Wednesday, 22 December 2010


There's a lot going on.

I should probably consider a return to blogging.

(* Considering *)

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Spot the inconsistency

Can you spot the inconsistency between the two short descriptions below?

I'll give you some time before posting the answer.

UPDATE: Only one is described as "unelected".

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Defining Modern Keynesianism

For the modern left John Maynard Keynes is the source of all wisdom on matters of the economy.

Keynes was no dummy and his The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money is a major piece of work and serves as the economic bible for many economists to this day.

Being a major piece of work doesn't make it right, though. Marx was an intelligent man but still manage to bring to life The Communist Manifesto, which brought so much suffering to, especially, people in the 20th century. Like Tolkein, Marx and Keynes invented their own reality and then proceeded to solve all of the problems within it.

However, Keynes's reputation suffered a severe blow in the 1970s when major economies around the world went through a period of stagflation - the combination of high unemployment and high inflation - that Keynes said was impossible.

Due to this failure of Keynesianism, modern economists adjusted his theories and refer to themselves as "New-Keynesian", which replaced the term "Neo-Keynesian". As is the way in all branches of economics there are divergent opinions of which Krugman, Mankiw and Stiglitz are three such examples.

But how do they differ from the plain, old, vanilla Keynesian of days of yore?

Anyone who has even the shallowest understanding of economics will have heard of the term "pump priming", which comes from Keynes's theory that when economic activity slows the government can "prime the pump" by spending money to stimulate the economy.

"How does that differ from what Krugman is saying?", I hear you ask.

Here's the only real difference between Keynes and the Modern Keynesian...

Keynes believed that governments should create a fund into which surpluses would be placed when times were good so that those funds could be used when times were slow.

Saving for a rainy day, as my grandmother used to say.

Instead of using a pool of surplus funds as the source of government stimulus, Modern Keynesians use the next generation of taxpayer in the form of government deficit.

And that's all there is to it.

Modern Keynesianism is about giving the bill to your kids.

That's why Keynes has made a comeback; it provides political cover to those governments whose preference is to spend money rather than reduce in size.

Yet another example of the deep immorality of left wing policies and their ruinous effect on the world.

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Putting the US deficit into perspective

Need to raise revenue for the government?

That's easy, simply tax the rich.

The United States, like the majority of Western nations, is spending itself into oblivion at worst and massive civil strife at best.
There is some good economic news. The red ink the US is swimming in is not as bad as projected in February. Yes, at $1.471 trillion, it's still huge – 10 percent of the nation's gross domestic product – but an improvement of $84 billion from earlier estimates.

But bad news still looms large. In the next fiscal year, according to the mid-season review released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Friday, the US deficit will be $150 billion more than earlier projections. It is expected to come in at $1.416 trillion, or 9.2 percent of GDP.

The White House, which released the change in budget estimates, was careful not to overplay the changing numbers.

“These are not substantial changes and nothing we want to make too big a deal about,” said Peter Orszag, director of the OMB in a press call with reporters. “The economy remains weaker than we would like and the unemployment rate higher than we would like.”
So, how the heck much is 1.4 trillion dollars?

Is it actually possible to increase taxes on the rich and deal with the debt (assuming that there's no impact on employment or investment)?

I thought, why not simply confiscate
all of the wealth that the rich have? That ought to solve all of the problems. Right?

I looked up the Forbes
list of world's billionaires that are domiciled in the United States and are doing business and paying taxes there.

The richest person on the 395 name list is Bill Gates with $53B, followed by Warren Buffett with $47B and a gap back to Larry Ellinson at $28B.

Now, here's the kicker - and the sobering reality check for the soak-the-rich left - if you confiscated ALL of the wealth of these 395 people in order to fund the debt (which means it would need to be sold to overseas interests, of course, as there'd be nobody rich enough in the US to buy it anymore) then how much would you raise?


1.328 trillion dollars.

You'd still need to find another $143B to break even for the year! And your wealth creators have now got nothing! Good luck with that...

Here's another way of looking at that $1.471 trillion deficit.

Consider the following: there are 113,146,000 households in the US, which means that in just one year each household now has an extra $13,000 added to its debt. No wonder the Congressional Budget Office describes the debt situation as unsustainable.

Competition from emerging economies in China, India and Brazil, coupled with declining birth rates, undermine the modern Western (immoral) indulgence of giving people money who haven't earned it while putting the bill onto the next generation...and the one after a gigantic, populate or perish, Ponzi scheme.

