Following a German example. Perhaps the hardest thing in politics is to admit that you were wrong and Kevin Rudd did not make a very good job of it yesterday. Retreating from an emissions trading scheme was never going to be easy given the Prime Minister’s past statements but that it was a necessary retreat became clear when the Germans, perhaps the major advocates of action on climate change among all developed nations, performed an about turn on the issue.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel, reports Der Spiegel, frustrated by the climate change conference in December, has begun quietly moving away from her goal of a binding agreement on limiting climate change to 2 degrees Celsius. She has also sent out signals at the EU level that she no longer supports the idea of Europe going it alone. If Europe is not prepared to continue down the path, Australia would clearly be engaging in a totally futile gesture to do so.

Hence yesterday’s statement by the Prime Minister which would have been far more effective if he had just told the truth instead of pretending that it was somehow Tony Abbott’s fault. All that should be said about the Opposition Leader’s approach is that he saw the inevitability of there being no international agreement yet on this issue well before Kevin Rudd did.

Greens the big winner. Future generations may well be the big losers from the now near total failure to do anything about climate change but locally the Greens will be the big winners. There are many Australian voters quite prepared to, as the saying goes, cut off their noses to spite their faces to futilely do what they believe to be right and Bob Brown is just the man to appeal to them. I expect a substantially increased Green vote when polling day finally comes.

When will it be? That should not be far away if Kevin Rudd has not lost his political senses. The only big issue Labor has going for it now is hospitals policy and seeking a mandate to implement it would help disguise the mounting list of now broken Labor promises. Leave it too long and the voters will begin to wonder why action has not started to replace the talk of health reform.

Inflation not yet too big a burden. The Reserve Bank’s favourite measures of inflation do not yet indicate that price rises are getting out of control. The so-called weighted median and trimmed mean figures released this morning by the Australian Bureau of Statistics both show the inflation rate still declining.

28-04-2010 reservebankinflationmeasures

Poll confusion. There are so many opinion polls published covering this UK election that it is hard to keep up with them all. To me that just makes it all the more sensible to turn to the market to try and work out what they all mean. Today’s offering is the Betfair measurement of how many seats the punters think each party will win:

28-04-2010 howmanyseats

Peter Fray

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