Allan Takes Aim Blog

Archive for March 2013

My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

Procrastination, Politics and other contentions

There’s a saying that procrastination is the thief of time but I’ve come to the conclusion it’s more the thief of mind than of time.  I say that because I’ve been procrastinating all day on what to write about.

Not at there‘s a shortage of material but in these days of free speech by the time you’ve finished checking up on what you might like to write about a you could end up passing a day in procrastinating. For example you might think that instead of speaking freely about race, what you write could end up with you being accused of discrimination. And when you add ethnicity, colour, gender, or religion to the list of things you might like to write about, your procrastinating could take a long time.

In all probability religion would be an issue that would cause you to procrastinate at length partly because many people adopt a religion depending on circumstances or when they think it convenient. Over the years people many people who claim to be Christians have, at various times, identified as Catholic, Anglican or Episcopalian. At the same time some have identified themselves variously as Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian or one of the many other Christian Sects that exist. Of course in Western Christian circles it could be hard to identify as Zen Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or one of the many African, Middle Eastern, or Far Eastern religions. Agnostics and atheists have been omitted for obvious reasons.

Today, of course, we have instant religions.  By that I mean people adopt an issue and turn it into a belief they think so obvious that everyone else should see it in the same light. When other people do not adopt the belief they are often dismissed as intellectually deficient of mind in that area of life when, in fact, it is they who are deficient in that area.

Over the ages many people of intellect have suffered from this problem to the extent that while they might have managed to force people to accept their view ether by force of arms or force of law they also have managed to divide society. They are unwilling to compromise. For them, only their view is acceptable. In other words they have become disciples of righteousness. As a result they alienate people in society and reinforce the alienation they said they were removing.

Sadly, many of those who adopt this attitude are members of the judiciary, doctors of medicine, academics, scientist and members of religious orders, people from a plethora of disciplines. In their own mind, and even more sadly, they have elevated themselves to their own special pantheon of the wise who should be consulted on the course of action society should follow.

Included in this group are writers and journalists whose writings can influence society for good or bad. Their writings are often quoted by others as if equal to the wisdom handed down like the mythological tablets of advice handed down by the mythological God to Moses. Unfortunately, many people believe their writings not because they understood them but because they had been endorsed by others of similar ilk.

Underlying these religions is another religion called politics whose many sects whose leaders worship power and at election time promise – if we support them at the ballot box – good governance and a cornucopia of social delights that will turn the earth which politicians have helped turn into something woeful into an earth of unending joy and happiness.

In years to come not only will our descendants wonder at the thinking processes used by the pantheon of the wise in their decision making process. As for me let me sum up my feelings with Alfred Lord Tennyson’s often misquoted words in the poem, ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ and say: ours is not to reason why ours is but to do and die..

A Happy Easter to all.

Comments welcome

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My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

Canberra on the Beach

As I lay in bed dreaming I could see the palm trees by the lakeside beach swaying in the light Canberra wind, while children on the beach built sandcastles and dozens of Canberra bureaucrats and other overstressed workers lay on their LiLos getting suntanned (lightly of course) as they soaked up their daily dose of vitamin D in the hope of reducing their stress levels and revitalising their aching bodies and minds.

Well what’s wrong with that dream? If Canberrans can get a daily dose of Vitamin D lying on a LiLo at Lakeside Beach tourists can too. Then, alas, I woke up. But I didn’t mind; some of my past dreams came true though more often than not they became nightmares.

But the more I read about the beach the more I realized that I didn’t see any of the things I remembered from my childhood days. I couldn’t see any donkeys for children to take a ride on or a hot dog stand or an ice cream stall or bronzed life savers that teenage girls and those who imagined they were still teenage girls swooned over.

And nor was there a postcard stall perhaps because by the time the idea of the beach comes to fruition instead of a stall with naughty postcards it’s likely a new app for mobiles or whatever piece of technology is the latest must have, will be available so that friends can be sent “naughty pictures” with the message “wish you were here.”

The Lakeside Beach will also have big advantages over those lookalike beaches shown in brochure after brochure. Presumably too, the water that will lap the Lakeside beach will be fresh and so make swallowing mouthfuls of it more pleasant than swallowing mouthfuls of brine in either Biarritz -Europe’s surfing capital, or Bali.

