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Monday Message Board (on Tuesday)

May 5th, 2015

Another Monday Message Board, a day late. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

Categories: Regular Features Tags:
  1. Donald Oats
    May 5th, 2015 at 11:55 | #1

    If I’d been eating weeties, they’d be all over the monitor about now. Must have too much fluoride in their water.

  2. Sancho
    May 5th, 2015 at 12:14 | #2

    Then check this out.

    Will the IPA go with “this is entirely consistent with libertarian tax policy because shut up leftists!” or, “Liberal Party has best intentions but must make more effort next semester”?

  3. Donald Oats
    May 5th, 2015 at 12:47 | #3

    And, for those who’ve seen the pounding “The Australian” has meted out to Clive Palmer for an alleged mis-use of $12 million bucks, read this story about the supreme court throwing the case out. Seems he didn’t mis-use the funds after all that. That national newspaper has a penchant for digging dirt on politicians it opposes, only for the dirt to turn into fairy dust.

  4. May 5th, 2015 at 17:44 | #4

    If posting Monday Message Boards a day late is a problem, you could always try posting them six days early (n.b., watch out for the subtlety here).

  5. Andrew Wilson
    May 5th, 2015 at 19:14 | #5

    “Fairy dust”. Make that lies!!

  6. Megan
    May 5th, 2015 at 20:29 | #6

    @Donald Oats

    I liked the way CITIC dismissed the decision as being based on a “technicality”.

    Yes, the money wasn’t technically held on any kind of trust. Which was the core of their case.

  7. May 6th, 2015 at 09:51 | #7

    “But neither party escaped criticism.
    The Justice found that Mr Palmer knew the payments, $10 million to Cosmo Developments and just over $2 million to Media Circus, were not “authorised” payments but found it was not necessary to rule on the allegations of dishonesty put forward by CITIC.”
    “While Justice Jackson said it was not necessary to rule on allegations of dishonesty by Mr Palmer, the Palmer United Party leader did cop some criticism for attempting to cover his tracks about the transfer of the money by “manufacturing evidence” through the creation of written contract after the fact.
    “There is circumstantial evidence to support the finding by inference, which I make, that the first defendant [Mr Palmer] knew that the payments were made in breach of Mineralogy’s promises to pay only the authorised costs and reimbursements under clause five of the facilities deed,” he said.
    Justice Jackson found Mr Palmer knew that the $10 million payment to Cosmo Development (one of Mr Palmer’s companies) and $2 million to advertising agency Media Circus, were not authorised payments. He also noted Mr Palmer’s legal defence had changed many times during the case.”
    “Justice Jackson said that until November 26 last year, Mr Palmer and his company, Cosmo Developments, “had persisted in an apparently unsustainable and possibly deliberately false plea” that the payments were made under an oral contract between the tycoon’s companies for port management services.

    Justice Jackson said the allegations of fraudulent conduct that were levelled against Mr Palmer had a reasonable basis for being made, adding “although it has not been necessary to decide some of them”.”

    Surely these findings against a leader of a (very small) Australian political party, and a sitting MP, deserve more attention than they’re getting? Do we have to wait till Leigh Sales gets Palmer on camera again?

  8. ZM
    May 6th, 2015 at 10:00 | #8

    For Victorian readers and commenters, John Quiggin has been too modest to mention it but he will be presenting a talk in Melbourne next Monday on Economic Policy For The 21st Century

    “Current discussion of economic policy in Australia is backward looking, dominated by the policy issues of the late 20th century, and in particular the microeconomic reform agenda of the 1980s and 1990s. By contrast, policy problems and opportunities that have arisen in the 21st century, including climate change and the Global Financial Crisis, are barely considered.

    In this lecture, the implications of these issues for economic analysis will be discussed, and a policy response will be outlined.

    This lecture will be presented by Professor John Quiggin, Australian Laureate Fellow in Economics at the University of Queensland”

    http://events.unimelb.edu.au/events/5139-freebairn-lecture-in-public-policy-economic-policy-for-the-21st?utm_campaign=digest&utm_medium=email&utm_source=subscription

  9. Megan
    May 6th, 2015 at 10:48 | #9

    Christine Milne resigns as Greens Leader.

    Any information about what’s going on?

    Are they going to go further into ALP-lite mode, or move back to a more genuinely alternative to the duopoly?

  10. Uncle Milton
    May 6th, 2015 at 10:49 | #10

    @Megan

    All that white-Bandting must have taken its toll.

  11. Megan
    May 6th, 2015 at 14:35 | #11

    From Milne’s statement this morning, I’m inclined to accept that she simply decided to retire from parliament at the end of her senate term, and made the announcement in plenty of time to allow the party to establish the new leader before the next election.

    I don’t know what Bandt is supposed to have to do with it, but if anything was planned it doesn’t look like it has worked out!

    New leader is Di Natale and “co-deputy leaders” are Waters and Ludlam.

  12. Troy Prideaux
    May 6th, 2015 at 15:12 | #12

    Megan :
    I don’t know what Bandt is supposed to have to do with it, but if anything was planned it doesn’t look like it has worked out!

    Well, reports are that he only found out about it through the media like the rest of us so… yeah… doesn’t sound like there’s a myriad of dots to join there…

  13. Donald Oats
    May 6th, 2015 at 16:34 | #13

    The Greens is replete with very competent, very intelligent people, several of whom could lead the party, no problems. Contrast that with the two major parties, and it is telling.

    I don’t know where our political system is going to lead us, but if the Greens keep growing in popularity, that support is at the expense of the more moderate ALP members, and the progressive liberals for the LNP; the net effect would be to hollow out the two major parties, and leave them with their more extreme elements.

    As the Greens are the only party in Australia who understand that economic growth which causes the sixth global extinction event is a tad short-sighted, they get my vote.

  14. alfred venison
    May 6th, 2015 at 22:22 | #14

    SHOCK HORROR !!
    venison uses caps? hell no, something even more earthshaking…
    major upset in alberta provincial election threatens to make canada interesting.
    alberta election result is in & its a majority government for the ndp under leader rachel notley !!!! 54 out of 87 seats – conservatives not even official opposition. progressive conservative reign broken after 44 years continuous power (1971-2015). npd becomes the 3rd political party to govern alberta since social credit (1935-1971). albertans 44 years old & younger experience change of government for the first time in their lives. this is extraordinary news with many implications. big oil must now deal with “a left-of-centre premier and ruling party that have been among its harshest critics on issues of royalties, taxes and environmental policy (globe & mail).” i hasten to add, a left-of-centre premier with a ruling party that is not likely to remove her if she upsets big oil over royalties. (long-time denizens will note my idee fixe here, this is the idee fixe thread, no?). it will flow on into the federal election alter this year where thomas mulcair’s ndp will be fighting its first general election from official opposition since their upset result in 2011.
    i’m giddy with anticipation. -yrs, alf.
    http://albertapolitics.ca/2015/05/pinch-me-am-i-dreaming-canadas-most-conservative-province-elects-an-ndp-majority/

  15. Megan
    May 7th, 2015 at 00:14 | #15

    @alfred venison

    Even our own inimitable Antony Green noted that historical event today (on Twitter).

    Hopefully this is indicative of the turning of the tide against fascists the world over.

  16. Fran Barlow
    May 7th, 2015 at 06:12 | #16

    @Megan

    Having the title ‘leader’ isn’t as big a thing in our party as in others. The parliamentary team works as a kind of committee/collective.

  17. David Irving (no relation)
    May 7th, 2015 at 11:44 | #17

    @Donald Oats
    The Party welcomes you to its loving embrace!

