Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday Morning Musings - Adama Barrow sworn in, President Trump, preference deals and the Bald Archy's

On 20 January, I reported on the unfolding events in Gambia, that saw President Yahya Jammeh finally forced to recognise the election results and cede power to Adama Barrow.. President Barrow has now been sworn-in again, this time at the National Stadium. The photo come from the #Gambia twitter feed. Meantime, the Irish Times has carried a story about Jammeh's murder of his cousin.

In a fairly tart comment, DG wrote: "I predict this will be last free election Adama Barrow will contest. Still, in a backhanded sort of way Gambia is ahead of the herd in Africa - they at least secured change of leadership."

On 30 January in the Forum series, I posed a question about the administrative competence of the new Trump administration triggered by the mess around the migration Executive Order. That has continued messy, with the apparent position now that the Order will be redrafted. At the same time, I find myself rebelling against the constant negative feeds from the "progressive" side, including the habit of calling the President just "Trump." I had the same reaction with the use of Abbott. I think that it's disrespectful of the position and doesn't help analysis.It also leads to responses from the other side of a similar ilk. I also don't like the constant leaks. So far, on key foreign policy issues such as North Korea and NATO, its looking somewhat like a conventional Republican administration. I guess that we just have to wait and see.

I don't have a firm position on the one or two state solution in the case of Israel. Like many Australians, I started as a strong supporter of Israel and then found that support progressively eroded by the actions of the Israeli Government. I guess my position at the moment has two elements: the actions of the Israeli Government have progressively eroded the chances of a two state solution, making a one state outcome inevitable but also impossible given the attitudes of the Israeli Government and also the Palestinians; and I am tired of the Israeli tail wagging the Middle East dog and indeed the way the Middle East tail is wagging the global dog. In all this, I have a certain sympathy for President Trump's apparent position that he would go along with anything the two sides agreed.

In the Monday Forum post on Australia's political imbroglios, I suggested that the sooner Senator Bernadi went the better. I wasn't expecting him to jump later the same day! Since then, we have had the preference deal in Western Australia where in an effort to stay in power the State Division of the Liberal Party has decided to preference One Nation ahead of the National Party in the Upper House, while One Nation will preference Liberals second in the Lower House. The deal cause some ructions within One Nation and beyond.

According to the latest WA polls reported by William Bowie's Poll Bludger , the Liberal-One Nation preference deal has 30.8% approval and 54.2% disapproval, with 43.2% say it has made them less likely to vote Liberal, versus 22.5% for more likely. The National Party vote rose 2.4% to 8.4%.

The poll also included questions intended to draw out why One Nation respondents supported the Party: 27.1% said they disliked the major parties, 2.6% that they liked the candidates, 23.4% that they liked the party’s “overall vision for WA”, 29.2% that they liked “anti-Muslim policies”, 7.3% that they liked anti-privatisation policies, and 10.4% for “other reason”.

Finally, the 2017 Bald Archy entries are out. This is 'Told ya' by Jack G Kennedy, featuring One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.  According to the Official Website, the Bald Archy prize was created in 1994 as a spoof of that more serious competition, the Archibald Prize. It "provides artists of all styles and standards with a genuine opportunity, ranging from the hilarious to the bizarrely vulgar, to create portrait paintings of humour, dark satire, light comedy or caricature".
Now known internationally as the only art competition in the world to be judged by a sulphur-crested cockatoo named Maude, the satirical side of this event has its basis in the irreverent, larrikin Australian comic comment, with great appeal to people from all walks of life, the reason why the exhibition of finalists keeps breaking attendance records wherever it is shown.
For those interested, you will find details of the Bald Archy showings here.The winner will be announced in Sydney on Friday, 21 July, 2017.


With a hat tip to the ABC,I hadn't seen this YouTube video of a 1959 BBC interview by Bertrand  Russell. I thought I might add it. He was a remarkable man.


Postscript 2

Earlier in the main post, I wrote:
At the same time, I find myself rebelling against the constant negative feeds from the "progressive" side, including the habit of calling the President just "Trump." I had the same reaction with the use of Abbott. I think that it's disrespectful of the position and doesn't help analysis.It also leads to responses from the other side of a similar ilk. I also don't like the constant leaks. So far, on key foreign policy issues such as North Korea and NATO, its looking somewhat like a conventional Republican administration. I guess that we just have to wait and see.
Soon after writing this came President Trump's throw away line about Sweden. "You look at what's happening," he said at the rally. "We've got to keep our country safe. You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?". The ridicule was immediate, forcing the White House to seek to clarify just what the President meant. At the same time, you have senior figures in the new Administration including the Vice President seeking to reassure allies about the US position on various issues. Blowed if I know about all this. Its certainly good theatre.


2 tanners said...

My take is that Ghana is actually catching up. for about 40 years, there was no movement and no-one, dictator or otherwise, would criticise anyone else. But things are slowly changing. This is not to say that i predict that Ghana's new leader will face elections (or if he does, anything other than a Mugabe style democracy) but things are changing. How many centuries did the divine right of kings rule in Europe?

