Saturday 20th of July 2024

daggy tony...


People might see this cartoon as going too far... But it's not... My apologies to the girls and the dog, though. But they gave us an irresistible line... a line impossible to ignore in the original meaning of the word...

Meanwhile if you want a bit of fun:

summing up the abbott...

Mark Latham may have succumbed to the creed of neo-liberalism, but he has summed up the Abbott right to perfection in his new Quarterly Essay, says Graham Jackson.


I’m on safer ground applauding Latham’s analysis of ‘The Rise of the New Right’, its cowardly, intimidatory tactics and its perversion of free speech. This chapter is worth the price of the essay. Latham describes the Jones and Bolts as

… political animals: scragging, authoritarian types who seek to limit and control the public debate. This is the dangerous thing about fanaticism. The new right will not rest until its views are the only views remaining in the political marketplace.

Hence, I would suggest the importance of journals like Independent Australia and, of course, the importance of all those who, like Latham, refuse to be intimidated.

That is not to say one has to agree with everything these alarmingly heroic individuals say and do. The weakness of Latham’s argument, it seems to me, is the proposition at the heart of his argument — his and Keating’s neoliberal faith in the efficacy of open, free markets. He has nothing to say about regulation, or about predatory capitalism. He derides Rudd’s overblown rhetoric on the global financial crisis without addressing the issue at its heart — that unregulated financial markets could trade in housing loans to aspirationals who had no capital, had never saved a dollar and were never likely to.

Here, we are in a realm Latham should certainly be addressing. “The most pervasive public belief,” he writes:

…is economic aspiration. The sons and daughters of the working class have had a taste of financial success and they want more.

No problem with that. What needs to be discussed, however, is the difference between individuals who want to advance themselves ‘through hard work and enterprise’, whom Latham acknowledges, and those he does not — those whose aspirations/dreams might be better described as fantasies.

This might also lead to a discussion of the relationship between open, free markets (regulated and unregulated) and unlimited growth. It might lead to a discussion of western civilization’s dream/fantasy of remoulding the Earth, a giant ponzi scheme, in which each investment Earth makes is paid for by the same Earth at ever increasing cost. Given his recognition of global warming as ‘the issue that can change everything’, it’s strange Latham doesn’t discuss this more fully.

While noting someone else’s observation that

‘… the world is split between those who want to save the planet and those who want to save themselves,’

he might also have noted the existence of a third party — those who just want to indulge themselves, at whatever cost.

So, at the end of Labour Day, I felt, oddly enough, quite uplifted. The light was still flickering.