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Welcome to my humble website. On this site, you'll read and hear the random thoughts of an Australian conservative and talk radio broadcaster. This page will be updated regularly with opinions and dissections of the news of the day.

Wednesday
Aug182010

LOOK MUM, NO HANDS!!!!

I’ve said it ad nauseam; this election campaign has been appalling. No substance, little policy and surprisingly, not even much hype. Yesterday however, the circus descended into a farce.

The Prime Minister’s media minders decided upon a strategy to continue this ridiculous “real Julia” campaign by announcing to all and sundry that she would, and then did make her campaign launch speech sans notes or auto-cue. We were told that she would be “unscripted” and “off the cuff”. One wonders what this was supposed to suggest. Was it to distinguish Julia Gillard’s oratory from the staccato ‘high school public speaking” style of her predecessor Kevin Rudd? Was it to suggest that she is more genuine than Tony Abbott’s image as a man of the people? Was it supposed to suggest that her grating drawl somehow belies her passion and fire? The real question is what does it matter?

We have unfortunately come to accept that gone are the days of conviction politicians like Howard and Keating (regardless of what you thought of their ideology) and so are the days of statesman-like political speeches. Regardless of this, we’ve also come to expect that any public speaker uses notes of some kind or another. If nothing else it goes to preparation. If nothing else it allows a speaker to stay on course if indeed passion does take over. So, the reality is, nobody would have cared one way or the other if The Prime Minister had a prepared speech or not – except that Labor made such a big deal about it.

So when it was revealed that like most any politician, Julia Gillard did indeed have notes on the lectern, she was made to look foolish.

Now everybody makes mistakes but it’s how a person reacts to, or rectifies those mistakes is the true measure of integrity. When a starved and lazy media pack discovered the gaff, she could have just said “Of course I had notes. Doesn’t everybody?” But not our Julia! She decided upon the Bill Clinton defence of “I may have had notes but I didn’t inhale”. What a sham! To make mistakes is human, but to then back track when you get caught out and come up with a mealy-mouth excuse is just ridiculous. I expect politicians to lie to me. I just can’t stomach being treated like an idiot.

Remember when you were a kid and you shouted “look Mum, no hands!” you generally fell flat on your face. Well, so it was for Julia’s “look kids, no notes!”

Thursday
Jul292010

THE KING'S ENGLISH IS DEAD – LONG LIVE THE CRINGE

When did they stop teaching English in Australian schools?

It’s easy to say that the decline in proper use of the language is a phenomenon exclusive to Generation-Y but it appears to go further than that. Don’t get me wrong, Gen-Y and their successors are still the worst offenders but the inability express one’s self correctly is rather wide-spread and that’s without getting into “SMS” abbreviated English. That is pure butchery of the language, an aberration that should be stricken from the vernacular. What I’m talking about though is simply a poor understanding of the mechanics of English. Indeed the basic rules that I for one learned in late primary school, and I was taught by Irish monks!

Perhaps the most culpable offenders are newsreaders and media personalities – those who make their living from the English language. How many times have you heard a newsreader on either television or radio say “an historic”? So blatantly incorrect that it doesn’t even roll off the tongue. For the record “an” is only used to precede words that begin with a vowel or where the first consonant is silent as in “an honour”.  You wouldn’t say “an history book” so why say “an historic event”?

The other example of bad mechanics that has become prevalent of late is the incorrect transposition of the words “then” and “than”. People have taken to saying things like “this is better then that” rather than the correct “this is better than that”. This is how Wikipedia explains correct usage and even goes so far as to make my point for me, Then is a common adverb in English, indicating the apodosis of a conditional sentence. It is never equivalent to or synonymous with the conjunction than (although in a small number of accents the two may be considered homophones) nor the adjective thin. It may also mean that (period of) time, much as there can mean that place.”  Than, on the other hand is described by Wikipedia as such.  "Than" is a grammatical particle serving as both conjunction and preposition in the English language. It introduces a comparison, and as such is associated with comparatives, and with words such as more, less, and fewer. Typically, it seeks to measure the force of an adjective or similar description between two predicates.”