2010 is a momentous year in world history, I believe, as history will mark it down as the year that the welfare state, in its current form, ended.

(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Labor "moving forward" to victory

If there's been a more banal political slogan in Australian history than Labor's "moving forward" then please let me know.

The first poll published after the calling of the August 21 election comes from Galaxy and shows that the government holds on to its 52-48 lead.

I commented recently that before the last election, which Labor won with a 53-47 margin, their Betfair odds were $1.31.

The current odds are as follows:

The odds support the 52-48 poll so, unless one side or the other puts their foot in it big time, then we've got another three years of Labor government to look forward to. How much more debt will they be able to pile onto our kids? It's remarkable that the modern, "progressive" left has no care for the financial health of the economies of which they're supposed to be custodians.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 16 July 2010

The A-Z of the Labor government's incompetence

This one is doing the rounds of the Internet and highlights the absolute disaster that our Labor government has inflicted upon the poor, old taxpayer for the next umpteen years.
Rarely has a government promised so much, spent so much, said so much, and launched so many nationwide programs, and delivered so little value for money and expectation. Two years of Kevin Rudd has produced 20 years of debt, and most of it cannot be blamed on the global financial crisis. This alphabet soup is self-inflicted.

Asylum seekers. Unless the government can show otherwise, it appears that about 98 per cent of asylum-seekers are getting Australian residency. In contrast, the latest figures from the United Nations refugee agency show most asylum applications worldwide are rejected. The bulging Christmas Island detention centre has become a grossly expensive sham and a mockery of a core election promise.

Beijing. Supposedly Rudd's strong point, the relationship with China deteriorated badly last year after a series of serious missteps with Beijing.

Computers in schools. A million computers promised to schools, one for every student. This turned out to be much harder than it sounded.

Debt and deficit. The Rudd government inherited a massive $90 billion financial firewall when it came to office, via a federal budget surplus, the Future Fund and two infrastructure funds. In two years the budget has gone from $20 billion in surplus to $58 billion in deficit. Net federal debt has gone from zero to a projection of between $130 billion and $180 billion. It took the previous government 10 years to dismantle the $96 billion debt mountain that it inherited. It took Rudd one year to build it back up again.

ETS. The Copenhagen climate conference was a disaster. Rudd's emissions trading scheme is abstract, complex, expensive and polls show about 80 per cent of Australians do not understand or trust it. A T-shirt produced by Newcastle steelworkers distils the political problem: "Rudd's ETS: Higher Prices. Lost Jobs. 0.001 degrees cooler."

Fuelwatch. Big promise, empty outcome.

Grocerywatch. Ditto.

Hospitals. Ditto.

India disaster. Last year Australia degraded relations with the two emerging Asian superpowers.

Juvenile justice. The plight of young Aborigines is worse than ever, with ideology trumping pragmatism. Children are shipped off to violent foster families while government exhibits a mesmerised inertia in the face of pockets of endemic violence.

Kaiser. The aptly named Mike Kaiser, former ALP Queensland state secretary and state MP, became the umpteenth poster boy for the Labor patronage machine this month by landing a $450,000-a-year lobbying job with the national broadband network. The job was not advertised.

League tables. The government's one-size-fits-all league tables for schools, plagued by glitches and misleading data, is another centralised scheme that serves as a substitute for tackling the union-imposed rigidities on teacher performance.

Migration. Permanent migration to Australia surged 550,000 during the first two years of the Rudd government, the highest two-year increase in history. This is at odds with the government's rhetoric on reducing Australia's carbon footprint. It was also never mentioned before the election.

National broadband network. Last year the Rudd government spent $17 million looking for a private partner to co-build the network. The process yielded nothing. The government will now build and operate the network itself at a cost of $43 billion. A money sink.

Opposition theft. The Rudd government inherited the strongest budget position and banking sector of any major Western economy, which protected Australia from the global financial crisis. The government pretends this was all its own work.

Power. The national solar power rebate is a political debacle. The GreenPower scheme has failed. The renewable energy trading certificates scheme is in disarray.

Question time. Question time has blown out by 50 per cent over its traditional running time because of long ministerial answers and incessant points of order, while the time devoted to answering real questions, rather than Dorothy Dixers, has shrunk to less than 30 per cent of question time; a blatant corruption of the process.