    More seriously, all the usual suspects have been getting all breathless about the Greens’ leadership change. There are a couple of lessons for them which they’ll certainly ignore.

    The first is that it’s possible for a party to organise its succession planning without any blood on the floor, and without leaking it to Laurie Oakes.

    The second is that sometimes polticians tell the truth (eg, Bandt’s incipient child).

    A few people (mostly not party members) are complaining that the Greens don’t have a mambers’ ballot for the leadership. We all saw how well that piece of theatre worked out for the ALP, given that the members’ choice was not Bleeb Snerton. I think the Dems had members’ election for party leader, and for all sorts of other things, and it didn’t do them a blind bit of good in the long run.

  18. Tim Macknay
    May 7th, 2015 at 11:58 | #18

    @alfred venison
    Good news, a.v. What do you think the chances are of knocking off Harper at the national election?

  19. Ikonoclast
    May 7th, 2015 at 12:07 | #19

    @alfred venison

    Alberta seems to be the “Queensland” of Canada. After all, how long did Joh and the “Nasha-Nulls” hold power in Qld? Joh for 19 years and the Nasha-Nulls for well over 20 years. They were preceded by a very troglodyte Labor Party. (Is Troglodyte Labor a tautology?). Alberta is a primary industry (mining, oil, gas, agriculture) state just like Qld. Qld is the deep north. Alberta is the deep mid-west/north. Climate is different of course. I actually prefer Alberta’s climate in many ways. Qld’s is becoming totally insufferable.

  20. Megan
    May 7th, 2015 at 13:44 | #20

    @Fran Barlow

    I have a question (open to other Greens members too).

    Nauru, reportedly at the behest of the Australian government, has shut down facebook – they used the excuse of stopping ‘pron’, but the real reason is probably because refugees in our concentration camp and in exile on Nauru use it to communicate their plight to the outside world.

    It took me about 30 seconds to type this and it might take twice that long to write a press release condemning this totalitarian action and to spread it on the net..

    Any idea why the Greens are absolutely silent on this? (Or, if they are not – and I’ve searched high and low and have had no response from Ludlam or Hanson Young to my tweets – can anyone direct me to their statement or media release).

  21. Tim Macknay
    May 7th, 2015 at 13:46 | #21

    @Megan
    The relationship between Australia and Nauru increasingly appears to resemble the relationship between Great Britain and Tasmania during the early decades of the 19th century – i.e. it’s a prison colony.

  22. David Irving (no relation)
    May 7th, 2015 at 16:58 | #22

    @Megan
    I think you’ll find SH-Y, at least, has been extremely vocal about the lack of access to the Nauruan gulag. She may not have mentioned Crackbook explicitly.

  23. Megan
    May 7th, 2015 at 20:25 | #23

    @David Irving (no relation)

    The Greens have been critical of the ALP/LNP duopoly inhumane treatment of refugees, the secrecy around that treatment and they have also been critical of internet censorship.

    That is why I’m asking: “why the silence?”

    http://sarah-hanson-young.greensmps.org.au/latest-news

  24. Megan
    May 7th, 2015 at 20:28 | #24

    @David Irving (no relation)

    The Greens have been critical of the ALP/LNP duopoly inhumane treatment of refugees, the secrecy around that treatment and they have also been critical of internet censorship.

    That is why I’m asking: “On Nauru’s Australian approved censorship of the internet to ‘disappear’ refugee voices – at the time the IOM is intensifying its work for the government in forcing these people into exile in Cambodia – why the silence?”

  25. alfred venison
    May 7th, 2015 at 22:32 | #25

    try this on, Tim Macknay:- http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/06/canada-alberta-elects-leftwing-party-keystone-pipeline
    i think it will have enormous ramifications: the canadian federal election this year; the fate of the federal ndp; the fate of the federal liberals; the stock market; keystone & thereby the american election; paris environment talks, the mind boggles, in a nicely giddy way; its intoxicating, its astounding !

    megan:- i think the fact of this result is itself sign of [email protected] politics already in retreat. e.g.: 20 years ago my brother thought newt gingrich was a great man. today he votes ndp, helps ndp stick their election signs up on his lawn and door knocks his neighbourhood for them. who says people can’t change their politics. it used to be, he said, people put up with the conservatives because they reasoned, well, they’re inevitable, its alberta after all, and at one time, at least, the conservatives seemed to have the ear of big oil. as things have turned out, the conservatives not only don’t have the ear of big oil (if they ever actually did) but its more & more apparent that big oil controls the conservative party to the extent it can have even enormously popular conservative party leaders it doesn’t like removed by the party executive.

    Ikonoclast:- you can have the alberta climate, mate. last night (i’m told), ten hours after polls closed, edmonton’s balmy spring was terminated (temporarily) by a massive snowstorm “of biblical proportions” blanketing every gardener’s green shoots & optimistically laid out seedling planters in a cascade of wet snow driven horizontally by strong winds. people used to say hell would freeze over before albertans would elect an ndp government but this is ridiculous. by the way, edmonton went ndp in every riding. people were right who used to say “they don’t vote in alberta, they stampede”.

  26. Donald Oats
    May 8th, 2015 at 01:35 | #26

    …and there will be no cuts to the pension, no cuts to…

  27. Ikonoclast
    May 8th, 2015 at 07:38 | #27

    @alfred venison

    I spent a week in Alberta (when it hit -35 C) and a few months in Montreal (consistently well below zero) and found the cold weather didn’t bother me at all. Obviously, I had the gear for it. I find extreme cold very invigorating. My physiology seems strangely well adapted to it for some reason. I was clearly born in the wrong country. On the other hand, three months holiday is not living there. Could I live through an entire winter in Edmonton or would I get seasonal affective disordor? Cold, crisp, still days of -35 C are one thing and blizzards and ice storms are another. I didn’t directly endure an ice storm. I did experience a much delayed train/bus journey, Montreal to Niagara Falls, through the aftermath of one.

    Jumping back to the start of my trip, I walked the streets of Vancouver in jeans, hush puppies and a long sleeve shirt when all the locals were already in winter coats. My wife eventually insisted I put a coat on because “all the locals are staring at you”. I think being coatless meant one must be a homeless bum.

  28. Ikonoclast
    May 8th, 2015 at 07:51 | #28

    @Donald Oats

    I am in favour of stringent means testing for the old age pension where people have significant other income and assets. Old people (I can say this as I am over 60), should get no special treatment and no tax concessions that other people do not get. Superannuants should get no special tax concessions either. They should be on the same tax rate as any other age group. On the other hand, the aged with no other income should get a living pension.

    The people in this country getting a really bad deal are the youth, especially unemployed youth and students. This country needs to stop pandering to the “grey whingers” and start doing something for its youth. The selfish grey whingers of baby boom age (I can say this as I am a baby boomer) have had their life and most of it was too good as they climbed an easy ladder and pulled the ladder up behind them, trashing the environment, the climate and the hopes of the next generation while they did it: a very culpable generation who allowed neocon capitalism full sway to wreck the planet and our society.

  29. Troy Prideaux
    May 8th, 2015 at 10:34 | #29

    I see today that Maurice Newman hasn’t changed his spots regarding Climate Change, but I suppose that’s why he’s the PM’s top business adviser.

  30. Megan
    May 8th, 2015 at 12:29 | #30

    I wonder how long it will be before our establishment media notice that the real news in the UK election is the record massive gains in Scotland by the SNP.

    They are wiping out Labour with swings around 30%.

