The Qantas sale debacle:

Andrew Farran writes: Re. “For two months, Qantas has been foreign-owned” (yesterday, item 8). Regarding your point about the level of foreign ownership, I would doubt that the percentages mentioned are actually held by those banks in their own right. They would hold substantial amounts as nominees for individuals or investment funds (which in both cases might include substantive Australian investors via pension funds or however). It is common for bank nominees to exercise the voting power of these shares (at AGMs, etc.) as if they were the actual investor (the latter can step in and exercise the voting power themselves but seldom do so). That is one of the consequences of the current global investment system.

Tony Blackmore writes: Could it be that the Qantas board deliberately ignored the increased foreign ownership thinking that that element would be free of “national interest” considerations in making a decision and hence more likely to support the bid.

Jody Bailey writes: I don’t know Geoff Dixon from a bar of soap, but if he, or any individual was going to “earn” $60 million to gut and fillet Qantas, I’m bloody well glad it fell over. I understand that a strong, viable business culture needs to thrive for the good of all society, but the sort of personal greed that this type of deal exemplifies is obscene.

Dave Horsfall writes: Re. “Qantas planes still fly, the sun still rises in the east” (yesterday, item 9). Michael Pascoe writes that “Qantas planes are still successfully defying gravity”. Please, aircraft do not defy gravity; they merely follow a simple principle of aerodynamics. It’s so simple that even a kid could understand it: if thrust is greater than drag and lift is greater than weight, then that thing will fly.

The trouble in Australian skies:

Sarah Taylor writes: Re. “Fear of flying takes on new meaning in Australian skies” (Friday, item 1). Please forgive my nostalgia and view through rose-coloured glasses but the trouble with Australian skies started way back with deregulation, gained some momentum with the pilots’ dispute, and has been steadily going from classy to skanky ever since. I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s when flying was glamourous and you dressed up to get on a plane. My father was a pilot, my brother still flies Australian skies and my mother and sister-in-law were both what used to be referred to (how quaint) as “hosties”. Australian airlines have never been the same since the pilots’ dispute (remember Bob Hawke referring to pilots as “glorified bus drivers”?). Crikey’s excellent insight into the possible compromising of Australian air safety makes those comments now just look plain bloody (if not horrifyingly so) stupid. Sure, flying is now open to the masses, but at what price safety? 

Glenn Bridgland writes: The most recent letters to the Crikey editors bring to mind the sneering comments made by a former prime minister (and failed pilot) many years ago. Strange that so many people who have no real idea what a pilot’s job entails, especially now that it largely takes place behind a locked door, claim to know so much about it. Ben Sandilands’s piece was scarily accurate, as airlines increasingly try to cut costs and maximise productivity by simply increasing the number of hours worked. So, a pilot only “works” 900 hours a year? This conveniently ignores the time spent preparing for each flight and securing the aircraft afterwards, as well as regular simulator and classroom sessions throughout the year, and private time spent keeping paperwork and professional knowledge up to date. Presumably, by the same yardstick, a surgeon is only working when he or she is actually cutting, or a politician when actually in Parliament, or a photographer while the shutter is open? The airlines themselves tacitly acknowledge this. A pilot scheduled for a full day’s ground or office duties will typically receive about four hours’ credit, which by his employers’ own assessment must demonstrate the relative workload of the two tasks. All the technology in the world cannot negotiate a line of thunderstorms, or make the many decisions as to the safe conduct of a flight. Nor is it going to land an aircraft stricken by mechanical problems on a dark and stormy night. The scary stuff almost never happens, but when it does, the biggest obstacle to disaster is a competent crew. And they won’t know which day it’s coming, so they have to be ready to deal with it every time they go to work. On that occasion, possibly having been on duty for a full day or night, they will earn their entire year’s salary. So I’ll ask: when you, your family and several hundred others are on board that aircraft, just how fatigued would you like me to be?

Pattie Tancred writes: John Newton (yesterday, comments) has both Sir Lennox Hewitt and the anonymous pilot asking to see the “crew manifesto”. Seems to have been more interesting than many similar documents, most of which are the products of tedious ideological windbags. Maybe all those eggs spiced it up a bit. What Sir L and the pilot probably really wanted to scrutinise was the crew manifest.