Roof insulation. Send in the fraud squad. A good idea gone bad. Rampant false billing and over-charging. Cowboys everywhere. People dead. Houses unsafe. Systemic overspending. A hapless bureaucracy detached from the realities of the building industry.

School spending. The $16 billion Building the Education Revolution scheme is bloated with systemic overspending and over-charging. The problems were encapsulated by a builder who told me: "My company is involved in the BER work and it involves mismanagement, overcharging, schools being railroaded into decisions not in their interests, all hidden behind a smokescreen. It is the country's most expensive political stunt ever." Another money sink.

Tax increases. The federal budget in May will begin to reveal the consequences of panic, hubris, overspending and waste as the government seeks to offset its profligacy with higher fees and taxes. Superannuation was just the start.

Union power. The unions, having bankrolled Labor's election campaign in 2007, have received their payback, with an increase in union rights and powers. Union muscle-flexing is back, from the mining sector to small business. Endemic corruption, blackmail and violence in the building industry was finally curbed by the Australian Building and Construction Commission. Julia Gillard is shutting it down.

Vanity. See B, K, O, Q and U.
Whitlamesque. Spendthrift programs. Empty rhetoric. Self-congratulation. Deficit spending. Debt blowout. Two years of the Rudd government produces 20 years of debt and poses the question: worse than Whitlam?

X Y Z Generations X, Y and Z They will be stuck with the bill.
What amazes me is that Labor voters can read through this list and still manage to find positive things to say about the government such as the "Sorry" to the (non existent) Stolen Generations and, supposedly, keeping us out of recession.

All they've done is to ensure that we will have a weaker economy over the next couple of decades than we otherwise would have. They have guaranteed higher interest rates and higher unemployment, though the effects of those are still to hit.

China's growth is said to be slowing. How much debt is this government going to have? $100B? $200B is probably closer.

It took 10 years to pay off Labor's previous $100B debt. How long will it take to pay it off this time around?

The implementation of left wing policies can only lead to unwelcome, bordering on immoral, outcomes.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 2 July 2010

Ongoing collapse of the UK

Yet another example of the societal collapse in the UK:
A BBC commentator has apologised to a 16-year-old British tennis star after saying she had "puppy fat" on live television.

David Mercer made the remark while discussing Laura Robson's weight as she played her second round juniors match at Wimbledon, The Sun newspaper reports.

"I suppose the one thing that I have at the back of my mind at the moment, is Laura mobile enough around the court?," Mercer said.

"Perhaps a little puppy fat at the moment, the sort of thing you'd expect her to lose as she concentrates on tennis full-time."

Robon said she was not fazed by the comments.

I've spoken to the guy who said it. It's not a big deal," Robson said.

"It's just his opinion. You know, I don't really care."
Since when has it become politically incorrect to use the term 'puppy fat'???

These people are crazy and the UK is doomed.

Good to see that the kid herself is not in the least bit offended by it all, which must annoy those self-appointed overseers of society who make a living by being offended on behalf of everybody else.

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Labor will win the next election handily

Anyone on the conservative side of politics that thinks we're a chance of winning the next Federal election is, pretty much, dreaming.

And the election will be held soonish.

Here's the Betfair market on the election date:

Now, there's only $700 in the pool and the reason is that nobody wants to put any money into betting against an election date that has already been decided by the government. Sportingbet has a market on the exact date of the election. August 28 is at $2.50, which is pretty short.

Supporting the government's decision to go early is internal polling that shows they've got a strong, election winning lead.

That's reflected in the Betfair market:

Prior to the last election Labor had a healthy lead in the opinion polls and the price available was only a little bit shorter than what it's currently at, which seems to suggest similar polling numbers.

Therefore, my prediction is that the election will be on August 28 and the government will be returned with a 52-48 result.

Friday 2/7/10 UPDATE:

All of the money on the betting markets has been for an August 14 election. Sportingbet has that data at $2.10 and August 28 at $2.75 so I predict that the election will be called this weekend for one of those two dates.

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Expunging Brand Kevin

During the 2007 election a large number of ALP supporters chose to wear Kevin07 paraphernalia.

They looked like donkeys.

Now, Brand Kevin is being expunged from the ALP corporate memory. I just got on the ALP website and searched the site for "Kevin07".

Here's the response:

(click to embiggen)

Just four?

There used to be pooloads of Kevin07 information.

