The Right rewards its own

James Burke writes: Re. “Mike Carlton: the shoddy, anti-union fiction that won the PM’s top history award” (yesterday). It’s no surprise to see the Abbott government reward a book that dubiously accuses unions of wartime sabotage. It’s a hallowed practice of the reactionary Right — crying wolf. Accuse your opponents of absurdly monstrous crimes at every opportunity, and soon the public will stop believing such accusations — leaving you free to commit all the monstrous crimes you wish.

The rest of Crikey’s Tuesday edition provided multiple examples of how the Coalition and its cronies are sabotaging efforts to combat climate change, which science warns is a greater threat to the nation than militarist Japan. If climate change were a foreign power, these saboteurs would at least be constrained by the threat of treason charges.

As things stand, they probably won’t face anything worse than losing office. It’s not as if any future Labor government would hold them to account; remember that the last one refused to consider an Iraq royal commission. (Which did nothing to appease Rupert Murdoch or affect our American alliance, but salvaged John Howard’s reputation. Well done, ALP brainiacs.) And so, as the political cycle turns, the carbon quislings will be back to hammer the last nails into Australia’s coffin.

Neale Towart writes: Good on you, Mike Carlton. Hal Gibson Pateshall Colebatch has been worried about unions ruining the nation because his father, the premier (briefly) of WA, backed a scab union to supply German ships from 1917-19. Colebatch became premier and sailed with the scabs to break the blockade impsoed by the Waterside Workers Federation and the Lumpers union. This resulted in Tom Edwards being bashed by police in 1919. The monument to him stands in Fremantle. I seem to remember Colebatch (the current Quadrant one) attacking Manning Clark, another favourite target, for writing about this when “reviewing” Clark’s History of Australia volume 6.

The future is not nuclear

George Crisp writes: Re.  Re. “Nuclear: the power source for innumerates and socialists” (December 1). Bernard Keane poses the question, why does the the Coalition keep returning to ‘the economic case for nuclear power’?  It would suggest there is a clear and unambiguous answer:

There is little doubt that the government is not genuine about taking meaningful climate action. Internationally they are under pressure to take action because major economies have increased their commitments, and domestically they are under pressure because of their unpopular stance of not supporting renewable energy.

Reopening the nuclear debate sends a message that we are doing something (or being seen to seem to be doing something) and, because it will rekindle an unreasonable ideological debate and a round of sidelining recriminations, there is a guarantee that absolutely nothing will happen in the foreseeable future.

Keane is on the money with his analysis of Australia’s nuclear non-option. There is no economic case for nuclear power, just a political one, hopefully one that the Australian public will see right through, and very quickly.

Peter Fray

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