    It looks like the SNP has about 60 seats (up from 6!!) out of the 650 in the House of Commons.

    The official BBC/Labour line is, predictably, that a return of a Tory government isn’t Labour’s fault for offering nothing but weasel words and instead they woz robbed by idiots who voted for SNP.

  31. Ivor
    May 8th, 2015 at 12:33 | #31

    Is this the end of capitalism and of the stimulus theory.

    After having some 200 trillion injected world wide, what is the result? – Zero.

    World growth has budged not one iota, but is predicted by the IMF to lift by a whopping 0.1 of one percent in 2015 – this is a return of a tenth of a cent for every dollar invested.

    So the only way capitalists can maintain their profits is by cutting wages and increasing the gap between the few rich and the may poor.

    IMF data for world growth is:

    3.4% (2013)
    3.4% (2014)
    3.5% (2015) expected

    But the IMF usually downgrades its projections in later releases.

    For 2016 the IMF now projects world growth 3.8%.

    see:

    https://imfdirect.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/weo_tbl_0415.jpg

  32. Troy Prideaux
    May 8th, 2015 at 12:33 | #32

    Megan :
    I wonder how long it will be before our establishment media notice that the real news in the UK election is the record massive gains in Scotland by the SNP.

    Well, that was all over the news yesterday on the ABC in the lead up, so it’s probably no surprise.

  33. Ikonoclast
    May 8th, 2015 at 13:47 | #33

    @Ivor

    We are indeed near the end of growth for capitalism. The reasons are partly due to natural limits to growth, partly due to the neocon-monetarist policies of late stage corporate capitalism and partly due to the general internal contradictions of capitalism. The latter two issues are linked. The internal contradictions of capitalism can only be alleviated or held off by social democracy and welfare. Now that total growth is constrained, capitalist profits can only be maintained by reducing social democracy and welfare for the masses thus tilting wealth accumulation heavily in favour of capital. Of couse, this has a limit in the problem of the over-accumulation of capital and the impossibility of getting a good return on it. Impoverished workers cannot afford to consume all of the potential production. Capacity is under-utilised, manufacture is not run at capacity.

    Things will get a lot worse. The crisis has to become manifest for the majority and impinge heavily on them before they will act. The middle-class has a great capacity to ignore the misery of the bottom 20%. Wait until the crisis hits deep into the middle class which it will do. Then the pressure for change will become enormous.

  34. Megan
    May 8th, 2015 at 13:54 | #34

    @Troy Prideaux

    My ABC consumption yesterday was mostly confined to their various radio platforms and it got barely a mention there, almost everything was Labour vs Conservatives as if nobody else was running.

  35. Sancho
    May 8th, 2015 at 14:40 | #35

    The Maurice Newman thing has been on its way for a while. The LNP was infested with World News Daily thinking years ago, but now it’s leaking out.

  36. Troy Prideaux
    May 8th, 2015 at 14:45 | #36

    Sancho :
    The Maurice Newman thing has been on its way for a while. The LNP was infested with World News Daily thinking years ago, but now it’s leaking out.

    On its way? It’s actually been there in our faces for a while. Not so much from the LNP, but Newman has never held back his views on this.

  37. J-D
    May 8th, 2015 at 14:47 | #37

    I don’t know what’s on the radio, but on their websites both the BBC and the ABC (Antony Green is in the UK and live-blogging) are including the SNP gains prominently in their coverage.

    Scotland has 59 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, so the SNP, running candidates only in Scottish seats, could never have won more than that many. So far (according to the BBC) the Conservatives have held their only Scottish seat (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale), Labour has held Edinburgh South, and the Liberal Democrats have held Orkney and Shetland, so the maximum possible total for the SNP is now 56.

    Even if Labour had somehow won every single Scottish seat, it could still not have got anywhere near the Conservative total without doing better south of the Scottish border. It’s arithmetically incontestable that SNP gains have no responsibility for Labour’s failure (or, equivalently, the Tories’ success, depending on how you want to look at it) at the national level, and I haven’t seen anybody suggest otherwise, in the mainstream media or out of it.

  38. Ikonoclast
    May 8th, 2015 at 14:57 | #38

    So the tories have succeeded? The British want more pain eh? Oh well, the Tories will give it to them.

  39. Megan
    May 8th, 2015 at 16:01 | #39

    Headline on ‘mirror.co.uk’:

    General Election 2015: The SNP look to have cost Labour the election in Scottish rebellion

  40. J-D
    May 8th, 2015 at 16:42 | #40

    @Megan

    Thank you.

    I can’t see that headline on the Mirror website now, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that the Mirror got it wrong (not in the way that I would be surprised if I saw the BBC reporting something so demonstrably arithmetically incorrect).

  41. J-D
    May 8th, 2015 at 16:44 | #41

    @Ikonoclast

    I’m not sure how fair it is to say the British wanted the Tories when the Tories received only 37% of votes cast.

  42. Tim Macknay
    May 8th, 2015 at 16:45 | #42

    Right now the online Mirror headline reads “Be Very Afraid… The Nightmare on Downing Street is about to Begin” with a photoshopped image of David Cameron as Freddy Kruger.

  43. Fran Barlow
    May 8th, 2015 at 17:46 | #43

    And running a thoroughly timorous centre-right campaign tailored to neutralising Murdoch’s trolling has obviously worked so well … They got badly beaten and don’t even have self-respect as a defence. They have entrenched Murdoch further.

    I’m not into Schadenfreude, but if I were, I’d be cashing in now.

  44. Fran Barlow
    May 8th, 2015 at 17:48 | #44

    And really, disavowing in advance an alliance with the SNP and others to oust Cameron? How stupid was that?

    These unprincipled right of centre hacks can’t even play their own game right.

  45. May 8th, 2015 at 19:00 | #45

    @ZM

    Bad news (for some): I shall be attending. Feel free to suggest anything within the bounds of propriety.

    By the way, that registration site – like this one, for replies though not for totally new comments – has gone in the direction of requiring more than minimal browser functionality (for all sorts of reasons, I prefer to have as much as possible turned off). There are sound design considerations for keeping all special functionality of that sort at the server end.

  46. Ikonoclast
    May 8th, 2015 at 19:30 | #46

    @J-D

    I can’t find those stats. What is your source?

    I assume their system is “first past the post” in each electorate. So all one can say is that under that system (which all or most voters know is the system), the voters got the Party they wanted more than any other single Party. So yeah, the got what they voted for from a dodgy system they permit to endure via their own apathy.

  47. Ikonoclast
    May 8th, 2015 at 19:38 | #47

    @Fran Barlow

    Have to agree. UK Labor are a bunch of craven, unprincipled, unimaginative, unintelligent sell-outs and betrayers of the ordinary people just like Australian Labor. They should all go where their hearts and minds really are and join the Tories.

  48. Donald Oats
    May 8th, 2015 at 19:46 | #48

    Maurice Newman thinks that climate scientists are all conspiring to create a one world government, when they’re not too busy doing scientificky stuff. He says one load of tommy-rot after another, and yet he couldn’t find two facts to rub together. I’m sorry, but we truly have appalling advisers to this government. Next we’ll be hearing how doctors are all conspiring to create one world government through doctors-without-frontiers. Streuth.

  49. Megan
    May 8th, 2015 at 20:08 | #49

    There is, at the least, some basis for the argument that UK Labour lost the election in part because of an attempted scare campaign against SNP.

    The SNP are generally pro-independence. The UK political duopoly and establishment media went all out absolutely feral against Scotland in last year’s narrowly defeated independence referendum. To beat the referendum they mainly used lies, threats and promises. The promises turned to dust after the referendum went the desired way.

