Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday Forum - the week's oddities, curiosities and awards

A week since the US elections. It seems a long time! Its been quite a topsy, turvy week.

One of the odder stories of the week was the lost houseboat that somehow managed to find its way from Canada to Ireland. A second odd story, again from the BBC, is that of Liberland, a Libertarian fantasy to create a new state on a patch of marshland between Croatia and Serbia claimed by neither.

The award for the most hamfisted policy of the week goes to the Indian Government for its attempt to remove certain notes from circulation. This one has been running hard, forcing Indian PM Narendra Modi into almost abject apologies. It's not that the move is necessarily unpopular, based on the reporting there is support for the PM's desire to defeat the black economy, but if you are going to remove over 80% of the cash in circulation in a country where cash is still king you had better have a good implementation plan in place. Sadly not.

The award for mea culpa of the week goes to the New York Times for its promise to rededicate itself to journalism:
As we reflect on the momentous result, and the months of reporting and polling that preceded it, we aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you. It is also to hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly. You can rely on The New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence to our coverage of the new president and his team.
Hat tip to kvd for this one.

The award for optimist of the week goes to the Canberra man who attempted to recover the cost of the engagement ring from his ex-fiancee. Hat Tip to Legal Eagle.

 The award for timing of the week goes to the Australian Government for its announcement of a one-off deal with the US to resettle refugees from Manus and Nauru in the US. I guess that they had to get it out there, the announcement was almost certainly delayed by the US election, but its hard to see how the deal can work given the views of President-elect Trump. I suppose the hope is that they will be able to make some progress before President Obama leaves office, but its messy.

A subsidiary award, the ring of steel award, goes to the Commonwealth Government for its decisive action in deploying naval forces north of the country to deter people smugglers who might want to take advantage of the US deal.
A "significant" Defence operation is now underway in waters off Northern Australia, with the Federal Government anticipating an increase in attempted boat arrivals by people smugglers.

"We recognise that people smugglers will seek to exploit this announcement," Mr Turnbull said, repeating the Coalition's policy of intercepting boats and turning them back to Indonesia or the Indian subcontinent.

The precise number of Defence assets is not known, but government sources describe the operation as a "ring of steel", and one of the largest ever peace-time deployments

Later information suggested that Australia had deployed its Armidale class patrol boats, its Border Force vessels, along with two naval support vessels. That should certainly work, with the most probable performance measurement being a total absence of people smugglers.

The award for protectionist of the week goes to Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten for his foreshadowed Australia First policy. So far, the rhetoric I have seen  - "we will buy Australian, build Australian, make in Australia and employ Australians" - comes straight from the Trump economic rhetoric.

Finally, the award for political error of the week goes not to Hilary Clinton nor the New York Times, but to the NSW Premier and Liberal Party Leader Mike Baird and his now departing Deputy Premier and National Party Leader Troy Grant for their remarkable success in the Orange by-election. Since this ABC story, continued vote counting suggests that the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party will just win the seat, while the National's leader and deputy leader have resigned. This was truly a remarkable result with swings on the primary vote in some booths as high as 60 per cent.


I almost feel obliged in posting this link to say that I am not a Trump supporter and that is of itself an interesting commentary on just how polarised the debate has become. This piece by Scott Alexander, You are still Crying Wolf, suggests that the attacks on Mr Trump are misdirected and almost totally miss the point.


Anonymous said...

Great post Jim. Tried hard to find something to disagree with but... well, anyway - thanks for raising several issues I've been following.

(but not the engagement ring thing; lost cause :)

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi kvd. I will have to work harder if we are in agreement!

Anonymous said...

Found a long (8000 words) read which I believe should be required reading for everyone remotely concerned with ongoing 'appreciation' of the impending Trump presidency.

I am not alone in stating that the man has flaws (and who doesn't?) but it will become important that opinion leaders and pundits make some small attempt to base their words more upon rational analysis than the hysterical regurgitation we've seen thus far:

- written by a guy who is not a Trump supporter.


Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, kvd. Started to lose me at the end, but I totally agree that its worth a read and with you last point. Will bring the link up in the main post.

Anonymous said...

Or rather, as the original title page puts it, Faversham "was most wickedly murdered by meanes of his disloyal and wanton wife, who for the love she bare to one Mosby, hired two desperate Ruffins, Blacke-Will and Shakebag, to kill him.

"Wherein is shewed the great malice and dissimulation of a wicked woman, the unsatiable desire of filthy lust and the shamefull end of all murderers."

Can't let an oddities, curiosities, Monday forum go to waste :)

Above from this article regarding an addition to Wm Shakespeare's output:


Jim Belshaw said...

That was a fascinating story, kvd. Really loved the title page description! Real melodrama.And very modern, combining scurrility with ostensible morality.

Anonymous said...

"scurrility with ostensible morality"

Must find a use for that phrase - love it! Beware Jim...


Jim Belshaw said...

Laughs. look forward to it kvd!