Then the thought struck me that in case you forgot to brush your teeth you could remedy your forgetfulness by carrying toothbrush and toothpaste in your beach bag as well as suntan lotion, budgie snugglers or bikini so that you could scrub the molars with lake water.

But what excited me most about the plans for an urban beach was the idea of having a boardwalk, multi -story hotels, a casino, a forum, a convention centre and a rectangular stadium where the Raiders and Brumbies could display the talent that keeps them atop the league tables. I’d like to suggest also that a tattoo parlour be built on the boardwalk where team members or their fans could get themselves adorned. To complete the ancillary services, I think a Police Station might also be necessary.

Mind you, perhaps it’s presumptuous talking about the Raiders and Brumbies playing in the stadium? Will the Raiders and Brumbies still be in existence when the new stadium is ready or will they have moved to area where support and money is more plentiful? Like other businesses sport now goes to where the money is.

What also came to mind is a particular advantage the Lakeside beach has over the Bali and Biarritz beaches: it is unlikely it will ever be subject to a tsunami. This will be of special interest to Canberrans living near the beach or tourists temporarily resident in nearby hotels as it means they will be spared ever having to evacuate because of a tidal wave.

On the other hand if the Raiders and Brumbies are still in existence during the football season perhaps residents might experience a human tsunami of Rugby League or Rugby Union supporters. Mind you, if only to disclose my personal preferences I wouldn’t mind the occasional tsunami of Soccer (Football) supporters.

No doubt you will have noticed I have made no mention of what in the future might also be considered important tourist facilities. While brothels are still likely to be operating in Fyshwick, Mitchell and elsewhere in Canberra, consideration should be given to making provision for a male and female brothel in the beach precinct.

No doubt the perspicacious among you will notice that I‘ve made no mention of transport services. I do so in this case because Canberra is a hotbed of “planning experts” and so, on the basis that discretion is the better part of valour I left it out.

All comments welcome.

My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

 

Shameless politicians make shameless governments

On odd occasions over the years while writing about politicians, I’ve had messages from correspondents who in no uncertain terms, too rude to be printed, said the world would be a better place had some politicians never been born. When I replied to their messages it would have been easy to say ‘and so say all of us’ instead of which I pointed out that they had been responsible for electing the politicians they wish had not been born.

However, the events in Australia’s Federal Parliament last Thursday has given me cause to think these correspondents could be right when the behaviour and language of our political representatives put wilful children to shame. Indeed it can only be described as shameless!

The most shameless behaviour came from Members of the Labor Government led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Deputy Wayne Swan, plus some, but thankfully not all, Cabinet Ministers. And if only to demonstrate their depth of shamelessness they wrapped themselves in the flags of patriotism and care for the ‘working class’ to cover it up. Unfortunately for them, their later behaviour not only confirmed their shamelessness it also showed they cared more for themselves than either country or the working class.

It was this behaviour, grist to the mill of an aficionado of politics that removed any thought I had of stopping writing about writing about politicians. It also confirmed that to keep democracy alive, free speech is the medium that will ensure its survival and its development.

To avoid repetition of the news reports that saturated the media about the event, let me give a brief reprise. The event was an attempted coup against the Prime Minister by MPs and Senators with integrity, who said they couldn’t stomach the goings on of the Government and thought the behaviour of the Prime Minister and some Members of Cabinet, had brought the Government into disrepute. To resolve the matter they wanted the Prime Minister to stand down so that the Prime Minister she had dethroned in a previous coup could be returned to office.

Unfortunately their hopes went awry when the PM called a quick meeting of the Labor Caucus to vote on the proposition. Unfortunately, the number of caucus s who supported the coup fell just short of the number required for success. The result of this failure was an announcement that caucus had unanimously endorsed Prime Minister Gillard and Deputy Wayne Swan in their positions. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing how many, if any, caucus Members, did not offer support.

But if the statement is true, the endorsement not only displays the shallowness of the Government as a whole it also shows the majority of Australians that caucus had endorsed a Prime Minister they thought dishonest and lacking integrity who lusted for power.

And if only to show the accuracy of the perception by the majority of Australians, the PM quickly accepted the resignation of Ministers and Senior Officers of the Government. Had they not resigned it is almost certain she would have sacked them.