By comparison, I searched for "minimum wage" and got 12 responses. "Tony Abbott" returns pages and pages and pages of responses. To be fair there are still many responses to "Rudd".

There really are no more vicious politics than when the left executes one of its own.

(Nothing Follows)

Labor finally jettisons the worst PM ever

The worst prime minister in Australia's history has been jettisoned by the Australian Labor Party allowing our first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, to take the reins.

Congratulations to Julia Gillard.

Will she be a good PM? Who knows? As I write every time there's a change of leadership, either in government or opposition, we will have to wait some time to see how a person grows into the role. I suspect that she will be up to the task.

There does seem to be some schizophrenia in the market regarding Labor's electoral chances. Last week ninemsn ran a poll asking whether people would vote for Julia Gillard if she became leader. The vote was 60-40 against her.

ninemsn has repeated the poll after the vote this morning:

Even with only 7000 votes there's still a big no vote against her.

However, the betting market is the one to follow:

The price before the leadership spill was pretty much the same as it is now so the government is still a strong favourite to win the next election.

One poll goes one way while the other goes the other:

UPDATE: From the ninemsn website:
ninemsn readers have cast doubt on Julia Gillard's future as prime minister, with almost two-thirds declaring they will not vote for her in the looming election.

At 3pm today our homepage poll showed that more than 50,000 readers would not vote for Ms Gillard in the coming federal election, compared to about 23,000 who said they would.

The ninemsn homepage is visited by more than ten million people each month — 70 percent of Australians online.

In addition to the vote, more than a thousand readers have posted comments — revealing a vast mix of reactions — since Ms Gillard was chosen to replace Kevin Rudd in the top job earlier today.

Many readers who said they might have voted for Mr Rudd have hit out at the Labor caucus vote that put his former deputy in power.

"We the Australian people voted in Kevin Rudd as our Prime Minister … who is the group, a handful, of faceless people who can just come in and change our democratically elected Prime Minister???" wrote Holcars from Cranbourne.

"The people elected Kevin07 for PM not Julia-010," agreed Tony G, from Maroubra.

"No one has heard of these Labor factional powerbrokers and the people certainly did not vote for them."
(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The left's score on Economics 101 - FAIL

Every so often a study comes along that so profoundly confirms common sense and the real world that it takes one's breath away.

Zeljka Buturovic and Daniel Klein of Econ Journal Watch will make no friends on the left with the publication of the results of a 2008 Zogby poll on 'economic enlightenment'.

From Klein's article in the Wall Street Journal:
Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that I write about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.

Zogby researcher Zeljka Buturovic and I considered the 4,835 respondents' (all American adults) answers to eight survey questions about basic economics. We also asked the respondents about their political leanings: progressive/very liberal; liberal; moderate; conservative; very conservative; and libertarian.

Rather than focusing on whether respondents answered a question correctly, we instead looked at whether they answered incorrectly. A response was counted as incorrect only if it was flatly unenlightened.

Consider one of the economic propositions in the December 2008 poll: "Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable." People were asked if they: 1) strongly agree; 2) somewhat agree; 3) somewhat disagree; 4) strongly disagree; 5) are not sure.

Basic economics acknowledges that whatever redeeming features a restriction may have, it increases the cost of production and exchange, making goods and services less affordable. There may be exceptions to the general case, but they would be atypical.

Therefore, we counted as incorrect responses of "somewhat disagree" and "strongly disagree." This treatment gives leeway for those who think the question is ambiguous or half right and half wrong. They would likely answer "not sure," which we do not count as incorrect.

In this case, percentage of conservatives answering incorrectly was 22.3%, very conservatives 17.6% and libertarians 15.7%. But the percentage of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly was 67.6% and liberals 60.1%. The pattern was not an anomaly.
The questions were:

1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services
2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago
3) Rent control leads to housing shortages
4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly
5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited
6) Free trade leads to unemployment
7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment
8) Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable
How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.

Americans in the first three categories do reasonably well. But the left has trouble squaring economic thinking with their political psychology, morals and aesthetics.

To be sure, none of the eight questions specifically challenge the political sensibilities of conservatives and libertarians. Still, not all of the eight questions are tied directly to left-wing concerns about inequality and redistribution. In particular, the questions about mandatory licensing, the standard of living, the definition of monopoly, and free trade do not specifically challenge leftist sensibilities.

