No harm done out west. Sitting here in Canberra there’s no way I can judge how the masses are reacting to the prime ministerial western tour. The television images (as distinct quite often from the accompanying words) have looked okay to me in portraying a determined leader out selling her messages. I’d at least be giving her marks for trying and the supercilious commentary from the following press pack is of far less importance than the pictures.

Liberals doing their best to help. Internal bickering in state branches of the Coalition are an unexpected bonus for Labor. So too is the increasingly confusing messages from the federal Liberals about their own spending plans if and when they achieve government. Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey need to spend more time together to get their lines uniform.

What is it about politicians and children? Perhaps it’s because they don’t ask hard questions. Or if they do you can just giggle and move on without offence being taken. Whatever. Tony Abbott enters our election campaign portfolio with this effort from his visit to Adelaide yesterday:

Religion is a wonderful thing. Some words of warning this morning via the Middle East Media Research Institute, as Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi addresses the faithful. It was referred to me by You Tube telling me to “check out the latest video from your channel subscriptions” although I notice it was posted back in 2007.

Backing the African candidate. I noticed in the commentaries on the papal election that the Rome-based specialists thought that the earlier the conclave was held the more likely that an Italian working in the Curia would get the nod, because they were better known to to other cardinals. The news overnight that there was as yet no agreement on when the Conclave would begin thus suggests that perhaps a non-European will become Pope. I”ll be taking a punt on Ghana’s Peter Turkson who, as the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI (after serving as Archbishop of Cape Coast) is something of an each-way proposition.

The latest Crikey Election Indicator has Cardinal Turkson as the second favourite.

News and views noted along the way.

  • Moore’s law is not just for computers – “Mathematical laws can predict industrial growth and productivity in many sectors.”
  • Sephardic Jews invited back to Spain after 500 years
  • When the Jihad Came to Mali – “Until recently Mali, a nation of 15.8 million people in the Sahel — the arid belt that extends across North Africa — was widely viewed as a gentle if very poor democracy, a favorite of low-budget tourists and world music fans alike.”
  • Spent force: Are wars still winnable?
  • Bangkok Election Reinforces Class Divide – “On Sunday, Bangkokians turned out in recording-breaking numbers to cast their votes in the city’s gubernatorial election … The mass turnout and narrow margin are indicative of the deep-rooted political divide that has plagued national politics in Thailand for much of the last ten years.”
  • Hamas Ban On Female Runners Spurs Cancellation Of Gaza Marathon – “UNRWA regrets to announce that it has cancelled the third Gaza marathon which was to be held on 10 April. This follows the decision by the authorities in Gaza not to allow women to participate … “We don’t want women and men mixing in the same place,” Abdessalam Siyyam, cabinet secretary of the Hamas government, told AFP. He added: “We don’t want any women running uncovered.”
  • Next Stage for China’s Economy
  • Football Investors Get 62% in Run Around Players on Transfer Bet – “While using transfer fees to compensate small clubs for releasing athletes started in England as far back as the 1890s, betting on them is a recent phenomenon. It began in Argentina in the late 1990s, and since then, at least 11 funds have invested in hundreds of players, including Real Madrid’s superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Eight of the funds currently have more than $500 million bet on transfer rights worldwide.”