1] Chifley’s musical taste and enthusiasm, for instance, were for light opera and musical revues. On one occasion Coombs came into his office to find him humming a Gilbert and Sullivan tune. “How is it, Doc,” he asked, “that nobody writes music like that any more?” Coombs replied: “Probably because he’d starve- at least if he lived in Australia!” “Well, anyway,” concluded Chifley before turning to the business in hand, “If you find a fellow who can write that stuff you put him on the Post-War Reconstruction payroll and I won’t enquire too closely what he’s doing.” He was also fond of band music- a fact which was decisive for the founding of the Canberra City Band.
L.F. Crisp Ben Chifley: A Biography. Melbourne: Longman, 1961;3 (pbk.) p154, fn1.
Various recent comments to the effect that putative changes mooted concerning Australia’s current mix of revenue arrangements with respect to the Mining sector grossly threaten its Sovereign Risk standing strike me as hyperbolic and potentially misinformed. Over at least the past couple of centuries, Australian governments have had access to a remarkable pool of economic advice precisely calibrated to minimise investment uncertainty. This advice has generally been heeded by successive governments of disparate political complexion which, combined with other factors conducive to civil tranquility (take Australia’s consistently high ranking in the UN’s Human Development Index, for instance) have left it in a position whereby relative complacency on the question of Sovereign Risk therein seems prudent.
Mutatis mutandis, Australia isn’t entirely immune from Sovereign Risk concerns. Given that the above conditions of relatively high civil tranquility with governments being amenable to sage counsel while keeping an eye on constraints of commonsense emerged under its current system of government, it would seem that proposals to alter said system of government ought partly be assessed on whether such proposal/s are conducive to maintaining that enviable cocktail of conditions described above.
Contrary to the thrust of Malcolm Colless’ analysis herein, a fresh assault on Trade Union powers and privileges by the Coalition strikes me as neither prudent nor indicated by the transitory effects of polls.
But the political sands have shifted significantly since the heady days of Labor’s victory. Concern about the erratic style of government, which can be traced directly to Kevin Rudd’s preoccupation with policy micro-management, is starting to show up in the polls and Labor is not the sure-fire election winner it was a few months ago.
Perhaps. Still, unless we assuage resultant concerns somewhat, there’s nothing quite like perceptions of vested interests being threatened to guarantee massive electioneering war-chests flowing to the wrong hands. In the 2007 NSW State election, for instance, one major card the ALP held was concerns about the security of public-sector employment.
While I wasn’t too keen on Papa Smurf from the start, nonetheless I was a touch startled to come across the following video.
A couple of days ago, I bought from the Broadway Co-Op near UTS a discounted paperback edition of Samuel Huntington’s expanded monograph The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, a seminal book which I’ve long delayed acquiring since initially I wasn’t too impressed by its triggering article. Once one takes various caveats (often introduced by Huntington himself) into account, though, in hindsight I’ve belatedly come to accord it some serviceability in rendering various inherent cultural limitations of effective statecraft palatable to practitioners.
For aught I know, I might give said work some more thought later.
This evening I was delayed on the way home watching a bunch of catatonic Tamils demonstrating rather hoarsely in George St. concerning something or other. Still, I’m a tad relieved it was them rather than the usual mob of extreme leftists and anarchists doing that; moreover, there seemed to be little damage.
I’ve found various arguments in this thread concerning, inter alia, the Spanish Inquisition, rather fascinating, especially since my position stands somewhat in between the correspondents therein (incidentally, the poster in that thread called “Jane” was substantially influential in the actualisation of my reversion from atheism a few years back through my observing over the years in various fora her utter decency under intense ad-hominem pressure.)
Broadly speaking, while I suspect much English and French (from which a fair proportion of the former is derived) calumny concerning the Spanish Inquisition was exaggerated and paid inadequate attention to the general coarsening of European manners prevalent for most of its operation, talk of its “mercy” seems question-begging at best, and blithe of grave procedural concerns at worst.
Admittedly on a gut level at present, it also seems implausible and potentially disingenuous for certain ultramontane controversialists to assign the preponderance of blame for postulated abuses under the Spanish Inquisition’s ægis to agents of the Castilian, Aragonese and (from 1713-1834) Spanish Crowns. I see nothing inherent to the Cloth per se which renders those in said estates/orders more immune from cruelty than would pertain to diligent persons in lay offices.
While perusing this thread, I recently came across the work of 19’th-Century Presbyterian Thomas Chalmers, as expounded on this blog. While I suspect I’m incompetent to offer a detailed critique at this point, nonetheless substantial portions thereof seem potentially worth pondering.