Tuesday, April 14, 2015
In which, it being Tuesday, the pond broods about the Caterists and their fear and loathing of the middle class, a decent education and climate science...
(Above: in view of the current economic crisis, the pond is on hand to propose that the country be put on a war footing, and offers tips and recipes to assist. 'Making good wives better' is the motto of the pond, and don't forget the Pond's).
Irrespective of the merits of the candidates, there's something singularly depressing about what passes for politics in the United States, and the prospect of a Clinton v. Bush re-run yet again, and the prospect of both sides spending at least $2.5 billion, meaning that $5 billion will be spent acquiring the levers that allow favourites to be rewarded and dispensations paid out ...
It's even more depressing contemplating the motley, frequently barking mad crew that make up the party of Lincoln's current crop of pretenders ...
If that's democracy, funded by the Koch brothers, then the French did a bad job trying to get rid of hereditary monarchies ...
But enough of world or American ironies, because down under is producing its fair share on a daily basis ...
First up is the righteous applause on all sides for the government's stand on immunisation.
You see, routinely the reptiles at the lizard Oz boast about their 'small government' credentials. Oh there's a strong libertarian/Tea Party streak in the reptiles ...
Yet routinely the reptiles love the big, heavy hand of government ... and especially the punitive hand that sees welfare benefits treated as enforcer of government policy.
So on any day of the week, you can see headlines worrying about the godless inner suburbs of Sydney, yet rarely a headline denouncing the endless stupidity of god botherers refusing to allow immunisation of their children on the basis of some wacky, zany religious belief ...
So why not go the whole hog? Why not end the perks and tax benefits - estimated back in 2008 at $31 billion - you can see the figures here - that the government bestows on religious organisations?
Of course there are simpler ironies doing the rounds at the moment.
There's Tony Abbott and jolly Joe running around pretending that the states will somehow all get together and amiably sort out the west's problems, as if cat-herding was a state-based skill. Meanwhile, in secessionist country:
WA's credit rating could be downgraded because of the falling iron ore price and the State Government's failure to curb spending.
A decision could be made within weeks by either of the major ratings agencies to strip WA of its AA+ rating as the fall in iron ore threatens to punch a $5 billion hole in the State's finances.
Even a Federal Government one-off rescue package may not be enough to stop WA having the same credit rating as France or Kuwait. Two years ago, WA was rated AAA.
The steep fall in iron ore revenues, coupled with the continuing debate to get more GST, is hurting the State's longer-term plans to cut its overall debt level. (here).
And here's Victoria lending a helping hand:
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said WA's plea for more GST was a "bit rich", given the State's spending patterns in recent years. "They are spending like drunken sailors and they want Victorians to help them pay for it," he said.
And that's one of the more positive state responses.
Wheel in the federal cat herders? Why you'd need lions, not kittens, for that ...
Meanwhile, there's the splendid sight of Peter Costello taking to the Murdoch press to denounce the current government:
It turns out the smirking Cheshire cat has a deep sympathy with poor people, and an infallible ear for their suffering, and a deep desire to alleviate their tax burden.
The pond was almost moved to generate a pool of tears in which an Alice or a mouse might swim, so heartfelt was the pleading of the Cheshire cat ...
But instead the pond went off to read Why Hockey will have to clean up Costello's superannuation mess in May budget, which inter alia contained these lines:
Call it karma. It has fallen to Joe Hockey to undo two of the stupidest and potentially most expensive decisions ever made by an Australian government.
They were made by the Howard government of which Hockey was a part. But they were driven by its treasurer, Peter Costello, and by the Treasury itself. Costello announced both decisions on budget night 2006 with something of a flourish. They constituted "the most significant change to Australia's superannuation system in decades".
They would "sweep away the current raft of complexity faced by retirees, increase retirement incomes, give greater flexibility as to how and when superannuation can be drawn down, and improve incentives for older Australians to stay in the workforce".
About the only thing Costello did not mention was their long-term cost.
Of course not. Cheshire cats don't do long-term costs, they just do long-term bellyaching and yowling ...
The only question is whether Peter Martin is right in proposing that jolly Joe has the internal ticker to tackle government largesse to the rich. That's government voting heartland, and the Liberal party has never shown the ticker to be tough on their own ...
But enough already with the irony because today is Nick Cater day, and as usual the Caterists are brimming over with insights:
Yes, that'd be the authoritarianism of saying 'no immunisation, no welfare' and the authoritarian ways of Twiggy "let's form a cartel to save our hides" Forrest, a card-carrying member of the Labor party, it seems, on hand with the splendid idea of a Welfare Card to rein in the spending of riff raff and ne'er do wells, who simply don't understand cartel thinking ... or could it be that Twiggy is so dumb he can't understand human ingenuity, and BasicsCard users buying banned cigarettes with welfare, bartering groceries for alcohol and cash ...
Where's your iron ore price and your irony now Twiggy?
What's that you say?
The Caterists are actually intent on illustrating yet another tendency which has preoccupied the pond in recent weeks, which is the way the right wing love to adopt Labor renegades and other lost causes ...
