A bit of argy-bargy will do her good. Good news for the Prime Minister that the Labor left agreed at the weekend to oppose her at the National Conference on several headline issues. Having a dispute or two at the party talkfest did not do those old-time” leaders Whitlam, Hayden and Hawke any harm at all but added to their stature as leaders. And the blandness of conferences when the party apparatchiks decided that any kind of internal conflict was a had thing did not do Kim Beazley and Kevin Rudd any favours.

There is one proviso.

Julia Gillard needs to have her views prevail on most of the issues where the left has promised to take a stand – on gay marriage, uranium sales to India, and asylum seeker policy. On those issues almost certainly she will but she will surely not mind if the left have a win on giving the rank-and-file membership the direct election of 50% of future national conference delegates.

The distortions caused by struggling to be balanced. No surprise really I suppose that The Australian didn’t splash on page one the release of an actual document from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) updating the world’s policy makers on climate change. To do so would have exposed the distortions involved in Friday’s effort based on a second hand preview by the BBC’s environment correspondent who had gone out of his way to appear “balanced” by playing up scientific uncertainties and downplaying depressing certainties.

There is a summary of the IPCC update on The Stump that enables you to make your own judgment about the way The Oz handles climate change matters.

Some views on technocrats as the governors. Government by experts sounds tempting, especially in a crisis, says an interesting piece in The Economist. It can work. But brief stints have the best chances.

And the Washington Post’s Brad Plumer on the same subject of the technocrats being in charge of Greece and Italy:

“… the turn to technocratic rule more or less assumes that the problems at hand are fixable but politically in­trac­table. But that’s not necessarily the case in Europe: curing Italy’s debt woes with growth-crushing austerity and unemployment-exacerbating market reforms could prove impossible. Meanwhile, one irony here is that many of Greece and Italy’s current woes can be traced back to the original design flaws of the euro itself — which, of course, was dreamed up by unelected experts and policy wonks. Technocrats, even.”

A third view: The UK’s Nigel Farage addressing the European Parliament on” What gives you the right to dictate to the Greek and Italian people?”:

Gay marriage — the very future of the US nation is at stake. Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum reiterating his support for a federal marriage amendment denying marriage to gays and lesbians during Iowa’s Thanksgiving Family Forum:

Understanding those Wall Street demonstrators. I’ve added this cartoon blogger to my favourites list.

There’s a wonderful earlier cartoon strip titled “pointless speculation” involving those television pundits talking of who will win the Republican presidential nomination that read to me like an edition of our own Insiders on the ABC.