The Royal Wedding
I hadn't intended to watch the royal wedding. While I am a supporter of the current system and enjoy a good spectacle, my TV has stopped working and I didn't feel like going to a venue to watch. As it happened, I was invited to dinner at what turned out to be a royal wedding session complete with tiaras and veils for the girls and crowns for the boys. So I did watch, although I couldn't help think of the irony of a group of largely staunch republicans not only enjoying the spectacle but capable of identifying all those minor royals!
I see that Neil Whitfield enjoyed the wedding (Yes, I watched it! And with much pleasure…) althow I wasn't as keen on Bishop Michael Curry. I thought he started brilliantly but then lost me in the middle to some extent. I think that this was partly a matter of the poor sound on the TV we were watching.
More prosaically, wearing my economist hat I found myself trying to calculate how much the wedding was worth in cash terms at a time when the British economy is not strong with confusions and concerns over Brexit acting as a drag. I know that it cost a fair bit, but my best best guess is that the direct and indirect benefits may have exceeded the costs at least twenty fold.
Excluded: The impact of section 44 on Australian democracy
Excluded: The impact of section 44 on Australian democracy, the report of the Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, was released earlier in May. My post Sunday Essay - can we change Section 44 of the Australian Constitution?just before the release.
The response to the report suggests that there is little appetite among any of our political leaders to start a discussion on the desirability of change, while the News Corp papers seem to have lined up against any change.: Daily Telegraph headline "We can't allow political citizenship rules to change", The Australian "Power grab by the political class thwarted by Turnbull".
I think that it's a mess that does need to be discussed, but see little point in repeating arguments. I think one or a combination of three things will happen: there will be more cases of members thrown into doubt because they are unable to property demonstrate renunciation; the rules and processes regarding nomination will be tightened to the point that only candidates who are wealthy or have big party backing will be able to meet them; and that Parliament will tighten rules on referral to the High Court, effectively transferring power to it from the Court.
Germans like cash
Interesting story in Quartz by Matt Phillips on German's continuing liking for cash. One part the reason lies in their dislike of credit, a belief that using cash better controls spending. I can see their point of view.
I am out of time, I will hold my other stories to later posts.
Update 22 May 2018: 11 and 12th Century Trade Routes
Fascinating story from Merchant Marine, An Incredibly Detailed Map Of Medieval Trade Routes, . Worth a read.
Update 22 May 2018: Sydney housing and infrastructure woes
Sydney's problems in the supply of infrastructure and affordable housing continue as hot issues. Because I don't have time to review at the moment, I thought that I might at least post some random links for later review.
- The NSW State Infrastructure Strategy 2018-2038
- 27 April 2018, Financial Review, Gladys Berejiklian makes 'bad call' on $1.1b light rail lawsuit
- 12 May 2018, Andrew Taylor SMH Ivanhoe redevelopment criticised for lack of affordable housing
- 16 May 2018, Kate Burke, Domain, ‘It’s crisis time’: $35 million affordable housing development to be built at Harold Park
- 16 May 2018, Angelique Lu, ABC Ryde housing developments suspended because infrastructure cannot cope
- 18 May 2018, Simon Thomsen, Business Insider, The NSW government now faces more than $2 billion in claims from contractors on crucial Sydney infrastructure projects
- 18 May, 2018, Sarah Gerathy, New South Wales MPs set to feel 'pile of pain' as Sydney's building boom bites
I will add to this list when I have time.
Update 23 May 2018. Google Search and newspaper blocks
A frustration. I do a Google search, find an interesting story, click on it, and come up against a newspaper paywall. This wastes my time and effort. Is it time for Google to change its algorithms so that only material that is in fact accessible to the searcher is included in search?
Update 24 May 2018. Remarkable insights into public sector governance
@NGruen1) for pointing me yo these remarkable insights!