Potential victims need cops to take out the bad guys

Unfailingly, whenever police act violently, as in Memphis, there are calls for legislative reform by the Democrats in the US. This usually consist of measures to rein in police, banning choke holds and the like, increasing the threshold for the use of force, and making individual cops open to being personally sued for perceived misconduct. The proposed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is the current legislative measure du jour.

In the US, of course, race complicates an already complicated issue. Race hustler Al Sharpton, faced with the unpalatable fact that all of the cops indicted for beating Tyre Nichols were black, claimed that it would not have happened if Nichols had been white. Sad to say, he may be right; for once. Blacks commit a grossly disproportionate amount of violent crime. Why then wouldn’t police of any colour be wary and prejudiced in their outlook? It’s unfortunate. People should be dealt with as individuals, equally and civilly. But we don’t live in a perfect world. And we, law abiding citizens, depend on police to protect us.

As Det. Frank Keller (Al Pacino) says to his love interest Helen Kruger (Ellen Barkin) in the movie Sea of Love: “Come the wet ass hour, I’m everybody’s daddy!” 

So what to do? We want the bad guys off the street. We don’t want to hamstring the police. We don’t want violent police.

When young, aged about eighteen, waiting in the early hours for a train on a section of deserted platform at Euston Station in London, I saw two policemen beat up a man who had been sleeping on a bench seat. I saw no provocation. Interfering would have been foolhardy; but, in fact, it didn’t cross my mind at the time. I sat up straight and checked that I didn’t look dishevelled.

Legislated rules of conduct are no answer. The only partial answer is to get the right people at the top; to create a culture of restraint and respect. And to harden recruitment. Police forces attract thugs and those of intemperate disposition. If they are not weeded out at the start, there’s half a chance they’ll run amok at some stage, whatever are the rules.

The Extraordinary Voice

The Prime Minister’s suggested form of words for insertion into the Constitution to create the Voice seems to be the preferred option. For its proponents, it has the distinct political advantage of being extraordinarily vague. Presumably it will be the substantive part of the referendum question. It goes like this:

  • There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to parliament and the executive government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • The parliament shall, subject to this constitution, have power to make laws with respect to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

It might pass. After all, how many among the voting public have the least familiarity with the Australian Constitution. Not many, I’d say with some confidence. They will not understand how extraordinary is the proposed insertion. No other body created by the Constitution (e.g., the House of Representatives, the Senate, the High Court) is without a level of detail as to how it’s constituted and its powers. These are not left to legislation. Legislation is fluid, subject to the politics of the day. The only thing we’ll know about this new constitutional creature is its name. To repeat, that is extraordinary. And its proponents hope to get away with it.

Another extraordinary feature of the promised referendum is that the vague, indistinct, undefined creature called the Voice can already be created, courtesy of the 1967 referendum, under Part V, Section 51 (xxvi) of the Constitution. This allows the Commonwealth Parliament to make laws for “the people of any race for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws.” So, to make it clear, Albanese want a constitutional change to insist that he does what he can already do and is keen to do. But exactly, precisely, what he wants to do he is keeping to himself until after the referendum. Then he’ll tell us what he wants to do.

Mind you, even if he were tell us what he wants to do beforehand, a new government could do something entirely different. The Constitutional amendment is not the least prescriptive. Which, when you think about it, also gives the High Court carte blanche to fill in gaps. And it undoubtedly will because we know that whatever is done to appease the Aboriginal lobby it will never, ever be enough. Cases will be brought before the Court.

If a racist provision is to be inserted into the Constitution at least put the details in. Better still. Here’s a novel idea. Get rid of Section 51 (xxvi). Ensure that race is never a factor in any law made by the Parliament.

I fear that the Voice will be a shoo-in

Let’s be pessimistic or is it realistic. Suppose the Voice gets up in the referendum.