Of course there are the old favourites, like Gary Johns and the Swiss bank account man, but the pool of tears needs constant refreshement.
Martin Ferguson has been the most recent example, though when you get the likes of Dan Tehan scribbling furiously for the AFR about the wonders of Fergie, and the evils of unions, you have to wonder if Fergie love has jumped the conservative shark and nuked the ideological fridge ...
Martin Fergusion trial will decide who controls the Labor party, Tehan scribbles, and the pond eagerly awaits his sequel, Fair taxation for the rich will decide who controls the Liberal party ...
And recently there has been a great outpouring of conservative fondness for the recently departed Peter Walsh, and today the Caterists provide a splendid example.
There are many, many things wrong in the world, and Walsh, it seems, managed with hearty good and common sense, to identify all of them:
Having voted in favour of the 1991 spill against Bob Hawke, Walsh later conceded that Keating’s legacy would have been better had he not become prime minister. Keating’s big mistake was to believe “power could be retained by pandering to vocal minorities with good media connections: green ideologues, the arts lobby, gender feminists, Aboriginal and ethnic activists”. A “propensity for self-delusion” meant Keating was unaware of the potential backlash and gullibly accepted ethnic activists’ claims “to actually speak for those they purport to represent”.
Indeed, indeed, though it's a pity that the Caterist excluded dangerous gays, secularists, atheists, the inner west, hipsters, spivs, the United Nations, do gooders and the self-indulgent middle class from the list ...
Oh wait, the pond should have read on:
Walsh was sadly absent from public debate in his latter years, but Confessions stands as an abiding record of the attitude that once prevailed in the Labor Party as the home of the cultural outsider. Increasingly, Walsh noted, Labor had become an instrument of the tertiary-educated establishment, prepared to sacrifice blue-collar jobs and opportunities “to appease bourgeois Left and middle-class trendoids in the gentrified suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne”.
Ah the bourgeois. Thank the long absent lord the Caterists show no signs of bourgeois tendencies ...
What a solid comrade he is, at one with removing decadence with the snicker snacker of his vorpal blade ...
Walsh foresaw the “cult” of political correctness that routinely smothers civic debate in these hypersensitive times. Its most pernicious consequence, said Walsh, was cultural relativity and a mood that threatened to undermine Australia’s Anglo-Celtic culture. “What psychotic disorder, what deep-seated se1f-loathing, causes people who are the beneficiaries of that heritage to constantly vilify and denigrate it?” he asks.
Labor, he suggested, was in danger of succumbing to a new illiberal force. The authoritarian Right, often associated with religion, had been superseded by “an authoritarian group which regards itself as Left progressive”.
Indeed, indeed, who dare question the treatment of children by the Catholic church? Though perhaps that can be sheeted home to its proper source, the decadent Europeans, the Italians, or perhaps the South Americans ...
And then the Caterists bring the threads together, the maltreatment of heroic figures by the Labor party ...
Walsh surely could not have imagined the further degrading of the Labor Party from the “whatever it takes” era of Richardson to the “woteva” generation represented by Sam Dastyari. Surely not even in his most dystopian imaginings would he have imagined a party so incapable of accommodating disagreement that it would consider expelling Martin Ferguson, a former minister and president of the ACTU. Incredibly, the dispute is about the merits of public ownership and the heavy-handed socialism from which Labor was retreating in the1980s.
Actually it shouldn't be that hard to imagine. Once you've kicked out the decadent middle class, and embraced disappearing blue collar jobs and imagined that you're living back in the 1950s in Anglo-Celtic bliss, why not embrace delusional thinking completely?
Of course a few days ago Peter Brent also mused on why scribblers like the Caterists love Fergie, love Walsh, love renegades and dissidents who have shifted to their side, but can still cloak themselves in the righteousness of having once been Labor:
Whatever the rights and wrongs of electricity privatisation, opposition to it was the chief element of the ALP’s election strategy in NSW last month, and Ferguson’s decision to give the Liberals permission to run a clip of him in their election advertisements was very naughty.
You might argue good on him for sticking to his principles, but when people join political parties, and reach professional heights because of membership, it imposes on them some obligations. Everyone loves an honest, tell-it-like-it-is political maverick — as long as they’re on the other side. Searching for an approximate equivalence across the aisle, the closest recent example is perhaps John Hewson and Malcolm Fraser, along with about 140 others, publicly pledging support for an emissions trading scheme in 2011, despite the federal party campaigning strongly against any form of carbon pricing. Fraser had already quit the Liberals, but Hewson apparently remained and remains a member.
How would the party have felt if Hewson had appeared in a pro-carbon price advertisement at the 2013 election? To many it would have been the last straw.
And then this:
During the Gillard years, Ferguson was Liberal Party supporters’ favourite Labor person — “this guy should be leader!”—(Crean came second) largely because he was rumoured to be climate change sceptical and gave the impression of being socially conservative.
When he announced his retirement in 2013 Tony Abbott eulogised him excessively. Martin was a fellow of great decency, a true Labor party man, son of the soil, throwback to the days when the party represented the workers, the battlers, not inner city trendoids.