    Independence wasn’t a real issue in the UK elections. The big issues the SNP (a social democrat party) ran on – and differentiated from Labour on – were anti-austerity and anti-trident (trident is the UK submarine nuclear ballistic missile system, which the duopoly have promised the military industrial complex they will ‘upgrade’ with about 100 billion pounds of taxpayer’s money).

    Austerity and opposition to the Trident expenditure were the two main differences between Labour and the SNP.

    In the debates before the election, Miliband said:

    “I am not going to sacrifice the future of our country, the unity of our country, I’m not going to give in to SNP demands around Trident, around the deficit, or anything like that.

    “I am not going to have a Labour government if it means deals or coalitions with the SNP.”

    It is, of course, impossible to know how many Labour voters outside Scotland were turned off by those messages, but in the UK system of voluntary voting – and with no real alternative to the duopoly – it is quite probable that many potential Labour votes failed to materialise and therefore several close seats were lost as a result.

    For a social democratic party to so thoroughly annihilate an establishment duopoly party against a virulent media campaign gives me great hope.

  50. May 8th, 2015 at 20:10 | #50

    Ikonoclast, Fran Barlow, Tim Macknay, J-D, Megan,

    Greens fail to add to single seat despite highest-ever share of vote (8/5/15) | the Guardian

  51. Megan
    May 8th, 2015 at 20:40 | #51

    In other news…

    UWA hands back $4million dollars and cancels Climate Denial Consensus Centre.

    Johnson said that the planned Australian consensus centre, which would have been linked to Lomborg’s Copenhagen consensus centre, would have done important work, but “unfortunately, that work cannot happen here”.

    “I have today spoken to the federal government and Bjørn Lomborg advising them of the barriers that currently exist to the creation of the Centre and the University’s decision to cancel the contract and return the money to the government,” he said.

    Pyne accused the UWA academics of “shouting down” views with which they disagreed.

    “We are disappointed that the university has indicated it cannot effectively deliver against the contract and is seeking to return $4 million in research funds. The Government is awaiting legal advice on the status of the contract,” Pyne said after the university’s announcement.

    “The government is committed to establishing the consensus methodology in Australia and to ensuring a wide range of views on issues are aired publicly. An Australian consensus centre will be established in an alternative location.

    “It is surprising that individuals at an institution of higher learning claiming to embrace the notion of academic and intellectual freedom would display intolerance and shout down a voice in the debate they simply don’t agree with,” Pyne said through a spokesman.

    “A society which thrives on debate and a diversity of views should be a priority for all regardless of how fervently they oppose those views.”

    So true….. unless you are an SBS journo tweeting about the sickfest ANZAC day has been turned into.

  52. Ivor
    May 8th, 2015 at 21:24 | #52

    The UK does not have a democratic electoral system.

    You cannot elect all members of Parliament.

    Only around 66% of voters even bothered to turn up to vote. see;

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32624405

    First past the post is no way to run a modern multifacted nation.

  53. May 8th, 2015 at 21:43 | #53

    @Megan

    Yes, but strangely the VC did not mention that the real reason many at UWA did not want Lomborg was that he is a charlatan. In his book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist”, everything looks very scholarly, with lots of footnotes, but follow any of his references, and you find that they often don’t actually support his arguments. There is a website devoted to this.

  54. zoot
    May 8th, 2015 at 22:38 | #54

    On the subject of UK Labour – could their defeat be a result of Russell Brand’s endorsement?

  55. Ikonoclast
    May 8th, 2015 at 23:01 | #55

    @Ivor

    Correct, the UK is not remotely democratic in any real way. It is sham democracy papering over a capitalistic-aristocratic duarchy.

    When I was young I used to believe Western nations were democratic. What a naive fool I was. The more I learn the more I realise how distant we are from real democracy. And we are moving further the wrong way. I don’t see much hope for us now on any level.

  56. Megan
    May 8th, 2015 at 23:28 | #56

    @zoot

    I think it’s possible.

    Mr “Don’t Vote, they’re all charlatans” – and with that message motivates hundreds of thousands – turns around and says “Vote Fascist Labour”, that’s guaranteed to send a lot of people away from the ballot box.

    I read his explanation, and it was even more disappointing than the original endorsement.

  57. Megan
    May 9th, 2015 at 00:37 | #57

    In fact, after a backlash, Brand wrote (before the election results): “We decided to endorse Labour before we approached them for the interview.”

    Compare that with what he now says (in his post-election exculpatory “nothing to do with me, I’m just a comedian, I was caught up in the moment, and besides they’re all just charlatans, revision):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRUQ6aPvs58

    “I got caught up in the mad thick of it….”

    No you didn’t, you lying sack of manure. You made a conscious decision to back the fascists and now that they have been comprehensively hosed out you are trying to pretend that you are just one of “us”. Turd.

  58. rog
    May 9th, 2015 at 02:23 | #58
  59. rog
    May 9th, 2015 at 02:26 | #59

    UWA Academic Staff Association vice president Professor Stuart Bunt said the move was not censorship.

    “This isn’t about censorship at all … Lomborg is not a climate [change] denier; he believes the scientific evidence which overwhelmingly shows that climate change is happening, he just debates the economics of how we should deal with it,” Mr Bunt said.

    “The difficulty is he is neither a scientist or an economist, he’s a political scientist.

    “Once you become attached to a university, you’re given a kind of credence by that university; people would expect an adjunct professor at UWA to be working in a professional manner and that their statements would be evidence-based.

    “Lomborg would be using the name of the university, to put what are largely political opinions, rather than evidence-based statements, using the university’s name.”

  60. J-D
    May 9th, 2015 at 12:57 | #60

    @Ikonoclast

    You can’t find the voting figures?

    Have you tried looking for them?

    Pick the source you trust, look there, and if you find something different from what I mentioned, please let me know. I’ve found the same figures in three different places, but I expect they’ll turn up elsewhere as well.

    I think it’s more accurate to say that more voters chose the Conservative Party than any single other party, which to my way of thinking is not fully equivalent to saying that the voters wanted a Conservative government more than any other possibility. The difference in emphasis is subtle, but I think the distinction is worth making.

    It seems reasonable to treat all of the 37% of voters who voted Conservative as wanting a Conservative government. That figure is a plurality, as you observe, but it’s not a majority. It’s also plausible to suppose that some of the 8% of voters who voted for the Liberal Democrats also wanted a Conservative government, or rather a continuation of the coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Maybe some of the people who voted for other parties also wanted a Conservative government, or at least were comfortable with it, and even more probably the same is true of a significant proportion of those who didn’t vote at all. If we had an aggregate figure, would it add up to a majority? There’s no way to know.

    I got the impression you were suggesting the the people (or at least the voters) of the UK had expressed their desire for a Conservative government. I don’t think that’s a safe conclusion to draw when they were never even asked the question.

  61. J-D
    May 9th, 2015 at 13:10 | #61

    @John Brookes

    ‘Strangely’? There’s nothing strange about it. What would be strange would be if the VC made a public admission of error (in agreeing to the deal in the first place). Plainly he gives no credence to the idea that a mob of bolshy academics might know something about university affairs that he doesn’t; he just finds himself forced to acknowledge that he can’t actually run the institution without them, no matter how much it chafes him.

    Meanwhile Christopher Pyne tells us that he’s getting legal advice about the contract. Yes, Minister, it would a public relations sensation worthy of you to sue a university for declining to accept government money.