Yet on every question the left did much worse. On the monopoly question, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (31%) was more than twice that of conservatives (13%) and more than four times that of libertarians (7%). On the question about living standards, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (61%) was more than four times that of conservatives (13%) and almost three times that of libertarians (21%).

The survey also asked about party affiliation. Those responding Democratic averaged 4.59 incorrect answers. Republicans averaged 1.61 incorrect, and Libertarians 1.26 incorrect.

Adam Smith described political economy as "a branch of the science of a statesman or legislator." Governmental power joined with wrongheadedness is something terrible, but all too common. Realizing that many of our leaders and their constituents are economically unenlightened sheds light on the troubles that surround us.
We all have good friends on the left, people that we love, like and respect for their decency and humanity. However, we all know that when it comes to matters of economics they're dim bulbs. Their views are not only not part of the solution to the world's problems they are the root cause of most of the issues we face today. Not that the left would ever admit to that basic truth. As Dennis Prager likes to say, being on the left means never having to say you're sorry.

The full study is available here and makes great reading.

There are some interesting tables in the study. Firstly, correlation between education level and response (and they give some reasons for the results):

Here's the most amusing table in the whole study:

I must admit that I am truly astonished by the disparity in understanding of economics between the left and right. Given I got all 8 correct - they're hardly difficult - I also admit to being a bit surprised that the results weren't a lot better across all groups.

Naturally, the left will deal with this study in its usual manner: criticise the qualifications of those undertaking the research; impugn their motives for doing so; and accuse them of being in the pay of Big Left Wing Enemy du Jour. So much easier than refuting the results.

Seriously, though, wouldn't it be great if 16 year olds were taught the basics of economics so that they could answer all of these questions correctly? Perhaps the next generation of politicians would be more careful with the nation's economy than the current lot of left wing incompetents.

As an aside, it's ironic that in the West left wing governments are only ever elected when they campaign on conservative, 'responsible' economic grounds when the reality is that they really don't understand economics at all well. Once they're in power, however, the inner Keynesian pops out, they spend whatever surpluses the previous government has left and then make a good, solid attempt to spend the wealth of the next generation, and the one after that, before being turfed out amidst massive financial upheaval, as has just happened in the UK.

I'll have another post on why 2010 will be marked down in history as one of the most important years in modern history. Needless to say, ignorance of economics will be a major theme.

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 17 May 2010

It's all George Bush's fault

This really is an awesome dissection of the Obama administration's continually pinning the blame for their actions on George W Bush.

Chuck Green is a lifelong lefty and registered Democrat.

When people like Green are sick of the spin then it spells trouble for the Democrats, as where are the Independents going to be?

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

UK's police must need to increase their anti-terrorism statistics

Modern police forces around the world have targets to achieve across the issues that most concern the public or, more importantly, the want-to-be-seen-to-be-tough politicians.

One of these targets must be dealing with terrorism. How else can one explain why police would prosecute this case?
A British man who said on Twitter that he would blow up an airport if his flight was delayed by snow was convicted on Monday of sending a threatening message and made to pay STG1,000 ($A1,646).
Who did he send the Twitter to? Only those people who follow him, which they chose to do. It's hardly a public threat.
Paul Chambers, 26, insisted his post on the micro-blogging site was a joke. But a judge at Doncaster Magistrates' Court in northern England found him guilty of sending an offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing message over a public telecommunications network.

District Judge Jonathan Bennett said the message "was of a menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live." He ordered Chambers to pay the fine and court costs.
The message is not a sign of the "menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live"...the judgement is! How pathetic.
Chambers was arrested in January after he posted the message saying he would blow up Robin Hood Airport near the large town of Doncaster "sky high" if his flight, due to leave in a week's time, was delayed.

Chambers, from Doncaster, said he made the post when the airport was closed by snow and he feared his travel plans would be disrupted.

"It did not cross my mind that Robin Hood would ever look at Twitter or take it seriously because it was innocuous hyperbole," he said.

An airport employee came across the tweet a few days later, but security staff there decided it was not a credible bomb threat. Nevertheless, they passed the message on to police. Chambers was arrested two days before his flight was due to leave.
How did the airport employee come across the tweet? Kudos to the security staff who used more than two brain cells and worked out it was not a credible threat.
Chambers, who lost his job at a car distribution firm after his arrest, said he was considering an appeal.
This should send a chill down people's spines. The guy lost his job because of a joke tweet? What sort of place has the UK become?
News of the conviction sent a ripple of outrage across the Twittersphere, with some users retransmitting the message: "This absurd judgement is enough to make me want to blow up Robin Hood airport"
Everyone with access to Twitter should be sending messages like the one above.

