Friday, 15 January 2010

But southward (Poms and Yanks) look, the land is bright...

...students of international affairs who like to speculate about power shifts and the end of empires tend to focus on economic and ideological issues and their reflections are often written in hindsight as a post mortem. As a proud Kiwi Pom, I have posted before that this part of the world will rise to a become a major player on the world scene. We (that is Australia and NZ) are blessed by our geography and by the fact that we were colonised by a benevolent power whose institutions we have gratefully accepted and exploited.
Now, with the benefit of distance from our so called mother country we can see for ourselves the trail ahead clearly, and if we are clever enough we can avoid the pitfalls and minefields that continue to paralyse and degrade other nations. As an example see today's posting from Cranmer : Nick Clegg (Leader of the UK opposition Liberal Democrats) : Faith schools must teach that homosexuality is 'normal and harmless'...
However, our good mates over the ditch in Australia are likely to be the first western nation who will choose their next Prime Minister (above) on the basis of his attitude towards climate change. In this respect Australia will lead the world, and the level of intense debate will have international repercussions. Writing this morning in the WSJ, Tom Switzer observes...

...When I say the climate is changing, I do not mean, as many people do, that man-made global warming is destroying Planet Earth. I mean that the politics of climate change is changing rapidly all over the globe. Al Gore's moment has come and gone.
In the United States, Democrats, nervously facing midterm elections, are calling on President Obama to jettison the cap-and-trade bills before the Senate. In Canada, the emissions-trading scheme—another term for cap-and-trade—is stalled in legislative limbo. In Britain, Tories are coming out against David Cameron's green stance. In the European Union, cap-and-trade has been the victim of fraudulent traders and the carbon price has more than halved to $18.50 per ton. In France, the Constitutional Council has blocked President Nicolas Sarkozy's tax on carbon emissions that was set to take effect in the New Year.
In Copenhagen, meanwhile, the United Nations' climate-change summit went up in smoke. And in Mexico City later this year hopes for any verifiable, enforceable and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gases—and to bring in developing nations such as China and India that were, insanely, omitted from the Kyoto protocol in 1997—are a chimera... Nowhere is the changing climate more evident than in Australia...The center-right Liberal-led opposition, moreover, is now led by Tony Abbott, a culture warrior who has described man-made global warming in language unfit to print in a family newspaper and cap-and-trade as "a great big tax to create a great big slush fund to provide politicized handouts, run by a giant bureaucracy."Australia's debate has entered a new phase, one that goes beyond the religious fervor and feel-good gestures that had held sway all too often...more here...

5 comments:

Ron Russell said...

Sounds like Tony Abbott is my kind of guy. A new meaning to "climate change", I like that. I think you may be right the climate does appear to be changing and changing for the better. The leftward drift of the west may be ending and common sense restored.

Ayrdale said...

At the bottom of it all Ron, is the fact that socialism, a la Marx has almost run its course. This as I've said before, is the last gasp of the (green)left.

Paul Clark said...

Agree about our islands of culture and the need to preserve it which is why I thoroughly welcome the increase in defense spending suggested by KRudd. It is necessary since the US is becoming stretched and the rise of Asia is tipping the balance. The US umbrella isn't as big as it used to be. Australia and NZ need to adjust defense policy accordingly even if it means cutting back on other services. No use having health and education if you can't defend it.

Some time back Australia had a motto populate or perish. They did populate but I feel there's a way to go: 35 million is a good minimum for Australia and 10 million for NZ for defense.

Anyways, I warm to Tony Abbott more and more. He seems like a no nonsense bloke.

Ayrdale said...

Good comment Paul, and certainly a critical time for Australasia to assess its priorities. One of these I think, is to divorce ourselves from the increasingly bureaucratic and constipated thinking typified by Europe.

MK said...

Tony Abbott replaced a half-wit closet-lefty, the funny thing is, it was so difficult to get rid of him and replace him with a real Conservative.

Fortunately it's been done, and the metro gay boy krudd is on the ropes.