Its the season to be silly.

With the electoral process done and dusted for another three years, political talk has been in short supply hereabouts. As you may have noticed.

Troppo isn’t the only blog to have wandered off the political playing fields, for want of anything better to write about. Tim Dunlop sat down and typed 2,000+ words on literary theory the other day, in response to much debate on the topic, both here and elsewhere.

That’s the beauty of blogs- when one seam of controversy is exhausted, we can move along, and dig for diamonds in other fields. Pity the poor political columnist; Uncle Rupert pays them for political guff, not literary theory. Matt Price gets away with blathering on about Fremantle’s non-existent AFL chances, but the others can’t take this liberty.

So you get Glenn Milne trying to beat up a leadership challenge. The Prime Minister, we are told, is losing his touch. We are invited to draw the conclusion that even his closest Lieutenants despair of his leadership. The contenders are clearing the decks and making ready to do battle.

Whatever.

Steve Lewis at least points out some solid political facts. The Liberal leadership won’t be an issue until mid 2006 at the earliest, unless the Prime Minister should mysteriously self-destruct. There is no story here.

It is just that, unlike bloggers, columnists have to stick to their field.

If there really was political movement, bloggers would let you know it.

We now resume our normal literary programming.

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flute
2022 years ago

And so blogs follow the readers once again. Don’t bother thinking until the election oh wondrous punters.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

Generally, its a good idea to not say anything until you have something sensible to say, flute. That’s why we’ve tuned out.

Everyone’s waiting till July- that’s when the action is going to start.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

my own writings have taken a turn towards what I call ‘pro-market libertarian cultural studies’ (i.e. blogging favourably on comic books, jazz and blues) too. i’m bored with politics.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Scott, someone did a very good hatchet job on Glen Milne. It might have been Margaret Simons in her short book on the press gallery in Canberra, Fit to Print, but I’m not sure. Whoever it was went through the piece sentence by sentence and exposed every single thing he said as pure beat-up, with no reference for actual f’acts or events whatsoever. Very revealing of journos practices, I thought, and what they get away with just to fill some otherwise empty space in the OpEd pages.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Yeah, Rob, Glenn Milne is the king of the beatup.

On a related point, Scott, C.L. criticised bloggers some time ago for bagging op/ed columns regularly when they have nothing else to say. Cameron Riley also argues strongly that we’re supporting bad columnists by paying attention to them. While I still think that the sphere plays a valuable role in talking back to the usually poorly reasoned op/ed folks, I’m coming around to this view. Hence when I started thinking the Shorter Hendo was getting to be a stale ritual and not even vaguely amusing anymore, I decided to can it. This also goes back to the “are bloggers parasitic on big media” or “should bloggers write original stuff” debate – any thoughts?

AlanDownunder
AlanDownunder
2022 years ago

What about McFarlane’s recent words?

He endorsed every pre-election criticism of Howard about —

– tax system skewed towards unproductive property investment (and captive aspirationals with huge mortgages sensitive to small-number interest rate movements)
– lack of infrastructure investment

for starters.

OK, we knew all that before the elections but what are the remedies? If the Coalition is to do anything about it and retain power in 2007 the sooner the better.

Reinstate reverse the 50% CGT cut?
Remove CGT exemption on the family home (in whole or part)?
Address negative gearing?
Can top-bracket income rate reduction be supported without any of these measures (if at all)?

Which infrastructure?
If it’s state infrastructure, how to fund?

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

One of the things about Milne is that he’s VERY close to the players. He used to be the Prime Minister’s pet, but has transferred alleigance to the Costello camp. The thing about him is that he’s a wannabe player in the political process. Not so different from the likes of Phillip Adams, really although in a different way.

So ignoring him, as opposed to say ignoring Margo or Hendo or Matto or whatever, is probably unwise. It is, if your a political obsessive.

As to the CL’s observations…for my own part, my motivation to write this post was to caution readers that this story really is something of a beat up. I have a lot of sympathy for those who are chained to the wheel of writing political commentary in Australia- (as opposed to policy commentary as Alan advocates). But I dont feel bad about being a ‘parasite’ blogger either. Parasites play a useful role in any ecosystem, and it is just the same in the Australian blogging ecosystem.

I prefer to save my creative energy for original posts on my sports blog.

As to McFarlane’s recent words, well yes, the tax system has been fucked up for a long time. But the political reality of the country makes it darn near impossible to reform, even with a compliant Senate. I’d love to see abominations like negative gearing rid of as much anyone (don’t come advocating tax increases to me though).