Combet and Charlton:

Stephen Holt writes: Re. “Combet parachutes into Charlton, but at what cost?” (3 May, item 9). Greg Combet’s move into Charlton is not the first time a prominent ALP outsider has parachuted into the Hunter Valley. In 1958, Dr H V Evatt’s seat of Barton had become too marginal because of the Labor split and so he moved to the safe seat of Hunter. He won easily bur retired just over a year later. Incidentally, family ties remain strong in the Hunter Valley — Evatt’s brief tenure was sandwiched in between Rowley and Bert James (father and son, if I remember rightly). And, Charlton is named after the federal opposition leader who stood down in 1928 just before the “workchoices”-style election of 1929.

Section 457 visas:

Michael Pascoe writes: Christopher McGrath’s comments contribution (yesterday, comments) is at odds with what the DoIC says. Careful, Chris, some subscribers will accuse you of running an agenda. Rather than section 457 visa numbers including dependents, there is a separate category just for them. As we reported on 12 February: “Some 71,150 people came to Australia in the 2005-06 financial year on guest worker visas — 39,530 on section 457 visas, the balance as dependents who also have work and study rights.” There are plenty of different sub-sections in the visa business and not all are counted when the government talks about immigration numbers. There is movement from 457 visas to skilled permanent migrants, but whichever way the numbers are spun, I’m yet to notice any hint of John Howard showing pride in being by far Australia’s biggest multi-cultural immigration prime minister. And by omission rather than commission, there’s a tendency for federal ministers to play down the total numbers. Maybe they have agendas, too.

Nonprofit aid agencies and Sri Lanka:

Paul O’Callaghan, executive director, Australian Council for International Development, writes: Re. “Some terrorists are more muslim than others” (3 May, item 5). Humanitarian atrocities have been committed by both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government and its affiliated groups over many years. With both sides making use of children as soldiers, neither side can claim any moral high ground. This is that large parts of the north and east of Sri Lanka have been administered by the LTTE for many years. Over one quarter of Sri Lanka’s citizens live in these area. As in many other countries where the status of a civil power is in dispute, international humanitarian agencies seek to assist those in extreme poverty in such conflict situations as best they can. As in other long-running civil wars, a failure of political leadership largely explains why thousands of innocent civilians continue to die every year in Sri Lanka and why hundreds of thousands of citizens are currently unable to obtain medicine or adequate food. It seems that the loss of 60,000 innocent lives is not enough to persuade leaders of either side work hard towards a political, rather than military, solution. As long as this leadership failure continues and the country is administered in its separate regions by different administrative authorities, donors to international humanitarian agencies will hope that at least they will be able to continue to assist the several million Sri Lankans in extreme poverty in the areas administered by the LTTE. Australian nonprofit aid agencies continue to work within the Australian law with both Tamil and Sinhalese communities in Sri Lanka. Virtually all are signatories to the ACFID code of conduct, which has a robust and independent system of annual financial audits. To retain signatory status, an agency must adhere to state and federal laws and not support overseas political organisations. As long as Sri Lanka remains divided into separate administrative regions due to the civil war, Australian donors can feel confident that theses nonprofit agencies are focussed on humanitarian and development support for the poorest Sri Lankan communities and that they adhere to Australian law in performing that role.

Gillard and Medicare Gold:

Megan Stoyles writes: Re. “Is Cossie throwing in the towel?” (yesterday, item 2). Tying Julia Gillard to Medicare Gold as evidence of her hopelessness and lack of political nous: this criticism comes largely from — I am reliably informed by Canberra journos –her colleagues rather than the Government. I ask these “colleagues” — how did you go explaining Medicare Gold in your electorate last election after it was announced at the policy launch — two weeks out from the election? But the difficulty wasn’t entirely your fault. Medicare Gold was a good policy — like the original Medibank. But that took Whitlam two elections to explain and even then some of his party didn’t get it. And unlike 1969 and ’72, Medicare Gold did get some support in principle, even from the AMA, while most criticism was around the time it would take to implement, given current health workforce shortages. Medicare Gold was complex and needed at least six months to explain, debate and defend. But according to Mark Latham’s diaries, he kept it back for the campaign launch, as advised by Peter Barron, and then spent little time and no advertising dollars — let alone a leaflet or two — to brief MPs, candidates and party members on its benefits. And Medicare Gold wasn’t the main reason for Labor losing; I thought we had all decided whose fault that was.

