Remember Galileo?

John Shortridge writes: Re. “Pell-mell: what Australia’s cardinal will really bring to the Vatican” (Friday). I have no views on Cardinal Pell in general. However, his view that on the subject of climate change the consensus of the overwhelming majority of qualified scientists is nothing but a new green paganism should concern us. At the height of some public discussion of creationism a few years ago I commented to a Catholic friend that it seemed to me (from a distance) that the Catholic Church didn’t generally give too much credence to that sort of nonsense. His reply was “you have to remember that they got their fingers burned with Galileo”. Cardinal Pell appears to have forgotten Galileo.

Leave the club?

Chris Virtue writes: Re. “Qantas shocker: $252m loss, 5000 jobs cut, shares slump … over to Abbott” (Thursday). If Alan Joyce is correct in his assertion that Qantas has to compete on an uneven playing field, then I am not opposed to some level of government assistance to Qantas, preferably in loan guarantees, but it cannot be seen as a reward for poor management. This uneven playing field is not new, so why has it taken Joyce so long to deal with it?

The real problem for Qantas is that Joyce was schooled by his predecessor and they ran the airline to sell it and if that transaction had have been successful, they and the then-Qantas board would have benefited greatly from it. Since then, Qantas hasn’t had a clue. It has treated its staff and customers appallingly, which has made a greater contribution to loss of market share than its operating environment.

So, before any discussion can take place between the government and Qantas management, the government must insist that both Joyce and the union-basher chairman resign.

I have also been thinking about whether I should renew my Qantas Club membership. There is a real risk that I could do my money. I still remember the 300,000 frequent flier points that vaporised when Ansett folded.

Scotland’s relationship with the Tories not so clear-cut

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “The battle for the Crimea: Ukraine v Russia in bloody tug-of-war” (Friday). Charles Richardson’s article included this misleading aside about Scotland:

‘The strongest defenders of Britain’s unity, the Conservatives, are also the ones who have most to gain if Scotland should break away. Scotland invariably gives a solid electoral bonus to their opponents; without it, putting together a Tory majority would be a much easier task.”

Scotland is “invariably” against the Tories only if your world begins sometime in the 1960s. In 1955 Scotland returned a Conservative majority. It is also odd to say the Tories are the “strongest” defenders of Britain’s unity. As the Conservative and Unionist Party of course they should defend it, but in practice nobody has done more in recent times to push Scotland towards independence. Thatcher’s government in particular treated Scotland with such consistent neglect and contempt that Tory support there evaporated and by 1997 no Scottish Tory MPs were left. If Scotland becomes independent it would be appropriate for Scottish nationalists to raise a statue of the Iron Lady in ironic gratitude.

Peter Fray

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