  62. Ivor
    May 9th, 2015 at 14:40 | #62

    @Ikonoclast

    Yes it is hard to find any real democracy in the UK.

    Huge slabs of people do not vote and for those that to turnout at polling booths – all they are allowed to do is put a single cross against someone’s name.

    So if the capitalists only run one or two candidates, but progressives run 5 or 6, a voting desire for a popular progressive candidate worth 75% of the vote can be defeated by a rightwing clown with less than 20%.

    I hope the Brit’s listen to sensible Australian advice coming from the Green’s leader here:

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/aussie-greens-leader-natalie-bennett-wants-uk-vote-reform-20150509-ggxu4c.html

  63. Megan
    May 9th, 2015 at 14:42 | #63

    After a much over-hyped terrrrr thing in Melbourne a kid has been arrested and charged.

    People should think carefully about the wide range of possible things which could land one a life sentence.

    Late yesterday, (Friday 8 May) a 17-year-old from Greenvale was charged with engaging in an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act contrary to section 101.6 of the Criminal Code(Cth) and possess things connected with a terrorist act, contrary to section 101.4 of the Criminal Code (Cth).

    “terrorist act” is defined to include a threat of an action as well as the action itself.

    Under the sections he is charged with, the planning, preparation or possessed thing in connection with the terrorist act need not be related to any specific terrorist act (bearing in mind the definition includes a “threat”).

    The thought crime of thinking of making a certain type of threat would be covered by one charge and having a piece of paper and a pen ready to write down that thought would be covered by the other.

  64. Ivor
    May 9th, 2015 at 14:51 | #64

    @Megan

    Falsely and opportunistically tagging someone as saying “Vote Fascist Labour”, is obnoxious.

    Tagging people as “you lying sack of manure” or as “Turds” is contemptible.

    It is a form of Stalinism.

    In fact those who raille against fascism, or tag others as turds, are usually more guilty themselves.

    Are you a Red Fascist?

  65. Ikonoclast
    May 9th, 2015 at 15:17 | #65

    @Ivor

    I can understand Megan’s frustration with modern “Labor” in Australia and the UK. They are not a labour party, they are not a workers’ party, they are not a people’s party, they are not a green party. They are Tory Lite. They are completely in bed with corporate capital and the military-industrial-security complex. They implement, run and/or support concentration camps (depending on whether they are in government or opposition). I am talking about the ALP here in particular. Nauru and Manus Island are concentration camps. The ALP has zero moral credibility. Of course, the Tories too have zero moral credibility.

    Megan is quite right. Politics cannot change until the duopoly Extreme Right Wing parties of LNP and ALP (in Australia) are destroyed at the ballot box. The Greens are the best hope we have at the moment. Until the Australian Greens or a like party gets a majority in the Reps then we have absolutely no hope of the policies we need. If their chances remain perennially low (which is quite likely) then quite simply we will soon be stuffed for all time.

  66. J-D
    May 9th, 2015 at 15:23 | #66

    @Megan

    Does it surprise you to learn that I agree with a major part of that — at least the headline?

    The suggestion that Labour lost the election as a result of people voting for the SNP is, as I mentioned previously, demonstrably arithmetically false, and I wouldn’t expect to see it being generally repeated across the mainstream media (although I accept what you say about having seen it on the Mirror website, and to that extent I apologise for my previously expressed doubt of you).

    The suggestion that Labour would have done better if it had not diverted energy into attacking the SNP — yes, that’s plausible (although obviously we can never know for sure what would have happened if one (or all) of the parties had campaigned differently) and to that extent we seem to be in agreement.

  67. J-D
    May 9th, 2015 at 15:26 | #67

    At the 2010 general election, the Conservative Party received 36.1% of all votes cast; at the 2015 general election, 36.9%, the slightest of increases. For the Labour Party, the figures were 29.0% and 30.4%; also only a slight increase, although slightly more than the one achieved by the Conservatives. If we consider what the voters asked for (as opposed to what, in terms of seats won in the House of Commons and government formed, they got), there’s no big change there: the big change was in the votes cast for the Liberal Democrats, which went from 23.0% to 7.9%. It’s hard to doubt that a big reason for that change is that the majority of people who voted for the Liberal Democrats in 2010 did not want and were not asking for a coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

    It’s what they got, though. That’s the achievement of leading Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg and those closest to him. After the 2010 general election they had a choice. They could have decided to honour the wishes of their party’s members and supporters, to stand on principle, to vote in Parliament on the merits of each issue as it arose, and to make no bargains with other parties.

    Instead they seized the opportunity to become Cabinet ministers, and nobody will ever be able to take that experience away from them.

  68. Megan
    May 9th, 2015 at 15:32 | #68

    @Ivor

    If you check what Brand said before the election (i.e. that he himself deliberately decided to endorse Labour BEFORE approaching them) with what he says now (i.e. he was “caught up” in the mad thick of it), then it looks to me like he is lying. “Sack of manure” and “turd” is my reaction and response to that.

    I’ve explained before that I use the Mussolini definition of fascism (“corporatism”) when I use it to describe Labour. Brand exhorted people to vote Labour.

    If the shoe fits….

    I agree with what Ikon wrote above.

    By the way, in Scotland where Labour were wiped out by the SNP they are widely described as “Red Tories”.

  69. Ivor
    May 9th, 2015 at 15:34 | #69

    @Ikonoclast

    People can be frustrated without parading themselves as high priests of the looney Left?

    People interested in real politics should spend a while listening to, and digesting, this:

  70. Ikonoclast
    May 9th, 2015 at 19:04 | #70

    @Ivor

    I am not interested in real bourgeois politics. That is their game. You will never beat them at it.

  71. Megan
    May 9th, 2015 at 19:07 | #71

    Ah, deeply cynical divisive hate politics and wedge tactics?

    Lee Atwater was also an expert at that, and it works very well – if destroying your country’s democracy and dragging its political spectrum to the extreme (fascist) right is your goal.

    Boogie Man is a comprehensive look at Lee Atwater, the blues-playing rogue whose rambunctious rise from the South to Chairman of the GOP made him a household name. He mentored Karl Rove and George W. Bush while leading the Republican Party to historic victories and transforming the way America elects its Presidents. In eye-opening interviews with Atwater’s closest friends and enemies, Boogie Man sheds new light on his crucial role in America’s shift to the right. To Democrats offended by his cutthroat style, Atwater was a political assassin dubbed by one Congresswoman the most evil man in America. But to many Republicans he remains a hero for his deep understanding of the American heartland and his unapologetic vision of politics as war. It is said that you cannot understand US politics today if you don’t understand Lee Atwater.

    Watch it for free (with some ads) here.

    I’ve never bought the argument that “to beat the ‘tories’ we have to be exactly like them, or even worse”. Two problems: 1- they are the experts, it’s natural for them and it just looks silly when a supposed ‘left’/’progressive’ party tries to do it; and 2- If you manage to win, then what? You suddenly reveal your ‘true identity’ and implement real ‘left’ policies?

    You might also want to read one of the few political books that actually left me feeling nauseous: “Whatever It Takes” by Graham Richardson.

  72. zoot
    May 9th, 2015 at 19:10 | #72

    @Megan
    I find it intensely interesting that we can arrest kids for thinking about a terrorist act, but we can’t arrest them for thinking about importing drugs into the country.

  73. Megan
    May 9th, 2015 at 20:02 | #73

    @zoot

    Point taken, but don’t go giving them ideas!

