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My wife asked me on the way into Kingscote yesterday if I thought a double disillusionment was likely.

She meant double dissolution, and corrected herself immediately. But it is a great phrase.

For the Labor Party, a double disillusionment is more likely than a double dissolution.

Malcolm Mackerras predicted on Thursday that the Liberals would lose in Higgins and that Bradfield would go to preferences. This is a big prediction when you consider that both have been safe conservative seats since they were created.

Labor is not running a candidate in either seat. This means the only meaningful opposition to Kelly O’Dwyer in Higgins and Paul Fletcher in Bradfield is the Greens.

The Greens vote in both electorates will increase substantially. This is not because people agree with the Greens’ policies, but because those who will not vote Liberal have no one else to vote for.

But neither electorate will go to preferences. Both will remain safe Liberal seats. There is even a possibility that the Liberal’s primary vote in both seats will increase.

Of course, tomorrow I could be the one suffering from double disillusionment. But I don’t think so.

For the Greens to take the necessary number of votes from both Labor and Liberal in either seat to force a count of preferences would require that:

  1. Liberals voters turn from the Liberal Party because the Liberals now have a more conservative leader. This is not likely. The Liberals do better, not worse, when they are more conservative, and when their policies can be clearly and easily distinguished from those of Labor.
  2. Voters in general are convinced that anthropogenic global warming is real, and are more concerned about the impact of AGW than they are about the economic consequences of an ETS, or of Australia signing up to the Copenhagen Treaty. This is a little harder to call. My impression is that most ordinary people do think there is possibly, maybe, perhaps something in the AGW scare. This is hardly surprising – the media has had 15 years to convince them, with very little of the opposing view allowed through the filters. But are they more concerned about this than job losses and increased taxes? I don’t think so.
  3. Even for Liberal Party voters who do believe in AGW, and think its possible consequences merit action which will slow down industry, increase prices, etc (and this is a minority group), doing something about AGW would have to be more important to them than any other policy matter which has infuenced their vote before. There will certainly be some who fall into this group. But enough to force either electorate to preferences? Highly unlikely.

The ABC says the result will be a voter verdict on the Liberal Party stoush. The change of leadership and the issues that lead to to it have had enough media coverage for this to be true.

But there are other local and state considerations.

Two of those considerations may push votes to Liberal.

Bradfield is in Sydney. Sydney is in New South Wales.

The NSW Labor Party is a train wreck, with even left wing union bosses predicting it will be annihilated at the polls in the next state election. This disillusionment with Labor, even among Labor diehards, will have an effect in Bradfield.

In Higgins, the Greens have run a celebrity candidate, Clive Hamilton. But Clive is not a local, and is not popular. Leftie (but relatively sensible leftie) David Jackmanson wrote in the Age yesterday that:

It’s a sign of the decline of Left politics that a reactionary, pro-censorship sexual moraliser who hates the idea of working people enjoying a higher material standard of living could ever be considered left-wing.

Finally, some former Green voters are disillusioned with the Greens because despite their claims about the urgency of immediate action to stop climate change, they have blocked the government’s ETS legislation at every turn because they could not get their own way.

And Mackerras and other left-wing commentators believe that voters will flock from the Liberals to the Greens because the Liberals under Abbott voted with the Greens to block the ETS?

Double disillusionment.

Update:

It is 7.30pm South Australian time and already the ABC is running the headline: Liberal candidate Kelly O’Dwyer expected to claim victory in Higgins by-election.

7.35 pm. The ABC has: Liberals On Verge Of By-election Victory.

At this stage Kelly O’Dwyer in Higgins and and Paul Fletcher in Bradfield both have a slightly higher percentage of the vote than the previous Liberal incumbents. It is still very early though.

7.45. Paying insufficient attention to what is happening in the kitchen, and I have burnt my dinner. Another Crown Lager will make me feel better.