I can't get over how insane this situation is. The bloke lost his job becasue of a joke! That's unbelievable.

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Yet another example of the collapse of the UK

Here's yet another hair raising example of the intolerance of the left in the UK.
British street preacher Dale McAlpine apparently has no problem telling people that homosexuality is a “crime against the Creator.” But he got in trouble when he said that to someone who is not only a homosexual, but is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender liaison officer for the local police.

On April 20, McAlpine, a Baptist, was passing out leaflets explaining the Ten Commandments or offering a “ticket to heaven” to passersby on a street in Workington, Cumbria where he had been preaching for years, according to the Telegraph of London. When a woman stopped to debate with him, McAlpine said he mentioned a number of sins listed in I Corinthians, including blasphemy, fornication, drunkenness, adultery and homosexuality. When the woman walked away, a Police Community Support Officer approached her and spoke briefly with her, McAlpine said. The officer then came over to McAlpine and told him a complaint had been made and warned him he could be arrested for using racist or homophobic language.

The street preacher said he told the officer: “I am not homophobic but sometimes I do say that the Bible says homosexuality is a crime against the Creator.” The officer then said he was homosexual and identified himself as LGBT liaison officer for the Cumbria police. Undeterred, McAlpine replied, “Well, it’s still a sin.” He then began a 20-minute sermon in which he says he did not mention homosexuality. But three uniformed officers arrived, arrested the preacher and put him in the back of a police van. He was taken to the police station, where officers took his fingerprints, a palm print, a retina scan and a DNA swab. He was charged with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” in violation of the Public Order Act and, after seven hours in a jail cell, was released on bail on the condition that he would not preach in public. McAlpine, 42, said the incident was one of the worst experiences of his life.

“I felt deeply shocked and humiliated that I had been arrested in my own town and treated like a common criminal in front of people I know," he told the Telegraph. “My freedom was taken away on the hearsay of someone who disliked what I said, and I was charged under a law that doesn't apply.” Police allege that McAlpine made the remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard and that he used abusive or insulting language, forbidden by the Public Order Act. Christian groups have expressed alarm over this and similar incidents, claiming the 1986 law was designed to stop rioters and hooligans and is now being used to curb religious speech.

“The police have a duty to maintain public order but they also have a duty to defend the lawful free speech of citizens,” said Sam Webster, solicitor-advocate of the Christian Institute, which is supporting McAlpine. It is not a crime to express the belief that homosexuality is a sin, Webster told the Telegraph. “Case law has ruled that the orthodox Christian belief that homosexual conduct is sinful is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society."

One man was convicted under the Public Order Act in 2002 for holding up a sign saying, “Stop immorality. Stop Homosexuality. Stop Lesbianism. Jesus Is Lord,” while preaching in Bournemouth. Another was arrested in 2006 for handing out religious leaflets at a Gay Pride festival in Cardiff, but the case was later dropped.

“It would appear that Christianity, the normative faith of this country on which its morality, values and civilisation are based, is effectively being turned into a crime,” Melanie Phillips of The Daily Mail wrote in a May 3 column titled, “The British boot stamping on the face of Christian belief.”

“Surreally, this intolerant denial of freedom is being perpetrated under the rubric of promoting tolerance and equality — but only towards approved groups,” Phillips wrote. “Never has George Orwell’s famous satirical observation, that some people are more equal than others, appeared more true.”
First up, what the hell is a police precinct doing with a "LGBT liaison officer".

Is there anything so ridiculous?

If a bunch of Muslims were walking around shouting "Death to Jews" and "Hang all gays" then would our intolerant of Christianity, gay liaison officer do anything? Anything at all?

That's called a rhetorical question, folks.

How does the UK recover from its cultural malaise?

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 3 May 2010

How will history view Rudd?

People are starting to wake up to the empty nothingness that is Kevin Rudd's prime ministership.

Regular readers will know that I've been banging on about his clear incompetence and lack of vision for nearly two years.

The question that we can now start pondering is this; how will history view Kevin Rudd?

Here's my prediction:

1) Worst prime minister in history

Rudd has one thing going against him that his Labor predecessors do not and that is that he is reviled within the Labor Party as the vicious, petty, non-substance tyrant that he really is. Therefore, those people who write history - the left significantly outnumbers the right in this area - will be happy to smash Rudd in order to rehabilitate the reputation of one of their heroes, Gough Whitlam, hitherto Australia's worst ever prime minister.