Whilst there are many “crimes against the language” that I could point to, my last example for the purposes of this article is the idiotic and lazy use of the phrases “could of”, “should of” and “would of” instead of the correct “could have”, “should have” and “would have” or even the acceptable contractions of each “could’ve”, “would’ve” and “should’ve”

I could go on for days on this topic however I think I’ve made my point. Whilst I have always advocated that English is an undisciplined and unnecessarily complex language with more exceptions than rules, it is the official language of Australia and the vehicle with which we communicate. It therefore behoves all of us to learn to practice it more effectively, especially those who make a living from its use.

Sunday
Jul252010

COVINCING YOU TO LIE TO YOURSELF

So Labor is at it again. Julia Gillard has announced that if re-elected, she will institute a “Citizens’ Assembly” to decide on climate change policy – the issue that Kevin Rudd said was “the greatest moral challenge of our generation”. Now I’m not going to get into the science of climate change, or how the most prominent advocates are lining their own pockets, or even how the poster boy, Kevin Rudd, just walked away from the mess, nor will I talk about the absolutely ludicrous policy of allowing financial institutions to profit from carbon emissions (wouldn’t it be in their best interests to encourage increased carbon emissions under a trading scheme?).

What I will talk about is how the left are now using this issue to circumvent the very core of our political system – The Parliament. The Prime Minister says that she will create an assembly of “ordinary Australians” to discuss and decide on how to tackle climate change. There is so much wrong with this policy it’s hard to know where to start. Let’s give it a go shall we?

1                     Our system of government relies on an elected parliament to devise, debate and implement policy. It doesn’t require that these elected representatives then turn around and tell us to get together and create the policy ourselves.

2                     Given Julia Gillard’s Fabian Socialist background, it’s not so far-fetched that such summits are an early attempt to change our system of government all together. Remember that while it has its faults, the Westminster system is renowned as the best in the world.

3                     The last Labor talk-fest, the so-called “20-20 Summit” achieved nothing. It cost a lot of money, sprouted a lot of hyperbole and in the end initiated zero policy.

4                     How can we guarantee that the “150 ordinary Australians” aren’t going to be hand-picked with a view to advocating what we all know is Labor’s fundamental policy on climate change? That is creating a carbon trading scheme that will cripple business, make the banks rich and do absolutely nothing to reduce carbon pollution.

5                     What is an “ordinary Australian” anyway? Labor and the greater left are the ones who continually tell, us that diversity and multiculturalism are the way to go and that any talk of a singular Australian identity and outward displays of pride in such are evil, bigoted and racist. I can almost guarantee that somebody like me would never get a Guernsey to such a forum.

6                     Whilst the likes of Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young will tell us ad nauseam that “the science is in” on climate change, no real scientific consensus has been reached. I know I’ll be labelled a “Climate Change Sceptic” for saying this and my response is, ABOSLUTELY! Of course I’m a sceptic. Scepticism should be the natural position of any intelligent individual when no significant proof can be provided. When did cautious scepticism become a bad thing? For the record, I am all in favour of reducing any kind of pollution, however I will not countenance the destruction of Western Civilisation to achieve it.

7                     Given that the science is “not in”, wouldn’t it make more sense to create a scientific forum or “assembly” to ascertain the actual extent of anthropogenic climate change, if any and how we can retard it if at all possible?

Unfortunately, nobody has an open mind on this issue. However what is clear is that hand-picking a group of people to tell you what you want to hear in order to justify what you already intend to do is sheer dishonesty. Convincing us to lie to ourselves is not good government, it’s just plain wrong.



Thursday
Jul082010

ALMOST TIME TO JUMP OFF THE BANDWAGON

The World Cup Final is upon us and so the 19th World Championships of Football are drawing to a close. It hasn’t been the best world cup by any stretch of the imagination with some of the most deplorable displays of tactical managerial enterprise, and inept refereeing ever seen. However, even at its worst, “the beautiful game” seems to inspire. For the first time since 1998, we’ll crown a new champion to cries of Viva Espana! or Hup Nederland Hup!