8.25pm The ABC has: Kelly O’Dwyer Claims Victory in the Melbourne Seat of Higgins

Channel Nine News headlines with: ‘I was trying to be cool’ Chubby teacher gets fired after doing striptease for rowdy students. Good to see they are keeping their eye on the ball.

8.35 Kelly O’Dwyer has claimed victory in Higgins. With 58.2% of votes counted, she has 51.5% of the primary vote.

Greens candidate Clive Hamliton has 35.2%. Considering this is the Greens and Labor vote combined, it is an embarrassing result.

In Bradfield Paul Fletcher has 55.5% of the primary vote with 58.5% counted. Greens candidate Susie Gemmell has 26.1%. Again, given that Labor did not field a candidate, this is a dismal result for the Greens.

It should also be embarrassing for Malcolm Mackerras and the rest of his motley mob. Why did they get this so wrong?

Probably a story for another time, but in essence, I think it is because most ABC commentators simply do not talk to anyone outside their own circle. No-one they know votes Liberal, and they are genuinely taken aback when people express an opinion they do not share.

8.50pm SA time. Last update for the night.

Paul Fletcher has claimed victory in Bradfield.

In Higgins with 61.5% counted, the result is Liberal 51.5%, Greens 35.2%, expected two party result, Liberal 57.4, Greens 42.6%.

In the last election the two party result in Higgins was Liberal 57%, Labor 43%.

In Bradfield with 61.4% counted, the result is Liberal 55.5%, Greens 25.8%, expected two party result, Liberal 63.3%, Greens 36.7%.

In the last election the two party result in Bradfield was Liberal 63.5% Labor 36.5%

Postal, absentee and hospital votes in both electorates tend to favour the Liberals by about 70%, so the final result, which will not be known for a few days, should give another half a percent overall to Liberal in each seat.

This would give a final two party result in Higgins of about 58% to 42%, and in Bradfield of about 64% to 36%.

Last ABC headline for the night: Liberals Knock Out Greens in By-elections.

ABC election analyst Antony Green says there has been no discernible swing to the Greens after preferences.

Afghanistan was always going to be a harder fight than Iraq.

It is also a fight that must be won – not just for the people of Afghanistan, but for the people of Pakistan. If Afghanistan falls, Pakistan will be in danger.

If Pakistan falls, the world will be in danger.

So I was pleased when Obama announced a ‘surge’ of 30,000 troops, even though it had taken months of damaging dithering for that announcement to be made.

But he also announced that troops would be withdrawn beginning in 18 months time.

As Ken Taylor at The Minority Report points out, this has turned an almost certain victory against terrorism and oppression into an almost certain defeat:

… the pathetic announcement that The United States would begin pulling out of Afghanistan in July of 2011 clearly signals to the enemy that all they need do is wait eighteen months until we leave and then step in and take over the country. Even an imbecile understands that telling an enemy when you plan to leave the field of battle only allows that enemy to hide and bide its time until deescalation.

Common sense demands that a military action never sets a specific end date, but then no one has ever accused Barack Obama of having any common sense. Once again Obama fails to take heed the lessons of Vietnam. At one point the Vietcong were on the verge of surrendering because we had them on the run. Then it was announced that The United States would begin drawing down our troops and the Viet Cong pulled back and went into hiding until the draw down was complete. Within weeks after our signaled withdrawal was over the Vietcong overpowered South Vietnam and have controlled the country since. …

It took more than three months to develop this strategy which is weak and very much designed to appease Obama’s liberal base and a political maneuver rather than a strategy for victory, defeating our enemy, destroying Al Qaeda and the Taliban and leave a stable and secure Afghanistan free of terrorist influence. It seems that Obama’s goal is to leave without victory and offer the Afghans as a lamb of sacrifice for the country to once again becomes a terrorist safe haven after the enemy waits out Obama’s signaled end date of surrender. A danger to the world, a danger to the Afghans and most importantly a danger to The United States.