Some of those mouthing these criticisms of the modern ALP seem to think they’re onto something new, but they’re very old hat, having been levelled at least as far back as the Hawke and Keating governments. And they won five elections.
Gough Whitlam is usually the villain in this faux nostalgia, polluting Australia’s oldest party with fashionable causes such as feminism, Aboriginal land rights and support for the arts.
Kim Beazley Senior’s 1970 words to the West Australian state conference often get a run: “When I joined the Labor Party, it contained the cream of the working class. But as I look about me now all I see are the dregs of the middle class. And what I want to know is when you middle class perverts are going to stop using the Labor Party as a spiritual spittoon.”
Two years later, the “dregs” and “perverts” took Beazley’s party to its first victory in 23 years. Whitlam made Labor electorally competitive. Between federation and his becoming leader in 1967, the ALP struggled to win one federal election in five; since then the tally has been about fifty-fifty. Australia’s working-class or blue-collar vote (whatever you call it and however you define it) collapses further and further over the decades, and any party that exclusively, or even predominately, represented its interests would struggle to receive support in the high teens.
What, from the Liberal Party’s point of view, would be not to like about that?
And it’s understandable that Coalition supporters have an itching to see Labor led by someone with a whiff of the 1950s like Martin Ferguson — or perhaps his brother Laurie, also in federal parliament, next to whom Martin is thoroughly modern.
Labor would never win an election. Politics would be fun and easy again. (You'll have to google the rest now the reptiles have put their blogs behind the paywall - let's hope Brent gets some reward for being banished from the general conversation).
Indeed. Bring back Arthur Calwell, the pond says, now there was a reliable loser ...
What routinely astonishes the pond is the way that the Caterists think they're offering insight, as opposed to age-old prejudices and bile ...
Like this sort of routine stupidity:
Walsh’s memoir published 20 years ago, provides a pertinent analysis of the moral arrogance that transformed Labor from the party of common people into the voice of the Balmain basketweavers.
The basketweavers voted greenie in the last state election, you enormous doofus ... you monstrously, reflexively stupid man ...
What else? Well it would be remiss for a man sheltering in a think tank in Canberra not to have a cheap shot at public servants, and so the Caterist does, and it would be remiss not to mention climate science:
Walsh anticipated almost all of the corrosive trends to which the ALP has since succumbed. The party’s unseemly intimacy with public service unions, its appeasement of environmental activists at the expense of working-class jobs, its support of reckless solutions to possible global warming and the rusting off of the party’s supporters in the outer suburbs are among the events foretold.
Walsh was one of the founders of the Lavoisier Group, and as the Caterists explain, he had impeccable scientific credentials, and here the pond must resort to a cut and paste:
The gift of sceptism?
By golly that's some gift.
So the reptiles use the same NZ subs the pond employs?
As for the actual group, you can Greg Hunt it here - and that provides a link to this richly evocative description of the group at work and play in 2004 here:
Secretary Ray Evans describes the 90-odd Lavoisier members as a "dad's army" of mostly retired engineers and scientists from the mining, manufacturing and construction industries. Many, he says, regard climate change as "a scam". It is unclear how much Hugh Morgan supports Lavoisier financially, but members pay an annual subscription of $50 and the annual budget is around $10,000. When they want to print a pamphlet to distribute at universities or take an advertisement in a newspaper - as they did in The Australian a few years ago - they appeal to members for money.
Fusty, old, quaint:
At 401 Collins Street on Monday night, 50 men gathered in a room of plush green carpet, pottery and antique lights to launch a book about the science of climate change. Some of them were scientists. But many were engineers and retired captains of industry. Presiding was Hugh Morgan, president of the Business Council of Australia and former Western Mining boss. The master of ceremonies was retired Labor politician Peter Walsh. Climate change is about science, but not just about science. It's about business and politics and wielding influence.
The men - there was just one woman present - were all climate change sceptics, members of an organisation called the Lavoisier Group that argues global warming is nothing to worry about.
The fly in the ointment?
The only problem for the sceptics is that the vast majority of scientists think they are the ones that are deluded. "There's a better scientific consensus on this than on any issue I know - except maybe Newton's second law of dynamics", Dr James Baker, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US, has said.
And yet here's the Caterists still celebrating Walsh over a decade later for his war on climate science, though it's interesting to note the tepid wording, the scaled down rhetoric deployed:
... its support of reckless solutions to possible global warming ...
Where does that fit in the list that can be found at the Group's wiki?
There is no evidence of global warming.
If there is evidence of global warming, then it is not due to human activity.
If global warming is occurring and it is due to human activity, then it is not going to be damaging.
If global warming is occurring and it is due to human activity, and it is going to be damaging, then the costs of avoiding it are too high, so we should do nothing.
Ah well, at least it shows what you get when you import Anglo-Celtic culture:
And so to another clipping, in the Perth Sunday Times, 6th December 1953, within the lifetime of many Anglo-Celts, which resonates a little in view of the current fuss being stirred up by the Murdochian pet in relation to amendments to the constitution:
Posted by dorothy parker at 4/14/2015 08:57:00 AM