The Scottish election:

Alex Lubansky writes: Re. “Scots wha-hey! Election turns UK politics on its ear” (yesterday, item 20). Guy Rundle gave a rundown on the Scottish election. Fair enough. But to dismiss the entire Welsh election as “Oh, and there was also an election in Wales. Not many krilled.” misses a couple of interesting stories, or at least more evidence to his “Brown in trouble” thesis. A groundswell of “Anyone but Labour” support successfully stripped Labour of a majority (a vote split between the Lib Dems, the Tories and Plaid Cymru — the Welsh Nationalists, basically a Welsh form of the SNP – stopped Labour from losing too many seats though) and the Welsh have to embark on their own form of coalition-building. The Lib Dems have said they won’t form a coalition with Labour, and I doubt that either Plaid or the Tories will, which means Wales will only get a Government if Plaid, the Tories and the Lib Dems form a coalition. This will be yet another anti-Labour pocket of the country. Particularly as the basic campaign from everyone other than Labour was how bad Labour has been.

Conspiracy theories on election night:

Tim Warner writes: Re. Ailie Bruins Hornsby (yesterday, comments). There is no conspiracy theory needed regarding instructions on any election night. At every election the scrutineers of the major parties are told — ignore your pile, every mistake in that pile is to our benefit, concentrate on the largest minor party and the opposing party (insert: ALP or Coalition) check the flow of preferences for the minor party, stop any potential votes of doubt going into the (insert: ALP or coalition) pile — very simple.

Andrew Kensy writes: Re. Ailie Bruins Hornsby (yesterday, comments). One of, I’m sure, many to notice Ailie Hornsby’s reference to the 1991 Tampa elections. 2001 it was.

The Logies:

Darryl Calderwood writes: Re. “Logies celebrate Home & Away , Esme Melville and crass endorsements” (yesterday, item 27). Crikey! Neighbors has a script editor???……. if Peter ever pulls the plug, can I have a go?

Kerry O’Brien:

David Lenihan writes: Re. “Kerry O’Brien: it’s misguided folklore magnified” (yesterday, item 28). Odd that Crikey should run that story on K.O. I have been somewhat troubled of recent weeks as I take my required nightly viewing of The 7.30 Report , to see a somewhat less than enthusiastic looking Kerry O. Now, while the good man has been around for many a year I seem to observe a more disinterested, dare I say even bored-looking front person. If time is catching up with the talented red-head and the interviews no longer grab him with the enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge they once did, it’s a pity. In this crucial lead-up to a very important general election, pollies will need to be asked the big questions that only our top interviewers can produce, to at least get close to factual answers. In this we can not rely on the Akermans and Shanahans of this world, they are not in the same street as O’Brien. So maybe a good slug of Jameson’s or Bushmill over ice will reignite the spark, there is nothing better than K.O. in full flight, twinkle in eye, mischievous grin (there to deceive), demanding but never rude, gems of questions. If I have not read the expressions and voice-tone correctly, that’s excellent. After all, an election campaign without O’Brien in top form, would leave the battle without one of the main ingredients.

Nuclear power:

James Eggins writes: May I briefly respond to the three comments about my nuclear power paragraph on Friday? Professor Lowe (yesterday, comments): The new EPWR at Olkiluoto in Finland has a 60-year operating licence; in the USA, 104 reactors have 40-year licences and can apply to extend by 20 years. 48 reactors now have 60-year licences, 34 applications are pending. It is expected that all US plants will ultimately obtain a 60-year licence. (see here ) The pattern of lifetime extension is common around the world. Far from being “hype”, my comment was a prosaic statement of fact. The University of Sydney document I referred to on Friday explicitly deals with and debunks the too-much-embedded-carbon myth, using the methodology of the myth-makers themselves, Messrs Storm van Leeuwen and Smith. Too-much-embedded-carbon has become an article of faith for the anything-but-nuclear brigade. Too bad it’s wrong. Damon Lewis (yesterday, comments): Yes, I have been in the uranium business in Australia since 1981, although I am no longer a director of the UIC. I am not proselytizing about nuclear, merely pointing out that a lot of what the radical critics say about nuclear is plain wrong. I notice no one has actually challenged the University of Sydney document — critics just conveniently ignore unacceptable conclusions. That has been the pattern for the past 20 years. However, now even the IPCC has had to hold its collective nose and mention the N-word. Brace yourself for an outbreak of apostasy. Mark Byrne (yesterday, comments): It is touching how critics of nuclear power show so much concern for uranium resource depletion! Uranium is comparatively abundant and is in no way a limitation on the expansion of nuclear power (disregarding the inevitable technology changes which will lead to much lower consumption of uranium over time). The “low grade ore” argument is a misunderstanding of mining and mineral processing economics, and is not correct. Does anyone remember the Paul Ehrlich/Julian Simon bet in 1980? It does not take “10 to 15 years” to commission a nuclear plant! The new 1630 MWe EPR at Flamanville, France, has a planned construction time of 57 months. Replicas will take less time to build.

