What I did on my holiday …

… from blogging.

I’ve been off-air for quite a while. First, I was travelling in Europe, mainly based in Paris, doing some joint work with colleagues there and attending conferences on decision theory. I made some good progress on my main project, on the role of unforeseen contingencies in financial crises, which hope will lead to some interesting posts in the future.

I got back a couple of weeks ago, with a week to spare before I went to the Cairns Adventure Festival, where I entered in the 70.3 (Half Ironman) event. I was the last person to finish within the stated cutoff time of 8 hours, though a few crossed the line after that. Still, I finished, which pleased me a lot given that two weeks in Paris would be suboptimal for training even if it hadn’t been wet and cold enough that I caught a nasty cold there.

That was a week ago, and I’ve been catching up on unfinished business, and planning a return to regular blogging. The state of Australian politics is so depressing that I plan to avoid the topic altogether[1], which will give me a chance to talk about some of the broader issues we face.

fn1. Let’s see if I can hold myself to this, or whether I get so annoyed I need to vent

8 thoughts on “What I did on my holiday …

  1. Is that last bit a challenge, to see if we can poke the pig enough to stir? Let’s see, there’s Assange maybe running for the senate, Clive Palmer’s remarkably untelegenic efforts, Bob Katter et al, the hardy perennial Pauline Hanson – and that’s just around the edges, without even going into the structural issues that lock everything up inside political machines that not only never let other approaches get a look in but also entertain us with their chronic and often personality driven internal dysfunctions (think agency costs in firms prioritising managers’ interests as capturing agents, then transfer that to the political arena and public choice theory to see how politicians represent politicians).

    Poke, prod. Over to you, readers.

  2. The saving grace about Australian politics is that although it is a complete joke, it has largely been a peaceful joke to date. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  3. Oops, I am guilty of forgetting a lot of history from the killing of indigenous peoples thru to Eureka Stockade through to the Joh era in Qld through to docker’s strikes. Strike my last comment.

  4. John,
    while you might not talk about Australian politics as it is, what about discussion of how it could be? The role of left thinkers changes when in opposition.

    This is my two cents: when Labor are in power, ministers tend to pay attention to the in-house spin doctors and the army of advisers. The conservative press attack policies with varying degrees of inaccuracy, and progressive bloggers try to fend off and fact check in response.

    When Labor are in opposition, all the ministerial money dries up and access to the bureaucracy disappears. This ought to lead to an ever-so-slight shift of attention to think tanks, and other forums for policy innovation etc, and perhaps that’s a good moment for the Australian left/centre-left to take stock of where it’s at and think about how to shape its future identity. Just a thought.

  5. @RJL

    I think Labor should listen to the electorate directly; not to think tanks and not to spin doctors and contrived focus sessions. Having said that, the caveat is to form policy in a popular manner but not in a populist manner which amounts to demagoguery and appeals to prejudice and ignorance.

    Labor should frankly state its aim to be to represent the workers, self-employed, small business, unemployed, pensioners, ordinary superannuants and their dependents ie. about 95% of the population. They should frankly state, “We are not in politics to represent the idle rich, capitalists and financiers who exploit the work of everyone else and who produce nothing themselves.”

    If only they had the guts to say it and do it.

  6. I like Lathams idea that Rudd should not be rewarded for his whiteanting .He almost lost the last election and has ensured the next loss is huge .

    If it werent that damage will be done to the real world in the process ,I would not mind a rout that allows Labor to reconfigure and puts the Coalitions dud policy in action for a period to make its defence untenable (something I thought was happening in 08) .How badly do things have to stuff up and for how long before fundamentalists will admit theres a problem -rather than revert to claiming it went wrong because they were prevented from going further down their silly road ?

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