We’ll have thirty-five local and regional bodies coalescing into either state and territory bodies from which twenty-four reps will emerge to form the Voice. Or at least that’s the proposed model in the Calma-Langton report.

It’s an opaque process. Probably controlled by the usual suspects. It’s the opposite of an open selection process in which electors choose their representative by secret ballot, overseen on the national stage by the AEC. There is a stock-standard pledge by incoming leaders following the conclusion of this process. I’ll govern for everyone not just those who voted for me. Whether this proves to be the case or not, we all know who the everyone is.

Who is the everyone that the Voice will purport to represent? Is it the 812,728 who self-identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders in the last (2021) Census? I suggest that many of those would not be recognised as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders by other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Hmm?

So how many people would the Voice represent? Unknown.

Is there a way of identifying with clarity those who the Voice would represent? Unknown or not remotely likely; take your pick.

Could those people, if identifiable, vote out Voice representatives? No.

Is there a way of judging whether the Voice will adequately reflect the interests of those it purports to represent? No, because there are no elections and, to reiterate, those that it purports to represent can’t be collectively defined with any precision.

Let’s be clear. The proposition to be put to the Australian people (including those who might or might not be recognized as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders) is that we attach to the Constitution a representative body to represent an unknown subset of the Australian population who, even if we could ever define them with precision, will have no say through the ballot box in who represents them. That sounds sensible. Let’s vote for that. Sadly, the likelihood seems to be that a majority will. That would say something about the majority’s common sense. Mind you, it would say nothing that hasn’t been evident these past years. Think of the gullible embrace of the climate-change hoax and the enthusiastic rush to embrace Covid lockdowns, experimental vaccines and useless masks. The Voice will be a shoo-in, I fear.

Back to the age of climate-driven superstition

In recent blog on Quadrant Online, I referred to a Mr Ted O’Connor of Prince Charles Parade, in the suburb of Kernell in Sydney, who in 1956 expressed concern about the danger of high seas eroding homes along the Parade; which runs alongside the seafront.  “Fifty houses at Kurnell are in danger of toppling into the sea,” reported the Sydney Morning Herald. “Huge seas at the weekend, for the second time in seven months, tore away sections of the seafront.” Mr O’Connor was reported as saying that “people in scores of homes in this street are living in fear of each heavy sea.”

Of course, none of this was attributed to climate change, as it definitely would be in today’s cockamamie world. But I was curious. What’s happened to Prince Charles Parade? I googled. Up came a map of the Parade seemingly intact. And no less than eight properties for sale on the first page. Maybe they’ve built a levee? Certainly, there was no warning that the properties were crumbling, in danger, or uninsurable. I can’t say whether Mr O’Connor survived the scare and still lives there, though unless he was very young in 1956 or very old now, it seems unlikely.

Wouldn’t you think, if things were so bad, way back in 1956, before climate change was conjured up, so to speak, that they would be dire now? Apparently not. Methinks, must take a drive there and see firsthand. Mind you, I doubt I could afford to buy, right by the beach. Unless, that is, those rising seas caused by climate change are lapping at backdoors.

Two things about this episode spring out. The first is the tendency of the media, then and now, to sensationalise what’s happening, as to be fair do people directly affected. This first thing was for a long period, say, since the Enlightenment, the only thing. Before then, pagans would also blame the sun god or some other deity for getting angry.  Now we are back again to two things. First, the-par-for-the-course sensationalism and now, second, to blaming the climate god.  A full circle. Back to the age of superstition. I am reminded of Malcolm Muggeridge who wrote perceptibly, “there is no such thing as progress.”

Abundant cheap renewable energy? Imagining will make it so

Drove to Melbourne and back a few weeks ago. Haven’t driven interstate for decades; haven’t owned a car for about eight years. Could I still drive? Still not sure because the Hume Highway offers little challenges. Two generous lanes, dual carriageway, all the way. Rest areas aplenty.