Mark Byrne writes : Ian Lowe highlights the absurdity of the claim that nuclear reactors “typically have 60-year lifetimes”. So where does uranium spokesman James Eggins (Friday, comments) get this 60-year figure? Both the pro-nuclear IAEA and NEA acknowledge that the design life of nuclear reactors is 30-40 years. (Nuclear reactors degrade because extreme radiation causes the reactor material to become embrittled). The trick for extending the life of a nuclear reactor is to change the rules. A report by the Nuclear Energy Agency identifies that the life of nuclear plant can be extended by “using less conservative methods of fatigue analysis.” ( p. 43). Extending the life of a reactor has huge economic benefits for the owner. Especially as nuclear industry has special limited liability from the insurance risk of damage caused in any accident. The industry is keen to point-out that extensions of operational life are done responsibly, in keeping with the so called ‘SAHAR-principle’. “Safety As High As Reasonably Achievable -taking the economic aspects into account.” (p. 66). This was good enough for President Bush, who made law in 2004 granting licenses allowing nuclear plants to operate beyond their design life.

John Poppins writes: Further to the discussion on the justification for nuclear power Crikey readers should note a few facts. Our home insurance policies makes it clear that insurers accept no liability for any radioactive accidents. By bearing the risk ourselves we provide an open ended subsidy for an industry which has no way of cleaning up its emissions and accidents. Enriching uranium for use in reactors leaves the great majority of the uranium depleted of its U235. It is hard to find any application for this “by-product”. Creative minds have found one, the manufacture and use of depleted uranium munitions which can then be fired into other people’s lands where the toxicity and radioactivity become someone else’s problem. Every year, each reactor produces enough plutonium to fuel many bombs, dangerous for thousands of generations to come. What an irresistable temptation to terrorists, megalomaniacs and politicians the world over. Nuclear power can provide only brief comfort to our generation at the cost of all life to come. Our use of it now constitutes a terrorist act inflicted upon our descendants.

The myth of Australian workers:

Russell Bancroft writes: Murray Stirling (Friday, comments) perpetuates the myth that Australian workers are the only ones in the world who get paid more to go on leave. In fact, many European countries had some form of annual leave-loading years before we did. Usually, this was in the form of a lump sum holiday payment. The total cost of annual leave loading is miniscule; 17.5% of four weeks’ pay, and it is usually capped (meaning that higher paid workers receive less than this). This represents about 0.5% of the cost of employment. The main burden on employers is the administration involved. Many workers bargained it away years ago as part of enterprise agreements, and I am sure that WorkChoices has removed it from other workers as well.

John Tinney writes: On Friday, Murray Stirling wrote: It appears to have escaped most people that since the introduction of holiday pay about 24 years ago, Australia is the only country in the world that people get paid more when they go on holiday than when at work …”. He is quite wrong. I have worked in several countries where holiday pay was much more generous than anything ever seen in Australia. In France and Italy, the “thirteenth month” (ie an extra month’s pay at annual holiday time) was pretty standard. Some employees also got a fourteenth month. In Turkey staff got up to five months’ extra pay as an annual leave bonus — largely to counter the effects of high inflation. On Italy, see  here . A quick search shows the practice is alive and well elsewhere too, eg in Luxembourg (see here ).