2) Lost opportunities

Left wing, revisionist historians such as Henry Reynolds and Robert Manne etc regularly attack the right for the so-called 'lost opportunities' of their governments. These lost opportunities are almost exclusively made up of large infrastructure projects that the left deems necessary. The Howard government chose to give back surpluses by way of tax reductions, as they should. This is anathema to the left, which believes that government spending is by definition good, as it stimulates the economy. Keynes really does have a lot to answer for. However, Rudd has been the master of left wing 'lost opportunities' and most recently when he chose to abandon the current Holy Grail of left wing government control of the economy - the emissions trading scheme. Historians will not forgive him for not doing a deal with the Greens.

3) Cast out and outcast

In the same way that former Labor leader Mark Latham is now an outcast from the party, Kevin Rudd will first be cast out by his senior front benchers and almost immediately become a Labor outcast. There are already rumblings in that regard. Ministers who have had to take the fall for Rudd's policy incompetence are now leaking information to the media that it's the PM to blame and not, for example, Peter Garrett for the insulation fiasco. Or Gillard for the rorting of the school building fund. The list goes on. Once the next election is over the knives will come out and I predict Rudd will last less than a year as leader. Once defeated, he will resign from parliament in a fit of pique and force a by-election.

4) Failure on the economy

The list of fiscal fiascos is becoming a national embarrassment. In less than two years the Rudd government has managed to munch through the massive surplus left to it and increase Australia's debt from nil to the nearly $100 billion that the Howard government cleared away during its terms in office. Not only that but it has also announced an increased tax on profits from mining companies, which will be used to fund an increase in superannuation. Can you imagine Hawke or Keating coming up with such a negative, economy killing policy? Rudd and his advisers are completely nuts to
increase structural costs by taxing a variable revenue stream. That can only lead to deficits once the Great China Boom becomes an inevitable Bust. Did they learn nothing from the global financial crisis? Other than spending like drunken sailors, obviously not.

I'm sure there are other negative legacies that historians and political commentators will write about. Feel free to add your thoughts in comments.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 30 April 2010

Reviewing Rudd

There have been so many backflips by the Australian Labor government lately that I can't tell whether I'm watching politics or Cirque du Soleil.

Prior to Kevin Rudd's election in late 2007 the talking heads in the media were singing his praises as an economic conservative and having the right policies on climate change, labour laws, education and immigration etc. Now that the media is questioning the ETS abandonment, Andrew Bolt is quite rightly
calling them out on it.

So who was wise enough to write the following on
22 October 2007:
I have likened his (Rudd's) understanding of economics to that other disastrous Labor leader of the past, Gough Whitlam, and nothing I have seen subsequent to making that judgement has changed my mind.
And this on
7 November 2007:
The Australian's Paul Kelly is hardly someone that could be called alarmist. His balanced, thoughtful commentary on the ABC's Insiders is the highlight of the program.

In this opinion piece he describes how Kevin Rudd intends to increase his power as Prime Minister should Labor be elected on November 24. This should come as no surprise. Rudd is fundamentally a policy wonk meaning he must have processes that involve him. He has no idea about what makes the economy tick or what drives the average citizen so he intends to have more of a micro-management role in Australia's affairs than any government since the disastrous Whitlam.
That's right, it was your erstwhile correspondent who saw through Kevin Rudd prior to his election in a way that the mainstream media couldn't - or wouldn't.

In less than 6 months in government Rudd's much vaunted FuelWatch program was thrown under the bus in what was to pretty much define this government's modus operandi and on
30 May 2008 I wrote:
There are two types of control freak: in-control and under-control.

An in-control freak has to be involved in every decision being made. An under-control freak has to be sure that his management team is on top of things and executing policy effectively.

Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, is an in-control freak and the latest example is the mess that he has created with the government's FuelWatch policy.

...Which leads me to articulate for the first time my view of the man. As I've posted previously, leadership changes people. Sometimes they surprise people, step up to the mark and become real leaders in the way that Howard did. Sometimes they crash and burn, as Mark Latham did, though that was much more predictable. Therefore, it's always wise to let some time pass before making a judgement.

Six months into his term I think I've seen enough to have a clear view of Kevin Rudd.

