Labor’s demise:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Keane’s year in review: how 2010 revealed Labor’s hollow core” (23 December, item 1). Bernard Keane’s discussion of “just how hollowed out Labor is as both a political and an intellectual force” leaves unspoken an important factor: the lack of a Labor intelligentsia.

The fact that the party is “unsure what its philosophical foundations are” does not fundamentally alienate the core working class, which still votes for anyone who acknowledges its existence. It does, however, make a loyal intelligentsia unlikely. With the decline of socialism and the union movement, left-of-centre intellectuals, particularly the young, have gravitated to the supposed ideological purity of the Greens. It was they, and only they, who blamed Rudd over the CPRS (although the Greens actually killed it).

This lack of intellectual support comes out most strongly in the media. When things went wrong for Howard there was no shortage of commentators to shore him up. Rudd on the other hand came under sustained fire from his left flank, from everyone from Bob Ellis to David Marr.

And no one lauded the government’s greatest triumph:  the economic stimulus package. Though it helped many people, it had no intellectual constituency.

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Bernard Keane’s article struck a raw nerve with me. As a party member I have found the ALP to be plagued by a sharp divide that resembles that articulated by George Orwell in 1984, the divide between the inner-party and the outer-party.

The ALP outer-party members were expected to hand out on election day and letter box during campaigns, as well as attend fundraisers, and not do much else. Certainly nothing of importance. Meanwhile, the real politics was played by the MPs, the factional bosses and their office staff.  The policy committees were a way of placating the membership to give them a pseudo-involvement.

Labor members who became an MP only in order to become a millionaire-plus via the super fund, perks of office and rewards from the top end of towns, has leaked upon the rank and vile over the past 40 years. Their belief is summed up in the old song: “The working class can kiss my arse; I got the foreman’s job at last”. No wonder they don’t know what to stand for apart from themselves of course.

House prices:

Richard Davoren writes: Re. “IMF not on the money when it comes to house prices” (23 December, item 24). Adam Schwab has been trying hard for some time to convince us that the arse is going to drop out of house values. Despite his efforts it hasn’t happened. He questioning the IMF’s use (misuse?) of disposable income as a driver. Both Schwab and the IMF are off the money in relation to disposable income. Schwab lives with the assumption that house affordability relates to disposable income per capita. It doesn’t.

Schwab says “Disposable income per capital (sic) has risen from about$40,000 to $57,000 annually — an increase of 43%. Over that same period real house prices have risen from an index of 58 to approximately 110 — a rise of about 90%. In this regard, it is hard to tell whether Tumbarello/Wang are trying to mislead readers or are unable to understand basic arithmetic.”

Schwab misses the point completely. Houses are generally owned by the family  unit, mostly by a married couple. House prices tracked against household income provides a better guide the affordability of houses and an insight into the fact that increasing female participation in the workforce and thus more disposable family income, is a major factor in driving house price increases.

The Ashes:

Andrew Haughton writes: England prepared a side capable of winning a prized trophy with a proud history. England’s team was well trained,well managed, focussed and determined.

The side had a purpose which was to keep the Ashes and pride in their country (albeit their country was in many cases South Africa). Australia had cameras in the dressing room, buckets of chicken, buckets of advertising money and a management who apparently thought they just had to turn up.

No wonder we lost in such a humiliating way. One side was playing for country and pride and the other for a quick buck.

Crikey’s 2010 Reader’s Choice Awards:

John Arthur Daley writes: After reading your awards list I Have come to the conclusion that I am subscribing to the wrong newsletter. Your readers are so left and so bigoted in their observations that I feel I can no longer support your publication. So after my subscription ends I will cease to be a reader. Thank you for showing me the light with your awards.

Chris Lehmann writes: Re. “Julian Assange: Crikey’s Readers’ Choice Person of the Year” (23 December, item 8). I have reached my limit of tolerance for your swing to the firm left of Australian political reporting. When I first subscribed to Crikey three or so years ago I knew it was not a conservative leaning publisher, but found that there was enough balance and wit and incisive commentary to make it well worthwhile reading. Your drift away from any sort of balance has now reached its zenith for me.

December 23rd’s edition with Tony Abbott as the “most appalling person of the year”, is just one bridge too far.

But wait! It gets even more left wing …  Julian Assange as the “readers choice person of the year”. Julian … the new icon of left wing media, every single bloody photo of him has him gazing poignantly, with a deep intensity at a point fixed on the horizon as if musing some amazingly important and deep thought. Don’t get me wrong, I think he is a twat, but I’ve got nothing against the bloke disseminating information that has been given him, and I am appalled at the over-reaction of our politicians assigning criminality to his behaviour.  The problem is for you rampant left wing “progressive” types is that it’s the bloody left wing pollies like Gillard and Obama who are trampling all over the blokes rights.

But the best of all, is the “platinum Arsehat winner for the most appalling person of the decade” award to George W over a field that includes Osama bin Laden! I am no big fan of George W, but to pick him over Osama and Mugabe is just unbelievable. It’s a mockery.

CRIKEY: We spelled it out in our editorial last year, we hear you: we hated the result for the Reader’s Choice Arsehat of the Year too. But our readers voted that way and it would be dishonest of us to change the outcome, no matter how flat out boring the result.

Peter Fray

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