Animals, food and CO2:

Tim Thomas writes: Geoff Russell and Micheal Brougham (yesterday, comments) are being somewhat selective in combining their facts. Only about 4% of Australia’s 27 million beef cattle are in feed lots and none or almost none of the 100 million sheep. Most of this stock is on land which cannot be used for crops, and so these animals are converting resources into food that would otherwise be inaccessible to humans. It is difficult to find a breakdown of how much crop and pasture production is used in various types of animal husbandry, however, lacto-ovo vegetarians take note: dairy and egg production requires high-protein, high-energy feed. Dairy cows in particular cannot produce 25 litres of milk /day without access large quantities of water and high-protein and energy-feed supplements. It would be interesting to calculate environmental cost per calorie (or per gram protein) of these industries. Also, presumably, of interest to animal liberationists is the observation that deaths/calorie is about 10-fold higher in wheat production compared to beef production due to the enormous number of mice poisoned or crushed by machinery (see ” Going Native “, Archer and Beale; )

Tristan Krautz writes: Relating to the comment posted by Anthea Parry (Friday, comments) on Geoff Russell (3 May, comments). The debate should not centre around whose diet will produce the lowest level of emissions. This is clearly too narrow, given the complex and dynamic relationship between human activities and the natural environment. We need to ask ourselves what is the optimal use of our scarce resources. Transaction cost economics (TCE) provides some guidance on this matter. TCE (with its many extensions and qualifications) asks us to consider the costs of establishing and continuing a practice compared to alternative practices. The optimal practice is the one with comparatively lower transaction costs. We can consider a number of diet scenarios, for example, mixed (predominately animal), mixed (predominately plant), or a strictly plant based diet. The practice that yields the lowest transaction costs is the preferred practice. (This would be an interesting research project). This is complicated by problems surrounding the definition and measurement of costs, social norms (for example, a propensity toward meat-based diets) and some of the conceptual problems associated with TCE. However, at least we have a useful framework to consider alternative practices and a basis for debate. By the way, emotive language, such as, “eating a carcase” or absurd suggestions to give up consuming food do not help advance a rational debate.

Anthea Parry writes: Geoff Russell (yesterday, comments) thinks the animals I eat have eaten cereals. Actually, not so. I am very careful to buy only grass-fed meat, as grain-fed meat has a different balance of omega 3 and omega 6 oils, and is not as healthy. The land used for pasture is not generally suitable for growing crops – and causes problems with erosion, soil depletion and over-use of agrichemicals if you try to use it for growing crops, so it’s simply not true to say you could grow cereals on the land and therefore produce more. I don’t eat sugar, I don’t eat dairy, I don’t eat rice, and I don’t buy new cotton clothes. I buy locally produced food. I’m not living on fresh air, and neither is Geoff (and yes, I was tongue-in-cheek when I suggested it, I was pointing out that we all make choices that are less than optimal for the environment) – I don’t believe my consumption of locally produced, grass-fed meat is worse for the environment that Geoff’s consumption of sugar and grains.

The Budget lock up:

Shane Wright, the first Border Mail journalist to go into a budget lock-up, writes: While it is ridiculous that Crikey is locked out of the Budget lock-up, it’s not fair to have an easy go at such publications as The Border Mail , Illawarra Mercury or The Gold Coast Bulletin . The journalists of these papers use their time in the lock-up to find stories relating to their local readerships — effectively the same as The   Sydney Morning Herald , The West Australian or The Herald Sun . They may not have the same resources as the “big-name” papers, or the same “credibility” amongst the commetariat, but their efforts could be described as more valued because of the importance to their local communities. Fight your own battles without lashing out at the efforts of others.

Mike Newton writes: As much as I support Crikey’s attempts to gain admission to the media Budget lock-up, I would like to point out that at least one of the newspapers you suggest as being less deserving of entry, The Herald , of Newcastle, has an audited circulation of over 50,000. The Herald is not some miniscule rural rag, but the main source of daily print media for the Hunter region with a total population of over 600,000 (plus some other central and north coast areas). Hunter Crikey subscribers tend to read the SMH as well, but that is beside the point.

Brian Mitchell, staffer for federal Labor MP Duncan Kerr, writes: Recent decisions by Peter Costello provide a window into what sort of prime minister he would make — and the picture isn’t pretty. His handling of The Australian ‘s FOI applications, and now his latest Budget ban of Crikey, show he is clearly unsuited for the top job should John Howard fall under an early morning bus on his daily stroll. Crikey — for all its faults — is clearly Australia’s foremost daily internet news magazine. It is widely read, particularly amongst news and politics junkies. Costello could demonstrate some maturity by acknowledging the fact and providing it a place in the lock-up, but instead Petulant Pete misuses his authority to keep Crikey out. I’d suggest the decision on lock-up entry should be made by the Parliamentary Press Gallery, the Government and the Opposition, with some input from indies and minor parties. The only real reason for exclusion should be lack of space, which is difficult to justify currently given the Government’s favoured outlets are allowed hordes while Crikey is allowed none.

