The sensitive journalist rears his head, Prince Harry’s Swastika raises some questions, Latham longevity is discussed and our Finnish observer, Therese Catanzariti gets another ovation.

Roll over Paul Pottinger

Re Crikey’s News Ltd insider Col Hartigan’s insight into the insurance issues for its motoring scribblers (Crikey Media 12/01/05), if the Sunday Tele’s Paul Pottinger can roll (three times) a Subaru Liberty RS wagon, then he’s got a serious credibility problem.

The Liberty RS is recognised in the media for its handling and “sure footed dynamics” through its all wheel drive transmission and linear power output. It’s not by any measure a hairy-chested sports machine with shaky handling on the limit. It’s a benign and forgiving car.

For Pottinger to get such a car out of shape so badly hints at a serious driving skills or attitude deficiency. I haven’t driven the 2004 Liberty RS wagon, but I do know what’s required to gain a CAMS National Competition Licence, and there’s nothing in the assessment for same that requires driving that might result in a roll – in any car.

Question is – how do we now regard any assessment by Pottinger of a car’s handling characteristics? There is a saying that any race you can walk away from is a good one. Maybe any car that stays rubber side down will be getting a four star rating from Pottinger?


Latham and the journo’s revenge

Am I the only person to see a possible link between the vitriolic frenzy surrounding Mark Latham’s illness (strewth, a bloke can’t even get sick when he’s on holiday now without being accused of bludging) and the complaint against the editor of the Oz’s latest squeeze?

The story does seem to have been driven by the Oz and we all know that there is a significant element within journalism that manages to combine a glass jaw with self-righteousness. I certainly remember how the gallery turned on Paul Keating when he pointed out that they had got the 1993 election wrong.

Gerard McEwen

A strong and healthy opposition

While we can empathise with Mark Latham who is ill, we cannot empathise with an Opposition Leadership role, and the Labor Party, who are reneging on their political duty of care in maintaining democratic processes. There are millions of Australians who rely upon the ALP to deliver as an Opposition, who must deliver on leadership – when, since Federation, has Australia had a clear lack of an alternative Prime Minister? Or, for that matter, a clear lack of an Opposition?

Certainly, Howard appears invincible and God help this country after July 1, 2005 – and therein lies the very reason why we must have the ALP meeting their political duty of care. Come the next Federal election Australian voters should be able to look at the ALP and have confidence in giving them a vote for the responsibility and maturity they demonstrated in this, their leanest political time in History. It’s tough for Labor, but grow up.

Latham is not in that duty of care role – he must go, and go now. Responsibility, maturity and an understanding of the political duty of care role lies clearly with Kim Beazley.

Today, the ALP is a rabble: incompetent, indecisive, irresponsible and quite frankly, nothing but an electoral laxative – lift your game – you are an Opposition, in name only.

Tom Joyce

Sir Mark Thatcher overshadowed by Swastika Harry

How convenient for a former British PM’s son, that the story of Harry wearing a Nazi Uniform breaks just at the same time that he decides pleads guilty to being part of a Coup-D’eta in Africa. Haven’t seen or heard it mentioned on the TV news yet, yet we get 2 mins on Friday night over this Costume Malfunction…..


Politically correct history and Harry

Regarding Harry and his swastika armband I just wish to point out the hypocrisy we have in our society with the view to history. I am not saying that it is ok to turn up as a Nazi to a fancy dress party. But what about all the Lenin pictures and the logo of the old communist Russia on certain alcoholic beverages? Where is the outcry from the public and the media? As far as I know more then 30 million people were killed and tortured by the communists in Russia alone. And it is perfectly ok to sit in a trendy bar and order a drink that uses the symbol of a terror regime and no one says a word.

What would have happened if Harry would have turned up as a communist? I guess nothing.

Welf Herfurth

Heil Harry

Apropos of Swastika Harry creates UK uproar [Max Factor, 13 Jan 05], a couple of immediate responses:

Tom Utley, of the UK Daily Telegraph, has a point in being “not in the least surprised if he [the prince] was one of the 45% of Britons who . . . say that they know nothing at all about Auschwitz”.

Readers in both countries need not be surprised, either, what with the gutting of significant content in school courses in what used be called history, in accordance with progressivist dogma at EdCentral: “we no longer ram boring old [always ‘boring old’] facts down children’s throats – we teach them how to think”.

Most people, of course, realise that this is a false dichotomy: it is entirely feasible to do both, teaching culturally significant content – and surely that ought to include the Holocaust – and “how to think” at the same time. Gerald Ford’s supposed difficulties with gumchewing and walking it ain’t.

