NEWS AND VIEWS
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
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I have speculated before about the worth of all these predictions by the economists who keep bobbing up on our television screens, with voices on the radio and words in the newspapers. My subjective view is that they peddle a load of codswallop and I recall a survey in the London Economist that showed a person predicting that what happened last year would happen in the next year did better than those using their sophisticated economic models. To put my skepticism to the test I will now keep a little prediction watch noting what the experts say will happen and we can judge them on the day of reckoning. Here are two to start off with
27 May 2008 – The co-head of ANZ's Australian Economics Research, Sally Auld predicts: The RBA will lift rates by 0.25 of a per cent in August, and by the same again probably in November. Core inflation to continue to worsen, reaching a peak of 4.9 per cent in the second half of this year.
26 May 2008 – Glenn Milne, The Australian predicts: Labor will lose the Gippsland by-election. "Last week the Prime Minister said it would be impossible for Labor to win Gippsland. Courtesy of McCubbin, it just got a whole lot more impossible. If that's possible. Beautiful Losers, indeed. Rudd, like Howard before him, is about to learn there's nothing beautiful about losing."
If you notice a prediction about politics or economics please let me know by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
At least he has a spine
Whatever else you might think of Malcolm Turnbull you have to admit the boy has got a spine. He is the first politician I have heard with the courage to come out and say anything remotely complimentary about artist Bill Henson, even admitting to owning a couple of his works himself.
Don't be yellow Kevvie. Be green
Politicians in many parts of the world, not just those in Australia, are getting a taste at the moment of just how difficult it will be to move voters from being concerned about global warming to actually doing something about it. Rising petrol prices to reduce consumption are part and parcel of any meaningful policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions yet motorists are screaming about the modest rises caused by a jump in crude oil prices. Governments are running scared at the protests and even Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who in theory has two and a half years before an election, is giving signals indicating that government might reduce its tax take to ease the burden. The Coalition Opposition, which has never been a whole hearted believer in global warming in the first place and now can afford to be all care and no responsibility, wants five cents a litre taken off the excise immediately. What I am waiting for is a whole hearted attack on both government and opposition by the Greens as they preach the necessity for ever higher petrol prices so that the planet is saved. Environmentalists have started to take that approach in the United Kingdom where Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown is under similar pressure to Mr Rudd by angry motorists.
The Daily Reality Check
The printed versions are full of bad news for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this morning with page one of the Adelaide Advertiser and the Melbourne Herald Sun pretty typical of the two fronts of criticism. Featuring petrol price rises was undoubtedly a clever thing to do during an election campaign when in opposition but it does leave you open to a charge of hypocrisy when you become the government and the rises keep occurring. Geese and ganders get treated alike.
Then there are the problems that come from courting famous people as friends. Having basked in reflected glory you are also vulnerable to reflected criticism.
The Pick of this Morning's Political Coverage
Now Rudd pays the price – Phillip Coorey, Sydney Morning Herald
Rudd faces fuel block – Mark Kenny and Steve Lewis, Adelaide Advertiser
Dirt search - upstairs, downstairs – David McLennan, Canberra Times
Rudd on back foot in fuel row – Laura Tingle and David Crowe
Cate Blanchett calls on Kevin Rudd to soften Bill Henson art remarks - Corrie Perkin and Lauren Wilson, The Australisan
What the world is reading on the net
The time has come for a little light relief. In China the grim news of earthquakes and entreaties by the nation's leaders for the people to be brave are replaced this morning by Sex in the City. The American contribution to world culture is currently the most read item on the website of The People's Daily.
China – The People's Daily: "Sex and the City" coming for New York debute
Canada – Toronto Globe and Mail: How did drunk driver who killed four get a new licence?
UK – The Independent: Oil: A global crisis
UK – The Times: I'm so lonesome I could cry; Spurmos in crisis
United States – LA Times: Alleged tagger arrested after work appears on YouTube
United States – USA Today: Lifeline Live Blog: Entertainment News & Rumors - Dunst opens up about rehab
Singapore – The Straits Times: Sparks fly as Chee questions PM Lee, MM Lee
India – Times of India: Did UP cops break child laws in Aarushi case?
Australia – The Australian: Kevin Rudd twisted ACCC fuel advice
Quote of the Day
The potential prosecution of one of our most respected artists is no way to build a Creative Australia, and does untold damage to our cultural reputation. We should remember that an important index of social freedom, in earlier times or in repressive regimes elsewhere in the world, is how artists and art are treated by the state.
Members of the Creative Australia Group at the 2020 Summit in a letter to Australian political leaders.