121 thoughts on “Monday Message Board (on Tuesday)

  1. 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.

  2. @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.

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

  4. @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.

  5. @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.

  6. 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):

    “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.

  7. 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.”

  8. @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.

  9. @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.

  10. @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

  11. 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.

  12. @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?

  13. @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.

  14. @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.

  15. 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.

  16. @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”.

  17. @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:

  18. 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.

  19. @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.

  20. @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.”

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. @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.

  24. @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.

  25. @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.

  26. 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.

  27. @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.

  28. @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?

  29. 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).

  30. @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.

  31. @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.

  32. @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.

  33. 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.

  34. @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.

  35. 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.

  36. @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.

  37. @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.

  38. @J-D

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

  39. @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.

  40. @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.

  41. @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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

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