When assessing anything the Pommy media opines – “reporting” as such is not really their thing, especially if factual accuracy is involved – about the Royals, what has to be kept in mind is the pervasively awful culture of envy that has been engendered and encouraged in post WWII-Britain, with your average London tabloid being its most vicious disseminator, along with a relentlessly sneering denigration of the nation’s past. It’s one thing to be knowledgeably sceptical about the moral status of, say, the British Empire, the Industrial Revolution or the Westminster system; it’s quite another to promote blanket contempt based on ignorance of the country’s heritage. Makes you wonder about all those deluded fools who risk family and health trying to illegally enter a place its own opinion-mongers detest so strongly; surely they should be heading for a proper democratic republic, North Korea for example, accompanied by enlightened squads of tabloid journalists as guides and mentors.

Leonard Colquhoun

The Southcorp takeover

I think your subscribers estimation of the new Southcorp/Blass entity as being 80% of the Premium wine market is grossly overstated. Of the 1500 wine companies in Australia only 10-20 are commercial, and have the funds to do business with the major chains. The rest are boutique businesses and by virtue of the price, i.e. over $20 are classed as premium. Think Petaluma, Henshke, the Hardys premium brands, the list goes on. Southcorp really only have Penfolds, admittedly huge but losing prestige, and the Rosemount Premiums. Blasses premium wines are not highly regarded. If Samuels and the ACCC have any concerns it will be over the huge volume brands Wolf Blass, Eaglehawk, Lindemans, Wynns, Seaview Kaiser Stuhl etc.

A Hardys Man

Dixon’s not so bad

I do not know the basis of your claim: “This is a bloke who can’t look after staff and can’t look after passengers, especially frequent flyers,” but I am very satisfied with Qantas looking after of this frequent flier.

I get free Qantas Club membership, providing free food and drinks as well as a comfortable waiting environment and priority check-in. I always have my preferred seat (aisle, front) pre-allocated. I cannot think of anything else a customer could reasonably expect from an expenditure of as little as $10,000 a year (30 return flights Sydney-Adelaide per year at deep discount rates for example can retain Gold FF, to become even less come May when 20 return flights will suffice).

L.B. Loveday

Quickie cricket

Interesting stats and analysis from Terry Television on the audience for ’20/20′ cricket.

I’m reminded of a daffy Bulletin column by Tim Blair, in which he argued that one-day cricket was socialist but test cricket the work of organic capitalism. He reasoned that one-day cricket was replete with restrictive rules that brought mediocre players up to the pack, whereas 1st class cricket had evolved through an invisible hand.

Blair had things skew-iff. One day cricket has been shaped and branded for TV: it’s a bastard hybrid designed primarily to serve a thirst for profits. First class cricket, on the contrary, perpetuates values that modern capitalism eschews (reflection, tradition, comradeship).

Whether ‘quickie’ cricket will prove to be the irrepressible elite form of several hallowed variants (tip and run on the beach or the slogfest in the backyard) or just another unsustainable marketing mutation, time will tell.

But if it succeeds in eclipsing one-day cricket in the long term, few real cricket lovers will mourn.

Graeme Orr

The ABC and Clive Robertson

Does anyone at Crikey know what is behind the axing of ABC FM Classic morning show host Clive Robertson? There was no indication at the end of the year that Clive was not to return, no thanks, no goodbyes and now we learn a new host Paul Bevan will soon appear. Certainly Clive was at times an acerbic host but was pleasingly “unself righteous” and had a great knowledge of classical music. Any light you may be able to throw on his demise would be gratefully received. As far as I am concerned, as a regular listener, I will sorely miss him.


A great article by Therese Catanzariti

I just wanted to quickly comment on what a wonderful and insightful article Ms Catanzariti wrote about Finland and the effects of the Tsunami.

I am not Finnish but I have been there twice in the last two years and have had a Finnish girlfriend for over 3 years. Therese’s description of that countries culture is the best I have ever seen. It is an extremely unique country and it is hard to understand it until you absorb it with a true Finn in their homeland. They are a great nation with great people. Their unity is something that should be admired and particularly sought after.

I feel for them and all those who are still missing after this tragic event. Please pass on my many thanks and compliments to Therese for a wonderful piece of writing. I have forwarded it to many of my Finnish friends in Finland to read and undoubtedly feel proud of all that was written there and their nationality.

You have secured yet another supporter of your site.

Lee McMahon