Archive for the 'Politics' Category

The best eight word summary of the Iraq war plan

February 15th, 2007

The US National Security Archive (not an official body) has just obtained the PowerPoint briefing on the Iraq war plan from 2002.

There’s lots of great stuff in this, but I was particularly struck by one sentence from the second slide in the pack

Thinking “outside the box”, but “inside a compartment”

When they come to write the book on this war, that should be the title…

What the???!!!

January 16th, 2007

Via Washington Monthly is this unbelievably strange story in the Guardian:

Britain and France talked about a “union” in the 1950s, even discussing the possibility of the Queen becoming the French head of state, it was reported today.


When Mr Mollet’s request for a union failed, he quickly responded with another plan – that France be allowed to join the British commonwealth – which was said to have been met more warmly by Sir Anthony.

What the hell? Strangest thing I’ve seen in months.

Stupid, stupid policy

January 8th, 2007

From ABC News is this brain dead bit of policy:

Australian Young Labor is calling on the ALP to adopt a policy of not taxing people under 18.

Young Labor president Sam Crosby says it is unfair that those aged under 18 have to pay tax even though they cannot vote.

OK, let’s ignore the ‘taxing people under 18’ bit. Let’s just think about the ‘cannot vote’ thing and what that implies:

  • only citizens have to pay taxes;
  • people who don’t pay tax can’t vote; and
  • people who don’t live in Australia don’t have to pay tax.

Stupid, stupid justification for the policy. If you’re going to advocate new policy (and it’s an idea interesting enough to debate), please don’t try to justify it using this fairness argument that a 3-year-old could see through.

Year of the Election

January 8th, 2007

2007 will be, almost certainly, the year we see the next Federal Election.

According to the timetable published by the AEC the election has to occur between 4 August 2007 and 19 January 2008. A double dissolution can occur any time, but those are the only dates that avoid a half-senate election too, something we can be pretty certain no one wants to see1.

There’s never been an election in January, so we can safely rule it out. Since 1950 there’ve been none in August or September, 4 in October, 4 in November and 5 in December (none later than 13 December). So we’re now down to 10 possible dates. My guess would be that the PM might call an election shortly after APEC ends on September 9. The minimum time between issue of writs and the election is 33 days, which would put the election on October 13 or 20, probably more likely the 20th, which would require the PM to call the election by Monday 17 September.

  1. The last half-senate election was held in 1970, and resulted in severe losses for the Government of the time. 

Labor leadership: It’s on

December 1st, 2006

Exciting times:

Kim Beazley has put his job on the line by announcing a caucus leadership ballot for Monday morning. Ballots will also be called for the deputy leadership as well as all positions on Labor’s frontbench.

(From the Herald).

I don’t know who to go for here. Beazley has shown himself to be serially inept, but I’m not sure that Rudd would be a lot better. Still, I suppose that it would be hard to be much worse than Kimbo, so I guess I have to go for Rudd (or Gillard, who may yet declare). But would Beazley have done this if he didn’t think he had the numbers?

Victorian elections

November 26th, 2006

First off: I miss Jeff Kennet. I haven’t cared about Victorian politics very much ever since he left the scene.

That said, it seems that the Victorian government is just about where the NSW government was one term ago – getting a bit long in the tooth perhaps, but still with enough talent to justify another go. And judging from Saturday’s results, Victoria agrees with me. A swing of 4-8 seats is pretty much what everyone expected, and once again shows that oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them.

(What makes NSW so interesting at the moment is that both parties are competing very strongly to lose the election, with the Liberals trying just a little bit harder at the moment).

The claims that this was decided on ‘federal issues’ is laughable – every sign suggests that people have worked out the difference between State and Federal Labour…