Nigel Farage CPAC Conservative Political Action Conference far right
Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

Judging by the rhetoric at the weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, mainstream conservative politics is straying further and further to the far right — and politics is suffering for it. But, as Crikey readers see it, this is nothing new. Elsewhere, readers discussed the local pharmacies in danger of disappearing from Australia, and tackled the eternal issue of economic stagnation.

On conservative politics

Peter Schulz writes: Nice article, Bernard, but as others have noted above, you’ve been a little too charitable towards conservatives. Stooping to “whatever-it-takes” to retain power is the only principle they’ve ever practised. Tradition or convention matter not a jot to these supposed conservators of traditional values. Examples that come readily to mind are: the “respectable right” installing Hitler into the chancellery in 1933; Fraser and Co denying supply to the government in 1975 purely to bring it down; Republicans regularly trying the same trick in the US; Abbott and Morrison trashing our commitment to piracy laws and refugee conventions in order to use vulnerable people to wedge Labor and rule by fear — but there are lots of smaller, everyday examples. The respectable right have always operated in the gutter.

On the local pharmacy

Robert Garnett writes: Whenever “reform” is used in relation to business and economics it invariably results in a gain to big corp and a loss to everyone else. Pharmacies should not be supermarkets for drugs. The central person in a pharmacy should be a fully qualified pharmacist independent of some management creep who thinks about nothing but money. The Australian medical system including pharmacies is one of the most cost effective in the world. Handing any part of it to big corp will result in pressure on the PBS to conform to the US model. Prices will rise like those of other essential services such as electricity.

Mark E Smith writes: Good article but has the horse already bolted ? The chains are here to stay and have already taken a lot of the locals’ business making them ever more marginal. Perhaps the way to go is to require a more normal type of physical interface at the chains and ban time counting. Which way would the LNP jump? The aptly named guild is a big supporter but the LNP DNA can’t help loving the corporate style chains.

On economic stagnation

Alex Wood writes: The government believes that it must keep about 700,000 people (5% of the workforce) unemployed without access to money so that inflation is kept at 3% or less. This allows the rest of us with money to spend freely without having to worry about prices increasing too much. Given inflation is only at 1.5%, might the government have the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment wrong in today’s economy? I am sure they could keep fewer people unemployed and maintain inflation lower than 3%.

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