Trump, Hanson, Ralph

Cameron Smith writes: Re. “Why voting for Trump and Hanson is good for democracy” (Monday). Toby Ralph’s article yesterday contains not only a number of glaring factual errors (e.g. ‘Globalisation is ultimately making our world more efficient and equitable’) and a very suspect argument, but a blatant racial slur. The uncritical linking of refugees to an upsurge in criminality and violence is something I thought I would never see in my Crikey digest. Terrible form, and I should hope to never have to encounter Ralph’s drivel again.

On Brandis

Glen Frost writes: Re. “Gleeson, like Triggs, has a quality Brandis simply can’t stomach: independence” (yesterday). I’ve never lived in Queensland, but the state seems to produce people who don’t quite grasp the concept of democracy. Queensland has given us Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Kevin Rudd, Campbell Newman, Clive Palmer and now George Brandis. I know there’s more, but who reads long letters? Never mind the ‘Safe Schools’ program, I want to know if they teach the concept of Parliamentary democracy in schools there. Queenslanders I know keep telling me they want to be their own independent country. I think those most in favour of this live outside Queensland.

Crikey replies: As Crikey’s resident Queenslander-in-exile, I can confirm that parliamentary democracy is not part of the compulsory school curriculum. I was lucky enough to go to a primary school that did a Year 7 trip to Canberra, and so we were all forced to learn about it on the 24-hour-long bus trip from Emerald to Canberra. Good times. Queensland state parliament doesn’t have a Senate or Legislative Council either, because who needs extra scrutiny and oversight? As the late Sir Joh liked to say, “don’t you worry about that”. — Sophie Benjamin.

Ralph Brading writes: With apologies to Ambrose Bierce, I attach Federal Fantastic Fable 1.

‘In a far off land called Molongosyde the Prime Minister Malcolm X finally fires Attorney General George ‘Errol F’ Brandis, who resigns from Parliament. As the Government’s best qualified lawyer Malcolm X then takes on the Attorney Generalship himself and appoints exSenator Brandis Solicitor General, thus putting his worst trained dog on a leash. Malcolm X demonstrates here both a sense of historic symmetry and a well developed aptitude for irony, the latter a very dangerous thing to bring to politics’.

On Merc socialists

Bruce Graham writes: Re. “Ideology and business” (yesterday). David Hardie asks how many leftie socialists want to buy the latest Merc? No idea myself, but Mercedes Benz are a reliable advertiser in The Saturday Paper, so they obviously hope that there are some.

On the city of Sydney

Peter Matters writes: Re. “NSW finds itself fabulously wealthy, Baird finds a great many suitors” (yesterday). Australia — a country and a continent — is by far the most absurd caricature of sane demography. Firstly, not one but two megacities in a country of  25 million people; secondly, 90% of the population hugs the coast. Lucy Turnbull’s suggestion of dividing Sydney into three parts is a clever suggestion which I am sure will appeal to many of its citizens. From the quality of life point of view, it would be a disaster. It would in fact increase the speed  of population growth materially and would monstrously increase the race of infrastructure to catch up with its needs.

Australia has had one prime minister with the vision of a statesman, but sadly he was also a lousy politician. My wife, who worked for him, assures me, that all his staff adored their boss for his vision, combined with his humanity.

One example of his vision was to understand even then megacities to be the invention of the devil, being one of several ugly offspring of frantic, out of control consumerism and the seat of the rat race which destroys our emotional equilibrium. Accordingly, he pushed the development of Australia’s smaller cities not only to provide them with the social and creative amenities of the big smoke but also give the capitals time to slow their insane growth. Is it too much to hope for a  Coalition government to learn from a Labor prime minister?