When silence is not the best policy. When a government fails to feed the media, the media has to feed itself. Hence stories like this morning’s quoting former Liberal Opposition Leader John Hewson on the ethics of travel allowances for attending a wedding. Far from keeping politics out of the news, the new government’s policy to limit public utterances had resulted in a vacuum that journalists filled by beating up old stories like the Fairfax papers did with travel allowances for MPs.
An encouraging sign? Perhaps it is not just talk. Perhaps Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s talks in Jakarta will lead to Indonesia doing more to try and halt the people-smuggling trade. Yesterday, 22 undocumented migrants who survived a shipwreck in the waters off Agrabinta in Cianjur regency, West Java, were deported. The Jakarta Post reports this morning:
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Shrinking middle ground. The Washington Post on Sunday ran a lengthy piece trying to explain why the American political system has reached such a “partisan divide”. It reached the pessimistic conclusion that gridlock has become inevitable as more of the country has become strongly partisan Republican or Democrat with a sharp decline in areas where voters alternate between the two parties.
A novel election. Just over a week to go before the winner of the Mann Booker prize for novels is announced and as yet no clear-cut favourite has emerged. The Crikey Booker Election Indicator shows:
A quote for the day.
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
― From Norwegian Wood by Japanese author Haruki Murakami who the bookmakers have made favourite to win this year’s Nobel Prize for literature.
News and views noted along the way.
- Wales prepares to resurrect the reputation of Dylan Thomas — “Wales plans to use the centenary of his birth to fight for Dylan Thomas’s proper place in the pantheon of poets. … Fern Hill, his poem about childhood, is named after his aunt’s Carmarthenshire farm. Prince Charles has recorded it for this year’s National Poetry Day.”
- Rich People Just Care Less — “A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power.”
- Democratic Deficit: Is Germany’s Parliamentary Hurdle Obsolete? — “… 6,855,044 citizens’ votes have been lost, making it as if an entire state even larger than Lower Saxony had opted to sit out this election altogether. Put another way, 15.7 percent of votes will not be represented in parliament during this legislative period.”
- Open access is not the problem — my take on Science’s peer review “sting”
- Richmond’s rules: Why one California town is keeping Wall Street up at night