Do Not Call means Do Not Appear In Polls

Michael Secomb writes: Re. “Crikey Clarifier: how are polls conducted?” (yesterday). My family has never been polled and is unlikely to ever be polled. Why?

Because we don’t answer the home phone very often. This is because the callers are usually foreign scammers or the RSPCA trying to sell us stuff we don’t want. Being on the Do Not Call registry doesn’t stop them. In fact, the only reason we have a home phone at all is for the broadband, as we do all our phone calls on our mobiles, which are on a package that allows free calls to our family and friends. Bring on the NBN and we may not even need that.

I’m sure we’re not alone, so therefore phone polling may not reflect the views of a significant portion of the population. And internet polling doesn’t seem to be very good, so it appears the polling agencies may be missing out on the views of “digital natives”, who are not all teenagers, incidentally. For example, my father-in-law who is deaf, never answers the phone either, but spends lot of time online, where his deafness is not a handicap. So I’m quite sceptical about the accuracy of polling.

Private education get schooled

Melina Smith writes: Re. “Revealed: the corporate clique ruling Australia’s private schools” (yesterday). I respect the right of a parent to send a child to a school that protects the safety of their children if you have a high-powered career and are wealthy.

The concern is the culture of the school where students are told to “suck up” to the wealthy by status-driven parents. That’s really when the rotted corporate culture begins for a life-long career of “fraternising” and networking.

No wonder the poor darlings burn out at thirtyish.

Tony Simons writes: Excellent article. There should be a lot more investigation into these bastions of privilege, which are sucking the public teat while our public schools, TAFE and unis starve. Can you stocktake the rowing sheds, sports ovals, etc. Gillard does not have the guts and gumption to restore equity.

What’s French for “it doesn’t say that”?

Chris O’ Regan writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday). Farmer says “In addition, all items referring to married persons, like mother and father, will be rewritten so that the terms “man” and “woman” are replaced by “spouse”. – but the article he links to doesn’t say that. In fact, a note posted at the bottom says: (1) Par ailleurs, tous les articles faisant référence aux personnes mariées seront réécrits afin que les termes « homme » et « femme » soient remplacés par « époux » — i.e. the reference is to the terms “man” and “woman” being replaced by “spouse”.

As an aside, it’s not true to say that “mother” and “father” are “terms referring to married persons” in either French or English, at least not in a general context.

Middle East and peace

Les Heimann writes: Re. “Middle East nuclear stand-off needs regional solution” (yesterday). Sometimes, the nonsense espoused by seemingly intelligent observers really plunges to unfathomable lows.

Such is the case with the article in Crikey yesterday, which seems to postulate that if only the Middle East could get its act together as a region, all would be OK. That’s a bit like the Miss World responses about world peace.

And here is another populist rant about really it’s the fault of Israel and the US for stepping back as top cop. Clearly the US has had enough with recalcitrant regimes right throughout the Middle East who simply don’t want peace.

The US just wants to ensure its interests are not diminished — and so it should, we would expect that from the land of the free and capitalist heaven.

The only country that does genuinely want peace is Israel! Of course, a peace-loving Israel doesn’t fit with the Arab world’s pique nor the worldwide hate factory and the inconvenient truth that is the Middle East today. In simple terms the “region” is at war — a much bloodier war than was the USSR versus US Cold War; and this war will not end some time soon.

So, in the rush to take sides, consider that Israel is the only genuine free democracy in the region (if it was anything but all those Israelis rushing around the world denouncing their own country would simply have been killed off).

Also take into account that in a war there are genuine win/lose battles; and it’s better to hit first and hit hard in those battles. Don’t like Israel’s tactics — tough, this is life-or-death war.

Consider also that as the rest of the world — and that includes those of us who would rather take the blame road as against the help path — will ultimately pay a high price. There is no ducking nuclear fallout; it comes in the wind, it kills and it lasts for generations.

This nuclear desolation is what awaits the rest of the world for allowing the Iran to become a nuclear power and go up against Israel (which already is a nuclear power) in an ultimate Armageddon of mutual self-destruction.

When the fallout turns you into jelly, remember you did nothing to prevent it.

Brothels and churches

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Barry O’Farrell gets tough with NSW brothels” (yesterday). Chris Seage’s piece referred to “a disgraceful recommendation” that would allow brothels to be located near churches. I am puzzled: who thinks it disgraceful — the churches or the brothels? Don’t churches welcome the chance to engage with sinners? What would Jesus do? I understand he was so inclusive he not only had followers who were prostitutes and adulterers, he even made a disciple of Matthew, a tax collector.

Peter Fray

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