I have faith in development policy, but I sometimes think I'm alone. Many development agents and agencies are just in it for the career stream/money/whatever and the progress is slow compared to what was promised. But look at the results over decades, not years, and I think we see everyone catching up.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hey, 2t, Gambia, not Ghana! Ghana is already managing the transition from one civilian ruler to another quite successfully. I would agree with your last sentence, although DG might not.

2 tanners said...

Oops, yeah. Gambia. My point remains that it used to be this closed little club where no action was ever taken and no fingers were ever pointed. Somewhat like the old "fast bowlers' club" in cricket where you never tried to take the head off a fellow fast bowler. That fast bowlers club has fallen by the wayside and so, I think, has the old boys club of African leaders. Perhaps not completely, but it's going. Whether the people notice an appreciable difference is another question, of course.

Anonymous said...

Not catching up. Actually going backwards. Look at South Africa, post Mandela and Kenya post Jomo Kenyatta, for example. The only bright spot in Africa is Botswana. Development policy is soft headed as long ago called by Basil Yamey and Peter Bauer.


2 tanners said...

Ah, DG, I don't think I mentioned development *policy*. I have immense difficulties with much of that - no evidence base linking it to the outcomes desired, poor controls, reporting timeframes which encourage inappropriate targets and many other things.

Anonymous said...

tanners' first comment: "I have faith in development policy"
tanners' latest comment: "I don't think I mentioned development *policy*"

Please explain difference between 'policy' and '*policy*' :)


2 tanners said...

Although this might change your mind regarding development effectiveness. It uses much more recent data than Bauer and Yamey had. Note that AFrica is still the laggard in this dataset, but to point to Africa and ignore South and Central America and Asia is not a realistic approach.

Unknown said...

Sorry kvd, I was very unclear, and it's an issue I am trying to sort out. I certainly did contradict myself. Let me try again.

I have faith that the policy of giving development aid to countries assists those countries in the longer term - see the linkage I provided and take into account that development aid has been a significant source of income for developing countries. I have profound lack of faith in the policies and programmes as enunciated by many development agencies and development professionals which revolve around short time spans and milestones that have no direct evidence base for their objectives as contributors to development.

An example of good policy has been the fight against polio. Simple target, steady work, some technological advances and united action. If it wasn't for the Taliban actually deliberately targeting immunisation workers, probably Afghanistan and Pakistan would be entirely free of the disease. Nigeria will soon regain its polio-free status. No other country has reported a case of polio in well over three years.

An example of poor policy has been the attempted superimposition of developed world public financial systems on developing world governments. Bad milestones, inappropriate one-size-fits-all approaches and systems piled on systems that cannot possibly work.

Anonymous said...

Since it's Monday, and 'the president' was mentioned, I wondered if any of you have read a 2005 book called "Pathway To Treason" by a fellow called Ken Harris, whose bio says he was at one time Deputy Secretary in the Department of Defence?

It's about the potential implications of a popularly elected President of a Republic of Australia at odds with his PM. Won't give the ending away, but I while I enjoyed the read, I found the ending most dissatisfying - in that it didn't resolve the constitutional issue at stake.

So, maybe you can take that as a half-hearted recommend, but I'd be very interested if anyone else remembers their impressions of the book?


Jim Belshaw said...

As you note, kvd, it is Monday! I had neither read nor heard of the book. I looked it up and it did seem to point to an issue in the relations between a PM elected under a parliamentary system and a popularly elected head of state.

Jim Belshaw said...

2t, I didn't know that Hans Rosling had dies - on 7 Feb. What did you think of him?

2 tanners said...

I didn't know that either, Jim. He was a very good presenter who broke open the UN information vaults - they had refused to divulge development information for decades. His analysis probably came as a surprise to them. I'd like to use his Gapminder software on some other indicators (he specialises in health) to see whether his optimism in trade and economic wellbeing in development is equally justified.

Jim Belshaw said...

I don't know as much as I should about Rosling, 2t. Evan had mentioned him before, I think. There has been a rolling wave of development associated with trade and investment. I haven't looked specifically at the pattern of economic development for a little while. The wikipedia article is a bit dated -

DG, long time since I read Basil Yamey and Peter Bauer! I have a copy. I should re-read.

Jim Belshaw said...

From African economic outlook -
Africa achieved impressive economic growth over the past 15 years with the average gross real domestic product (GDP) rising from just above 2% during the 1980-90s to above 5% in 2001-14. In the past two years, growth has been more moderate; this trend is expected to continue in 2016, but strengthen in 2017. Africa’s growth is adversely affected by headwinds from weaknesses in the global economy and price falls of key commodities, but is supported by domestic demand, improved supply conditions, prudent macroeconomic management and favourable external financial flows. The AEO forecast assumes a gradual strengthening of the world economy and the slow recovery of commodity prices. However, given the fragile state of economic recovery and the high volatility of commodity prices this forecast is uncertain.

Growth remained highest in East Africa, followed by West Africa and Central Africa, and is lowest in Southern Africa and North Africa. Assuming gradual improvement in international and domestic conditions, growth is projected to accelerate in all regions in 2016/17. In West Africa, the Ebola epidemic has abated with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone recovering gradually. Monetary policy stances diverged as countries faced different inflationary and currency pressures.