Speak now or forever hold your peace!

The debate over the referendum to grant a “Voice” to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia sparks many thoughts in my mind, most of them cynical. 

Now I don’t have a vote in Australia, but I have paid taxes here for nigh on 10 years so should have one; thus I figured I am entitled to speak my mind.

My first thought is that these people do have a voice and representation by their own elected representatives. (Does this mean that democracy has failed them?)

My second thought is that the concept of a “Voice” for this poor benighted sector of the population is quite a funky meme-ish idea, likely to appeal to the shortspanofattention current generation. It is a crisp, simple virtuous PR vehicle, ideal for politicians.

My third thought is that the referendum is likely to be quite divisive, because of the modern propensity to factionise and label for easy meme-ing. The ‘aye-sayers‘ are inclusive, woke progressives and the ‘nay- sayers‘ are racist Tories.

Wait, it gets even more … rough-edged?

There are about 500 different Aboriginal tribes in Australia, each with their own language and territory and usually made up of a large number of separate clans. more than 250 languages and about 800 dialectal varieties

Which language will be used by the Voice? And will all agree on the words that are spoken? In New Zealand, there are still big money debates going on about the meaning of the Te Reo Maori version of the  Treaty of Waitangi, thought to be clearly written in English.

The Indigenous population in Australia declined to a low of 74,000 in 1933 from an estimated 314 000 when the First Fleet arrived. About 12 000 were killed by colonists, the rest likely succumbed to the ravages of disease and by products of western civilization such as alcohol and despair.

A Voice will give 3.2% of the population additional power in Parliament – a 25%  increase in that population since last census! It seems that aboriginal heritage is gaining flavour.

This portion of the population is the most poorly educated, unhealthy, socially destitute and criminal of all Australians. It is also diverse and disparate. It has a history of subjugation and some abuse, some of which may have been well meaning by the perpetrators but devastating for the victims.

Can we expect clarity, foresight and community interest from the speakers of the Voice? Will they be united  and informed and representative of their electorate? Is that likely? Or will there be Boards and Committees and advisors and bureaucrats to give the Voice a neck and a head…? Lots and lots of money…!

It’s not a new political trick. In 1967 a referendum relating to Indigenous Australians, was called by the Liberal-Country Party Holt Government. Voters were asked whether to give the Federal Government the power to make special laws for Indigenous Australians.

Acts of Parliament have appointed Protectors of Aborigines and Aboriginal Protection Boards in the past, with little apparent success.

The persuasion for this campaign is founded on the wave of Woke thinking which is sweeping the old, democratic Western societies, which recently saw off ScoMo and the LNP.

The fact that the Aboriginal population suffers significantly less advantage in society is regarded as a consequence of a racist hegemony, enriched by its historical suppression and racism: massacres, dispossessions and stolen generations.

The guilty must now pay a penance which will (maybe) absolve them of this horrible taint of the past and make everything okay …. yeah, right!

My last thought is related to my antipathy to Woke-ism, which you may have detected. 

Once the benighted Aboriginals have a Voice, will we not be bound by precedent to enshrine more power for the exclusive use of women, then the homosexuals, lesbians, transexuals, pansexuals, one knee cappers and sheep lovers, etcetera?

I will leave the allocation of body parts to a new age biologist!

While I am here I was wondering why there is no rainbow flag in Parliament and why no-one took a knee at the opening of that august body, soon to be given a new voice.

Mid year Morass

Australia has survived an election and is somewhat refreshed by the efforts of the new regime … so far.

New Zealand is drowning its recent history and elevating first nation culture and hegemony …

I hesitate to allow my mind to dwell on the general state of civilization in Africa. The extent of corruption of the elites and the neglect of the populace is apparent.

What is infuriating is the charade of following democratic principles and the lofty debates in Parliaments and the imitated pomp and ceremony of Westminster parliaments. But the civil service has become totally inept, corrupt and unable to perform its functions.

In South Africa, the legacy of apartheid led largely to the exclusion of white managers and supervisors from government departments and the rapid promotion of inexperienced and frequently unqualified individuals, often deployed by the ruling party in some sort of reward for activism. As the Zondo report revealed, all too many of these cadres deployed by the party have used the opportunity to plunder and extort the community at large …aaarrgh , it is too sickening to think about.