    In my view they could/should have hauled in the ones they knew about for “a chat” (this happens all the time and is legal if done properly) and said “We know what you’re up to and we will tell the Indonesian authorities to keep an eye on you to make sure you stay out of trouble, now we don’t think we have enough to charge you if you won’t confess to the conspiracy but just letting you know the risk level – it’s up to you what happens next.”

  74. Megan
    May 9th, 2015 at 20:03 | #74

    Today I read a piece by a UK writer, Matt Carr, which captures this illness – or psychic conflict – afflicting the ALP here and Labour there.

    He starts off with the predictable “they would be worse” line, blames the stupid voters for not seeing and supporting this view, then acknowledges the lack of any real ‘progressive’ policies and the support for neo-liberalism, militarism, free-market fundamentalism etc.. as the real problem it is electorally and concludes with the weird pronouncement that this loss is a blow to the forces for progress.

    I have never been impressed by Miliband either before the campaign or during it, but the things that this government has done – and which it promises to do – have been so brutal, so dishonest and so horrendous, that I believed that even an electorate that too often seems all too willing to believe anything and accept anything could not give the Tories a mandate. Regardless of the coming Labour meltdown in Scotland, I thought there would be a close result overall, possibly a narrow Labour victory and most likely a hung parliament that would have stymied the Tories and forced Miliband into some kind of progressive, anti-austerity coalition.

    But nope…voters chose to reward one of the most vicious rightwing governments in British history with a near majority.

    It’s a result that was made possible by a sheeplike, frightened and rancorous population that appears increasingly disposed to believe all the lies that it is told by its vile newspapers. It is an irrational, stupid and fearful vote by an electorate that doesn’t even recognize its own self-interest, let alone the interests of others, that has abandoned any commitment to even the most elementary principles of social justice; that didn’t couldn’t even see that Miliband’s tepid, focus-group-manufactured One Nation ‘fairness’ was still preferable to the dismal social cruelty that the government has already inflicted and which is certain to intensify in the next five years.

    Labour’s fate was clearly sealed in Scotland long before the election, through years of taking its electorate for granted and through its alliance with the Tories over the referendum campaign. But even during this campaign Nicola Sturgeon continually put forward the idea of a ‘progressive anti-austerity alliance’ on both sides of the border, which Miliband continually rejected.

    What a coward and what a fool. Instead he tried to convince the electorate that Labour was the party of social justice, even as he remained committed to an austerity programme of unspecified cuts that was essentially a ‘softer’ version of what the Tories were already planning. He tried to please all the people and ended up pleasing very few of them. He didn’t convince left-leaning voters that he would ‘change the way the country is run’ and he didn’t convince those who already believe in Tory economic ‘competence’ that he could run it more efficiently.

    There will hopefully, be the defeat of Nigel Farage in South Thanet.

    But these are small crumbs of schadenfreude that cannot compensate for the monumental disaster for progressive politics that took place yesterday. Maybe something positive will come from it. But right now I can’t think what it can be. And I feel ashamed of my country and disgusted with it.

    They simply don’t get it.

  75. Donald Oats
    May 9th, 2015 at 21:47 | #75

    If neither of the two big political parties are offering honesty and commitment to us, the voters, then let’s not vote for those parties. I urge all disgruntled progressive liberals to consider casting their vote for the Greens at the top, and then watch as both major parties panic at the loss of their centres, only skating into power on preferences (whichever way the preferences eventually go). With that extra destabilisation happening to both major parties, I think we’d see some deeper thinking going on about what they stand for, and how to actually deliver it. Along the way, a few more Greens might make it into politics, and I don’t think that would necessarily be a bad thing.
    Vote Green: it is the only rational choice 🙂

    PS: no I’m not a member, I’m not a volunteer or paid by the Greens, I just can’t see why voting ALP or LNP is worth it, as they tend to share an obsession with the economy which is the filter through which they view all other issues.

  76. Ivor
    May 9th, 2015 at 23:44 | #76

    @Ikonoclast

    They rely on you going AWOL.

    The less real opposition the better.

    They are better-off if all the bloggers just keep on blogging and if angst-ridden middle class activists just keep marching up and down the streets and swilling beer at Politics-in-the-Pub while they get on arranging deals, sticking mates into parliaments, glad-handling journalists, running their agendas and drafting new legislation to cut entitlements from workers and the poor.

    Now is not the time for shouting from the sidelines.

  77. Megan
    May 10th, 2015 at 00:32 | #77

    @Ivor

    And how does supporting the ALP fit into all of that?

  78. Fran Barlow
    May 10th, 2015 at 06:32 | #78

    @J-D

    One may add that ruling out any kind of working arrangement with the SNP almost certainly damaged the Labour vote.

    If you’re effectively appealing for a tactical vote — hold your nose and vote Labour — and people don’t believe Labour will win an an absolute majority, then ‘get rid of the Tories — vote Labour’ becomes implausible. You might as well stay home, (roughly 1/3 did this time) because only the Tories can win. Indeed, you might have belied a Tory-UKIP-DUP-LD-regime would ensue, and that would hurt the Cons if Labour (without Miliband) + SNP + others were in the majority.

    Equally, the refusal to work with the SNP was apparently driven by Labour’s preference for austerity, the desire for Trident, and fear of being trolled by Murdoch. None of these things would have inclined left of centre voters to turn out for them. It might well be that Labour’s vow to sit in opposition if it failed to get an absolute majority for its brand (ha!) of austerity sealed the result.

  79. Ikonoclast
    May 10th, 2015 at 07:42 | #79

    @Ivor

    But that is the point Ivor, the ALP are not real opposition. They are part of the neocon establishment. Fundamentally, all Megan and I are saying is “Don’t vote for the neocon establishment duopoly.” We are not saying don’t vote. We are not saying don’t engage. We are saying don’t engage with them.

  80. Ikonoclast
    May 10th, 2015 at 08:15 | #80

    Further to my reply to Ivor at no. 79.

    We have to look and work forward to a sea change in politics. This sea change can only occur when a real crisis occurs. The crisis will most likely be of an economic nature first but it could also be a war or a natural crisis. While the current system can provide the bread and the circuses, keep the population propagandised and sweep disconcerting evidence under the carpet (poverty, environment collapse, climate change, limits to growth) it can maintain a false consciousness and a false sense of safety, well-being and good prospects in the people. The people are duped and think everything is alright and that this system can run indefinitely.

    The time of the Green parties and genuine Left parties will come. This is because the time will come whern climate change is undeniable, when inequality is undeniable and these phenomena are hurting the majority of the people. People think they have no real choice and no alternatives to this system. Currently, this perception is right in formal terms though it is not right in real terms. As this system stands, as it is formally constructed, the people have no choices and no alternatives. The system would have to be changed to allow choices and alternatives.

    Electoral outcomes are becoming more and more unstable. Swings are becoming wilder as people rush alternatively to the right side of the ship of state and then to the “left” side. However, the course is not set by the people engaged on the deck or disengaged in the cabins but by the corporate and oligarchic course-plotting masters in the wheelroom who direct the duopoly parties who take turns at the wheel. The increasing electoral instability of electoral outcomes indicates the underlying perturbation in the complex system, in the entire socio-political economy.

    While the majority of the people are not desperate they will accept their fate. They have a deep sense of unease but feel (being propagandised) that their masters know better than they what is the correct course. But when they clearly see the ship being steered straight for the rocks matters (and politics) will change swiftly.