With an election due in September and the Government daily sinking in the polls, many gutless members of caucus who had endorsed the PM and Deputy PM, tried to protect themselves and also help avoid the PM’s revenge by taking to the media and issuing press releases designed to make them look guiltless and as if butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. This makes them not only shameless but witless.

They also compounded their gutlessness by trying to bolster their image and ingratiate themselves with voters as proud Australians by again spouting patriotism and their care for the working class. In any case with the Labor Party having discarded democracy and egalitarianism already, the working class is no longer one of its interests.

And now for a final question: when last Thursday’s events and only a few of the Government’s litany of horror policies for example, the carbon tax, Building the Education Revolution, trying to hogtie the media and the solar panel program during which people were killed are taken in conjunction, what does this augur for Labor’s chance of being re-elected to Government in September?

Comments welcome

 

My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

Democracy: use it or lose it

I used to look at people who subscribe to the theory that if you don’t use it you lose it as if they needed their head read. To test their theory, a few months ago I decided to give up writing about politics for a time and see what happened. Well unless someone can come up with a good reason as to why the theory doesn’t work all I can say is I reached the stage where for a short while I thought might need to see a head reader.

As for my possible conversion from non – believer to believer, discard any notion you have that my conversion is due to any lack of capacity for indulging in writing about what I think an interesting and at times pleasurable activity. When I say that perhaps you question my sanity for thinking that writing about politicians is a pleasurable activity.

Some of you might even think of sending me a message saying that if I get pleasure in writing about politicians then I need my head read. On the other hand some people might write to say that instead of writing about politicians I should write about how to ensure that a really pleasurable activity does not help contribute to an increase in the birth rate.

Over the years some people have written to me on that subject but what I found surprising was that while most of them confessed to having more than two children they now think three children is one too many. Occasionally I wrote back asking how they explained to the one too many why they were a mistake. I’m still waiting for a reply.

Some letter also came from heartbroken people who, for medical reasons, were unable to father or bear a child. And without any wish to get to get into a philosophical debate about the issue people who for religious reasons have made a genuine choice not to get married and have children also wrote to me. And let me make the point that for me there is a difference between being a father or mother and being described as a parent. It may be a fine distinction but one can be the latter without being the former.

But let me return to politics and restate my position that I was testing the theory in relation to politics. Now you might think that a strange think for a self-confessed aficionado of politics to say. And you’re right. Unfortunately, supporters of the theory might also be right

The reason: because politics have become homogenous writing about them day after day and saying the same things has become almost automatic. Indeed much reportage of politics seems to have been written by journalistic automatons because no matter which newspaper you read the political reports seem the same. And much the same thing can be said of radio and TV reports.

I don’t know whether or not most of you get the papers or listen to the political reports on radio and TV. Mind you I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. But that’s not the media’s fault it’s the fault of those we elect to parliament who in many cases are automatons.

Why is this? It seems to me that we get automatons in parliament because we don’t question them hard enough before elections about why they want to become politicians. In any case, ninety nine times out of a hundred their reply would be: I want to make a difference.

That said I’d like to make a suggestion. At the next election if you get a chance to ask a question and get that answer you should then follow up with the question: in which area of living do you want to make a difference. Don’t be surprised if the reply sounds like gobbledygook. It is.

As a final note let me say that if you think the saying if you don’t use it you can lose it would seem to have greater practical application when speaking of activities other than politics, you’d be wrong. Politics is a democratic process the loss of which would be catastrophic.

Comments welcome.

 

 

My latest blog is always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

Facebook and Twitter: the twin towers of internet babel

Facebook and Twitter should set up sites on which the only posts can be made by politicians, wannabes politicians, political letter writers and bloggers who only comment on politics and social issues. This would prevent both sites being cluttered by the untrammelled stream of inane gossip from contributors who seem to have nothing else to occupy their mind.

Let me suggest the websites would be welcome additions to the internet. This is not to suggest these websites would be free of inanity. Indeed not; politicians often utter the most striking inanities as do political commentators, letter writers and bloggers. At the same time their comment can be just as biased.

Indeed political and social issues sites without inanities would be too much to hope for but nevertheless they would serve a useful purpose in that they would allow people to make assessments about issues without being overwhelmed by what is often social drivel.