Consequently, the infrastructure of the country is collapsing. The government at every level is unable to prevent revenue from being looted, so cannot provide adequate social services. Power, sanitation and transport systems are failing. Already the new age colonists have come offering support in return for access to resources and the government will be bought off.

So there will be new masters who will control the governments who will be paid off … and the people will suffer and society will breakdown into armed camps, each protecting their own.

That’s Africa. Pretty crude and basic, unlike Europe and America with ‘democratic’ institutions stretching back for many centuries (I have tongue in cheek). The World Wars and Spanish and Irish Civil wars laid the foundation for their current state of civilisation. Continental wars on two fronts in Europe and Asia are only a presidential whim away (let’s hope the lion sleeps tonight!)

While I am on the sad state of the world I may as well note the revived anxiety about Covid 4 or 5 or whatever and the renewed call to get vaccinated to reduce the demand for ICU beds… Scepticism has set in: we ‘oldies’ are advised to get vaccinated now and probably will need anther before Xmas…. nah!

I won’t start up about the Cancel Culture which is eroding our remaining democratic principles like floods in New South Wales.

Oh well – I have six rugby tests to watch this weekend!

Birds are courting and mimosa is beginning to bloom, so the icicles must be melting and another new year begins…

Carbon credits

Recently I asked friends what they knew about carbon credit systems. They knew almost nothing, save that it was designed to combat carbon emissions into the atmosphere, intrinsic to the battle against undesirable climate change. We are talking about tertiary educated people in early middle age in a first world country. Their knowledge reflected my own: almost zilch.

So I made an appointment with Dr Google and started reading. AaargH!! It soon became too much for my little brain: convoluted, confusing and, at least to me, a system wide open to manipulation and fraud.

It appears that governments have devised a system to assess the carbon footprint of countries, businesses, industries, services et al, engine exhaust, cow farts, factory smoke etc. They are required to maintain this below set levels, which in many cases is difficult or too expensive. I mean, how do you stop a cow fart?

So, in order to avoid these activities being driven out of business, the government established a cap and trade level of carbon credits.

Companies that pollute are awarded credits that allow them to continue to pollute up to a certain limit. That limit is reduced over time. Meanwhile, the company may sell any unneeded credits to another company that needs them.

This has become nationalised and countries and businesses with excess credits can sell them to those that pollute excessively.

Extra credits can be earned by minimising pollution or growing trees (they convert CO2 to oxygen). The market for compliance credits is estimated to rangeas high as $272 billion for the year 2020.

You can imagine how many bureaucrats would be needed to administer and monitor these matters …. and how creative accountants would be able to milk the system…

How easy would it be to claim an extra few thousand trees in a forest ?

Seems the limits set by the Kyoto Protocol were too hard for the US (the biggest polluter) and China (the second biggest), so they declined to play..

I wonder how many of you read this far?

This is an extreme simplification of the system.

My questions are : Who is going to administer the sytem in the future if only a few understand it?

How are our children and their children supposed to see through the smog of these bureaucratic jungles?

Who will save the world in the future?

I guess it is up to you and me to spread the word.

So do your bit: learn about the sytems so you can call out pollies when they try to confound you with greenwash!

Bureaucratic humanity and pragmatism

Are  bureaucrats humane and pragmatic? One would hope so.

Assuming they are, it follows that they must have regard for the impact of their decisions. 

Last year a long term resident had his application for renewal of his residence visa refused, because his original visa granted in 2014 had expired when he submitted his renewal application.

He had applied in time in 2019, but that application was found to be invalid because the wrong fee had been paid.

The correct fee was paid in July 2019, but by the time the application was submitted in August, the fees had been increased. Government applications require proof of payment before submission of applications. 

In a matter of days, the application was declared invalid as there was a fee shortfall of $25. The applicant was advised by the department to re-apply with evidence of full payment, which was done, but by the time the new application was received, the original visa time period had elapsed by one or two days.

The applicant was also advised that he could no longer work as he had no valid visa and he had to resign.

After a week he was granted a bridging visa pending the consideration of his subsequent (late) visa application. Fortunately he was re-employed by his employer.

After 15 months, he was advised in 2021 that his application was refused as it had been made in Australia, when he had no valid visa.

He has lodged  an appeal against that decision and his bridging visa has been extended.

This appeal will be heard in anywhere between 15 and 30 months.

The applicant is a family man, who has held full employment as a manager since his arrival in 2014. 

