Archives: November 2010

OK. I know some of you readers work for the Labor government or are Party members and are people I like and respect. So, this may cause pain to a few of you, and I apologise for that in advance. If you’re a “labor insider”, you might like to stop reading now. Alternatively, you might gain some pointers as to why you’re losing so many votes to the Greens.

I’ve never been a swinging voter. From the time I was old enough to vote I was a rusted-on Labor voter. Rusted on. Here are just a few of the reasons I won’t be voting for them in the next State election and why I haven’t been able to do so for some time.

Because they won’t commit to a properly funded and resourced public education system and instead, they tinker around the edges instead of fixing the structural problems that our public system faces. This seems to be because they aren’t in their own system’s corner. Instead, they allocate an extra 40% of funding to private and Church schools – a huge slap in the face to the parents who are sending their kids to public schools. And while developers and real estate agents and “consultants” buy new BMWs, they treat our teachers like shit.

Because they have set city against country people by building a pipeline from the already overstressed Murray Darling Basin to Melbourne, which many city people don’t want and which is an environmental disaster from start to finish. Because they are building a huge white elephant in the form of a desalination plant which will be run at least in part on fossil fuels such as coal and gas. Because when the rains came recently, instead of keeping water restrictions, they eased them and then published a photo of John Brumby happily washing a car. Way to make country people hate us.

Because they have signed a memorandum of agreement allowing their police force to pass confidential details of protesters to the consortium building the desalination plant.

Because their “planning” minister, Justin Madden, gives a tick to any project which the consortiums and developers want, over the objections to any informed protest, destroying priceless environmental and architectural treasures as he goes. They plan for sham consultations and then add insult to injury by trying to paper over this by starting a “department of respect”, headed by…? Justin Madden!

Because they are so much in bed with the Roads lobby that they can’t see beyond the construction for roads, roads and more roads, especially freeways. Oh, god are they in love with freeways. As well as the social and environmental damage caused by poorly planned developments there’s the opportunity cost of all the money that isn’t spent on public transport.

Because, speaking of public transport, they spent $775-850 million on the MYKI project, which still isn’t working properly. Rolling stock and infrastructure, meanwhile, is run down and neglected and many Melbourne suburbs limp along with only unreliable and infrequent buses. Those of us lucky enough to live near public transport are still packed in like sardines and subject to train cancellations and random system malfunctions. Meanwhile, our taxes are pissed up against a wall with nearly $50 million spent on a car race.

Because all these bloated projects are carried out through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) which represent an orgy of profit for developers and unions with sufficient muscle to extract a fair share of that profit. Because they accept donations from the people who profit. Because this is a symptom of how your “party of the workers” has adopted neoliberal, corporatist, managerialist values. As the title of the linked article says, they’ve become a Labor party in name only. Because these are steps down the disastrous road of privatising our most basic needs, like tap water.

Because they encourage urban sprawl, ignoring boundaries set out by wiser governments and destroying the Green Wedges, urban boundaries and city parklands that made Melbourne livable.

Because they broke their 2006 election promise to protect the last remaining significant stands of old-growth forest in Victoria, gazetting acres of low-value vegetation for “protection” while continuing to chainsaw Victoria’s old-growth forest, like the cool temperate forest of Brown Mountain. They mouth platitudes about “sustainable” forestry while leaving areas a smoking ruin which a Supreme Court judge, Jack Forrest (heh) compared to the battlefield of the Somme.

Clearfelling at Brown Mountain

Because although they got rid of Stephen Newnham, they have kept their dirt unit under the new guy, Nick Reece, doing stupid stuff like this. “Super Attack”? How old are their staffers, twelve?

Because “don’t criticise Labor because the Liberals might get in, and they’re worse,” doesn’t really inspire me, and that’s pretty much the best their supporters can come up with.

Now I’ve run out of time, but not out of reasons.

See you at the polling booth tomorrow.