So with the end of the tournament imminent, so too will be the abandonment of the “Football Bandwagon” as I like to call it. That’s right all of those people who normally call it “soccer” will abandon the beautiful game in droves and return to their blissful ignorance of its nuances, tactics and rules. They’ll shelve their ill-informed opinions and predictions and forget every aspect of the tournament , except of course Harry Kewell’s and Tim Cahill’s respective red-cards and of course their anger at Pim Verbeek for embarrassing us at the hands of Germany.

But do not be afraid! They’ll all be back in 2014 when the circus arrives in Brazil. They’ll become overnight experts again on everything from squad selections to essential rule changes. They’ll regale with “what ifs” and “if onlys” generated by less informed sports journalists whose knowledge of AFL and NRL qualifies them to comment on our great sport once every four years.

So my friends, Football’s Fairweather Followers will slowly climb off the band wagon, totally oblivious that if they stayed on, their beloved Socceroos would be in a much better and stronger position come the next tournament. In the meantime, it’s up to us to continue drawing the wagon through the A-League and European seasons, via the Champions League and Asian Cup and onward to Brazil so that they may all once again jump on and dazzle us with their wisdom.

But don’t hate them, for if only a few stay for the ride each time, we’ll eventually fill the wagon to capacity and infect those aboard with our passion, pride and persistence. For in four years time, we arrive in the land of Jogo Bonito and there’s no cure for that euphoric disease.



Thursday
Jul082010

THE HYPOCRISY OF TOLERANCE

A little while back, I joined a group on Facebook called “Citizens Against Same Sex Couple Adoption”. Now I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of Same Sex Couple Adoption nor my opinions on the matter. I won’t go into my opinions of the rights of same sex couples but I will state for the record that I am NOT homophobic as I’m sure to be labelled, but I will state for the record that adoption of a child is not a right regardless of your sexual orientation.

What I would like to discuss is the response that my simply joining this group elicited – the response from self-described tolerant individuals and the blatant hypocrisy of that tolerance. You see, it would appear that those who hold typically uneducated, left-wing views on any range of topics are only tolerant if your opinion is the same as theirs - and that’s before they even know your opinion .

The first response was from a fellow student who commented via Facebook on my mere joining of the aforementioned group. A fellow student who after class one night told me quite secretively that she was “a bit of a rightie” but didn’t want anybody else to know. Says something about that person’s convictions doesn’t it?

The comment went as follows;

“I was going to write a big spill on how this made me shake with anger, but then i realised that would give you satisfaction. Just revolting Stephen. To me, You have minus brownie points”

Now let’s examine the implications of this comment.

The fact that I have an opinion that would appear to be different than hers makes her “shake with anger”. This is of course before she even knows what my opinion is or has bothered to discuss it with me. She then goes on to suggest that I would derive satisfaction from the fact that she is displeased with me. WHAT ARROGANCE! I’ll happily state for the record that it gives me absolutely no satisfaction that people hold certain views, however, I have to tolerate their differing opinions. A realisation that this person, and most on the left have yet to arrive at. I’ll also state that my opinions are not for sale as the comment also suggests. I do not develop opinions based on what other people might think or how they might react. The mere suggestion is offensive. Also, “brownie points” are of no interest to me – I am not a snivelling arse-kisser!

This however is nothing compared to the foul and profane comments posted to the group itself by self-righteous do-gooders.

My point is this. Those on the left will continue with their cries of intolerance every time somebody expresses an opinion that is different to theirs and that my friends, is called hypocrisy. Tolerance goes both ways, however in order to be tolerant, you have to at least understand the argument. The left have never been courageous enough to do that. They won’t engage in debate but will arrive at conclusions and then assert that debate has been won based merely on their say so. It’s a bit like global warming isn’t it? They claimed the “science was in” long before the debate even started. When the real science came in, they had to change the name to “Climate Change”.

The hypocrisy is intolerable!