The man loves Australia; he is a sportsman and lover of the outdoors; he wants to buy a house and raise his family here. He has no criminal record or history of bankruptcy; his partner is a top level educationist. His qualifications have already been scrutinised when he first applied in London in 2014.

The prolonged torture of having one’s career and family future hanging by a thread for 3 to 4 years is agonising for him and his family.

Why can’t bureaucrats look beyond such petty transgressions which can be so easily fixed? Presumably when appeals are lodged the relevant decisions are internally reviewed. 

Does this mean this type of petty bureaucracy is condoned and thus encouraged in government ministries?

Where is the benefit for Australia?

Politicians would not survive scrutiny of such petty acts.

 Just a thought – If these processes were digitised, turnaround would be almost instantaneous. 

Even systems can be taught compassion and common sense.

Call me cantankerous

The statue of Edward Colston was toppled in a Black Lives Matter protest and tossed into a river in Bristol. He had been a merchant who amongst many other activities was involved in the Royal African Company which traded in slaves. It had been founded at the instigation of King Charles II in the 1600’s.

The slave trade was outlawed in 1807 in Britain and slaves were emancipated by in 1833.

Colston also supported and endowed schools, houses for the poor, almshouses, hospitals and Anglican churches in Bristol, London and elsewhere. He died at age 84 in 1721. A statue was erected in his honour.

A jury recently found 4 people clearly identified as perpetrators to be not guilty – they argued that the presence of the statue was a hate crime and it was therefore not an offence to remove it.

Perhaps statues of King Charles II should also be tossed? Perhaps it’s time to give the Queen and Royalty the heave-ho ? After all, their ancestor founded the Royal African Company.

If society does not allow the discussion of ideas and issues, people descend to shouting. Shouting is offensive and leads to confrontation. Those people who deny platforms to those who express opposing opinions and topple statues rely on the civilised reticence of the majority who will withdraw and avoid confrontation.

We have seen how demonstrators attack the police, deface buildings and defy regulations.

How far should they be allowed to go? What is peaceful demonstration?

Not so long ago – in my lifetime, unruly demonstrators were orderered to disperse. If they defied these orders, shots were fired over their heads, if they persisted, ringleaders were shot by marksmen. That always did the trick.

Can’t say I fault the process.

The mysteries of sex

Hopefully the title has lured your interest and you read on. This is about an older man’s resistance to change and opposition to the incursions of identity politics into history and life as we know it.

Back in the day, say 1960’s and 70’s when Germaine Greer was shaking the tree and ruffling the entrenched privileges of patriarchs, a “trannie” was a transistor radio.

Now  there are arguments between medical philosophers in “The Lancet” about politically correct gender terminology

The streaming company Twitch recently said it would use the term “womxn” in order to be more gender neutral in its language.

“But LGBT communities online called the change transphobic because it suggested trans women were not women.”

I think I grasp most of what the LGBTQ anagram stands for.

A 2011 survey in the US suggested LGBTQ’s make up about 10% of the population. Of course each group are all different with different demands and there are variations within each grouping e.g.: Transgender people may identify as heterosexual (straight), homosexual (gay or lesbian), bisexual, asexual, or otherwise, or may decline to label their sexual orientation. 

This has become quite confusing for some of us. What do we call these people, other than saying ” one of those LGBTQ types... “?

I have a few suggestions which might help:

  • The tensions over who can use which toilet could be eased by renaming public conveniences as urinals and non-urinals and by increasing the number and privacy of toilet cubicles which could be open to anyone.
  • Allow males into breast feeding/ baby care rooms only to change nappies (that will keep them out)
  • Instead of ‘people with vaginas‘,or ‘people who menstruate’ congenitally heterosexual women could be re-labelled as wombmen
  • Trans males who have had surgery to acquire female conformation could be called ginamen
  • Trans females who have had surgery to acquire male conformation could be called cockerelles
  • Female Bisexuals could be callen whimen, males could be bisons
  • Unaltered transgender people could be called cocktoos

I would like the word gay to be returned to its original usage, describing happy, merry and frolicsome behaviour. I get that queer and other labels may be unacceptable, so maybe they could be called otherlovers. In line with that, pansexuals could be called anylovers

No hurt is intended but if it is felt, it certainly couldn’t be more than the hurt felt by the the world of women who have been told they no longer can be called females or ladies and must change their nomenclature.

Of course sarcasm doesn’t help other than to perhaps signal discomfort at the disproportionate reactions in social media against those who question the rationale or proposals advanced by identity politicians or proposals that the whole be changed to accomodate tiny minorities.

