Niall Clugston writes: Re. “PM’s $215m ‘strategic investment’, straight from the Chifley era” (yesterday, item 1). It’s easy to condemn the Holden Handshake, but does anyone really believe the free-market Friedmaniacs could run a functioning economy? It’s never been tried, because not even Reagan was that stupid or Thatcher that dogmatic.

OK, it’s a handout to big business. But that’s really existing capitalism, whose advocates always preach a level playing field whenever they take the silver spoons out of their mouths.

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Basically the only Australian industries that compete on the world market are farming and mining, but they provide very little employment — that’s the job of the public sector, which takes care of 40% of the workforce. And these are the twin pillars of the economy. You need exports to have imports.  You need employees to have consumers.  Otherwise, goodbye retail, construction etc. But a big hello to the flea market system!

Tom Richman writes: So people are voting against the ALP because of its asset sales but, at the same time, intend to put a party in office that is ideologically bound to even more asset sale. Go figure.

David Jones and omni channelling:

Peter Sheppard writes: Re. “DJs is making big changes: is this Paul Zahra’s last chance?” (yesterday, item 20). Omni channelling is a new event but must be put into context. It’s a great way to spread awareness and explain the sermon but if the sermon is rubbish, what’s the point, it’s counterproductive.

David Jones needs to Shanghai some of my customers and ask them why they are loaded up with the product I sell. Three things will be revealed: they have a rubbish selection, no stock, and no staff.  Pretty simple explanation isn’t it?

The day they decided that becoming a landlord (concessions), and a financier (Amex House card) they ceased becoming retailers. They took the easy way out and disrespected the intelligence of their customers. Ninety per cent of people who buy online buy for price advantage. DJs can’t fight this unless they match the online prices in store. They can’t possibly do this because the cost dynamics don’t add up. If they try to sell different merchandise online, the grim reaper will be full of mirth.

Stop opening stores, stop chasing omni channelling, stop partying at the Melbourne Cup and similar events, and a raft of other ego-stroking happenings. Channel that investment capital into more and better product, employ many more staff (and trained to the hilt), get the executives on the trading floor between noon and 2pm (and over weekends), and get the board of directors into a fully mirrored boardroom, and come face to face with the source of their real problems.

Talk back radio:

Brad Pace writes: Re. “New disclosure standards for commercial radio” (yesterday, item 3). The problem with commercial talk back radio is no longer cash for comment, even the most believing of listeners understand that some presenters get an earn out of spruiking product. I don’t think anybody cares.

The real problem is allowing high-rating broadcasters with histories in rugby coaching, current affairs TV producing or greyhound calling to state, as fact, that 99% of the world’s scientists are idiots. ACMA should be targeting the gross injustice in allowing broadcasters to spout views (let’s face it, mainly about climate change) that are based on nothing other than a hatred for the current government.

That’s the real issue. If a broadcaster wants to make some dough sprouting a car dealership, then let them go for it — seriously, what’s new ? But when they denigrate the science of what’s happening in front of their noses, I reckon they should be held totally and utterly to account.


Guy Rundle writes: Re. In yesterday’s Crikey‘s comments, etc, section, my note of mea culpa on jumping ahead of events in the Toulouse shooting, and erroneously assuming that it was a far-Right terrorist, was appended to Stiofan Mac Suibhne’s strange and vituperative metaphysical screed on anti-Semitism (yesterday, comments). For the record, my comment was written and filed independently of the letter, which I had not seen.

As to Mac Suibhne’s reaction to the concept of Islamophobia as if it were something I had just invented, and bore no relation to anti-Semitism, I would suggest he pull his head out of the sand, or wherever it is.

The accusations made via Islamophobia — that (Arab) Muslims are a tribalistic people practising a primitive and violent cult, with loyalty only to their in-group — are identical to the claims made by anti-Semites in the early 20th century, with catastrophic consequences.

If Mac Suibhne thinks it’s not a problem that a French prime minister is telling Jews to abandon their religious practices in order to be full citizens, then he and I part company, to say the least.

Rosemary Swift writes: I sometimes read everything Guy Rundle writes and sometimes skim through if it seems too convoluted/esoteric/infuriating/arcane/whatever for lunchtime.  And sometimes I just disagree and give up after the first few pars.

However, his final line in response to Stiofan Mac Suibhne’s contribution in comments yesterday (“It was an error, and a lesson learnt”) does him great credit.

It’s not often you see something as unequivocal as that from a journalist called on something they’ve written and, as a consequence and in appreciation, I will try harder.

Editor’s note: Guy Rundle did indeed write a mea culpa on jumping ahead of events in the Toulouse shooting in yesterday’s edition but the layout in yesterday’s comments section suggested that it was in direct response to Stiofan Mac Suibhne’s comment about the story. That is incorrect, Rundle wrote the acknowledgement independently of that response.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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