The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

A weekend of binge thinking sidelines opposition

If bringing out Lord ‘Dolly’ Downer to characterise the 2020 Summit as a revival of a politically-correct Keating-esque leftist elitist love-in is any measure, then the Summit has been a great success. Detractors continue to deride the 2020 Summit as being all spin without substance — a sycophantic gathering of hand-picked mates (Bill Heffernan?) to reflect and affirm the Government’s agenda. But as Michelle Grattan offered this morning, even if it was only a piece of political theatre, the 2020 Summit is a master stroke which has completely sidelined the Opposition.

I dare say the forth-coming polls will reflect a popular sentiment at odds with the increasingly jaded and cynical MSM commentariat. Rudd has won the affections of an overwhelming majority of voters who appreciate that he has at least had a go at popular inclusion. Compare and contrast with the Howardian ‘relaxed and comfortable’ vision for the Nation. Just absorb yourself in consumer self-interest and we’ll take care of everything else. No need to worry your pretty little head about complicated issues like invading Iraq while bribing its putative dictator to buy our wheat, or torture, or a dozen other things we’ll tell to you be afraid of.

Rudd has identified tax reform as one of the issues that the Federal Government will respond to by the end of the year. If he is able to follow through on this alone, Rudd’s conquering  of Coalition heartland will be secure. If you add to that the prospect of reforming State and Federal bureaucracies to streamline the cost of doing business and more effectively deliver services, then a Republic will simply be the icing on the cake.

Rudd has truly achieved something unique in Australian history — a weekend of binge thinking. May there be many more.

Vote 1 Christopher Pyne for PM in 2020.

Filed under: Big Picture, Economics, Media, Politics, ,

2020 Summit – the real story

The 2020 Summit is upon us as 1000 of the ‘best and brightest’ gather in Canberra to brainstorm a vision for Australia in 2020. It has been the subject of much hysterical cynicism from the MSM — always looking for an angle and invariably missing the story — the same tired old hacks who spent all of 2007 opining that Howard was unbeatable and that Rudd would never win.

The real story was that the electorate wanted a different style and direction of government and Howard wasn’t it. There are too many issues facing Australian society that Howard simply ignored or treated with cynical tokenism — issues that the invisible hand of the market couldn’t fix.

The conservatives and much of the MSM are still in denial. In 30 months time, the electorate will realise how shallow and ineffectual Rudd really is and then they’ll coming running back for a real government and business as usual. Yeah, right.

You’d expect it from a dolt like Bolt and his ‘1000 of Rudd’s Mates’, but Misha Schubert in The Age today shows us how clever she is with her ‘scoop’ accusing Rudd of stealing his childcare vision from Tony Blair and calling it his own in Rudd’s 2020 hindsight.

So fvcking what?! He wasn’t claiming it as his Own Original Idea. More pertinently, is it a good idea, or not? Worthy of discussion or what? Pathetic. I’m not aware of a proviso that any ideas being brought to the Summit must be entirely original. I’m sure any 2020 participant asked what their idea for the Summit is would begin, “Well, my idea is …” How many truly original ideas do any of us have? It’s so not the point. But it makes for a ‘clever’ story. The MSM commentariat are willing the 2020 Summit to fail and are busily positioning themselves to say ‘I told you so’.

What the hell is wrong with having a workshop for the vision of the whole nation? You can’t have ideas unless they’re already implemented? Give us a break. You have to start somewhere. Every corporate and government entity in Australia has been doing this very kind of thing for decades. ‘Where do you see this company/department in 5 years time, 10 years time?’ ‘What are the obstacles that might prevent this from happening.’ ‘What are the opportunities?’ ‘What would need to happen/change?’ Standard strategic planning stuff – mission statement, objectives, priorities. It works. So why not for a nation? We don’t elect a government of experts. We elect a government to represent us. And this one, by having a ‘talkfest’, is willing to listen. This doesn’t sit easily with authoritarian Howardians. It’s much more Australian to be a knocker and suspicious of anyone who might be an intellectual or has differing ideas. Fancy having the gall to speak Mandarin to the Chinese! He must be up himself.

The dogs may bark and the cynics carp, but the 2020 Summit will be productive, if for no other reason than it is tapping the electorate’s desire for a narrative. A narrative that isn’t about narrow self-interest and fear — a narrative for a better, more inclusive future.

His detractors underestimate Rudd — they always have. In these early days, all evidence indicates that he is hard-working and ruthlessy efficient and methodical, so there is little reason to doubt that he will also be quietly very effective. Sure, there will be policy and political failures along the way, but have no doubt that Rudd will inexorably reshape Australia towards the narrative visions given voice by the 2020 Summit. That’s what the concervatives are really worried about. If Rudd is even partially successful in making progress toward that vision, the conservatives will still not be electable by 2020. They think they do, but they just don’t get it.

Filed under: Australian values, Big Picture, Howardians, Media, Politics, Society, ,

The New Pacific Solution

Working for the Man — a great report tonight on Foreign Correspondent on New Zealand’s pacific island guest worker program. It certainly looks like a win-win situation all round. New Zealand’s primary producers benefit from reliable and cheap labour and hence New Zeland consumers and the national wealth. The island workers earn in an hour what they would earn in a day back in Vanuatu. The employers are liable for $3,000 for each worker not returned to the airport when the visa expires. The workers return home after 30 weeks with the equivalent of a couple of years pay saved to invest in their families and community — effectively bypassing the corruptions of government and the millions we have spent on them to little avail.

Rudd’s cabinet is now considering a report commissioned on the New Zealand model, and seems likely to give it the go ahead.

The only problems I see are the provision of sufficient goodwill and oversight to ensure that workers are not subjected to conditions in breech of the program’s requirements — remember Queensland’s sugar slaves last century? Inevitably we will absorb a higher proportion of pacific islanders into our population than we have now. Which means at least a generation of suspicion and fear from the white working poor fomented by the likes of Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt.

Other than those concerns it sounds like an excellent development.

What, with Kevin-spin-master-and-world-traveller-Rudd paving the way for a rigorous free trade agreement with China on his recent photo-op in Beijing, and this — why that’s two sound economic reforms in one week! And a lady GG to boot!

The Howardian Old Guard must be grumbling in their beers. “That damned Rudd is just too bloody clever for his own boots and his massive ego. See! It’s all just spin and style over substance.”

Filed under: Economics, Politics, , ,

Kevin the Unpredictable confounds Conservatives

ABC OnlineOne of the novel characteristics of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister is that, despite his verbosity, he regularly does unpredictable things and confounds his critics. Throughout the Howardian Era, the actions of the PM were entirely predictable. Of course we were going to invade Iraq, of course we’d deny climate change, of course they threw the children overboard, yada yada yada.

While speaking in Mandarin to hundreds of Chinese students, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has infuriated Chinese officials with a speech in Beijing today raising “significant human rights problems” in Tibet.

Do you reckon Howard or Nelson would do such a thing (excepting the Mandarin)? I don’t think so.

Latham got one thing right – a conga line of suckholes.

Filed under: Howardians, Politics, ,

The Dog’s Bollocks

What they say

The Dog's Bollocks: "Bollocks" is one of my favourite words, and this is now one of my favourite blogs and I've only been reading it for five minutes. – John Surname

This is the person who tried to analyse Hayek. This is actually a person who needs a shrink. – JC

Shut up slim. You’re an idiot.
Just you stay honest and keep that thinking cap on. – GMB

Insightful perspectives on politics and discussion of matters epistemological? I’m sold! - Bruce

Add to Technorati Favorites

Flickr Photos