Sunday Sanity Break, 5 March 2017 - Leaders and narratives
President Trump finally looked 'Presidential' as he addressed the joint houses in Washington. This political follower from tiny Australia could not help feeling impressed and the scope and ambition of Mr Trump's plan for America, or the enthusiasm of his listeners. Hard core Democrats of course were less impressed but at least some of the Dem leaders looked pretty gob smacker. Do not miss the chance to watch the whole event if you can find it.
Here our Dear Leader has had another bad week. Apparently said Leader has no view he will share with us about his support, or otherwise, for reduced penalty rates for work on Sundays. There are two powerful arguments for this. Australia is now a 24/7 sort of nation, and lower Sunday wages will mean more opportunities for businesses to make a few more shekels, young would-be workers to get jobs and consumers to get coffee and snacks more readily.
Dear Leader also apparently has no view he wishes to offer on reform of Section 18C of the anti-Free Speech legislation. Richo said early on that Malcolm was a man with no ticker, which at the time we at HenryThornton.com thought was harsh. Now Richo looks like a prophet.
With further rises in the prices of houses in Melbourne, and especially Sydney, where house prices are almost certainly in a bubble, the mighty OECD has discerned a risk that the bubble bursting might create a recession in the world's apparently fastest growing developed nation. (The difficulty of governing makes Australia more like a 'Banana Republic' but it's good to know we are still regarded by some influential folk as a worthy 'first world' nation.)
Anyway, in response to an inquiry, Henry's editor has explained who he believes is responsible for the Sydney-Melbourne housing fiasco. This is available here, and readers are welcome to offer support or if necessary criticism. Contact Henry here.
The other big Banana Republic issue this week is the views of leading Australian conservatives about who will replace Malcolm if the polls do not soon begin to improve. Julie Bishop? Peter Dutton? Tony Abbott, who has upset even some old conservative mates for daring to comment on (gasp!) policy matters is said to have no chance, but the comparison with the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd fiasco is too delicious to overlook.
Henry's editor keeps saying a big problem with this government is its lack of an economic narrative. The Hawke-Keating had two. First Hawke's ' we gotta fix the joint' and then Keating's 'if we don't fix the budget we'll be a Banana Republic'. John Howard sort of said 'We'll fix the budget and set up a Future Fund (to meet cost of government defined benefit pensions)'. Sadly, this approach now looks far too soft now the mining boom has ended.
Rudd's first narrative was 'We've gotta spend like drunken sailors to stave off world depression'. Julia Gillard will mostly be remembered as Australia's first female PM and her globally noticed misogynist slap at Tony Abbott. Recycled Rudd was back to save the Labor government and the world from rising seas and warming temperatures.
Sadly, neither Tony Abbott or Malcolm Trumbill though it necessary to develop a coherent narrative. Henry regards most of Malcolm's policies as 'help fix the budget by cutting incomes of elderly folk or others too weak to fight back (and when inevitably watered down any positive budgetary effect is virtually impossible to discern.)'. It is no wonder those who have lost under Malcolm have withdrawn support and there is no way back by buying their support.
Do not miss Des Moore's splendid coverage of Malcolm's problems.
Also Gary Scarrabelotti's fine profile of Australia's 'wilderness politician'.
Fiona Prior has been to the opera, and brings us ... Traviata.
We hope there will be a review of the Mardi Gras next weekend Fiona.
The Sporting Life
The gals from Caaaaarlton! narrowly defeated the Bullies from Footscray to fill 3rd spot on the AFLW ladder. The lads, however, were flogged by St Kilda, and Henry fears another sad season awaits his boys team.
The big sporting event, however, was the previously derided cricket team dismissing the Indian team for 189 runs. This was thanks to the previously despised bowler, Mr Lyon, becoming the a superhero with 8 wickets for 50 runs. Derided and despised, practically biblical rubbishing. This time the pitch was not so obviously fixed, as was the wicket at Pune. But the ball that dismissed the Indian Captain when he shouldered arms to be clearly LBW turned by more that he could imagine, suggesting to me that his problem is lack of respect for Mr Lyon.
A day is a long time in test cricket. Australia was 0-40 at stumps. If they bat all day today they will be on the road to a great series win, first in India since 2004. India must wake up and try harder soon, so no point in assuming the best just yet.
Image of the week.