much rorting goes on), I think a referendum should be called when governments are making huge decisions to privatise assets that have been in public control for decades in the dead of night….

    Our governments are more a disappointment to me, and I am more disappointed in them (liberal and labor) than I ever could be a disappointment to you Charlie.

    BTW – the Greens want to stick the 40% mining tax on the miners and they want public transport. I dont have any problem with either – in fact Im supportive to both. The Miners have been getting away with the lions share of any profits from our mineral wealth, which we own as a nation for years and years now (they have had their day in the sun and the banking and grocery industry should be in he sights of the super profits tax as well).

    Fair is fair and things have been very very unfair. I dont care the colour of my vote as long as it goes to a fair government.

  45. paul walter
    January 1st, 2011 at 21:11 | #45

    Yes, I was surprised ( and disappointed ) at the churlish comments directed at Charlie and Alice.
    Peevish, was the word that came to mind and unworthy of the sender.
    But I’m glad, Alice, that you prefer a rational world and value your freedom and integrity of consciousness above a slavish need to accomodate forces that deserve to be resisted, by any sane or decent person.

  46. Alice
    January 7th, 2011 at 08:12 | #46

    That woman has the gall to allow her hard face on the front page and page 2 of the Daily Telegraph today, wearing something akin to a smaller version of the Akubra (smaller to house her tinier than usual brain)

    saying she has “underestimated public concern over the 5.3 billion power privatisation”

    Is that so?

    The woman’s concern is completely useless.

    There is clearly not enough concern to undo that disgusting sale, after households and businesses have endured price rise after price rise in electricity and other power forms and are absolutely furious.

    If she can shut down parliament in an attempt to stop an inquiry into her governments actions, the very least this “concerned” Kenneally can do now is to open parliament immediately, lift the prorogue, protect public servants presenting evidence at the inquiry and bring forward the election so the people can get rid of her and her government faster.

    What good is it having Kenneally attempt to make a complete farce of the inquiry by being the only two (her and Roozendahl) willing to risk facing it? More showtime from the government of spin.

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