The winner of last week’s Crikey iPad competition is Penny Hanley. Congratulations!
Leveson v Finkelstein
Keith Thomas: Re. “Finkelstein then Leveson, stymied debate ‘deeply disturbing’” (yesterday). Britain’s Leveson report fails in two key areas. First, it’s an example of generals planning for the previous war — they have failed to come to grips with media convergence and the declining readership of print newspapers (Bernard Keane has written about this). Just as importantly, it tries to impose a layer of press regulation to deal with problems that are already offences — like illegal phone tapping, police accepting bribes and police failing to pursue allegations vigorously. British police officers were on the take, others were dazzled, flattered, suborned, then cowed through association with senior press circles into turning a blind or winking eye to offences. Senior police officers retired and then went on media payrolls where they acted illegally or unethically. If the police had done their job throughout, there would have been no need for Leveson’s inquiry.
Add to this picture the unquenchable thirst of the British public for tabloid style titillation and schadenfreude — the British get the press they “demand” in an economic sense. And there are also the celebrities who want it all their own way: a life in the spotlight and the money that brings them — but only when the spotlight suits them.
Finally, let’s not lose sight of the reality that the search for a structure that avoids the possibility of any excess is futile in a free(-ish) society, especially one where Twitter entices immature personalities to be first to break news and where Facebook accounts, blogs and websites can be set up from scratch in under an hour. There will be totally deplorable individual casualties, but there will also be a freer, more open, less corrupt society with a better informed public.
Unions and Peter Reith
Peter Smith writes: Re “Reith’s backdoor into WorkChoices could work for Abbott” (yesterday). Keane yesterday wrote about “a broader inquiry into “union corruption”’ — let’s hope someone is smart enough to jump in with a proposal for a general inquiry into “union corruption” and “industrial corruption” and “business corruption” and even perhaps “political corruption”?
Now, that would be a real party!
Gary Lucas writes: What’s Reith doing taking the moral high ground?
This is the bloke who was forced to repay taxpayers’ money for the use of his son’s mobile phone. This is the bloke who lied about children overboard.
The bloke who was complicit in the cover-up of the donations via the Australian Wheat Board to the Iraqi government (made our sworn enemy by Howard, Reith and Downer). By all means investigate unions who are dudding their members, but let’s first investigate the criminals who took us to pointless and futile wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Investigate crooked unions, but investigate crooked politicians first.
Newman cut hospitals, not Gillard
Terry J Mills writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday). Is Richard Farmer seriously suggesting that the Campbell Newman’s health services cuts at the Gold Coast and throughout Queensland are somehow the fault of Julia Gillard? The reason Tony Abbott is so quiet on the subject is precisely because these cuts are being brought in by an LNP government.
Matt Saxon writes: It time for Tamas Calderwood (comments, yesterday) to stop his futile pursuit of the unreformed (and unrepentant) warmist fools on Crikey and start adding value to the Australian economy with all this pent up energy and commitment.
Pacific island nations are calling for insurance against “human induced climate change”. Given Calderwood, and those in his circle, have already demonstrated there is no such thing (with the power of linear regression) why not put their money where their all too garrulous mouths are and form a consortium to sell flood insurance to our north eastern neighbours? They needn’t even back the scheme with any actual money as the risk to them is zero! I can’t see any rational reason why he would not rise to this challenge.