Thursday, January 04, 2007


I find Janet Albrechtsen an annoying little commentator. I think my views of her were summed up in the comments she made on becoming an ABC Board member. These included, though not included in that link, that as a lawyer she would help the ABC Board with governance*.

Surely she should have had some better claims than that. Anyhow in her column of yesterday she concludes that we have no right-wing cartoonists because left-wing politics is "an emotional, instinctive, utopian kind of world" whereas conservatism is "more rational, analytical and pragmatic" ("Conservatism is no laughing matter " Opinion 3/1).

It is a strange world indeed where "compassion" can be considered a taunt. It is also a strange world in which the opposites are "left-wing" and "conservatism", and where a philosophy that basicallly says "let's not change stuff" is considered more rational or analytical than the progressives who actually imbue their position with extensive theorising in economics, political science and sociology.

While I did offer the last two paras to the Australian in the form of a letter to the editor, they only published two, I suppose giving some semblence of balance. The first of these letters goes on to make the suggestion that humour can only be made at the expense of the powerful, which may be true, but does not fully explain the pattern noted by Albrechtsen.

My criticism is, however, far more directed at the world view of Albrechtsen than the subject. Like many she has created her own "strawman" of her "opponents", has created a view wherein the actors are far more co-ordinated than is possible and used terms a bit like Humpty Dumpty - to mean what she wants them to mean.

* As a personal aside, lawyers are the last people you want on Board's to help with governance, because their focus is on reducing risk for Board members as opposed to getting outcomes for shareholders (or other stakeholders).

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Prior to the commencement of the final Test in the Ashes series I wish to announce that I am making myself unavailable for selection in future Australian Test and one-day cricket teams and all first-class cricket.

This will mean I can spend more time with my blog, and hopefully get around to posting more regularly. I won't make that a New Year's resolution, because I've never kept one of thos in my life.

The Revenge Killing of Saddam

Today Gerard Henderson in his SMH column gives a quick survey of world leader responses and comes to the conclusion that the death sentence on Saddam Hussein has general support. I've previously made my views known, and nothing in Henderson's column changes them.

Henderson notes that Saddam could not be imprisoned for life in Iraq and in response to suggestions he be imprisoned in exile in the same manner as Napoleon suggests this is not viable in the era of terrorists. Perhaps Henderson hasn't noticed the extent to which terrorism has changed from the days of plane hijackings to hold hostages for the release of Palestinians, but it is hard to understand or believe a claim that holding Saddam a prisoner could create any more terrorism than invading their country.

While he is at it Henderson also has a go at the ABC for interviewing Geoffrey Robertson who equates the death penalty to a revenge killing. The complaint is that Robertson's views were presented without any alternative view and the interviewer just accepting his claims. This criticism confuses balance as needing to occur within all programs as opposed to across the whole schedule. As Henderson himself effectively notes the only other sound grabs broadcast in news bulletins were of approving world leaders, and in that sense the short interview with Robertson was creating balance in the ABC's coverage.