Not long out of England, many decades ago, I worked for the Queensland Main Roads Department and was stationed in a camp near Cardwell. A new long section of the Pacific Highway [Correction, as reader miltonf points out, it was the the Bruce Highway in that neck of the woods] was being laid next to the crumbling existing road. One lane each way. I asked the foreman why the opportunity was not taken to build a four-lane highway. You don’t understand, he replied patiently. Australia’s a big country with relatively few people.

Since then, the population has more than doubled. Still, Australia hasn’t shrunk in size, and the population remains small in the scheme of things, yet now we can afford modern motorways. And there’s more. From motorways to urban side roads. A perfectly serviceable laneway near where I live was dug up by the local council a little while ago and the bitumen replaced with fancy paving. How have such wonders been possible?

Let me guess, I don’t believe the Greens or Teals or even Laborites ask themselves this singular question. If they did they might conclude that cheap, abundant and reliable energy has played a vital part in our ascending prosperity. Essentially they are Cargo Cultists. They see what we have but don’t see how it was wrought. This will turn out to be a fatal blindness for them and, most particularly, for us.

When you don’t appreciate how things are made, and how hard it is, your plans (however unrealistic and unachievable) become your reality.

Plans to build nine times the existing number of wind and solar farms, to crisscross the country with 13,000 to 28,000 kms of new transmission lines, to construct new dams and pumped hydro, to become the world leader in green hydrogen production and export. These are paper constructs. Back-office imaginings. Meanwhile coal-power stations are actually being demolished. Real power out; imaginary power in. This won’t end well; to put a euphemistic gloss on it.

Diversity, a one-way street

Efforts are afoot to make North American (ice) hockey more diverse. Apparently it’s too white. I am not aware of any similar efforts being made in water polo or swimming or in chess for that matter. Nor am I ware of any complaints that American basketball and football and, say, athletic sprinting are disproportionately too black.

Thankfully, sport is not a likely candidate for affirmative action. Nor is chess. The reason is clear. Everything is in the open. Incompetence, inadequacy, inferior performances can’t be hidden. They are overtly penalised.

Take top hockey teams. They all want desperately to win the Stanley Cup – the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League winner. Don’t tell me they would reject a player who would make a difference whatever his colour. It might be that the bodily physiology of white North Americans is more suited to hockey, as the bodily physiology of black North Americans is more suited to basketball. In any event, it seems to me that the call for diversity is a one-way street.

I support Liverpool Football Team. When they were kneeling before each match last year in some misbegotten homage to Black Lives Matter, the commentators invariable said that it was to symbolise opposition to racism inside and outside the sport. But most of the Liverpool players were black or of colour. Each earning at least £100,000 a week. Egyptian player Mo Salah, £350,000 a week. Doesn’t smack of racism or discrimination to me.  I’m not too sure, by the way, what the cut-off point is between black and of colour. I say ‘of colour’, because you can’t say coloured for some reason, though you can say black and white.

How is there racism in English football, I ponder, when most of the players are non-white? I watched the World Cup Final. The Washington Post (WP) in an op-ed lamented the absence of black players in the Argentinian team. While they corrected this piece when they discovered that only one percent of the Argentinian population was black, the bias is evident. They didn’t lament the fact that the Senegalese team had no whites or Asians, or Eskimos (pardon me Inuit).

During the second period of extra time in the World Cup Final, I couldn’t help but notice that all ten of the French outfield players were black. Only the goalkeeper was white. Now, I know that each of these players was there on their merits. So be it, in my view. That’s France today; lots of black people and, presumably (?), the ethnic French, on the whole, are not that good at football. At the same time, the news media didn’t appear to notice at all the hue of the French team. They were selectively colour blind on this occasion. The only sound from the WP was deafening silence.

Callow Pipedreams ahead? Already here

I see that Jacinda Ardern is intent on lowering the voting age to sixteen in New Zealand. It’s a developing trend. Let’s face it, nobody remotely believes that the voting age will be restored to twenty-one from where it should never have been lowered. All the impetus, from the left and from the greenies, is to lower the voting age to sixteen; and, be of no doubt, on the way to fourteen. I read in disbelief that David Runciman, professor of politics at Cambridge University, thinks there is a strong case for dropping the age to as low as six. I assume that’s a spoof. But who can tell. Give me any ridiculous idea and I’ll find you the academic who supports it.

Apparently the human brain is not fully developed until the age of about twenty-five; and in the case of some academics one hundred and twenty-five. I imagine the brain of someone aged sixteen years has a way to go. Eighteen too, for that matter. There is no mystery as why the left side of politics favours lowering the voting age. Children are more likely to support utopian ideas which have no practical application. However, labour parties (parties which have evolved from the traditional left) should watch out. Green parties can out-utopian labour parties any old day.

I would say that lowering the voting age means more youthful pipedreams ahead but then some elite oldies are already off and running. Regressed to a callow stage. Pulled the rug from under the youngsters’ feet, so to speak. Apropos, the mirage of bucket loads of green hydrogen emerging from our north to all parts of the world propagated by Andrew Forest et al; the emergence of Queensland as a global renewal-energy powerhouse according to Annastacia Palaszczuk and her cronies; and yesterday, in the Weekend Australian, I read about aging economist Ross Garnaut expressing his belief that Australia is ideally placed in the world to export steel made from iron ore and green hydrogen. I could obviously go on. Pipedreams aplenty to pick from without relying on lowering the voting age.

All we can do is think of England

Changes in my personal life meant that I was forced to downsize in 2014. My new (small) place is ultra-convenient. No need for a car so I didn’t buy one, until now. Didn’t fancy dying carless. Ordered a new yellow MG hatch in mid-May. I cancelled at the end of October, have been told yet another fairy tale by the car salesman. In order, and I’m not making it up: It’s arrived but in quarantine; it’s been sent back to China; a new one has arrived and is on the docks; it will be here very soon in a matter of days; it’s back on the docks.

Cars are no longer manufactured in Australia. General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and Mitsubishi are all gone. Driven out by union bloody-mindedness and the economic challenges of manufacturing for a small domestic market. The current wait time for a new car in Australia can be up to a year and more, I hear. This applies no less and perhaps more to electric cars. Me, I ended up buying a used car. Pre-owned, or pre-loved, I think the shysters who sell cars call it. Though I’m being mean. I bought online and the service seemed pretty good. It would have been more difficult if I were mad enough to go electric. Few to choose from. And imagine trying to find an electrician to fix a charging point in my 1970s apartment building. It would blow all the fuses. Anyway, my park is outside, so how would that work? It’s irrelevant. Electricians have to be booked many months ahead.

I mention all this to draw attention to the reality that we can’t always get what we want. Even Chris Bowen. The Labor government and their wayward modelling mates reckon that one third of households by 2030 will be driving electric cars and have charging points installed; that’s 3.8 million of them (cars and charging points)– from the low tens of thousands of EVs now trundling around posh suburbs. It’s crazy talk. Part of the climate-change-cum-green-energy madness infecting the political and corporate classes.

Add in AEMO’s requirement that we build nine times the wind and solar farms we have now. And, that’s quite apart from the blanketing tens of thousands of far-flung square kilometres with wind and solar to make green hydrogen and Australia into a “green hydrogen [exporting] superpower.” And that’s apart from building 28,000 kilometres of high voltage transmission lines. And, still, when the sun don’t shine and that wind ain’t blowing strongly somewhere, where’s the power coming from? All coal-power stations demolished. Natural gas development demonised and stymied. There’s batteries! It’s mindboggling. They can’t be serious. We’re being gaslighted, surely? It’s working. Death where is thy sting.

Short of leaving this mortal coil, what to do? Think of England….

Covid’s variant of Munchausen by proxy

Minding my own business watching TV late the other night. I am assailed by professor Michael Kidd, who is apparently deputy chief medical officer. He warned me that I needed to stop the spread; to wear a mask when inside in crowded situations, to keep my distance from other folk, to wash my hands. Is this a time warp, I query? Groundhog Year. Fated to relive 2020 indefinitely.

Who are these people? Have they nothing better to do? Work on curing cancer or at least prescribe stock standard medicines for routine conditions. There must be something more useful for them to do than flogging a dead horse. No, they can’t let it go. In my view they are mentally disturbed, suffering from a variant of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

They want us to be sick. They need us to be sick. Quarantined. Restricted to our homes and beds. Masked. Estranged from our fellows. Plied with experimental vaccines. Over Covid, keeping worrying. Long-Covid is waiting to get you. And who knows what deadly strains are on the horizon?

I see no way out of this. Rationality fails when dealing with the mentally deranged; and that has been one unsung side effect of Covid. Some say that time will eventually solve the problem. I don’t know? They (assorted medicos, media hacks, and pollies) will be champing for the next disease to exploit, if this one eventually fails them despite their best efforts to keep us permanently alarmed and housebound.

A tangled web of electric make-believe

I looked it up. Apparently, pylons are needed each 75 to 100 metres to support high-voltage overhead transmission lines. In England and Wales there are 7000 kms of high voltage overhead transmission lines and 90,000 pylons. Roughly one pylon per 80 metres. Seems about right. I’ll use this number.

Peter Dutton referred in Parliament to the planned construction, under the Government’s ‘Powering Australia’ plan, of 28,000 kms of transmission lines. He could have added, and 350,000 accompanying pylons, each needing lots of concrete and steel. He described the plan as pie-in-the-sky. But where, I wondered, did he get 28,000 kms from? AEMO’s Integrated System Plan (ISP), issued in June this year, estimates 10,000 kms. Or at least I thought it did. See below.

To my mind, 10,000 kms (plus 125,000 pylons) is already pie-in-the-sky. Quite apart from the missing expert manpower to do the job, the sheer ugliness of it all will mean the need to bribe landowners or engage in extended lawfare. It won’t happen. And it certainly won’t happen on time or on budget; or anywhere near. We know that because it’s an ambitious government project. Think Snowy 2.0.

I found the 28,000 kms. And pass the information on to those equally curious. It has its own inbuilt curiosity.

Appendix 5 of the ISP is where it can be found. Here is where the 10,000 kms is explained as being part of particular favoured scenarios for achieving net zero. The 28,000 kms represents the requirement if, additionally, Australia becomes a ‘Hydrogen Super Power’, as envisaged by Twiggy Forest et al. Becoming a hydrogen superpower would mean having vast acreages of wind and solar farms out in Woop Woop. Hence, I suppose the need for vast arrays of transmission lines. Of course, it’s yet more pie-in-the-sky.

Many advanced countries see themselves as future green hydrogen super powers. Even if the difficulties of producing green hydrogen affordably at scale are ever overcome, an international fallacy of composition is afoot. The world is simply too small to sustain and contain the ambitions of these aspiring hydrogen super powers. They’ll have to duel it out.

But hold on, when I carefully read the aforementioned Appendix 5, I realised that the 10,000 kms of wires is apropos of the “new transmission network.” In addition, the Appendix says, 3,200 kms will be required to connect generation (I assume individual wind and solar farms) to the network. So, at best, without us becoming a green hydrogen superpower, 13,200 kms of new lines will be required plus 165,000 pylons. It’s mindboggling.

And all of this when, just a few short years ago, we relied on coal power stations, sitting on coal fields, abutting population and industrial centres. How convenient and economical. How reliable. And now, an extended, complex, expensive, tangled web is being weaved; and, to boot, to solve a non-problem which, even if it were a problem, we can’t begin to solve. It won’t end well. Pain lies ahead. We are in the hands of nincompoops.