Having an opinion in this politically correct world.

Title suggested by Michelle Craik Friday 26 March

My mother was very “proper” and her sternest reprimand was “that is not done (in good society)!”  My father was big on chivalry and respect.

Their ethos was maintaining the status quo. They would have been aghast by today’s cancel culture, the bastard child of political correctness.

Social media has weaponised the assault against anyone right of centre. Freedom of speech is drowned by the floods of woke activists; intolerant of differing opinions, they publicly shame and punish dissenters. 

Sadly  politicians have all submitted to the tyranny that political correctness now promotes.

When a faceless mob starts dictating what can be said and what cannot be said, then democracy is at death’s door.

Thus the woke mob has enabled conviction upon mere allegation, the disregard of due process and the immediate destruction of reputations without allowing defence. Debates are reduced to memes and emojis, dissent is dissed.

The fear of being pillored makes us inhibited and afraid to address even the most banal issues directly. We have taken a knee and will be obliged to do so until we get brave enough to challenge the mob.

We have ourselves to blame.  Our society has forgotten that freedom must be cherished and enjoyed responsibly. We have forgotten that freedom extends to everyone and we have become prisoners of populism.

The mob has grown and has immense power and influence. So much so that governments tailor their policies and actions to conform.

And in the naked light, I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sound of silence

Paul Simon, 1964

What is Treason?

I was saddened some time ago when I saw report  about the Saudi Shi’ite woman facing beheading for protesting against government  policies.

Horrified, yes; surprised, no.

Apostasy (forsaking, criticizing or attacking religion) was the original treason and the penalty was a horrible death. It was extended to monarchs, as they were considered to be ordained by God. Parliaments have now been similarly hallowed. In Dante’s Inferno, the ninth and lowest circle of Hell is reserved for traitors (i.e. those who commit treason).

In January 2016, Saudi authorities executed 47 prisoners including … a revered Shiite cleric and government critic  who had been convicted of sedition and other charges.

The Muslim world still practices what we would regard as extreme sanctions against dissent.

In England, high treason was punishable by being hanged, drawn and quartered or burnt at the stake if you were a woman. (Tsk! tsk! Blatant discrimination even then!)

After the execution of Lord Haw Haw in 1946, the penalty was changed to life imprisonment. Even now in Australia, the only permissible penalty for treason is life imprisonment.

It is clear that a priority of those in power is self protection and extreme action is sanctified.

But mass protests are permitted in many countries – such defiant and disrespectful acts as burning the national flag or effigies of politicians, the burning of property and tossing of Molotov cocktails and other violent assaults on police forces are tolerated. Sedition and incitement to violence  are commonplace and tolerated.

Where is the line drawn and how do we see it? As always the choice remains with the government  and that will always be weighed in the scale of political popularity, not the interests of public morality or common decency or established principle.

Public morality and common decency are currently being dictated by social media mobs who lynch any defiance of the fashionable viewpoint. These mobs are currently moving to re-define history and compel obedience to their views.

Even parliaments have been seen to take a knee!

Treason is now any defiance of the twitterati.

I am going to cancel my account – is that treason or just defiance or maybe just a senile snit?

The drowning of rational debate

(This is a shortened version of an article by Chris Kenny which I endorse. I am somewhat guilty of irresponsible utterances and hereby undertake to try to be better)

Twitter digitises and broadcasts the public debate equivalent of a teenage graffiti and vandalism rampage. And yet it shapes debate; our mainstream media and politicians look to the digital world for instant opinion polling and guidance about where to take their narratives and policies …

It is amplifying and weaponising the crudest and most inane elements of society and inviting them to dumb down our public square.

Our battered and impoverished public debate will not improve unless we learn to talk to each other. For a civil society to exist and political debate to be useful, people need to be able to hear ­alternative arguments, avail themselves of all relevant facts, and learn to deal politely with people who do not agree with them.

Far too many people waste their time shouting digital abuse at each other, or regurgitating views they agree with from accounts chosen by the faceless match­makers of the Facebook algorithms, instead of reading, discussing or learning.

The digital revolution was going to democratise the media, personalise democracy and mobilise the truth, but instead it has polarised and emaciated the media, dragged politics into the mire of anonymous bullying, and fostered deceptive memes, fake news and pile-ons.

