It’s a funny thing creating a blog, for what, about the sixth time… no matter how I counselled myself, it’s still a beast begging to be fed. So, in lou of providing actual commentary on life, politics, futures or passing fancies, below is some political commentary by proxy (which amounts to the same thing, just not original on my behalf): it had me smiling, sitting up a little taller (and later) and re-filling my glass a little faster given all the one person solutes to good insight.
(BTW, these are all taken from crikey.com.au’s daily subscriber email for Thursday 26th August 2010 – thank God for independent journalism!;)
From the editor of Crikey, talking about ex-Prime Minister Paul Keating’s most recent foray into public attention:
“When he presses the button to vaudeville, there’s no-one on the political stage quite like Keating. If only he could devote even a small portion of that intellectual prowess to current or important issues, rather than spending his time slagging off at his former colleagues.”
Guy Rundle, the most consistently insightful and entertaining commentator I’ve had the pleasure to read (perhaps because he hasn’t made much comment this election?) nailed my inner sentiment precisely in his article today….and so some extended quotes to give a flavour of his points (to get the real joy, you’ll need to read the full piece):
“You can tell that something that resembles politics is happening in Australia now, by the chorus of derision that professional insiders are directing at the three rural independents, and any suggestion that this impasse of a result may be an opportunity for the country to stop and think about what sort of political institutions and processes it wants.
With the ‘doughty three’ (like that huh?), releasing their seven point letter http://www.tonywindsor.com.au/releases/100825.pdf to the PM, the establishment commentariat has gone into panicky overdrive in an attempt to head it off.
The mere process over the last three days has done more to make visible the invisible structures of power, and their potential (if not straightforward) transformability, than a hundred civics lessons. Other gains, such as an increased role for private members bills, would serve to bang the wedge a little further into the old tree dead.
Stability is not the issue, nor is it the danger. The danger is a politics so deadened that only the most demented and monomaniacal, the Feeneys, Shortens, and Bitars, can stand it, and everyone else retires to their private lives. The more the commentariat shriek in fear, the more interesting the ride. The independents and minor parties should push this process until the rivets are popping.”
My favourite piece from Guy this year (to date;) is also well worth the read for the quick, historically literate and pinpoint clarity with which he contextualises the status of Australia’s current political system.
Crikey’s main political correspondent, Bernard Keane notes:
“That within just a few days of a hung Parliament we are now seeing the major parties scrambling to offer the biggest overhaul of electoral, accountability and transparency requirements in a generation is testament to just how much the political world has suddenly changed. The independents might be unrealistic in their views about consensus across the partisan divide, and Bob Katter might look halfway to barking mad, but the independents are in serious danger of revolutionising political accountability, and that’s a splendid thing.”
Charles Richardson puts the case, under the heading ‘Independents need to be able to bend both ways,’ that:
“In negotiation of any sort, not just politics, you need to strike a balance between being completely predictable – in which case opponents can always anticipate your position – and being utterly unpredictable, in which case no-one will find you worth talking to at all. For the time being, the first is probably the greater danger for the independents. They could still go either way, but the need to preserve their flexibility may just be inclining them a little towards Labor.”
Richard Farmer’s observations on Australia’s economic situation:
“Australia might be doing better with its economy that most OECD countries but there is certainly no boom time. The private new and expected capital expenditure figures out from the Bureau of Statistics this morning has the trend estimate for total new capital expenditure (in volume terms) falling 0.8% in the June quarter 2010 with the seasonally adjusted estimate falling 4.0%….I should add that the median estimate of 17 highly paid finance industry economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 2.3 percent gain in capital expenditure rather than a 4% fall.”
In proposing a new political party, entitled the Liberal Environment Party (LEP – yikes!), Giles Parkinson from Climate Spectator writes:
“This is Malcolm’s greatest opportunity to achieve the outcomes which he set out to achieve when he first entered politics. It is in the nation’s interest that he stands up. It is in the environment’s interest that he stands up. And finally it is in the interest of the real Liberal party that he stands up. It is high time liberals re-embraced traditional liberal principles and left the right wing game-players out in the cold.”
One can dream, can’t they?
Well, frankly, I couldn’t have said it better myself… I could say something different, sure, but that would take time to feed the beast… which I have the desire but not the prioritised means to do so.