Gambling no loser

David Havyatt writes: Re. “Crikey says: our Cup runneth over with $800m” (yesterday). You need to tighten the editorials. Today’s contribution for analysis is “your little $2 bet each way today is expected to add up to a national gambling outlay of $800 million. On the Cup alone. The mind boggles on where that sort of cash could be better spent.”

Firstly that $800 million wasn’t spent, as most of it is returned to punters as winnings. So it is a redistribution — largely random on the Cup. Of the remainder a goodly chunk goes to government revenue and gets spent on schools, hospitals, police forces, etc. And a chunk of the rest goes in wages to people to make part of their income. All up better expenditure than, say, property speculation.

A low blow

Nicole Burchill writes: Re. “Ed Killesteyn’s career.” (yesterday). What an astonishingly snide piece. Whoever passed along the “tip” obviously has an axe to grind. It’s a remarkably long bow to draw between two wildly different situations, almost a decade apart. We all know accountability stops at the top (as it should), but accountability is not the same as cause. A single, if embarrassing, mistake on the ground is hardly a basis for implying anything about Killesteyn.

This sounds more like the sneery dross the Daily Tele would spit out than serious journalism. For the record, I don’t know Ed Killesteyn, I don’t know anyone that knows him, and I’ve never worked for either of the organisations mentioned; I’m just an appalled reader. Sometimes you do let yourselves down, Crikey. It’s just cheap nasty filler you don’t have to put any resources into producing.

Sink the subs

Nick Hudson writes: Re. “Why Australia should procure nuclear-powered submarines” (Monday). I would have thought that the real question is “why do we need submarines at all?” It is hard to imagine a 21st-century war in which submarines would play any substantial role. If one arose, it would be a great power conflict in which Australia’s possession of a few subs would make no contribution to the outcome.

Incidentally, the same argument applies  to strike aircraft and tanks. With the possible exception of Britain’s Falklands War, none of the many wars since 1945 were won by this WW II hardware. Several have been lost despite it. In the 68 years since WW II Australia’s hugely expensive tanks, aircraft and submarines have rarely, if ever, fired a shot in anger.

The idea that they are a deterrent is clearly untrue: despite her overwhelming military might, the enemies of the USA have not been deterred, and it is unlikely that ours would be. They are at best irrelevant and at worst counter-productive.

A slippery argument

Asher Skowronek writes: Re. “Rundle and Judaism” (yesterday). Guy Rundle does not distinguish himself in his tiff with Nick Dyenfurth. Dyenfurthis saying Jews are not a race, but Rundle doesn’t want to hear. In fact, he tells us,  it’s fervent Zionists who claim that they are because they want the  Mid-East conflict to be seen in racial terms. With this red herring, Rundle is on more congenial ground and can score his “winning” point about the merits of the respective claims to Palestine/Israel. And with luck, no one will notice how slippery his reasoning was.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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