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Showing posts from 2011

Whose Conscience?

The ALP national conference a few weeks ago was dominated, for better or worse, by a single issue – same-sex marriage.  It is a deeply divisive one, but amidst the protests from churches and lobby groups on both sides of the debate, the ALP platform was altered to support gay marriage.
Perhaps more important for the immediate political climate was Julia Gillard’s accompanying motion, that the result of this platform change should not be enforced on any Labor MPs – instead they will have the liberty of a conscience vote.  That has all sorts of strategic implications for actually passing a law, but in the focus on those the justification for a conscience vote – any conscience vote – has been overlooked.
Then again, it might have been overlooked because it is startling insubstantial.  The only one, essentially, is that MPs have widely varying and strongly-held views on the matter and it would be unreasonable to force them to vote against said views.  It’s flimsy.  Politicians generally …

The Art of Clash

A speech, so limited and dictated in style, length etc. I intend to treat this subject more comprehensively; my ability to produce new material is horrifically limited by the evil spectre of school. -- In the immortal words of Martin Luther King, “Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are annoying idiots.” I agree with him.
But politics is actually quite important, for a bunch of moral, social, aspirational and – honestly – pretty pretentious reasons, which I’m not going to explain here.  But that leads us to a bigger question – if politics is so important, why is it so bad?
Now some of you may know that I’ve spent my whole life, and hundreds of hours, doing debating.  So to answer that question, I’ll go to what I know best.  Our coaches at debating told us that when we were responding to a question, an argument, or a challenge, the best response was to be strong.  Your arguments have a principle, and you should stick to it.
Our politicians don’t.  Let’s look at why.

Facebook

4 friends are attending Christmas.
Christmas carols are an ancient tradition.  I think.  Once again my total lack of interest in doing research betrays me and it really doesn’t matter.  If you are an expert on Christmas carols I apologise from the bottom of my empty, unresearched heart.
But I digress.  Christmas carols, at least in my experience, broadly fall into two categories – the ones about Jesus and the ones about Santa.  There are of course some – We Wish You A Merry Christmas, for instance – which aren’t really about anything and seem to spring from Christmas’ self-obsession – more on that later.  For any defenders of We Wish You A Merry Christmas, I would like to reject figgy pudding as a legitimate subject for a song.
There is, then, a noticeable dearth of Christmas carols dedicated to the man most responsible for making Christmas the magical time it is.  Of course I’m talking about Mark Zuckerberg, because Time Person of the Year is not recognition enough for such a generous b…