19 May 2007

kind of blue

Reasonably frequently I have a look at the newspaper from our old home town, Canberra, to see what's exercising the locals. Also because they have one of the country's better cartoonists, Geoff Pryor.

Anyway amongst the very local trivia, principal amongst which is the utter incompetence of the pretend local government to which even the left-leaning Times gives a pasting, you occasionally get a story which is just too local to hit the big time. Anything related to the public service, for example.

Which brings us to
this sordid little tale of the federal government's approach to public management and accountability. Public servant refuses to lie to preserve the government's flexibility to shut down dissent wherever it might raise its head. That's what they've been doing for 11 years, particularly in the realm of overseas aid.

I guess this is hardly new, it goes on everywhere and at any time. But there's an awfully long history of this with weasel Howard and, because I don't like very much what he's done to the country, it appears to me that he and his gang of gutless spivs have again raised this to something of an art form.

Well, he's certainly been looking at the polls and reading the tea-leaves of the focus groups because the new ads for superannuation and private medical insurance are both at pains to highlight the 'fairness' in the system. "It's only fair" pops up everywhere.

So, people recognise that the country has become more unfair under his backward-looking little reign. And it's more than $33m salaries (although such instances make awfully telling examples), it's all the little things. Just like the Iraqis, we are finding out over time that repeating the words "freedom", "liberty" and "democracy" does not actually mean you have them.

On another tack entirely, the voyage of self-discovery of yer 'umble correspondent took another small step this evening through the completion of some standardised online tests. Nothing at all outstanding or innovative about them, the real value will come from how they get interpreted by the experts and what advice they give me. I am quite looking forward to that.

A couple of minutes later, an update...

Here's a letter to the editor of the Canberra Times:

Labor's Australia: old France without the cheese

Whatever happened to the shibboleth that oppositions don't win elections, governments lose them? This Government has been an exemplary one, starting with the courageous, almost unbelievable defeat of the wharfies, overseeing the collapse of all but the public-sector unions, introduction of the GST, general fiscal responsibility, freeing of the economy and support for the West internationally against evil two-bit dictatorships and the humbug tolerance of them in the UN and by the left.

Even Ken Henry, with no affiliation or affection for the current government, admits that it is the best Australia has had in 50 years. If the Government survives, it may have to look at past and current immigration policy, as that seems to be where the problem lies. That could take even more courage than confronting the wharfies.

Australia risks ending up crippled like pre-Sarkozy France, except for McDonald's, the cheese and clean, cheap nuclear power.
Chris Smith,

I'll be interested to see whether Mr Smith draws any responses from the mainly left-leaning readers of the left-leaning paper. In the meantime, I would simply say:
(1) Freeing the economy?
Whitlam - 25% reduction in tariffs
Hawke - floating the dollar
Howard - GST?

(2) Support against evil two-bit dictatorships?
Mugabe (oh I forget, we're not sending the cricket team).

(3) "...past and current immigation policy, as that seems to be where the problem lies."
Which particular problem are we referring to?

(4) And let's suspend any adulation for M Sarkozy until he actually does something, eh?

No point looking for logic when the talking points will suffice.

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