Downunder Feminist Carnival

This month’s Carnival is up at Fat Lot of Good. Nice work, FLOG!
PSA: Tess McKenna and the Shapiros won’t be playing at the Lomond hotel on the 12th – yes, I got the date wrong as well – but it’s still worth going to see Aintree Sweet featuring Jen Anderson and Barb Waters.

Looky this apologia by Stephen Fry for his much blogged and retweeted remarks on women and sex. If you have the time. It goes on… and on… and on. As blogger QoT says, nothing says “I don’t care” like 2,872 words.

So Stephen.

Your original remark was criticised in the media, and you want to get out of it by claiming you’re just a naive retiring type set up by the wicked interviewer? No. Without minimising the tendency of the media to beat things up, you’re a highly paid media megastar, if you hadn’t noticed. Here’s part of the quotation so everyone knows what we’re talking about:

“I feel sorry for straight men. The only reason women will have sex with them is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want,”

a lot of your female and/or feminist fans, who love you loved you and see you saw you in many ways as an ally, won’t just point out the wrongness of it – they’ll be hurt and sad. But of course, only your hurt matters. (Oh, and comparing people’s responses to rape? Bonus arsehat points.)

The gist of your latest post – all four pages of it – seems to be that of course you didn’t really think that. In which case, the appropriate response would seem to be “I’m really sorry I made that arseholish remark, I was being flippant and a bit sarcastic and I don’t really hold that view. I can quite understand why being described as cold, calculating manipulators is insulting to women, as well as inaccurate.” What you have said – “there are people out there who actually swallow the notion that I am so stupid as to believe that women don’t enjoy sex. That I not only believe it but that I am dense, dotty and suicidally deluded enough to make a public declaration of such a crazed belief…” doesn’t really cut it as an apology. Because you did kinda, sorta say it, didn’t you? And not only on that occasion.

You’ve simply been asked to own your words. Because just saying you were “taking a thought for a walk”, while presenting yourself as an innocent shut-in who could never have imagined his words would have an impact, is just disingenuous. I’ll spell it out for you. You are a media p-r-o-f-e-s-s-i-o-n-a-l. Your protestations are as convincing as Michael Schuacher whining “Who would have thought that a tyre blowout could make a car spin off course!” You know damn well that when you’re in a media interview and you want to take a thought for a walk, you get your brain to walk with it on a leash.

Now, you want to know why some people are still angry? When you did your silly Twitter flounce, you were responsible for this piece of deliberate bastardry:

[BoganetteNZ: Now after reading this I sent Mr Fry a tweet asking him if he’d been misquoted. Surely he had been – surely someone as intelligent as he is wouldn’t say something so incredibly stupid.
He tweeted to his nearly two million followers the link I’d sent and my name. He said nothing more.
My Twitter almost crashed with the @ comments I got following this.

Just to demonstrate exactly how Boganette “attacked” you, here’s a copy of the offending tweet:

BoganetteNZ: @stephenfry PLEASE tell me you were misquoted and you don’t actually believe this

Oh, that’s right, not an attack at all. Just a request for clarification from someone obviously presenting themselves as a fan who’s confused because you’ve unexpectedly retailed a cliche from Misogyny Central.

And for that, Stephen Fry, Boganette got hateful tweets and personal emails for about two straight days from your followers, “FUCK YOU WHORE STEPHEN FRY IS RIGHT”…””Hysterical Bitch”, ..You get the idea. (I’d imagined your followers as fairly erudite types, but I was wrong.) Forgive me if I take your moaning about how persecuted you feel with a pinch of salt.

You flounced, retweeted one person’s comment to everyone to offer her up as some kind of scapegoat although her tweet was perfectly civil, and you didn’t expect such a pile-on? I’m going to take a thought for a walk here, and I agree to own it fully (feed, de-worm and throw bones to it) if I’m wrong. Perhaps you flounce to elicit a storm of praise from your blog commenters and pile-ons on your opponents. This makes you feel loved. It’s a pattern of behaviour not unknown in the blogosphere, and not one I admire.

You should put your big man-pants on and own your own words – and apologise to Boganette.