Facebook and Twitter Political websites could be seen as contributing to the cause of freedom of speech, unfortunately not a freedom that has wide acceptance in the media. I find it appalling that as civilisation has advanced freedom of speech in the media seems to have declined with editor after editor seemingly loath to allow it.

A brief digression: many editors also seem reluctant to subscribe to the phrase usually attributed to Voltaire: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’ which in fact was coined by English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall (pseudonym S.G. Tallentyre) in ‘Friends of Voltaire (1906). However it should be noted that Hall said later that she had been paraphrasing Voltaire’s words in his “Essay on Tolerance.”

Digression over let me return to Facebook and Twitter. I have heard both of these functions being lauded by some users as “cool.” Well for me they are cool and to such an extent that, when unwittingly drawn into one or the other by people who think they are doing me favour, I feel a chill of horror running up and down my spine.

There is one other thing I’m sure of. Following today’s Labor Party farce held at the Theatre of the Absurd, known an as Parliament House, Canberra, Facebookers and Twitterers will be working hard tonight. No doubt they will have much to say about what happened.

I have something to say myself. Political ‘experts’ say that following the spill brought on by Labor Minister Simon Crean, Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard and  her deputy Wayne Swan were re-elected unopposed by the Labor Caucus. True but not true. The fact is, because Gillard and Swan were the only people to nominate for the positions the positions were not put to a vote. This is not the same as saying that following a formal voting process and a check of voting slips, no votes against them had been recorded.

And so l end with a question. Do voters think Labor’s leadership brou – ha- ha has ended?

Comments welcome.

My blogs are always available at: https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

Priests and politicians: is there a difference?

This week, two events occurred: the election in Vatican City of an Argentine Cardinal to be Chief Priest of the Roman Catholic Church (The Pope) and Canberra’s 100th birthday. Of these two events which do you think will be remembered, if remembered at all, as being of importance? Possibly neither, though the Papal election is the most likely.

No doubt some people will be upset at pairing the Vatican and Canberra but the fact is that environment is much the same as Vatican City is as much a political city as Canberra. That said perhaps the comparison should be between the Pope and Australia’s Prime Minister whose official home is Canberra.

It could be said that both the Pope and Australian Prime Minister reached reach their positions in the same way. The Pope was elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church by a conclave of equals and the PM by a conclave of Labor politicians. The only difference: the result of the Pope’s election is not known before the papal conclave starts whereas the result of the political conclave is known before it starts.

As to the philosophy preached by the two leaders, the Pope advocates caring for the poor, tolerance, humanity, love of God, truth, honesty, integrity and kindness et al, a philosophy set 2,000 years ago, that will get you to heaven. That the philosophy still stands is due to the fact that, apart from claiming to be the Son Of God, as a good politician, Jesus Christ its creator of the philosophy used a cabinet of 12 apostles (who today would be called priests) to promote it.

By example these priests did their best to convert people to the philosophy that later became known as Christianity. And that they were successful is clear as today 1.2 billion people still follow the philosophy. (A brief personal statement: Although I believe in parts of this philosophy but not in God I am Agnostic. But neither do I hold any brief for any other religious group such as Islam, Hinduism et al or any particular political philosophy)

Odd as it seems there is little difference between the basic philosophy of most Christian religions and Australia’s Labor Party. Christian religions promise us entrance to a mystical and glorious heaven when we die if we adhere to their philosophes, while Labor promises heaven on earth (Utopia) if we follow its philosophy. Unfortunately for both, neither have evidence to back their claim.

Despite this lack of evidence the Australian Labor party is still promising Utopia. Unfortunately for Labor, Utopia seems anchored fast in dreamland. One would not need to be a member of Mensa to see the reason why and also see why more and more people in Australia now disbelieve most Labor politicians. The reason: not only does party philosophy change overnight but, at the whim of the PM and some cabinet colleagues and for reasons of expedience, it can change hourly so leaving some cabinet and non- cabinet MPs bewildered.

A glaring example of the latter is the proposed media reform. Demanding that this media reform bill be made law is the height of arrogance. And while voters might admire firm leaders they dislike like arrogant leaders particularly when they seem to have stopped listening and stumble from one disastrous policy to another such as PM Gillard and her cabinet have done.