The article is worth reading in its entirety. The only thing Ken gets wrong is his claim that being a danger to the US is more important than being a danger to the Afghans or to the world. But since the US is still bearing the major part of the cost of that war, a measure of parochialism is understandable.

Public opinion on climate change is shifting as awareness grows that the media has not been telling the whole story. People want to know what the evidence and arguments are.

I have posted links to my introduction to the politics and science of global warming before. It is (I hope and believe) an easy to read, accurate and straightforward summary of key theories and evidence.

Please feel free to download, copy, give to friends, send to politicians, etc.

Despite the floor crossing brain-ejecting party betraying antics of Boyce and Troeth, the ETS/CPRS/RAT scheme has been defeated in the Senate.

At very least this will give parliament time to re-examine the evidence.

And for as long as common sense prevails we have been saved from a pointless and crippling tax on everything.

Senators Sue Boyce and Judith Troeth have announced their intention to cross the floor and vote for Labor’s mind-bogglingly pointless and expensive ETS.

They both express the hope that the party members and constituents they are betraying will understand they have acted in good faith.

I have just emailed both of them as follows:

Dear Senator,

I urge you to vote against Labor’s ETS scheme.

Opposition and government both have an absolute obligation to ensure that legislation which would impose massive additional costs on industry and transport, and consequently undermine the wealth of every Australian, is necessary and based on clear evidence. The ETS is neither.

The evidence for human caused global warming is very thin indeed.

Over 30,000 scientists have signed a petition saying humans are not causing harmful climate change.

The ETS will not change the climate. It will achieve nothing at huge cost.

At very least there is no rational reason to rush this legislation through.

Please oppose it.

Why?

Senators, have you read from a variety of sources on the climate debate?

Have you, for example, read the recent WSJ article by one of the world’s leading climate scientists, Richard Lindzen, Professor of Meteorolgy at MIT, in which he says:

Our perceptions of nature are similarly dragged back centuries (by climate change alarmism) so that the normal occasional occurrences of open water in summer over the North Pole, droughts, floods, hurricanes, sea-level variations, etc. are all taken as omens, portending doom due to our sinful ways (as epitomized by our carbon footprint).

Have you read the petition signed by over 30,000 scientists disputing the claim humans are causing harmful climate change?

Have you considered the massive summary of peer reviewed research undertaken by the Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change?

Have you spoken to leading Australian scientists like Ian Plimer or Robert Carter?

If you have not yet managed any of that, have you at least read a straightforward lay summary of why the alarmist claims are doubtful? Like Jo Nova’s or mine (Jo Nova’s is prettier, but I think mine is more substantial).

And if you haven’t done any of these things, on what basis do you claim to be acting in good faith?

Your opinions may be strong. So were Mussolini’s.

Acting in good faith means more than just having strong opinions and acting on them. It certainly means more than leaning out the window and deciding it is a little hotter than it used to be.

Acting in good faith means wanting to do the right thing. Good intentions are a start. But doing the right thing depends on sound knowledge – on thinking the right thing.

Thinking the right thing means thinking based on the evidence; careful, honest research, and being willing to have your opinions challenged.

If you do not do this, then your claims of good faith are no more than hot air.

The nasty criminal type persons who have leaked those emails won’t do us one jolly bit of harm, says IPCC leader Rajendra Pachauri.

The IPCC process is so very tough and clear that proof that the data on which our conclusions were based is completely fake won’t change anyone’s opinions, not the slightest little bit, said Pachauri.

Rajendra Pachauri Consults With the Reverend Dr Phil Jones

IPCC Chief Rajendra Pachauri Consults With Dr Phil Jones

Not all diversity is good diversity, apparently.

Colourful cultural customs in Nepal have drawn the ire of animal protection and environmental groups.

The five yearly sacrifice of some 200,000 birds and animals at the temple of Gadhimai took place last week.

Bridget Bardot wrote to the President of Nepal saying the best gift she could receive would be an end to the ritual killing of animals. Thank you for sharing that with us, Bridget. I’d been wondering what to get you this year.