    Greece illustrates the first phase of these changes. Parties which were once entrenched as part of the status quo (be it duopoly, triopoly etc.) were almost destroyed overnight in one election. This is not to say they might not come back again (for a while or a last hurrah). The wild electoral swings there are not necessarily over yet. The new party wants to plot a new course but it runs into enormous difficulty. The wheel is lashed by constraints, the engine room takes orders directly from the oligarchic masters not from the captain. And so it goes… until the people see the ship heading straight for the rocks. Then things get… interesting, we may say.

  81. J-D
    May 10th, 2015 at 08:15 | #81

    @Fran Barlow

    I’m not persuaded by what you write because I’m not clear enough on what you’re suggesting.

    If you’re suggesting that Labour would have won more votes and seats by saying something different from ‘we will sit in Opposition if we do not get an absolute majority’, what is that something other tactic that you think would have worked more to that advantage?

    I’ve given the matter some thought myself, and (if you’re interested) I can tell you exactly what alternative tactic I think would have been most to Labour’s partisan advantage, but I suspect it may be different from what you have in mind.

    As I wrote before, there’s no way to prove what the outcome would have been if the parties had followed different strategies. We can only make estimates. Although I don’t think so, it’s possible that if Labour had adopted my tactical ideas they would have done even worse than they actually did. Equally it’s possible that if Labour had adopted your tactical ideas they would have done even worse than they actually did. I don’t see how to form any estimate without a clearer idea of what your tactical suggestion actually is.

  82. Ikonoclast
    May 10th, 2015 at 08:22 | #82

    @J-D

    So, all you are interested in is nit-picking the tactics of one of the duoploy parties which is part of the unsustainable BAU status quo? You are not interested in analysing the deeper phenomena that are driving and will drive events? Why am I not surprised?

  83. J-D
    May 10th, 2015 at 08:30 | #83

    There’s been some criticism of the effects of the UK’s electoral system, and it makes me wonder about how people would answer this question.

    Given that 37% of votes cast went to the Conservatives, 30% to Labour, 13% to the UK Independence Party, 8% to the Liberal Democrats, 5% to the Scottish Nationalists, and 4% to the Greens, who should be in the Cabinet and who should be Prime Minister? What sort of government should there be?

    I know what the result is going to be — there’s going to be a Conservative government, with a Cabinet made up exclusively of Conservatives led by a Conservative Prime Minister — but I’m wondering what people think the result should be, given the way people voted, under a better system (if they think there’s something wrong with the system the way it is).

  84. Ivor
    May 10th, 2015 at 08:45 | #84

    @Megan

    It is not a question of supporting the ALP, the Greens are also playing the game at a professional level.

    While there have been other useful initiatives – eg maverick independents – Phil Cleary (Wills), George Galloway (UK), Bernie Sanders (USA), and successful parties such as the NDP, nonetheless in the long run, it is Parliament that makes the laws, and it is Parliament that has the active, entrenched support as underpinning Australian society, by the vast majority of Australians.

    It is a standard tactic of capitalists to split those opposed to capitalism from the mainstream.

  85. Ivor
    May 10th, 2015 at 08:55 | #85

    @Ikonoclast

    I expect that the time for Green parties and genuine Left parties will come, but so far most efforts by he Greens have been within a Keynesian capitalist framework, although the work on cooperatives by Race Matthews is interesting.

  86. J-D
    May 10th, 2015 at 09:15 | #86

    @Ikonoclast

    No, that’s not all I am interested in, but it is one of the things I am interested in, and more specifically it’s the exact topic raised by the earlier comments by Megan and Fran Barlow that I’ve responded to. So if you object to there being any discussion of the topic at all, you should direct your objection to them.

    I don’t notice you making any suggestions for effective strategies to change the business-as-usual status quo, but if you do have any constructive ideas I look forward to reading about them.

  87. Megan
    May 10th, 2015 at 09:42 | #87

    War Criminal, fascist and neo-con champion extraordinaire – Tony Blair – knows where Labour went wrong:

    Tony Blair has insisted that Labour can recover from its disastrous general election defeat only if it reoccupies the centre ground of British politics, proudly championing a pro-business agenda and bold new ideas to reform public services.

    As the party attempts to come to terms with a devastating result that saw the Conservatives returned to office for five more years with an unexpected Commons majority, the former prime minister and three-times election winner said Labour has to be “for ambition and aspiration as well as compassion and care”.

    I reckon the neo-con fascists are terrified that the people inside and connected with Labour essential to maintaining the charade might turn against the ultra-right brigade and either desert en masse or actually demand their party change.

  88. Ikonoclast
    May 10th, 2015 at 09:59 | #88

    @J-D

    Fran and others you mention engage with substantial topics also and they don’t confine themselves to quibbling.

    I have said people should destroy the enablers of the status quo (the current duopoly parties) at the ballot box and vote Green or Left. It’s the same thing Megan has said. I have said we need to change the ownership of our production system from oligarchic to collective ownership. These are not original thoughts of course. I have commented on the difficulty of changing mindsets while the people are fooled by ideology (one can call it false consciousness if one wants to be both fancy and accurate). I have commented that the time that change will become possible is when the current system manifestly fails as it will indeed do due to both its internal contradictions and limits to growth (external contradictions with the environment).

    A great philosopher, Francis Bacon, (1st Viscount St. Alban, QC, 1561 – 1626 in case you want to quibble) once wrote: : “Nature to be commanded must be obeyed.”

    I cannot command this system to change. Leaders with a different vision cannot command this system to change. The people, acting as a mass, are nature in a sense (natural animals acting socially). It is they who will change the system en masse when the pressure to change or face poverty, disaster and collapse becomes great enough. A leader and vanguard intellectual and political movement which understands these facts, knows they cannot command the people to change the system en masse until conditions are propitious. They will catch the wave of change at that time and hopefully direct and channel it in the most efficacious direction. To “command” events they must obey the inheremt logic of the natural and social forces in train.

    To understand these ideas you need to see civilization and environment as complex natural systems. Everything humans do is natural too. It is artifice yes but artifice within and still ulimately dependent on and controlled by natural parameters.

  89. Ken Fabian
    May 10th, 2015 at 10:29 | #89

    On Maurice Newman – is he publishing his drivel with the full knowledge and consent of the PM or his office? Is he actually saying what Abbott would say if the PM could bring himself to be frank with the Australian people? Prevented by eco-fascist censorship – as per Brandis and Julie Bishop’s pre-emptive excuses for being deliberately misleading and deceptive? “Greenies made us do it”.

    Certainly there has been no criticism, censure or even comment about Newman’s appalling opinions from Abbott, which suggests the PM has no problem with someone attached to his office gratuitously slandering scientists and the climate concerned. Or perhaps, noting Newman’s concerns about a global conspiracy involving Australian scientific bodies like CSIRO, BoM, Australian Academy of Sciences taking orders from UN shadowmasters, has passed them on to ASIO and the Attorney General’s department for further investigation?

    It’s no surprise that a leading Lobbyist for Australian business is a source of these bizarre conspiracy theories and slanders – it has been the consensus view of Australia’s business leaders that treating the climate problem as real will lead to a never ending burden of economic costs – as irreversible as the scientists say climate change is – so treating it as not real is preferable. It’s not a scientific judgement and it ain’t personal – scientists and concerned citizens who’s reputations are being deliberately blackened – it’s just business using the tools at it’s disposal to influence government policy. Lobbying, judicious donating, PR, Advertising, post politics job opportunities for key decision makers, purchasing favourable MSM editorial opinion along with advertising space, Tankthink etc.

    Whether Abbott is gullible enough to believe Newman’s take on climate or is tribal enough to not care – I actually suspect both but Tony isn’t saying is he? – it reveals clearly an unfitness to hold the position of trust and responsibility that he does.