Paul Bluck writes: I write as an amateur, but one with an affection for public law. There was an article on the refusal to allow Crikey to participate in the Budget lock-up. The Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 would appear not to apply to the decision to deny Crikey access to the lock-up. The Act requires that a decision be made under an enactment, and what is involved here looks like the purely executive action of the Government allocating a non-statutory privilege. s 39B of the Judiciary Act 1903 (which brings in similar powers to those of the High Court under the Constitution) might be a better chance, but it may be a difficult task to find and substantiate grounds. Assuming the Treasurer’s fingerprints are anywhere near the decision, the Ombudsman would be pretty well excluded.

Joseph Fernandez writes: I find the Treasurer’s continued position of keeping Crikey out disgraceful. But let’s leave that aside for a moment and concentrate on the way forward. First, may I suggest that you look at the reasons provided carefully. It is a good start that you have been provided reasons. Second, examine the basis of those reasons. Third, let’s assume that as a general principle (eg. the implied freedom of political communication in the Commonwealth Constitution and common sense principles espoused by democratic societies) Crikey is entitled to be a party to the information the Treasurer seeks to disseminate. Fourth, examine the conflict between the reasons furnished by the Treasurer’s office and the principles you can muster in item 3 above. I suspect there will be good grounds for an application to have the decision administratively reviewed. It may not produce a result for this Budget, but I suspect we will have an answer in time for the next one. And to put my money where my mouth is, I am prepared to donate $50.00 towards a legal fund to mount this challenge. If such a fund comes about please send me a request to honour this undertaking.

Alan Hatfield writes: Yes, go for it! Take the decision to exclude Crikey to the ADJR! If you get legal advice that your case is hopeless then maybe it’s not worth doing. But, even then, the potential publicity of putting the case may well be worth it — it all depends on how much it would cost.

Simon Buckland-Hemming writes: Yes. I am absolutely sick and tired of the Costello stance in relation to Crikey. Bring on the court action.

Ange Kenos writes: Yet again the Treasurer, ex-Monash Uni ALP Club Vice-President Peter Costello (yeah I knew him back then) has unfairly and cruelly prevented Crikey from joining in the Budget lock-up. It is even worse than the Victorian parliamentary media gallery preventing freelancers from the gallery. Only the main players are allowed. How pathetic. This sort of censorship goes back to the black board days of John Howard’s education and the pre computer days of Peter Costello. But these two political clowns are not attacking Crikey as much as the modern generation of IT-aware Australians who want more than the biased analyses of the Budget from Packer’s Channel Nine or Murdoch’s media.

Dan Buchler writes: I can only express outrage at your exclusion from the Budget lock-up. That I am a retired former Treasury officer has nothing to do with my outrage!

Martin Taylor writes: This is what I wrote to the Prime Minister and to the Treasurer regarding your being excluded from the Budget night “lock-up”: “I find your decision to exclude certain sections of the media from your Budget night ‘lock-up’ for media personnel somewhat disgusting and offensive. It goes hand in hand with your blatant pandering to media owners. How can you expect a thinking electorate to vote Liberal when you clearly do not care about it, where you wish to have a media in Australia that panders to government first, and by rejecting the ethics of journalism, the people of Australia last.”

Jim Hart writes: Now mate –maaaate — listen, if I was Treasurer you’d be in for sure, you’d be locked up in a shot. But I’m not and the big C is and that’s about as far as it goes. So I guess you’re just going to have to listen to it on the wireless like the rest of us. And yeah, mate, it’s no fun having to stay in your room doing your assignment at night while the the kids from the Border Collie Mail and the Illywhacker Mercury are already down in the bar comparing Blackberries. That sucks big time but, mate, that’s how it is. So do I reckon you should go to court over being locked out not locked up? Well, yeah, mate, maybe you should. That’s if you’ve got nothing better to do, if your outrage is strong enough, if your insecurity factor is peaking, if your petulance dial is cranked up to 11 . Otherwise get over it and try again next year. And mate, one more thing — I’ve got better things to do, too, so I won’t be marking your essay before Wednesday morning no matter what time you hand it in.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected]. Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name – we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

Peter Fray

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