Competition winners

Crikey writes: Congratulations to Fin Robertson, who won an iPad in our latest subscription competition, and Dan McIntyre, who receives a new Google Nexus 7, as part of Crikey‘s latest subscriptions competitions (there’s still four Nexus 7s to give away — sign up or renew now). Your shiny new tablets are in the mail.

Unnamed Israeli sources not rock solid

Harold Thornton writes: Re. “Spies are supposed to be dull — Zygier didn’t fit the mould” (yesterday). Professor Damien Kingsbury’s analysis of the Ben Zygier case rests on the solid foundation of “a highly placed Israeli official” as paraphrased by Jason Koutsoukis in The Age. Unnamed Israeli sources are surely not the most reliable of foundations upon which to construct any version of reality. Golly, named Israeli officials speaking in public have proved themselves about as truthful as officials from any of Israel’s neighbours.

Any official actually “familiar with the Zygier case” would have to be a member of the Israeli intelligence apparatus — notorious the world over for black operations, planting false leads and spreading disinformation. Yet Kinsgsbury constructs his 600-word article on this gossamer-thin base, concluding with the remarkable observation: “that [Zygier] was also jailed was testament to Mossad’s essential internal fairness”. Kinsgsbury’s willingness to found such tendentious conclusions on such flimsy evidence suggests judicious academic detachment just isn’t his thing.

Gillard: a capable PM?

Brian Mitchell writes: Re. “Crikey says: let’s go Tony, it’s time to lead ” (yesterday). Who wrote your editorial? Are you so desperate to drum up subscriptions and waning subscriber interest you publish this drivel? So Labor has been beset by leadership trouble for three years — it’s hardly new news (the press gallery has been a big part of it, gleefully reporting every leak from anonymous sources instead of seeking to get to the facts about what level of support the pretender actually had). But now that the leadership is settled once and for all and Prime Minister Julia Gillard has undisputed authority you say call the election and give that buffoon Abbott the keys to the Lodge.

Look at what Labor has achieved in three years despite the leadership issue: more than 400 bills passed, including major reforming legislation such as the carbon price and mining tax and NDIS. Big pay rises for low-paid women and record increases to pensions. Despite opposition from entrenched vested interests, announcing a royal commission into child s-x abuse (I wouldn’t hold much hope of that surviving unscathed an Abbott administration). And all of it has been through a hung Parliament, requiring deft negotiations with cross-benchers in the House of Reps and the Greens in the Senate.

Far from being a rabble that deserves a “spanking”, Gillard and her core team of ministers have shown extraordinary focus in getting on with the job of governing and refusing to be distracted by the endless leadership chatter, polls and vicious tabloid and talkback attacks. Under Gillard the Australian economy is the strongest in the world, interest rates are low, unemployment is low, inflation is low, investment is high, productivity is high. Just what the hell else does Gillard have to do to show you clowns she’s an extremely capable prime minister? F-cking cartwheels?

Hypocrisy in Gillard sympathy

Marilyn Shepherd writes: Re. “Single motherhood not a ‘problem’” (yesterday). Brigid Tancred seems to think that brooking no dissent makes Gillard a strong woman but on the day Gillard gave her ridiculous whiny s-xism speech she was punishing tens of thousands of single parents, 90% of whom are woman, by plunging them into the most dire poverty. On the day she apologised to the victims of forced adoptions, and never said all adoptions were wrong or that adopting parents were bad, she had 1000 refugee children rotting in her prisons, where she plans to keep them for up to half a decade and others for life. What the hell is strong about that? It’s cowardice no matter how you cut the cloth.