Activists said the sacrifices could cause bird flu, swine flu, cattle diseases and environmental devastation, and suggested the goddess might like a few nice chocolates or a chai latte instead.

Organisers were unimpressed. The goddess knows what she wants.

In related news, last week also saw the opening of KFC and Pizza Hut franchises in Kathmandu.

Democracy is also undergoing some disparagement.

In an unequivocal result in a referendum on Saturday, the Swiss said no to the building of any more minarets in their country.

Naturally, all the right people are scandalised.

‘It’s scandalous’ said French Minister of Complaining Loudly With Garlicky Breath, Bernard Kouchner, while Babacar Ba, a senior official of the Organisation of Islamic Whining, said this was evidence of growing islamophobia in Europe.  Yawn.

Church leaders also spoke up, saying the ban was, well, bad and everything, and would not help Christians who were persecuted and oppressed in Islamic countries.

This is such momentous dimmness (or dhimminess, if you prefer) that it deserves a measure of respect.

European leaders are united: Something must be done to stop these uppity Swiss from thinking they can have a say in what happens in their own country.

Not to worry. The decision will be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Unamatrix 0-1, also known as Strasborg, where it will take years and millions of dollars to reach the conclusion that the Swiss are a bunch of rednecks who have no right to decide anything.

So all is well after all.

Democracy is OK as long people democratically decide the right things. If they don’t, then we have courts to help them decide properly. For their own good, naturally.

P.S.

The Swiss decision is not about freedom of religion. Muslims are free to worship, and to proselytise, and to build more mosques. They just can’t build any more of those big towers with massive PA systems where people screech at the entire populace three times a day.

I remember the horrified tones of some commentators when the present pope was elected.

“Oh my God! This man believes the catholic faith. We are back in the dark ages. All our hopes are dashed.”

The ABC’s reaction to the election of Tony Abbott as leader of the Liberal Party is similar. The poor dears are shocked.

Australia’s conservative party has elected a conservative leader. This is not what was meant to happen. We thought we had Philby, sorry Turnbull, in place for years.

Some of the comments to the linked story also show a high degree of mental disturbance.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Bob Hawke shakes his head wisely and says Abbott won’t last.

His views are too far from the mainstream. Bob added that the government must roll out a public education scheme on the ETS as soon as possible.

You know, to convince the punters that, like, it really won’t cost all that much, we can spare $120 billion, and that it will, really, scout’s honour, make a difference to the climate, and anyway, doesn’t Kevin deserve to be the UN Secretary General?

No time to write now – I have a shop to run and clients to mollify.

But I have to sound a note of thanksgiving that in choosing Tony Abbott as leader this morning, the Liberal Party made a choice for policy rather than personality, for evidence instead of expediency.

The Liberals will now be a genuine opposition, and not just a bunch of cheer leaders for Labor.

Yay!

Congratulations Tony, and well done all concerned.

One native title claim over the whole of Kangaroo Island has already been made, by the Ngarrindjeri people, the Murray River people.

Our local paper, The Islander, reports another native title claim over the entire island, this time by the Ramindjeri.

According to most sources (eg Tindale), the Ramindjeri are a small local sub-group of the  Ngarrindjeri, resident at Encounter Bay and the Inman Valley.

There is no evidence of indigenous occupation of Kangaroo Island for about 10, 000 years prior to European settlement. Neither Ramindjeri or Ngarrindjeri have lived on the island at any time since 7,000 years before the pyramids were built.

SA Native Title Services executive officer Parry Agius said the claim would be difficult. “It requires the traditional owners to prove their physical, spiritual and cultural connection to the land. It comes down to evidence and it will be a long haul.”

Given there is no evidence either group has any physical connection with the island at all, it should be a very short haul.

But Agius is probably right. It will be a long haul, involving large amounts of taxpayer funds being handed to ‘local’ consultants, solicitors and anthropologists.

Lunacy.

