Who prefers the Greens, part 3

As predicted, the Liberals have given preferences to the Greens ahead of Labor, raising the prospect that the Greens might win some urban seats and perhaps hold the balance of power in a hung Parliament. As I’ve observed previously, the Greens have been subject to ferocious attacks, in the course of which they’ve been compared to Communists, Nazis, kooks and vandals. Presumably, a party that would give preferences to Communists or Nazis ought not to be supported by decent Australians.

So will any of those who have denounced the Greens in these terms follow through and advocate a vote against their Liberal allies? Will any of them even condemn the government? I’m not holding my breath.

Monday Message Board

It’s time for the Monday Message Board, where readers are invited to post their thoughts on any topic (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). There will be plenty of posts from me on the election, and plenty of room for discussion, so I’d encourage Message Board comments on other issues.

Like drunken sailors

Paul Krugman, observing Bush’s deficit policy made the observation that the traditional Republican critique of the Keynesian case for using deficits to stimulate the economy (that, once you started running deficits, you’d never find a suitable time to stop) was true, but only as regards Republicans.

Similarly, having been announced his conversion to the cause of social democracy a few days ago, Howard is behaving like an economic rationalist’s caricature of a social democrat, spraying billions of dollars around in a combination of interest-group pork-barrelling and half-baked ideas for micromanagement of everything from the TAFE sector to the taxi industry. Meanwhile, the decision to make the states pay for the National Water Initiative means that basic needs for schools and hospitals will be worse-funded than before. Again, more detail from Chris Sheil

Labor’s correct response here, I would say is not to engage in an item-by-item bidding war, but to announce one big intervention in Medicare, using part of the money already spent by Howard.

Update Monday AM The “drunken sailor” description is irresistibly apt. Crikey used it to, and here’s the Oz editorial

The irrationality of terror

A lot of discussion of terrorism is based on the assumption that, however morally deplorable it may be, it’s effective. I don’t think this is true – terrorism generally harms the causes it supposedly seeks to advance. Anne Applebaum points to the kinds of evidence that convince me of this, notably the counterproductive effects of Palestinian terrorism. (I’d also mention the IRA, which has achieved less in 30 years of terrorism than could have been obtained if peaceful civil rights agitation had been maintained for a few years in the 1970s).

Let’s hear it for the lawyers

It’s going to be a long campaign, and many people will be glad of the diversion provided by the football finals. And, for me at least, the news has all been good on this front. Alastair Lynch is making a good recovery from his hamstring injury, and Brisbane’s crack lawyers got Jonathan Brown off on a technicality last night. Nothing is certain in sport or politics, but, with a full-strength team, Brisbane are odds-on to win a fourth straight premiership (Centrebet is paying $1.63, and this time I think the markets have it right).