Brendan Nelson, Hopoate and FM radio:

Graeme Stenton writes: Re. “Weekend at Brendan’s: On the road with Mr Unidigit” (yesterday, item 1). With Nelson being referred to as “the single-digit man”, can we now just call him “Hopoate”? Maybe he could return to medicine as a proctologist.

Peter Phelps, former chief of staff to the Howard government’s Special Minister of State, Gary Nairn, writes: Bernard Keane suggested that “It’s unlikely John Howard ever did an FM radio interview in his entire career.” In fact, Howard has done numerous FM interviews, the most memorable of which was with FOX FM in Melbourne in the lead-up to the Federal Election. This followed on from the “We Luv Luffy” routine of the previous ten or so days, and Howard played up to the gags for all it was worth. Really, Bernard, this is hardly ancient history! Facts do matter — and Christian would never have made such an obvious mistake.

Graham Bell writes: Re. “Dr Brendan doesn’t have the hunger for top job” (yesterday, item 8). Bernard Keane is talking through his hat. Haven’t we all had a real gutful of charismatic show-ponies, ruthless machine-men and ideology-driven bullies in our Prime Ministers and leaders of the opposition? For once, we have a tough, intelligent, competent Prime Minister with vision and a tough, intelligent, competent opposition leader with vision — and, for a change, one who actually looks like an alternative Prime Minister. Both Rudd and Nelson have detected this change of attitude in the Australian public…. a change that is beyond the comprehension of the 20th Century brawlers and plotters who still infest Australian politics.

Zimbabwe and the United Nations:

Adam Welch writes: Re. “Zimbabwe: a white farmer’s story” (yesterday, item 2). Is the reason the UN won’t do anything about Zimbabwe because there is nothing in it, resource wise for the big nations? The decision to intervene should be made by the UN Security Council, which is very conservative when it comes to intervention. You only have to look at their weak decision on Iraq, and the drawn out process in Darfur (Sudan), to realise that unless there is economic benefit through intervention, Russia, France, China, the UK and the US, the permanent members of the Security Council, are reluctant to do anything. Although the real reasons why the US invaded Iraq are debatable, control of Middle East oil resources ranks right up there. This is also the reason why the Security Council dragged its feet in Darfur, China’s interest in Sudan’s resources continued to be a stumbling block. Reform of the Security Council is long overdue, including scrapping the veto system that applies to the permanent members. It’s great that Kevin Rudd is lobbying for Australia to become a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2012, but without reform and removal of the veto power, this will only be a political stunt that attempts to show that Australia is taken seriously in world politics.

Lennon’s deputies:

Stephen Luntz, Victorian Greens electoral analyst, writes: Re. “Lennon loses another deputy: once is careless, twice …” (yesterday, item 10). While I agree that much of the problem is Lennon’s behaviour, there is another factor underlying the loss of two deputies to scandal. In 1998 the Labor and Liberal parties got together to reduce the size of the parliament in an effort to get rid of the Greens. It partially worked the next time, with Green representation falling to one, but at the last two elections the Greens have won four of 25 seats, instead of the six of 35 they would probably have picked up under the old system — a very similar proportion. But the backspin from this has been that there are fewer members of all parties in parliament, and that means less talent to go around. The ALP has just 14 members in the lower house, plus a handful in Legislative Council. When it comes to allocating ministries and leadership positions there isn’t a lot of choice, particularly when you take out newly elected members and people in the wrong faction. If the Tassie parliament was larger, it’s just possible the ALP would have someone up to the job of being deputy — or maybe even premier.

Indigenous s-xual abuse:

Bob Durnan writes: The redoubtable Kevin Naughton (yesterday, comments) once again gets it wrong when he opines that, “we will never know the full reason why the case was mishandled because there is no ICAC or equivalent in the NT – something Labor Governments are always wary of.” The NT Government at the time and for eight years after was the CLP, not the ALP.

First Dog on the Moon:

A Mandarin-speaking diplomat writes: Re. “First Dog on the Moon” (yesterday, item 6). First Dog on the Moon’s Wednesday offering is much funnier than your readers would think. Rudd says: “I can take it off (as in clothes), have bed fun (presumably a euphemism for s-x), but not be completely naked.” The ducks say: “The name list for the Hong Kong leg of the Olympic Torch relay has gone to the Beijing Olympic Committee.”

Tips and rumours:

Jim Hart writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). Stop the presses! Hold the front page! I usually scan your tips and rumours section hoping that something a bit serious, scandalous or scurrilous might have fallen off a leaky truck. Yesterday’s hot item is that a plane bound for Honiara didn’t make it due to weather and equipment problems. Some passengers tried to book other flights. Someone well known will miss an appointment back home. What’s in store for us tomorrow — cat stuck in tree?

Gordon Ramsay’s spelling nightmare:

John Blackman writes: Did anybody notice Tuesday’s blooper on Gordon Ramsay’s US Kitchen Nightmares? After re-furbishing Dillons, an Indian Restaurant in Manhattan and renaming it Purnima, the brand new red and white awning out front proudly read “Dillions”! And not a f-cking dickie bird about the glaring f-cking typo from our Gordon! Go figure!?

Captain Goodvibes:

David Markham writes: Re. Robert Bruinewoud (yesterday, comments). I was distressed to see someone describe Captain Goodvibes as “childhood memories”. Does this mean that there are people younger than me?

Help us Glenn Dyer:

Les Heimann writes: How times change — last year the great Glenn Dyer delivered us Melbourne Storm in Melbourne on Friday night TV. Despite, we assume, Herculean efforts last week he failed! 10.30am on Foxtel, Monday if you could stay awake that long! Or 12.15am Saturday on Ch. 9 (too sozzled by then). And this week it’s not on again! Glenn, can you really, really help – or is the “real game” a lost cause live in Melbourne? The long term future of NRL as the “national Australian game” could well be at stake.

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