Update:

After readng Matthew’s comment below I have done some further reading and research, and acknowledge that indigenous people may have lived on kangaroo Island more recently than I indicated above.

The SA Museum, for example, suggests that some sites may have been occupied until about 4300 years ago.

It is not clear who the first people to live on Kangaroo Island were. Whoever they were, they almost certainly did not call Kangaroo Island ‘Karta.’ That is a later, Ngarrindjeri name.

Although the dating of the most recent indigenous occupation is uncertain, there appears to be little doubt those early inhabitants were not related to either of the claimant groups.

I can understand that either or both of  the Ngarrindjeri or Ramindjeri believe they had some cultural or spiritual connection with the island.

If this was shown, and it probably could be, I don’t see why anyone would have any issue with acknowledging it to be so.

What I think is lunacy (and I mean that in the ordinary sense of being not proportional or grounded in reality) is simultaneous landrights claims by two groups of people who have never lived on the island.

I am quite happy to be shown this is not so, but I am not going to be convinced by people calling me names or telling me I have no right to ask questions or to express an opinion.

Climatequiddick is best, because it reflects the media’s reluctance to acknowledge the problem posed by the evidence of fudging, fraud and bullying in the CRU emails and documents.

The media treated the embarrassment of Chappaquidick, and the fact that saving his career and reputation were more important to Edward Kennedy than the life of Mary Jo Kopechne, in the much the same way:

‘Let’s just hope it goes away.’

The almost miraculously reality denying Australian ABC radio presenter Jon Faine is a perfect example of this attitude:

“It was a small, even a tiny fragment of a sidebar of a secondary issue to the edge of the periphery of something people were talking about other than the main game. That’s how I saw it.”

Get some new glasses, Jon.

Mann, Briffa, Jones, et al were the ‘main game.’

Chappaquiddick didn’t go away, and the Hadley CRU documents won’t go away either.

The Washington Post has joined a few other mainstream media outlets in attempting to assess wht the CRU emails really do mean for the future of climate science and climate change policy:

Scientific progress depends on accurate and complete data. It also relies on replication. The past couple of days have uncovered some shocking revelations about the baloney practices that pass as sound science about climate change.

It was announced Thursday afternoon that computer hackers had obtained 160 megabytes of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in England. Those e-mails involved communication among many scientific researchers and policy advocates with similar ideological positions all across the world. Those purported authorities were brazenly discussing the destruction and hiding of data that did not support global-warming claims. …

Repeatedly throughout the e-mails that have been made public, proponents of global-warming theories refer to data that has been hidden or destroyed. Only e-mails from Mr. Jones’ institution have been made public, and with his obvious approach to deleting sensitive files, it’s difficult to determine exactly how much more information has been lost that could be damaging to the global-warming theocracy and its doomsday forecasts. …

The content of these e-mails raises extremely serious questions that could end the academic careers of many prominent professors. Academics who have purposely hidden data, destroyed information and doctored their results have committed scientific fraud. We can only hope respected academic institutions such as Pennsylvania State University, the University of Arizona and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst conduct proper investigative inquiries.

Most important, however, these revelations of fudged science should have a cooling effect on global-warming hysteria and the panicked policies that are being pushed forward to address the unproven theory.

The wheels are turning!

Anyone who says nature abhors a vacumn has never read the Adelaide Sunday Mail. 112 pages of nothing, plus multiple vacumny inserts.

I bought a copy yesterday for the second time in my life. I had breakfast at McDonalds, and glanced through the Sunday Mail while munching my hotcakes.

I was interested in their poll on the ETS and the Liberal Party leadership. I didn’t have a pen to write the figures down there,  so I had to go to newsagent and buy a copy.

Then I lost it. Darn.

Well, I wasn’t going to buy another copy, so here goes from memory:

In relation to the ETS/CPRS/RAT scheme the poll said that a substantial majority of voters, both Liberal and Labor, want the implementation of an ETS delayed till after the Copenhagen bullfest.