Leadership: As a leader, Rudd is more Custer than Patton; more Whitlam than Hawke or Keating. He is a manager, not a leader. Australia is in a terrific position economically, small inflation worries notwithstanding, and so it's possible that a competent manager can be successful. The job of prime minister at the moment and for the next few years can be done effectively in management mode so Rudd's lack of leadership ability may not work against him - as long as things don't go pear-shaped in the world economy and we don't otherwise face a major crisis.

Competence: Here's a big statement that I think people will come to reflect on the wisdom of in years to come - Kevin Rudd is profoundly incompetent to be prime minister. Profoundly. In fact, I'd go so far to say that when his time has come and gone Rudd will be seen as one of our worst ever PMs. He has Gough Whitlam's understanding of economics and Paul Keating's understanding of the ordinary bloke. I think he will be seen to have squandered a huge opportunity to move Australia forward at a time when international competitiveness is growing ever tougher.

Vision: It is now clear that Rudd has no vision for Australia. His policy of symbolism and populism over outcomes and substance is proof. From the economic disaster of ratifying Kyoto to the Stolen Generations' Apology to a plethora of inquiries into all sorts of issues and to FuelWatch itself Rudd has been focused more on his personal popularity than achieving positive outcomes for Australians. Can you imagine this man taking the tough, unpopular decisions on illegal immigration, workplace relations and even the Iraq war as Howard? Even his most ardent supporters must wonder what he stands for.

Personality: Rudd has no charm and no charisma, traits that are important to hold a leadership team together, especially when times get tough. It can be quite justifiably said that Howard lacked charm and charisma. He turned out to be one of this country's best ever leaders so why can't Rudd follow suit? The fact is that Howard slept the sleep of a leader. Rudd sleeps the sleep of a manager.
Not bad, eh, given it's a nearly two year old assessment. The world economy did indeed go pear shaped and Rudd's incompetence was on immediate display with huge, do nothing spending plans rolled out in too short a time and with minimal effect, other than adding to the national debt and, unfortunately, leading to the deaths of a number of home insulation installers.

July 2008 I was joined by a few others who were starting to doubt Rudd's abilities:
Australia's go it alone attitude to addressing the non-issue of climate change is a prime example of how far out of touch with community attitudes Rudd is, let alone reality. It seems that he prefers to pander to European and United Nations institutions than do what is right for Australia.

In Kevin Rudd we do not have that strength of leadership. Unfortunately, he does not understand how limited his ability is and that will be to the detriment of all of us.
January 2009 I passed the baton as Australia's most incompetent prime minister from Gough Whitlam to Kevin Rudd:
I tell you who is sleeping more soundly tonight and that's former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.


Well, Whitlam's government was a shambles that wrought chaos upon Australia's economy that took many years to overcome.

Whitlam himself has long been viewed as the worst PM we've ever had and for good reason.

But with the current Labor PM Kevin Rudd's 8,000+ word socialist screed published in the leftist The Monthly this week Whitlam can let out as big a sigh of relief as his 92 year old body will allow now that the mantle of Australia's worst ever PM has been lifted from him by Rudd's unbelievable incompetence.
And, just for a change, on
4 February 2009 I continued:
I wonder how long it will be before your average Australian voter wakes up to the fact that Kevin Rudd is the new Gough Whitlam?

Of course, there are millions of voters who either weren't born yet or politically aware during Whiltam's reign of chaos and who still think that Rudd is doing a good job by throwing tens of billions of dollars at the economy in order to stimulate it and get past the Global Financial Crisis.
..and on I banged until the end of the year.

With an election looming, which the government is an overwhelming favourite to win, it's worth looking back to see what this government's achievements are.

Are there any?

In fact, in many ways we've gone backwards.

Certainly, our fiscal position has been weakened by Rudd's insane spending spree.

Our foreign relations have been damaged by Rudd's remarkable incompetence in an area touted as his greatest strength.

He signed Kyoto, amid much fanfare by the symbolism-as-policy left, and has now punted the associated economy killing emissions trading scheme down the road to at least 2013. In the meantime, power stations can't raise capital due to the uncertainty over policy. Nice work, Kev.

Again, what have we got to show for having elected Kevin Rudd?

And how much better off would we have been under a Coalition government?


(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 26 April 2010

Returning soon...!

In news that may or may not excite you depending on your point of view I shall be resuming blogging in the very near future.

Has anything interesting happened in my absence?