Labor’s memory of these mistakes has conveniently vanished into the mists of time where it will bump into many other Labor mistakes, the list of which is too long to publish. What will not be Included in that list is the legislation that has increased taxes and keeps on increasing the cost of living thus creating misery not Utopia.

For the benefit of the Prime Minister Gillard let me paraphrase the old saying, marry in haste and repent at leisure into: become PM in haste and repent at leisure. Unfortunately, Prime Minister, come September you will find out that after making mistakes repentance always comes too late. At the same time you will find that when push comes to shove and despite their fine promises of loyalty, those who helped you make those mistakes will desert you to minimise any damage to their ambitions.

In ending this piece and looking for a succinct message to summarise the image of the PM what came to mind was not that she is Australia’s first female Prime Minister but that she seems to have qualities of Emperor Nero of whom it was said: he fiddled while Rome Burned. The other Nero similarities she displays are her extravagance and the execution of people perceived as enemies.

The extravagances are so well known they speak for themselves. Hopefully the politically executed will also be able speak for themselves because while the physical execution of political enemies has now largely died out in the western world, executing perceived political enemies is still carried out as many in the Australian Labor Party and, for that matter, the Liberal Party can testify to.

“Get my latest blog by logging on to https://donallan.wordpress.com. To make direct contact e-mail me at: dca@netspeed.com.au

After 100 years has Canberra come of age?

Monday, the 11th March, is the wrong day to celebrate Canberra’s birthday although it would sound mean to complain about celebrating it a day earlier because it gave Canberrans a long weekend holiday. That apart it has to be said that if celebrating Australia’s National Capital’s 100th birthday was so important, why wasn’t the rest of the nation part of the celebration?

You might also think it wrong that the ACT Government spent millions of dollars on a PR exercise saying Happy Birthday to Canberra on its 100th Birthday when millions of dollars are needed for important public facilities. Perhaps they did not just my mother did in my poor days of childhood when on Fridays she would often say: “to hell with poverty, put another herring in the pot.”

Though I haven’t yet reached the century mark myself (I am not saying I won’t because family is noted for its longevity) I think starting the celebration in January was a bit over the top. At the same time having seen birthdays come and go for many years, I wonder if the same thing will happen when Canberra reaches its second century and wonder too, if it will still be Australia’s Capital? Who knows? However of one thing I’m sure: if Canberra is still around in two hundred years not too many of its current citizenry will be around to enjoy the celebration.

This leads to my next question: 100 years from now will Canberra still be struggling to be recognised as a major city or, as Australia changes, will it have been overwhelmed and become an indulgence that Australia’s growing population says it cannot afford?

Regardless of the answer, Canberra’s landscape will change and upset those people locked into the present, and in some cases, the past. (Respectfully I request they get a copy of the book “Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Harvard Professor of economics Edward Glaeser). The fact is that high rise residential and accommodation buildings will become as common in Canberra as they are in every other country in the world and if it wishes to survive, Canberra will have to go with the flow.

So is Canberra destined to become become a Corbusier style city of high rise buildings surrounded by green spaces? Let me add that being selfish as well as old, I have no wish to hasten that future but hope that, in time, the planners will come to realise that instead of being a linear city that presents a barren image Canberra will need to have street life that gives life to the urban reaction that not only thrives on messiness but at the same time also helps people experience the changing nature of a city. If its planners are not alive to this situation Canberra will be even more barren that some people think it is today

The mantra of many Canberrans who live off the government teat is that Canberra is Australia’s cultural capital because it has Australia’s best educated and most literate society. That may be true but having met many of these people over more than forty years I think they are driven to this thought by fear of having to work for a living.

However, it has been my greata fortune during these more than forty years to know many people who spent much of their own time and money advancing the cause of a range of the arts and other cultural activities. Indeed if anyone deserved to share in Canberra’s 100th birthday party, it is surely these people. I hope they got an invite? If they have I hope it turns out to be the best party they ever attended.

Finally, if you wonder why I make little mention of planned birthday activities it is because every local newspaper, radio and TV will be out in force covering them. I only hope the people covered are neither politicians looking for a radio or TV grab or pic in the paper nor Canberra’s many status seekers and social climbers who measure their contribution to Canberra’s progress by the number of times they appear or are reported in the social and gossip pages.
Comment welcome.



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