Both Liberal and Labor voters said they needed more information about the ETS.

They certainly do. The mainstream media has failed to provide the public with any substantive information on the costs of an ETS (huge) or its environmental benefits (none).

On the Liberal leadership, Joe Hockey was in the lead, with Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott slightly and equally behind.

An unsurprising result. Turnbull is not a viable leader for the Liberal Party (and never has been, in my view). Hockey is affable and charismatic.

But as I said two days ago, the current strife in the Liberal Party is not about personality. It is about policy. It would be madness to appoint as leader someone who is, like Turnbull, unable to distinguish his policies from those of Labor, simply because people like him.

Leadership isn’t about being liked. It is about doing the right thing for the right reasons, and convincing others to do the same. Despite his earlier dithering, Tony Abbott is the man for the job 

Whoever leads, the future of the Liberal Party depends on clear enunciation of policies developed on the basis of evidence, not on the basis of wishful (or doomsday) thinking.

So Joe, if you do get the nod, don’t sell your soul, just use your brain.

FFYCVUDEWCND

I have been looking through my electricity accounts for the last twelve months, and find that my primary residence (OK, I only have one) has consumed 6100 kWh for the year.

This compares very badly with the average US home which consumes about 20,000 kWh per year, and of course, is absolutely abysmal when compared with Al Gore’s sterling effort of over 200,000 kWh.

Even with the half ton of CO2 that I emit just by breathing each year, this amounts to a miserable CO2 contribution of about 6.5 tons per year.

I apologise, and will do my best to do better next year.

I admit I do drive 50 kilometres to work each day, but I carpool, and there are usually four people in the car, so I can’t take credit for that either. It certainly doesn’t compare with a private jet, or using 34, 000 litres of fuel flying to plant a tree on Earth Day.

I think I have CO2 production envy.

Maybe Tony Abbott did not ignore my fax. And maybe Kevin Andrews was willing to run just to test the level of support for Malcolm Turnbull, with another stronger candidate in the background.

In any case, it looks like there will be a vote on the Liberal leadership on Monday.

It is absolutely clear now that Malcolm Turnbull cannot continue.

He has not been able to set out clear policies which make the Liberals a genuine alternative to Labor, he has not been able to score any effective points against the government or Kevin Rudd, even when the points seemed to be there for the taking, and he is simply not liked or trusted by the majority of voters or even Liberal party members.

If that sounds harsh, it is not meant as any kind of personal criticism. Turnbull is clearly an able man. But equally clearly, he is not the right man to be leading the Liberal party.

The two possibilities are Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott.

I like Joe Hockey. I think most people do.

On personality and communication skills he is more likely to be able to steer the Liberals to victory than Malcolm Turnbull.

But the reason the leadership is in dispute is not personality or communication. It is policy, and in particular the determination and ability to put forward well researched, well-argued alternatives to government proposals.

Because the ETS/CPRS/RAT scheme has the potential to cause such devastation to the Australian economy, to businesses and to families, this determination and ability have never been more important.

I have seen little evidence that Joe Hockey’s views on the ETS or other major current issues can easily be distinguished from those of the Labor government. If he is not able clearly to articulate how his views are different, and how he would oppose the government’s plans, then electing him as leader would be a fatal mistake.

Tony Abbott does not quite have the likeable charisma of Joe Hockey. But he is well-liked nonetheless. And on policy he is clearly in front.

I would have preferred a little more decisiveness and a little less pragamatism on the RAT scheme from the beginning.

The tide of public opinion has now definitely turned. An election argued on this one policy will be winnable for the Liberals if they simply present the evidence.

But whether it is an election winning issue is beside the point, or should be. The ETS is wrong. It is bad for Australia, bad for ordinary people. It will achieve nothing good.

Doing what is right is more important than appearing to do what is right. And sometimes doing what is right means saying loud and clear, ‘This is wrong, and I won’t support it.’

Whoever is chosen as leader on Monday must be willing to do what is right.