But reality is reality. Australia shouldn’t have negative gearing. We shouldn’t have p*k*r machines, either… but these deformations in the tax system are what you are going to get when a debate about wealth creation and funding of public services are either avoided altogether or held on totally infantile terms. Which is pretty much the norm in Australia.

Yobbo
Yobbo
2022 years ago

There’s an election going on over here.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

Oh, the Dockers vs West Coast? I thought that was last weekend?

Irant
2022 years ago

Wise words Mark. I’ve had the same blogging epiphany with the Devine Miss M.

It is important though for bloggers, when the stories happen, to comment on what the big media is running. The commentary in posts and comments on the abortion debate in the blogosphere was far more interesting and informative than what was run in the “big media.”

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Oh I don’t disagree, Scott and Irant, I think we just all got a bit carried away making a fetish of having to critique each column by Hendo, the Devine Miss M, etc etc. A lot of them deserve their status as fish & chips wrappers (if only fish & chips still came wrapped in old newspapers – ah, nostalgia – hang on dinner time, I’m hungry!)

Irant
2022 years ago

But how could we not get carried away? It was all too easy!

Tiny Tyrant
2022 years ago

With all due respect to WA, yeah, nothing interesting. In the meantime, I’m generating my own amusement watching Abbott & Costello jockey for position.

So, Abbott was a callow youth. Gee, really?

Costello? Get into that self-deprecation, man. Tell us about the real you.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Yeah, it’s kinda fun! Miranda’s probably better value for irony than Hendo I must say… and Bolty takes the cake, so much so that AnonymousLefty has started a blog dedicated to commenting on each of his columns.

Irant
2022 years ago

The thing about the Devine Miss M is that the odd column isn’t too bad. Bolt, well he has really shot his and is descending into self-parody. It is amazing to witness.

Funny, I was moved to write complimentary things about the Mad Monk today but the transcripts are not yet online so will defer till I can check some statements. Credit where credit is due. I listened to him on 2BL Sydney this arvo. He may be travelling his personal road to Damascus. It was very interesting.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I’m wondering (having watched the ABC news with a report by my least favourite reporter – the guy with the sneer who thinks he’s funny) why if O’Connor stated he wanted to protect his privacy, Abbott’s all over the place with the story. Seems incongruous. Not that I’m suggesting anything sinister…

sophie
sophie
2022 years ago

Mark, it was because the Bulletin had found out about it anyway and wwere going to publish a ‘scoop’. So Abbott asked if they could allow the family to release the news themselves. Fair enough, wouldn’t you think?

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

That makes sense, Sophie. I didn’t know that. C.L. did say at his place that all would be revealed in the Bulletin tomorrow.

flute
2022 years ago

Nice of the national broadcaster to do a liberal mate a favour.

Toryhere
Toryhere
2022 years ago

People here make me laugh when they talk about tax, a subject they obviously know little about. The greatest example of igonorance is the cry to abolish negative gearing. Keating tried that once in the 80s and had to restore it again when rents skyrocketed and the propoerty market ernt haywire.

In any case negative gearing is as legitimate as claiming a deduction for any other income related expense.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Toryhere

I hope Scott doesn’t rebuke us for going off-topic, because I won’t even be able to take my bat home and flee to Tim Blair’s place (I’d get banned within 30 seconds, I reckon). But I agree with you on negative gearing. Running rental properties is a business like any other business, so why should the economy be distorted by restricting the scope of deductible expenses in a way that doesn’t apply to any other type of business?

I suppose there is the argument that residential property is not a productive form of investment in that it doesn’t generate export income. And Australians’ long-term faith in the reliability of real estate as an investment tends to mean that people engage in negative gearing to create a nest egg for retirement. That is, they absorb losses during their working years in the expectation that capital gains will eventualy give them a much greater return than those losses, and hence an asset that can support them in their retirement. That’s certainly what we’re doing, and so far it’s working very well. Is there anything wrong with it? After all, the looming bubble in baby boomer retirees means that we WANT people to be making self-provision for their retirement. Does it make sense to discourage them from doing so? I think not.

TB
TB
2022 years ago

“I’d get banned within 30 seconds, I reckon”

Only if you did your wonderful Captain Ahab impression
:)

trackback
2022 years ago

Midnight Rambling On The Blogosphere

I AGREE wholeheartedly with Scott Wickstein about the presently moribund state of politics and political commentary.