On Maurice Newman

James Burke writes: Re. “Newman should pick his conspiracy theories better” (yesterday). Bernard Keane writes that Maurice Newman’s climate conspiracy theory “is Illuminati stuff, the sort of thing that tends to involve blokes in aprons with secret handshakes, obscure Templar rites and Holy Grails.” It also tends to involve another theme, omitted presumably out of politeness. Since the 19th century, anti-Semites have accused Jews of secretly plotting to establish a World Government. Contemporary anti-Semites in the United States claim that the climate change “hoax” is a Jewish plot to do just that. (They’ve always viewed the United Nations as a Zionist World Government-in-waiting, concocted by the likes of “Franklin D. Rosenfeld”.) At least one American neo-Nazi website has enthusiastically shared Newman’s comments. Newman is of Jewish descent and has spoken of his childhood experience of the Nazi Blitz on London. He should know better than to preach a conspiracy theory which echoes both European and American anti-Semitism.

On the UK election

Vincent Burke writes: Re. “Rundle: calls for bloodletting as Labour, Lib-Dems count their dead” (yesterday). Guy Rundle’s commentary on the fallout of the UK elections focused on the immediate and the likely consequences of the surprising victory of the Conservatives, but says little about the reasons for the failure of the Labour Party.  Having been a lifelong supporter of Labour in the UK and in Australia, my feeling is they were doomed to fail when Ed Miliband rolled his more charismatic brother, David, for the Labour leadership.  Ed Miliband always had the image of someone who had just suppressed a fart.  He was never comfortable in the leadership role.  I hate to say it, but Tony Blair was right in his commentary that Labour failed, because it did not aim for the centre of the political spectrum.  As for Nick Clegg, the Lib-Dem leader, he got his just desserts for propping up the Tories for five years.  And if the consequences of a ‘first past the post’ electoral system is that it keeps out nutters like UKIP’s Nigel Farage, then long may it continue.

Two birds

Roland Manderson writes: Re. “Birds of a feather” (yesterday). Your columnist should understand the difference between Rugby Union and Rugby League. Clearly he or she doesn’t. That would explain why they don’t how Morrison might have said Greg Bird (who is in trouble for dirty play) instead of Jack (who is a young Cronulla based playmaker). In this case I reckon Scott Morrison’s alibi is convincing. Of course the mistake Morrison made might have been a subconscious comment on how Hockey’s travelling: a big aggressive bruiser in trouble for taking a careless and unsafe approach to his work. But there no point in Crikey trying to make that subtle point if its writers get basics such as the two different Rugby codes confused.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey