I have no specialist knowledge or original ideas about the bush/forest fires raging now in eastern Australia, and so will refrain from commenting on them here. I know the area well, having lived for longish periods in Canberra and Sydney. My son Ben and his family are flying back to Melbourne tomorrow, after spending Christmas with me in Hull. The fires seem to be creeping across Victoria towards them.
Australia – with all its faults, including a succession of awful ‘Liberal’ Commonwealth Prime Ministers, and the sink of backwardness and corruption that seems to be Queensland – is my favourite country. (Sorry, Sweden, but you don’t play cricket.) I’ve also read a lot about the current Australian government’s obstructive line on climate change, boosted by its huge and unhealthy dependence on extractive industries like coal. Whether there’s a direct link between this and the present crisis, I rather doubt. Closing the coal mines down wouldn’t put out the fires.
But could this be the one single dramatic event that silences the climate change deniers? If so, those poor burned-out Aussies may not have have suffered in vain.
Incidentally: has any religious nut yet put the blame for it on homosexuality? (Ben tells me Sydney is known as the ‘gay capital’ of the world.) I’m sure that must follow soon.
Nick Cohen’s comments ‘Australia’s pathetic PM reveals much about the right’s effort to deny reality’ on ScoMo in today’s Guardian are worth quoting.
“There are worse leaders than Scott Morrison. The “international community” includes torturers, mass murderers, ethnic cleansers and kleptomaniacs beside whom he seems almost benign. But no leader in the world is more abject than the prime minister of Australia.
He cuts a pathetic figure. A leader must speak honestly to his people in a crisis. The sly tactics of climate change denial, the false consoling words that it’s a scare and we can carry on as before, have left Morrison’s words as meaningless as a hum in the background. Nothing he says is worth hearing.”
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Happy new year, Bernard! Hoping you saw my thanks to you now that this last November I submitted a Criminal Cases Review Application for review of the Wheeldon case: https://st-philips.com/news-and-events/ (28 November)
Yes, in Australia, fires, after decade of drought, a catastrophe here in Australia, exacerbated by inept Prime Minister (a pentecostal) and ongoing support for coal (Adani), by Queensland Labor government, with associated destruction of natural areas, in addition to contribution to climate change. The link between fires and climate change is the dry weather and electrical storms that start fires.
Just finished reading Andreas Norman (2017) The Silent War. Fascinating factual-fiction from Swedish perspective on British intelligence, use of torture in the House in Syria by the army under MI6 direction.
Thanks for your blog. Chloe Mason
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Australia on fire. Melbourne is currently enveloped in a smoke haze.
The only glimmer of a silver lining here is that Australia’s Pentecostal, coal-loving, neo-liberal prime minister is suffering a set-back due to his pathetic response to the catastrophe.
Mr Scott Morrison or ScoMo has implied that the most disturbing feature of the current crisis is the loss of revenue suffered by farmers: this reflects his neo-liberal priorities. What could be worse than losing your life? Losing all your money!
He has also encouraged prayer as the best means of dealing with the drought conditions that have opened the door to the fires. No mention of the need to tackle climate change with environmentally responsible policies. This highlights his brand of Pentecostalism with its bias against science and openness to apocalypse.
However, even if this is the beginning of a terminal decline for Morrison, his Liberal Party will simply replace him with negligible to positive electoral repercussions. He has served his purposes already, winning a ‘miracle’ election victory in May of 2019. If only Labor had such a brutal attitude to its failing leaders, it would not be spending the next two and a half years on the Opposition benches.
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I forgot: Happy New Year!
Happy New Year to you too – if the politics of the day makes that possible. I’m back to Sverige 15 Jan. See you soon after??
Pleasure to read you, even if the message is not always uplifting.
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