When politicians meet the economy

John Kotsopoulos  writes: Re. “As the economy improves, Labor’s ownership of it deteriorates” (yesterday, item 1)  “Amid all the muttering about Julia Gillard’s leadership, and however unfairly given the ongoing strong performance of the economy, Wayne Swan’s position should be under active consideration as well,”  writes Bernard Keane.  Sorry but I have to disagree with you Bernard.

Perhaps you miss the viperish wit of Keating or the pale imitation of it from Costello but I have grown to admire Swan’s performance in Parliament especially during question time. He is in command of his portfolio and his dominance of Hockey is profound.  Indeed he almost looks like he is licking his lips when he approaches the dispatch box to dispatch one of Hockey’s long-hops over the square leg fence.

I think Gillard has made a rod for her own back by adopting a  defensive posture too often in the past.  Moving Garrett instead of defending the Home Insulation Program for its role in supporting jobs, improving the energy efficiency of homes and yes, reducing the  rate of insulation-related  fires (as found in the Hawke Report)  was a mistake.  She has, however, found her bite in recent times and the look on Abbott’s face when she returns serve in question time suggests that he is not enjoying the experience.

Ignaz Amrein writes: Doesn’t this put an end to any government claiming credit for the economy’s performance?

Michael Calautti writes: I can’t help thinking that the one thing I never read about is whether a large number of people, just like me and many of my friends, have reached the point where we already own.

  • A decent house (or are on top of payments)
  • A decent car
  • A flat screen telly, or two
  • A flash new smart phone
  • An iPad
  • A laptop
  • A cool digital camera … and the list goes on

So I wonder whether Gerry Harvey simply hasn’t cottoned on to the fact that many of us are simply feeling as though we’ve got enough crap and are spending on non-tangible things.

Economics is not an exact science, I know, but I’ve often felt things throughout my life only to have some commentator in the media tell me that the feeling I have been feeling for a few months is “the new normal”, or some such other catchphrase of the moment.

I think Aussies are by and large pretty aware of how lucky we are, and simply have decided not to push it with any more debt.

Most of the above electronic goodies have now reached the point where most of us have one or another version of them and it’s become difficult to see that “upgrading” them regularly provides the huge increase in enjoyment or lifestyle benefit that was experienced when we first experienced them.

I predict that Gerry Harvey is simply not able to convince us that we need a “new one” with new bells and whistles when the one we have is fine for what we are using it for.

And keeping up with the Joneses is more and more about how much time you spend with your kids and how little debt you have now.

Crikey now just a bunch of journalists?

Les Heimann writes: I am beginning to flick through Crikey these days. Why?

Because just as the “Murdoch minions” peddle their distorted view of reality, so Crikey looks more and more like a lemming when it comes to Labor as a government; rubbishing, criticising and demeaning was not until recently the Crikey approach. There was a time when Crikey was clever — now you are just another bunch of journalists.

And that’s not good news as journalists these days have about as much standing as (blush) used-car salespeople — or (crimson blush) politicians. Reality check please. This Labor government is doing OK, it has, and is producing good reforms well directed to benefit the people and the times.

Has it made a mess of the so-called “boat people”. No it has not — some journalists and, of course, the opposition will rubbish anything the government does but it is trying; yes, it could have done better, yes, many genuine people are against “offshore processing”, yes, the whole issue has been blown out of all proportion by the opposition aided and abetted by much of the media.

Get away from the clamouring horde and by all means criticise –- but be constructive; provide a genuine alternative or better still point to the real lack of moment pertaining to the whole issue. The same can be said about standing idly by as the opposition trashes the BER, the NBN, climate change, mining tax and so on. We all know why oppositions do what they do. Why do journalists?

Oh, the polls; the polls prove the government is on the nose. Rubbish. If the majority of the medical profession kept telling everyone who would listen, bombarded the media and so on with the message “we are all suffering with influenza” after a while the vast majority of the populace would be sniffling wrecks.

The current political scenario is an arranged train wreck orchestrated by a Machiavellian ex-journalist with the connivance of his pals in certain areas of journalistic endeavour. It’s all bullsh-t and you in Crikey know it. How about heaping credit where its due and scorn when it is deserved.

By the way, we all know that our current PM often has a very broad Australian twang but then again so did a past PM, Bob Hawke. Perhaps our  incumbent would be better served if she clipped the egos of some of the more pretentious journalists from time to time, as did Bob.

Allow me once more the pleasure of your journalistic endeavours.

Beryce Nelson writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday, item 11) That public enemy No.1, lawn bowls, has a close friend that is equally popular. It is indoor bowls and designed for those who do not want to be seen making fools of themselves in public and/or who go red in the sun.

Anyway Aunty should check with the Lawn Bowls Association of Australia about the number of members they have around the country — they might get a rude shock about the demographic they are tossing aside — same goes for those who collect things and those who are interested in people who invent things — another two quite good programs gone to feed the insatiable appetite for celebrity nonsense among the short attention span X and Y generation. The vast majority of them do not watch Aunty or its delightful cousin SBS and never will — they are bound in chains to the good old US of A, to their apps and know nothing better — sad, really.

If you don’t believe me, first read yesterday’s First Dog On the Moon about denial and then look around your own office. Check who is busy working and/or who is making flurried hand movements with their mobile, Blackberry et al. My best experience was recently in the Virgin Australia waiting area at the Brisbane Domestic Airport where every single passenger under the age of about 35 was going at it with their mobile. The rest of us looked on bemusedly or went back to our newspaper/book/magazine. It’s a drug and they are addicted.

Peter Fray

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