    PS I hear the Lomborg consensus centre deal is off – not that Abbott needs instruction on how to do Lukewarmism.

  90. J-D
    May 10th, 2015 at 10:59 | #90

    @Ikonoclast

    I am acutely interested in the question ‘What could the Greens do that would result in more people voting for them?’ But I have absolutely no idea what the answers might be. If you have any suggestions I would be most interested to read them.

  91. J-D
    May 10th, 2015 at 11:00 | #91

    @J-D

    Forgot to say: I am equally interested in any answers to that question that might come from Fran Barlow or from Megan or from anybody else.

  92. Megan
    May 10th, 2015 at 11:15 | #92

    @J-D

    I’ll leave any specifics for now, but note that – looked at as a trend – more people are voting for them.

  93. Fran Barlow
    May 10th, 2015 at 11:18 | #93

    @J-D

    It seems to me that at least 12 months ago, the British Labour Party ought to have declared its key aims to have been resisting austerity and fighting overweening corporate power in public life. Had they done this by at least one important criterion if not others they’d have emerged better from this election, whatever the result.

    When the Scottish referendum on autonomy occurred they could have taken a position of hostile neutrality — describing it as ‘a distraction from the fight to end austerity and assert popular sovereignty over the 1% since these questions would persist for Scots regardless of whether government took place in Westminster or Holyrood.

    When asked if they planned to cut a deal with the SNP to oust Cameron they could simply have responded that they would work with anyone to fight Cameron’s austerity and the ‘power of the city’. They could remind people that it’s the people who determine who serves them, not the press, and that traditionally, the government was the choice of the House of Commons.

    Had they done this, there are three broadly conceivable outcomes

    A) a smashing victory over the conservatives
    B) about the same as what occurred now, at least in terms of the composition of the parliament
    C) a reduction in the number of seats beyond the 26 they have conceded

    Even in the worst case scenario, (C) they have the advantage of finally burying the Blair-Brown-Murdoch years and can start the process free of their entanglements with their right flank. They have lost the election but have finally done the figurative equivalent of a person who has summoned the courage to leave a toxic relationship, and to borrow from that famous anthem, can ‘save up all their lovin’ for someone that’s lovin’ me’.

    It’s hard to imagine that this line would not have played better in Scotland, many of whose voters appear keener on fighting austerity than Independence, regardless of how the referendum went. Also they’d have avoided blurring their banner with that of Cameron.

    It would also have hurt us Greens, and Plaid Cymru because it would have been hard not to want to vote tactically for the party in those circumstances, and a large chunk of those non-voters would surely have turned out to vote. The UKIP wouldn’t have been happy because a whole swathe of their voters would have had to choose between racism and an end to austerity. I suspect many would have chosen the latter.

    It seems to me that a smashing victory would have been the most likely of outcome. Really though how one responds to this question is really about what one imagines the mission of an ostensibly progressive party is. IMO, the party’s key role is to empower the marginalised to speak their truths to power, by being the connective tissue that joins them in common struggle against their exploiters and enemies. For as long as the party does this, it matters not who wins any election, because the working people and their can have hope in a better day,and are encouraged to work harder to resist, not merely at elections but in every forum where the exploiters seek to bully them into submission.

    The biggest loss in this election occurred well before the result was knowable — and lay in the Labour Party underlining its commitment to untrammelled boss class rule, by again emphasising the Blair paradigm — apparently in stone.

    That left the Labour Party not only defeated but without even the defence that they fought the good fight for social justice only to be overwhelmed by the power of the boss class criminals in London.

  94. Ikonoclast
    May 10th, 2015 at 11:34 | #94

    @J-D

    I already explained conditions must become more propititious for their message before a lot of people would vote for them. I don’t think you understand what I am saying at all. The Green’s message is correct now (for the most part) but there is nothing they can do while conditions remain such that people don’t believe any of the concerns about our future. Until these realities (climate change, limits to growth, growing inequality) impinge on most people they just won’t believe the message. All the Greens can do is stay on message and wait for empirical reality, palapable, near, lived reality, to convince people the Greens are right and have been right all along.

    You suffer from the illusory belief that debating skills or message skill, or mere political tactics or even actually being conceptually right will convince people. It won’t. Only force of historical and material reality will convince them when a pack of ugly, ravening realities bites them and their loved ones on the ass and tears great chunks out of them. Until then, mere words will change nothing. At that time words will then work, as rhetoric, as exhortation, as conceptual programs, as texts, models, tracts and so on, for dealing with the new, real and immediate problems.

  95. Ikonoclast
    May 10th, 2015 at 11:39 | #95

    @Fran Barlow

    You are right Fran but we can be pretty much certain that UK or Aussie Labor will never behave that way again. They are compleltely bought and suborned just like the Tories. They belong to corporate oligarchy their heart, mind and soul. The only thing to do is to totally desert the duopoly and destroy them all at the ballot box.

  96. Troy Prideaux
    May 10th, 2015 at 11:43 | #96

    Ken, it wouldn’t surprise me if Abbott actually wrote the script. Remember Abbott was elected leader of the LNP for his climate change stance and let’s face it, Newman was provided his advisory position due to his views on climate change.
    However, I think it’s unfair to tar the business community in general with this same brush. Most are far smarter than that.

  97. Collin Street
    May 10th, 2015 at 12:13 | #97

    However, I think it’s unfair to tar the business community in general with this same brush. Most are far smarter than that.

    The sectors of the economy that tend to favour the Right are the ones which are basically hostage to decisions made by other people: property development, mining, finance. Used to be farming, too, but the diversification and complexification of the farming business has seen a shift away from the Right.

    If you’re dependent on the decisions other people make, your own decision-making skills don’t matter as much.

  98. Fran Barlow
    May 10th, 2015 at 15:19 | #98

    It is interesting that in Scotland (as in England and Wales for the Tories) that the SNP still didn’t manage 50% of the vote (roughly 44%), despite getting 56/59 seats — roughly 95% of the seats. Mathematically, this is more than double the value to which each voter would in a fair system be entitled. This suggests that there was a highly efficient distribution of SNP voters across each seat or an inefficient distribution of those voting for other parties in Scotland. People have commented on the disconnect between the referendum result and the performance in this poll, but as it turns out, a higher percentage of Scots voted for independence (about 48%) than voted for the SNP in this election. The difference as that the regerendum required 50% to pass whereas the elections don’t require anyone to get 50% to win.

    Conversely the Tories captured 331 of the 650 seats in the Commons (50.8% of the seats) with just 36.1% of the valid votes, which though a very significantly less efficient distribution of voter support than that of the SNP, still overvalues the influence of each Tory by nearly 40%.

    The Greens by contrast, achieved a bit more than 4% of the vote and achieved not 26 seats but just one, making the efficiency of their distribution about 23%.

    Keep in mind that about 1/3 failed to cast any vote at all so one may say that each Tory vote is worth about 1/3 more than that.

    The electoral system is very hostile to diversity and pluralism and this reality in turn militates against participation, exaggerating this defect in a positive feedback loop. Goven th very large gap between rich and poor, the power of the city and its close connection with the Murdoch Press, what we have is massive adverse selection built into the system and its periphery — one large enough to deligitimate the entire process theough which the quality of governance is shaped and determined.

  99. Fran Barlow
    May 10th, 2015 at 15:20 | #99

    Oops *delegitimate*

  100. Megan
    May 10th, 2015 at 15:47 | #100
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