At its core is a lack of accountability. The enticement of being able to post widely and often about anything — without submitting to editors, curators, lawyers or peers — encourages bravado and aggression, and it fosters an impetuousness that ­values gut feelings over facts, and devalues the time and effort required to get across the facts.

This freedom could liberate debate; but instead of letting a thousand flowers bloom, it shares the scrawls of a thousand dunny doors. People are unthinking enough about what they post without the added shield of anonymity — requiring people to post under their real names, with proof of identity, would not eradicate the problems but it would improve the situation.

The headline or the topic is enough for these people to slur or condemn; often egged on by hysterical opinion leaders such as Kevin Rudd …

…. thanks to social media; more conservatives are forced underground. … social media has weaponised the assault against anyone right of centre.

The woke love the following and adulation of social media …. until they cross a line, make the mistake of speaking sense or asking a salient question, then they experience the rule of the leftist lynch mob.

Public debate becomes coarser, more out of touch from the mainstream, and less tolerant of differing points of view. Soon the stage is vacated by all but the screaming green left, and those who will appease them.

Chris Kenny Weekend Australian 13 March 2021 

Rational debate drowning in the social media swamp

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/rational-debate-killed-in-the-sewer-of-social-media/news-story/bd066d99571f6d35b67d95ae1c494b4a

Rant

Arrant twaddle and waffle.

She had suicidal thoughts but was told it wouldn’t look good for her to seek help .…. oh poor baba, the wannabe princess nor her gallant prince couldn’t arrange it themselves? Mind you they didn’t even teach her the national anthemn – she had to learn it herself! How absoloutely shocking and racist!

Innuendo and subjective hypotheses, allusions that raise the racist spectre: “concerns and conversations about how dark” the baby would be. Somebody probably wisecracked that a black prince would vary the royal family array on the balcony. Horrors ! That’s even worse than the rapist aspersion currently popular in Australia.

It seems to have been all about what people didn’t do for the TV starlet and what she couldn’t get her snappy, sharpwitted prince to do. He has had to jump through a lot of hoops for his woman. I mean, she has had to tolerate critique about her bridesmaids dresses, how incredibly tragic!

Most of it seems to be about who was going to pay for security. They needed security because of all the loony death threats and horrible letters they had been getting. Selflessly, Her Grace said, if not for me or my baby Archie, just for my Prince… ohh what a squeeze to my heart!

No wonder Oprah is so successful, she knows how to milk scandal and innuendo for headlines. She must be gutted that she didn’t get who said “how dark will the baby be?”. That would have have been the cherry on this sad wedding cake.

Mind you she managed to get in racism, Diana, Daddy didn’t want to take my calls and lots of pregnant (oops!) innuendo and a coy revelation of the sex of the next baby to be. She didn’t get much if anything on Duchess M’s Daddy or Mummy or her previous husband or her apparently estranged siblings. They would make interesting follow-ups I am sure! Oh how exciting! This could go on for years, like “Married at First Sight”.

Enough of that Bollywood B-grade soapie!

The silly cow saga in Canberra just defies belief; if it wasn’t so sad, it would be a comedy. There seem to be quite a few lying cows there! And some real dogs….

An eager, bright young thing, full of wine, is persuaded by a smooth talking serial shagger, to take a ride home with him but a they first go to the Minister’s office. Security is easily negotiated (Heads should deservingly roll there), she passes out and access is gained, if you get my drift. She protests and he eventually desists and abandons her. Security discover her in disarray.

She reports later that she has been raped, then dithers and withdraws her allegations, despite advice to tell the cops. The cad appears to have been fired.

No further action ensues until a serial scandal generating journalist (are there any other types any more?), gets wind of the story a couple of years later. She plans a Cardinal Pell like journalstic bombshell, knowing the cancel culture and a desperate opposition party is fertile ground for vivid reponse and sensational headlines to follow.

And do they jump in, boots and all! Then even better, a sad story of a woman with a history of mental illness, who claims she was sodomised by the Attorney General who promised to marry her when he was 17.

Mud sticks in this day and age of focus on salacious ‘love’ stories .

I am saddened that supposedly intelligent people like the Leader of the Opposition and his desperate crew, seize advantage for media prominence by using such flimsy and shoddy stories to attack the credibility and bona fides of the Prime Minister.

As for the former Prime Minister… how desperately nasty can you get?

We live in a sad and sick society: not even a plague or a possible global war with China can shake our fascination with the sludge of life!